Stephen Drew will eventually make fantasy drafters pay for passing
Fantasy owners want no part of free agent Stephen Drew, but he's deserve a spot on your team at the right price.
Our Fantasy staff recently held the draft for a 12-team rotisserie league that included 30 rounds and 360 picks. Stephen Drew was not among them. The only reason he wasn't selected is that he isn't on an MLB team. But he will be, and when he is, he'll make every owner in your league that passed on him at the end of the draft pay.
Drew won't be a top-level starter this season. He's not going to finish in the top ten at the position. But he'll definitely be worth owning after hitting .253/.333/.443 in 442 at-bats last season, and in a league that uses reserve spots, as this league does, he gives you the option to roster the perfect MI with power potential for next to nothing.
Drew could sign tomorrow. Or the day after. CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman broke down the shortstop market Wednesday, and it's clear that the need is there for Drew. However, as a guy who comes with the weight of the forfeiture of a top-ten-protected first-round pick when signed, Drew has seen his market fail to develop to this point.
Here's the thing though: The weight of that first-round pick goes away after the MLB draft in early June. It would be a surprise beyond surprises to see Drew have trouble finding an acceptable offer once the draft is behind him and the weight is lifted. Consider early June the worst-case scenario for getting Drew in a lineup, with the potential for profit if he signs before the season starts.
In leagues with bench spots, you'll see a number of them devoted to holding top prospects like George Springer and Archie Bradley. Due to service-time considerations, players like this likely aren't going to see the field until June either. However, because of the hype surrounding these young players, they'll be selected way before the end of the draft (Springer was a 12th-round pick in this particular league).
Drew comes for a much smaller cost, and while he has less upside, he's certainly worth starting in a MI slot. Even if your particular team doesn't have a need in the middle infield, you should be able to find a profitable trade once Drew is in a major-league lineup. It's the reason that Kendrys Morales was a nice pick in the 21st round of the same draft -- by the time he's signed, the owner that drafted Mark Teixeira (Round 17) will wonder what made him pass on Morales, a much stronger player. I think the Derek Jeter owner (Round 23), among others, will feel the same way about Drew.
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