The last two weeks we had good discussions about prospects best suited to help you in batting average and stolen bases. This week, we’ll be discussing HOME RUNS. As a reminder, I won’t be talking about draft position, ottoneu, or auction prices and because these discussions are more complex than I initially though, I’m abandoning the rigid No Doubt, Overrated, and Sleeper categories and going with a typical straight ranking from now on.
1. Travis D’Arnaud -C -NYM. In 2012, catchers and outfielders hit roughly the same amount of home runs per plate appearance. But, only 18 catchers passed an arbitrary 400 plate appearance threshold which 80 outfielders crossed. I don’t know why I picked 400, but I did. The point is, while the position isn’t necessarily powerless, almost every fantasy owner needs two or three catchers on their roster to ensure daily production from the position. D’Arnaud is almost guaranteed to be called up as soon as, if not before, Wil Myers and there is no question he’ll be a upgrade over your second catcher, be it a starter in a two catcher league or a back up where you only need one. Yes, we still don’t know to what extend Citi field’s new dimensions are suppressing home runs, and yes, the move from Toronto hurt D’Arnaud’s fantasy stock. But, given that D’Arnaud should be rostered and see playing time on almost every team, the plus power hitting catcher is my number one guy. Projection: 18 HR in 3/4 a season.
2. Wil Myers – COF – TBR. It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Wil Myers. I’ve watched him a lot on MiLB.tv this year and strongly believe he’s the best all around hitter in the minors today. It’s unlikely that remains true for long, the Rays should call Myers up in May. But, Myer’s fantasy stock takes a major hit because its possible the Rays wait until the super two deadline passes. Projection: 20 HR in 2/3 a season.
3. Nolan Arenado – 3B – COL. For reasons I will never understand, in 2012, people were clamoring for Arenado to make jump from the California League to the National League. The perception was that Arenado had a disappointing season, but I disagree. When I watched him he still showcase many of the same contact ability and selectivity that made him a rising star. But, power was never one of those tools. While Arenado only has average power – and that’s not a knock on him – he shows up on this list because his power will play up at Coors Field due to his great contact ability. With no one blocking him, he should be called up by midseason. Projection: 12 HR in 1/2 a season.
4. Oswaldo Arcia – COF – MIN. At every stop in the minor leagues Arcia has hit. Minnesota’s outfield appears to be Josh Willingham – Mastroianni/Hicks – Parmelee and Willingham will gone quickly as Minnesota falls out of contention. The Target Center has been miserable for left handed power hitters, so Arcia drops below hitters ranked significantly below him. Projection: 10 HR in 1/2 a season.
Honorable Mention: Mike Zunino (playing time concerns), Mike Olt (trade and playing time concerns), George Springer (again, playing time concerns)
Overrated. Adam Eaton – OF – Arizona. After the Justin Upton trade, Eaton will be in the Diamondbacks starting lineup. That alone makes him an worthy of a flyer in deeper leagues, and playing at Chase Field doesn’t hurt either. With that said, it appears to me that Eaton is wildly overrated and Kevin Towers will regret trading Upton to make room for him. Eaton has had the benefit of playing in great hitting environments and his hitting ability and power are underwhelming, from what I’ve seen. He’s going to walk a lot, but he isn’t a starter on most fantasy squads. Projection: 7 HR in a full season.