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2013 Position Rankings: Value Changers

Each year things seem to happen in Spring Training. Good things, like injured players coming back quicker than expected, or sleepers clubbing their way into jobs. Bad things, like setbacks and new injuries. Other things, like trades, job changes, and the end of position battles. 

I hate all of these things, because they upset my neatly crafted rankings. Speaking of which, check out Starting Pitchers 1-4041-80RelieversShortstopsThird BasemenSecond BasemenFirst BasemenCatchers, and  Outfielders.

Below is a selection of players that we ranked that should now be shooting up, plummeting, or doing something rather less drastic.


Down: Mike Napoli (Rounds 5-6, ranked 7th)
Poor Napoli seems to be feeling good and playing well, so why is he downgraded? It's just a strategic move, as he's going a lot later in many drafts. If you can pay less, you should. I'd wait till the 7th or 8th, but his position relative to others stays the same.

First Basemen

Down: David Ortiz (Rounds 7-8, ranked 11.5)
Ortiz isn't eligible at first in every league, but he will be starting the year on the DL in every league. The Red Sox don't have a timetable for his return, and I hate drafting anyone in that situation. I'd wait until the 15th round, at the earliest, making him number 26 or 27 among first basemen.

Up: Corey Hart (Round 21 and Beyond, ranked 33rd)
Hart we knew was injured, but the news out of the Brewers' camp has been more positive than not, with an early or mid-May return possible. Like any other injury-stash, he's more valuable in H2H leagues, and less in any league without DL slots. I wouldn't go as high as the 15th Round with him, but I'd snag him in the 17th or 18th, slotting him in right behind Ortiz.

Second Basemen

Up: Emilio Bonifacio (20th-22nd Rounds, 21.5)
If your league's eligibility requirement is 15 games or lower, Bonifacio's value could be going up, thanks to a bad spring from Maicer Izturis. If he's stealing bases in the Toronto lineup, he could be a great value. Consider bumping him up to the 18th-19th Rounds, and perhaps the 16th or 17th player at second base. I'm not so excited if he's just an outfielder.


Down: Hanley Ramirez (3rd Round, 2nd)
I was excited for Hanley to start the year, but a jammed thumb and torn ligament have him sidelined for eight weeks. He doesn't seem to be falling all that far, but really, he's going to be out until late May, with the ever-present possibility of setbacks for more. I'm staying away completely, but if you want to draft him, wait until the 7th round at the earliest, after Ian Desmond is gone. That would make him the 7th shortstop taken.

Down: Derek Jeter (12th-13th Rounds, 9th)
Jeter is another guy that I'd been more exited than most about, only to run into his injury issues. He's only "questionable" for Opening Day, but those questions seem worth letting him drop a couple rounds for, to the 14th or 15th. Upon further review, I'd probably want to take him after Alcides Escobar and Elvis Andrus, who are probably worth taking a little higher in light of Jeter's and Ramirez's injuries. That would make Jeter the 12th SS taken.

Third Basemen

Down: Chase Headley (5th Round, 7th)
Headley is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, which could easily push his return into early May. I really don't like having a stud player miss that much time, because it forces me to draft a bum for the position and play him for a month. Again, this isn't so bad in H2H, since September playoffs determine the whole season, but it really hurts in standard Roto. I honestly wouldn't take Headley until the 11th or 12th rounds, until Will Middlebrooks and Todd Frazier are off the board.

Down: Pablo Sandoval (7th-8th Rounds, 9th)
Sandoval's situation has more optimism than Headley's, as his manager hopes he'll be able to play on Opening Day. However, the Panda's sketchy health history has me a little skeptical. I'd let him drop into the 10th or 11th Round, but he actually becomes the  8th player at the position, thanks to Headley's lost value.

Down: Mike Olt (20th-22nd Rounds, 23rd)
I had expected Olt to start in the bigs, and see time at first, third, and DH, kind of like Michael Young did last year. Not so much, as he was sent down to the minors. I'd save him for waiver bait in most leagues.


Down: Curtis Granderson (3rd Round, 13th)
Granderson isn't scheduled to return until late May, and a wrist injury stands the chance of reducing his power going forward. In a H2H league, I'd be willing to snag him in the 10th round, making him the 33rd OF. In standard Roto or any other format without playoffs, I'd wait until the 12th or 13th, slotting him in after Andre Ethier at 43 or so.

