With Spring Training nearly over, we’ve finally approached the home stretch leading into the regular season. We’ve seen injuries, breakout performances, as well as young players stating their cases to break Spring Training with their respective Big League clubs. Seattle and Oakland open a two-game series, in Japan, on Wednesday, followed by Opening Day March 28. I’m just as eager as anyone to get the season started, and I want to take a look at one final ADP evaluation leading into the season. This week, I will be breaking down MiLB Middle Infield ADP in “That’s Amore!” MiLB Middle Infield ADP Gems 2019.
Garrett Hampson – 2B Colorado Rockies
ESPN ADP: 293
Yahoo! ADP: 307
Fantrax ADP: 221.56
2018 Minors: .311/.382/.400/10 HR/40 RBI/36 SB
Like most, we are always looking for mid-to-late round steals in our fantasy drafts. Late into Spring Training, Hampson looks like a lock to open the regular season as Colorado’s starting second baseman. He’s had a solid spring, and he offers a lot to fantasy owners that grab him in their drafts. Through three minor league seasons, he’s stolen 30+ bases while never hitting below .300. While power never showed during his minor league days, we could be looking at a player that reaches 20/20 in his rookie season. Stolen bases will be there, as well runs, and you can never count out a player playing their homes games in Denver. Looking at this ADP, we are seeing Hampson drafted within the last few rounds of fantasy drafts. Honestly, it’s hard to argue over a better spot for a player that is going to help in the stolen base department. He will be hitting at the bottom-of-the-order, but assuming he gets on-base, stolen base attempts and runs scored will be plentiful.
What can we expect from Hampson? Speed is his modus operandi, and he’s been awfully good at keeping the ball out of the air. This has played well into reaching base, and taking off for second. Defensively, he’s about as solid as you can get. His quick feet, and hands, allow him to cover ground while turning double plays with ease. The Rockies did well moving him from shortstop to second, as Hampson is better suited for second as his arm isn’t ideal for shortstop. If you’re looking for a quick bat, that barrels the ball, accompanied by speed, Hampson is the ideal late-round pick. Looking at his numbers, and the fact he probably won’t reach 25+ home runs, but steal 30+ bases, we could be seeing a player that makes a fantasy impact similar to former second baseman Brian Roberts.
Fernando Tatis, Jr. – SS San Diego Padres
ESPN ADP: 278
Yahoo! ADP: 261
Fantrax ADP: 264.55
2018 Minors: .286/.355/.507/16 HR/43 RBI/16 SB
Yes, the hype is real, and yes, he was acquired for James Shields. There’s no question we will see Tatis in 2019, but the true question is when? Whether it’s the NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB, every professional sports team wants depth and rightfully so. The Padres look to open 2019 with fellow shortstop prospect Luis Urias as the starting option. There are two things that standout immediately. One, Luis Urias has had anything but a solid Spring (.200/.250/.333/1 HR/12 Ks [30 at-bats]). Two, Luis Urias is not Fernando Tatis, Jr. Obviously, he’s not Tatis, Jr., but nothing leads me to believe Urias is the long-term answer at shortstop, nor will he hold onto the position for more than the Padres gain service time on Tatis. Why do I say this? Urias doesn’t hit for power nor does he steal bases. He doesn’t carry much speed at all, and while Tatis won’t light up the base paths, he’s exactly what the Padres want in a starting shortstop or third baseman assuming they shift Machado to short when Tatis Jr. is called up. With that being said, I feel Tatis Jr. could put together a rookie season equally as impressive as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jimenez, who are flying off the boards early into fantasy drafts.
What can we expect from Tatis Jr.? He’s a plus hitter with plus power, and will give the Padres a dynamic one-two punch with Manny Machado. He’s a tall, lanky player that drives the ball with great launch. He’s a solid athlete, with average speed showing the ability to steal bases here and there. One sets himself apart from his peers are his great defensive abilities and phenomenal throwing arm. There’s no reason to believe he won’t play shortstop when called up, and he’s going to produce. Of course, he does have room for growth. He’s shown to be susceptible to off-speed pitches, and this is something he will need to work on. However, from the tape I’ve watched, and his minor league numbers, there’s no reason to think he won’t adjust to off-speed pitches and blossom into a perennial all-star. His ADP sees him right around round 21 in redraft (12-team) leagues, and I believe this spot is a steal for the production we will see once he gets his call. There’s still a chance he breaks Spring Training as the starting shortstop due to Luis Urias lackluster spring, but I can’t argue with San Diego starting him in Triple-A to gain control, and call him up immediately following the control date. Get him now! He won’t be available off waivers once you frantically search for him the day he’s called up.
