|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 1/30/1986 | Team: Rockies | Position: C/1B|
Profile: When Pacheco made his major league debut in 2005, he hit an empty .286 in limited playing time. The next season, when he was 26, he hit for a similarly empty .309 average. He struck out a little more, but he was essentially a contact hitter. When he made hard contact, the ball tended to find a hole. When he didn’t, he had no chance, thanks to his hack-tastic approach at the plate. Still, even with the .309 average, he was worth -0.4 WAR. With no patience and very little power, there wasn’t a whole lot there to like, or even to project upon for the future. And that was before the bottom fell out. Which it did in 2013. Of the 316 players to rack up at least 250 plate appearances last season, only eight had a worse WAR than did Pacheco. Only four of the 316 had a worse wRC+ — Jeff Francoeur, Jeff Mathis, Brendan Ryan and Elliot Johnson. And that was in his age-27 season. Pacheco is simply one of the worst players in baseball. Of the 2,470 position players to garner at least 800 PAs since 1947, only 92 have a lower career WAR than Pacheco’s -2.1 mark. You’d think this would be enough to get him designated for assignment, but the Rockies are holding onto the thin thread that Pacheco can capably catch in the majors (he can’t), so we may get to see him sink even closer to the bottom. Just don’t let him do so on your fantast team.
Quick Opinion: Jordan Pacheco has been one of the worst players in baseball the past few years, but that hasn’t stopped the Rockies from playing him. You don’t have to make that mistake.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 7/2/1981 | Team: Giants | Position: OF|
Profile: A severe hamstring injury derailed Pagan’s 2013 season. After stealing 98 bases from 2010-2012, he swiped just nine last season and played in only 71 contests. When healthy, his other skills were very much in line with what he did the previous season. That said, his fantasy value is in his ability to score runs, steal bases, and hit for average. He was able to do just one of those three things last season. Pagan’s age, and the fact that he is one season removed from a major leg injury, puts his ability to be a productive fantasy player in doubt. (Jason Collette)
Quick Opinion: Pagan’s age, and the fact that he is one season removed from a major leg injury, puts his ability to be a productive fantasy player in doubt. He has stable skills, but he enters 2014 as a fantasy risk rather than a fantasy target.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 11/25/1988 | Team: Royals | Position: OF|
Profile: Paredes got a chance to prove his worth on the Astros’ outfield carousel, but couldn’t make contact at an acceptable rate, displayed little power and failed to offset those deficiencies with a respectable walk rate. He does possess a bit of power and good speed, but his minor league power has yet to translate and his impatience and frequent swings and misses have limited his offense. The Marlins have given the 25-year-old another opportunity, but it’s doubtful that he makes any sort of impact. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: Though he has shown an interesting blend of speed and pop in the minors, his inability to make contact at the Major League level has hampered any offensive potential he had. Now headed to Miami, he still doesn’t appear to have any role and can be ignored in all league formats.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/24/1988 | Team: Twins | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Pretty much all of the first-round luster has come off Parmelee, who was reportedly ‘shocked’ when he was sent down with a wave of players at the end of the first half in 2013. Up to that point Parmelee was hitting .223/.303/.372 while playing subpar defense in right field. Perhaps ‘shocked’ was more in the context of how the entire offense performed, because it was the exact opposite of a banner year for the Twins in the offensive department. At this point, Parmelee is on the 40-man roster bubble. He’s blocked at first base by Joe Mauer, and outfield depth is the Twins organizational strength from top to bottom, leaving Parmelee as a man without a position in the near or short term. However, as a former top-100 prospect, it’s likely that he would stick on the roster longer than someone similarly talented, such as Indy sensation Chris Colabello. Parmelee is out of options, and may be lucky to may the team out of spring training regardless. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Parmelee is the essence of a tweener — not good enough to hit at first, or field in the outfield — and as a left-handed bat, Target Field is a poor fit for him. It’d be surprising if he’s long for Minnesota as the roster is currently constructed.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 5/6/1987 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: OF|
Profile: With Adam Eaton on the disabled list until July 9 and Cody Ross hitting the DL on August 11, Parra ended up with 663 plate appearances. But his numbers weren’t much better than they were in 2011 and 2012 when he didn’t reach 500 PA, because most of the extra plate appearances last year came against lefties. About 22% of his plate appearances in 2011-12 were against lefties and that spiked to 29% last year. For his career, Parra’s weighted on-base percentage with the platoon advantage is about 60 points higher than it is without it, so it’s no surprise that the extra work didn’t lead to better numbers. The good news is that his numbers aren’t likely to take a big hit this year as he moves back into a platoon role. The only roto stat that is directly affected by his plate appearances is runs. And he’ll likely see his run total to fall back into the 55-60 range. But he can still approach double digit homers and hit for decent average. The most important thing is whether he can bounce back from his ineffectiveness on the base path. After stealing 30 bags in 40 tries in 2011-12, he was caught ten times in 20 tries last year. Assuming his running ability bounces back or doesn’t decline further, he’ll still be a useful outfielder in NL-only leagues and usable in mixed leagues with deep benches where you can plug him in when he starts against righties. (Brett Talley)
Quick Opinion: Parra ended up with regular at-bats last year thanks to injuries elsewhere in the outfield, but his numbers didn’t improve much because most of the extra work came against lefties. He’ll likely be back in a platoon role this year, but his numbers shouldn’t decline much aside from his run total. Assuming his base stealing ability bounces back or at least doesn’t decline further, he’ll be a useful fourth outfielder in NL-only leagues.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 10/31/1985 | Team: Athletics | Position: 2B/SS|
Profile: The most attractive thing about Andy Parrino might be that, although listed as a second baseman/shortstop, he’s played third base, first base, left field, center field, and even pitched in two games down in high-A ball! So he obviously gives a club some versatility. The not-so-attractive part about this 28-year old is that he possesses a career slash line of .186/.295/.242 in 229 plate appearances over three years. He is on the 40-man roster for the Oakland Athletics, but that doesn’t mean he’ll start the year in Oakland. He’s organizational depth and an emergency backup to their regulars — and even if he fell into regular playing time, Oliver projects .210/.290/.308 with eight home runs and six steals over 600 plate appearances. He can be left off your spreadsheet for now. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: If not for a disastrous year in Sacramento last season, Andy Parrino actually has a decent minor league track record of getting on base and hitting for enough power to be interesting for a middle infielder. But then again, he did have that disastrous year in Sacramento, and he’s never had any success at the major league level over 229 plate appearances — more than just your average cup of coffee. At 28, he’s not likely to mature into some superstar let alone a useful fantasy piece, so move right along.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 12/13/1989 | Team: Braves | Position: 2B|
Profile: Pastornicky entered the 2012 season as a mildly-hyped shortstop prospect, but it turns out he’s pretty bad at shortstop and doesn’t really have enough bat for the position. When you don’t hit enough to play shortstop, you just don’t hit enough. Pastornicky may open the season as a utility infielder, but his fielding has rated poorly at second base and shortstop, so it’s only a matter of time before the Braves replace him. A utility infielder can survive a limp bat if he can pick it in the field, but that’s not Pastornicky. One point in his favor — he’s still just 24 years old. (Brad Johnson)
Quick Opinion: Pastornicky might make the Braves’ major league roster, but he’s not much of a major league player. He’s below average or worse at the plate and in the field, which simply doesn’t leave any skills to be leveraged.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 2/25/1985 | Position: OF|
Profile: In two seasons with the Reds, Paul carved out a .264./350/.420 line, which isn’t terrible from a backup outfielder. Or at least it wouldn’t be if he could play all three spots (he has in the past, but was restricted to left only in 2013), or steal bases, or hit same-handed pitchers at a rate better than “atrocious.” He can’t really do any of those things, and so the Reds non-tendered him before having to pay him. Paul will certainly pop up again in the bigs at some point, but shouldn’t really appear on your fantasy roster when he does. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: Xavier Paul is a somewhat useful but mostly limited Quad-A type without a whole lot of upside left as he approaches 30, which makes his fantasy utility just about zero.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 4/13/1983 | Team: Orioles | Position: DH/OF|
Profile: Steve Pearce worked around two separate disabled list stints for left wrist inflammation to appear in 44 games for Baltimore, doing enough that the Orioles kept him on the 40-man roster and gave him a whopping $700,000. At age 30, Pearce isn’t going to surprise anyone, but his ability to play first and both outfield corners while drawing a walk and hitting the occasional bomb makes him a valuable bench player. If Baltimore doesn’t shore up their outfield depth, Pearce only needs to wait for the inevitable Nolan Reimold injury to grab more playing time. He’s not going to win you a championship, but with consistent run he could hit a few home runs and hit just well enough to matter in AL-only leagues. With that said, the walks and flexibility make it such that he’s more valuable to Baltimore than to your fantasy team. (Blake Murphy)
Quick Opinion: Steve Pearce can draw a walk, hit a home run and play three positions. That has value for the Orioles, but probably not for your fantasy team, considering he’s unlikely to hit for average or steal many bases.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 8/17/1983 | Team: Red Sox | Position: 2B|
Profile: Boston’s pint-sized second baseman continued to put up top-five numbers at second base in 2013, although the distribution of his value was a bit different than year’s past. An uptick in both batting average on balls in play and walk rate helped push both his batting average and on-base percentage up after a somewhat suppressed (and Bobby Valentine-filled) 2012. Unfortunately for owners needing help in the homers category, Pedroia’s power has slowly dried up over the last three years. After hitting a career-high 21 jacks in 2011, he has only posted marks of 15 and nine over the last two seasons. The home run fall has correlated well with a drop in home runs per fly ball as well as a small decline in batted ball distance. However, it’s tough to assume Pedroia’s power has completely evaporated in his late-20’s. He also tore the UCL in his thumb early in the season and played through the injury all season, only opting for surgery after Boston’s Duck Boat parade. Perhaps 20 homers is a stretch without some luck, but it wouldn’t be outlandish to think he could get back into the low teens. With his batting eye and run/RBI totals hitting at the top of the Boston lineup, he’s a second-round pick again in 2014. (Colin Zarzycki)
Quick Opinion: Pedroia traded some power for batting average in 2013, but maintained top-five value among second basemen. With a torn UCL in his thumb surgically repaired, look for Pedroia to continue to maintain his status as one of the league’s elite middle infielders in 2014.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/22/1987 | Team: Royals | Position: OF|
