*An Inside Injuries special from Lawr Michaels at Creative Sports. Check out the rest of their awesome analysis on the NFL, MLB, NBA and more!
The Fantasy Sports Trade Association’s (FSTA) baseball experts draft has concluded — at least through six reserve rounds — for now. That means among the 14 teams, 406 players were drafted.
What is additionally peculiar is the collection of players not selected. Since we know there will literally be a separate roster’s worth of players not drafted, let’s see if we can find some value floating around in the free agent pool.
Jose Bautista (#388): At 37, JoeyBats seems to truly be on the downside of his career, with a drop in OBP of 58 points — down to .308 — while Bautista’s OPS dropped beyond anemic, to .674. There could be some sort of Carlos Beltran-like renaissance meaning 350 platoon at-bats with the 20-dinger barrier met. As of now, however, as a bat without a team, passing within the league was a prudent move.
Sam Dyson (#523): Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde season for Dyson, who opened 2017 as the Rangers closer coming off a 38-save performance in 2016. But the righty put up a 1-6, 10.60 mark after 16.6 frames with no saves despite finishing eight games. Dyson was dispatched to San Francisco where relief to reliever Mark Melancon was provided, and since the right-hander is signed through this year, some setup work will be out there. But, with 199 whiffs over 254 career innings, and starters working fewer innings, the chance Dyson gets some good innings and even saves is likely.
Luis Perdomo (#508): It is indeed old news that pitchers are beyond just a necessity, and a lot of the value in Perdomo depends upon what kind of format you play. In a deep Strat-O-Matic league, he is golden, able to deliver some decent innings. The 24-year old, now with the bulk of two seasons under his belt, on a team with an interesting assembly of youngsters, in a pitcher’s park, should be able to show some signs of development, making him a reserve pick hitched to say Walker Buehler, a solid move.
Brandon Crawford (#326): After back-to-back seasons with 84 RBI, the Giants shortstop took a dip in totals along with his team, hitting .253-14-77 with 34 doubles over 144 games, and those should be solid enough totals to earn a reserve shot as a middle infielder somewhere. Crawford similarly has been durable, playing in 143 games or more every year since earning a starting gig in 2012.
Troy Tulowitzki (#383): It is hard to believe that seven years ago Tulo truly was a first-rounder in such a competition, but hardly since. Which is too bad for when the shortstop is on the field, he is still pretty good. Part of the problem is that in the ensuing years since that top ranking, Tulo has played somewhere between 47 and 131 games, and following his anemic 2017 (.249-7-26 over 66 games) there is certainly little demand for his services. Tulo is still just 32 and probably has a few hundred solid at-bats in him, making for excellent sleeper territory.
Wilmer Flores (#318): One of these days some club is going to hand Flores, still just 26, a full-time job and be rewarded accordingly. Over part-time play the past three seasons, Flores has averaged 375 at-bats, along with 16 homers and 17 doubles while qualifying at first, second, and third in 2017.
Dustin Pedroia (#437): At 34, “Laser” is another aging star. As of now Pedroia is recovering from knee issues, but even with just 105 games played last year, the keystone man hit .293-7-62 with a .369 OBP. A hard-nosed player, DPed surely has a lot more line drives in his bat and he is a great reserve option and in a deep league, fine as a second sacker.
Alcides Escobar (#554): Is Escobar the most useless player in fantasy? It is hard to argue against a .272 OBP and .629 OPS. OTOH, Escobar hit a somewhat respectable .250-6-54 including .282 over the second half with a relatively monstrous .309 OBP and jump in OPS from .548 first half to .743 post break. Again, nothing earth shattering, but a guy who can steal a bag (17 in 2016) and never gets hurt on the bench could be a good thing.
Tune into the Tout Wars Hour on the FNTSY network, hosted by me, with Justin Mason and featuring Lord Z every Sunday, 2-4 PM ET/11 AM-1 PM PT, and you can follow me @lawrmichaels.