FAAB Top Targets (Hitters): 4/3/2014
Wilson Ramos had helium heading into the 2014 season, but a Hamate injury will sideline him for 4-8 weeks. Shallow, one-catcher leagues can sustain, but it’s a blow for deep league players and players in two-catcher leagues. In other injury news, Jose Reyes will spend time on the disabled list with a bad hamstring. This week’s FAAB top targets include solid options to replace both players. To be included in this post, players must be owned in less than 50% of leagues in the three major formats (Yahoo Fantasy Baseball, ESPN Fantasy Baseball, CBS Fantasy Baseball).
Catcher: Carlos Ruiz, Philadelphia Phillies
$1 (CBS 26% / Y! 10% / ESPN 9%)
Of available catchers on the free agent market, Ruiz is the safer play over the all-or-nothing power of J.P. Arencibia. He’s also preferred to John Jaso, a strong OBP option. His hitter-friendly home park and reliable playing time make Ruiz a strong injury plug-in despite his age and poor Phillies lineup. Don’t expect a repeat of 2012, but he’ll outperform his disappointing 2013. Ruiz resolved the medication issue that landed him on the suspension list last year and is free to focus on baseball once again.
Corner Infield: James Loney, Tampa Bay Rays
$1 (CBS 35% / Y! 15% / ESPN 16%)
If James Loney were a flavor of ice cream, he would be vanilla. The first baseman doesn’t provide typical power for a fantasy corner. However, his 10-12 home runs come with solid batting average and runs batted in totals. Hitting fifth in the Rays lineup behind Wil Myers, Ben Zobrist, and Evan Longoria, Loney will drive in runs again this season. He’s a strong complement to Chris Davis, who projects for gaudy power numbers, but a lower average.
Middle Infield: Chris Owings, Arizona Diamondbacks
$5 (CBS 35% / Y! 16% / ESPN 3%)
Owings wrestled the starting job away from Didi Gregorius this spring and he’s off to a hot start, hitting over .400 with two runs and a stolen base. Gregorius is a superior defender, but opted for Owings, a more balanced player. Mike Newman discussed Owings’ power potential and approach at Fangraphs last spring. Double-digit home runs and stolen bases are a realistic outcome for Owings this season. Compared to other FAAB top targets, he’s a sneaky pick up and worthy replacement while Reyes is on the shelf.
Outfield: Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins
$3 (CBS 20% / Y! 7% / ESPN 6%)
ROTOscouting took a closer look at Ozuna in a recent Buy/Sell, so he’ll already be on readers’ radar. The outfielder wasted no time clubbing his first home run of the season. It came as part of a three-hit performance on Opening Day. Rushed to Miami last season, the aggressive callup (along with a hand injury) hurt his performance. While Ozuna hits in a poor lineup and home ballpark that suppresses power, don’t sleep on him. Defense will keep Ozuna on the field and the bat has 20-home run potential. He’s quick enough to contribute 8-10 steals as well. It’s a good sign when a young player improves his strikeout percentage at each stop in the minor leagues and Ozuna did just that. Look for him to at improve upon his .260 batting average from a year ago.
Take Some Risks With Early Season FAAB Top Targets
There is a gray area between the last few rounds of a fantasy draft and the first free agency pick ups. While fantasy players don’t hesitate to spend their last draft pick on a high-upside unproven player, many shy away when those same players are available in free agency early on. Take early risks on FAAB top targets. In April, it’s easier to recover from a poor pick, and this year’s surprise breakout performers will be early signings.
3 Apr 2014 / Mike Buttil /
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