Foster Your Roster – Injured Players/Prospects Worth Stashing
Stashing Players On Your Bench
When it comes to keeping players on your bench for later in the season, there are two types of options. The first is a player currently on the DL, and the second is a player that starts the year in the minor leagues, but is expected to play in the majors this season.
I’ll start with the DL players first. The advantage to stashing them is that if your league has enough DL spaces, then you can pick up a replacement to use while they are inactive, and it doesn’t waste a roster spot.
Corey Hart: The clear top choice to stash on your roster. He’s a known commodity that puts up numbers when healthy. Once he is active, he should start at first base for the Brewers. There is a big hole there, and the outfield appears to be set.
Brian McCann: Before the season started I would have said he was definitely worth a roster spot, but now I’m less emphatic. Catcher is deep this year and the Braves don’t appear to be missing him while he is gone. Evan Gattis has been hitting 4th and producing when he starts. They may need to find a way to keep Gattis in the line-up, and that would cut into McCann’s playing time. I would stash him on your DL and see how the situation with Gattis plays out, but be prepared to drop him if they’re going to split time.
Alex Rodriguez: Reports are that he won’t be active until the All Star Break, at the earliest. Given the state of the Yankees this season, he would likely have a regular spot Somehwere. While he’s declining and coming back from injury, he should still be able to produce as much or more than rookies, if he is healthy.
Adam Eaton: The Diamondbacks like him a lot, as evidenced by the fact that he was slated to be the starter before his injury. It’s a crowded OF, so he may sit occasionally, but I expect him starting and running more often than not. He’s worth hanging onto until he’s healthy.
Cody Ross: Ross is an underrated contributor in power and RBI when he is healthy and in line-up. However, the crowded Diamondbacks OF may make his playing time a bit unpredictable. Also, he’s right handed and would therefore fall into the wrong side of a platoon. I wouldn’t burn a spot on him unless you’re convinced he gets the bulk of the playing time, but he’s worth monitoring on the wire once he returns.
Delmon Young: Expected to be given a starting job in hitter friendly home park once healthy, he should be able to hit around 20 HRs with 75 RBI. On top of that, he shouldn’t be out much longer. He’s worth holding if you need the OF help.
Prospects To Stash…Or Not
Let’s be clear before we get into the current group of prospects: none of them are on the Trout/Harper level. Again, no prospect will do what either of them did last season. The impact those two prospects had is incredibly rare, and not something you should chase.
When looking at prospects to stash for mid season call ups, it’s important to remember that a path to playing is even more important than talent, and that theory plays a big role in my thoughts on these players.
Also, the dreaded Super Two label looms as a deterrent for smaller markets or teams not likely to be contending. Essentially, being a Super Two makes the player eligible for salary arbitration sooner, which is why most teams will try to wait until after that deadline to call up their prospects when possible. Unfortunately for us, there is no date for the Super Two deadline. Instead, it’s a moving target. Being a Super Two is based on MLB service time. The top 22% of players with more than two but less than three years of service time become Super Twos. So, teams will need to monitor other call ups if they’re concerned with that issue, and that makes predicting arrival dates for prospects from non-contenders a lot harder.
Wil Myers (TB): Myers’ bat looks to be Major League ready, and the Rays line-up is not talented enough to keep him out of it. Normally I would bank on the Rays to keep his service time in check, but with the AL East so wide open this year, I think he may be one of the earlier rookies to get the call. Once that happens. I expect him to land in the middle of the lineup and contribute. He’s worth a roster spot.
Jurickson Profar (TEX): Widely considered the best prospect in the game right now, but I wouldn’t use a roster spot on him, except for in keeper leagues. Kinsler and Andrus are both cornerstones of the Rangers, and they are not going to make Kinsler change positions in the middle of the season. If Profar is traded near the deadline, though, then he would likely warrant an immediate pickup.
