The Top 5 Under 5 in ESPN Baseball Challenge – Week 12

I love Mondays.  It is my favorite day of the week for ESPN Baseball Challenge.  I enjoy scanning through the Weekly Leaders and updated player values for the next scoring period; and although I play salary cap fantasy games with a long-term strategy, I’m always looking for opportunities to upgrade my roster and create salary cap space. No matter your approach to the game, you must plan for the future if you want to win.  It’s the following winning mentality that led me to develop the Top 5 Under 5.

“While losers are brooding about the past and dreaming of the future, winners study the other players and decide how to adjust their strategy.  It’s the smartest thing they can do at he most important time – now” – Alan N. Schoonmaker, PH.D. Author of Poker Winners are Different

Last week I received a though provoking comment from a first time reader. The reader asked why I was limiting myself to the players owned by less than 5% of ESPN Baseball Challenge entries.  He made a good point about the self-defeating nature of my list.  I guess I am my own worst enemy.

In my opinion the guys on my list are more likely to be removed based their market value rather than an increase in BBC ownership. Last week the 5% ownership requirement only ruled out 4 players. DH – Luke Scott ($4.5 / 5.9%), RF- Josh Reddick ($4.9, 7.1%), RF – Ichiro ($4.8 / 5.8%), and 1B – Adam LaRoche ($4.9 / 6.7%).  Gone from last week’s list is Allen Craig.

The criteria that I am using for the 5 Under 5 is simple:

  1. The player’s current market value must be less than $5.0
  2. The player must be starting on less than 5.0% of entries

My goal is to help you find the next salary cap superstar.  These are the Top 5 players under $5.0 to scout for Week 12 of ESPN Baseball Challenge.

The Top 5 Under 5 for Week 12:

1. Trevor Ploufee RF – MIN ($4.3 / 2.6%): You can’t argue with his recent production and you can’t beat the price.  Plouffe was the top scoring position player in Week 10 of BBC with 45 points.  The Twins face the White Sox and Royals at home in Week 12.  I’m not expecting 40+ points in Week 12, but I think 25 is easily achievable.

Plouffe is hitting .243 with 26 Runs, 14 HR, 24 RBI, 20 BB, and 86 total bases.

2. Seth Smith LF – OAK ($4.5 / 0.8%): Smith went on a tear in Week 10 compiling 15 total bases and 29 Baseball Challenge fantasy points.  His 58 points are 3rd best amongst LF’s over the last 15 days.  I actually like the four match ups Oakland has before the All-Star break.  They are on the road at Seattle and Texas in Week 12 and home against Boston and Seattle to close out the first half.

3. Justin Upton RF – ARZ ($4.9 / 4.2%):  Justin Upton has had a disappointing first half based on his projected power numbers. Upton fell back below $5.0 after only producing 10 BBC points in Week 10. However, he did manage to collect 12 hits in 36 at bats.

He went 1-for-3 with 2 RBI last night against the Mariners. Continue to scout Upton’s at bats during Week 11.  Arizona is on the road against Atlanta and Milwaukee in Week 12.

Justin Upton is making a brief appearance on the 5 Under 5. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

4. Todd Helton 1B – COL ($4.9 / 1.2%): Helton collected 11 total bases and 24 fantasy points in Week 10.  In 110 AB’s at Coor’s Field, Helton is hitting .255 with 50 total bases, 17 runs, 4 HR, and 23 RBI. The Rockies have 7 games at home in Week 12.

5. Zack Cozart SS – CIN ($4.7 / 3.5%): “Among shortstops, Cozart ranks third with 39 runs scored (tied with Derek Jeter) and ninth in home runs (7). And that’s despite an abysmal May in which he hit .208. In the past month, Cozart has hit .314 with 20 runs scored, numbers which have helped him rank as the No. 4 shortstop in that span. Clearly, hitting in front of Joey Votto is conducive to scoring runs. And Cozart has a nice power/speed minor league track record. Cozart has already cleared his biggest MLB hurdle – the whims of manager Dusty Baker. With a firm grip now on a top of the order spot, consider Cozart strongly if you are in the market for Runs and pop from the SS position.” – Brandon Funston of Yahoo! Sports

Cozart has hit safely in 5 of his last 6 games going 11-for-29 with 5 runs, 1 HR, and 1 RBI.  The Reds face the Brewers at home and the Giants on the road in Week 12 of ESPN Baseball Challenge.

Runner Up…Ike Davis 1B – NYM ($4.7 / 1.0%): Davis produced the 3rd most points amongst first baseman in Week 10 and has the 4th most over the last 15 days.  The Mets are on the road against the Cubs and Dodgers in Week 12.

Over to You…

What do you think? Is there anyone missing from the list?  Anyone that doesn’t deserve to be included?  Please feel free to comment on this week’s 5 Under 5.

You can email me at or find me Google+ and Twitter @GoProFS24.  You also check out my ESPN Baseball Challenge entry and user profile.

Thanks for checking out my post & best of luck in Week 12!

Stats courtesy of and