Much is written about the “next big thing” when discussing Fantasy Baseball value. We look for signs of a breakout season from a youngster entering into his prime or we try to stay ahead of the curve by scooping up a hyped rookie or even a prospect.
But what about the seasoned veterans?
Sure, they don’t have that new car smell, but they are ready to help your Fantasy team this year if you are willing to overlook some chips in the paint and that weird stain in the back seat.
Here are a few high mileage players that I feel are undervalued heading into 2013.
4 Fantasy Baseball Value Veterans to Target in 2013
ADP data courtesy ESPN.com as of March 20, 2013.
Jayson Werth, OF, Washington
Age: 33 (ADP 217)
Between the wrist injury last year and a down 2011, it seems as though drafters are shying away from the Nationals outfielder in 2013. We are almost a year away from the broken wrist and Werth will have plenty of chances to produce in a great Nationals lineup — even if the power doesn’t return right away. His ability to contribute in all five categories, including double-digit steals, makes him a solid choice to round out your outfield.
His K rate was a career low 16 percent last year and despite the small sample size, Werth showed that he could handle lefties after struggling against them in 2011. I’m a believer in Werth this year and if his power returns, he’ll have people wondering how he fell so far off the radar in the first place.
Michael Cuddyer, 1B/OF, Colorado
Age: 33 (ADP 221)
It’s hard not to like any hitter who plays half of their games at Coors Field, but Cuddyer is especially valuable in that he is eligible at both first base and outfield in most leagues. He’s good for 15-20 homers and a handful of steals even if he doesn’t manage 600 plate appearances anymore, due to age and nagging injuries.
While the younger Tyler Colvin may see more time in the outfield at this point, Cuddyer will no doubt be spelling Todd Helton at first base again, so he will get his at bats barring a major injury. He’s the kind of boring player that many overlook late in the draft who will quietly produce for your Fantasy team while adding some flexibility to your roster.
Michael Young, 1B/3B/DH, Philadelphia
Age: 36 (ADP 198)
After 1,800-plus games with the Rangers, Young heads to Philly where he will serve as their everyday third baseman and projects to hit somewhere in the top half of their lineup. His most recent down year in Texas and his age are scaring away enough drafters to make him a value play in 2013. He’ll be eligible at both corners, which is a plus, and he has always had a good track record as a hitter (he actually had a career low 10.8 K percentage in 2012).
In his new home, he’ll find a ballpark and lineup that are just as friendly as what he was accustomed to in Texas. While his power is declining (he slugged a career low .370 last year) he can contribute a solid average and counting stats out of your corner infield slot. Young bounced around between positions in Texas and there may have even been some bad blood towards the end of his stay there, so I’m not counting him out yet.
New scenery, everyday at bats, and a steady position on the field could add up to a nice bounce-back season for the veteran infielder. He’s definitely worth a look considering he’s going about 100 spots lower than he was at this time last year.
AJ Burnett, SP, PittsburghAge: 36 (ADP 206)
For Burnett, the move out of New York and into the NL Central seemed to be a recipe for success in 2012. He won 16 games with the Pirates and reached the 200 IP mark for the first time since 2009. Getting out of the Big Apple seemed to agree with his HR/9 rate as well. He saw it dip to a tidy 0.80 in 2012 after it ballooned to a career high 1.47 in 2011.
There wasn’t much about his 2012 that was fluky and his ERA and FIP were almost identical. He just may in fact be more comfortable in Pittsburgh, where he has the freedom to focus on leading their staff without the pressure he undoubtedly felt with the Yankees. Burnett is going a little later than I think he should, and as the fourth or fifth starter on your Fantasy roster, he can be a solid source of strikeouts without hurting you in other categories.