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Don't Dodge Alford

A look at the fantasy value of Toronto Blue Jays prospect Anthony Alford.

A look at the fantasy value of Toronto Blue Jays prospect Anthony Alford.

The Blue Jays start of the season can be defined by a blister and a calf. Injuries have been a big part of most of the teams to begin this season, but Aaron Sanchez going to the DL for the 3rd time with his blister issue and Donaldson being gone for the majority of the season, has been especially tough for the Blue Jays. With the Jays early season struggles, it’s time to look at some youngsters, enter, Anthony Alford.

Who is this Anthony Alford fellow?

The Ranks

  • Baseball Prospectus: 93
  • Baseball America: 59
  • MLB Pipeline: 70
  • Keith Law: 55

Scouting Grades

  • Hit: 35/40
  • Raw Power: 60
  • Game Power: 40/50
  • Speed: 70
  • Fielding: 45/55
  • Throw: 40
  • Future Value: 50

Alford has great speed and plus power. It’s a little scary that he hasn’t played in AAA yet, but in regards to physical tools, especially on the offensive side, he has everything you want.

The Numbers

  • .325/.411/.455, 3 HR, 9 SB, .867 OPS in 141 PA for AA New Hampshire
  • wRC+: 144
  • wOBA: .393

Alford needs to start converting that raw power into game power. With an ISO of only .130 in AA, the power just isn’t there in game situations yet. We have to remember that this is AA, and BABIP will always be higher than we’re used to seeing. His .385 mark isn’t far from what he can replicate with his speed. If he can continue to be close to his 11% walk rate and 17% k rate, he should be relevant sooner rather than later.

The Analysis

Alford isn’t getting a ton of playing time as of now, especially when playing in NL parks. If he does start to get regular at bats, he needs to be added in deeper leagues and put on your watch list in all other leagues. He is especially valuable in sabermetric and points leagues (OBP/OPS).

MLB Comparison: Ender Inciarte

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The Braves go to Rio

The Atlanta Braves called up third base prospect Rio Ruiz. What is his fantasy value?

The Atlanta Braves called up third base prospect Rio Ruiz. What is his fantasy value?

It’s no secret that the Atlanta Braves are in rebuild mode. The best player on the team went down with a broken wrist last week, while that’s a terrible thing (especially for a Braves fan), it reminds the Braves that they are in rebuild mode. When Freddie Freeman went down, the Braves called up one of their many prized prospects, Rio Ruiz.

Getting to know Rio Ruiz: 

The Ranks

  • Fangraphs Stats Only Top 100: 68

This is a measure of statistics in the minor leagues, and bypasses the scouts take.

Scouting Grades

  • Hit Tool: 20/55
  • Game Power: 20/50+
  • Raw Power: 55
  • Speed: 40
  • Future Value: 55

Expect him to hit enough to stay in the lineup, he should have good power and has a decent hit tool.

The Numbers

  • .262/.305/.447, 4 HR, 1 SB, .751 OPS in 151 PA in AAA (Gwinnett)
  • wRC+: 109
  • wOBA: .332

Ruiz was a rare call-up in that he wasn’t really over performing in AAA to the level of some of the recent call-ups. His K rate is at 26.5%, and is walking at a rate of 6%. Neither are exceptional, so the call-up was need based and not necessarily numbers based.

The Analysis

Ruiz is a talented hitter that should get a legit chance to show he belongs in the big leagues. He is only a speculative add in anything more than deep leagues. He’s not well known and doesn’t have the prospect shine, so add him when he starts to get hot.  

MLB Comparison: Travis Shaw

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Time to Download the Newest Happ

Ian Happ has been hitting himself into the Cubs lineup

Ian Happ has been hitting himself into the Cubs lineup

The Cubs won the World Series in 2016 (just in case you were in a coma). It seems that the WS hangover is still around this club. One of the ways to try to combat that is to get players that weren’t there for it. They did sign a few players outside of the organization, but the Cubs are stacked in MiLB, and have called up one of their prized prospects, Ian Happ.

