Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: April 16, 2015

Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation as well as the best teams to use for stacks for Thursday’s four-game evening slate on DraftKings. There are two afternoon games and four evening games. We’ve also got projections derived from Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections, and we have rankings of the top plays at each position.

Pitching Perspective

Here are our projections for today’s starters. You’ll see each starter’s salary, his opponent color coded to denote quality of matchup, the average number of fantasy points the starter is projected to score per game and how far above or below average his projection is compared to his salary in the value column. As for the colors, they rank as follows from good to bad: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, burgundy.

A short slate for Thursday’s late contests provide daily fantasy players with just four games to choose from. Out of the eight pitchers toeing the rubber, the two aces — Madison Bumgarner and Cole Hamels — demand more than $10,000 of your salary cap, but the other six will cost you less than $8,000 each.

According to our model, Bumgarner and Hamels are projected to be the highest scoring hurlers on the night — which makes sense given their respective salaries — but neither grade out to be good values. Vegas pegs the Giants as the biggest favorites of the night (-175) and their contest with the Diamondbacks has an over/under of just 6 runs, tied with the Nationals/Phillies for the lowest total of the slate.

Given that, if you want to go safe for cash games, a combination of Madison Bumgarner and Doug Fister looks to be in play. Or you could run out Cole Hamels and Archie Bradley to stay in the $17K range for pitching to save enough for some more expensive bats. Bumgarner and Hamels are obviously an option, but that will make it tough to fill out your lineup with the top lumber.

Doug Fister ($7,700), Dillon Gee ($7,100) and Chris Archer ($7,500) grade out the best among options under $8K, but I’d probably roster Fister in cash and tournaments and only consider the other two for tournaments.

Stack Options

You can download our hitter projections here. These projections are not matchup adjusted, but each player’s projected wOBA against left and right handed pitching is included to help with matchup decisions. 

The Rays and Blue Jays square off again in Toronto this evening with a slate-high total of 8 runs, according to Vegas. With a nice amount of runs likely to cross the plate and our projection model’s love for the Jays’ offense tonight — the following four batters rank among the top ten — Toronto seems like a logical, but probably popular stack to run out there. Jose Bautista ($4,900), Edwin Encarnacion ($5,100), Josh Donaldson ($4,400) and Jose Reyes ($4,600), despite facing Chris Archer — one of the better arms in tonight’s games — are the four primary targets for cash games. Those in the BvP crowd may tell you to lay off Jose Bautista because he’s 2-for-21  with a .095/.200/.095 slash line in his career against Archer, so there are a couple of alternatives. Dalton Pompey’s price dropped to $3,800 after a fine night on the diamond, so he makes for a nice value play along with Justin Smoak at $3,400 if you want exposure to the Jays without having to pay up for the meat of their order.

In the same game, but for tournaments, I could get on board with some lefty bats on the Rays against right-hander Aaron Sanchez to get a slice of that run total. David DeJesus ($3,800), Kevin Keirmaier ($4,600) and switch-hitting Asdrubal Cabrera ($4,000) are some singletons that might make sense if you’re trying piece together your lineup, but a stack of the assumed top four in their lineup (DeJesus, Souza, Cabrera, Longoria and even Desmond Jennings if you stretch it to five) is what it would look like.

The Nationals’ foursome of Ian Desmond ($4,000), Jayson Werth ($4,300), Ryan Zimmerman ($4,100) and Bryce Harper ($4,000) grade out well against left-hander Cole Hamels. So if you’re going to trot out Doug Fister or avoid using Cole Hamels as a starter in a lineup, this stack seems like a fine option. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton ($4,800) and Christian Yelich ($4,100) also grade out well, so you could pair them up with Dee Gordon ($4,700) and Martin Prado ($3,300) against Dillon Gee of the Mets. And again, for the BvP crowd, Marcell Ozuna is 5-for-10 in his career against Dillon Gee, so he is also in play at $3,800, especially if Yelich is out again.

