Sometimes it's hard to love a team and be objective towards players when drafting your fantasy baseball team. Prior to any fantasy baseball draft, you need to decide if you're playing to win or playing for fun. If you want to dominate your fantasy league, don't worry about drafting your favorite players. Always draft the best player available. But if you're playing for fun, draft as many of your favorite players or players from your favorite team as you can. That's not to say you should draft Kendry Morales in the first round because he's your favorite player. Always draft wisely by taking one of the best players available, but if you have the chance to draft one of your favorites or a slightly better comparable player, take your favorite first. You can still have a competitive team if you draft correctly and target your favorite players in the appropriate round. Plus, you'll have more fun during the season watching a player from your fantasy team help your "real life" team win than you would if he's on someone else's fantasy team. Winning your league with your favorite players would be the ultimate fantasy baseball accomplishment.
Below are the rankings (according to ESPN) for each of the Angels' players. Each player has their positional, league, and overall rankings, plus their dollar value. Remember, these rankings are for fantasy baseball purposes only and do not reflect a player's true overall value in "real life":
Napoli ranked third in the American league at the catcher's position primarily because of his 30 home run potential (he hit 20 HR last season in just 227 AB). Unless you really love the guy, Mathis should be avoided.
Morales is an unknown. His potential is undeniable as he's put up outstanding numbers in the minors, but that success hasn't translated into major league success. Given enough at-bats, Morales should put up numbers that won't hurt your fantasy team, but might not help much either.
The main concern regarding Kendrick is his ability to stay healthy. If he's able to play an entire season, he's capable of helping your fantasy team from the middle infield spot in each of the 5 standard categories.
Figgins' fantasy value has slipped a bit from last season as he's no longer stealing bases at the same rate as a couple years ago. Another factor holding down his value is he plays a position that typically is manned by a middle-of-the-order type player with more power and RBI potential, not a lead-off hitter. Wood has the potential to be that middle-of-the-order type as he has great power, but given a full-time job in the majors, he'll hurt your fantasy team batting average.
Aybar's primary strength is his defense, which usually isn't a fantasy baseball category. He's not going to hurt your fantasy team, especially from the shortstop position, but he's also not going to provide any offensive help either. Wood's fantasy value increases as a shortstop. There aren't too many middle infielders who have the same power potential, and his batting average shouldn't be much below the league average shortstop's.
|Gary Mathews, Jr.||93||46||399||$0|
Vladimir Guerrero is a fantasy stud who helps your team in each offensive category. He's not quite the dominating player as he used to be, since 30+ home runs will probably remain out of reach, but he should continue to put up good numbers from the middle of the Angels' batting order. A defensive liability in real life, Bobby Abreu owners don't have to worry about his limited mobility in the field and allergies to outfield walls because he still can generate great fantasy numbers. Abreu might see his RBI total drop as he's projected to bat second in the Angels' batting order, but his high OBP will help him generate 100+ runs scored (and may increase his stolen base totals). Torii Hunter's not a top fantasy player, but he does fill the fourth or fifth outfield spot on your team since he can put up decent numbers without hurting your team. Juan Rivera has sleeper potential if he's able to get enough at-bats. Originally slated to be the full-time LF, Rivera will probably lose some at-bats to Abreu. If he's able to get playing time, he has the potential to hit 25+ home runs and a fair amount of RBI's and runs. Mathews and Willits don't have any fantasy value unless the Angels lose a couple players to injury, and even then it won't be much.
John Lackey is the Angels' fantasy MVP, ranked as the 3rd highest starting pitcher in the American league. He'll help your fantasy team in at least 4 of the 5 categories, and can even strike a few batters out. Ervin Santana is quickly moving up the ranks of the fantasy baseball world after his bounce-back season in 2008. You can probably expect some slip in his 2009 season, but not much. Here's where ESPN lost me. Whoever does the fantasy rankings must have dosed off while doing the starting pitchers...how else can you justify having Joe Saunders ranked 483rd overall? Saunders might not be a top-tier fantasy pitcher, but he definitely should be ranked within the top 50 starting pitchers. Saunders probably won't duplicate his 2008 numbers, but he's a good late round pick for your fantasy staff. Jered Weaver is one of the players I expect to have a breakout season. I projecting Weaver to have a sub-4.00 ERA with 14+ wins, a good WHIP and strikeout totals. Pick him up late in the draft. Adenhart and Escobar probably won't have any fantasy value. I've heard Escobar is ahead of schedule in his shoulder rehab, so he might be worth a very late round pick if he continues to improve. Adenhart should be avoided if he's the Angels' #5 starter as he's got the potential to hurt your ERA and WHIP without helping in any other category.
The Angels shouldn't see any drop-off from their closer position with the departure of Frankie Rodriquez and the addition of Brian Fuentes. Fuentes has the potential to put up excellent numbers if the Angels continue to play close games and he stays healthy. Count on 40+ saves with better than average ERA and WHIP, plus excellent strikeout numbers. Arredondo and Shields will get few save opportunities, but each should help your fantasy team by providing plenty of good innings and strikeouts.
Regardless of the type of team you want to build, if you're in your league for fun or if you're "in it to win it", the Angels have players you should target early in your fantasy draft (Guerrero, Lackey and Fuentes) and they have players you should keep on eye on as late round steals (definitely Weaver, maybe Rivera and Morales).