Profile: There’s no doubt that Carlos Peguero is fun to watch in batting practice. If one could brand “swing from your heels,” Peguero would no doubt be the poster boy. In 219 career plate appearances, Peguero has nearly a 40% strikeout rate and a .195 batting average. He’s incredibly unlikely to make the Seattle Mariners 2014 opening day roster, and despite his obvious power, he actually doesn’t hit enough home runs to substantiate his ridiculous approach. Peguero would be well served to take his act to Japan and see if lightning strikes. (Michael Barr)
Quick Opinion: Carlos Peguero has little chance of making the opening day roster for the Seattle Mariners. Even if he did, it’s unlikely you could use a .200 batting average, a handful of home runs, and a cool breeze from his prolific whiffs. That is, unless you’re in a bizarro league of some kind, and then Peguero would probably be pretty awesome.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 6/1/1988 | Team: Orioles | Position: OF|
Profile: Peguero was a solid international signing for the Giants back in 2005, but unfortunately, he’s been slow to develop over the years. Injuries have been partially to blame, but in truth, poor plate discipline and poor pitch selection have had more to do with it. Strikeouts haven’t been an issue, but he rarely draws a walk. His free-swinging ways seem to regularly put bat to ball, but the contact isn’t always clean. He’s a plus-defender with a solid arm, but that does nothing for fantasy owners, and now with Hunter Pence re-signed and Mike Morse added to the mix, Peguero stands little chance of seeing any time in the big leagues this season unless there’s a rash of injuries. With minimal power and speed, he’s not even worth a look in dynasty leagues. Even if he were to get an opportunity in the majors at some point, his offensive contributions will be light. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Likely to open the 2014 season in Triple-A, Peguero is a defensive-minded outfielder who doesn’t have much in the way of power or speed. Should he even get an opportunity to play at the big league level this year, his fantasy contributions will be minimal, at best.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 5/17/1978 | Position: 1B/DH|
Profile: Even the Astros had no use for Pena last season. In the past, his ability to hit the ball out of the park was his only fantasy asset. Now that it appears the power has declined, Pena has little to no value. Even if there’s some possible playing time daylight at designated hitter in Anaheim. (Chris Cwik)
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 7/18/1985 | Team: Braves | Position: 3B|
Profile: Pena had a solid April and an excellent May last season. Naturally, Braves fans got excited as if he were some kind of Jose Constanza. June was less kind to Pena. He posted weighted offense that was 85% worse than league average for the month and ended June on the disabled list with a torn labrum. He missed the remainder of the season and is expected to be back in action around spring training. Braves fans and fantasy owners shouldn’t expect much upon his return. He was showing an unusual amount of extra base hit power that smells fluky and it will probably take awhile to get back to full strength from the labrum surgery. (Brad Johnson)
Quick Opinion: A torn labrum derailed a possible breakout season for Pena. He’s supposed to be ready for spring training, but it can take awhile to recover from labrum surgery.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 1/7/1982 | Team: Reds | Position: C|
Profile: Pena is a card carrying member of the league of backup catchers, and he doesn’t figure to lose his card anytime soon. His drop in walk rate the past few years is the reddest of flags, to the point where he logged just a 2.5% walk rate last year. Of the 356 players to log at least 200 plate appearances last season, only three had a worse walk rate than did Pena. Interestingly enough, two of those three were catchers, which speaks to how Pena is able to maintain a job. Speaking of his job prospects, he might actually end up garnering more playing time in 2014 than he did in 2013. Last season, he was behind entrenched starter Alex Avila. This season, he’ll be behind Devin Mesoraco, who is finally getting his first crack at starting. But even though the Reds have a new manager, it’s likely that that Mesoraco will not have much rope with which to hang himself. If he gets off to a slow start, Pena may see his PT bump over that 300 PA threshold for the first time in his career. If you need a backup catcher in a very deep NL-only league, that might be the sort of thing you find noteworthy, but Pena really doesn’t hit all that well, and unless you find yourself in that specific circumstance, you would do well to stay away.
Quick Opinion: Pena has never been better than he was in 2013, but even then he wasn’t really that great. He should continue to see the same 200ish plate appearances per season in his new gig as the Reds’ backup catcher, but both his real-life and fantasy value are close to non-existent.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 4/13/1983 | Team: Giants | Position: OF|
Profile: A 30-year old outfielder has a career year in a pitcher’s ballpark? Start the investigation!! Juuuuust kidding. Pence, year in and year out, has put up very predictable numbers. No fewer than 22 homers or more than 27 home runs since 2008, at least 91 runs driven in each of the past four seasons, and at least 84 runs scored in each of the past four. The only variance in his game has been his batting average (not controllable) and his steals (very controllable). Every couple of seasons, he has a large batting average on balls in play spike, but otherwise is right in the .290-.310 norm. His steals total in 2013 came from an increase in opportunities and his manager’s faith in his abilities. Both could disappear as quickly as they arrived on the scene in 2013. He may not be the sexiest pick in your league, but there are not many guys that put up numbers with this level of consistency and avoids the disabled list year after year. Pence is a prognosticator’s dream in that his numbers are so stable, he is rather easy to project for the next season. It must be his pristine mechanics. (Jason Collette)
Quick Opinion: He may not be the sexiest pick in your league, but there are not many guys that put up numbers with this level of consistency and avoids the disabled list year after year. Pence is a prognosticator’s dream in that his numbers are so stable, he is rather easy to project for the next season. It must be his pristine mechanics.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 6/15/1984 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: 2B/SS|
Profile: With last year’s arrival of Didi Gregorius and the emergence of Chris Owings, Pennington’s role with the Diamondbacks has been vastly reduced. He saw just 299 plate appearances in 2013, most of which came in the first half of the season and he was relegated to sporadic back-up duty for nearly all of the final two months. At one time in his career, back with the Oakland A’s, he showed some quality speed potential, but he failed to improve on that over these last two seasons. He’ll compete for a utility role in 2014 and will likely end up as a back-up to Aaron Hill over at second base. He is best left for your waiver wire, even in the deepest of leagues, as he’ll only see legitimate playing time if the Diamondbacks’ middle infield is decimated by injuries. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: After a season in which he was relegated to back-up duty and continued to fall down the depth chart in Arizona, Pennington will return to the Diamondbacks in 2014 in likely the same role. He’ll probably slot in as Aaron Hill’s primary back-up at second base, but won’t see enough playing time to warrant a spot on your fantasy roster.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 5/28/1982 | Team: Cardinals | Position: SS|
Profile: Peralta became a regular major leaguer in 2005. Since that time, only three shortstops have hit more home runs — Hanley Ramirez, J.J. Hardy and Troy Tulowitzki. He has hit at least 11 homers in each of those nine seasons, and averaged 17. And while Peralta repeatedly fails the eye test, his defensive metrics are at least average across the board. If there’s a concern going forward, it’s that Peralta’s strikeout rate increased last season. If that trend continues, it might not affect Peralta’s power, but it will affect his ability to maintain a respectable batting average. Either way, his average is likely to drop in 2014. In 2013, he posted a .374 batting average on balls in play, which was easily a career high. Entering 2013, his career BABIP was .310, and if he should gravitate back towards that number this season. If he does, and his strikeouts continue to pile up, his average could hover around the Mendoza line, which would certainly dampen his fantasy outlook. This is why his overall offensive value tends to shift from year to year, but taking the long view, Peralta is still successful. Over the past three seasons, his 109 wRC+ ranks fifth among qualified shortstops. Peralta might not be the best player out there, but he’s comfortably in that second tier.
Quick Opinion: Not too many shortstops have had the consistency that Peralta has. He has changed teams, but he finds himself in a comparable — if not better — situation than he was in the past few seasons. Peralta certainly is not the best shortstop in the game, but he’s a reliable second-tier option.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 5/30/1990 | Team: Nationals | Position: OF|
Profile: The 23-year-old outfielder has all of 13 plate appearances to his name over two cups of coffee with the Nationals. He possesses limited power, but has shown fantastic speed in the minors, stealing as many as 64 bases back in 2010. He makes respectable contact, but his impatience has led to meager walk rates, which will cap his offensive upside. With a full outfield in Washington, he’ll be lucky to crack the opening day roster. Even a slew of injuries might not be enough to give him consistent playing time. Thus, he could be safely ignored in fantasy leagues. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: If Perez somehow lucked into some playing time, his speed could actually earn him some NL-Only value. But that’s unlikely to happen given the team’s current crop of outfielders and bench bats.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 11/13/1986 | Team: Giants | Position: OF|
Profile: Juan Perez got a taste of the bigs in June and another in September, yet didn’t really do much to distinguish himself with a .288 weighted on-base average. Still, reaching the majors is an achievement for a player who does a lot of things well, but isn’t outstanding at any one other than defense. That glove might help him stick with San Francisco as a backup outfielder, however, and with some speed (93 swipes in parts of five minor league seasons) he could generate some mild value in deep, NL-only leagues. Of course, he’ll need to greatly improve his poor success rate (46 times caught while getting those 93 bags) to do so. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: Perez’ main selling point is his defense, and that might be enough to keep him around long enough to steal some bases. He’s still strictly waiver wire material.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 5/10/1990 | Team: Royals | Position: C|
Profile: Salvador Perez has some positive traits that help his fantasy value. First, he is a contact-first player. If the ball is near the strike zone, he can hit it for line drives with decent authority. His hitting approach leads to a good career batting average on balls in play (.315) and therefore a plus career average (.301). Since he is not a fly ball hitter, he doesn’t get a ton of home runs, but he will hit between 10 and 15 most seasons. His aggressive nature brings out his weakness — he does not walk (4% career). Pitchers are taking advantage of this flaw more and more often. While his swing rate has been around 50% the last two seasons, pitches he has seen in the zone have dropped from 48% to 47%, and contact on those pitches has dropped from 88% to 80%. If he is to take a step forward, he needs to improve his plate discipline. If healthy, he should catch most of the Royals games and get plenty of plate appearances. He should also probably hit either fifth or sixth and have significantly more RBIs than runs. Expect no stolen bases from from him as he has a total of two in his minor and major league career. I see him lumped in with several catchers in the six to 15 range. The difference with Perez and the other catchers around him is the batting average. Others will hit for more power, but if it’s batting average you need, feel free to reach for the Royal backstop. (Jeff Zimmerman)
Quick Opinion: Salvador Perez’s value comes from heavy use from his manager, an aggressive contact-driven approach which leads to a good batting average, decent power, and a complete lack of walks.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 3/26/1991 | Team: Tigers | Position: 2B|
