Everyone knows about the big name players that changed teams this off-season: Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, C.J. Wilson and so on. However, quite a few under the radar players are also wearing new jerseys in 2012, and here are a couple that I feel could have a sizable impact with their new clubs, and your fantasy baseball teams.
San Francisco Giants, (OF) Melky Cabrera
For a team that seems to struggle putting up offensive numbers in recent years, I think Melky Cabrera brings a lot to the table. Last year with Kansas City, Melky had the best season of his career; 155 games played, 201 hits, 18 home runs, 87 runs batted in, 20 stolen bases and a .305 batting average. It seems Melky may be hitting his stride as he has carried that success into his first year with San Francisco. In 52 at-bats so far this spring, Melky has 19 hits with 3 home runs and a .365 batting average. This could be just what the Giants are looking for; a solid everyday player with experience and the potential to put up some much needed offense.
Kansas City Royals, (SP) Jonathan Sanchez
Sanchez may be the perfect fit for a KC rotation that ranked 27th in the majors in team E.R.A. last season. Despite a disappointing 2011 with San Francisco, in which he spent a good amount of time on the DL and struggled with his control, Sanchez has tremendous upside. In 2010, Jonathan had a 13-9 record, a 3.07 E.R.A, 193.1 innings pitched and 205 strikeouts. So far this spring, his numbers have been far from impressive. Some say his velocity is down, but I believe he is just adjusting to his new team and his first year in the American League. Sanchez has the potential to be a 200+ innings and 200+ strikeout guy each season. In San Francisco he pitched well but didn’t receive much run support from the Giants spotty offense. However, K.C. has a great mix of young and experienced guys that will without a doubt rank among the league’s best in offensive stats. Adding Sanchez in the 3rd spot of the rotation, behind Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar, could be just the spark that manager Ned Yost needs for his young pitching staff.
Oakland A’s, (OF) Josh Reddick
The left-handed hitting outfielder is projected to split time with Colin Cowgill this season, but I believe that Reddick has the potential to be an everyday player. The A’s kicked off the 2012 MLB regular season with two games in Japan against the Mariners. In those two games, Josh started in left field and had a pair of hits, one being a home run. Even though his major league experience may be somewhat limited, in the 87 games he played with Boston last season, he batted .280 with and on-base percentage of .327. I know, those are not numbers that are going to make anyone fall out of their seats, but believe me, this kid can play. He has spent 3 seasons in the Red Sox’s organization and being that he has not been an everyday player; it is easy for a guy like this to slip thru the cracks. In 39 at-bats this spring, Josh has batted .333 with 2 home runs and 11 runs batted in. He may not get much pub this year with a lot of the focus on the A’s new highly touted outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, but watch for Josh Reddick to show up every day and put up respectable numbers.
Arizona Diamondbacks, (OF) Jason Kubel
After spending 8 seasons in Minnesota, Jason Kubel signed a two-year, $15 million dollar deal with the Diamondbacks this off-season. It is said that Jason will get the start in left field for Arizona, ahead of Gerardo Parra, who won a Gold Glove in 2011. The Diamondbacks had an incredible run last season, with a handful of young guys having breakout seasons to fuel the team’s success. Kubel may not be the best fit defensively for the D-Backs in left field, but I think that it’s his consistency and experience that has my eye on him this season. He has averaged 18 home runs and 79 RBI over the past five seasons. Also, he has played in over 125 games in four of those five seasons, with the one exception being last year in which he played in 99 games. Like I said previously, it is not the stats that have me liking this off-season acquisition. Jason is a good locker room guy that can show some of these young guys what it’s like to be an everyday producer in the big leagues. The Diamondbacks made it to the playoffs last year but were eliminated by the Brewers in the first round. Add the experience the young players got from that, and a true veteran like Kubel, the sky is the limit for this team.
Brought to you by TheBaseballPage.com