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August 21, 2013

Five to Watch

Good Prospects on Bad Teams

by Ben Carsley


A good prospect is a terrible thing to waste, even if he plays for a bad team. This is a lesson sometimes lost on fantasy owners who will scramble to pick up the likes of Xander Bogaerts or Kolten Wong, but may overlook younger players who are stuck on squads mired near the bottom of the standings.

Yet, while you may need to pay a pretty penny or risk a high waiver claim on a flashy prospect from a first-place team, you can often find bargains by scouring your free agent pool for forgotten call-ups, rookies, or post-prospects on non-contenders. Maybe the casual baseball fan doesn’t care who’s hitting ninth for the Astros or holding down a rotation spot in Miami, but as a fantasy owner, you should. If used selectively, such players can provide significant boosts for owners in deeper leagues. With that in mind, here are five players most owners will have forgotten about who can help in select categories down the stretch.

While today’s focus is on good younger players on bad teams, this mini-series will include looks at many different types of players, positions, and categories.

Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Twins
Despite hitting .320/.388/.539 in 534 plate appearances last season between High-A and Double-A, Arcia didn’t receive the same type of fanfare he would’ve in some other systems. When you share an organization with talents like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and Aaron Hicks, it’s natural for people to overlook you. Yet while Buxton, Sano ,and even Hicks still provide the promise of future stardom, none can impact your fantasy team down the stretch like the sneakily powerful Arcia.

Arcia’s overall MLB slash line of .261/.317/.444 isn’t terribly sexy, but he’s hit four of his 10 homers this month and power is primarily why fantasy owners should have interest in his services. Arcia has demonstrated the ability to hit for higher averages and reach base at a much higher clip in the minors, but even if power is the only tool that’s really clicking right now, that can be a boon for fantasy owners. We’re not talking about Giancarlo Stanton here, but if Arcia has a stretch of games away from home or against right-handed pitchers, he’s a good power play in AL-only or deeper mixed leagues.

Arcia has lost a bit of playing time since Josh Willingham returned from his injury, but some of those starts have come at the expense of one Wilkin Ramirez. It can be dangerous to put too much stock into lineups that “make sense” or “are good for development.” At the same time, you have to imagine Minnesota is more interested in seeing what a 22-year-old top post-prospect can do than a 27-year-old fifth outfielder, so we can be somewhat confident Arica will start at least 70 percent of his team’s games down the stretch. It will take some micromanaging to use him correctly, but Arcia can provide meaningful pop.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around ... (08/21)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Five to Watch: Post-Hy... (08/19)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Five to Watch: Positiv... (08/27)
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Fantasy Article Sporer Report: Looking... (08/21)

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