Profile: In the minors, Perez didn’t strike out a ton, and even improved his K rate as he got closer to the majors, but he certainly struck out too much for a player with such little patience and power. In the majors, he was completely overwhelmed, as his 2.8% walk rate and 21.1% strikeout rate clearly display. His sample size was low, but it was low for a reason. Perez is still young — this will be just his age-23 season, and if he was a left-handed hitter, you could see how he might carve out some more playing time, since key Tigers infielders such as Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesis are all right-handed hitters. Alas, Perez also hits from the right side, which may limit his opportunities to pinch-running. And that is certainly a job for which he is well qualified. Over the past three seasons, he has stolen 81 bases against just 17 times caught stealing, for a very healthy 83% success rate. If Kinsler gets hurt, or Iglesias is really a nightmare offensively, Perez may worm his way into more playing time, but otherwise he’ll be little more than a late-innings replacement. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Quick Opinion: Perez doesn’t have a lot to offer offensively, but he has a good speed and defense pedigree, and may carve out a niche as a utility infielder/pinch runner. And with Ian Kinsler now in Detroit, Perez will be safely behind the “break only in case of emergency” glass.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 11/20/1983 | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: After seven years in the minors, Peterson finally got the call from the Cardinals. Unfortunately, the now 30-year-old first baseman got just two hits in 26 at-bats. He was released after the season and was a free agent as of this writing. Peterson showed a little pop in the minors and some ability to draw a walk, but at his age he’s long past having any potential. (Brett Talley)
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 2/12/1988 | Team: White Sox | Position: C|
Profile: Phegley took over for the disappointing Tyler Flowers in July, and turned in an equally disappointing year by season’s end. The White Sox didn’t do much to improve their catching during the offseason, so the 26-year-old late-blooming Phegley could play a big role next season. He doesn’t walk at all, and will have to rely on his ability to make contact in order to succeed. Even in the best-case scenario, Phegley probably won’t hit enough to be a useful fantasy asset. He’s also a candidate to be replaced the second the team finds a better option. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Phegley could be the White Sox’s full-time option behind the plate next season, but doesn’t do enough to warrant much fantasy attention. He’ll be replaced as soon as the team finds a better option.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 1/23/1987 | Position: 2B|
Profile: Truth be told, I’ve always liked Cord Phelps. Maybe it’s the name Cord, which just sounds like a guy who can hit a baseball. And maybe it’s the 163 impressive Triple-A games in 2010 and 2011. What it is not, however, is his major league production. Sure, it has only be 123 plate appearances, but he has produced negative WAR in those PA, on the back of poor defense and perhaps even more poor offense. He saw the field only four times in Cleveland last year and there is no reason to think he’ll get any more playing time this year. At least not in Cleveland. You weren’t considering Cord Phelps, you shouldn’t be considering Cord Phelps, and the chances are this is the last time you will be reading about Cord Phelps. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: Cord Phelps has solid career numbers in Triple-A, but has done nothing with limited MLB playing time. He is not worth your time in fantasy, particularly as his path to more time is limited.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 6/28/1981 | Team: Reds | Position: 2B|
Profile: Age is starting to take its toll on Phillips. He still hits for decent power at his position, but his speed completely deserted him last season. There have been some rumblings that the Reds would be willing to deal him during the offseason, which would likely negatively impact his value given his current home park. Phillips’ average has rarely been his strength, and the decline he’s seeing in his other skills is starting to make him a less appealing fantasy option. Second base is still weak, though, meaning Phillips will once again be a top-10 option at the position. But for how long? (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Phillips is starting to lose some of his value, but is still a useful asset at second base. He’ll once again be a top-10 option at the position.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 2/8/1985 | Position: OF|
Profile: It turns out that Felix Pie had five less tools than we thought he did. Pie’s career has gone from top prospect to former top prospect to fourth outfielder to emergency fourth outfielder, and he didn’t do much with his limited opportunity with Pittsburgh late last season. The good news is that Pie finally has another starting job lined up in 2014; the bad news is that it’ll be located in Daeojeon, South Korea. Feel free to scrub all thoughts of Felix Pie from your memory and allocate those resources to more valuable information. (Patrick Dubuque)
Quick Opinion: It’s hard to believe that Felix Pie is only twenty-eight years old. It’s hard to believe this because we’ve been talking about his age for twenty-seven years now.
|Debut: 2000 | BirthDate: 8/14/1977 | Position: OF|
Profile: No one enjoys drafting Juan Pierre. He’s the human acknowledgement that fantasy baseball is inherently flawed: that no matter the system, no matter the categories, certain players will always be overrated. So there will always be a Juan Pierre, but Juan Pierre may no longer be that Juan Pierre. The bunt-happy outfielder had a rough age-35 season, posting an on-base percentage of .284, easily a career low. It was his lack of opportunity, and not a loss of speed, that led to a career-low 23 stolen bases. Batted ball woes and poorer-than-average bunting contributed to these issues, but he may have lost his last chance to mend them. The Marlins have plenty of younger, better outfielders, and it’s unlikely that many teams will have much need for an aging, one-dimensional player. (Patrick Dubuque)
Quick Opinion: Pierre’s always been a one-category star, but the average and runs were decent enough to make up for the lack of power. No longer. Even if he gets the playing time, Pierre’s weaknesses now far outweigh his only remaining strength.
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 12/30/1976 | Team: Red Sox | Position: C|
Profile: Pierzynski has been one of the lower-risk catchers for his career as he has provided 500+ plate appearances in ten of the previous eleven seasons while hitting for a solid average. More recently, he has become a run producer as he has sacrificed contact for power. From 2009 to 2011, Pierzynski hit .286/.318/.406 with a 8.1 strikeout rate and hit 112 extra base hits (30 homers) in 1538 plate appearances. Over the past two seasons, both contract years, he has hit .275/.311/.462 with a 14.7 K% and has 91 extra base hits (44 homers) in 1049 plate appearances. Nearly all of his home runs are pull shots, so the move to Fenway does not necessarily enhance his chances to continue hitting for power as he recently has. The other issue is that he is 37 years old and catchers do not age well. Just nine catchers 37 years or older have had seasons with an OPS+ >100 (minimum 400 PA), with Jorge Posada’s 2009 season being the most recent example. Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk owns four of those nine seasons. When catchers fall off, they fall off hard. Caveat emptor. (Jason Collette)
Quick Opinion: Just nine catchers 37 years or older have had seasons with an OPS+ >100 (min 400 PA), with Jorge Posada’s 2009 season being the most recent example. Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk owns four of those nine seasons. When catchers fall off, they fall off hard. Caveat emptor.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 9/9/1984 | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Pill took his talents to South Korea in the offseason. His success in the Pacific Coast League didn’t quite carry over to the majors (imagine that) and Brandon Belt’s development as well as the addition of Mike Morse left Pill with limited opportunities. (Jason Collette)
Quick Opinion: Pill took his talents to South Korea in the offseason.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 1/4/1989 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: OF|
Profile: Kevin Pillar has a nice-looking minor league resume if one just looks at the superficial numbers. He stole 59 bases between three different levels in 2012. He was pretty bad in his the brief time with Toronto’s major league club in 2013, though. It is not all that surprising if one looks more closely at his minor league performances. Some speed aside, Pillar really does not do all that much. He has good, but not elite strikeout rates in the minors. He does not hit that many home runs or have much power in general. His walk rates in the high minors have been pretty miserable, too. Pillar is going to be 25 in 2014, so he was never really young for his level. At the moment, there does not seem to be much room for him in the Blue Jays outfield or maybe even on the bench — Anthony Gose and perhaps even Moises Sierra are ahead of him on the depth chart. If, say, Colby Rasmus gets moved, Pillar might get more playing time. He has some potential to be a fourth outfielder or platoon player. He might have the potential to hit 10 home runs and steal 20 bases given a full season of playing time. However, that assumes a not only very optimistic view of Pillar’s potential upside, but also that multiple barriers to his playing time open up. Keep an eye on the playing time and injury situation in Toronto, and stow away the name for later. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: If one looks at him through rose-colored glasses, Pillar might be good enough to be a fourth outfielder or platoon player on some team. Even then, the playing time situation in Toronto leaves him with little no fantasy value barring some combination or injuries and trades with the team’s other outfielders.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 3/31/1989 | Team: Twins | Position: C|
Profile: The move to first base for Joe Mauer has had a domino effect that could result in significant playing time for Pinto. The freshman catcher had a breakout 2013 season after toiling in the minors for parts of eight seasons — and much of seven years in Rookie or A-ball. Pinto is a respectable defensive player but it’s his bat that should earn him the playing time. He utilizes a short stroke that helps him hit for a high batting average with solid pop, and the Venezuelan native also significantly increased his on-base numbers last year. The organization signed veteran free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, but he’s probably a back-up at this point in his career and shouldn’t be too much of a threat unless Pinto completely falls on his face in the spring. (Marc Hulet)
Quick Opinion: Pinto should be considered the favorite for the majority of playing time behind the dish for Minnesota in 2014. He could be an average or better offensive contributor for the position — even as a first-year player.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 6/15/1986 | Team: Twins | Position: 3B|
Profile: The entire fascination with Plouffe as a big leaguer centers on a ridiculously hot stretch in the summer of 2012. In June alone, Plouffe hit .327/.391/.735 with 11 home runs. But on the whole, Plouffe has hit .240/.300/.411, and has proven to only be marginally more competent at third than he was at short. And that isn’t saying much, as he routinely had issues making ordinary throws. That tendency has only been slightly better at third, and only then with the scooping of the since departed Justin Morneau. Now Morneau is gone, and Plouffe faces stiff competition from uber prospect Miguel Sano, who will likely be ready to claim a big league job at third base within the next half-season or so, health-willing. At that time, Plouffe may fall back into a corner utility role, where he plays third, first, and maybe even finds where he left his outfield mitt as well. He can have value as a rover who mashes lefties (.278/.346/.495 career line versus portsiders), especially on a team that doesn’t have a particularly strong amount of depth at the big league level. The sun hasn’t set on Plouffe, at least not yet. Check back a year from now though, and one might find a drastically different story. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Plouffe will almost certainly break camp as the starter at third base, but where he ends next season is anyone’s guess. He’s a former first-rounder, so the Twins aren’t apt to make a snap judgment on him anytime soon, but don’t be shocked if 2014 is the last year of Plouffe in Twinstripes.
