Bargains. We’re all out for ’em. Everyone loves a good deal; an asset you acquire that explodes in value.
This happens in fantasy baseball all the time, but there’s a cost to the speculation. This mainly comes in the form of losing a bit of safety, as well as sacrificing roster opportunity for someone who can produce now. Let’s say you have a 10 team league with 25 man rosters and no keepers. You could roster a guy like Kyle Tucker at the end of the last round. There’s a chance he gives you OF2 production once he’s up, but how long do you have to let him marinade in the minors? How effective is he on call-up? Some guys with an ADP at 250 and after include Steven matz, Max Kepler, Willy Adames, Julio Urias, etc. Those are some pretty solid names to pass on to speculate Tucker coming up soon enough to justify holding.
So who are shaping up to be some good bargains in 2019? This is going to depend wildly on your format, but here’s the premise I’m working off of:
25 man rosters
8 keepers per team (~96 players kept)
So what are we looking for? We are looking for guys who can slide into the top 100 of drafts next year or guys who can provide strong value this year, even if they aren’t keepable for next year. This keeper set-up will also not significantly affect ADP, most likely.
So who are we targeting?
Eloy Jimenez – CWS (ADP 122, I’d grab in the top 80-90)
What you need to know – Eloy looks major league ready. He also looks like a guy who can be a staple OF1 for years. He shouldn’t be down long, even with the pretty sad (okay, they were bad) spring training numbers he posted. He should be up the first month of the season, and could post 30 homers with a strong BA in the windy city. He has the ability to jump into the top 50 going into next season. I think he’s as impressive of a MLB prospect as Vlad Jr, who is going off the boards in the top 50 of STANDARD LEAGUES. No keepers and a top 50 pick. Based on that alone, Eloy feels like an incredible value.
2018 stats: 108 games, 22 HR, 32 BB, 69 K, .337/.384/.577 avg/obp/slg
Nick Senzel – CIN (ADP 205, would draft around pick 175)
What you need to know – Senzel has long looked like a polished bat, but injuries have been hard to overcome. Vertigo, wrist and thumb issues have found ways to keep Senzel off the field. Not only that, Cincy brought in two veteran OF during the offseason. Granted, Kemp won’t keep him off the field, but Puig will. Winker is going to get his shot, and Ervin has had a strong spring and should get a chance to produce at the highest level. I don’t think we see Senzel without an injury in the big leagues. He’s having a strong spring, but I don’t think it’s enough to get him on the field opening day.
2018 stats: 44 games, 6 HR, 19 BB, 39 K, .310/.378/.509 avg/obp/slg
Kyle Tucker – HOU (ADP 298, would draft around 250)
What you need to know – Kyle ‘Ted’ Tucker has been a cherished prospect for a few years now. He was drafted as a top 5 pick (high school bat) many moons ago. Tucker has finally started to live up to his potential last year in AAA. Houston gave him a call-up, and he flopped. Ok, the end numbers show that he flopped, but he wasn’t that bad. His BABIP was unsustainably low. He walked a decent amount. His K-rate was not obscene. He should get a chance during the summer once again, and could contribute across the board in that loaded lineup.
2018 stats: 100 games, 24 HR, 20 SB, 48 BB, 84 K, .332/.400/.590 avg/obp/slg
After this, there are no top prospects that I’m going to go out of my way to roster in fantasy drafts this spring. There is one team of outfielders I’ll be watching though.
Austin Hays, Anthony Santander – BAL OF (ADP 611, 993)
These guys get listed because the ADP is so, so low for what they can provide. The BAL lineup is bad, so R/RBI may leave much to be desired. Austin Hays mashed in 2017, was hurt in 2018, but is having a big spring again this year. Everyone pounds the “spring stats don’t mean anything!” drum constantly. That’s true, they count for nothing, but they do sometimes indicate when a guy may be ready to produce at a higher level. Seeing a guy like Hays produce like this against a mix of MLB and good MiLB arms is encouraging, especially after his 2017 (and injury shortened 2018). Santander, what a wild ride this guy has been in fantasy. Honestly, he’s not rosterable right now except in deeper leagues. He’s a switch hitting OF who is still only 24 years old. He’s crushing this spring. He crushed in 2016, he was good in 2017 until he got hurt, he was solid in 2018. I watch him and I just love what I see, but he’s had a hard time putting anything together for any amount of time. I’ll still end up throwing him on the back of a bench or two, but where I don’t I will be ready to add at a moments notice.
Christin Stewart – DET (ADP 347)
C-Stew should have the chance to play early on. I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to roster him, but he’s just as viable of an option at the end of the draft as any Baltimore OF, Tyler O’Neil, etc. He has had some solid minor league seasons, never posting a BA above .270 but he has posted solid power numbers. He has the makings of a 30 homer bat. He doesn’t strike out an obscene amount and walks a good deal. He’s having a very C-Stew spring (.278 BA, 2 HR, 12K in 13 games) and could float around a .260 BA and flirt with 30 homers if given 160 games to do it.
122 games, 23 HR, 0 SB, 67 BB, 108 K, .264/.364/.480 MiLB
17 games, 2 HR, 0 SB, 10 BB, 13 K, .267/.375/.417 MLB
So there you go, a few guys I’m watching for opportunity early on. Potential doesn’t mean much if a guy can’t showcase it, and it doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t turn into production. I’d caution against a lofty investment hoping reap unending rewards. But for where you can get these guys in a basic keeper format, I’d bump them up a bit. In leagues this shallow there will be a safety net on the wire (Mancini, Markakis, similar guys will be on the wire in a lot of leagues you can fall back on).
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore on Thursday March 7th, 2019 from 8pm – 9:30pm EST for the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. Call in number is 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. This week we will discuss Starting Pitching for fantasy purposes.
Be sure to check out our Sunday night show March 10th from 8pm to 9:30pm EST. They will cover the Outfield.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel live on Sunday March 10th, 2019 from 8-9:45pm EST for episode #144 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. Our topic this week is the Outfield for fantasy purposes.
Our guests this week are Joe Iannone and Bilal Chaudry. Joe is a writer for majorleaguefantasysports.com and his articles publish every Sunday. Bilal is the 2-time defending MLFBC champion and a frequent radio guest.