Bummer. I feel like I was walking down the street, minding my own business, and some dude just punched me in the face for no reason. So now what? What do you do if you planned to draft Utley? Nothing yet! It's still November so it's hard to imagine many of you completing your 2009 fantasy baseball league drafts just yet. ESPN reported today that Philadephia Phillies 2B Chase Utley could be out until June after he goes under the knife for hip surgery. Since we all play in different types of leagues, let's see if we can touch upon all of the different fantasy scenarios involving Utley. At this point in November, this should give you plenty of time to plan accordingly.
1. Keeper Leagues - Don't panic! Utley will be back by mid-season. Best bet right now is to stash on your bench, especially in Dynasty Leagues. However, if you get a sweet offer you can't pass up, you might as well trade Utley. If it were my team and I had a deal involving my Chase Utley, I'm asking myself this question..... "Am I getting market value for Utley?" What I am saying here is, don't give up Utley easily just because he could mis two months or so because in the second half, he'll probably be stellar. Utley's value should not drop much no matter what anyone says. If you dump Utley because of this inury knowing he'll be back, you'll regret it later.....unless you get a super sweet deal you can't pass up!
2. The normal mixed league draft - The big question now is, when should I draft Utley? Well, it's definitely not the first round. Utley will most likely be solid in the second half, but you can't waste a first round pick on only the second half. I'd say if Utley slips into the late 4th or 5th rounds, that might be a good time to think about drafting him. Then, if you want to wait on 2B late in the draft (round 15 or so), look at a players like Jose Lopez or Placido Polanco or even later in the draft (After the 20th) look at players like Freddy Sanchez, Mark DeRosa, or Orlando Hudson. If you play in a league with a middle infielder, make sure your MI is a 2B, so when you put Utley on the DL, you already have the 2B to slide into that slot. Then, you can put whoever you want in that empty MI slot.
3. The Auction - Utley is no longer a $35+ player for 2009, but he's probably worth about $20-$25. A solid 4th-6th round player can go anywhere in the $20's usually. I think this is fair value for Utley considering the circumstances. I think you can expect to pay about $25 in non keeper leagues. In Keeper leagues, expect to still pay about $30. More than that is a bit overvaluing. Remember, you're still trying to win this year. You need those first half stats. You can't pay full price for Utley and expect to be okay. Utley is a great fantasy talent, but he's not A-Rod, Hanley or Pujols, so don't get caught up in a bidding war.
4. Trade Offers - In keeper leagues, if I own Utley, I want some kind of package that includes a young hitter with some flash and a top tier starting pitcher. I'm thinking of packages that include BJ Upton/John Lackey, Carlos Quentin/Edinson Volquez, Jacoby Ellsbury/Jake Peavy.... see where I'm going with this??? The value you get in a deal like these when you give up Utley is solid. A deal like say Upton/Verlander wouldn't work. Too much risk, but, upgrade that SP and now my ears are listening. Be smart. get as much talent and upside as possible. You can't be soft here. Don't make a trade just to make a trade. Utley still has plenty of value.
The Fantasy Man is now giving "Live" Fantasy Baseball and Football advice at Live Person on Friday, November 21st from 7pm - 8pm. Go to http://www.liveperson.com/ and search "Fantasy Baseball". Click "Chat Now" and ask your fantasy sports related questions!
Keep your eye out for The Fantasy Man's 3rd Annual Thanksgiving Day Extravaganza! It's a 3 hour / 3 part podcast which will be available Thanksgiving morning!