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Real vs. fantasy

Posted: Tuesday March 14, 2006 4:24PM; Updated: Wednesday March 15, 2006 11:48AM
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Derek Jeter
Doing "the little things" hurts Derek Jeter's fantasy value.
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There are some players who are just much better on the field than they are in the box score. Here is an All-Star team of players who aren't the best choices for your fantasy squads.

Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals. The best defensive catcher in the NL, Molina is as indispensable to the Cardinals as any player is to any team. However, with a .256 career average, little power and no speed, he's not worth more than a last-round pick (if that) for your team.

First base: J.T. Snow, Red Sox. A four-time Gold Glove winner who laces line drives all over the field, Snow doesn't consistently hit with the power that one needs out of a fantasy first-sacker.

Second base: Mark Grudzielanek, Royals. Was highly sought-after by big league clubs this offseason, but all he'll add to your team is a good average and some runs scored, because his power and speed have all but deserted him.

Shortstop: Derek Jeter, Yankees. The Yankees' best player is no better than the fifth- or sixth-best fantasy option on the team. He's willing to sacrifice himself to move a runner along, and he doesn't run as much as he can because he lets those behind him hit with runners on base.

Third base: Bill Mueller, Dodgers. Blew up in 2003 when he led the AL in batting (.326) and smacked 19 home runs, but for most of his career he's been more of a singles and doubles hitter, and a last resort among fantasy cornermen.

Outfielder: Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners. For as good as he is in fantasy baseball (high average, good stolen bases, some pop), he's twice the player on the field, taking extra bases, throwing out runners with his cannon of an arm and hitting appropriately in every possible situation. A consummate professional and one of the 10 best players in the game (although not in the stats).

Starting pitcher: Odalis Perez, Dodgers. A pitcher whose stuff is much better than his record, the southpaw has never won more than 15 games in a season and has racked up only 52 wins in seven NL seasons.

Reliever: Instead of a specific pitcher, this belongs to a whole category -- middle relievers. Unsung heroes like Ray King, Aaron Fultz, Mike Myers and Justin Speier get neither many wins nor many saves yet bridge the game from starters to the eighth- and ninth-inning short men. Most often they're closers-in-waiting or failed starters, and while your fantasy team can surely survive without them, no major league team would stand a chance.

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