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Corner Infield: Late Draft Value

The third post in the series of end-game picks looks at the corner infield position. It is important to recognize that there is value at each part of the draft. If you want to be successful in a deep league, one of the keys is the players picked at the end of the draft.

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Relative to the number of players needed, the corner infield area is probably the deepest position available in 2013, in terms of quality of the players. An owner can safely wait on first base and third base, and should be able to get a quality starter. In a deep league, it may be helpful, though, to have the ability to wait to fill your corner infield slot, and here I will review three possibilities for that position.

First up is Garrett Jones, starting first baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Last year the 32 year old Buc went deep 27 times, drove in 86, and came across home plate 68 times, all while batting a more than respectable .274. If that were not enough, Mr. Jones also played enough games in the outfiled to qualify at that position, as well. Given his batting average history, his apparent allergy to taking a base on balls, and his historic contact rate in the mid 70's, I think a batting average of .254 is more in line for 2013. That said, I think you can still count on 21 home runs, 77 RBI, and 61 runs scored, and I think you can get him late in your draft. Lots of value with Mr. Jones, especially if you can get him in the mid to late teens.

Second on the list is Mitch Moreland, first baseman for the Texas Rangers. Mitch will share duties at first with Lance Berkman and Mike Olt, according to the Ranger depth chart. However, Lance Berkman will more than likely almost exclusively DH, given his injury history, and I wonder how much playing time Mike Olt will get, given the constant pressure in Texas to make the playoffs. My guess is that Olt gets PT, but not over veterans like Moreland at first and Beltre at third. Given that, I think 500+ at-bats for Moreland are in the offing, and I believe he will hit 19 home runs drive in 62, and score 67, all while batting .264.

Last but not least is the former Ranger, and now Phillie, Michael Young. Michael Young is no spring chicken, and his numbers have been declining over the last two seasons, but I wonder if some of that decline might stem from the disagreeable relationship he had the last couple years, with Ranger management. I do not expect him to set the world on fire in Philadelphia, but I think he will get to 10 home runs, drive in 61, and score 74 runs. He should bat .272, and, in addition to third base, he qualifies at first base.

As in the first three articles in the series, none of these players will be fantasy stars, but, in a deep league, you need to have a few players you can draft late, that allow you to concentrate on other areas of your team. These three may fit that bill.