Shortstop is a thin fantasy position, but the Brewers have a young speedster at short that I want to grab late in 2010 drafts. Alcides Escobar is the main man in Milwaukee with J.J. Hardy now in Minnesota. Escobar brings an outstanding glove to the field, but for fantasy owners he also brings to the plate exceptional speed and the ability the hit for AVG. In 430 AAA at bats last season Escobar stole a whopping 42 bases and was only caught 10 times; good for an 81% success rate. Even in a Brewers system that doesn't run much, that success rate should help his chances for achieving at least 30-plus steals over a full season.
Though he has good contact skills, Escobar also has a tendency to swing at bad pitches too often. That may hold is AVG back a bit initially, but there is a good chance that he can at least hit around .280 or so given his contact rate and plus speed. As a late round flier, it’s an all reward/low risk pick.
The Brewer I am staying clear of in 2010 is Randy Wolf. Despite a tremendous 2009 season, regression seems inevitable for the 33 year old left-hander.
Yeah, it is almost midnight on Sunday before I posted, but I had a weekend away visiting family so free time, as you may know, was sparse. Onto some recent fantasy impact moves.
The Rangers signed Vladimir Guerrero to a one year deal to serve as their full time DH. Vlad has a career 1.175 OPS against the Rangers so this gives his fantasy value a significant boost. His skills are certainly in decline, but I wouldn't rule out a .290-.300, 20 home run season.
The Reds have agreedto terms with Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman. Chapman has tremendous stuff, as you are most likely aware, but is sure to see time in the minors to work on command issues. Unless your league stashes minor league players there is really no need to draft Chapman in 2010.
Chris Iannetta will battle it out with recently signed Miguel Olivo for playing time in Colorado. I am a big fan of Iannetta for power from the catchers position, but this makes me hesitate just a bit on using a mid-round draft pick on him. No matter who wins the job, the other is sure to see a decent amount of playing time anyway. Knock down each catcher a notch on your draft boards.
The Royals signed Scott Podsednik to a one year deal to be their starting center fielder in 2010. Last season Podsednik became a fantasy darling when he seized his opportunity with the White Sox and hit .304 with 30 steals. His AVG was a bit inflated by a .342 BABIP, but his stolen base pace was in line with the past few years.
Podsednik will be 34 on opening day, so there is no real upside potential. If anything his AVG should regress to around his career AVG of .277. We can expect 30-plus steals if he stays healthy, but he offers little else hitting at the top of a weak lineup.
Brett Myers has agreed to a one year deal with the Astros. Pending a physical, he will join their starting rotation. As a starter, Myers has seen a drop in strikeout rate every season since 2006. Last season hitters made more contact against Myers than any other year of his career. He leaves Citizens Bank Park, but heads to Minute Maid Park and it's hitter friendly Crawford Boxes. Unless he somehow can bring his strikeout rate back up, his fantasy value is boom, outta here
Can you imagine Carl Crawford with better plate discipline? That is how some describe Tampa Bay's top offensive prospect Desmond Jennings and he's not far from making an impact in the Major Leagues and on your fantasy team.
Last season at AA, Jennings posted a .92 BB/K rate while hitting .316/.395/.486 (.881 OPS) with eight home runs and 37 stolen bases in only 383 at bats. Also in that stat line were 25 doubles and eight triples. Jennings would finish the season at AAA where he continued to hit for AVG, get on base and steal bases (15 more to be exact). All totaled in 2009, Jennings hit 11 home runs and stole 52 bases in 497 at bats. Looks like Carl Crawford type numbers to me.
In 2009, fantasy baseball owners were able to take advantage of a couple waiver wire speedsters and ride their lightningquickness up the standings. Now, entering the 2010 draft season, both Michael Bourn and Nyjer Morgan will cost considerably more than a free agent pickup. Both have speed enough for 50-plus steals, but who will be the better value on draft day?no comments