Who is Ian Happ?

The Ranks

  • Baseball America: 63
  • Baseball Prospectus: 54
  • MLB Pipeline: 28
  • Keith Law: 63

Scouting Grades

  • Hit: 40/55
  • Game Power: 40/55
  • Raw Power: 55
  • Speed: 55
  • Future Value:55

He is in the top 63 of prospects among the top rankers. Happ is going to hit, hit for power, and could run as well.

The Numbers

  • .298/.362/.615, 9 HR, 2 SB, .977 OPS in 116 PA in AAA (Iowa)
  • wRC+: 148
  • wOBA: .411

Happ was crushing AAA. He did have a higher K rate than you would probably want in a batter in AAA (23.3%). He did walk at a good enough rate though (9.5%), so he looks to be another one of the new age hitters, go big, go home or walk to first. Happ is a pull hitter with a 38.7% fly ball rate. Happ had a ridiculous HR/FB rate of 31%, so don’t expect a HR every 13 ABs in the majors, but expect some really good power still.

The Analysis

Happ is a curious case in fantasy. He is a must add in regards to talent, but it’s hard to know how long he is staying up. The Cubs have a lot of players they need to get in the lineup, and Happ might be the one that suffers for that. Cody Bellinger hit himself into the lineup, and it looks like Happ is doing the same thing. I have him as a speculative add in all leagues if you can waste the bench spot.

MLB Comparison: Jason Kipnis

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A Zimmer of Hope in Cleveland

Zimmer is now patrolling CF in Cleveland

Zimmer is now patrolling CF in Cleveland

Cleveland should be the best team in the AL, but they don’t even have the best record in the AL Central. The Twins made a move last weekend bringing up starting pitching stud, Jose Berrios, and now the Indians are bringing up their top prospect, Bradley Zimmer.

Why you should add Bradley Zimmer:

The Rankings:

  • Baseball America: 54
  • Keith Law: Just outside the top 100
  • Baseball Prospectus: 80
  • MLB Pipeline: 19

Not a lot of consensus among rankers, but for fantasy purposes, he has hit in the minors, and that’s ultimately all we care about. His scouting grades show a player that could be a power/speed asset.

  • Hit: 20/55
  • GamePower: 20/50
  • RawPower: 50/55
  • Speed: 60/55
  • Future Value: 50

The Numbers:

  • .294/.371/.532, 5 HR, 9 S, .902 OPS in 144 PA in AAA (Columbus)
  • wRC+: 153
  • wOBA: .395
  • Since May 1: .326/.442/.558, 183 wRC+ and a 1.000 OPS

Zimmer has shown a little power and a lot of speed in the minors. He hit a HR around every 30 PAs and a steal in around every 17 PAs. He topped out at 14 HR and 33 steals in 2016 in 407 PAs in AA last season. His walk rate is at 9.7% which is a good number but his 29.9% K rate is pretty high for a minor league bat.

The Analysis:

Zimmer should be up for good in 2017, and should give you 10+ HRs and 20+ steals. Expect somewhere in the .260 range for average to start out with, but with the power and speed numbers, he’s a must add in all leagues. Zimmer in the Cleveland offense, even hitting at the bottom to start, will help with his runs scored and RBI opportunities. Get excited.

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Welcome to the Berrios

The Twins have been one of the early season surprises, leading the AL Central. They have a fun lineup that can score runs in a hurry. To begin the season, I thought this team could be in the hunt for one of the wild card spots. They have started to believe that also. They brought up their best prospect, Jose Berrios, and we all should be excited about him in the fantasy community, even if he struggled in 2016.

Berrios was called up for the Twins and spun a gem

Berrios was called up for the Twins and spun a gem

Berrios was terrible in 2016, posting numbers that made him beyond un-ownable. He started in AAA this season and owned it. At the time he came up, he had a 1.13 ERA, .81 WHIP, and a 2.58 FIP. It is the minors, but sometimes going down, after failing in the Majors, can be a good thing (see: Trout, Mike).

