TDGX Experts League Draft: Rounds 20-26
Angels in the outfield? Not quite. Through the first 19 rounds of the TDGX draft, Team ROTOscouting’s outfield includes Astros Dexter Fowler and Blue Jays Colby Rasmus. In an extremely deep fantasy baseball league with five starting outfielders and two utility slots, this is problematic. In rounds 20-26, an attempt was made to remedy the issue as six of the seven picks are outfield eligible.
Round 20, Pick 384: Cesar Puello, OF, New York Mets
Biogenesis is responsible for Cesar Puello’s exclusion from top-100 lists. Most forget he cracked the Baseball America list in Single-A as a member of the Savannah Sand Gnats before stumbling a bit in High-A. In Double-A, the 22-year old exploded, slugging 16 home runs and stealing 24 bases before serving a 50-game suspension.
ZIPS is also friendly to Puello, projecting a 106 wRC+ including 11 home runs and 19 stolen bases in just under 400 plate appearances. In his prime, I expect .270+ batting averages with 20 home runs and steals. As an athlete, Puello is one of the more gifted five tool talents I’ve had the opportunity to scout. And with the ability to keep him for a career, Puello is a potential TDGX cornerstone nearly 400 picks in.
Round 21, Pick 417: Robbie Grossman, OF, Houston Astros
Inflated BABIP or not, Robbie Grossman was better than expected in 2013. Quietly, the Houston Astros have added a plethora of young, mid-level prospects who’ve made good at the MLB level, Grossman included. Just 24, the athletic outfielder is already a 10-10 talent. If he can find a way to keep the batting average above .260, Grossman will be a fine fourth or fifth outfielder in TDGX for years to come.
In a recent piece, Jason Collette discussed Grossman’s added aggression at the plate as the 2013 season progressed. This is welcomed in 5×5 as an abundance of walks do more to hurt dollar values than help. Bring on those counting stats!
Round 22, Pick 424: Josh Rutledge, 2B/SS, Colorado Rockies
In TDGX, teams have a starting second baseman, shortstop and middle infield position. Having secured Erick Aybar and Alex Guerrero for 2014, as well as Addison Russell and Jonathan Schoop for the future, team ROTOscouting needed to fill its middle infield spot.
After a solid MLB debut in 2012, Rutledge fell flat on his face. Even so, he still managed seven home runs and 12 stolen bases in just over half a season. Approaching 25 years of age, projections for Rutledge were strong and consistent across the board. With regular plate appearances (second base battle be damned), Rutledge is projects to hit above .270 with double digit home runs and stolen bases.
Round 23, Pick 457: Anthony Gose, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
For those of you who’ve read me for a few years, my love of Anthony Gose is no secret. Pound-for-pound, he’s the best athlete I’ve scouted in person not named Byron Buxton (scouted in 2012). This late in the draft, I have no choice but to believe in the tools and secure Colby Rasmus’ center field handcuff.
From performance standpoint, I have no idea why Gose collapsed in 2013. His Triple-A numbers were downright ugly — especially the 22 stolen bases (26 including MLB). Considering Gose’ previous season low for stolen bases in a full season is 45, I’m forced to wonder if nagging injuries affected his offensive output. Fortunately, projection systems expect six home runs and 20-plus stolen bases if thrust into full time action at the MLB level. I’m fine with that as a starting point.
Round 24, Pick 464: Kyle Parker, 1B/OF, Colorado Rockies
Having scouted Rockies Kyle Parker a handful of times across multiple seasons, he’s admittedly not a favorite. However, the 24-year old has been consistent at every level, slugging between 21-23 home runs with a .285-plus batting average. At some point, it becomes difficult to not give Parker the benefit of the doubt — especially when his parent club plays in a home run haven and the direct competition at first base is a former star who’s a hit by pitch away from retirement.
Projection systems expect 16-20 home runs and a batting average above .250. If Parker is able to achieve this while maintaining eligibility at first base and the outfield, I’ll have the ability to start Parker at nine different starting spots.
Round 25, Pick 497: Abraham Almonte, OF, Seattle Mariners
In my mind, Abraham Almonte has been around for ever. It wouldn’t be team ROTOscouting without at least one player scouted during my first week scouting baseball games in late 2008. Almonte was on a “loaded” Charleston team including Jesus Montero and Austin Romine. It’s amazing to think he’ll probably be the best big leaguer of the group.
Keeping with the athletic, mid-20’s outfielder theme, Almonte is projected to hit 8-10 home runs and swipe 18-20 bags over a full season. Unfortunately, those counting stats are expected to come with a batting average between .235 and .256. If TDGX were a $260 auction league, that production would be worth $10 or so.
Round 26, Pick 504: Andrew Lambo, 1B/OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
From legitimate prospect to afterthought to breakout performer, few players have had the career ups and downs Andrew Lambo has. In 2013, a revitalized Lambo slugged 33 home runs and drove in 102 between Double-A, Triple-A and MLB. He’s old for a prospect, but Gaby Sanchez and Jose Tabata are platoon types miscast as big league starters.
If the power production is there this spring, Lambo has the opportunity to force himself into the lineup against right-handed pitching. If this happens, 450 plate appearances or more is possible. If this occurs, the former Dodgers prospect should be good for 15-plus home runs, plenty for a fifth outfielder/utility spot in TDGX.
TDGX Preview: Rounds 27-33
Rounds 27-33 saw team ROTOscouting round out the starting lineup with plus defenders expected to be better big leaguers than fantasy contributors. More than 500 picks in, young players with some offense are still a better play than grizzled veterans with an extremely limited shelf life. Plus, strong defenders do provide considerable value because those players won’t be forced off of their respective positions for years to come. That’s comforting in a a TDGX format with 35 keepers and no contracts.
11 Mar 2014 / Mike Newman /
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