Player Rankings


1. Buster Posey – $4,300 – San Francisco Giants
2. Wilson Ramos – $3,400 – Washington Nationals
3. Travis d’Arnaud – $3,700 – New York Mets
4. Jarrod Saltalamacchia – $3,400 – Miami Marlins

First Base

1. Paul Goldschmidt – $4.600 – Arizona Diamondbacks
2. Edwin Encarnacion – $5,100 – Toronto Blue Jays
3. Lucas Duda – $4,300 – New York Mets
4. Justin Smoak – $3,400 – Toronto Blue Jays

Second Base

1. Martin Prado – $3,300 – Miami Marlins
2. Devon Travis – $3,200 – Toronto Blue Jays
3. Aaron Hill – $3,000 – Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Daniel Murphy – $3,900 – New York Mets

Third Base

1. Ryan Zimmerman – $4,100 – Washington Nationals
2. Josh Donaldson – $4,400 – Toronto Blue Jays
3. Evan Longoria – $4,500 – Tampa Bay Rays
4. Jake Lamb – $3,500 – Arizona Diamondbacks

Short Stop

1. Jose Reyes – $4,600 – Toronto Blue Jays
2. Ian Desmond – $4,000 – Washington Nationals
3. Matt Duffy – $3,000 – San Francisco Giants
4. Nick Ahmed – $2,300 – Arizona Diamondbacks (punt play)


1. Giancarlo Stanton – $4,800 – Miami Marlins
2. Bryce Harper – $4,000 – Washington Nationals
3. Jose Bautista – $4,900 – Toronto Blue Jays
4. Christian Yelich – $4,100 0 Miami Marlins
5. Mark Trumbo – $3,600 – Arizona Diamondbacks
6. Steven Souza/Desmond Jennings – $4,500/$4,300 – Tampa Bay Rays
7. Ben Revere – $3,800 – Philadelphia Phillies

Starting Pitchers

1. Madison Bumgarner – $10,500 – San Francisco Giants
2. Doug Fister – $7,700 – Washington Nationals
3.  Archie Bradley – $6,400 – Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Cole Hamels – $10,000 – Philadelphia Phillies
5. Aaron Sanchez – $5,600 – Toronto Blue Jays

2015 Fantasy Baseball, Week 2 Tools of the Trade: Mookie Betts’ Value On The Rise

TheFantasyFix.com’s “Tools of the Trade” is a unique guide for owners to use while attempting to make an even trade with their league-mates in a standard 12-team mixed, 5×5 head-to-head or rotisserie redraft league.

The values present in this guide are simply the basis for a trade. A full-blown analysis of each team’s strengths and weaknesses are essential prior to proposing or accepting a trade offer.

How to use the guide: Ideally, owners will agree to a trade that will aid both sides and stay within $2-3 of each other in a one-for-one and $4-5 in a multi-player deal, according to our chart. Players not noted should be considered $1 players.

Here’s the chart:
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Fantasy Baseball Final: April 9, 2015

There were 9 games slated to be played this Thursday in April as the majority of Major League Baseball wraps up their opening series before heading into the first full weekend of the season. The two ball clubs to make it out of the American League Central last season (The Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals) are off to a strong start, both sweeping their first three-game-series of the year. The AL Central is arguably one of the toughest divisions in baseball with the much improved Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox, so jumping out ahead in the standings bodes well for the defending American League Champion Royals and the Tigers, who have finished first in the AL Central Division the last four straight years.

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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: April 8, 2015

Editor’s Note: There appears to be some significant weather issues this evening, so keep an eye on this closely and try to avoid some players that may get rained out — especially pitchers.

Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation for Wednesday’s 13-game slate on DraftKings as well as the best teams to use for stacks. We’ve also got projections derived from Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections, and we have rankings of the top plays at each position.

Pitching Perspective

Here are our projections for today’s starters. You’ll see each starter’s salary, some information about the quality of his opponent, the average number of fantasy points the starter is projected to score per game and how far above or below average his projection is compared to his salary in the value column. As for the colors, they rank as follows from good to bad: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, burgundy.

Like Tuesday, there are no pitchers on the bump that exceed a DraftKings salary of $10,000. This should provide some opportunities for daily fantasy players to bust out their wallets and spend a bit more on hitters.

