Potential Playoff Risers – National League

The playoffs are a great time for all of us to collectively watch the best the game has to offer and when they have major performances, it can stick with us. Those memorable moments are fun, but they can result in a Playoff Tax for us as the fantasy draft table the following year. This isn’t inherently bad as there are plenty of times when these showcases make us look deeper into a player and realize he’s someone we want on our team.

I remember seeing the exact moment that Walker Buehler skyrocketed up draft boards in October 2018:

He ended up going 12th among starters in Main Event drafts, so I was pretty close.

American League version

Here’s one player from each National League team who could make a big move with a strong October performance (ranging from studs to low/mid-tier options for deeper leagues):

LOS ANGELES DODGERS: Edwin Ríos

Rios has put together a pair of fantastic small samples the last two years totaling 139 PA with a .260/.338/.634 line, 12 HR, 25 RBI, and 23 R. Obviously, that’s a pretty small number of plate appearances, but I’d note that the power isn’t new as he popped 31 HR in 444 PA at Triple-A last year (admittedly with the rabbit ball) and has a career .244 ISO in 1840 minor league PA. A big postseason would generate some big interest in Rios who could position himself for a starting role in 2021 with Justin Turner, Joc Pederson, and Enrique Hernández all free agents after this season.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS: Daniel Vogelbach

The Brewers were Vogey’s third team in 2020 and the only one he was able to do something with as he put up a 164 wRC+ in 67 PA thanks to 4 HR and a .417 BABIP. I tend to think Vogelbach is who he is – which is a low-AVG power bat who can take enough walks for a passable OBP – but a HR barrage would definitely generate some newfound interest in the slugger. Of course, I’m not sure the Brewers will get more than 2-3 games in the playoffs so his chances could be limited.

MIAMI MARLINS: Sandy Alcantara

I could’ve put Sixto Sánchez here, but his regular season will fuel a substantial tax on its own, so I think Alcantara is more likely to get a Playoff Tax. He followed up a 3.88 ERA/1.32 WHIP from 2019 with a 3.00/1.19 combo in 42 innings during the regular season which will push his price up, but a showcase postseason would send the price way up. I had Alcantara 47th in my early SP rankings. If he goes off in a deep playoff run, he’ll push into the top 30-35.

CHICAGO CUBS: Javier Báez

Given how poorly his regular season went (57 wRC+) we should see a substantial drop in his price come 2021 draft season, but if he goes off in the playoffs he’ll jump right back up as I suspect his regular season will be sloughed off as more of an outlier than reason for future concern.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: Dylan Carlson

Whereas I had Gleyber Torres on my AL list before he had a big game 1, I made a calculated change here with St. Louis after seeing Carlson go 2-for-3 with 2 BB. Carlson put up a paltry .200/.252/.364 line in his 119 PA debut which is likely to tank his price given how the fantasy community often treats prospects who don’t dominate out of the gate. He can change all that with a big October (which stinks because I am so ready to draft him everywhere at a massive discount) and he’s off to a big start.

SAN DIEGO PADRES: Jake Cronenworth

I know, I know, I don’t shut up about Cronenworth, but I’m a huge fan. I think his strong rookie campaign (125 wRC+ in 192 PA) will do plenty to push him way up in drafts, but if the Padres come back against St. Louis and make a run with Cronenworth being instrumental, then his draft price will go way up (and I’ll probably still pay it). He already ripped a triple and got a stolen base in the first game!

CINCINNATI REDS: none

I had a bit on Tyler Mahle, but the Reds were dispatched 2-0 by the Braves before I finished this so I’m not even going to pretend any of their guys will experience a Playoff Tax.

ATLANTA BRAVES: Marcell Ozuna

Ozuna had an excellent MVP-caliber season which will obviously raise 96th overall pick ADP from the summer Main Events, but I think a home run-laden October could make him a firm 2nd rounder come 2021 drafts. As it stands now, I’m thinking he’ll be in the 4th-5th round area. I’m eager to see where he goes in free agency this offseason.





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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Salty

This probably happened after you had already written the article, but I wonder if Ian Anderson may become the most interesting ATL riser. If things stand as they do, he’ll be coming off a great start vs CIN, with a start vs MIA on the docket. If ATL gets through that series, he could be staring at a start vs Kershaw or Buehler in the NLCS. He has the potential to pile up the Wins and Ks, and maybe jump into the top 50 SP discussion with some built up post-season hype in some fantasy players’ minds.