August 19, 2014
Mookie Betts, OF/2B, Red Sox
There’s nothing in Betts’ minor-league numbers that suggests he won’t get on base and run a little bit in the majors right away. He’s walked in about 13 percent of his PA between Double-A and Triple-A this year while striking out about 11 percent of the time. Betts has a swing geared for consistent, hard line-drive contact, and he has excellent plate discipline to boot.
Those are skills that generally translate well to the majors sooner than later—as opposed to, say, extreme power or speed. I don’t expect Betts to leave the yard often this season, but if he gets 100 PA the rest of the way, two homers, six or seven steals, and a dozen-plus runs and RBI are well within his reach. There aren’t a lot of outfielders likely to be promoted with more upside remaining, so feel free to bid a significant portion of your FAAB on him.
Trevor May, RHP, Twins
This does not, however, mean you should be buying May in deep leagues. Yes, his 23.5 percent strikeout rate and 2.84 ERA in Triple-A are attractive. But May is still far too prone to losing the strike zone at a moment’s notice, and while he comes with considerable strikeout upside, he comes with massive, WHIP- and ERA-crushing downside, too. We saw a bit of that in May’s first start, when he walked seven batters in two-plus innings, and he’s already walked four more in 4 2/3 innings tonight as I write this.
Sooner or later, May is going to transition into a bullpen role, and he’ll likely flourish there as a late-inning reliever. That makes him worth holding on to in dynasty leagues, if you have the space, but he’s not worth a bid in redraft deep leagues right now. Other, safer options will emerge, and while you might miss out on a gem or two by avoiding May, you’re going to miss out on a lot of heartache, too.
Matt Szczur, OF, Cubs
Fantasy owners should primarily be interested in Szczur for his speed. The right-hander nabbed 30 bases in 37 tries this year, improving greatly on his 22-for-34 record from a year ago. He’s not an absolute burner, but he’s certainly fast enough to swipe 25-plus bags over a full season. Unfortunately, Szczur’s utter lack of power may prevent him from ever seeing that much time in a season.
Arismendy Alcantara figures to play in the outfield for the Cubs every day, but other than the rookie, Szczur’s biggest challenges for playing time are Chris Coghlan, Ryan Sweeney, and Justin Ruggiano. You’d think that’d give him a chance to szcz some playing time this year, and he’s capable of grabbing some steals without a terrible average for the truly desperate.
Deep League Streamer of the Week: Roberto Hernandez, Dodgers
But enough about Hernandez—this is as much about the Padres as it is the pitcher. I’m not going to look this up, but I think the Padres have scored, like, 32 runs this season, and you have to like the Dodgers’ odds of defeating Eric Stults in the matchup of stalwarts. If you don’t need strikeouts but do need ERA and W help, Hernandez is a nice play this week.
Twitter Question of the Week:
I feel like I start off every weekly query with the “this isn’t really a deep league question, but,” caveat, but that’s on you for not asking me better deep league questions, internet.
This isn’t really a deep league question, but since it’s a dynasty format and we’re looking at what’s likely a solid pool of players kept, let’s answer anyway. I get why this deal is tempting. Sale is far and away the best player in this deal right now, but Machado has massive upside and Arrieta has morphed into a respectable no. 3-4 fantasy starter this season. Theoretically, you could grab a potential top 30 hitter in Machado and only lose 25-30 percent of Sale’s value by replacing him with Chicago’s most famous reclamation project since the shoreline.
But with Machado’s shaky knees and Arrieta’s limited track record of success, I think I’m holding on to Sale here. I really, really like Machado, so this is tough, but Sale is a fantasy monster who shows no signs of slowing down, and I’m just not confident we’re going to see a true breakout from Machado for another few years. You’re not crazy for taking this deal, and I get the hitters are better investments than pitchers logic, but I can’t tell you to sell Sale.