If Jorge Posada can stay healthy enough, he'll be a top-five catcher.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
With a little over a week remaining until the umpire yells "play ball" for the first time in 2010, we continue our travels around the six divisions, looking for interesting players and fantasy situations.
In Part Two of six we head to the American League East.
New York Yankees - The top-five guys in the Yankees' lineup (Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano) should all be at or near the top of their position. The more interesting questions involve Jorge Posada (ADP 145.5) and Brett Gardner (ADP 319). If Posada can stay healthy enough, he'll be a top-five catcher, but that assumes he can get 475-500 at- bats between catching and DH'ing. Gardner could be a great source of stolen bases, but only if he: a) gets enough playing time and b) can hit for better than a 0.724 OPS. That weak OPS puts him 114th among outfielders and no amount of stolen bases can make up for that deficiency. On the mound, Phil Hughes has won the No.5 starting job, making Joba Chamberlain much less valuable as Mariano Rivera's setup man.
Boston - Barring injury, Victor Martinez, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury should all be solid fantasy players. For me, the interesting situation is "Can Marco Scutaro (ADP 160.8) put up big numbers in the Red Sox lineup? In Toronto last year he was one of three players (including Aaron Hill and Adam Lind) to play well above their drafted level. But he batted leadoff in Toronto and will be at the other end of the lineup in Boston.
Tampa Bay - Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena are "givens" but what of Jason Bartlett (90 runs, 14 HR, 66 RBI, 30 SB, .320 BA), Ben Zobrist (91 runs, 27 HR, 91 RBI, 17 SB, .297 BA) and B.J. Upton (79 runs, 11 HR, 55 RBI, 42 SB, .241 BA)? Bartlett and Zobrist were huge bargains in 2009, but are being drafted as if last year's numbers will automatically be repeated. I'm not completely sure that's the case and Bartlett (ADP 89.8) will cost you an eighth-round selection while Zobrist (ADP 44.8), who is eligible at 2B, SS, and OF, will cost you a fourth-round pick. Upton (ADP 61.2) continually gets overbid because of his steals and power potential, but except for the 2008 playoffs has never put that "potential" to good use.
Toronto - Aaron Hill's 36 HR, 108 RBI season surprised most fantasy owners, but beware of overvaluing him this year. For one thing, he might be the team's leadoff hitter, thereby hurting his RBI total and secondly he's got an ADP of 39.6 which means you'll have to pick him at the start of the fourth round or earlier. I think Edwin Encarnacion could be a late-round bargain this season if he can stay healthy. He's got an ADP of 280 (24th round) but he has 30 HR power if he can stay on the field. Be wary of the Blue Jays pitching staff, they are young and in a tough division. Despite their talent, I'd tend to stay away. The best of the starters is Shaun Marcum, but as the opening day starter he'll be facing the other teams' best pitchers which could hurt his won/loss totals.
Baltimore - The Orioles lineup has a nice mix up veterans and youngsters, but it's Brian Roberts (ADP 44.7) who makes the team go and Roberts is starting the season with back problems...not a good sign. Adam Jones (ADP 81.8), Nick Markakis (ADP 57.9) and Matt Wieters (ADP 93.2) are all sure fire fantasy starters. Luke Scott (ADP 296.2) is worth considering as a late-round selection. He's got plenty of power (25 HR in 449 at-bats), but that is balanced against a mediocre batting average and no speed.
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