FAAB Top Targets (Hitters): 5/1/2014
With a month of the MLB season in the books, there are plenty of great options sitting on the wire in many fantasy formats. This week’s FAAB top targets include a versatile Rockies hitter, two prospects knocking on the door of the majors, and a young outfielder whose upside remains intact even after an injury riddled season.
Catcher – Jordan Pacheco, Colorado Rockies
$1 (CBS 2% / Y! 1% / ESPN 0%)
The injury to Rockies primary catcher Wilin Rosario doesn’t appear to be serious, but it has allowed Pacheco to catch more games recently. He has now started nine games behind the plate and nearing catcher eligibility in most formats. The Rockies will use him to back up Rosario most of the year, but Pacheco has also seen time at first and even second base. Colorado hitters make nice fantasy plays in general and the 28-year-old is a solid NL-only/deep league catcher even when Rosario is healthy. In 5×5 leagues, his career triple slash line of .314/.352/.444 at home is 12-team worthy if willing to monitor starting lineups.
First Base – Jon Singleton, Houston Astros
$5 (CBS 24% / Y! 4% / ESPN 1%)
The Astros continue to scuffle and Singleton continues to punish baseballs in Triple-A. If this were the end of May, he’d already be scooped up. Since it’s early, the 22-year-old prospect can be acquired cheaply in fantasy leagues. With nine homers and 27 runs batted in this season, the only thing standing in Singleton’s way is service time. In a fantasy game where power is at a premium, Singleton should be on the radar. Mike Newman’s scouting report from 2010 showed confidence in the power potential and selectivity at the plate. Those trends have continued, as the power is real and he’s maintained a walk rate of 16% in the upper minors.
Second Base – Chris Getz, Toronto Blue Jays
$1 (CBS 1% / Y! 0% / ESPN 0%)
Sometimes it’s all about opportunity for deep league fantasy players. The recent demotion of Ryan Goins has opened up a spot for infielder Chris Getz. The 30-year-old was slashing .309/.382/.338 with nine runs batted in for Triple-A Buffalo and should be the starting second baseman for the Jays for the foreseeable future. He’s not going to hit for power, but his double-digit steals will have value in AL-only leagues.
Shortstop – Mike Aviles, Cleveland Indians
$1 (CBS 9% / Y! 7% / ESPN 1%)
Aviles carries shortstop eligibility in most fantasy leagues this year after qualifying at the position in 2013. He’ll see an increase in playing time as the Indians scramble from the loss of injured superstar Jason Kipnis. Aviles is another player who is going to be more valuable in AL-only leagues or deep leagues, where playing time boosts for marginal players really matter. Unlike Getz, Aviles has speed and power. At home, Aviles is even stronger, posting a wRC+ of 106 in 2013. With shortstop being a weak spot on most fantasy teams, he’s a solid situational play which is more than one would expect.
Third Base – Marcus Semien, Chicago White Sox
$3 (CBS 48% / Y! 15% / ESPN 14%)
Semien’s .233 batting average masks some of the quality numbers he’s contributing to fantasy teams. The 23-year-old has three homers and three steals, while being eligible at every infield position. He’ll continue to see everyday at-bats with Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger on the disabled list. The low batting average is fueled in part by a 29% whiff rate, but Semien has made up for it in counting stats and timely hitting. Plus, he’s much better against left-handed pitching, posting a wRC+ of 111 in his short career. Don’t be surprised if Semien is demoted once the White Sox infield is healthy, but he’s the best bet of the bunch long term.
Outfield – Cameron Maybin, San Diego Padres
$5 (CBS 13% / Y! 2% / ESPN 1%)
Maybin was reinstated from the disabled list this past weekend and should see the majority of the reps at center field for the Padres. The most important piece for Maybin right now is staying healthy, something he wasn’t been able to do last season. He’ll also need to produce offensively to remain an everyday starter in the crowded Padres outfield. Maybin put up an average of nine home runs and 33 stolen bases between 2011 and 2012. An improved approach midway though the 2012 season and an improving contact percentage are reasons to believe that the 27-year-old can be successful again. Looking to gamble on 3OF production from a waiver wire pick up? Maybin still has the ability to provide that. Just remember Maybin is the rare Padres player who hits better at home than on the road. In his last full season, he posted a wRC+ of 117 at PETCO and 55 on the road. Don’t assume a player will be a road warrior just because his home park is tough.
Outfield – Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates
$8 (CBS 67% / Y! 26% / ESPN 6%)
Like Singleton, Polanco is tearing up Triple-A at the moment. If not for his arbitration clock, the outfielder would already be in Pittsburgh instead of being one of our FAAB top targets. Small-market teams like the Pirates aren’t going to rush Polanco to the majors to fill a hole in the outfield, but fantasy owners want to stash him now. Another Gayo find from the Dominican Republic, the 22-year-old is slashing .400/.457/.632 with four homers and four steals for Indianapolis. He took the Dominican League MVP in winter ball and is already being stashed in 12-team mixed leagues. In leagues where bench slots are available, holding Polanco for a few weeks may end up being more valuable than carrying an extra fringe starter/reliever. One of the prospects featured in Spencer Schneier’s preseason report, Polanco figures to be a fantasy stud with his legs and his bat. Stolen base production may give way to more power as he develops, but fantasy owners won’t be complaining either way.
Prospects Emerging As FAAB Top Targets
It’s never easy to sit on a player who isn’t actually contributing stats, but prospects like Singleton and Polanco can reward patient owners who gambled on FAAB top targets prior to their call up. One of the best ways to save money in FAAB auctions is to be ahead of the curve. We’ll always pay full price when a player is making headlines, so timing bids earlier can help maximize the value of every dollar.
1 May 2014 / Mike Buttil /
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