Potential Playoff Risers – National League by Paul Sporer October 1, 2020 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: The playoff fantasy tax will have Walker Buehler regularly going among the top 10 SPs in fantasy drafts next year. — Paul Sporer (@sporer) October 27, 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.