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 10/10/1975 | Position: 3B|
Profile: One of the best contact hitters of his era, Polanco is nearing the end of the line after posting a .260/.315/.302 triple-slash (.279 weighted on-base average) with the woeful Miami Marlins in 2013. Mid-career, Polanco’s consistency was astonishing in a lot of ways, as his walk and strikeout rates each only once eclipsed 8% in a full season. And it happened in the same season, back in 2011 when he walked 8.0% and whiffed 8.4%. But the days of squeaking fantasy utility out of Polanco’s ten home runs, handful of steals, and solid batting average are long gone. Polanco still managed to make contact 90+% of the time in 2013 for the eleventh straight season, but in 416 plate appearances, he hit only .260 with one home run and two steals. The cupboard here is bare. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Polanco is 38 and coming off a down year with the Marlins. Move along, folks.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 12/5/1987 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: OF|
Profile: Pollock was a semi-regular outfielder for the Diamondbacks last year and figures to maintain that role again this year. Our projections have him pegged for right around 450 plate appearances, and with excellent outfield defense, that seems safe. His rate stats are likely to look better at the end of 2014 than they did at the end of 2013 because his strikeout and walk rates steadily improved throughout the year. He seems to have adjusted nicely, and his batting average and on-base percentage should tick upward as result. His eight steals and 12 home runs seem like reasonable projections, and he could easily top 60 runs again if he leads off or hits second as much as he did last year (56 times). All in all, Pollock is a solid little player, but his fantasy value is limited because of his part-time role and the possibility of platoon for the right-handed batter. He’s a nice fourth outfielder in NL-only leagues. (Brett Talley)
Quick Opinion: Pollock adjusted nicely to the big leagues as 2013 went on with his strikeout and walk rates improving steadily month-to-month. But his counting stats should remain similar to what they were in 2013 if he remains a semi-regular in the Arizona outfield and a semi-regular at the top of the lineup. With Mark Trumbo, Cody Ross and Gerardo Parra all in the mix, it’s unlikely he’ll see anything more than utility work unless someone gets hurt.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 3/27/1987 | Team: Giants | Position: C|
Profile: Posey was being taken in the first round of many drafts in 2013, and in the first half of the season, his production justified the pick. The Giants’ catcher entered the break hitting .325/.395/.536 with 13 home runs, 56 RBI, and 38 runs scored. The second half was a complete opposite as he hit just .244/.333/.310 with two home runs, 16 RBI, and 23 runs scored. In a standard 12 team mixed 5×5 league format, Posey’s final dollar value placed him sixth among catchers behind Mike Napoli, Wilin Rosario, Jonathan Lucroy, Yadier Molina, and Carlos Santana. His plate discipline did not taper off in the second half, but his ability to drive the ball did. He hit fewer fly balls in the second half and more ground balls — as his lower half failed him from a high rate of playing time. A player needs his legs to hit for power, but Posey played 121 games at catcher and 148 overall. Only Matt Wieters played as many overall games as Posey, and he too had issues in the second half. Last season, despite reducing his strikeouts, his isolated power fell 57 points. That is his lowest rate in his three seasons where he has had at least 400 plate appearances. On the plus side, Posey retains his dual-position eligibility in 2014 but it would be helpful if the Giants could give him more time at first base and less time behind the dish. (Jason Collette)
Quick Opinion: Last season, despite reducing his strikeouts, his isolated power fell in the second half. The overall number ws his lowest rate in his three seasons where he has had at least 400 plate appearances. On the plus side, Posey retains his dual-position eligibility in 2014 but it would be helpful if the Giants could give him more time at first base and less time behind the dish.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 10/27/1983 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: 3B|
Profile: We have a pretty good grip on who Martin Prado is at this point. Despite some fluctuations in batting average on balls in play and a speed outbreak in 2012, there aren’t many factors that make projecting Prado to difficult. He has two straight years with 150 R+RBI, five straight years with between 10 and 15 home runs, and he has only stolen more than five bases once in a season. That’s four of the roto categories that can be projected with relative ease. The fifth, batting average, has gone up and down because of an inconsistent, but consistently variable, BABIP. It was slightly down last year and way down in 2011 (although a career low line drive rate drove that). And it was above average in 2012, 2010 and 2009. For his career, he has a .311 BABIP and a .293 average. That’s what should be expected, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get it. The nice thing about Prado’s projection is that it’s unlikely that any of his roto numbers decrease significantly, while his batting average has the potential to improve. If it does, he’ll be a marginal value relative to his draft day price. He’s an excellent guy to fill your corner infield, middle infield, or fourth outfielder spot. You can often address positional needs with those players, but if your team looks fairly balanced when it’s Prado’s time to be selected, he’s a reliable option. (Brett Talley)
Quick Opinion: Prado is easily projectable and thus a solid option for your middle infield, corner infield and fourth/fifth outfielder spots. His average is really his only roto stat that has seen a lot of variance lately (with the exception of a speed outlier in 2012). And given that his average was down a bit last year, he could be a bit of a value with a rebound. If not, he likely wouldn’t return much less value than what it cost to acquire him.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 7/25/1985 | Team: Twins | Position: OF|
Profile: Presley was given the opening day job for the Pirates in left field back in 2012, but never really ran with it or gained any traction in the Steel City before coming over to Minnesota as part of the Justin Morneau trade. In nearly 700 plate appearances with the Bucs, Presley hit just .261/.299/.419 and generally proved to be a much more competent corner outfielder than center fielder. The Twins, on the other hand, handed the centerfield keys to Presley from the second he was acquired, and he hit a little (.283/.336/.363) and wasn’t particularly good defensively out there regardless of the metric one chooses to subscribe to. Still, Presley is the presumptive favorite to open next season as the starter in center, unless Aaron Hicks hits .500 and blows away even last year’s sizzling spring showing. Presley profiles as a decent fourth outfielder, though perhaps in-house competition Darin Mastroianni is the better long-term fit due to his defensive chops. One likely makes the other superfluous on the 40-man roster of a good team, though. This was not a good team in 2013. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: Presley will likely open 2014 as the starting centerfielder for the Twins. For a smallish guy, Presley offers decent pop (.147 career isolated slugging), and some speed, but his game is just too incomplete for him to be a full-time starter on a decent team. That makes him risky in fantasy play.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 10/9/1983 | Position: OF|
Profile: Signed as a depth outfielder before the season, Jason Pridie managed just 10 plate appearances with the Orioles in 2013 and was subsequently non-tendered in the winter. Now 30 and with just 125 major league games to his name, Pridie won’t be more than an organizational depth signing once again in 2014. A lefty with a modicum of pop and a bit more speed, Pridie can play all three outfield positions but is completely off the radar for fantasy purposes, even if he did just have the best minor league season of his career in 2013 (.269/.333/.434). (Blake Murphy)
Quick Opinion: Once a second round pick, Jason Pridie is now 30 and has just 262 plate appearances to his name in the show. He’ll try and crack a roster as a fourth or fifth outfielder in 2014 but won’t register for fantasy purposes.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 2/20/1993 | Team: Rangers | Position: 2B|
Profile: You can talk all you want about Jurickson Profar’s disappointing 2013 stats, but here is one number that is most important: 21. That is how old Jurickson Profar will be in February 2014. No, his .234/.308/.336 performance in 324 major-league plate appearances wasn’t amazing, even if you think his .280 batting average on balls in play was unlucky. But even if you have a pessimistic view of aging curves, we are still talking about a player who hit and fielded well on every stop in the minors despite always being young for the level. Signs still point to Profar being a very good player, and maybe more. He is still on the upswing in pretty much every aspect. This does not mean he is a top pick in all leagues for 2014. He should be better, maybe even above-average. But do not expect fantasy superstardom right away. He is not a base stealing machine — he might steal 15 over a full season, but that might be on the high end. He might hit 15 home runs, too — again, that might be optimistic. But that is a pretty good power-speed combination for a middle infielder, and the walks and power should both continue to grow. In redraft leagues, Profar is a good MI with one-year upside who might also see some bumps along the way, as his 2013 numbers show. In keeper leagues, on the other hand, Profar is far more valuable (if he’s still available) because you not only (probably) get an average or better second baseman for 2014, but a player who is likely (all things considered, youngsters always carry risk) to improve each season for the next few years. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Profar’s halting major-league debut in 2013 might have been a bit frustrating, but he still projects as at least an average or better second baseman in 2014, and in keeper leagues, he has even more value because he is so young.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 12/7/1990 | Team: Dodgers | Position: OF|
Profile: So… anything interesting happen with Yasiel Puig in 2013? No? Okay. After setting completely unreasonable expectations in spring training, Puig arrived in early June to actually meet — perhaps exceed — those expectations. He homered twice in his second game and four times in his first five; his batting average didn’t drop below .350 until his 81st game in the bigs. Along the way, pitchers began to work out his weakness for bad breaking pitches, but even that was a mere speed bump, because he showed increased patience by topping a 10% walk rate in both August and September. If there is a flaw, his high whiff rate may portend a bigger strikeout rate and a lower batting average in 2014, but he should overcome that easily. A true five-tool player who can contribute in every fantasy category, his first full season in 2014 is highly anticipated… if he can manage to stop infuriating umpires, writers, opponents, and traffic cops along the way. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: Yasiel Puig isn’t the best player in baseball, but he’s certainly the most exciting, in ways both good and bad. How he adjusts to his second season in the bigs will be a big test, though the potential here is so massive that fantasy players will rightfully draft him highly.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 1/16/1980 | Team: Angels | Position: 1B/DH|
