These four players could boost their playing time'and their fantasy values'in 2014 by performing well this postseason.
With the fantasy season wrapped up and champions counting their jellybeans, it’s not too early to take a look at the future for anyone in keeper or dynasty leagues. Even for those who prefer redrafts though, it’s always nice to have something to look for in the playoffs, especially if you don’t have a rooting interest in any of the remaining teams. With that in mind, here are four players who could position themselves for bigger roles n 2014 with impactful playoff performances.
Matt Adams - St. Louis Cardinals
For a guy who has appeared in two-thirds of a season and produced an .839 OPS, Matt Adams has gone a bit under the radar. With Allen Craig dinged up and likely off the roster for the National League Division Series, Adams will have an opportunity to make his case for a full-time starting gig in 2014. After slashing .284/.335/.503, it shouldn’t take much convincing for the Cardinals management to see the light. I’d expect a similar slash line for Adams over the course of a full season, as he’s not a part-time player who will be exposed with increased PT so much as he is a talented player blocked by incredible organizational depth.
Bret reviews the few players who could see their fantasy values rise as a result of the Biogenesis suspensions, and then unveils his updated top 20.
I saw a question posed on Twitter a couple of hours before Major League Baseball announced the Biogenesis suspensions asking why there hadn’t been any content on the players likely to benefit from the playing time being left behind by Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, and the like. And the easy answer is that there’s just nothing really exciting to say about the players standing behind them, but we’re going to talk about it anyway. Things might have been different were Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon been handed suspensions, as they each had interesting players waiting in the wings, but alas, that is not the case. At least Melky was kind enough to go on the disabled list anyway.
For something as long and drawn out as this Biogenesis saga has been, you’d think there would at least be a little excitement for fantasy purposes on the back end. Maybe a young prospect with some impact potential would get a call up. Maybe a bench player with some power potential would see additional at-bats. Instead what we’re left with are a ragtag group of hitters who are uninspiring at best. Here are the three biggest names to get suspended on Monday and who’s most likely to take those at bats:
At the Futures Game, Bret saw many of the players ranked here firsthand. Revised notes on their fantasy potential and the updated rankings lie within.
There’s no doubt about it in my mind—the Futures Game is hands down the best event of All-Star Weekend. And with the entire experience being local for me this year, I was able to take advantage of my geography and head out to Citi Field to see seven members of this week’s Stash List with my own eyes. Of course, it also helped that I had the more finely tuned eyes of Zach Mortimer and Chris Mellen from the BP Prospect team, among others, with me for most of the game. And before we delve any further into this, if you haven’t checked out Zach’s Minor League Update from yesterday with notes from a number of Futures Game participants, just click there and then come back. I can wait.
It’s no coincidence that a number of the names you’ll see below were among the most impressive prospects I saw on Sunday, as Futures Game performances tend to swing toward the more advanced guys. Here are a few who caught my eye in particular for fantasy purposes:
The Cardinals look for bullpen help from their top starting pitcher prospect.
The Situation: With the worst bullpen in the major leagues as measured by ERA, the Cardinals are in desperate need for relief help. Just as they turned to right-hander Trevor Rosenthal down the stretch and in the playoffs last year, the Cardinals will again turn to a young, hard-throwing right-hander in Carlos Martinez.
Background: Previously known as Carlos Matias, Martinez failed a background inspection and was suspended for a year by Major League Baseball rather than being allowed to sign with the Red Sox in in 2009. After the suspension was up, the Cardinals gave him a massive payday, ponying up a $1.5 million signing bonus. Pitching in the Dominican Summer League in 2010, Martinez started 12 games en route to posting a miniscule 0.76 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 59 innings.
St. Louis might not have Pujols, but they do have some prospects whose worst case scenarios are still pretty good.
Prospect #1: OF Oscar Taveras Background with Player: Industry sources Who: Signed for a low six-figure bonus in 2008, Oscar Taveras has blossomed into one of the minors' purest hitters, with offensive projections that could make him a perennial All-Star at the major-league level. With a violent, torque-heavy swing and an aggressive approach, the early word on Taveras was that the same characteristics that allowed him to hit .386 in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League would ultimately be his downfall against superior pitching, the kind that can use sequence and location to disrupt a hitter’s bat speed.
As it turns out, Taveras’s brand of violence is calculated, as he wields his weapon with a controlled fury; to the eye, his swing looks haphazard and aggressive to a fault, but his elite hand quickness and strength allow him to command his swing with more touch than is realized. He can barrel balls to all fields from all hands and has improved his pitch recognition skills, leaving him with an offensive skill set that has few weaknesses. The hit tool receives sevens and eights in reports, and some scouts have even put sevens on his future power, a tool that will continue to mature. His defensive game isn’t nearly as remarkable, but his routes and angles continue to improve, and he has logged time at all three outfield spots, which gives him some positional versatility. Taveras’s offensive potential is the truth, and if he hits his projections he will be a superstar. He isn’t a finished product, but his time in the minors is nearing its conclusion, as the 19-year-old Dominican is more than holding his own in Double-A and should compete for a job in the majors at some point in 2013.
The tater trots for September 7: Victor Martinez outpaces everyone, an interesting landing spot for Will Venable.
A few big home runs, a few ridiculously slow trots, and a few other memorable home runs (including a first-career home run and a pitcher home run) made Wednesday night a much more interesting night than it had any right to be.