Berrios has been very good at HR prevention, under .75/9 in all years in the minors. That’s an impressive feat, being that Berrios is a fly ball pitcher. What that says to me is that he has been good at preventing hard contact. He was around a strikeout per inning in the minors, which roughly translates to 7.5 to 8 k/9 in the majors, so he won’t be an elite strikeout guy, but will be good enough. His FIP has been under 3 the last couple of years, which doesn’t count in fantasy, but does show true talent. Berrios isn’t going to walk anyone either. He’s posted under a 2BB/9 for this season, and has seemed to find his control.

His scouting profile is exciting as well. He has a plus fastball and curveball, an average to plus slider and change up, and average command. What that means is that he won’t be a slave to one pitch. Expect him to be effective multiple times through a lineup.

All that to say, pick up Jose Berrios in all leagues, if nothing else, you might catch lightning in a bottle.

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The Mets Need to Start Smelling the Ros...ario

When will the New York Mets call up top prospect Amed Rosario?

When will the New York Mets call up top prospect Amed Rosario?

The Mets have had a rash of injuries, and have been, well, the Mets (a.k.a. a train wreck). They need help on offense, especially with Yoenis Cespedes out and David Wright still not anywhere ready to play. Asdrubal Cabrera banged up his thumb, which should have put him on the 10-day DL, and maybe after the May 13 Super-2 deadline, he will be placed on the DL.

When that happens, expect the Mets to call up Amed Rosario.

Why you should know Amed Rosario:

Prospect Ranks

  • Baseball America: 8
  • Keith Law: 3
  • Baseball Prospectus: 8

Prospect ranks aren't an end-all, be-all, but they show what the scouts think of this guy.

The Numbers

  • 371/413/508 slash line, 2 HR, 7 SB in AAA for 2017.
  • wRC+: 146
  • wOBA: .406

Rosario hasn’t had a problem hitting for average in the minors, but he hasn’t shown a ton of power. Rosario spreads the ball around the field (37% pull, 36% oppo), which will keep his average high, and the power lower than if he was a straight pull hitter. With only a 13% K rate, that will also help the average stay high. He has 7 steals and has only been on base 55 times this season. If he is going to steal around 10% of the time (not taking into account extra base hits and being on base with a runner in front of him), you’re going to have a middle infielder that looks like (a non PED using) Starling Marte.

The Analysis

With everyone hitting HRs, average and steals are categories of need for most roto teams. For any team needing either of those categories, Rosario is a must stash, with an expectation that he is up before the end of May. Rosario will, at worst, end as an option at the MI position in roto leagues.

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FNH Makes a Guest Appearance on Baseball By Dummies Podcast

Listen to the Baseball by Dummies podcast.

Listen to the Baseball by Dummies podcast.

Peter Lopez and TJ Wilson made an appearance on the Baseball By Dummies podcast on March 5, 2017, to discuss (what else?) fantasy baseball.

Host Nick Seevers grilled Peter & TJ about the different types of fantasy baseball leagues, the top-3 players at each position, and a few sleepers. Nick Seevers is also a regular on the Fantasy News Hour because whenever you hear TJ's train whistle ringtone go off on air, it's probably Nick texting TJ about baseball.

TJ is a regular on the podcast, which is dedicated strictly to baseball - not fantasy.

If you're a baseball junkie, subscribe to Baseball By Dummies.

 

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MCM-Odor 1, Bautista 0

It’s hard to say anyone is more crush-worthy than Rougned Odor.

I think anyone that has watched a sports show or listened to a sports talk show knows what happened Sunday afternoon. Jose Bautista, while great, is something of a primadonna. He slid into second late in an attempt to take out Odor. As it turned out, Odor took out Bautista instead with a right hook. Odor 1, Bautista 0. To be continued

Now to the guys that performed with their bat and not with their fists.

