The Red Sox from a Roto Perspective

When I started writing about baseball, it was through fantasy baseball. My site is indeed aptly named Fantasy Baseball 365. So, I would be remiss not to write something related to fantasy baseball and the Red Sox. Lucky for the Sox, there are plenty of players to write about.

12 team mixed league projected auction values are attached to the player names ($260 budget).

First rounders: Carl Crawford $32, Adrian Gonzalez $31

When the rumors started this offseason about Carl Crawford, I was worried that he might end up with the Angels, from a roto perspective. Crawford has spent his entire career in the AL East and would have been moving to a ballpark that would have likely hindered his home run output. Also, unlike where he ended up signing, the Halos don’t have the offensive firepower to backup his counting stats like runs and RBI. When Crawford signed with Boston, however, there were no such worries. Not only will he remain in the AL East, but he’ll play his home games in a great hitter’s park and have the lineup support to hold steady, if not succeed, his former R/RBI career highs.

Before his trade to the Sox this offseason, Adrian Gonzalez has considered a very good roto first baseman, but not anything resembling a first-rounder. Well, all that changed, and fast. Once A-Gone’s trade to Beantown become official, even I forwent the normal statistical breakdown and simply posted this.

A-Gone is now an early second round pick at worst and has often been seen as a first round pick. As long as his shoulder is good-to-go on opening day, he should have a huge season.

The $20 targets: Jon Lester $27, Kevin Youkilis $22, Dustin Pedroia $22, Jacoby Ellsbury $20

Jon Lesterphoto © 2009 Keith Allison | more info (via: Wylio)

I think Jon Lester is going to be a steal of a value in 2011. Not many rankings have him as high as I do — third starting pitcher behind Felix Hernandez and in front of Tim Lincecum. Everything is in line for Lester to continue to be a dominant starter. With the improved offense and speed on defense (assuming health), there is no reason that Lester can’t lead the league in wins. Though I’m not a big fan of projecting wins, it is a part of the roto game. Lester has every chance to pitch like an ace the entire season and is my pre-season favorite for the AL Cy Young.

The $22 price tage attached to Youk is somewhat due to his soon-to-be third base eligibility. I don’t think he’ll have his best season, but the production should be there again and third base has some depth issues on draft day.

Well, I asked if we can expect this to be Dustin Pedroia‘s career year, so, yeah, I’m high on him. The same thing that I applied to Crawford in terms of lineup help applies to Pedroia.

Jacoby Ellsbury may be the most aggressive projection of this group. If he is healthy, which seems to be the case, he’ll be an elite source of stolen bases and won’t hurt fantasy teams in the AVG department. While there are some other nice speed options to be had later in the draft, Ellsbury comes with the upside for a ton of runs if he hits leadoff all season long.

If you can handle a DH-only option: David Ortiz $10

We’ve covered Ortiz’s struggles against lefties a couple of times, but leagues that allow daily roster moves can take advantage and sit him when he is scheduled to face a southpaw. His lack of a position limits his overall value, on top of a projection that involves a little regression.

Other $1+ arms: Jonathan Papelbon $12, Clay Buchholz $8, Josh Beckett $6

Papelbon Pitchesphoto © 2006 Waldo Jaquith | more info (via: Wylio)
I think Papelbon comes back strong and avoids some of the blowups that hurt his ERA last season. The save opportunities will be their in bunches. He’s in my second tier of closers for 2011.

Chip took a look at Clay Buchholz and the expected regression in 2011. I have to agree that chances are Buchholz doesn’t find the same success he did in 2010, but that he shouldn’t just fall flat on his face either. He’s a quality major league pitcher that has been able to get a good amount of ground balls and limit line-drives over the past two seasons. If Buchholz regresses to a 3.70 ERA, say, he’ll still be a nice part of anyone’s fantasy team, but only at the right price.

Josh Beckett displayed signs of his dominant self last season (8.2 K/9 and 2.6 K/BB rate), but he was hurt by the long-ball (1.41 HR/9), the highest BABIP against of his career (.338) and injuries. A healthy Beckett should be a valuable pick on draft day, since his stock seems low. My projections for him are conservative, however.

Dollar fliers: John Lackey, Dice-K, Daniel Bard, J.D Drew, Marco Scutaro, Jed Lowrie and Jarrod Saltalamacchia $1

I think all of these players have potential for some type of value, especially in deeper mixed and AL-only leagues. Lackey should bounce back a bit, but he just doesn’t seem like the pitcher he was in his heyday. Lowrie has more upside than Scutaro in the roto game, but he needs to find the playing-time to hold real value.

For those AL-only GM’s that are looking for a late round sleeper from the Sox; take a long look at Ryan Kalish. There is more than one scenario in which he sees plenty of playing-time with the big club in 2011.

Categories: Clay Buchholz Daisuke Matsuzaka Daniel Bard David Ortiz Dustin Pedroia J.D. Drew Jacoby Ellsbury Jed Lowrie John Lackey Jon Lester Jonathan Papelbon Josh Beckett Josh Papelbon Kevin Youkilis

Charlie first started writing about baseball back in 2008 when he opened Fantasy Baseball 365. Since graduating college with a degree in English, he has spent time coaching baseball as well as working in several minor league front offices. He also writes for The Outside Corner and contributes to Project Prospect and ESPN's Sweet Spot. Writer from August 3, 2010 - May 6, 2012

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