The most expensive hurler for the slate is Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann who is in play at home against the Metropolitans. Zimmermann comes in as one of the bigger favorites (-150) with one of the lowest run lines (6.5) on the day according to Vegas. The right-hander will find his way into some of my cash lineups, but not may not be in some of my tournament lineups due to a pretty high expected ownership rate and some other values I like on the hill.

One of my favorite plays of the Wednesday slate is Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole. He’s projected for the most DraftKings points tomorrow according to our projection model, but owns just the fourth-highest salary ($8,600) among starting pitchers. Although the Pirates are just a slight favorite as of this writing (-115) with a run line that sits at seven, Cole stands to fare well against a Reds’ offense that posted just an 82 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers in ’14 — the third-worst mark against RHP in the first division. I’ll be laying down $8,600 for Cole in both cash and tournament lineups.

Other arms I’ll be looking to mix-and-match tomorrow are Jacob deGrom ($8,500), Matt Shoemaker ($7,700), Shelby Miller ($7,200) and Rick Porcello ($6,900). Of the four, Rick Porcello’s projection and salary make for one of the best values on our board. And Porcello’s new contract make for a fair narrative tomorrow as well.

According to our chart, Brandon McCarthy ($7,900) seems to carry decent value, but that would be against the Padres’ lineup from last season, which obviously fails to exist. Same goes for Tom Koehler ($6.500) against a new-look Braves squad. If anything they make for some risky tournament plays, so proceed with caution.

Stack Options

The highest total of the day is nine in the Arizona/San Francisco game. The Diamondbacks will throw Jeremy Hellickson against the Giants’ Chris Heston who will be recalled to take Matt Cain’s spot who just hit the 15-day disabled list. Both of these arms are listed among the lowest projected starters this evening, so we can pick on them first. Coincidentally, Paul Goldschmidt ($5,100) is the highest projected bat on our chart for the day and gets to face Heston. Parlay Goldschmidt with David Peralta ($3,800), Mark Trumbo ($4,100) and Jake Lamb ($3,700) in your tournament lineups. From the other dugout, Buster Posey ($4,400) and Angel Pagan ($3,900) grade out the best, so a Nori Aoki ($3,600), Joe Panik ($3,200), Buster Posey, Angel Pagan stack could work for tourneys too.

The Red Sox/Phillies come in with the second-highest total on the board for the day (8.5), so trying to work in a Boston stack against Aaron Harang could be the way to go. Mookie Betts ($4,300), Dustin Pedroia ($4,000), David Ortiz ($4,500) and Hanley Ramirez ($4,800) are a rather expensive group to roster, but after saving some cash on the mound, you may be able to pull it off. All of the above players grade out nicely today according to our projections.

Pittsburgh looks to have some stack value on in today’s slate, but this is one of the games that could be threatened by weather. Andrew McCutchen ($5,200) and Starling Marte ($4,700) grade out the best, so connecting them in your lineup with Gregory Polanco ($4,000) and Neil Walker ($4,200) seem like a good bet against Mike Leake.

And again, we’re going back to Milwaukee to stack the Brew Crew against the Rockies’ rookie arm, Eddie Butler. In facing another righty, we’re looking at a Carlos Gomez ($5,100), Jonathan Lucroy ($4,200), Adam Lind ($4,000) and Aramis Ramirez ($4,100) stack. Khris Davis ($4.200) actually grades out better than Ramirez, so if you’d like to skip on Aramis to get to Khris — or run both out — that could be a fine option too. With just two runs in the past two games against the Rockies, some folks may be getting cold feet rostering these guys again, so it could be the perfect time for a tournament stack with the hopes that ownership is down, but I don’t think that will be the case.

Lastly, if you want to pick on another one of the lowest projected pitchers for the day, you could roll out a lefty heavy Indians’ lineups against Scott Feldman. A Bourn, Kipnis, Brantley, Santana stack should do the trick. Consider Brandon Moss in play as well, but he’ll likely be hitting lower in the order resulting in fewer at bats.

Here are out hitter projections for the day, which can be downloaded here.