Down: Adam Eaton (14th-16th Round, 52nd)
Eaton will be missing two months or so, by which time the Diamondbacks might just be happy with the production they get from Jason Kubel, Cody Ross, and Gerardo Parra. I'd leave Eaton for the waiver wire in most leagues, but I'd be willing to draft Kubel and Ross several slots higher.

Up: Carl Crawford (14th-16th Rounds, 55th)
A month ago, things weren't so optimistic for Crawford, with the talk being that he'd probably have to start on the DL. Between that prospect and his complete awfulness for the last two years, that had him buried on all my lists. Well, he was just as terrible in the past, but at least he looks like he might be starting the year healthy. With that to limit his downside, his upside becomes intriguing again. I'd grab him in the 12th-13th Rounds, around number 45 or so.

Up: Domonic Brown (unranked)
Brown had been a big disappointment for fantasy owners the last couple years, but he's been tearing up Spring Training. Like Steve Adams, I don't really care about most Spring stats, but his are so good that the Phillies don't have much choice but to give him another chance. If they're giving Brown a chance, I could too, among the guys in the 15th-16th Rounds, maybe around number 52. In fact, you could just trade him with Eaton in your rankings if you're feeling lazy.

Starting Pitchers

Down: Roy Halladay (Rounds 7-8, 23rd)
Another guy I was bullish on! Halladay's Spring hasn't had much of anything good happen to it, and I'm a lot more nervous to take him than I was. I'm not really comfortable with him as more than my number three starter now, which means I'd want to take him in the 8th or 9th Round, in most cases. I'll take the risk as the 30th or so pitcher taken. 

Up: Zack Greinke (Rounds 5-6, 17th)
Greinke was looking pretty rough a little while ago, but the most recent reports have been a lot better. For that reason, I still want him in the same timeframe, but perhaps as high as pitcher number 11. 

Up: Chad Billingsley (unranked)
Billingsley now appears to be healthy enough to start the season, so he makes a pretty good back of the rotation option for late rounds, perhaps around 19th-20, putting him 77th or so among starters. So, not super exciting.

Down: Chris Capuano (Rounds 17th-18th, 74th), Hyun-Jin Ryu (unranked)
With Billingsley and Greinke looking healthy, expect these guys to be edged out of the rotation. Unless something changes, don't draft them.

Up: Julio Teheran (unranked)
 Teheran has pitched well, and has always had good upside. It appears that he'll be getting starts for the Braves, so I'd be happy to snag him in the 18th-19th Rounds, maybe as the 70th pitcher taken

Down: Trevor Bauer (Rounds 17th-18th, 71st)
He was sent down, so leave him for the waiver wire. 

Down: Johan Santana (Rounds 17th-18th, 76th)
Santana isn't looking healthy, so I'm not so excited to take the risk on him anymore. It appears that he'll be unavailable to start the season. With better DL stash options out there, I'll be leaving him and my memories of 2004 on the waiver wire.

Down: Phil Hughes (Rounds 13th-14th, 50th)
Hughes might not be ready for Opening Day either, so I'd drop him down to the 17th-18th Rounds, around number 67-68. Of course, he may end up being healthy, so don't let him slip too far.

Relief Pitchers

Up: Aroldis Chapman (Rounds 7th-8th, 26th SP)
With his move to closer official, Chapman loses upside, but he also loses a huge portion of his risk. I'd make him the second closer taken, probably in the 6th or 7th Round. 

Down: Jonathan Broxton (15th-16th Round, 18th)
Broxton moves up...in holds leagues. So much for his value in standard formats, as many other non-closers will post better strikeout numbers.

Down: Jason Motte (8th-9th Round, 5th)
News just came in that Motte has injured his elbow, and will almost certainly start the season on the DL. How much more he might miss is up in the air. I like to avoid pitchers in this situation, so, to be safe, let him drop a long ways in your draft. Hopefully he won't be out too long, and hopefully there will be a more solid timetable before you draft. For now, Mitchell Boggs will be getting first crack at saves in St. Louis. 

Chances are, things will change again in the last week of the season, but the good news is that your draft will happen and you won't have to worry about overpaying for an injured has-been, or missing out on a star prospect who hasn't quite won a job. No, instead, you'll have a whole team full of commitments to players whose value could still change on a bad hop or a tough slide. 

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