As I did last year, today I’ll be taking a look at some players I would be targeting in ottoneu (specifically FGPts, but the advice works for all formats) as both a title contender and a rebuilding team. There are plenty more targets than just the ones I’m naming here, but this group is a good start.
Kyle Schwarber– This may be the absolute nadir of Schwarber’s value given his recent demotion to AAA, but that just means this might be the best and possibly last time you can buy him. I fully expect him to fix whatever’s wrong with his bat (even if nothing was wrong and he’s just been unlucky/pressing) down in Iowa and play a key role in the heart of the Cubs lineup in the second half. He may not be the top 15 OF we thought he was in the preaseason , but that potential is still there.
Domingo Santana– I’ve long been a fan of Santana, and while he hasn’t had an explosive breakout yet, he’s continued to make incremental improvements. This season that improvement has been a reduction in strikeouts (down to 26.5% from 32.4% last season), and Santana is looking more and more like the poor man’s version of George Springer.
Greg Bird– I know what you’re thinking, isn’t Bird completely broken right now? Yes, he’s played just 19 games for the Yankees this season after missing all of ’16 with a shoulder injury, and just suffered a setback during his rehab assignment. Bird is also the young Yankees slugger that was the talk of spring training, hitting eight home runs and walking more than he struck out, before Aaron Judge decided he was sick of playing second fiddle to Bird and Gary Sanchez and went HAM on the American League. It may be too late for Bird to contribute much this season, but like Schwarber this may be the perfect buy low opportunity for teams looking ahead to next year.
Rhys Hoskins– For those ottoneu owners that put stock in projections, Hoskins is the current minor leaguer with the best rest of season wOBA projection (.350) according to Steamer, which is nearly identical to the projections for Brandon Belt and Eric Hosmer. That probably makes Hoskins a good target for re-builders and contenders alike, except for the uncertainty around when Hoskins receives a call up to the majors.
Julio Urias– If there’s one theme of today’s post it’s buying low on players who are injured or under performing. Urias has been a little bit of both, struggling early this season in AAA and with the Dodgers, and is now on the shelf with a shoulder issue. He did show signs of life after being demoted back to AAA, but then promptly got hurt. The Dodgers are likely to treat their prized young pitcher with kid gloves the rest of the season given his injury and general innings limit, so Urias may not be much of a factor in the short term, but there are very few young pitchers with the tremendous upside that Julio offers.
Mike Trout– If the team that owns Trout finds themselves slipping out of contention, you may be able to buy him at a pretty decent discount. There’s no denying that trading for Trout carries some risk given his thumb injury, but Mike Trout cares little for such mortal considerations. You may only get to plug him into your lineup 50% of the remaining season, but adding replacement level production for the remaining games makes Trout more valuable than any OF not named Bryce Harper (and possibly Aaron Judge).
Miguel Cabrera– Miggy hasn’t been “Miggy” in 2017, but despite some news that Cabrera has been dealing with a myriad of injuries this season I’m still a buyer. Last year I highlighted Joey Votto ( .295 wOBA at the time of the article, .438 the rest of the season) and Justin Upton (.271 wOBA at the time of the article, .343 to rest of the season) as contender targets, and Cabrera fits that same mold in my opinion.
Andrew McCutchen– Another player that fits that mold of slumping veteran is McCutchen, though in fairness Cutch has been showing signs of life. He may never be the same player as he was in his prime, but there’s also a chance his owner in your league is too focused on his poor ’16 (.329 wOBA) and start to this year (.302 wOBA through 5/31) and is ready to cut bait.
Manny Machado– The Orioles young superstar is too talented to continue putting up a .319 wOBA the rest of the season, especially since given his Depth Chart rest of season projections (.362 wOBA). It may be a good idea to touch base with the Machado owner in your league and see if he’s willing to sell him at a discount, you can never have too many quality SS/MI.
Robbie Ray– Unlike the other names on this list, Ray hasn’t been injured or disappointing, and if anything has been outperforming his peripherals (2.87 ERA vs a 3.42 FIP/ 3.59 xFIP). So why am I targeting him? It has everything to do with the new humidor that is planned for Arizona. Alan Nathan suggests that a humidor would reduce home runs at Chase Field by 25-50 percent, an absolutely massive shift for a park that currently plays as one of the better hitters havens in baseball. That would be an enormous boon to a pitcher like Ray who pitches half the time at Chase and is currently generating less than 40% groundballs, and you can see the projected effect for all Arizona players in this article from Andrew Perpetua.
Who else are you targeting right now in trade talks? Let me know in the comments!
Justin is a life long Cubs fan who has been playing fantasy baseball for 20+ years, and an ottoneu addict since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @justinvibber.