Yadier Molina (StL).

Yadi doesn’t meet the normal parameters for this column. Unfortunately, there really isn’t any other catcher that I truly am crushing on that had a week like Yadi: 10/22, 4 runs, RBI and 2Bs, with only 2 Ks. That’s a heck of a week for someone people thought was done as an offensive player. He’s over 85% owned, so there really isn’t much more to say. Way to show people you’re not done Yadi.

Steve Pearce (TB).

Pearce isn’t a great fantasy option at 1B. Yes, I know that’s where I have him listed, but Pearce is going to get 2B eligibility before too long (if he doesn’t already have it in your league). He’s a better option there when he’s getting consistent at-bats. Pearce had one of those hot streaks this past week also. 2 HR and 4 RBI will look even better when he does get that 2B eligibility, so keep an eye out for that.

Jonathan Schoop (Bal).

Schoop is a player I was touting this offseason as a great power source for the position. He’s showing his pop. With 7 HR so far, he's pretty much a lock for 20+ if he stays healthy. This past week, he hit 2 HR and had 10 RBI. If that wasn’t enough, he also had a triple. Schoop should be added in all roto leagues with any depth at all.

Danny Valencia (Oak).

Valencia is yet another player with multiple position eligibility on this list. You’re probably playing him at 3B, but you could also play him in the OF. Valencia went crazy on Sunday and hit 3 HR, but he was having a good week before that with 2 HR already. Not a bad way to come off the DL. He’s a lefty killer and is getting consistent playing time. He was pretty dang good to finish the end of the 2015 season. He’s a player I have a lot of shares of, and I plan on keeping an eye on him in the leagues I don’t.

Ketel Marte (Sea).

I've also loved Marte for a while. He started off rough but has been hitting everything since then. This past week was no different with a HR, 3B, 2 2B, 6 RBI and 5 R. He should have been added in most leagues, but, if he’s not, and you need a SS, you don’t anymore.

Melvin "BJ" Upton, Jr. (SD).

An interesting thought: Melvin has been really good when not with Justin, his brother. He was great in TB, then signed with Atlanta. Justin was then traded to Atlanta, and Melvin was bad. Justin gets traded to SD, then Melvin gets traded to SD, Melvin is bad again. Justin signs with Detroit, Melvin stays with SD, and Melvin is having a resurgent season. Yes, it’s flawed logic, but it’s fun to think about. The past week Melvin had 3 bombs, a steal, and a couple of doubles. He should be added in roto leagues, especially when needing more than 3 OF positions.

Trevor Bauer (Cle).

Bauer was one of the most impressive pitchers I watched in Arizona this spring. He was promptly sent to the bullpen out of spring training. He’s back in the rotation, and let us hope he figured something out. A couple of quality starts, over a K/9 over the past week, equals fantasy goodness. If you need Ks, he’s there in most leagues and should be good while he’s in the rotation.

Jake McGee (Col).

McGee is another player I was hyping in draft season. Last week, he had 4 saves and should be added in all leagues. Yes, he’s in Colorado, but it shouldn’t matter that much. Add him.

Go into this week knowing, at least, that you didn’t get clocked on national television!

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May 2016 Fantasy Baseball Redraft

Jose Altuve, 2B-Hou, surprisingly fell to the second round in FNH's May 2016 fantasy baseball redraft.

It's never too early to start second-guessing your fantasy drafts, and here is what our May 2016 fantasy baseball redraft looked like.

First, the draft was a standard 5x5 categories, 10-team, 10-round, snake draft. Next, the participants and their draft order:

  1. Peter Lopez - Fantasy News Hour host.
  2. TJ Wilson - Fantasy News Hour host.
  3. Jacob Bullinger - FNH fill-in host and Superfan.
  4. Brandon McAuliff - Abilene Reporter News Sports Reporter.
  5. Nick Seevers - FNH's Atlanta Braves insider.
  6. Ricky Thompson - Future 32nd District Attorney.
  7. Sam Strickland - Former Blue Jays minor league pitching prospect.
  8. Nick Sherrell - FNH's LA Dodgers insider.
  9. ESPN - Best available.
  10. CBS - Best available.

