Out Of Position Value


Out Of Position Value

Every year in fantasy, there are a handful of players with eligibility at a position they will rarely (or in some cases, never) play throughout the course of the regular season. The flexibility of multi-position eligibility is valuable in and of itself, but often times, managers can benefit from playing OF-caliber production at a middle infield position, or getting extra at-bats from the catcher position.

Victor Martinez and Carlos Santana, for example, led all backstops in plate appearances in 2011 due to V-Mart's time at DH and Santana's time at first base. Those are a pair of pretty obvious values, but here's a few more that might get overlooked being further down the draft board:

Ryan Doumit, C/OF/DH, Twins:

Manager Ron Gardenhire recently announced that he plans to use Doumit as his primary designated hitter. Doumit is also expected to see time in the outfield and at first base. His career .271/.334/.442 slash line is solid production out of any catcher, but it sounds like his workload will be increased beyond that of your typical fantasy backstop.

The Top 12 catcher-only eligible players (according to Yahoo final rankings in 2011) averaged 490 plate appearances, and that's including Herculean workloads by guys like Alex Avila and Miguel Montero. Meanwhile, Martinez, who caught just 26 games in 2011, came to the plate a whopping 595 times.

It sounds like the Twins are planning on rostering three catchers (Drew Butera or J.R. Towles will receive the other nod -- try to contain your excitement, please), so Doumit's not likely to see too many games behind the plate barring a Joe Mauer injury. That's good news for his legs and health.

Doumit is essentially an everyday DH (and backup position player) that you can plug into your catcher spot. His power will be sapped by Target Field, so that's something to consider, but with a career ISO of .171 he's decisively higher than names like A.J. Pierzynski (.138) and Kurt Suzuki (.130), both of whom are going ahead of him in AL-only drafts at MDC.

I consider Doumit a strong, underrated play in AL-only formats, and a solid second catcher in two-catcher leagues. He's a fringe option in mixed leagues, but someone to keep an eye on as he transitions into his new surroundings.

Brett Myers, SP/RP, Astros:

It's odd to think of a pitcher "playing out of position," but Myers will be Houston's primary closer this year while carrying SP eligibility (for leagues that distinguish between SP and RP). Closers are a finite commodity on draft day. Most managers will try to come away with two or three of them in their drafts, and scramble to pick up handcuffs and replacements if the guys they draft struggle or hit the DL.

Myers' dual eligibility is a boost in these scenarios, however. He allows owners to transition him to an SP slot should they be the first with access to a replacement closer. While some managers may have maxed out their RP/P spots and therefore not be able to add the additional saves, Myers owners won't have that problem. Allowing a fourth or even fifth closer to be rostered can present your team with a decisive advantage in saves.

Beyond that, Myers allows managers to roster a lights-out setup man such as Tyler Clippard, Kenley Jansen, or Jonny Venters without the downside of having to sacrifice saves. So, while you perhaps wait for an additional closer to pop up due on the waiver wire following an injury, you can receive a boost to your Ks, WHIP, and ERA with a dominant eighth inning presence that other teams may not be able to budget for.

Myers himself may be detrimental in WHIP and ERA, but it's worth noting that his xFIP (3.75) and SIERA (3.83) suggest he was better than the 4.46 ERA he registered in 2011. He's also improved his command each year since 2007 (including a career-best 2.4 BB/9 last year), so there's reason to hope for improvement in his 1.31 WHIP.

He's still a bottom-tier closer, but he's one that I would take over most of the fringy firemen you'll be choosing from in the "scrap saves" portion of the draft.

Trevor Plouffe, SS/OF, Twins:

Plouffe may seem like a bit of a stretch as a fantasy option, and for the time being, he is. He also posted a .154 ISO last season, however, good for sixth among shortstops with 200 or more plate appearances. And when he wasn't with the big league club, the 25-year-old was busy posting a mammoth .313/.384/.635 line with 15 bombs in 220 trips to the plate at Triple-A.

Minnesota is transitioning Plouffe strictly to an outfield role in 2012, where he's a good bet to platoon with Ben Revere in left field. Revere's a defensive wizard, but is just 23 and hit a mere .267/.310/.309 in 2011. The Twins love his glove (and rightfully so), but there's no 100% guarantee that he's in the Majors from here on out. Plouffe, a former first round pick, could hit his way into more playing time in the outfield while still allowing fantasy players to plug him in at SS (or at 2B in some leagues, as he started 15 games there in 2011).

He may not be someone to target on a draft day, but he's one to keep an eye on throughout the season's early phases, especially in AL-only formats where Sean Rodriguez, Cliff Pennington, Alcides Escobar, Mike Aviles, and even Plouffe's teammate Jamey Carroll are all being drafted on MDC and Yahoo.





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