Player Rankings


1. Buster Posey ($4,400) – San Francisco Giants
2. Carlos Santana ($4,300) – Cleveland Indians
3. Jonathan Lucroy ($4,200) – Milwaukee Brewers
4. Christian Bethancourt ($2,900) – Atlanta Braves

First Base

1. Paul Goldschmidt ($5,100) – Arizona Diamondbacks
2. David Ortiz ($4,500) – Boston Red Sox
3. Edwin Encarnacion ($5,000) – Toronto Blue Jays
4. Adam Lind ($4,000) – Milwaukee Brewers
5. Freddie Freeman ($4,500) – Atlanta Braves

Second Base

1. Dustin Pedroia ($4,000) – Boston Red Sox
2. Robinson Cano/Jose Altuve ($4,500) – Seattle Mariners/Houston Astros
3. Joe Panik ($3,200) – San Francisco Giants
4. Scooter Gennett ($3,800) – Milwaukee Brewers
5. Jace Peterson ($3,100) – Atlanta Braves

Third Base

1. Josh Donaldson ($4,700) – Toronto Blue Jays
2. Nolan Arenado ($4,300) – Colorado Rockies
3. Xander Bogaerts/Jake Lamb ($3,700) – Boston Red Sox/Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Chris Davis ($4,000) – Baltimore Orioles
5. Aramis Ramirez ($4,100) – Milwaukee Brewers


1. Hanley Ramirez ($4,800)/Xander Bogaerts ($3,700) – Boston Red Sox
2. Troy Tulowitzki ($5,100) – Colorado Rockies
3. Joe Panik ($3,200) – San Francisco Giants
4. Jose Reyes ($4,500) – Toronto Blue Jays


1. Mike Trout ($5,400) – Los Angeles Angels
2. Andrew McCutchen ($5,100) – Pittsburgh Pirates
3. Jose Bautista ($5,000) – Toronto Blue Jays
4. Carlos Gomez ($5,100) – Milwaukee Brewers
5. Mark Trumbo ($4,200) – Arizona Diamondbacks
6. David Peralta ($3,800) – Arizona Diamondbacks

Starting Pitcher

1. Gerrit Cole ($8,600) – Pittsburgh Pirates
2. Jordan Zimmermann ($9,200) – Washington Nationals
3. Rick Porcello ($6,900) – Boston Red Sox
4. Jacob deGrom ($8,500) – New York Mets
5. Shelby Miller ($7,200) – Atlanta Braves
6. Matt Shoemaker ($7,700) – Los Angeles Angels

Fantasy Baseball Final: April 7, 2015

Welcome to the TheFantasyFix.com’s nightly fantasy baseball recap, where you’ll find updates on bullpen usage, lineup construction, injuries, and transactions. No matter the format, we got you covered with everything you need to know to help you win your league.

We had eight games scheduled for our second day of baseball, though one of them, St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs, was postponed. Though just a day into the season, the Giants are already without two of their top starting pitchers. Jake Peavy was scratched from tonights with what the Giants called “back trouble”, but for now he’s scheduled to make his next start, so hopefully its nothing too serious. As for Matt Cain, he was placed on the 15 Day DL earlier today with a flexor tendon strain in his right elbow. Cain was slated to start Wednesday’s game against the Diamondbacks, but the Giants have recalled starting pitcher Chris Heston from Triple-A to make his start.

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Rusney Castillo’s Demotion and What it Means for the Red Sox Outfield


This post was written exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com by Brendan Slean.

The Red Sox logjam in the outfield got a little more clarity on Thursday with the demotion of Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, 27 years-old, to Triple-A Pawtucket. Castillo, who missed the first two weeks of spring training with a strained oblique, was in a battle with Shane Victorino for the final Red Sox starting outfield spot. However, manager John Farrell has stated since the beginning of spring training that if Victorino was healthy, he would be the starting right fielder.
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2015 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit: Texas Rangers Team Preview

This post was written exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com by Brian Dunshee.