If you want a more in-depth analysis of the draft, listen to the podcast of last week's program where we discussed the draft.

A few quick notes:

  • Chris sale going 6th overall seemed a bit high, but the first round was otherwise fairly chalky.
  • Jose Altuve falling to the second round - albeit the first pick of the second round - was surprising, especially in Texas, although only half of the participants were native Texans.
  • Even in Texas, Nomar Mazara going 24th overall in the 3rd round was ridiculously high.
  • Jose Abreu going 34th overall in the fourth round was the steal of the first half of the draft.
  • Troy Tulowitski falling to the end of round five was not surprising given his performance so far, but is nonetheless noteworthy.
  • The best round for value was the sixth. Hosmer, Puig, Car-Go, Archer, Cruz, et al., all provided great value.
  • Segura, Freeman, and Samardzija in the tenth round were steals and demonstrate that leagues aren't won in the first few rounds but in the middle and late rounds.
 
May Redraft    
     
Teams/Rd.1234
     
PeterBryce HarperKris BryantJacob deGromTodd Frazier
TJ WilsonMike TroutMiguel CabreraMookie BettsCorey Kluber
JacobClayton KershawMax ScherzerMadison BumgarnerNoah Syndergaard
BrandonJake ArrietaMatt HarveyNomar MazaraTrevor Story
Nick SeeversPaul GoldschmidtJose BautistaEdwin EncarnacionGeorge Springer
RickyChris SaleJoey VottoRobinson CanoYoenis Cespedes
SamAndrew McCutchenCarlos CorreaJordan ZimmermanJose Abreu
Nick SherrellNolan ArenadoGiancarlo StantonStephen StrasburgDexter Fowler
ESPNManny MachadoAnthony RizzoStarling MarteChris Davis
CBSJosh DonaldsonJose AltuveBuster PoseyDavid Price
     
 5678
PeterXander BogaertsEric HosmerRougned OdorYu Darvish
TJGarrit ColeYasiel PuigMatt CarpenterJason Kipnis
JacobRyan BraunCarlos GonzalesEvan LongoriaAdrian Gonzales
BrandonBrandon BeltMarcus StromanDustin PedroiaAJ Griffin
Nick SeeversJose FernandezChris ArcherJon LesterCorey Seager
RickyCarlos MartinezCharlie BlackmonAdrian BeltreGregory Polanco
SamFelix HernandezNelson CruzCole HamelsDaniel Murphy
Nick SherrellVincent VelasquezJohnny CuetoWellington CastilloHunter Pence
ESPNJD MartinezJustin UptonSonny GrayMichael Brantley
CBSTroy TulowitzkiDallas KeuchelZack GreinkeFrancisco Lindor
     
 910  
PeterJonathan LucroyJeff Samardzija  
TJCarlos CarrascoAroldis Champman  
JacobIan KinslerCraig Kimbrel  
BrandonTravis ShawShawn Tolleson  
Nick SeeversAdam JonesKyle Seager  
RickyDanny SalazarJean Segura  
SamMasahiro TanakaJonathan Vogt  
Nick SherrellKenta MaedaFreddie Freeman  
ESPNKenley JansenWade Davis  
CBSLorenzo CainJason Hayward 
 

Let us know what you think about our May redraft.

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MCM-Through all the football noise, there is still baseball

Miami Marlins Catcher J.T. Realmuto is one of TJ's fantasy baseball man crushes for the first week of May, 2016.

I realize that NFL is king, and at some point, I will get to writing about the NFL Draft. I love football as much as the next guy (maybe even a little more than some), but there were no games this weekend, just guys getting picked that are going to bust at an alarming 50% rate.

