Many players will be free agents after the 2011 season. The biggest of course is Pujols. Even if he has the worst year of his career he will still be offered a record contract. The rest on this list are players coming off injuries, players with something to prove and others possibly on the last year of their career. These players could provide some hidden value come draft day. We have all seen it before how players rise to the occasion in a contract year so they can be rewarded with that massive multiyear deal. I have chosen a player from every position to spotlight.
Prince Fielder MIL 1B APD 18: Though I do not target players that cant hit their weight for average Fielder has the most to prove this year. He will arguably the best free agent on the not market not named Albert. I do look for an increase in his number as long as he does not start to press and if McGehee can continue to protect him.
Kelly Johnson ARZ 2B ADP 97: Johnson should be the frontrunner of all free agents at 2B after Weeks signed an extension. I see no regression from last year but he will be playing a bad D’Backs team. He will consistently bat in the 2, 3 or 4 holes are year and can come close to 15SB.
Jose Reyes NYM SS ADP 24: Reyes needs to increase his OBP this year if they want to bat him lead-off. Do not count on the monster SB like in previous years for this often injured SS. He will definitely be trade bait sooner than later if the Mets fall out of contention early. There is a reason he has not been signed to an extension. Best case scenario he gets moved. I see the Reds trading some of their young pitching to land Reyes as their leadoff hitter down the stretch.
Aramis Ramirez CHC 3B ADP 71: A fan favorite in Wrigley but often injured and aging. Still serviceable and productive but his best years are behind him.
Jason Kendall KC C ADP 825: Do not draft Kendall due to his injury. Keep him on your radar in June if you need a back-up catcher. Kendall is only a handful of SB away from being the all-time leader in swipes for a catcher. It could be something KC could use a PR campaign to push him over the mark. He needs 22 to tie the mark. He could get you 10-15 this year.
Carlos Beltran NYM OF ADP 126: I do not see Beltran as anywhere near his ADP. His agent Scott Boras has convinced him to be a good soldier and move to RF this year. Coming off back to back injury plagued seasons he wants to showcase himself for one last multi-year deal. Do not expect him to run like the old days and at 34 his power should be in decline too. I expect more injuries and less than 100 games once again but an agents who will stating all his injuries will be day to day when we all have learned that translates, in Beltran’s case to month to month.
David DeJesus OAK OF ADP 228: DeJesus is someone I just picked up with my last pick in a draft. The only thing I liked about him is that he has an everyday job now and will hit in Oakland’s 2 hole with no real competition. He never has excelled an any one category but I am thinking upside and contract year. He is an early insurance policy for my Sizemore pick for the month of April.
Juan Pierre CWS OF ADP 146: My love for Pierre is growing more and more after I saw a clip of his early morning workouts. He is at the park every morning at 545 am. He cant wait to hit in front of Rios, Dunn, and Konerko. He stated he thinks he will improve on last years 68 SB and 96 R. If he can go 75 SB and 120 R look for the Chi Sox to run away with the AL Central.
Mark Buehrle CWS SP ADP 536: Buehrle has hinted at retirement but look for the Cardinals to make a push for him especially if Peavy produces this year. Buehrle lives just minutes from Busch Stadium. A move to the NL Central will boost his value and even hold off his retirement talk.
Edwin Jackson CWS SP ADP 271: Jackson pitched very well at Cellular Field and also in his limited work against the other AL Central teams. There were times he was very good like the no-no against the Rays and then very bad like the 10ER he gave up in Coors Field. A spot starter against the right matchups could benefit your fantasy team.
Jonathan Papelbon BOS RP ADP 95: As elite closer over the last few years, he has helped many a fantasy team. There is a reason Boston has not extended him or reasons; Bard and Jenks. Do not draft Paplebon at his current position, he will be moved for whatever piece Boston needs come the deadline. If you are in a dynasty team ride him early then get what you can because he may not be closing after this season.
Jose Valverde DET RP ADP 157: Another horse to ride until Detroit falls out of contention. He may not be closing next year.