Part 2 of our Detroit Tigers fantasy outlook will tap into the late rounders and sleeper candidates that should at least be worth considering as fillers near the end of your draft.
For Part 1, which takes a peek at the early and mid-rounders, click here.
ESPN slots Delmon Young, Austin Jackson, and Brennan Boesch as fringe players potentially worth drafting. To me, Young and Boesch are must owns while Jackson has to prove it.
Young will be hitting 5th for the Tigers, behind Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, two of the best hitters in the game. Victor Martinez hit .330 with 103 RBI’s behind just Cabrera last year. Young is no VMart, but he is certainly capable of producing 100 RBI’s, a .260+ average, and 15-20 homers. That, my friends, is worth having around.
Boesch, conversely, will set up the big boppers by hitting in the 2-hole. He was lethal hitting in front of Cabrera last year and will do so for as long as he’s able in 2012. The big right-fielder hits the ball as hard as anyone and could easily put up a season of .280, 20 homers, and 75 RBI’s with the potential for a whole lot more.
As for Jackson, it seems that leading off on a team as potent as the Tigers would be a dream scenario. Ahhh the curse of the strikeout. Despite swing approach changes in the offseason, Jackson is still whiffing at a prolific rate this spring. He has 14 K’s in just 33 at-bats (42%) as of this writing. If he can’t put it together, Andy Dirks might be the Tigers’ new leadoff hitter by June. Tread lightly on Austin. He has to earn your love first.
Ryan Raburn may also warrant consideration, but probably as a waiver-wire pickup once it’s determined how the Tigers will use him. Initially, he looks like the semi-regular 2nd baseman and is absolutely mashing the ball in the warm Florida sun (.458, 5 homers, 16 RBI’s). The record-breaking temperatures this spring in Michigan could be a boon to Raburn’s value, who traditionally hits nothing until the thermometer is north of 80 degrees. We’ve always wondered what a full year of a locked-in Raburn would look like. Mother Nature may be lending a helping hand this year. He is a legit sleeper option, but slightly less awake than Young and Boesch.
Rick Porcello could work his way into relevance as well. Despite a lot of pre-spring buzz, Porcello looks like the same guy so far this spring. Without a strikeout pitch, he will have to rely completely on his control, which will lead to extreme streakiness. He’ll get his wins, but will the ERA and WHIP be serviceable enough to allow you to swallow the strikeout void? Don’t count on it.
A spring roster battle for the 5th spot in the rotation is heating up with Andy Oliver and Drew Smyly earning the most praise early on. Smyly pitches with better command but Oliver has the power arsenal that the Tigers covet. If one of these two wins the gig, they could instantly become fantasy relevant on a team as strong as the Tigers. Smyly still has minor league options, which could favor Oliver breaking camp with the team. Oliver also possesses more strikeout upside at this point in their respective careers.
Joaquin Benoit remains the setup man, which is always worth noting should Jose Valverde go down. As a setup guy alone though, Benoit doesn’t strike enough hitters out to keep me interested.
For Part 1 of the Detroit Tigers fantasy outlook, click here.
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