Offseason Overview

The Texas Rangers were victims of the injury bug in 2014, and 2015 is starting off much better. Ranger’s players spent more time on disabled than any other team with 2116 days lost, as Hardball Times shows here. The team went into the season with high hopes thanks to new faces Prince Fielder and Shin Soo-Choo. Fielder was one of the most reliable players in baseball when it came to staying healthy, missing only one game from 2009-2013. In 2014, Fielder was limited to 42 games thanks to a neck injury, and his season came to an end in late May. Though the season has yet to start, the Rangers already lost their ace Yu Darvish to Tommy John surgery. In an effort to recover from this devastating loss to the rotation, the Rangers acquired Yovani Gallardo from the Milwaukee Brewers, and he will be their opening day starter. The impact to the team of the loss of Darvish cannot be overstated, as he was one of baseball’s very best pitchers the last three seasons. A lot of things need to go right for the Rangers this season as they try to win their first AL West title since 2011.

Top Draft Picks
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2015 Fantasy Baseball: Coco Crisp Injury and Potential Replacements

Article written exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com by Mick Grilli.

While having your lead-off hitter go down for 6 to 8 weeks on the precipice of a new season is difficult for any team to overcome, the Oakland Athletics will miss veteran Coco Crisp’s leadership more than his actual on-field production as he rehabs from elbow surgery.

Crisp played a vital role in the A’s recent playoff pushes in 2012 and 2013, but saw a pretty staggering 80 point dip in his OPS in 2014, putting him below league average for only the second time since coming to Oakland back in 2010. Crisp’s defense also suffered last season in terms of most defensive metrics. He had been an above average defender for the majority of his career, but on the wrong side of 30, Oakland had already been planning to play Coco in leftfield as opposed to center.

With Billy Beane at the helm, the Oakland A’s are always exploring the trade market and combing the waiver wire to improve their ball club; however, the team has viable options for replacing Crisp right in-house at the major league level. Manager Bob Melvin had been planning on using a righty/lefty platoon of Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry in Centerfield, and both men possess at least the speed to fill in that slot at the top of the lineup.
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2015 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Boston Red Sox Team Preview

Offseason Overview

After missing the playoffs for the second time in the past three seasons, the Boston Red Sox added some new faces to a lineup that didn’t live up to expectations in 2014. Along with Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, the Red Sox welcomed Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, and Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to the mix in Boston. The Red Sox turned an average offense into what may be one of the best in baseball; and they’re hopeful that their starting rotation is good enough to lead them back into the playoffs in a wide-open AL East.

Top Draft Picks
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2015 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Cincinnati Reds Team Preview

This post was written exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com by Brian Dunshee.

Offseason Overview

The Cincinnati Reds enter the 2015 season with a lot of question marks surrounding the team and they direction they’re headed. With high expectations the Reds had a disastrous 2014 season. Injury limited their best player, Joey Votto, to only 62 games, while Jay Bruce took a huge step back offensively with a paltry .217 average and only 18 home runs. One positive from this past season was the emergence of Devin Mesoraco as one of the game’s best catchers, as he put up 25 homers and 80 RBI with a .273 batting average. The Reds stating pitching took ahit this offseason as they traded away Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon, before acquiring Marlon Byrd to be their starting left fielder. The Reds still have a talented team, but the lack of depth is concerning and their window to compete for the playoffs in the National League’s Central Division may have closed for now. If the Reds start slow, we may seem them dangling ace Johnny Cueto and shutdown closer Aroldis Chapman for young player to build for the future.

Top Draft Picks

Johnny Cueto (SP): The NL CY Young runner up took a huge step forward last year and solidified himself as one of baseball’s best pitchers. Cueto topped 200 innings for just the second time in his career (243.2 IP), but more impressively he struck out 242 hitters. Cueto ranked second in baseball with 20 wins last season, while also ranking fourth with a 2.24 ERA, alhough peripherals suggest theremay have been some luck involved (3.30 FIP), it is hard to argue with the success he has had with Cincinnati. Injuries have always been the concern with Cueto. (see 11 starts in 2013) If you’re going to draft Cueto, do so with caution. Every pitcher comes with risk, especially those with a history of destroying fantasy seasons because of injury. If you like taking pitching early in a draft, Cueto could be the ace that you’re looking for, without having to pay the first round price of Clayton Kershaw or Felix Hernandez. His average draft position in ESPN leagues right now is about 33rd overall, just ahead of fellow aces Zack Greinke and Jordan Zimmermann.

