Last season in my fantasy baseball league (with my co-workers - my legit/serious league) I won the title, and the prize money. My team featured strong pitching (Roy Halladay, Jon Lester, Justin Verlander, Derek Lowe, Edwin Jackson, Mariano Rivera, etc), at the same time though I had a pretty balanced offense (David Wright, Nick Markakis, Jason Bay, Troy Tulowitzki, Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence).
I didn't have that pure power hitter who hit forty homers, but I had enough to get by. Much of that success was due to the fact that I knew more about teams like the Orioles and Nationals then my co-workers. Pleanty of times last year I depended on guys like Markakis, Adam Jones, Sherrill, Brian Matusz, Nolan Reimold, Nyger Morgan, Ian Desmond, John Lannon, etc. This will NOT be this case this year. People in my league have scouted the Orioles hard and I know they will be gunning for most of the team just to spite me. Hopefully I can still get back most of the guys I had last year but we shall see. My favorite O's fantasy sleeper player this year is Brian Matusz. I really think that kid is special, and ESPN thinks so as well.
"Though there were some bumps in the road, by the time Matusz was shut down at the big league level last year, he did not look overmatched at all. On the contrary, the polished southpaw with command of four pitches, including a curveball that's a swing-and-miss offering, needed 20 minor league starts to ascend to the majors, and he's not headed back. He struck out almost eight batters per nine innings over his eight starts, and his .343 batting average on balls in play illustrated he was a little bit unlucky and pitched better than the surface numbers would indicate. The AL East is an unforgiving environment (pitchers had a 4.83 ERA against AL East clubs versus a 4.22 ERA against all other teams), but it would not surprise us at all to see Matusz take a big step forward this year. He's a sleeper you want to target later in the draft."
I'm not taking for granted that people in my league will know about him, so I'm pulling that trigger early, and that is the course of action I'm taking.
Another O's player I love to have this year is Brad Bergesen. Here's his Season Projection VIA ESPN.
"The 24-year-old Bergesen more than held his own over 19 big league starts in his rookie season until he missed the final two months with a severe shin injury. He's expected to be ready for spring training, and will have to pitch his way out of the rotation. He struck out less than five batters per nine, but got a ton of grounders. He also commands the ball well down in the zone to help keep it in the park. There are a lot worse skills sets to have and a lot worse pitchers to own. He could be a quietly effective starter once again in AL-only play."
I didn't like that projection, it reminded me of the Adam Jones one last year where they said don't buy high and avoid. They were way wrong, and I think they will be wrong with Bergesen. He is not afraid to pitch to hitters and he has good commander, I like the fact they are undervaluing him because he doesn't strike out a lot of guys, but strike outs aren't everything.