Mike Olt (TEX): I know I’m in the minority, but I’m actually more interested in Olt than Profar for this season. I think between LF, 1B, and DH he could find playing time if someone struggles or gets injured. Berkman is an injury risk and could conceivably be knocked out for a while if one were to strike. Murphy and Moreland have both been platoon players to this point, and if either of them struggles, it could open the door. Plus, Moreland would also have the ability to play LF if needed, to make room for Olt at 1B.
Hunter Morris (MIL): To be honest, I’m not sure why he isn’t starting at 1B for the Brewers right now. Instead, they have mediocre middle infielders playing there. That leads me to believe that Morris won’t have value in 2013, unless Corey Hart suffers a setback and is out for longer than expected.
Tony Cingrani (CIN): The Reds only have one rotation spot that doesn’t seem firmly locked in, without an injury occurring, and that spot currently belongs to Mike Leake. They are a team with aspirations of a post season run and may use Cingrani to bolster their bullpen temporarily, in which case you should have no interest. If he breaks into the rotation he’s worth watching, but Cincinnati is a tough place to pitch, and I’d want to see proof that he can get it done before adding him to a fantasy team.
Gerrit Cole (PIT): I have a hard time believing Cole isn’t one of the Pirates’ five best starters right now, that doesn’t make him worth a roster spot for you, though. The Pirates should be better than they were, but they’ll struggle to remain relevant in a division that includes the Reds and Cardinals. Because of that, I expect the Pirates to play the service time game with Cole, leaving you to wait until the second half the season, and dealing with a potential innings limit.
Zack Wheeler & Travis d’Arnaud (NYM): As a Mets fan, I may be overly optimistic on these two. They both have the talent to help fantasy teams right away, but you may be waiting a while for them to get the call. Even with multiple injuries in the rotation, Wheeler was not considered an option to take a spot. The Mets are building for the future, and will likely make every attempt to avoid Super Two status for both players. I’d only keep them on your roster if you have the space to stash them without playing until the all-star break.
Trevor Bauer (CLE): With a start for the Indians already under his belt this season, he is clearly first in line for a rotation spot, and breaking into the current group of Indians starters shouldn’t be difficult. His skills are another story, though. He walks too many batters to be successful. I could see him having a year similar to Bud Norris, a lot of strikeouts, but plenty of walks and an ERA that may hurt you to go with them.
Dylan Bundy (BAL): Baltimore has a lot of young arms that haven’t quite lived up to the hype. Bundy appears to be a special talent and should fare better than the others. It’s only a matter of time before a struggling starter needs to be replaced, and he should be the guy to do it. He’s already widely owned and worth grabbing if he’s free.
Tyler Skaggs (ARI): He lost the fifth starter race, but Brendan McCarthy’s inevitable upcoming injury will open a rotation spot. Going back to last season, I’ve liked him more than Bauer because of his control, and it seems like the Diamondbacks felt the same way. Once he gets the call, he should put up solid numbers and stick at the back end of the rotation. With that being said, I’m not using a roster spot on him until the rumors of a call up begin swirling.
Oscar Taveras (STL) & Yasiel Puig (LAD): By all accounts, they are two of the best hitters in the minors. Unfortunately, their respective teams have outfields full of good veteran players. I wouldn’t keep them on my roster, since they currently have no chance at playing time, but I would run to pick them up if any of the starters get hurt.
Billy Hamilton (CIN): Heisy’s performance, or lack-thereof, will be the deciding factor for when Hamilton gets the call. He’s still learning to play CF, but he’s a good athlete and wouldn’t be much worse than Choo is right now. He could be a true lead off hitter, and with even half a season may be able to win the SB category for you. He’s a good guy to hold if you can.
Mike Zunino (SEA): Barring an injury, I can’t see any scenario where he isn’t in the majors this year. Smoak and/or Montero struggling will open the door for him. The Mariners should surprise people and contend this season. As a result, I expect him to be one of the earlier call ups.