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Entries in Darin Mastroianni (2)

Friday
Apr122013

Fantasy Baseball: Free Agent Pickups

After every draft a fantasy team is not without its holes. A team could be missing speed, power and/or dealing with the injury bug. The most important factor when determining the viability of a potential free agent is playing time or the potential playing time. 

Below the Speculative Options section provides three players who do not play full time, but are worth stashing on your bench because their value is the lowest it’s going to be all season and most importantly, could be extremely productive if they played every day. The Mixed League Options section provides two players who are available in 30% of NFBC leagues and should be owned in all leagues.

Speculative Options

Darin Mastroianni, OF, Twins: With Aaron Hicks looking lost at the plate it could only be a matter of time before the Twins send him to the minors. If that were to happen the door would open for speedster Darin Mastroianni to take over center field and leadoff duties. In the preseason I wrote Mastroianni could be a great source for cheap speed. In only 77 Major League games last year he was 21 for 24 in stolen base attempts. Like a lot speed-only players, his fantasy upside is strictly with his legs because he won’t hit for any power or for a high average.

Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals: So far this season first baseman Matt Adams has a slash line of .643/.667/1.214 with two home runs in 15 plate appearances. Obviously this will not continue the rest of the year, but the offensive potential is legitimate. Last year in Triple-A he had slugging percentage .624 with 18 home runs in only 67 games. He’s currently blocked from a full time role but if there’s an injury to the Cardinals outfield or to Allen Craig, Adams will become the everyday first baseman and Allen Craig will play in the outfield. If Adams were able to get 500 plate appearances he could be a top 20 first baseman.

Jemile Weeks, 2B, Athletics: With Scott Sizemore out for the year with a torn ACL and Hiroyuki Nakajima on the DL, Jemile Weeks could once again be the starting second baseman for the Athletics. Like Mastroianni his biggest fantasy asset is on the base paths. Last year Weeks looked lost both at the plate and in the field resulting in a -0.5 WAR (wins above replacement). A year and half ago he was deemed untouchable by the A’s front office. Now he’s back playing for the Sacramento Rivercats, their Triple-A affiliate. Eric Sogard is currently getting the majority of playing time at second base, but he’s an organizational player who will likely be on the bench until a better option is available. Is Weeks that option? He certainly has the best tools in the organization, as evidenced by his 2011 slash line of .303/.340/.421,  but it’s yet to be seen if he can actualize those tools.

Mixed League Options

Lucas Duda, OF, Mets: To begin the year, post-hype sleeper Lucas Duda is batting .308 with 3 home runs. Duda isn’t an exceptional player, but he has the raw power to hit 20-25 home runs with a batting average that won’t hurt your fantasy team. The Mets outfield is bad and he’s the best option they have, which means he’s assured playing time and will likely bat near the middle of the order.

Ervin Santana, SP, Royals: After his first start I was extremely skeptical about his fantasy viability. In his first start his fastball velocity was extremely low, only averaging 90 mph and maxing out at 91.7 mph. But during his last start the fastball averaged 93 mph and topped out at 96 mph. Not only did his velocity increase, he had great command of the strike zone with his secondary pitches. Compare his pitch locations  in the first start versus the second start (below). This is a great time to buy low as he could be ready to return to his pre-2012 level of performance. 

Thursday
Jan312013

The Fantasy Baseball Diary: I Have the Need for Speed

OK, I know what you’re thinking; that phase is way too easy and is overwrought. I 100% agree with you, but I’m running on 36 hours of no sleep working on my fantasy guide that is inching its way to completion. I wanted to talk about three players who have an average draft position (ADP) of 200 or larger that can provide a lot of cheap steals. With the number of steals in 2012 sustaining the 12-year high set in 2011, many fantasy owners are going to need players who can provide a lot of stolen bases. Please note the format for the “ADP” section reads as follows: ADP: positional draft position (overall draft position). For example, Everth Cabrera is currently the 17th catcher being taken and is going 242th overall. All ADPs are from Mock Draft Central.

Emilio Bonifacio

Bats: B | Age: 28 |Team: Blue Jays | Position: OF | RK: 61 (216)

Last year Bonifacio had a lot of fantasy hype entering drafts because of the 40 steals he put up the year before and he was entering spring training with a starting job in center field. In only 64 games he stole 30 bases. If he played in 150 games he could’ve had 70 stolen bases. Unfortunately, his season was marred with injuries to his thumb and knee, which landed him on the disabled list three times. He enters the 2013 season as the starting second baseman in the suddenly stacked Blue Jays lineup and is poised for a breakout fantasy season. He only played 15 games at second base so he may not be eligible in every league at the start of the year.

Everth Cabrera

Bats: B | Age: 26 |Team: Padres| Position: SS | RK: 17 (242)

Even though he started the year in Triple-A and only received 398 Major League at-bats, Cabrera finished third in the league with 44 stolen bases. He finished the year with a slash line of .246/.324/.324. That may look really low, indicating there’s an opportunity for improvement, but he achieved those statistics with a high .336 BABIP. Last year he struck out 24.5% of the time and for his career, he’s struck out 22.4% of the time, which means he’s destined to hit for a low average if the BABIP regresses. This year he’s expected to be the starting shortstop and is likely to lead off for the Padres, the team who lead the league in stolen base attempts. If he plays a full season he has the opportunity to win you the stolen base category.

Darin Mastroianni

Bats: L | Age: 27 |Team: Twins | Position: OF | RK: ND (ND)

Do I see Mastroianni as super elite player? No. Do I see him as an above average player? No. So what is he? Mastroianni is a speedy center fielder with a great understanding for the strike zone and has little power. Last year in a small 77 game sample, he put up a slash line of .252/.328/.350 with 21 stolen bases. After the Minnesota Twins traded away all their center field options, Mastroianni will get the first opportunity to be the starting center fielder and could be in line for leadoff duties. He struck out 24% of the time in the majors, which limits his batting average ceiling. Like closers, his fantasy value is a function of opportunity, but if he plays a full year he can provide 40+ stolen bases, which is really good for a player whose not getting drafted at all.