Fantasy baseball is probably my favorite part of the “fantasy sports” metagame that America has become enraptured with. It’s the original and the best, in my opinion. You may disagree with me, and that’s okay, but anyway here’s the start of a new column on fantasy baseball advice and notes that I hope to get out a couple times per week. Without further ado…
Assorted Hitter Analysis
OF Domingo Santana (32.7% owned in ESPN)
If Santana continues to hit leadoff, he is worth a look in just about any format. His .164 career ISO and 10.5% BB rate are certainly playable. If only he could cut down on his awful 33.7% strikeout rate. If he lowers that to say, 25% while retaining his power, his ownership will skyrocket. He has very good contact statistics, gets on base at a reasonable rate and even steals the occasional base. There’s definitely value here.
C Nick Hundley (20.4% owned in ESPN)
Nick Hundley could quickly become a viable catcher very quickly if he continues the improvements he made last season. He has a good hit tool and will probably hit over .280 with 60+ games at Coors this year. If he starts to get 20 HR power, Hundley will be a valuable commodity at a very thin position. He’s worth taking a flier if you have someone like Derek Norris, J.T. Realmuto or Matt Wieters. He’ll probably end up being more valuable than those guys.
SS Eugenio Suarez (11.1% owned in ESPN)
In a paper-thin shortstop market outside of Carlos Correa and Tulo, Eugenio Suarez will become an important asset. He’s already hit two homers this season, and his power is legitimate. He only makes soft contact 14% of the time according to Fangraphs. He may not hit for average, but his power and positional versatility (he will gain 3B eligibility in all leagues by the end of April) make him a viable option in most leagues. He hit .280 with 13 homers in 97 games last year, so he’s already shown a good track record in the majors.
2B Jason Kipnis (96% owned in ESPN) – per the request of Ross
Jason Kipnis hit an impressive .302/.372/.451 last season, although that was helped by a .356 BABIP in 2015. He will probably regress slightly, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect anything less than his comparatively modest .271/.344/.407 Steamer line. He has good plate discipline which makes him more valuable in OBP leagues, obviously, but he should at least get 10 homers and 10 steals which keeps him playable. Kipnis is a streaky hitter, but his good months will give you quality production at second base. Perhaps Kipnis can get a better HR/FB rate and hit 17 homers like he did in 2013. Kipnis has a high floor due to his average but limited upside based on his career numbers. But at 2B, that’s enough to slot him well within the top tier of his position.