Welcome to a new offseason series where I’ll be taking a closer look at all 30 teams via six different categories, all of which should be self-explanatory in terms of what they’ll cover: 3 Questions, Riser, Faller, A Move to Make (Signing or Trade), Playing Time Battle, and Prospect Contributors for 2020 (1 hitter/1 pitcher). I took all 30 teams and randomized the order since I couldn’t decide on an order myself. The Pirates are leading off!
What does Josh Bell do for an encore?
Only a groin injury could slow Bell’s massive power breakout. He put together a .946 OPS through five months before limping to the finish line with just 11 games and an .803 OPS. While his 2019 was a massive surge from 2018, it wasn’t the first time he showed capable power (.211 ISO in ’17) and he’s always had a strong plate approach (career 19% K, 12% BB) so I don’t see a major falloff even if the ball changes. I see 27-32 HR, a .275 AVG, and 90+ R/RBI.
Can Gregory Polanco finally stay healthy and breakthrough?
Polanco’s 2018 might already be his breakout (23 HR, 12 SB, 123 wRC+ in 535 PA), but even that season was shortened to 130 games, so his proponents are still holding out hope for a season like that or better in 150 games. Six IL stints over the last three seasons and a major shoulder issue this past season make it hard to see a particularly bright future here. He’ll be priced to buy in 2020, but a 20/10 ceiling feels right.
Is Chris Archer done as a viable fantasy starter?
Things came to a head for Archer last year as his walk and home run rates spiked resulting in a hideous 5.19 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 119.7 innings. The second half of his season wasn’t quite as bad with a 4.42 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 31% K offers some hope, especially the strikeouts, but if 4.42/1.29 is what we’re looking forward to, then yeah he kinda is done as a viable option in 10- and 12-team leagues. 15-teamers might find some streaming value. I will be eager to see what a new pitching coach in Pittsburgh can do for Archer and a with price at pick-250 or later, he might be a decent late round gamble.
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