It has been an interesting week for the “Hot Stove”. The Winter Meetings have come to an end and at this point it’s getting to be difficult to remember all of the moves that have taken place.
Regardless of that I am going to try my best to give you a few cheap upside sleepers for the 2016 Fantasy Baseball season.
Shortstop is proving to be a difficult position to find sleepers in. After last season there are more big time short stops but, everyone knows these guys and everyone loves their production which is going to cause a bidding war. That being said while everyone else has Correa, Lindor, Seager, Tulo, Bogaerts, Zobrist, Reyes, Crawford, Castro & Ian Desmond as the top 10 Shortstops on their lists…a lot of money will be spent there.
Today I will go over some good options for your team in case you want to focus more of your auction money in other places.
- Elvis Andrus, TEX – Andrus has been criticized the last few years due to his poor production in those 5 category Roto formats for hitting. Glad I prefer H2H Points leagues. If you take a closer look at Elvis’s production outside of the main categories you will see his value. At 27 years old he is just now entering his “Prime Years”. Although last year he primarily hit seventh in a productive lineup he still had 600+ Plate appearances. First thing to notice is he has a very good batters eye as he had a 7% walk rate compared to his 11.8% k rate you have a very desirable player already he walks a lot and does not k a lot. On pitches in the strike zone he has a z contact rate of 93% which is above average for making contact. That explains the low k rate. As far as BABIP is concerned he posted a .283 last season. That was the first time in his MLB career that it was below .305. I think this should correct itself back to the norm. Andrus has 6 straight seasons of posting 150+ hits. I have to admit I was surprised about that stat. Andrus can give you the following stats next year 150 Hits, 70 runs, 30 2B, 2 3B, 25 SB, 50 BB Seems like a solid choice to be worthy of being a starting shortstop especially since a lot of owners who want to see more “power #’s” are tired and done with him. He very well might be only a few dollars at the end of an auction
- Addison Russell, CHC – Addison is a former top prospect that made his debut with the crowded Chicago Cubs Middle infield group. With Starlin Castro gone (traded to Yankees) Addison is slated to take over the shortstop position with new addition Ben Zobrist at second. With Rizzo at First, Kris Bryant at Third, Soler with Hayward and Schwarber in the outfield makes this an unbelievably potent lineup. On paper they look like a lock to win the World Series. That being said Russell has the job at short with Zobrist at 2nd. Javier Baez is the wild card. We will see what happens with him. Though Russell was hitting 9th last season after the pitcher it becomes a bonus leadoff hitter after the first time through the order. He needs to get his K rate down from the 28.5% he had last year, this should eventually drop to the mid-teens like he had through most of the minors once he starts to figure out pitchers on this level. Addison should provide you with very nice counting stats in hits, runs, doubles, homeruns, RBI’s and BB’s.
- Alcides Escobar, KC – Ah the little known starting shortstop for the World Series Champions, Escobar does nothing great but he does everything well. The first thing that stands out to me that is fantasy relevant is that this dude puts the bat on the ball. His strike out % is low but so is his walk rates. His BABIP last season was .286 not bad but, not good either. This seems very low to me so I took a look at his past seasons BABIP and it looks like he was well over the .300 mark sometimes around .340. That being said he is definitely a bounce back candidate for me he puts the bat on the ball so if his luck turns next year this could end up being your “got him for nothin” guy. Another guy who will provide 150+ hits, 75 runs, 20 doubles, 50 RBI’s and about 20 steals.
If he is sitting there at the end of the draft and you find yourself needing a shortstop or a Middle Infielder. Grab him. You won’t be sorry.
- Ketel Marte, SEA – Last year Marte was a 21 year old that had flown through all levels in the minors at a very young age and held his own quite nicely. When he got to AAA his batting numbers were better than the average in the league. The Mariners were impressed enoughThat when Robinson Cano was banged up at the MLB trade deadline Marte was called up to help out. He plays well at shortstop, has great speed and hits for average. The downside with him is that he does not hit for power and he does not walk. Not the ideal Short stop but many have succeeded under the same restraints (Chonne Figgins, Adam Kennedy, Omar infante) He can swing the bat and will be a real threat on the base paths.
- Brad Miller, TB – I have to admit I am a Brad Miller fan. He had unfortunately been known as Bad Miller last season thanks to his tough times last year. Growing pains I hope. I don’t believe it will be much longer till everything clicks for him. Kudos to the Rays upper Management to see this as the right time to acquire him. He reminds me of a younger Ian Desmond. Miller has the talent and pedigree in the minors to be a homerun and stolen base threat. Not a bad idea to take a flyer on him and his upside potential.
Rookies to keep an eye out for.
- J.P. Crawford, PHI – Could be the Phillies opening day short stop. Great fielder who is an excellant contact hitter.
- Trevor Story, COL – At the moment he is blocked by Jose Reyes but Trevor is tearing up the minors with his hitting prowess so its only a matter of time until the Rockies unleash his bat in Coors field.