The value of a player on the field in the actual game of baseball varies slightly from a that player’s value in the game of fantasy baseball. So, when you hear that Player X is one of the best fantasy second basemen this year, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s one of the actual best second basemen in the game (defense is notably absent from the consideration, for example).
But, let’s be honest, the values are relatively close. If a dude can hit or can pitch, he helps the team win, and he also helps his fantasy team win. And folks who put together fantasy projections tend to be pretty good at the predictive side of things, so, fantasy rankings are somewhat relevant to the overall baseball discussion.
With that in mind, if MLB.com’s just-revealed fantasy rankings are any indication, you’re going to want to avoid the Cubs in your draft this year.
The Cubs’ top player, Starlin Castro, is the fourth-ranked shortstop, which is good, but he’s just the 42nd ranked player overall.
That’s the Cubs’ best fantasy player.
From there, you’ve got to scroll pretty far to get the Cubs’ second-ranked player, Matt Garza, who comes in all the way down at 93. And, heck, Garza might not even be on the Cubs come April (ironically, a trade to a better team would increase his fantasy value tremendously).
Carlos Marmol is next (which tells you all you need to know about fantasy value) at number 128. I’d say they’ve got him pegged:
Marmol endured a roller-coaster 2011 campaign that saw him battle with frequent bouts of wildness and blow 10 saves yet post a gaudy 12.04 K/9 rate and convert 34 save opportunities. The Cubs fireballer can look like the best closer in baseball at times, but his inconsistency holds him back. While the 29-year-old enters the ‘12 season as the club’s clear-cut stopper, the team could very well yank him from the role should he struggle out of the gate.
The real needle comes from the Cubs’ 4th ranked player: Anthony Rizzo at 205. Yes, the same Anthony Rizzo who is slated to start the year at AAA Iowa. When fantasy players would rather pick your AAA first baseman than, say, your number two starter, your team might be in trouble.
For what it’s worth, the rest of the Cubs’ top 20 looks like this:
5. Ryan Dempster
6. Travis Wood
7. Geovany Soto
8. Ian Stewart
9. Marlon Byrd
10. Alfonso Soriano
11. Darwin Barney
12. Randy Wells
13. David DeJesus
14. Bryan LaHair
15. Paul Maholm
16. Chris Volstad
17. Brett Jackson
18. Kerry Wood
19. Tony Campana
20. Jeff Baker