Written by: Paul Auber
Hello sports fans and welcome to another exciting season of fantasy baseball. This is my first (of what I hope to be many) article for Fantasy Assembly so please be gentle with me.
First to introduce myself. My name is Paul but I prefer the moniker “JO BU” when it comes to baseball. Yes, my favorite sports movie is MAJOR LEAGUE followed closely by FIELD OF DREAMS. My fantasy teams always have that “If you build it, they will come” feeling, but so far not a lot of $$$$$ has come. I live in Upstate New York, but I am in NO WAY a Mets or Yankees fan. My heart belongs to Pittsburgh in all professional sports. I bleed black and gold year round as a Pirate and Penguin fan and I’m a loyal member of Steeler Nation. My Terrible Towel hangs in my bedroom with pride
My first foray into writing will be about minor league outfielders. I’ll give you three players who have a very good shot of making the opening day roster and three more who will more than likely contribute this year. I’ll also give you three sleepers who you might want to grab in the minor league portion of your draft (if you have one ) or just grab and stash on your reserves for next year.
THREE POSSIBILITIES FOR OPENING DAY
1) Ronald Acuna: ATL – EVERYONE has heard of Ronald Acuna. This guys has five tools written all over him. After the Braves moved Matt Kemp to the Los Angeles Dodgers, everyone thought Atlanta was opening a spot in their outfield for him. And why not! Acuna has done nothing but prove he’s a man among boys at every level he’s played including an MVP performance in the Arizona Fall League. He is my MUST OWN from this group.
2) Eloy Jimenez: CWS – Everyone has NOT heard of Jimenez. He was the key piece in the Jose Quintana trade with the Cubs last year. He’s not five tools, but his power potential and above average batting eye make him a must have player. He hasn’t played above AA, but with the White Sox in full rebuild mode, Jimenez has the chance to be in Chicago’s outfield for many years to come. Comparisons to White Sox great Frank Thomas are not far off the mark.
3) Dustin Fowler: OAK – Read carefully, I said DUSTIN…NOT DEXTER. Dustin Fowler was the key piece in the trade with the Yankees for Sonny Grey. The Yanks thought so highly of him that they called him up mid season and gave him a start in RF. That will be a day Fowler will never forget. On the first fly ball hit to him he ran into the fence in foul territory and blew out his knee and tore several tendons. never even getting his first major league at bat. Fowler is “projected” to start the year in AAA, but I really don’t see him having too much trouble beating out Boog Powell to start the season as Oakland’s center fielder.
- WARNING: All the above players could conceivably start the year in AAA if their major league teams choose to add an additional year of team control or to avoid “Super Two” status.
THREE PROBABLE MID SEASON CALL UPS
1) Steven Duggar: SF – Duggar is not Billy Hamilton fast, but he’ll steal his share of bases. He’s a very good defensive center fielder and I just don’t have a lot of faith in Austin Jackson. Andrew McCutchen is penciled in at right field so the worst case would see Duggar in a platoon with Jackson early in the season. He missed half of last season in the minors, but had a good, albeit not great Arizona Fall League showing.
2) Victor Robles: WSH – Robles is an injury away from making a significant contribution to Washington’s bid for a NL East title and World Series run. Robles doesn’t turn 21 until May and has only reached AA so he needs a little more seasoning in the minors. If you have the “NEED FOR SPEED”, grab him. He is said to be faster than Trea Turner and Turner is “projected” to steal over 50 bases this year. He is my MUST OWN from this group. With Robles and Turner at the top of the lineup, Bryce Harper may never want to leave Washington.
3) Alex Verdugo: LAD – Verdugo has starting left fielder written all over him. He’s still young ( 21 ) and hasn’t shown much power YET. The only thing that concerns me is his numbers from last year came from the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League (I’m not a big PCL fan). He is LA’s number 2 prospect behind stud pitcher Walker Buehler. Verdugo has a great batting eye and should hit for a high average. A lot of people like him, but I’m not that high on him. But then again…What do I know?
Looking to 2019
1) Roman Quinn: PHI – Quinn can’t stay healthy. If he ever does, he’ll be close to the leaders in his league in stolen bases for sure. This guy can flat out run, but that’s really all he does. Unfortunately, the outfield in Philadelphia is full unless Philly moves Rys Hoskins back to 1B, but with Tommy Joseph and the addition of Carlos Santanna, a Hoskins move is highly unlikely.
2) Anthony Alford: TOR – Alford is another guy who has the injury bug. A possible plus power and plus speed guy who needs to prove he can stay on the field and put all his tools together. He should start the year in AAA, but with a good showing in Buffalo, he could be making the short drive to Toronto in the near future. Especially since Steve Pearce and Ezequiel Carrera don’t pose much of a threat to his promotion.
3) Jesus Sanchez: TB – Taking a line from the Doobie Brothers, “Jesus is just all right with me”. My MUST HAVE in this group. He’s still a few years away, but this is another five tool player. Denard Span is a free agent in 2020 and may be gone before then if Sanchez continues his upward progression.
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