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Reviewing my "Reach" and "Avoid" Teams From Spring Training

Bret Sayre reviews his lists of players to reach for and players to avoid from the beginning of Spring Training. How did I do? Judge for yourself.

Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

In the pre-season (specifically, right before spring training started), I wrote two separate posts on guys I was thinking about reaching for and guys who I would avoid at their current draft position. Now that the season has come to an end, it's time to take a look back at those picks and see how they turned out. As with any predictions piece revisited, there are calls in here that make me look particularly prescient - and then there are calls which make me look like I just picked these names out of a hat. Such is the beauty of baseball. In lieu of more "analysis" under the guise of an introduction, we're going with the short intro today. Let's get to it!

Catcher - Ryan Doumit (Reach), Devin Mesoraco (Avoid)

I had Doumit pegged as a reasonable starter even in 10-team 1-catcher leagues, and he finished as the #10 catcher on the ESPN Player Rater. In fact, there was a chasm behind him (he was twice as valuable as Carlos Santana, the #11 catcher). As far as Mesoraco, I said "you can never trust Dusty Baker with rookies" and "don't be surprised to see [Ryan] Hanigan get 70-75 starts this year." Turns out Hanigan got 112 and Mesoraco's value was torpedoed.

First Base - Carlos Pena (Reach), Mark Trumbo (Avoid)

I believed that Pena would have a bit of a resurgence being back in Tampa, and he wasn't even being drafted in most shallow leagues. Turns out, he spend the majority of the year as a shell of his former self. I also thought Trumbo wouldn't have a spot in the Angels lineup on a regular basis ("Maybe a trade clears this up, but for now, he's undraftable at this price"). Turns out, all he needed was the Angels releasing Bobby Abreu and Vernon Wells and Peter Bourjos being terrible.

Second Base - Ian Kinsler (Reach), Jose Altuve (Avoid)

I was all about Kinsler this pre-season, and he let me down this year. Though to be fair, he still nearly went 20-20 with 100 runs. He just wasn't the top-15 player I thought he was, and maybe he would have been if he played all his games in Texas (.886 OPS w/ 14 HR, 12 SB at home as opposed to .611 OPS w/ 5 HR, 9 SB on the road -- ouch). Altuve, it turns out, was a top-10 second baseman. I did not believe in his speed, saying "he's also not a burner, so he probably will top out at around 15-20 steals." I still don't fully believe in his speed, but I underestimated the little man (I can say that since I'm a whopping 5'9").

Shortstop - Hanley Ramirez (Reach), J.J. Hardy (Avoid)

I predicted 25 HR and 97 RBI for Hanley this off-season, and he finished with 24 and 92. Unfortunately, I also predicted a .297 avg and 32 SB, and he finished at .257 and 21. His days of being a .300 hitter appear to be over, but he will still likely be my #1 SS off the board in 2013. I said to avoid Hardy for two reasons - he doesn't stay healthy and his FB and HR/FB rates would regress. Turns out I was right about the regression, but the man played 158 games. I didn't see that coming.

Third Base - Mark Reynolds (Reach), Brett Lawrie (Avoid)

Reynolds came on strong at the end of the season to make his numbers look better than they were, but he was pretty terrible for five months. The Lawrie hype was insane this pre-season and I wasn't buying it. He was drafted as the #5 3B and finished as the #17 3B. "Last year's 17% HR/FB rate is not going to hold up long-term, so I'd be surprised to see him eclipse 20 HR." His 2012 HR/FB rate was 9.0% and he hit 11 HR in 536 PA.

Outfield - Jason Heyward, Alex Rios, Lorenzo Cain (Reach); Corey Hart, Yoenis Cespedes, Vernon Wells (Avoid)

Heyward/Rios were two of my best calls of the year, as the overreaction on them had gone way too far. Cain would have been a great call as well if he hadn't gotten hurt. On the other side, I thought Hart's elevated GB rate in 2011 was cause for concern, but it was just a blip and he returned to his career norms, hitting 30 HR for the second time in his career. I did not believe the Cespedes hype, but it certainly looks like I should have - though his playing time kept him from returning as much value as he could have. And Vernon Wells? Shooting fish in a barrel.

Starting Pitcher (Reach) - Jaime Garcia, Madison Bumgarner, Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Edwin Jackson

Garcia ended up hurt and will be right back on this list again this off-season (except he will have an even lower ADP). Remember when Bumgarner was being drafted behind Daniel Hudson this pre-season? Yea, it really happened. I was all-in on Darvish and continue to be - I think his first few months were just an adjustment period to the American version of the game. His stuff is off-the-charts nasty and he really began challenging hitters in the second half. Harrison and Jackson were on a bunch of my teams this year and both played key roles in my fantasy teams' successes (each had an ADP outside the top-75 in Spring Training).

Starting Pitcher (Avoid) - Justin Verlander, Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Doug Fister, Johan Santana

Verlander was on the list because I refused to draft any pitcher in the first round and he was going 6th overall. I still stand by that, even though he finished as a top-10 overall fantasy player again (and #2 SP behind R.A. Dickey). I was way down on both Kennedy and Hudson, having both of them easily outside my top-30 (they both had ADPs in the top-22). Fister continues to surprise me with his development and I'm finally ready to buy in on him being able to maintain his new strikeout rate. I was rooting really hard for Santana to succeed and he not only came out like gangbusters, but he gave Mets fans a huge thrill when he pitched his no-hitter. The only problem was he still only pitched 117 innings with a 4.85 ERA.

Relief Pitcher - Sergio Santos, Ryan Madson, Addison Reed (Reach); Brian Wilson, Drew Storen, Kenley Jansen (Avoid)

I'm giving myself a pass on Santos and Madson because they combined to throw 5 innings. Addison Reed may have struggled down the stretch, but he still pitched his way into the closer role and got 29 saves. Those 29 saves are just one less than the combined total of Wilson, Storen and Jansen (who picked up 25 of those 30 saves and ended up being worth his draft spot despite not being a closer to start the year). And those three were all drafted within the top-17 RP. Hope you weren't one of the owners who drafted Wilson or Storen - you were warned.

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