Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fantasy Red Herrings

Below is the the fifth annual installment of my Fantasy Red Herrings post. Like I did in '14, '13'12 and '11, I'm providing my usual intro before the good stuff...

Since I know some readers of this blog are my comrades who will draft players in our fantasy baseball league this Saturday, I thought I'd post about players that GMs might want to target for the upcoming season.

But my fellow GMs might think this document is simply a list of red herrings.

Maybe players on it are.

Maybe players on it aren't.

Regardless, here are players to target or low risk/high reward players for 2014. 

First Base: Kenys Vargas, Minnesota Twins
First base has always been a loaded position. Lots of good options out there. At first I wanted to feature Joey Votto since he and Jay Bruce totally screwed me over last year, but I'm going with a youngster. He yanked out 26 total home runs last year (9 in the majors), he hits for average, and his numbers in the minors show that he'll walk more often. Sure, he hits in a capacious ball park, but he might be someone to target late in the draft. 

Second Base: Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates
Can this guy get any fantasy love? Walker had a great campaign last season with 23 homers and 76 RBI in what is one heck of weak position. He'll hit in the middle of the Pirates order and should provide a sound OBP (.360ish) for those of us in OBP leagues. 

Shortstop: Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers
When I went to the Pirates-Orioles spring training game, two dudes behind us sung the praises of J.J. Hardy ~ how he's a clutch hitter and a great fielder and all that. I'm not going to be influenced by those two guys because frankly one of them was drunk and creepy. Flippin' east coast people. 

So let's talk about Jean Segura. In 2013 he had a crazy-good first half and then went to crap. In 2014 he had 5 home runs and 20 stolen bases. With his speed, he should be hitting for a better average and be able to get all thievious [made-up word] on the base paths. 

Third Base: Trevor Plouffe, Minnesota Twins
Miguel Sano this. Miguel Sano that. If you were the Plouffester, wouldn't all the talk about Miguel Sano get annoying? Regardless of that stupid rhetorical question, [in Mongo voice] "Plouffe, he got power. He hit ball long way. Make Molitor happy. Drink beer in clubhouse." 

He also looks like he's a very happy man.

Even with poor luck (BABIP of .299 with a 21.4% line-drive rate) last year, he hit 24 home runs. He's someone to speculate on in your draft or monitor once the season gets going.

Outfield: Dalton Pompey, Toronto Blue Jays
There are a number of cheap-steals guys who can be had late in the draft. But I'm only picking one. Pompey could steal 30-50 bags even when hitting ninth. And he could provide double-digit homer potential. 

Catcher: Evan Gattis, Houston Astros
I usually punt catcher to later in the draft. There are a couple of intriguing options out there, but I'll focus on Gattis, who obviously has power and will likely reach 30 home runs this season because he'll play every day. 

Starting Pitcher: Matt Garza, Milwaukee Brewers
Garza's best days are probably behind him, but he is what he is. He'll provide a sub 1.30 WHIP and a high 3 ERA with double-digit wins. His declining strikeout rate over the past few years is a concern, but you'll be drafting this dude later in the draft when high-K pitchers are likely off the board. 

Reliever: Brett Cecil, Toronto Blue Jays
Cecil was just named closer. I'm concerned about his amount of walks, but with K/9 rates somewhere between 10 and 12 and ground-ball rates 50ish%, those are good metrics to be looking at. Also, he looks all nerdy-fierce with those glasses. 

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