FAAB Fantasy Baseball Targets (Hitters): 8/1/14
Greetings, and welcome to FAAB Fantasy Baseball Targets for hitters. With the non-waiver trade deadline come and gone, now is a great time to look at minor leaguers who stand to benefit from playing time opening up for them. Once again, bid recommendations are based on a $100 FAAB budget. Players listed are available in the majority of leagues across all major fantasy platforms.
Catcher: Blake Swihart, Boston Red Sox
$1 – Yahoo 0%, ESPN 0%, CBS 5%
Christian Vazquez is the first rookie catcher to reach Boston, but not the last. If the Red Sox prefer an all-around backstop to a defensive specialist, one is waiting in Double-A. Last season Swihart did very well at high-A, with a 121 wRC+ (meaning he hit 21% above league average). This year he’s made the transition to the higher level look even easier by posting a 135 wRC+. Even more impressive, his splits are nearly identical against both right and left-handed pitchers meaning he won’t need a platoon partner. Don’t expect Swihart up this fall unless David Ross gets injured, but stash him for next season.
First Base: Kennys Vargas, Minnesota Twins
$6 – Yahoo 0%, ESPN N/A, CBS 2%
Vargas is an excellent example of a player whose value received a boost because of Joe Mauer’s injury and the fact Minnesota is terrible. When Chris Colabello is listed first on the designated hitter depth chart, any change is a welcome. Cue a hulking and somewhat talented first base prospect in Kennys Vargas. Vargas provides some power and plate discipline. More importantly, his strikeout rate has dropped at ever level. Is the switch hitter ready for Minnesota? Probably not, but he’s worth a small investment to see if Vargas provides lightning in a bottle like Chris Parmelee a few years ago. For now, look for him to receive playing time against left-handed pitchers where his .901 OPS in Double-A was strong.
Second Base: Alex Guerrero, Los Angeles Dodgers
$6 – Yahoo 4%, ESPN 2%, CBS 15%
The Dodgers didn’t add a second baseman at the deadline, so expect Guerrero to debut soon. The 27- year old Cuban has been activated after an ear-biting incident in Triple-A with former teammate Miguel Olivo. Before the attack, Guerrero was hitting an incredible 71% above league average. And while his .978 OPS against right-handed pitchers is impressive, Guerrero’s 1.146 OPS versus lefties point to a player who’s worth platooning in 12-team leagues immediately. When just 11 qualified second baseman have a wRC+ above 100, he’s an excellent option for owners needing a boost at the position.
Third Base: Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
$12 – Yahoo 8%, ESPN <1%, CBS 38%
Bryant is dominating Triple-A (169 wRC+) and is in the conversation for best prospect in baseball. As Chris Blessing saw in May, the third baseman is a gifted power hitter with the ability to play right field. At some point, the Chicago Cubs will flip the switch and begin playing to win. When this happens, Bryant will with the reinforcements. Unfortunately, this may not happen in 2014 as the organization has very little motivation to win. If the first pick is what they covet, promoting Kris Bryant only makes it harder. One advantage of letting Bryant ripen on the vine is he’ll be prepared to produce immediately at the MLB level. When many rookies need to adjust at the expense of an owners’ win loss record, the top-100 prospect will excel as a FAAB fantasy baseball prospect.
Shortstop: Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs
$3 – Yahoo 3%, ESPN 0%, CBS 20%
Speaking of talented Cubs infielders, Addison Russell came over from Oakland in the Jeff Samardzija trade. Since missing two months with a hamstring injury, the 2012 first round pick has dominated the Double-A level. With a combined OPS of .855, he’s quickly making up for the missed development time. Plus, he murders left-handed pitchers and Mike Newman thinks he’s legit too, highlighting him as a buy now and later drafting him in the TDGX Experts League. With shortstop bats at a premium, expect Russell to emerge from Chicago’s minor league system as the shortstop of the future above Javier Baez. Of course Starlin Castro needs to go too, but a trade of the incumbent is possible this winter.
Outfield: Peter O’Brien, Arizona Diamondbacks
Dealt to the Diamondbacks at the deadline, O’Brien has the opportunity to play left field with Arizona in time. Once considered a catching prospect, if Mark Trumbo moves back to third base, Arizona will need a third outfielder along with A.J. Pollock and David Peralta. While O’Brien is unlikely to contribute much batting average, he has the power to hammer mistakes — especially against left-handed pitchers. In the end, a platoon partner may be in order, but O’Brien’s .714 slugging percentage against LHP is elite. Plus, an outstanding July points to a player who has adjusted well to the level of competition.
BUILD FOR NEXT YEAR NOW WITH THESE FAAB FANTASY BASEBALL TARGETS
If the trading deadline in your league has passed and you’re not in contention, then it’s time to build for 2015. Study the situations major league teams have created to figure out where their holes are and which prospects are primed to take over. Step up and spend your FAAB fantasy baseball budget on those players now, while they still only cost a fraction of what their value will be.
1 Aug 2014 / David Kaleida /
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