FAAB Top Targets (Hitters): 4/17/2014
This week’s FAAB top targets include the year’s first big prospect call up as well as a former first-round pick hitting his offensive stride. We’ll also feature a veteran third baseman who suddenly finds himself with an opportunity thanks to a star player’s injury and we’ll attempt to glean some fantasy value out of the Mets’ first base situation. Whether it’s an injury replacement or the next young stud on offense, ROTOscouting has you covered at every position on the diamond.
Catcher – Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds
$5 (CBS 59% / Y! 31% / ESPN 23%)
Mesoraco is living up to the offensive potential many fantasy players were dreaming on. He is 11-for-22 with three home runs and nine runs batted in to start the year. The former first round draft pick by the Reds reached #16 on Baseball America’s Top 100 back in 2011, but 2014 is his first MLB season as Reds’ primary backstop. Opinions are still divided regarding his offensive potential. He was dropped early in the season in the one-catcher Dynasty Guru Experts League (#TDGX). He was promptly acquired in the next FAAB auction for $8 in the same 20-team league. Mesoraco’s strikeout percentage never crept above 19% in his minor league career and he hit .289 with 15 homers as a 23-year-old in Triple-A. Last year, he hit nine homers and 13 doubles in 352 plate appearances. He pounds lefties, slashing .321/.386/.487 against them in 2013. The 26-year-old makes a great addition to keeper league teams as we could be witnessing his breakout.
First Base – Lucas Duda, New York Mets
$1 (CBS 19% / Y! 4% / ESPN 2%)
The Mets still have three first basemen on their roster in Duda, Ike Davis, and Josh Satin. However, it’s Duda who has earned three of the last five starts. Plus, his outfield eligibility will lead to more playing in an injured Mets outfield. The 28-year-old has three home runs and eight RBi in 14 games. Rumors still have the team shopping Davis, a sign Duda is “The Guy”. What’s interesting about Duda is his home/road splits. Since 2011 he’s hit 20 homers both at home and on the road. His triple slash lines are almost identical too, batting .250/.356/.413 at Citi Field and .250/.340/436 everywhere else. Duda has the power to blast 20-25 home runs with a full season of playing time, ranking him among our FAAB top targets. With Duda pulling ahead of the first base pack, now might be the time to buy at a low price.
Second Base – DJ LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies
$1 (CBS 26% / Y! 7% / ESPN 3%)
It’s hard to go wrong with hitters who call Coors Field home. Speed and a high batting average are LeMahieu’s strengths. He offers 20-steal speed and a .290 batting average to fantasy players in deep leagues. LeMahieu’s glove helped him edge Josh Rutledge for the starting job at second base and defense glove that will keep him at the position. The 25-year-old should produce 50-60 runs and runs batted in even if he continues to hit at the bottom of the Rockies’ lineup.
Third Base – Kevin Kouzmanoff, Texas Rangers
$1 (CBS 5% / Y! 2% / ESPN 1%)
Kouzmanoff gets a big bump in fantasy value with Adrian Beltre on the disabled list. He had a six-game hit streak heading into Wednesday’s game with a home run and five runs batted in. The 32-year-old isn’t a long term solution for fantasy players, but a hitter-friendly home ballpark and new-found opportunity forces inclusion among this week’s FAAB top targets. Over his career, Kouzmanoff has hit about 40 points higher against left-handed pitching. The veteran finds himself at the heart of a strong batting order. If Beltre’s age exacerbates the injury, Kouzmanoff may receive more than a one or two week spike in value.
Shortstop – Jordy Mercer, Pittsburgh Pirates
$1 (CBS 9% / Y! 2% / ESPN 1%)
Mercer is considered a placeholder for Alen Hanson. The Pittsburgh shortstop has value in deep dynasty and NL-only leagues though. The unquestioned starter, Hanson and may be forced off of shortstop in time. Mercer has had success against lefties, making him a strong fantasy platoon. In 103 plate appearances against left-handed pitching, Mercer is hitting .371/.426/.629 with a 31% line drive percentage. The 27-year-old is also a road warrior, slashing .291/.358/.483 away from PNC Park. Limiting his value is his current spot in the lineup, where he’s buried in the 8-hole, but Mercer is a fine situational play with upside.
Outfield – George Springer, Houston Astros
$30 (CBS 88% / Y! 62% / ESPN 17%)
Springer is the first impact bat to be called up this season. Brian Molter handles the pitching side of the FAAB series here at ROTOscouting, so he’ll advice when to blow stacks on the next ninth inning arm. On offense, it’s elite prospects like Springer who require the most FAAB green. Springer needs to be owned in all formats. The 24-year-old hit 37 home runs and stole 45 bases across two levels of the minor leagues in 2013. Ben Flajole wrote him up in his PCL preview, and he already had three homers and four steals in just 13 Triple-A games before yesterday’s call up. The fly in the ointment has been his plate discipline. A strikeout percentage that climbed as high as 30% in 2012 had some wondering if he’ll be able to hit in the major leagues. That improved in 2013, and if Springer can make enough contact in the majors, his rare combination of power and speed make him a major force in fantasy. Springer is part of the Astros’ bright future, and the timing of this call up caught many by surprise, causing him to fall through the cracks in shallower leagues. If so, scoop him immediately.
FAAB Top Targets Surfacing from the Minor Leagues
Fantasy owners need to be ready to pounce when prospects like George Springer receive the call. Not every prospect is going to perform like Mike Trout, but dropping a decent chunk of FAAB money on a player like Springer is often the difference between a championship and finish outside the top-three.
17 Apr 2014 / Mike Buttil /
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