FAAB Top Targets (Hitters): 5/22/2014
Each week we identify FAAB top targets at each position on the diamond. Last week, A.J. Pollock appeared in this column prior to a big weekend that had him popping up in many fantasy free agent articles. This time, we’ll look at the other side of the catcher platoon in Oakland, a fresh call up in Seattle, and the return of a veteran shortstop. We’ll also discuss a Cardinals prospect on the verge of making an impact in all formats. Bid recommendations are based on a $100 FAAB budget. Players listed are available in the majority of leagues across all three major fantasy platforms.
Catcher: John Jaso, Oakland Athletics
$2 – CBS 21% | Y! 8% | ESPN 3%
Last week this column recommended Jaso’s platoon partner Derek Norris. Jaso offers plenty of fantasy value in his own right. The left-handed backstop has recently hit in the two-hole of the Athletics’ lineup, where he is seeing better pitches and scoring more runs. Jaso has typically been more valuable in OBP leagues, but the fact that he is hitting .276/.364/.457 with four homers and 16 runs scored puts him in the discussion for standard 5×5 leagues as well. The 30-year-old sports a career 140 wRC+ against right-handed pitching away from the Oakland Coliseum, making him a perfect platoon partner for a lefty masher like Norris in both reality and as FAAB top targets.
First Base: Garrett Jones, Miami Marlins
$3 – CBS 43% | Y! 12% | ESPN 18%
Jones has put up eerily similar numbers to fellow lefty Ryan Howard. The difference is that Howard is owned in about 70% more ESPN leagues right now. Jones has been one of the more productive hitters in the Marlins lineup this season outside of Giancarlo Stanton and Casey McGehee. He’s been especially valuable at home this season, where he’s posted an impressive 160 wRC+ against right-handers. The 32-year-old is only one year removed from a 27-homer campaign and has hit at least 20 long balls in three of his last five seasons. He’s currently enjoying an eight-game hitting streak and the large gap in value between Jones and a player like Howard is more perception than reality.
Second Base: Nick Franklin, Seattle Mariners
$3 – CBS 16% | Y! 2% | ESPN 1%
With Corey Hart on the disabled list and Brad Miller continuing to struggle, the Mariners recalled Nick Franklin. The 23-year-old switch hitter was raking at Triple-A, hitting .376/.481/.633 in 133 plate appearances. While those numbers don’t automatically convert to major league success, Franklin offers a combination of power, speed, and positional flexibility that is valuable in fantasy. Franklin saw time in the majors last year and hit 12 homers with six stolen bases. At the time, Mike Newman provided his take on the infielder’s debut. Franklin should see time at both infield and outfield posititons as well as DH, although Chris Blessing feels that Franklin isn’t an answer at the shortstop position. In fantasy lineups he would be more valuable in a middle infield slot, but playing him as an OF5 or UTIL works too. In the minor leagues Franklin hit .314 vs. RHP compared to .230 vs. LHP, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him struggle (or even sit) against southpaws in the majors.
Third Base: Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians
$1 – CBS 10% | Y! 2% | ESPN 1%
Chisenhall has started at both corner infield positions against right-handed pitching this year for the Indians. While his .366/.433/.473 line has only yielded one long ball, the 25-year-old has ten doubles on the season and Steamer projects him for eight more homers this year. Chisenhall’s 162 wRC+ is second only to Juan Francisco among third basemen with at least 25 games played. The left-handed hitting Chisenhall has a 123 wRC+ at home, making him a better fantasy play at Progressive Field. Most sane fantasy players know that a .366 average (fueled by a .466 BABIP) is unsustainable, but Chisenhall is a hot bat that warrants a short term pick up at the very least. In keeper and dynasty leagues he’s a value entering his prime years.
Shortstop: Stephen Drew, Boston Red Sox
$2 – CBS 18% | Y! 8% | ESPN 3%
Drew will need a couple weeks in the minors before joining the Red Sox, but it’s only a matter of time before he shifts Xander Bogaerts back to third base. The 31-year-old hit 13 home runs and stole six bases in 124 games with the Red Sox last season, and it’s reasonable to assume similar production this year. The Red Sox have struggled against right-handed pitching this season and Drew has posted a career .795 OPS against righties. While Drew is going to be a solid pickup in deeper leagues, it’s not recommended that fantasy owners blow a large chunk of their FAAB dollars on a veteran player with a low ceiling.
Outfield: Oscar Taveras, St. Louis Cardinals
$6 – CBS 54% | Y! 25% | ESPN 5%
Keeper and dynasty league owners should already be familiar with Taveras [FULL SCOUTING REPORT]. He’s getting closer to the big leagues, however, and fantasy owners will want to get in on Taveras before his price skyrockets. The 21-year-old outfielder is hitting .304/.354/.509 in Triple-A with six home runs. His bat WILL play immediately in the majors and the Cardinals are hurting for offense in the outfield rotation. This is the final opportunity to buy a potential batting title contender on the cheap. Taveras has been strong against both left and right handed pitching, but his left-handed bat absolutely crushes righties, with a career .987 OPS against them in the minors.
Ignore The Names When Identifying FAAB Top Targets
This week we saw how Garrett Jones is providing similar fantasy value to Ryan Howard. When hunting through the waiver wire for players, it’s easy to get wrapped up in recognizable names and ownership percentages. Hopefully, through reading the FAAB top targets column, fantasy owners can use information beyond the surface level and put together cheaper, more productive lineups.
22 May 2014 / Mike Buttil / 1
1-On-1 ROTO Strategy Session
The Best Of RS
- Can Alex "Chi-Chi" Gonzalez Crack the Texas Rangers Opening Day Rotation?
- Fantasy Baseball Trade Deadline 101: A Former MLB GM’s Take
- Felix Hernandez and Solo Home Run Situations: A Blueprint For Longevity
- JR Graham: Is He Still An MLB Arm For The Atlanta Braves?
- Mason Williams: Is It Time To Label Him A Bust For The Yankees?
- Mike Newman's Top-50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects Scouted in 2014
- Nick Kingham Scouting Report (2014)
- Rangers Joey Gallo, Marlins Giancarlo Stanton And Strikeouts
- The ROTOscouting Baseball Podcast
- Top-10 Fantasy Baseball Prospects By Team
- Will Mike Moustakas Finally Put It Together Next Season?