Profile: In 2013, Albert Pujols had what was easily his worst year in the majors, by pretty much every measure except salary. His injured left foot limited him to 443 plate appearances, and probably hampered his performance in those. The fact that the plantar fascia in that foot actually ruptured is supposedly a good thing, if you can believe that. Tearing the injured part of this connective tissue apparently accomplishes, more or less, the same thing that surgery does, by relieving the strain on the tissue. So, assuming his rehab went well, Pujols might actually be in less pain than he had been for the past nine years. But it remains to be seen how much of his struggles were actually caused by the injury, and not simply by aging, bad habits, pitcher adjustments, or other injuries. A particular cause for concern is that he continues chasing pitches outside the zone at a considerably higher rate than he did for most of his career (though it’s not as bad as it appears, once you take the shifts in league average O-Swing% into account). So, while there’s good reason to believe Albert might be back to his old self, there’s also reason to worry that he’s just plain old. He’s a mid-risk, high potential reward type of fantasy pick right now. Steamer pegs him around #5 among fantasy first basemen, but a pre-2011 Pujols would be #1 by a mile. A post-2011 Pujols would be more like #8. (Steve Staude)
Quick Opinion: By Pujolsian standards, 2013 was a terrible year for Albert. But there’s reason to believe the painful foot injury that’s been bothering him for years will be a thing of the past. Whether that means his numbers will be great again is a big unknown, as he may have issues beyond his foot. He’s a gamble of a pick, but at least we know there’s a pretty decent chance of hitting a big jackpot with him.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 11/8/1977 | Team: Athletics | Position: 2B/3B/SS|
Profile: Every team needs a Nick Punto. While a guy who can play solid defense at three positions and walk 10 percent of the time might not seem all that valuable, you’ll be glad you have him when you need him, as the Dodgers found out when Hanley Ramirez couldn’t stay healthy and backups Dee Gordon & Justin Sellers flopped badly. In 2014, it will be Oakland reaping the benefits of Punto behind the oft-injured Jed Lowrie and friends, but there’s one exception to the “every team needs a Nick Punto” rule: Your fantasy team, which probably doesn’t have a lot of use for a 36-year-old with zero power, few steals, and a .248 career batting average. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: Nick Punto has made a nice career out of versatility, walks, and defense — all attributes that make him far more valuable in the real world than in the fantasy game.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 8/28/1982 | Team: Padres | Position: OF|
Profile: Welcome to Club Frailty, Mr. Quentin. Your table is right over here. Knee and shoulder issues, not to mention an eight-game suspension for charging the mound and breaking Zack Greinke’s collarbone, limited Quentin to just 82 games in 2013. He hasn’t appeared in more than 120 games in six of his eight big league seasons. His power potential is massive as he hasn’t posted an isolated slugging percentage lower than .215 since 2007, but his inability to stay on the field has made him more of a cautionary tale than a highly-coveted power hitter. Despite the injuries though, Quentin still managed to hit 13 home runs over 276 at-bats while posting a .275/.363/.493 slash line. There’s obviously a lot of high risk/high reward here, but food for thought: Quentin has apparently changed his stance to stand taller in the batter’s box, which is expected to reduce a lot of the torque put on the knee and will hopefully reduce the risk of further injury. Obviously that will remain to be seen, but it could put fantasy owners in a different mind-set if they were wavering on whether the risk was worth it. He’ll walk in to 2014 as the Padres’ starting right fielder, so there’s no job concern; just health. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Quentin continues to frustrate fantasy owners as he perpetually shows power but can never seem to stay healthy enough. There are now hopes that his altered batting stance will take some of the torque off his knee and help him stay healthy in 2014. He’s a high risk/medium reward type of player here, but with great power potential, a healthy season from him would certainly be a major asset to fantasy owners.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 10/24/1981 | Position: SS|
Profile: Quintanilla was non-tendered by the Mets after a 2013 season in which he put up a typically disastrous season at the plate. His slash line on the year was nearly identical to his .221/.288/.296 career line, and there’s no reason to think that the 32-year-old will ever hit much better than that. He hasn’t hit lefties at all over his eight seasons (.186/.234/.214), and his numbers against righties (.230/.302/.319) aren’t good enough to make him a viable platoon option. (Scott Strandberg)
Quick Opinion: Quintanilla just doesn’t have anything to offer for fantasy owners, regardless of league format.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 8/2/1979 | Position: C|
Profile: Quintero is a journeyman backstop who is currently without a job. He spent the first half of 2013 with the Phillies but was designated for assignment in late June. He signed on with the Mariners in late July to fill in while Mike Zunino was out with an injury. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Quintero, who has a .261 career weighted on-base average, doesn’t catch on anywhere else in 2014. (Brett Talley)
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 4/17/1981 | Team: Indians | Position: OF|
Profile: On a per-game basis, it was hard to argue with the production Ryan Raburn provided in 2013. Pro-rate his 277 PA to a full 600 and you get 34 HR, 86 R, 119 RBI and 0 SB (we can’t all be perfect). His .272 average wasn’t hurting you, either. But you can’t overlook the limited playing time, especially from a guy with a big career platoon split (21% better than league average weighted offense vs. lefties; 90 wRC+ vs. righties). Raburn was actually quite good from both sides of the plate last year, but the chances are he is back in a platoon role in 2014. With the addition of David Murphy and the subtraction of Drew Stubbs, it is clear that the Indians plan to run with Raburn… but not everyday. When you account for that and regress his 23.9% home run per fly ball rate to something more in line with his career norms (say 12-13%?) you are probably looking at a guy who can provide some solid non-speed counting stats and an okay average, likely in another 300ish PA. If you are in a deep league and can work around a platoon outfielder, there are worse options at the bottom of your lineup. But without the depth to only use him when he gets a start, he doesn’t play enough to be on your radar. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: Raburn’s numbers in 2013 look good on the surface and even better when you account for how rarely he was on the field. The HR/FB rate will drop, but in deep leagues, he is an intriguing platoon OF.
|Debut: 2005 | BirthDate: 12/23/1983 | Team: Dodgers | Position: SS|
Profile: There’s two sides to Hanley Ramirez’ 2013: the side that destroyed baseballs in a ridiculous manner, and the side that just could not stay healthy. Ramirez missed time with injuries to his thumb, shoulder, hamstring, back, and ribs (in the playoffs), and managed to play only 86 games. But when he did play… good lord. If he’d had enough plate appearances to qualify, his .638 slugging percentage would have just topped both Miguel Cabrera & Chris Davis. It’s not a performance that’s likely to sustain over a full season, but nor is it a total fluke coming from a man who had topped a .400 weighted on base averages three times previously. Ramirez only turned 30 in December, and three of those aches were flukes, though it’s more than a little concerning. Still, he’s far enough away from 2011 shoulder surgery that his regained power seems like something that could sustain… if he’s on the field. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: If not for the continued health issues, Ramirez would be a probable first-round fantasy pick in 2014. The risk he carries knocks that down slightly, but at a thin position, he’s a superstar.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 9/17/1992 | Team: Indians | Position: 2B|
Profile: Prior to the 2013 season, Marc Hulet had Jose Ramirez ranked as the Indians 12th-best prospect and (perhaps more importantly) as their fifth-best middle infield prospect. But the pint-sized Ramirez moved up to Double-A and more than held his own at age 20 — a .272/.325/.349 line with 38 steals despite a .290 batting average on balls in play (which seems quite low for a guy with great speed and a career minor league BABIP over .350 prior to last season). Ramirez was a bit of a surprise September call-up for the Indians and proved to be a spark plug for the team. He got only 14 plate appearances, but posted a .333/.429/.500 line and managed to score five runs for a team in a fight for the playoffs. Ramirez has firmly established himself as part of the Indians future, but there are two big questions for fantasy owners: 1) When will that future be? (2014 at the earliest?); and 2) What kind of part will he play? (Quite possibly a utility guy/pinch runner?). He could be a nice burst of speed in your lineup if and when he plays, but I wouldn’t tie up a roster spot with him just yet. (Chad Young)
Quick Opinion: In an organization without a lot of premier prospects, Jose Ramirez still couldn’t crack the team’s top ten last year, but a solid Double-A campaign and a cup of coffee in Cleveland likely changed that. Ramirez is not roster fodder for fantasy players yet, but his speed will be an intriguing asset if and when he gets playing time.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 10/25/1985 | Position: OF|
Profile: Ramirez has the look of what one might expect out of a power-hitting corner outfielder. He’s tall, broadly built, and has shown great power in the minors when he’s been able to connect. But that hasn’t happened for Ramirez in three different stops in the big leagues, as the 28-year-old has just one home run in 130 big league plate appearances. Ramirez has never shown good patience, even in his minor league days, and that has been exploited by big league pitchers to the tune of a 28.5% strikeout rate. Ramirez made the Twins roster in 2013 out of spring training, but lost time in the middle of the season to a concussion. He also lost the entire month of September to a broken tibia when he fouled a ball off it against the Royals. He isn’t much of a fit as a fourth outfielder because he’s not good in center, but the Twins apparently see something they like in him enough to have re-signed him to come back in 2014. He’ll likely find a tougher road to the opening day roster in 2014 than 2013, however. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: The Twins value Ramirez’ mentorship to the younger Hispanic players on the roster, as he is largely leaned on to help translate for them. He’ll have the chance to prove he is fully healed from his broken leg in camp, as the Twins have re-signed him to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 9/22/1981 | Team: White Sox | Position: SS|
Profile: Declining power has really limited Ramirez’s upside in recent seasons. When he was capable of posting high averages and double-digit power, Ramirez was a shortstop worth targeting. Now, he’s the type of shortstop you settle for because you waited too long. He may even fall out of that tier this season, depending on what happens with his weird stolen-base breakout. Stealing a career-high 30 bases at 31 years old is a good way to confound a projection system. Shortstop remains thin, but there are players with higher upside who should have similar value to Ramirez on draft day. He’ll give you at-bats, as he’s played in at least 156 games the past four seasons, but little else — he has the floor of a combined 20 or so stolen bases and home runs, and his batting average was not great in the two-year runup to 2013. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Ramirez’s lack of power has pushed him down the shortstop list. At this point, his biggest selling point is the fact that he rarely misses a game.
