May 11, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Baltimore Orioles second baseman Ryan Flaherty (3) hits a single in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Baseball: Ryan Flaherty and the Orioles' 2B battle

My 2014 Fantasy Baseball Preview continues with a shift over to the American League and the AL East.

I start with the Baltimore Orioles, where the second base position is likely the O’s top battle in camp.

Sep 29, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Ryan Flaherty (3) hits a one-run RBI double in the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles won 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles have plenty of candidates to replace Brian Roberts at second base, including newcomer Jemile Weeks and prospect Jonathan Schoop, but Ryan Flaherty is considered the lead option to win the job, according to The Baltimore Sun.

That’s not necessarily great news for fantasy owners no matter how the battle plays out, but Flaherty is one to keep an eye on as he could turn into a cheap source of power.

Flaherty hit only .224/.293/.390 with 10 home runs and 27 RBI in 246 at-bats last season, but with increased playing time, the numbers could end up looking decent by the end of the season.

Weeks and Flaherty offer two totally different things from a fantasy standpoint though.

Weeks is all speed and little power, while Flaherty’s main fantasy attribute is power. Weeks spent most of 2013 in Triple-A and had a solid season, but his track record makes him hard to trust if he wins the job. Flaherty, meanwhile, hit 10 homers in just 85 games.

Whoever wins the job should start the season as an AL-only fantasy option.

But if you are playing in AL-only leagues, both guys are ones you should be monitoring.

Prediction: I like Flaherty here and if can hit for average, which is debatable, he could turn into a decent sleeper at the position. He has 20 homer potential and could likely hit .250 with 50-60 RBI in a best-case scenario.

In mixed leagues he’s simply a guy to monitor on the waiver wire as he is going undrafted in most leagues, but in AL-only leagues he is worth a shot on late.

I would forget about Weeks unless he has a strong camp as I don’t see him making much of an impact at the MLB level in 2014.

However if he has a great spring and seems to have a leg up on the job, he could become a cheap source of steals.

At the end of the day though this should be Flaherty’s job to lose, but either way it won’t impact your fantasy team much.

But if you are into finding deep sleepers, Flaherty could potentially become one.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Fantasy Baseball Jemile Weeks Ryan Flaherty

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