For the final week of the 2013 season, I started my list of players who intrigued me as potentially undervalued on my Hotpage piece yesterday.
So, in concluding Tumbling Dice for the season, let's look at the rest of the list. Note that some of these players are really under the radar, and some just seem to be values as this year concludes.
But, as Spring 2014 approaches, as we all know, things change.
Matt Carpenter (2b, Cardinals): I remember writing about Carpenter in 2010 in one of my weekly USA TODAY pieces on minor leaguers worth watching (even though the team had second and third covered at the time).
Arenado will build in solid 2013
That year he went .309-13-69 with 31 doubles and an .889 OBP at a couple of minor league levels, and by 2011 Carpenter had made a major league debut.
So, now, qualifying at second and third in most leagues (and outfield and first in others), he leads the league with 196 hits, 54 doubles, and 123 runs while hitting .324-11-77 (.860 OPS).
I am not sure how much Carpenter could improve upon any of that, although I do think as he continues to play a chunk of those doubles turn into home runs.
Brandon Belt (1b, Giants): Belt's 2013 looks a lot like his 2012, when he hit .275-7-56 over 145 games, and this season with .289-16-62 over 144 contests. Well, save the increase in power, for one (his OPS jumped 55 points to .836).
Actually, the really revealing stat is over the first half of this season, Belt was .260-10-38 over 89 games, and with a little less play (55 games) in the second half, he is .330-6-24. But, I don't think this is a factor of less play; rather that Belt finally figured it out on a consistent basis, much like his AL counterpart Eric Hosmer did.
J.B. Shuck (OF, Angels): Forget about Peter Bourjos, as the speedy center-field counterpart to Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout.
Shuck is as good, almost as fast, and certainly more durable. With a .290-2-39 line over his 122 games in 2013, with 20 doubles and eight swipes, and a solid enough .330 OBP (this year is the first season Bourjos has exceeded that number, though after 53 games he was done for the year), I look for Shuck to get the first nod next year.
Plus his 27 walks to 51 whiffs over 417 at-bats suggest Shuck's on-base average, and thus other counting stats, will improve accordingly.
Check out Lawr's final quartet of 2014 sleepers and good values!
About Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com
Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.
Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for MLB.com as a statistician.
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