FAAB Top Targets (Hitters): 3/20/2014
Free agency has opened, and with it comes decisions about who to pick up from the wire. Many leagues now use FAAB (Free Agent Acquisition Budget) to distribute free agents. Each week I’ll guide you through the FAAB top targets at each position with recommended bids for each. Many strategies exist in terms of how to spend FAAB money, and every league setup is a little different. Consider this a general guide of who to target and adjust your bids according to your specific league’s rules and, more importantly, the bidding behaviors of your league mates. Assume a standard $100 FAAB allowance for all bids. Players must be owned in less than 50% of leagues in all three major formats to be eligible for this series.
Catcher: Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers
$1 – (CBS 20% / Y! 6% / ESPN 3%)
Part of Avila’s draw is the solid lineup around him, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking he’s same guy who broke out in 2011. It’s hard to imagine Avila hitting 18-plus home runs again. Avila’s strikeout rate has risen every year, and health is a constant concern. This bad news explains why he’s waiver wire fodder in one-catcher leagues. However, consider these two positives with Avila – he’s always taken walks (11.6% last year) and his line drive rate was a career high in 2013 (28%). If looking for FAAB top targets in an OBP league, or in need of a backstop after banking on Josh Phegley to win the position in Chicago, Avila is worth the buck.
First Base: Ike Davis, New York Mets
$3 – (CBS 22% / Y! 12% / ESPN 1%)
It’s a statement about the value of power in fantasy when Ike Davis is still on the radar after a horrid 2013. Trade talks involving Davis have resumed and AL-only players need to monitor the situation in case he finds himself on a plane to Houston. An oblique injury and hitch in his swing the size of Mr. Mets’ noggin didn’t help Davis’ cause last year. However, he’s just 27 years old and a year removed from a 32-home run season. Davis will start at first base somewhere, even if it’s not the Mets. Grab him on the cheap now and speculate on the power. A hot start, or trade means owners will spend a much bigger chunk of FAAB to acquire Ike Davis later.
Second Base: Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles
$2 – (CBS 11% / Y! 3% / ESPN 1%)
The Orioles have three options at second base in Ryan Flaherty, Jemile Weeks and Jonathan Schoop. However, only one is the future of the organization at the position and that’s Jonathan Schoop. In general, spring stats mean little except when players are locked in a position battle. This spring, the 22-year old Schoop is making a statement that the future is now. He’s hitting a cool .400 with 4 doubles and a homer in 15 spring games. Ryan Flaherty is having a nice spring as well, but with Manny Machado likely to start the year on the DL, Flaherty will slide over to third. This creates an opening at second for Schoop, with only Jemile Weeks to overcome. The 22-year-old has the skills to make the most of the opportunity and run away with the job, although service time may enter the equation. Fortunately, the Baltimore Orioles are in win now mode and failed to make a real splash in free agency on offense.
Third Base: Cody Asche, Philadelphia Phillies
$1 – (CBS 15% / Y! 3% / ESPN 1%)
Another spring position battle to watch is in Clearwater, where top prospect Maikel Franco is competing with Cody Asche to be the starting third baseman. Franco broke out in a big way with 31-homers in the minors last year, but this is still Asche’s job to lose. It just doesn’t make sense for the Phillies to rush the 21-year-old Franco at this point even if he is just as deserving of the job. Meanwhile, Asche is a fantasy sleeper. Between Triple-A and the majors Asche hit 20 homers with 90 runs batted in. He can even chip in a handful of stolen bases (12 last year). At what he’ll cost in terms of FAAB dollars, Asche’s combination of age and expected production is worth stashing now.
Shortstop: Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs
$8 – (CBS 48% / Y! 31% / ESPN 4%)
Despite the recent string of starts at second base, there is a very real chance that we don’t see Baez until June. Still, he’s worth the lottery ticket early in the fantasy season given the shaky roadblocks standing in his way at the major league level, and the unholy things he continues to do to baseballs with his incredible bat speed. Gambling on FAAB top targets who are prospects is always a little risky if they chew up a roster slot while you wait for them to surface. However, Baez is ROY material and will supply immediate power from the middle infield slot — even if strikeouts are an issue. Pay a little now instead of paying through the nose later.
Outfield: Oswaldo Arcia, Minnesota Twins
$3 – (CBS 39% / Y! 7% / ESPN 4%)
Like Davis and Baez, an Oswaldo Arcia bid is speculating on his power potential. Arcia’s CBS ownership percentage means he’s already owned in deep keeper and dynasty formats. By the end of 2014, Arcia will be owned in 12-team standard leagues too. Arcia hit 14 homers and drove in 43 runs in just 97 games last season. As Mike Podhorzer noted in his bold predictions for 2014, Arcia finished 14th among all qualified hitters in average batted ball distance as a rookie. Despite that, he’s going undrafted in most leagues this year, presenting an excellent opportunity for owners in need of pop.
FAAB Top Targets: It’s About Youth And Power
This week, the FAAB top targets are all 27 and younger which is not a coincidence. Early in the season, these players are undervalued by the fantasy baseball playing masses who have yet to catch up. One thing to remember when reading ROTOscouting is prospect followers are in the extreme minority of fantasy baseball players. It’s an advantage for as long as the more informed are willing to strike early.
20 Mar 2014 / Mike Buttil /
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