When the Blue Jays went all-in this trade deadline, my fantasy teams ended up with even more “TOR” designations than before. In one league I had Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, and Russell Martin from the Jays. After the trades, I also had Ben Revere. And that was just one team. In other leagues I have David Price, Jose Bautista, Troy Tulowitzki, Aaron Sanchez, and Marco Estrada. At this point, the Jays are starting to feel like the Yankees of the 1990s and early 2000s: your fantasy strategy was to draft as many players from that one team as possible. I thought I’d take a look at the new juggernaut and which players give the most fantasy value. I’ve included their CBS 5×5 rankings after their names.
Russell Martin (104) keeps finding ways to provide strong value for a catcher. His BA has been erratic over the last several seasons, and even in his monthly numbers this year. However, a few SB (rare from the position) plus 15+ HR for four of the last five years certainly helps, especially in leagues with two catchers. By CBS’s 5×5 measures, he’s the #2 C right now, and I expect him to finish the year in the top-5.
I covered Edwin Encarnacion (64) in my biggest surprises article. I feel he’s been a downer for most of the year, given what I think he’s capable of. However, he seems healthy now, and he may provide the best trade return in the last third of the season, if you can get him.
Devon Travis (216) had a hot April, but after his luck and HR/FB came back down to earth, he’s done a good impression of Omar Infante in his prime: a high BA but little else. If you haven’t already jumped off the Travis train for redraft leagues, do so now. The high BA is nice in today’s game, but nothing indicates he’ll return to his April slugging ways, especially with a shoulder issue landing him on the DL.
There’s no point in spending time on Josh Donaldson (4), but I’ll do it anyway. He’s a legit top-10 hitter now, and he deserves to be an early first-round pick in 2016. This season may very well be a career year for Donaldson, but he’s showed that he’s capable of being an elite hitter. Remember the glory days of fantasy baseball when you had multiple guys who went .300/90/30/100? There are fewer studs who can do that now, though this year has seen more than recent seasons. He’ll keep this up for at least a few more years, barring injury.
Troy Tulowitzki (63) has been kinda good over his career. Speaking of .300/90/30/100, Tulo could do that as a shortstop, assuming he was healthy enough to play. He gets a potential boost in health because he can occasionally DH, but the turf may be a potential drawback. His August numbers aren’t great so far, but you can never count him out of producing like a top-10 hitter as long as he’s on the field.
Ben Revere (101) doesn’t get much love, and this April he started cold, which made my defense of him questionable. Then he got back to his usual stats: a .340+ BA for two months and 5+ SB every month of the season. His BA/OBP/SLG is as close to identical to 2014 as you can get — his OPS is .001 off. He’s run less this year compared to 2014, but with a new team in the playoff hunt, he is capable of kicking it up a notch. He’s not a sexy option but is a strong source of BA and SB for the last third of the season.
Kevin Pillar (125) is known for his glove’s highlight reel more than his offense, but he had a very strong June that put him on fantasy managers’ radar. However, the rest of his months are unimpressive for our purposes, and he’s better left in the FA pool if you’re making a strong run at the pennant. All he can offer moving forward is nice but not great counting stats in SB and R.
As a staple to the power production in Toronto, Jose Bautista (25) hasn’t disappointed this season, except perhaps in BA. However, his average has been all over since his breakout season. As long as you didn’t pay extra for his 2014 BA (his second highest), you’ll be happy with the constant supply of 35+ HR over a full season. Nothing in his stats is a red flag to indicate he’s slowing down, so expect more of the same for the rest of this year and in 2016.
In case you weren’t counting, that’s four of the eight primary hitters in the top-100, with two more barely missing. An honorable mention goes to Chris Colabello (155), who has a high average (complete luck, propped up by a huge BABIP) and an amazing HR/FB (despite hitting most balls on the ground). There’s a reason these guys are winning, and their offense is a big part of it. That’s great news for fantasy managers. In all formats I’d happily acquire every starter except Travis and Pillar. Pillar and Colabello warrant strong consideration in deep leagues.
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