Last month I took a look back at the players I recommended to avoid as draft day approached last off-season, and overall I think I did some solid work there. Three out of four of those recommendations bore out, and while the one that didn’t was a spectacularly failure by result, I still feel good about the process that went into identifying the player. Can’t win ‘em all, right? So now today we’ll flip the script and talk about the players I recommended for targeting on draft day.
The defending National League champs are replete with fantasy assets on both sides of the ball.
At the risk of pummeling home an obvious point, teams that advance to the World Series typically provide plenty of fantasy value across the board. The St. Louis Cardinals were no exception in 2013. Fifteen players provided double-digit Roto value in NL-only last year. Carlos Beltran left to join the New York Yankees, but with Matt Adams and Allen Craig already in the fold, Oscar Taveras waiting in the wings, and a handful of shrewd acquisitions, the Cards won’t miss a beat in 2014, and will once again be a good place for most of your fantasy shopping needs.
You might want to let someone else gamble on these players in your fantasy drafts and auctions this spring.
First base is a very deep position, which affords fantasy owners plenty of opportunities to pad every offensive stat save for steals through their use. It also means that plays who whiff on their first base picks are automatically in a hole, an must make up for that lost ground elsewhere. Making up ground stinks, so be wary of these eight players.
Jose Abreu White Sox
This comes with a caveat, I’m not saying Jose Abreu will be a bust, but at a position like 1B, you have to get the production levels right. We don’t know what Jose Abreu will be in 2014; all we have are some reports and memories of his performance in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. In deeper leagues he’s worth a shot, but in a standard 5x5 league, there’s too much risk here to pursue him aggressively. Sure, sometimes a gamble like this can pay off like Yoenis Cespedes did, but I would strongly advise against taking a huge gamble at a position that produces at the level 1B does. —Mauricio Rubio
The big man's 2014 role is unclear, so Craig examines what that means from a fantasy perspective.
We’re not quite to the offseason yet, though we will be by the time my next article rolls around, which is why I wanted to continue my theme of touching on the fantasy value of players who are either in the news (Brandon Phillips) or in the World Series (Matt Carpenter). While each team certainly has their fair share of interesting candidates and question marks heading into 2014, one of the most interesting is what St. Louis will do at first base. Not because they’re losing anyone though. Quite the opposite. With Matt Adams establishing himself over the course of the season, the Cardinals once again find themselves in a situation where they have too much of a good thing, a problem most teams are unfamiliar with.
While he’s struggled in the NLCS and World Series, Adams was a valuable contributor in the early rounds of the playoffs and even more so, over the course of the regular season. While he did appear in 108 games (exactly two-thirds of the MLB season) he accrued only 319 plate appearances which is about half (or less) than one would expect a player to gather over the course of a full season. It’s easy enough to do, right? Let’s say we double his plate appearances to 638, which is just about a full season depending on where one hits in a lineup. It’s easy enough to double his counting stats in that situation, which would put him right at 34 home runs, 92 runs, 102 RBI, and well, stolen bases aren’t his game. Combine that with his .284 average and we’re talking about elite numbers from the first base position.
The Cardinals end the Pirates' season and advance to the NLCS for the third straight year.
The Cardinals will play in the NL Championship Series for the third consecutive postseason. Their advancement comes after a Game Five victory over the Pirates, in which, fittingly, Adam Wainwright, David Freese, and Matt Adams played large roles.
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.
Wednesday was marked by three impressive home run feats.
The Wednesday Takeaway
The 2012 Red Sox, eager to be put out of their misery and struggling to amass even a 7-19 record in September, hit only 16 homers during the entire month. The 2013 Red Sox, eager to secure the organization’s first East division title since 2007, produced half of that total in one night.
The rubber match between the Tigers and Red Sox was close for a while—tied 3-3 after three and 4-4 after four, and then 5-4 Boston after five. But in the next three frames, the home team plated 15 runs and the visitors earned none, turning the game into a 20-4 rout that flipped the run-differential tables and made all sorts of long-ball history.
After taking a look at some lefty mashers last week, Paul brings you five players who could help your fantasy squad on the long side of a platoon.
Last week, I dove into the world of streaming hitters by way of platoon advantages, particularly with guys who excel against lefties. In part two, we will look at some righty mashers. With these guys being on plus side of the playing-time split, they won’t all be as readily available as the lefty guys should be in your 10- and 12-team mixers, but if you have one of these guys you might consider getting someone from the first piece to pair with them instead of starting these guys all the time.
Here are five guys making life extremely difficult for right-handed pitchers so far this season.
Freshly promoted Rockie Nolan Arenado comes off the list, which welcomes Jhoulys Chacin and Cameron Maybin, among other newcomers.
One of the greatest things about baseball is that it provides a venue in which to be surprised by something new every day. And with that comes responsibility. Today, we live in a baseball age where there is so much information available—whether it’s statistical or visual. And, sure, we’ve gotten smarter about the game as we’ve had more available to us, but it’s on all of us to not let our pre-conceived notions dictate what we see on the field and in the box score.
On Friday night, fellow BP Fantasy writer Mike Gianella and I attended a game between the Double-A affiliates of the Red Sox and Yankees in Trenton. I made the 75-minute trek down mostly to see two things: Xander Bogaerts hit and Matt Barnes pitch. We had a great time at the game, but as baseball is wont to do, the game showed us something we were not expecting to see. Even an act as simple as watching a minor-league game can end up staring down your expectations like Zack Greinke after hitting Carlos Quentin with a pitch. All you can do as an analyst or a fan is to take a step back and not just blindly charge the mound dripping with pre-conceived notions.
Jurickson Profar leads off the inaugural edition of Bret's look at little-owned players worthy of a spot on your bench.
If you’re a long-time rotisserie baseball player, you surely remember the days of just having an active lineup and nothing else. In fact, I’m sure some readers still play in leagues like that—my biggest home league is like that, and has been since it was formed back in 1984. However, as the game has expanded and developed, it has changed. It is now the norm to have multiple reserve/bench spots, and I play in leagues where that number ranges anywhere from three to eight. Those bench spots are valuable commodities and can be used in any number of ways.
Essentially, the choice of how you use your each of your bench spots comes down to the following question: Do I want to extract small pieces of value throughout the entire season or do I want to stash a high-upside player who may have potentially significant value down the line? More often than not, these bench spots are used on pitchers who can be plugged in as need be to boost your performance in pitching categories. But there are other options. In fact, I wrote back in February about the potential benefit to using the opportunity cost of a bench spot as part of a position player platoon. However, the ends of benches are best left for the potential fantasy gold mines—and that’s why this column exists.