Forgive me I’ll have to forego my typical low rent Grey Albright shtick in favor of brevity CURSE YOU PROCRASTINATION!
Let’s keep this brief, shall we? Boxer brief.
Plain and simple, this is a list of 20 players worth your $1 at the end of your Ottoneu auction this weekend and a reason or two why.
Salvador Perez (54% owned, $10 average salary)
Think of how jazzed you would have been to have a $3 Sal before he needed Tommy John. That’s you in one year’s time.
Tyler Flowers (41%, $2)
This one takes some management, but hear me out. Flowers’ wRC+ last year vs. Lefties: .203. He was 100% better than the rest of the league against lefties. Yes he’s currently slated to be Brian McCann’s backup, but that dude has played just 97 and 63 games the last two seasons. He’s going to get ABs against lefties and those ABs you want in your lineup.
Kendrys Morales (21%, $3)
It was a down year for Kendrys, but he was still 30% better than the rest of the league against righties (132 wRC+). Prior to last season he played in 150+ games 3 straight seasons. Producing 28 and 30 homers 2 of those years and 93 ribbies the other AND he’ll likely bat cleanup in Toronto.
Jung-ho Kang (35%, $3)
JUDASSSSS. Let other people have morals while you win fantasy leagues. Back in 2016, dude had 21 homers in just 103 games. If you’re being generous that’s 30 homers over a full season. Now he is 2 years older. BUT (TINA GOT A BIG OLE BUTT) the power still appears to be there, in 9 games this spring he has 4 homers and a .727 slugging percentage. Is that good? The only thing between him and the Pirates starting third base job is empty batting average Colin Moran.
Ian Kinsler (23%, $3)
This is a volume play mostly. Roster Resource (RR) has him slotted in to lead off for the Padres. He’s had at least 14 homers and at least 14 stolen bases each of the last three seasons and he’s hitting ahead of Manny Machado. If he does lead off, he’ll get the at bats, and likely the pitches, in order to make 20/20 a real possibility. You could do a whole lot worse with your third stringer at second base.
Neil Walker (19%, $2)
Similarly to Kinsler, mostly a volume play. RR has him slotted in to bat third. The Marlins clearly picked him up with the thought of flipping him midseason in mind, so you know they are going to give him every opportunity to play. For those in points leagues, he was a 5+ P/G player in 2016 and 2017. Plus, he’s eligible at 1B, 2B, 3B AND OF.
Eric Thames (47%, $3)
This is a slow play because he’s a Ryan Braun injury away from playing every day. Thames hit 31 homers in 2017. While he struggled with strikeouts last year, the power is still there (.259 ISO last season). For points leaguers, he’s probably not the near 6 P/G player he was in 2017, but with playing time I don’t see why he can’t be a 5+ P/G player.
Adam Frazier (54%, $3)
RR has him leading off for the Pirates. A big bump in power last season (.179 ISO) and particularly crushed righties (131 wRC+). And in 2017 proved he’s fast enough (9 over 121 games) and in nearly 1000 major league PAs he sports a .345 career OBP. He should easily reach double digit steals in a full season. For $1 what’s not to like here?
Cedric Mullins (55%, $3)
Like Frazier, RR has him leading off for the Orioles. A bit of an unknown with just 191 big league PAs, but with playing time there is potential. From 2016 through much of 2018, over a stretch of more than 1000 PAs, he had an ISO of .191 or better, so I think there’s power in this bat. And in just 124 games in 2016 he stole 30 bases. A possible power-speed combo at the top of a lineup with no scary bats behind him (meaning he should see pitches to hit)? Sign me up.
Steve Pearce (56%, $3)
No secret especially after last year’s playoffs and yet he’s still under owned and cheap AF. Prior to last season he was primarily known as a lefty beater (career 130 wRC+), but he also hit righties last year (124 wRC+). He’s still a Part Time Player, but like Flowers, you can pick your spots and get a Dick Vitale PTPer out of him.
Avisail Garcia (57%, $4)
He’s kind of finally in the perfect position to succeed. RR has him at clean up for the Rays. He hit 19 homers in just 93 games last year (like Kang that’s 30 homers projected over a full season, if we’re being generous). In fact his power is trending up (.140 in 2016, .176 in 2017, and .202 in 2018). In points leagues, he’s a year removed for a 6+ P/G season. He probably has the most secure playing time of his career and as a DH he can solely focus on hitting.
Mark Canha (3%, $3)
Another lefty crusher a la Flowers. Had a .200 ISO and 113 wRC+ overall last season, so he may be solid even against righties. But brace yourself if you look at his lefty splits, your eyes will pop out of your head like you’re a cartoon character: .322 ISO and 152 wRC+ vs lefties. Play him against lefties.
Willie Calhoun (75%, $5)
He’s a former top prospect (ranked #36 by Baseball America pre-2018) without a job. Another slow play as he’s a Shin-soo Choo injury or trade away from playing time which I think is totally possible seeing as the Rangers will not be competing this season. In 2017, Calhoun hit 32 homers, basically all of them in AAA. He has absolutely massive power once he gets the playing time.
Tyler O’Neill (86%, $4)
Similarly massive power (maybe more than Calhoun). Also, currently without an MLB job. In just 64 AAA games last season, O’Neill hit 26 dongs. He was good for 8.66 P/G over that stretch! And he continued to crush in the majors last year carrying a .246 ISO 142 PAs. You can’t convince me the Cardinals are going to continue to run Dexter Fowler out there with O’Neill waiting in the wings.
Jay Bruce (46%, $3)
No he’s not dead yet. And he’s only a year removed from 36 homers and 5.78 P/G. Sure he’s in a tougher ballpark, but (you guessed it) RR has him batting third. Like Walker, he’ll be given every opportunity to play so the Mariners can trade him late in the season.
Lucas Giolito (39%, $4)
At one time considered the best pitching prospect in baseball. So he has the pedigree. And being on the White Sox he has the playing time. Also, he’s apparently added a couple notches to his velocity. After averaging 92.4 MPH last season, he’s reportedly touching 97 this spring.
Jeff Samardzija (39%, $3)
It’s simple really, Samalamadingdong was hurt last year. In 2017, he was good for 200+ innings and 200+ strikeouts. And he turned in 4.55 P/G in points leagues. He’s looking healthy this spring, he’s now thrown 3 times, 8.2 innings. Do you need to hear more?
Merrill Kelly (27%, $2)
Much like Miles Mikolas last season, Kelly is returning to the MLB after finding success in Asia. He threw 190 innings in the KBO last season with 189 strikeouts and a 0.8 HR/9 (notable in a league best known for its home run hitters). Also, like Giolito, he can apparently hit 97 on the radar gun.
Domingo German (51%, $3)
German first caught my eye in this fascinating piece by Jeff Sullivan. Let me type out the title for you: Domingo German Seems Incredibly Talented. And now it looks like he’s finally getting an opportunity with Luis Severino and CC Sabathia set to start the season on the IL. Dude has serious strikeout upside.
Michael Pineda (58%, $3)
Remember him? Me neither. He’s returning from Tommy John and knee surgeries after missing all of last season. But he seems to be healthy, he’s thrown 7 innings so far this spring. His fastball is apparently sitting at 94-95 MPH. He continues to have big strikeout potential.
Th-th-th-that’s all folks! Now someone come hand feed me Shake Shack while I take a nap.
(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)