One of the most important aspects of preparing for your fantasy baseball draft is to keep a close eye on players that are coming back from serious injuries. That is because injured players can sometimes fall off of other GM’s radars and allow you to draft them for tremendous value. In 2013, there was no shortage of injuries to impact players which likely had some effect on the outcome of your league. So without further adieu, let's start the process by looking at one of the biggest names returning from a serious injury.
Albert Pujols (1B-LAA)
For almost a decade, Albert Pujols was one of the preeminent hitters in all of baseball. However, he has been in decline in almost every major statistical category since 2010. His first season with the Angels in 2012 was pedestrian for Pujols’ standards as he posted his lowest batting average (.285) and homerun total (30) in his career. Concerns about him were exacerbated by the fact he had arthroscopic knee surgery before the 2013 season. As it turned out, plantar fasciitis in his left foot did him in and ended his season in August. It is perfectly understandable to wonder if this is the beginning of the end for Pujols who will be 34-years old this year. However, he has indicated that his foot is near 100% and that his knee is doing better as well. Is he a first or second round pick at this stage of his career? No. But he will provide great value for fantasy owners who grab him in the third or fourth round of mixed leagues and are rewarded with statistics similar to his 2012 output.
To demonstrate that I practice what I preach, I selected Pujols in the second round of the Fantasy Alarm 12-team, AL-only mock draft at pick number 2.11. I consider this a great value pick as opposed to a calculated risk. Pujols certainly is not the same player he was just a few years ago, but he appears healthy again and capable of making a significant fantasy impact.