FAAB Top Targets (Hitters): 5/8/2014
This week’s FAAB Top Targets includes a pair of young Angels hitters, a new option for stolen bases, and a power-hitting catcher. Speaking of power, we’ll also take a look at a masher from the NL Central who can hit homers in bunches. As always, there is a target for every position on the diamond and each player is widely available in all three major formats.
Catcher: Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners
$2 – CBS 42% | Y! 13% | ESPN 4%
With the rash of injuries at catcher, fantasy owners are forced to the waiver wire. Zunino is the best option available right now. With five home runs on the season, the 23-year-old backstop is projected to tally 17 long balls with a full season of plate appearances. His wRC+ of 94 makes him a top-15 catcher at the moment, and only the red-hot Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Buster Posey have hit more home runs. Zunino’s age and developing power make him especially appealing in keeper leagues.
First Base: C.J. Cron, Los Angeles Angels
$3 – CBS 31% | Y! 6% | ESPN 3%
The Angels called up Cron earlier this week and he has already made five starts between 1B and DH. The 24-year-old has found himself in the heart of the Angels order, hitting anywhere from fifth to seventh. The Halos were patient with the powerful right-handed hitter after a down year in Double-A with ‘only’ 19 home runs. A struggling Raul Ibanez and Cron’s six-homer, 26 RBI performance in Triple-A forced the issue. Expect him to receive regular at-bats and be serviceable in 12-team mixed formats, although keeper/dynasty league owners are more likely to pounce.
Second Base: Grant Green, Los Angeles Angels
$1 – CBS 6% | Y! 1% | ESPN 0%
Green is the second call up by the Angels on this week’s list. Still carrying second base eligibility in fantasy formats, Green will soon be outfield eligible too if he’s not already. It’s the rare infield/outfield dual eligibility owners covet when building a flexible roster that can weather injury. The 26-year-old has shown a nice balance of power and speed in the minors and 15/15 production is particularly useful in the fantasy game given his versatility.
Third Base: Mark Reynolds, Milwaukee Brewers
$3 – CBS 29% | Y! 13% | ESPN 8%
Mark Reynolds spends most of the season bouncing on and off the waiver wire in fantasy leagues. The streaky power comes and goes and so do his ownership rates. The 30-year-old is earning time at both first and third base for the Brewers. This means 20-plus homers and high strikeout totals. In 2014, he’s made the Brewers look smart with seven home runs in 97 plate appearances. That’s second only to Pedro Alvarez (who also strikes out a ton) and tied with Josh Donaldson and Justin Morneau among corner infielders. His 124 wRC+ is also higher than Nolan Arenado‘s right now, yes he’s still waiver wire fodder in leagues. At a time when power is scarce, smart fantasy owners look past the blemishes of a player like Reynolds and take advantage..
Shortstop: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
$1 – CBS 2% | Y! 0% | ESPN 0%
In the wake of the recent injury to Jason Kipnis, the Indians called up shortstop prospect Jose Ramirez to add depth on the infield. The 21-year-old’s best tool is his speed. He stole 38 bases last year in the minors and eight steals in Triple-A Columbus prior to his promotion. A switch-hitter, Ramirez hit for average in the minor leagues too. Fantasy owners outside of dynasty formats can consider Ramirez as a short-term play since his value will be limited when Kipnis returns. FAAB top targets can be bridge players too.
Outfield: Michael Saunders, Seattle Mariners
$3 – CBS 8% | Y! 3% | ESPN 2%
The Mariners recently demoted Abraham Almonte which opened the door wider for Saunders. Mike Newman discussed how the crowded Mariners outfield might be a good thing in reality but a very bad thing in fantasy. The injury to Logan Morrison and Almonte’s demotion should ease the logjam for the time being. Saunders hits from the left side and has a power/speed combination which isn’t normally sitting on the wire. The 27-year-old came only one home run short of a 20/20 season in 2012. Given 450-500 plate appearances, Saunders can contribute 15 home runs and 15 steals to a fantasy lineup.
FAAB Top Targets Provide Power And Speed
Power and speed are both valuable in fantasy, and both can be acquired via free agency. Whether they are young players with new opportunities like Cron and Ramirez or veterans like Reynolds, many FAAB top targets can become valuable pieces on a fantasy roster by year’s end.
8 May 2014 / Mike Buttil /
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