FAAB Top Targets (Hitters): 3/27/2014
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: Josmil Pinto, Minnesota Twins
$1 – (CBS 14% / Y! 2% / ESPN 1%)
Pinto earned a cup of coffee with the Twins in 2013, and his performance excited fantasy baseball owners. In 21 games, he hit four home runs and drove in 12. Pinto’s strikeout percentage crossed 20% only once in his minor league career. Plus, uncharacteristically high BABIP’s point to a catcher whose batting average output will match top players at the position. Many are sleeping on Pinto right now, but he’ll open the year with Minnesota and is competing with Kurt Suzuki (1.0 WAR combined in 2012-2013). If speculating on this year’s Jason Castro – type breakout, Pinto is the guy.
Corner Infield: Mike Olt, Chicago Cubs
$3 – (CBS 21% / Y! 4% / ESPN 1%)
If Olt’s spring is any indication, the 25-year-old corner infielder is going to show the Rangers they dealt him too soon. Odds are Olt will make the Opening Day roster, with only Luis Valbuena as competition. In 16 spring games, Olt is batting .277 with 5 home runs. Concussion related vision problems are gone and a new start with the Cubs allows Olt the opportunity to provide power fantasy owners crave at the corner infield position. His output will have fantasy owners bragging about Olt as a sleeper draft pick instead of a waiver wire claim unearthed in an FAAB Top Targets piece.
Second Base: Jordy Mercer, Pittsburgh Pirates
$1 – (CBS 9% / Y! 4% / ESPN 1%)
Jurickson Profar‘s injury has fantasy baseball owners hunting the waiver wire for a replacement. While Profar wasn’t expected to set the world on fire immediately, he was drafted in most formats. Jordy Mercer is not a sexy name, but he’ll fill in admirably while waiting for Profar to recover. Mercer carries eligibility at both second base and shortstop, which provides flexibility. And while he lacks standout tools, Mercer won’t hurt teams in 5×5. He can provide 10 home runs and steals over a full season. Plus, he’s slated to hit in the two-hole between Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen.
Shortstop: Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals
$2 – (CBS 27% / Y! 23% / ESPN 5%)
Escobar disappointed fantasy owners in 2013 after batting .293 with 35 stolen bases in 2012. Looking back, his great year was driven by an abnormally high BABIP of .344. So while his 2013 fell flat, he still managed 22 steals while his BABIP
regresseddumped to .264. Escobar’s 2014 production should fall somewhere in the middle. Escobar has played at least 155 games in each of the last three years, so teams in need of middle infield help can plug Escobar in and take advantage of the cheap speed.
Outfield: Peter Bourjos, St. Louis Cardinals
$1 – (CBS 19% / Y! 8% / ESPN 2%)
The Cardinals consider Bourjos a premium defender. Defense isn’t a category in most fantasy leagues, but does help guarantee playing time. This means more at bats and opportunities for production. Staying in that Cardinals lineup could be a very good thing for Bourjos, who has flashed the elusive power/speed combo in the past (12 home runs and 22 steals in 2011). Bourjos is a fine OF5 with minimal risk. One important note when it comes to his speed – only the Tigers have stolen fewer bases than the Cardinals over the last three years, so projecting him for more than 20 steals may be a reach.
FAAB Top Targets: Filling the Injury Void
This week’s targets are recommendations to help fill the gaps created by early-season injuries. It’s always frustrating when a premium talent opens the season on the disabled list, but it’s a fact of life for fantasy baseball owners. The good news is we’ll be here every week of the season with a new batch of FAAB top targets ready to help fantasy baseball owners find players first.
27 Mar 2014 / Mike Buttil / 2
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