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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2013 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: TRAVIS D'ARNAUD C NEW YORK METS

For those who are religious followers of the site, you will instantly be familiar with one of our tried and true draft commandments of not picking a catcher in the first portion of the event each spring.  The high incidence of injury, the volatility of the stats, the missed games due to rest, etc. all conspire to make drafting a catcher in the first few rounds of a draft one of the biggest annual mistakes we see every season.  Instead we have always preached targeting one of two class of catcher when it comes to the draft.  The first is to target a good hitting catcher who is coming off a down season but stands a solid chance of rebounding based on past performance.  The other option is to target buzzy catching prospects who are on the verge of getting brought up to the major leagues.  Over the last few seasons, none other than Buster Posey and Carlos Santana have made their way onto my roster in the Experts League based on this premise with fantastic results.  Going into the 2013 campaign, the one key guy who fits the latter bill is New York Mets catcher Travis D'Arnaud who just came over in a blockbuster trade from the Toronto Blue Jays for Cy Young SP R.A. Dickey.  D'Arnaud is considered the best catching prospect in baseball and with the Mets in desperate need of backstop help, has a clear path to a major role with the team this season.  So without delay, let's dig in a bit deeper on D'Arnaud and determine what he could bring to a fantasy baseball roster.

At 23 years old, D'Arnaud has nothing left to prove on the farm.  A very solid defensive catcher, D'Arnaud has been more known for his hitting prowess, which netted him a slew of .300-plus averages and above average power at the minor league level.   This was highlighted by D'Arnaud's Triple-A numbers last season as he batted .333 with 16 home runs in only 67 games.  Very impressive and eye-opening indeed.  The only issue with D'Arnaud however is that he has been injury prone, missing time the last three seasons with ailments.  That has to be a decent concern heading into 2013 as we have seen with guys like Joe Mauer how an injury prone catcher can ruin a roster.  Be that as it may however, the ceiling is very high for D'Arnaud as catchers who can hit like he is capable of don't exactly come around often.  Thus the kid makes for a terrific fantasy baseball draft sleeper this season as he could very well yield great value relative to his low draft position coming into the spring.

2013 PROJECTION:  .284 15 HR 67 RBI 61 R 1 SB

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