Since it’s a holiday week we’re taking a break from the positional rankings we’ve been rolling out. In the Thanksgiving spirit I thought I’d list a few things I was thankful for this past fantasy baseball season.
Adam LaRoche’s health:
After surgery for a torn labrum and partially torn rotator cuff ended his 2011 season early– he played just 43 games – LaRoche was a risk come draft day. When healthy he has 25-30 home run power, and boy was he healthy in 2012. He bounced back beautifully, playing in 154 games and launching 33 homers and knocking in 100 runs. Those who took the chance of drafting him reaped the rewards of one of the biggest bargains of the season. I had the pleasure of grabbing him for $5 in my Ottoneu league.
Alcides Escobar’s bat:
In his two previous full seasons Escobar hit a combined .244/.289/.334 and stole 36 bases. He broke out in 2012 going for .293/.331/.390 with 35 steals. The power numbers didn’t change aside from an increase in doubles, but the added help in batting average, on base percentage and steals made Escobar a very useable player. The OBP won’t help in standard leagues, but the batting average and steals surely will.
Fernando Rodney. Just Fernando Rodney:
I’m thankful for everything about him. From his titled cap to his strikeout to walk ratio to his league leading ERA, to his 48 saves. Like LaRoche, I’m thankful for the bargain he was. After walking more batters than he struck out last season and coming into a situation in Tampa where he was behind incumbent closer Kyle Farnsworth, he was an afterthought on draft day. A minor mechanical tweak and a move on the rubber turned Rodney into the best reliever in the American League. Barring any injury he’ll be back in the closer role again in 2013, crushing souls and shooting arrows.
Edwin Encarnacion’s emergence:
The power potential had always been there, but not even Encarnacion’s staunchest supporters, namely Cory Schwartz and Jason Collete, could have foreseen what happened in 2012. E5 blasted 42 homers and slugged .557, driving in 110 runs in the process which bested his previous career high of 76. He had the sixth highest slugging percentage and the second highest ISO in baseball. He transformed into a more patient hitter and the results speak for themselves.
Were there any specific players you were thankful for this year?
Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.