|Debut: 1998 | BirthDate: 6/25/1978 | Team: Brewers | Position: 3B|
Profile: Ramirez has always produced at the plate. He’s compiled weighted offense that was better than 20% above league average in nine of the past 10 seasons, including a 132 wRC+ in an injury-shortened campaign last year. But that injury is really the crux of the issue for Ramirez. He will turn 35 years old in June and missed roughly half the season with a nagging knee sprain, which doesn’t bode well for his durability going forward. Still, the production didn’t suffer significantly despite the knee injury, as he hit .283/.370/.461 with 12 home runs when he was in the lineup. The question is how much Ramirez will play in 2014. Fortunately for fantasy owners, the Brewers do not have another competent third baseman on the roster; he’ll receive ample at-bats even if he’s not 100% healthy. Miller Park also serves as a boon for any hitter. On draft day, Ramirez may drop due to concerns about his age and his knee, but fantasy owners who miss on top tier guys would be wise to target A-Ram in middle rounds. Just be sure to have a competent guy in reserve in case his knee hobbles him too much. (JP Breen)
Quick Opinion: Injury concerns and age will damage Ramirez’s stock, but he’s always been able to hit and his .366 weighted on-base average last year ranked fifth amongst third basemen with at least 300 plate appearances. Don’t forget about him on draft day.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 8/10/1987 | Team: Nationals | Position: C|
Profile: If Ramos could just stay healthy, he’d likely be a perennial top-five fantasy catcher. Unfortunately, the 26-year-old backstop’s legs have been ravaged by injuries ever since his breakout rookie season in 2011. In May 2012, Ramos tore his right ACL and missed the rest of the season, playing in just 25 games. He began last year healthy, but couldn’t even make it two weeks into the season before a hamstring pull forced him to the disabled list in mid-April. Upon returning, Ramos promptly aggravated the injury and was back out again until July. This wouldn’t be such a problem for fantasy owners if Ramos wasn’t so good when he’s healthy. Isn’t it funny to think back to when he was a prospect and scouts were wondering if his bat would be good enough for him to be a first-division regular, even at catcher? Mike Podhorzer wrote a fantastic article about Ramos’ power development that should be required reading for anyone considering drafting him this year. If Ramos can ever stay healthy, I see him as the type who can provide 20+ home-run power along with a solid batting average every single year. (Scott Strandberg)
Quick Opinion: Even with all the injury risks, Ramos should still be viewed as a no-doubt first-string fantasy catcher option in 12-team leagues. The fact of the matter is that he has far more upside than other backstops likely to be drafted near him (A.J. Pierzynski, for example). Don’t be afraid to gamble on Ramos finally fighting off the injury bug.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 2/17/1976 | Position: 3B|
Profile: It is this author’s opinion that Cody Ransom will be more valuable than Mike Trout in 2014. It is worth noting, however, that this author has been on a steady diet of PCP for the past 48 hours or so, and isn’t so much writing this as he is dictating it to a his friend Steve that lives in his bathtub. Steve is totally cool though, so don’t worry. (David Temple)
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 8/11/1986 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: OF|
Profile: Since 2010, Rasmus has gone from promising young player to near-bust to post-hype sleeper. His bat fell apart in 2011 with St. Louis, and did not recover after his trade to Toronto that season or even in 2012. Going into 2013, many people had begun to write him off, but he had arguably the best season of his career, hitting .276/.338/.501 with 22 home runs (in less than 500 plate appearances) while playing good defense in center field. It was not a superstar performance, but it was definitely good, and Rasmus will still be just 27 to start the 2014 season. One should approach Rasmus with a bit of caution at the draft. The power does seem to have returned, but his plate discipline arguably worsened in 2014 — his strikeout rate, never good, was the worst of his career, and he still only walks at about a league average rate. His 2014 average was boosted by a .356 batting average on balls in play, much higher than the still pop-up prone Rasmus usually enjoys. As of this writing, the Blue Jays are also being careful, and are rumored to be shopping Rasmus. This is not to say that Rasmus is just going to fall back into his 2011 or 2012 numbers. His relative youth and raw skills matter. But do not pay for 2013. A more reasonable expectation for 2014 might be .250/.320/.450 with 20-25 home runs. That will cut it in the outfield in many leagues, but he is not a top outfielder. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Rasmus’ 2013 shot him back into fantasy relevance, fulfilling some of the potential he has always had. He’s draftable in most leagues, but do not expect a repeat of his 2013 numbers.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 8/29/1983 | Team: Mets | Position: C|
Profile: There are only three certainties in this world: Death, taxes and Anthony Recker striking out. Last year, Recker struck out in 32.5% of his plate appearances. If he had gotten enough at-bats to qualify, he would have had the second-worst strikeout rate in the majors, behind only Chris Carter. In case anyone thinks this is fluky, I’ll point out that his career strikeout rate in the minors is 24.8%. Offensively, the 30-year-old is your classic quadruple-A player; he hit .273/.351/.461 in nearly 3,000 minor-league plate appearances, production that clearly never translated in the bigs. (Scott Strandberg)
Quick Opinion: He’s not even close to an option in two-catcher leagues. If you draft him, he’ll be a total team-Recker…get it? Sorry, I’ll show myself out.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 2/19/1987 | Team: Athletics | Position: OF|
Profile: It would be tough to describe Josh Reddick’s 2013 season as anything but a disappointment. The average, already poor, dropped further, the power dissipated, and he didn’t play frequently enough to rack up the counting stats. Two separate stints on the disabled list due to right wrist sprains eventually led to an October surgery, and the hope here is obviously that with the issue fixed, the home run per fly ball rate returns. Reddick’s batted ball distances remained strong despite the apparent power drop, and his fly ball rate remained above average, making it reasonable to hope for a 25-homer output. Even with improved discipline and a steady line drive rate, you’re not expecting much in terms of average, but the good-power, moderate-speed combo make him an enticing play, perhaps at a 2013-based discount. (Blake Murphy)
Quick Opinion: Beset by right wrist sprains all season, Josh Reddick saw his power output decline dramatically despite strong batted ball distances. If an offseason surgery was successful, expect the home run per fly ball rate to push back north of 10%, bringing with it improved home run production.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 10/12/1983 | Team: Orioles | Position: DH/OF|
Profile: Nolan Reimold can’t stay on the field, which makes analyzing him and expecting anything from him a risky proposition. He’s managed just 209 plate appearances, total, the past two years following three partial-seasons in the majors. The Orioles tendered him and avoided arbitration, so they must know his neck – now twice repaired, once with a disc removal and once with a cervical fusion – is better. Even with a poor 2013 performance (.195/.250/.336, 29.3% strikeout rate), Reimold has above average weighted offense for his career and Baltimore is holding out hope he can provide some pop as a fourth outfielder in a left field time-share. If Reimold gets enough playing time – a major if – he’ll hit enough home runs to matter. Don’t bet on steady playing time, though, and don’t expect contributions in any other category. (Blake Murphy)
Quick Opinion: Nolan Reimold has now had two major neck surgeries, but the Orioles paid him a hair over $1 million to stick around for 2014. The power is there but not much else is, and the questions about playing time limit his value.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 6/6/1990 | Team: Nationals | Position: 2B|
Profile: Rendon was the beneficiary of incumbent second baseman Danny Espinosa’s disappointing season, but he didn’t exactly take advantage of his opportunity at the plate. He did post a batted ball mix that yielded a .331 expected batting average on balls in play as a result of a high line drive rate, while he made fantastic contact and rarely swung and missed. In fact, his swinging strike rate would have ranked 13th-lowest if he had qualified. Unfortunately, he was less patient in the bigs, as his walk rate was half the marks he had typically posted in the minors, and his power vanished. That said, his fly ball and home run batted ball distance suggests about a league average home run per fly ball rate. A quick extrapolation over a full season would yield about 17-18 home runs, which is respectable from a second sacker. With no speed though, he’ll need to deliver on his power upside to earn positive fantasy value. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: The former top prospect finally got his first taste of Major League action, but he disappointed with the bat, especially on the power front. While his limited minor league record makes it difficult to speculate what his ultimate upside is, at the very least he should get his home run total into the high-teens over a full season.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 5/3/1988 | Team: Phillies | Position: OF|
Profile: Revere has a specific skill-set which makes him more valuable in fantasy than in real life. He can do two things really well; hit for about .300 every year, and steal a ton of bases. He’s not a big walker, instead relying on a contact-heavy approach. Due to his speed, he’s been able to post higher than normal batting averages on balls in play thus far. That should continue, provided his fractured foot has healed over the offseason. The average and speed will play, but there’s no reason to reach for him unless your league heavily weighs those two skills. He probably won’t even hit a single home run this year. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Revere does two things really well. That has value in fantasy leagues, but there’s no reason to reach for Revere.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 6/11/1983 | Team: Blue Jays | Position: SS|
Profile: Jose Reyes was off to a hot start with the Blue Jays when he slid awkwardly into second base and suffered an ugly ankle injury. He did end up with over 400 plate appearances and decent rate stats. The questions 2013 left in potential fantasy owners minds were around his playing time and his steals. Reyes has had injury issues in the past, especially with his hamstrings, and that is an understandable concern. However, they are a bit exaggerated — he had more than 700 plate appearances every season from 2005-2008, and averaged more than 600 from 2010-2012. In category leagues, his steals are a bigger worry. Reyes’ speed is still good, but he will be 31 in 2014, and it can be expected to decline. Outside of the issue of how the ankle and past injuries might reduce his proclivity and ability to steal, there is the issue of how it fits into the Jays’ plan. Manager John Gibbons is not much of a small ball guy, and frankly, there is not much of a point in stealing excessively when leading off in front of power hitters like Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. At this point, while Reyes can still be expected to provide double-digit homers over a full season, he is probably more of a 20 or 25 steals player these days. Shortstop is still a shallow fantasy position in most leagues, so that is still very valuable. Reyes was once a potential fantasy MVP every year, but that is very likely in the past at this point. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Jose Reyes is a still a very good fantasy player, offering at least 10 homers and at least 20 steals at shortstop over a full season. But he is probably not the total stud he was a couple of years ago.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 8/3/1983 | Position: 1B/3B|
Profile: Reynolds is losing his only elite skill. Last season, his slugging percentage dropped below .400 for the first time in his career and his isolated slugging percentage dropped under .200 for the first time as well. It’s not like he played in tough parks either, as he accumulated most of his at-bats in Yankee Stadium. It’s reached a point where Reynolds’ flaws are starting to outweigh his strength. Even if he finds himself in a position for playing time — and he should be in the running for some of the work at first for the Brewers — it’s tough to employ him in fantasy unless you really need power in an on-base percentage league. Even then, his home run numbers have fallen off recently, and the Brewers might be looking to the future if things don’t work out in the early going. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Reynolds power declined last season despite receiving most of his playing time in a strong offensive park. The flaws are beginning to outweigh the positives.
