Fantasy Baseball

2019 Fantasy Baseball Rankings Review: High and Low guys outside the Top 100

The regular season has technically begun, and official opening day is within touching distance. Drafts have been in full swing and starting to wind up. The rankings on the site continue to be updated (probably more frequently than we’d hope due to the late rash of injuries) and it’s the last opportunity to highlight some guys I like and dislike more than my fellow Fantasy Fixers so like my previous two articles, I’m going to delve through the guys ranked 100 upwards who I’ve got significantly higher or lower than Alan and Todd and try to explain my reasoning.

Now there’s two important factors to quickly note. Firstly, I’m deliberately not including injured players as their variation in rankings is not really quantifiable and there are too many grey areas about them. Secondly, just remember the difference between 30-40 places later in the draft is much less significant than earlier. The difference between a first-round player and fifth-round player will be much greater than those in the 19th and 24th rounds. So, although I might have someone 40 spots higher than others, it isn’t that big of a difference in reality later on in the draft.

Here’s the players in question I’ll run through and give you my motives for their ranking difference.

Player Consensus My Rank Alan’s Rank Todd’s Rank
Amed Rosario 127 114 144 139
Brian Dozier 131 98 163 146
Chris Archer 148 187 129 137
Ian Desmond 149 106 178 173
Nick Pivetta 155 112 213 151
Jake Bauers 164 125 188 194
Cesar Hernandez 172 229 169 129
David Robertson 176 133 184 212
Billy Hamilton 189 134 271 175
Jorge Polanco 205 295 154 185

 

Amed Rosario gets a bump up from me as I think he’s become a forgotten guy, especially after the Mets’ moves this offseason. He entered the 2018 season as a viable cheap source of steals and was a top 10 prospect not so long ago. He had a slow start to the season, but his second half yielded 20 stolen bases and a .265 batting average. All the projection models have him with double digits homers, 20+ steals and a consensus batting average of .260ish. If his second half is what he is, those steals will likely push 30+ and even hitting down the order, the Mets’ lineup is vastly improved and will still boost his counting stats.

Brian Dozier is someone I’m almost giving a mulligan to for last year after discovering he played almost all of the year with a bad knee, without ever going on the DL. I’m more inclined to look at his 2017 numbers as a fairer reflection of what he can do this year, so a 30 homer and 15 steal season is plausible but even a 25 homer and 10 steal year with a .250 average with the supporting cast he has is worthy of drafting in the mid rounds.

Chris Archer is someone I’ve almost given up on being a top starting pitcher option in drafts. Three straight years of an ERA north of four and a WHIP increasing to last year’s 1.36. He’s now playing for a team who is arguably the worst in their division (although the Pirates are still a solid team on paper). He’s being drafted nearer to the 2014/15 version and while the consistent strikeout numbers are nice, I don’t believe there’s enough upside there any more to warrant selecting him around the tenth to twelfth rounds.

Ian Desmond had a bad year. Yet he still put up another 20/20 season (which he only appears able to do alternate years nowadays). The numbers are a cause for concern (GB%, HR/FB%) so some regression is likely. But Desmond still gets to call Coors Field home and I wouldn’t bet against a repeat on last year, so if his average gets back to previous years’ then Desmond is a perfect all-round contributor in the middle rounds.

Nick Pivetta was unlucky in 2018. He had a 4.77 ERA, yet his FIP, xFIP and xERA were all 3.80 or less, suggesting his ERA could drop by one or more without much change to his approach. His curveball in 2018 was much better and ranked as his most valuable pitch, which also increased in usage during the season. If he continues to use it more and avoids walking under ladders or breaking any mirrors this year, he could easily end up as a top 30 starting pitcher, even more achievable with a better offense supporting him.

Jake Bauers is someone I’m expecting steals from in a position you don’t normally get steals from. He’s eligible as an outfielder and first baseman which gives nice flexibility and as I’m sure you’ve noticed in drafts; first base isn’t so deep once the early rounds are done. Bauers stole 30 bases in 182 Triple-A games and has flashed enough pop to make a 20/20 season possible. He’s as close to Ian Desmond is to being Ian Desmond and is worth considering drafting a round or two earlier than others will.

Cesar Hernandez’s value took a dip the last few days when the Phillies announced that McCutcheon would act as primary leadoff hitter. Hernandez’s main asset is his ability to take a walk, which if he’s hitting in the 6th or 7th spot, won’t be as useful in standard leagues as if he hit atop the order. He’ll likely lose around 70 plate appearances over the season as a result, which could deduct 12-15 runs as well as limit his stolen base opportunities. If you average ZiPS, Steamer and The Bat projections, Hernandez has 648 plate appearances with 11 homers, 16 steals, 80 runs and 51 RBIs. Taking some of those away with the fewer at-bats and with a .260 average, Hernandez becomes a pretty average player in standard leagues.

David Robertson I have ranked higher purely as I don’t believe the comments about the Phillies not using a single closer. Hector Neris was atrocious early last year and Seranthy Dominguez is a great option to bring out the ‘pen in key situations so Robertson can give stability in the ninth which the Phillies will likely want as the season progresses. The save opportunities should be plentiful too. Remember what the Mariners said about Hunter Strickland not being a “closer” before getting a save in back-to-back games in Tokyo……..

Billy Hamilton is someone I’ve never drafted as I don’t like drafting a one trick pony, especially in the first half of the draft (even if that one trick is so magical). But he’s finally found a home which suits him; a cavernous outfield and a smallball team. Soler is the only player on the team I’d consider likely to hit 20+ homers so they’ll need to manufacture runs, something the Royals have no problem with. They will need Hamilton to run at every opportunity and this should be the year he finally tops 60 steals and is possibly his best chance to eclipse 80.

Jorge Polanco has never hit more than 13 homers in any season (minors or majors) and has a 62.5% stolen base success rate. Although still young enough that growth is plausible, a 15/15 season is about the best you can realistically expect although a 12/12 year is probably nearer the mark. Despite being a switch hitter, he struggles against lefties so playing time losses could also be in his future. His value is tied into where he hits for the Twins and being an everyday player, neither of which I’m particularly confident about right now.

Those of you yet to draft, good luck and always feel free to reach out with any questions via Twitter.

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