Baseball was put on the backburner for the NFL draft, but don't tell that to the players. It was still a great weekend of baseball. The Nicks and I were able to discuss how awesome Giancarlo Stanton really is. The scary thing is, his hard hit rate is only 28%; that's about 13% less than his career rate. He's never had a hard hit rate under 38% either. That means that there is only one way to go for Stanton, over the fence. Stanton's BABIP is at .283 for the 2016 season. His career average is .326. That's not to say that his batting average is going to jump a straight 40 points, but it could regress back to the mean, and a .253 BA should be closer to .275. If there is any way to buy low(ish) on a player with 8 HR, 20 RBI with his name, do it now.

Now to the Man Crushes.

J.T. Realmuto (C, Mia).

I was singing the praises of Realmuto to anyone and everyone who would listen. With Russell Martin struggling, Travis d'Arnaud and Devin Mesoraco on the DL, Realmuto is a real threat to sneak into the top 5. This past week, he hit a homerun, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, and 4 had 4 runs. The nice thing about Realmuto is that he also runs a little. He didn't this past week, but don't be surprised when he takes off.

Wil Myers (1B, SD).

Myers is a player that I loved at the beginning of the season. I could see him having the season he should have had last year before the injury. He has been pretty dang good so far. He pulled the power/speed combo last week. A homer, stolen base, 2 doubles, 4 ribs, and 5 runs. Hitting at the top of the lineup will lead to some decent numbers. He's the perfect OF/CI, but hasn't made the jump to a starting 1B just yet. He should be owned regardless of league type.

Brett Lawrie (2B, CWS).

I like power/speed combo players. Lawrie obliged me last week: 3 HR, 1 SB, and 2 doubles. Lawrie has all the talent in the world. We, as fantasy owners have to hope that he can put it all together in Chicago. If he does, he's a high-end 2B with 3B eligibility. Until then, he's the hot hand, play him accordingly.

Brandon Drury (3B, Arz).

I couldn't go a week without a Diamondback on the list. He made it easy for me also - 4 HR and a double are nice stat lines for a week. Drury is a part-time player who has been playing a lot more since Brito went down. Keep an eye out for the power-hitting young man with both 3B and OF eligibility.

Jonathan Villar (SS, Mil).

Villar was one of the Astros prospects that were supposed to turn the franchise around. Their record for 2016 notwithstanding, the Astros have a good core, and they used Villar as a trade piece to get Carlos Gomez. Villar has a chance to play every day in Milwaukee until Orlando Arcia is called up. Last week is a good indication of what he needs to do to keep that inevitability from happening too soon. He's had 4 doubles and, better yet, 5 stolen bases over the past 7 days. There's nothing at all wrong with that. If you need speed, (Dee Gordon owners), Villar could be the guy that gives you some of those speed numbers.

Khris Davis (OF, Oak).

Hitting for the cycle is a very impressive feat. Davis did just that. No, not in a game, but he did it over the past week with 3HR, 2B, and a 3B. Everyone knew Davis had good power, and he's streaky and he's hitting. Add him now, but don't get attached when he slumps

A.J. Griffin (SP, Tex).

A fly ball pitcher kept the Toronto Blue Jays at bay. In Toronto. Yeah, so, the Jays haven't been the ball crushers they were last year, yet, but that's still very impressive for a player that doesn't miss a ton of bats. In the last 2 games, Griffin has thrown 14 innings with 14 strikeouts, 2 ERs, and 3 walks. His 4.6 K/BB ratio is a good indicator of success. He's still a streamer for me, but I have my eye on him a little closer now

Jeanmar Gomez (RP, Phi).

He had 4 saves last week. If you need saves, add him. He's not elite, but he's getting elite save numbers. I don't want to have to write about him again next week. Add him.

Now that all the football buzz is over, let's all enjoy America's pastime.

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