The highest-payroll club unsurprisingly has a wealth of fantasy assets.
The kings of payroll can claim no legitimate throne, having been bounced early in the playoffs and losing the offseason to the Padres or the White Sox or someone else. They’ve made moves, no doubt, consistently trading players they’d just acquired, but to what end? Efficiency, no doubt, but also to give fantasy owners a bit of a headache. Despite trading Kemp, the Dodgers have a crowded outfield that’s likely to feature a platoon in center and a platoon in left, and that doesn’t address whatever it is Andre Ethier is going to do. The rotation additions are fantasy friendly though, as Brandon McCarthy escapes the offensive environments of Arizona and New York and lands in the much more neutral Chavez Ravine. Similarly, Brett Anderson will try to stay on the mound in a place much better suited to success than Coors, where he actually was pretty good anyway. A deep roster, pitching staff, and predictable back of the bullpen makes for a fantasy-friendly lineup, platoons or not.
A note for our readers. While informative, since we are still months away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, these previews are far from definitive or complete. Free agent signings, trades, and other offseason news will change the landscape for most if not all teams. For any moves that take place after a team preview is written, please look to ourTransaction Analysiscoverage for instant reactions, and then check back on the Team Previews for more detailed updates (including lineups, rotations, bullpens, etc.) as we get closer to Opening Day.
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Might retooling on the fly be a better plan than tearing it down and starting over?
Author’s Note: This column is intended for deep leagues only
It’s become increasingly clear in the last few years that fans of baseball, fantasy baseball owners included as a subset, are tolerant of essentially two modes of thought when it comes to their team and how it’s built. There’s the contending team, that makes itself known to be attempting contention for a wild card spot, if not a division crown, and the rebuilding team that isn’t competing that year so is all about future assets and long-term growth. These are accepted styles of competition in which one is either competing at the top or dwelling at the bottom with the idea of competing at the top down the line. What’s less accepted is mediocrity, or stagnancy. Move up or move down, or at least make your motives known.
Come for the bats, stay for Zach Britton and back-end fantasy arms.
The Orioles racked up 96 wins—good for second place in the AL—and a trip to the ALCS behind a solid offense, a strong core of starting pitchers and one of the better bullpens in baseball, allowing the third fewest runs in the American League. Their lineup is full of fantasy stars, with Adam Jones anchoring the team and current free agent Nelson Cruz leading the league in home runs. Add in Manny Machado’s tantalizing upside, Chris Davis’ bounce-back potential, and J.J. Hardy’s contributions from the offense-bereft shortstop position and there is a wealth of options to be had here. The O’s only managed to rank sixth in the AL in runs scored, but their offense is where people will look first for impact talent.
Pitching is a bit of a different story, as no one on their staff merits a high-round pick, though there is a lot of depth. Closer Zach Britton is the closest thing to an impact fantasy arm they have right now, but the rotation is a Kevin Gausman breakout or Dylan Bundy promotion away from an impact starter. Chris Tillman, Bud Norris, and Wei-Yin Chen provide solid numbers to go with bulk innings, but none profiles toward the top of any fantasy rotation. Let’s take a deeper dive into the Orioles fantasy prospects below.
These prospects have cleared one hurdle keeping them from the majors, so they're worthy of your attention.
Late last week was the deadline for teams to add guys to their 40-man rosters, which is pretty much the only time anyone cares who is added to or taken off of a 40-man roster, which is why me bringing you fantasy takes on several of those players is perfect. No one cares what I have to say anyway. This is a look at guys that could matter in 2015, which means some of the more intriguing names that are still far away (Mauricio Cabrera, Brandon Drury etc) are being left off. Let’s get to the limited-upside prospects!
Jose Peraza - 2B - Atlanta
Not only did Tommy La Stella get shipped out of town, but Peraza got put on the 40-man, which means a relatively minor obstacle (but still an obstacle) is now out of his way. He’s performed well in a limited look at the upper levels, and has a good chance of contributing some time in the second half. He could make a case for reaching the major leagues earlier based on his defense (he’s a natural shortstop), but allowing his bat to mature isn’t the worst idea (or bad for fantasy owners) either. Even if he doesn’t hit, he’s a threat to contribute on the bases, so he’ll probably be worth adding no matter when he gets the call. His power comes from adding the extra base thanks to his speed, as he tends to just spin in place when he swings, without generating power by transferring his weight.