Aroldis Chapman (RP): There is no denying that Aroldis Chapman is one of the best closers, if not the best closer, in all of baseball. Not only does Chapman blow triple digits fastball by hitters, he has nasty slider that sits in the high 80s making it almost unfair for hitters. Save numbers are always a matter of opportunity, but Chapman should be among the league leaders in saves. His garish 17.67 strikeouts per nine innings will also assure your team of 100+ strikeouts. Last year, Chapman was an All Star and finished the season with an even 2.00 ERA. Interestingly, the Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) shows that he was actually over a run better than what his ERA showed (0.89). If you give merit to taking a lights out closer early in the draft, Chapman is your guy.

High Upside (Sleepers)

Anthony Desclafani (SP): Desclafani was recently named to the Reds starting rotation, and they’re hoping that he can make the best of this opportunity following his trade from the Miami Marlins as part of the Mat Latos deal. Though some predict that he will end up in the bullpen, Eno Sarris boldy predicts here that Desclafani will have a season that trumps his minor league numbers. He also notes that while Desclafani has two solid pitches in his fastball and slider, his changeup is still a work in progress but looks like its developing into a solid third pitch. He has proven that he can miss bats, and if he can develop the changeup into at least an average pitch, he’s going to strike out a lot of batters. You’ll be able to take him very late in most drafts and bet on his upside.

Jay Bruce (OF): Sleeper? Jay Bruce? Everyone hurt themselves jumping off the Jay Bruce bandwagon last year. For the novice owners, who only look at numbers he won’t even be a consideration. Savvy owners will still bet on the upside of a player that produced three 30 homerun seasons in a row prior from 2011-2013. During those years he never drove in less than 95 runs, proving to be one of the best slugging fantasy outfielders. A case could be made that the drop in production was a direct relation to the knee surgery that he had in early May that sidelined him for a few weeks, as he never seemed comfortable during the year. Bet on him turning things around with Votto in the lineup. With owners focusing on last year’s numbers he may be one of the better steals that you can get in the middle of your draft.

High Downside (Busts)

Todd Frazier (3B): Frazier busted out in 2014 and became only the third third-baseman in Cincinnati Reds history to post a 20-20 season. It’s rare in baseball nowadays to find a third baseman with that kind of pop and that kind of speed; although I am not totally sold on a repeat of those numbers. Throughout his career leading up to last season, including the minors, Frazier never topped 20 home runs or 20 stolen bases. Players often have this one breakout season in their late twenties before regressing back to their mean numbers, and I believe that’s what will happen with Frazier. I do believe Frazier is a good bet to top 20 home runs again, I wouldn’t put too much stock in him doing the same in the stolen base category. ZIPS projects Frazier to hit 25 home runs along with 84 RBI and 14 stolen bases, along with posting a triple slash line of .258/.323/.454. Still a solid season but he may be an overdraft in many leagues.

Closer Situation

The aforementioned Chapman is nearly unhittable and is referred to by most as the best closing option in fantasy. If the Reds happen to fall in the standings in July, don’t be shocked if the Reds try to get the best value for Chapman and move him to a contending team. The price would have to be staggering, but if they make the decision o rebuild he is their best chip to begin the process. You won’t have to worry about him losing fantasy value, of course, as it is unlikely that any team would pay the price the Reds will ask for and not him their closer. In a deeper league or in case you are in need of saves, it might be smart to handcuff Chapman with setup man Sam Lecure. As our own closer chart shows here, Lecure seems to be next in line in case of a trade or an injury to the Cuban Missile.

Impact Minor Leaguers

The immediate impact you’ll see this season from the Reds system is Rasiel Iglesis, a hard throwing pitcher who has already been named to the starting rotation. Iglesis’ fastball has been clocked in short stints at 97mph. Some think he might end up being the eventual closer if the Reds can’t re-sign Chapman when his deal is up, or, if he struggles as a starter and they decide to trade Chapman. As for the rest of the system, there isn’t a whole lot of help that you’ll see this season. Keep an eye on how Robert Stephenson, one of the organizations best young arms, develops this year in the minors. The Reds are hoping that they have a future ace in Stephenson, but he is going to need to take a big step forward this year after struggling to find his control throughout last season.