Brendan Rodgers – SS/2B/3B Colorado Rockies
ESPN ADP: 690
Yahoo! ADP: Undrafted
Fantrax ADP: 380.91
2018 Minors: .268/.330/.460/17 HR/67 RBI/12 SB
Rodgers is about as ready as it gets to get his call to Colorado. The former 2015 third overall pick has put together a solid minor league resume, and the power potential has shown. If he played for any other MLB organization, there’s no doubt in my mind he would be looking at opening the season on a starting roster. However, that isn’t the case with the depth the Rockies possess. Arenado is locked up at third base for the foreseeable future, Trevor Story has made adjustments and keeps hitting, while Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson battle for the Opening Day second base job. If you read my above dossier on Hampson, he could be heading for Brian Roberts 2.0 numbers. That leaves Rodgers heading to the minors (sent down the other day), and waiting for a position to open on the Big League roster. Starting the season in Triple-A isn’t a bad thing. It gives him ample every day at-bats, while allowing him to polish off any adjustments that need to be finalized. One thing I can assure every fantasy baseball player, Rodgers will hit when he’s called up.
What can we expect from Rodgers? Rodgers possesses a great set of offensive tools. He has a combination of power and high-average that will play well in Colorado. His quick swing, and ability to barrel the baseball, makes him a highly desirable fantasy target. Defensively, he may not have the ideal range for a shortstop, but he possesses a very strong throwing arm that allows him to make throws from the hole effortlessly. Due to the logjam at third and short, Rodgers would make a great addition to second base, and I believe he possesses enough athleticism to play a corner outfield spot. Nearly all redraft leagues have seen Rodgers go undrafted, and rightfully so due to him not having a position at the Major League level. However, once he gets called up in 2019, there’s no reason you should hit the waiver wire immediately to add him. This Rockies team is going to score runs, and no matter where Rodgers hits, he’s going to be a fantasy asset.
Keston Hiura – 2B Milwaukee Brewers
ESPN ADP: 467
Yahoo! ADP: Undrafted
Fantrax ADP: 349.25
2018 Minors: .293/.357/.464/13 HR/43 RBI/15 SB
A lot like the others on this list, one major point stands out, athleticism! A lot like Colorado’s Brendan Rodgers, Hiura is waiting for a spot to open up on the Major League roster. Mike Moustakas is penciled in at second, and unless Travis Shaw goes down with an injury shifting Moustakas back to third base, it could be some time before Hiura arrives in Milwaukee. However, Hiura possesses great qualities that led Milwaukee to selecting him ninth overall in 2017. His short, impactful swing has allowed him to hit for a high average in the minor leagues, with the power showing up in 2018. While he’s not the fastest base runner, he gets solid jumps off pitchers, and finished 2018 with double-digit steals. He’s an average defender, but possesses enough skill to remain at second base. Even if he moves to left field, he will possess enough offensively to be featured on numerous fantasy rosters.
What can we expect once called? The fact he puts the ball in play often could lead to hitting one or two in the Brewers batting lineup. Getting on-base has been one of his knacks, and this would allow the potential for a high number of runs scored. The Brewers feature a lineup with power, and adding a player with high on-base ability, would only further their solid offensive ability. Again, like Brendan Rodgers, Hiura is going undrafted in redraft leagues. This should be the case as it remains to be seen when he gets his call, and he should be available when he does in fact get called up. What makes him ideal for fantasy rosters is the help he will aid in on-base categories as well as runs scored. He’s always been pegged a highly intelligent offensive player, and he should be a fine in-season addition off the waiver wire.
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.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday March 17th, 2019 from 8-9:45pm EST for episode #145 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 Bullpens and Catchers.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #167, 6/23/2019 Host Brian Roach, Jr., Co-Host Cole Freel, Guest Kevin Bzdek
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #169, 8/4/2019 Host Cole Freel, Guest Joe Iannone
@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.