Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Youth is a revered quality in our society and our sports. It makes headlines. It grabs our attention when someone young plays with "the big boys." Last year we were bombarded with Stephen Strasburg and Jason Heyward stories.
But that doesn't mean we should ignore the "aged."
Below you will find 10 players who have been fantasy worthy in the past and still have value in 2011 despite being "old" by baseball standards. Each is at least 35 years of age.
Manny Ramirez (38) - Ramirez has signed to play with the Tampa Bay Rays and it could be a nice spot for the soon to be 39-year-old. He played in 90 games last season and received just 265 at-bats, but hit a solid .298 with an OPS of 0.869. MLB Network's Peter Gammons reported him to be in "unbelievable shape" and if so, he could help the Rays lineup which lost power hitter Carlos Pena and Carl Crawford in the off-season. He could provide excellent protection for Evan Longoria and help the young third baseman's production.
Raul Ibanez (38) - Like Ramirez, Ibanez will be 39 in the middle of next season. He'll play an important role in the Phillies lineup, in all likelihood, batting fifth behind slugger Ryan Howard. His OPS took a hit from his first season in Philadelphia, falling from 0.899 in 2009 to 0.793 last season. This was primarily due to poor production against left-handed pitching (OPS 0.728). He'll cost you around a 12th round selection and could be a value pick.
Andy Pettitte (38) - Pettitte has yet to sign a contract or declare his intention to play in 2011, but he has been working out to get into baseball shape. If he does decide to come back and play for the Yankees, he's still got plenty of fantasy value. He was 11-3 last year with a solid 3.28 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in just 21 starts. You should take a wait-and-see attitude, but if your league drafts very early he's worth a late-round flier.
Ichiro Suzuki (37) - Ichiro cranked out another 200+ hit season and a .300+ batting average, his 10 consecutive time for both since joining the Mariners in 2001. However, his fantasy value keeps dropping because of the lack of hitting around him. Where once he could be counted on to score 100+ runs, that is no longer the case and the projected Seattle lineup for 2011 doesn't look any more promising than last year's roster. He'll still help you in average and stolen bases, but temper your enthusiasm because of his low HR and OPS numbers and don't draft him before the sixth round.
Derek Jeter (36) - Sure, Jeter only hit .270 last season, his lowest average since 1995, but that doesn't mean he wasn't good for your fantasy lineup. He still scored 111 runs, knocked in 67, stole 18 bases and had an OPS of 0.710. No, it wasn't equal to his 2009 statistics, but it was still good enough to make him the No.3 shortstop behind only Troy Tulowitzki and Hanley Ramirez. He's currently going fifth among shortstops, which could make him a bargain in 2011 if he returns to form as expected.
Bobby Abreu (36) - Abreu doesn't get as much attention as he did when he was playing for the Yankees, but that doesn't mean he should be ignored. Even in an off year like 2010, Abreu still scored 88 runs, hit 20 HRs, knocked in 78 and stole 24 bases. His .255 batting average was his lowest since 1997, but given that he batted .283 or higher over the past 12 seasons, there is no reason to think he can't return to form. He's a stats-filler with solid fantasy value that you can get in the 10th round (ADP 118).
Tim Hudson (35) - Because Hudson barely pitched in 2009, he was either a late- round flier or a free agent pickup in your league last season. And what a great pickup he was, going 17-9 with an ERA of 2.83 and a 1.15 WHIP. He's still not getting the respect those numbers deserve, going in the ninth round in early mock drafts. Assuming he gets through spring training in good health, the man knows how to pitch and should be targeted in 2011 at that price.
Vladimir Guerrero (35) - Guerrero is still a "man without a country" having not signed a contract for the upcoming season. Baltimore is talking to him and would be a nice spot for the 15-year veteran. It's not like he is coming off a bad season - he batted .300 with 29 HRs and 115 RBIs. He's being drafted in the eighth round in early drafts, so fantasy owners are obviously assuming he'll be in an Opening Day lineup somewhere. You should be willing to take that risk as well.
David Ortiz (35) - Ortiz rebounded from a poor 2009 with a solid season last year, batting .270 with 32 HRs and 102 RBIs. The Red Sox lineup is loaded and Ortiz could put up similar or better numbers in 2011. As long as you can deal with him as only a DH, you should go ahead and choose him around the 10th or 11th round.
Ted Lilly (35) - Lilly didn't have a great won/loss record (10-13), but he pitched much better than those numbers. He posted a solid 3.62 ERA and an excellent WHIP of 1.08 with 166 strikeouts in 193.2 innings of work for the Cubs and Dodgers. Now with a three-year deal in his pocket to pitch in Los Angeles, Lilly should be a good value late-round selection.
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