|Debut: 2004 | BirthDate: 2/18/1981 | Team: Rangers | Position: OF|
Profile: Alex Rios is one of the quintessential “far better in fantasy than in reality” players in contemporary baseball. In real baseball, a league-average hitting corner outfielder just is not all that valuable. Sure, his baserunning and defense make him about an average player, but there is a big difference between “average” and “star.” In traditional fantasy leagues, though, Rios is a multi-tool threat. Most years he hits around 20 home runs, he usually hits around .280 and sometimes flukes into .300. Perhaps the best news is that he has started stealing again. After stealing just 11 bases for the White Sox in a miserable 2011 season, he stole 23 in 2012, then stole 42 during a season split between Chicago and Texas. Part of the package with Rios is his “inconsistency.” In seasons like 2009 or 2011, he was not valuable in either fantasy or real baseball. Rios never walks much, and his strikeout rate at this point is just a big better than average. “Consistency” is not in itself a useful analytical category, but Rios’ reliance on balls in play makes him a bit riskier. He will also be 33 to start the season. Still, Rios is something of an iron man, playing at least 145 games a year every season since 2007, and that is important in fantasy. He is now in Texas, which is even more hitter-friendly than The Cell. The lineup around him will improve his counting stats. Rios should clearly be drafted in all traditional leagues, and he is probably a second-tier outfielder in most leagues, too. (Matt Klaassen)
Quick Opinion: Alex Rios may be overrated in real baseball because of his fantasy prowess, but we are talking about fantasy baseball here. His combination of respectable average, 15-20 home run power, 20-25 steal potential, and a good Texas park and lineup (not to mention good health) make him a five-category threat in traditional fantasy leagues.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 8/8/1989 | Team: Cubs | Position: 1B|
Profile: There’s a lot of bellyaching in certain circles about the season Anthony Rizzo put up in 2013. Yes, he only hit .233. And yeah, he only hit 23 homers. But he did something very important, too. He maintained strikeout and isolated slugging numbers that were better than league — for the second year in a row. Guess what the average batting average was for a qualified batter that did those things last season? .285. Coincidentally, that’s the exact batting average Rizzo had in 2012. The point is that Rizzo has power, and he makes contact better than the league rate, and that combo is rare. Let’s say you don’t want to pencil him for a .285 batting average next year — maybe you think he’s just not a line drive hitter — .233 is absurdly low for a player with his skillset, and his .258 batting average on balls in play is mostly to blame. Consider he’s only 24, so he’s pre-peak with regards to his power, too. Just a little boost, and Rizzo’s within a chip shot and a ducksnort of .280 and 30 homers. Two players hit those benchmarks last year — Chris Davis and Paul Goldschmidt. If you can’t afford the first two, consider the bargain bin version in this year’s drafts. (Eno Sarris)
Quick Opinion: For a guy that struck out less than league average and showed good power, Rizzo got a lot of grief for his 2013 season. Make others’ pain your gain by buying low on the Cubbie slugger.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 9/19/1980 | Position: 2B|
Profile: Roberts spent much of the 2013 season shuttling between Triple-A — where he hit poorly — and the majors — where he showed a surprising burst of home run power. All told, though, Roberts cost too much for the Rays to not have a permanent bench spot. He hits lefties well and can play multiple positions, so it would not be a surprise to see Roberts find a permanent bench spot — or even push Darwin Barney for the starting role. From a fantasy perspective, however, Roberts has limited value and limited upside. He has good power against lefties and can steal bases, but his otherwise unspectacular skills — a low batting average, an okay-but-not-great on-base percentage — make him a stopgap or emergency solution only if he’s getting playing time. (@BradleyWoodrum)
Quick Opinion: If he’s got a steady platoon or utility job, Roberts could make for a decent stopgap or emergency player. But first he’ll need to stick on a 25-man roster — fortunate for him, the Cubs might have just the right situation for him.
|Debut: 2001 | BirthDate: 10/9/1977 | Team: Yankees | Position: 2B|
Profile: On the bright side, Brian Roberts played more in 2013 than he had in any season since 2009. The negative, of course, is that he still managed fewer than 300 plate appearances thanks to hamstring surgery in April that took three months to recover from. At this point, his injury history reads like a play-by-play of a game of Operation, explaining why the market for his services is reportedly cold. Considering he ended the season healthy, he could be worth a bench flier in single-league formats, considering that the second base job in New York isn’t currently locked down by anyone. Don’t let the eight home runs in 77 games fool you, though, as his home run per fly ball rate (9.1%) was much higher than it had been in any year of his career save for 2005. More importantly, the lack of steals (three) and drop in Speed Score (3.8 in 2013, 6.3 for his career) show that injuries have sapped the 36-year-old’s primary fantasy asset. (Blake Murphy)
Quick Opinion: Age and injury are cruel. Once a 50-steal stud with double-digit power, Brian Roberts hasn’t stayed on the diamond regularly since 2009. Now 36 and with his speed dissipating, only the best of springs and a shot at regular time in pinstripes will make him fantasy relevant again.
|Debut: 2009 | BirthDate: 10/30/1984 | Team: Cardinals | Position: OF|
Profile: Despite showing excellent plate discipline and walking more often than he struck out, Robinson has proven to be nothing more than a late-inning defensive replacement. He has little power, just a smattering of speed and makes good contact, but that package has led to a woeful .287 career weighted on-base average. He’s your standard run of the mill reserve outfielder making him worthless outside of NL-Only leagues. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: With little power and not enough speed, even additional playing time hardly guarantees that Robinson would be worthy of your fantasy consideration. Good defense should give him some sort of role, but not large enough to matter.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 5/12/1984 | Position: C|
Profile: He’d be a whole lot cooler if he were the lead singer of the Black Crowes, but sadly, this Chris Robinson is nothing more than organizational catching depth for the Padres. The 29-year-old backstop has shown very little promise through an eight-year minor league career and though he managed to hit a home run during his 2013 late-season eight-game cup of coffee in the majors, it was just one of his two big league hits in 12 plate appearances. The Padres designated him for assignment again late last year and he won’t even be back as a potential back-up. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: Robinson, a 29-year old career minor league catcher, is with his fifth team in eight years and has just 12 major league at-bats to his credit. That’s about as exciting as it gets for him and he’ll continue to languish in the minors, serving as organizational depth for the Padres this season.
|Debut: 2013 | BirthDate: 9/28/1987 | Position: OF|
Profile: Derrick Robinson spent years in the Kansas City organization piling up impressive stolen bases numbers while playing a solid center field. He offers little else, however, and when he finally got his chance with the Reds in 2013 after Ryan Ludwick was injured, he did little to change that perception. Robinson had only 10 extra-base hits in 216 plate appearances, and worse, was successful on only four of his nine stolen base attempts. Set free for the second winter in a row, Robinson needs to improve his game to even be a Quad-A type, because speed alone won’t cut it, and his minor league track record doesn’t suggest he can actually be an efficient base stealer. (Mike Petriello)
Quick Opinion: Robinson can steal a base, but not well enough to make the risk worth it, and since he’s likely to be spending 2014 in the minors, he’s not worth a fantasy roster spot.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 4/26/1985 | Team: Rays | Position: OF|
Profile: Sean-Rod has a strong career .252/.352/.398 slash against left-handed-pitchers and had himself a solid 2013 season: .246/.320/.385 with league-average weighted offense. But Rodriguez also had his fewest plate appearances since joining the Rays. The team appears to have moved on from thinking he might ever blossom into an everyday player, and they have focused their efforts on increasing his defensive flexibility. He will continue to see plenty of platoon action as the Rays now have two left-handed outfielders. For a fantasy team looking for a flexible, right-handed bench bat (possibly for a platoon partner), Rodriguez should be available cheap in most any league and eligible at outfield, first, and possibly even second and short and third. If he doesn’t have eligibility at those bonus infield positions, he’s a strong bet to regain them if the Rays suffer a spate of injuries. (@BradleyWoodrum)
Quick Opinion: He’s versatile defensively and his left-handers rather well, but a fantasy owner would need to be somewhat desperate for depth in order to roster Rodriguez for a full season, especially since Roddy is a long, long shot for full-time duty.
|Debut: 1994 | BirthDate: 7/27/1975 | Position: 3B/DH|
Profile: Alex Rodriguez is still fighting the decision in court, but right now it looks like he’ll be suspended for the season. That’s a shame because, through all of the mess around him, ARod is still a productive player. Held to just 181 plate appearances because of off-the-field and injury concerns, his weighted offense was still 18% better than league average, which would have been 11th-best at third base among full-time players. In on-base formats, ARod is even better thanks to his 12.7% walk rate, and his 23-13 home run-stolen base pace over 600 plate appearances would have been useful in any format. Once (or if) ARod can take the field again, he might still be mixed-league relevant, but health will remain a concern even if his eligibility was not. (Scott Spratt)
Quick Opinion: Since he’s most likely suspended for the season, Alex Rodriguez is of little use in redraft leagues. He could make good stash in the deepest of dynasty leagues because he continues to reach base at near-elite rates and provide 20-10 home run-stolen base potential.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 2/9/1990 | Position: 2B|
Profile: On the bright side, Henry Rodriguez is a versatile defender who can play almost anywhere in the infield. But with Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips in Cincinnati, he’ll need to find a home at third base or shortstop to see much playing time. Steamer and Oliver both project a player who walks infrequently, makes contact, and hits for below average power. That’s the makeup of a utility infielder for the Reds, and waiver wire fodder for fantasy leagues. (Jack Weiland)
Quick Opinion: Not the Henry Rodriguez with the 100-mph fastball. Not that it matters, both are pretty much fantasy-irrelevant at this point.
|Debut: 2000 | BirthDate: 11/27/1978 | Team: Phillies | Position: SS|
Profile: Rollins has put up virtually the same numbers two years in a row with one big exception. Rollins saw his home runs decrease from 23 in 2012 to just six in 2013. Part of that can be blamed on a career-low 3.1% home run per fly ball rate. The more troubling aspect is that his fly ball distance fell to an awful 257 feet. When he was hitting fly balls, they weren’t going far enough to leave the park. A slight rebound to double-digit power numbers could make the him useful again, but until that happens he’ll be the type of player you get stuck with as opposed to a player you actually want. And at 35 year old, it may never come back. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Rollins saw his power disappear in 2013, and it’s unclear if he’s capable of getting it back. He has fantasy value due to his position, but he’s not going to be a highly coveted player.
|Debut: 2010 | BirthDate: 12/24/1985 | Team: Angels | Position: 3B/SS|
Profile: 98 of Andrew Romine’s career-high 123 plate appearances in 2013 happened at third base, after the Angels traded third base mainstay Alberto Callaspo in a rebuilding-mode move. With the offseason acquisition of David Freese, Romine looks to return to his reserve/defensive replacement role in 2014. It seems likely that he’ll see fewer plate appearances in 2014. Even if he does get a fair amount of playing time, don’t expect him to help your team’s offense much. (Steve Staude)
Quick Opinion: Don’t expect Romine to get enough plate appearances to be a valuable contributor. Also, don’t expect him to put up good numbers in whatever PAs he does get.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 11/22/1988 | Team: Yankees | Position: C|
Profile: Given the black hole that was the Yankees’ catching position in 2013, Austin Romine was provided with an opportunity to assert himself as the team’s everyday catcher. The chips could not have fallen any better for Romine. First, the Yankees decided to let Russell Martin leave via free agency. Then Francisco Cervelli got hurt and eventually suspended. Finally, Chris Stewart exhibited baserunning skills that would make Tom Emanski crawl out of his skin. The stage was set for Romine, who had been heralded as a great defensive catcher with minimal offensive skills. Unfortunately, he did not do anything to disprove that reputation. With a triple slash line of .207/.255/.296, the Yankees were so unimpressed that they shelled out $85M to bring in Brian McCann. (Michael A. Stein)
Quick Opinion: Romine will be competing with Francisco Cervelli and J.R. Murphy to be the Yankees’ backup catcher. Even if he wins this battle, he doesn’t belong on your fantasy team unless you have very deep rosters.
