We were asked to spend a few minutes looking at our team's fantasy players to watch in 2012.
With the Tigers, I think we know the names you're going to want to draft early: Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera seems like decent first-round choices, depending on your league rules. Prince Fielder should be considered a bit below them I would think, if for no other reason than the fact he plays first base. For those true believers out there, Alex Avila could go very high as a slugging catcher with average. (I caution the average will probably fall off some, but he's obviously still a good option.) If Jhonny Peralta can put up anything near the same production in 2012, his positional scarcity as a shortstop could make him pretty valuable to you, too. Finally, we all know the Big Potato Jose Valverde is going to get you a fair number of saves -- unless the Tigers score too many runs. (Oh, the fun optimism of February.) But, you know, don't over reach on relievers.
As for the rest, well, search for jewels I guess. If Brennan Boesch or Ryan Raburn could ever just put together a full season of production ... well it's nice to dream. If Max Scherzer's ERA matches his strikeout totals, that could be a good grab, too. And I know you. You'll be snatching up Jacob Turner ... just because.
I'm not thrilled about anyone else on the roster. Rick Porcello won't get you enough strikeouts and is coming off a poor ERA year. Doug Fister might have a decent ERA but depending on the size of your league probably won't have a good enough ERA or enough strikeouts to make for a great option. And the rest? Meh.
I don't purport to be a fantasy baseball expert by any means. So you can take all of the above with a grain of salt if you want. But I will feature one player who is going to really help his fantasy owners: Miguel Cabrera.
I think you know why he's going to help, too. The Tigers intend to move him to third base, and they're vehement he can play the position. Whether or not they're right, and regardless of how he actually does at it, he just has to play there for enough games to have the position added to his eligibility in your league. That seems academic at this point -- but keep a watch on his progress during spring training. Already an elite batter, he'll be the best third baseman in your league and a heck of a player to own.
If we compare last year's stats, his average was 67 points higher than the fifth highest average among third basemen. His home runs would rank third, his RBI tied for second. Every other third baseman has some fatal flaw; power but no average. Average, but no RBI.
Well, I don't really have to go on much longer. It's like telling you water is wet. You know this.
By the way, since a few people have asked: I've decided we will host a Yahoo! league featuring whatever BYB staff members are interested plus a few lucky fans. It's only February. Way too early for me to think about drafts. But check in March for more details.