|Debut: 2008 | BirthDate: 5/20/1983 | Team: Rangers | Position: SS|
Profile: Stuck on a train between Oakland and Texas, Adam Rosales must have felt wanted. Claimed endlessly by two organizations must have some benefits. On the other hand, it means that 28 other organizations were yawning the whole time. And with decent reason. Rosales has shown a weighted offense that’s 31% worse than league average so far in his 319 plate appearances. And though that’s not a great sample, it’s really only his walk rate that shows upside. Most of his value comes from his ability to play in both the outfield and the infield — at most positions — but that’s not of great utility to a fantasy baseball player. So, pass on the waiver claim, like every team not named in this player cap. (Eno Sarris)
Quick Opinion: He’s a fun story, but Rosales will likely be on the move again this year, searching for a team that needs a player that can play all eight positions on the field. And that means few plate appearances and not enough skills to be fantasy useful.
|Debut: 2011 | BirthDate: 2/23/1989 | Team: Rockies | Position: C|
Profile: From a power standpoint, there are few catchers who can compete with Rosario. Since 1901, there have only been four other catchers to tally at least 50 home runs in their first three major league seasons — Rudy York, Roy Campanella, Earl Williams, Mike Piazza and Carlos Santana. And Rosario only had 57 plate appearances in his first major league season. If you limit the search to catchers in their first three seasons who topped 50 homers in under 1,000 PA, the list is just Rosario and York. Rosario’s power dipped quite a bit last season, but his .194 ISO was still third among catchers (min. 400 PA), and initial Steamer projections have him posting the best SLG in the game among catchers by a fair margin (.515 for Rosario to .490 for Buster Posey). There is an open question of just how bad Rosario’s rake and rake approach will be — his 3.2% BB% is pretty abhorrent, and does limit his upside quite a bit — but he should hit well enough to be a valuable piece in any format in which on-base percentage is not a category. His defense may limit him from becoming a first-tier catcher overall — his 466 PA last season ranked just 15th among catchers — so you might want to find a second catcher for the days Rosario doesn’t play, but when Rosario plays, he will hit.
Quick Opinion: Once touted by Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd as the next Pudge Rodriguez, it’s clear that Rosario has fallen short of that praise. But he is a pretty useful player, if you’re willing to live with his warts. From a fantasy perspective, the biggest question is his playing time, as the Rockies remain interested in signing someone who is more seasoned defensively than is Rosario.
|Debut: 2002 | BirthDate: 3/19/1977 | Team: Red Sox | Position: C|
Profile: Boston’s backup catcher suffered through an up-and-down 2013. His season was marred by two concussions, the second of which kept him out for two months during the heat of summer. When he did play, he wasn’t terribly relevant from an offensive perspective, posting a passable, but unspectacular .304 weight on base average. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia out of the picture, Ross is in line for a few more at bats, although A.J. Pierzynski will be the primary Red Sox catcher in 2014. Those who have deep benches and can make daily moves can use Ross as a “versus lefties” platoon guy, but otherwise, he’s not interesting in fantasy leagues. (Colin Zarzycki)
Quick Opinion: David Ross is riding a small wave of support following his theft of the starting catching job from Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the World Series, but with his mediocre regular season numbers and A.J. Pierzynski’s signing, Ross will return to a backup role (and fantasy irrelevance) in 2014.
|Debut: 2003 | BirthDate: 12/23/1980 | Team: Diamondbacks | Position: OF|
Profile: Prior to being shut down in August for hip surgery, the 33-year old Ross was having an interesting season for the Diamondbacks in 2013. He wasn’t hitting for as much power as usual, likely due to the hip problems he was having, but he was hitting for a higher average thanks to a significant drop in strikeouts — from 24.4% in 2012 to just 14.4% last year — while maintaining a very similar walk rate. His recovery time from surgery is supposed to carry into the early part of spring training, but he is expected to be ready for the start of the season. If he can retain last year’s plate discipline numbers and regain his power stroke, then Ross stands a good chance of being a decent fantasy contributor in 2014. However, the addition of Mark Trumbo likely means that Ross will play the part of the right-handed bat in a straight-up platoon with Gerardo Parra over in left field. That will certainly eat into his at-bats, but given his role over the last three seasons, it shouldn’t affect his overall fantasy value too much. (Howard Bender)
Quick Opinion: After being shut down early and undergoing hip surgery last season, Ross will return to a platoon role with the Diamondbacks this season and share time in left field with Gerardo Parra. If he can maintain his plate discipline numbers from 2013 and his power returns now that surgery has fixed his hip, Ross should post a decent fantasy value, particularly for those in deep leagues or play in leagues with daily roster moves to allow for greater use of platoon players.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 7/28/1986 | Team: Phillies | Position: 1B/OF|
Profile: Ruf was a divisive player heading into 2013. He was coming off a breakout season that included a successful cup of coffee at the major league level. In the minors, he walked over 10% of the time and struck out under 20% of the time. He also displayed good power including 38 home runs at Double-A and another three in the majors. But he was an older prospect that struck out a ton in his small major league sample, which raised a red flag for many. With a larger 293 plate appearance sample in 2013, Ruf continued striking out over 30% of the time, but he showed enough power and plate discipline to manage a weighted offense that was 25% above league average. Ruf appears to be a poor man’s Jack Cust — he walks less frequently than Cust — but the rest of the skill set (including bad defense) is present. Ruf may be a decent source of power and on-base percentage if carefully managed, especially if he rebounds against left-handed pitching as expected. His role with the Phillies is uncertain, but a handedness platoon with Ryan Howard seems possible. (Brad Johnson)
Quick Opinion: Ruf was projected to be a sleeper by some and a dud by many, but he actually turned in a flawed performance in 2013 that should have matched everybody’s expectations. Major league pitchers exploited his swing, yet he delivered enough power and patience to be over 10 runs above average at the plate. Unfortunately, poor defense and base running brought him back down to replacement level.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 4/12/1982 | Team: Cubs | Position: OF|
Profile: Coming off a breakout half-season in 2012, Ruggiano was a popular sleeper pick heading into 2013, and was heavily hyped by yours truly. Although he once again displayed an intriguing combination of power and speed that fantasy owners love, his batting average on balls in play plunged from an unsustainably high .401 to .260. The rest of his peripherals remained fairly consistent though, so some sort of BABIP rebound should be expected. Fortunately, the Marlins continued with their youth movement this offseason and traded Ruggiano to the Cubs, which puts him in a much better situation. With only the light-hitting Ryan Sweeney competing for center field at-bats, he could hit his way into full-time action. Or at least a regular platoon role that could make him useful in daily leagues with deep benches like ottoneu. (Mike Podhorzer)
Quick Opinion: The late-blooming Ruggiano finally got his opportunity to shine after his surprise 2012 performance, but a .260 batting average on balls in play killed his offensive output and contributed to a loss in playing time. He should get new life in Chicago though and has a real shot to take over starting center field duties if he could fend off Ryan Sweeney for the job.
|Debut: 2006 | BirthDate: 1/22/1979 | Team: Phillies | Position: C|
Profile: Ruiz’s follow-up to his excellent 2012 started off on the wrong foot, when he was suspended 25 games for using an amphetamine. Upon returning, Ruiz failed to live up to expectations, and now he’s turning 35. Throughout most of his career, he’s been able to hit for decent averages and post strong on-base numbers, but hasn’t been a power threat. Unless he hits for an abnormally high batting average on balls in play or suddenly rediscovers his power stroke, Ruiz is not going to reach his 2012 heights again. He’s been passed by younger catchers who have more upside. Ruiz will likely be a backup or injury fill-in unless he shows a little something extra again. (Chris Cwik)
Quick Opinion: Ruiz’s 2012 was pretty fluky due to a high BABIP and sudden power surge. The 35-year-old is a low-upside option at this point, and has been passed by better players at his position.
|Debut: 2012 | BirthDate: 4/21/1989 | Team: Rockies | Position: 2B|
Profile: In 2012, Rutledge took the baseball world by storm when he went absolutely bonkers at the plate in July and August, as he hit .345/.360/.634. But as you can probably tell from the eerily close batting average and on-base percentage, that success was fleeting. His “swing at everything” approach failed him in September, and didn’t do him any favors in the early part of 2013 either. He started taking more walks, but it didn’t help his performance overall. He was sent to the minors twice. On May 20, he was sent down after he hit .242/.298/.357 in 173 plate appearances to open the season. He was called back up a few weeks later, but was once again demoted on July 20 after he hit a shockingly poor .143/.211/.214 in 78 PAs in his second major league stint. But he would get one more chance in September, and he showed flashes, as he hit .328/.381/.431 in 63 September PAs. It’s not much of a leg to stand on, but it is something, especially when you consider that his keystone competition — DJ Lemahieu and Jonathan Herrera — are never going to be known for their bats (they have career 72 and 67 wRC+’s, respectively). If Rutledge can demonstrate the hitting prowess that he has intermittently throughout his career, the soon-to-be 25-year-old could still figure prominently in the Rockies’ second base plans. But that is a pretty big “if” at this stage. Keep an eye on him during spring training, but definitely make other plans for your squad.
Quick Opinion: It’s hard to know exactly how good Rutledge is at this point, but one thing is certain — he shouldn’t be the starting second baseman on your fantasy team in 2014. And if he doesn’t beat out DJ LeMahieu for the starting job in Colorado during spring training, you can probably wipe him off your draft board altogether.
|Debut: 2007 | BirthDate: 3/26/1982 | Team: Yankees | Position: SS|
Profile: Possibly the best defensive shortstop this side of Adam Everett in the last decade, Brendan Ryan has pushed the limits of what teams are willing to accept offensively from a defense-first shortstop. Ryan’s defense was, well, defensible when he was hitting .259/.314/.344 for the Cardinals from 2007 to 2010. But from that time since, Ryan has “hit” .215/.285/.294 including back-to-back seasons with sub-.600 OPS numbers. Still, it’s a testament to just how good Ryan’s defense has been that only one of his seasons — this past season, that is — has resulted below-replacement play for the defensive wizard (-0.6 WAR). Ryan will back up Derek Jeter in New York next year and possibly beyond, as he signed for $5 million over two years in November. (Brandon Warne)
Quick Opinion: The Yankees inked Ryan to a two-year extension in November to retain him as an insurance policy to Derek Jeter’s balky ankle. As a utility player, Ryan’s value can be best maximized/utilized when he’s played in limited spurts. A Jeter injury would thrust Ryan into full-time duty, and that would not be ideal.
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