3 Burning Questions (Fantasy Baseball)
Now that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is showing major league pitchers what he can do, some of the hottest talk has shifted to other areas. We’re almost officially to summer, and baseball is starting to heat up. So are the burning questions.
Is Yordan Alvarez worth rostering?
Since Guerrero’s promotion, Yordan Alvarez has been baseball’s most talked about prospect. That’s rightfully so, considering he’s hitting .371 with 20 home runs. We know that’s very, very good. Let’s take a look at what else we know about Alvarez and his situation.
First and foremost, he actually struggled somewhat in his cup of tea at Triple-A last season. He certainly didn’t have the success he’s having this year, batting .259 with eight home runs in 45 games.
Next, the Houston Astros have an organizational log-jam at outfield. George Springer (now on the IL), Michael Brantley, Josh Reddick, Jake Marisnick, Tony Kemp, Derek Fisher, Kyle Tucker, and Alvarez are all vying for playing time. When healthy, Springer and Brantley will play every day, no questions asked. And Reddick has made it nearly impossible for the Astros to remove him from the lineup. If Springer comes back relatively soon and the rest of the outfield remains healthy, what are they to do? Someone could DH, but at this point, Alvarez might not even be ahead of Tucker — who is having a great season himself — on the pecking list.
Alvarez is raking right now, but is a 47-game stretch enough to topple all of the evidence above that shows his tough road to fantasy relevance this season? I don’t think so. If you want to roster him based solely on his tremendous upside, go for it. But don’t be a bit surprised when he doesn’t receive the call-up any time soon.
How useful can Cavan Biggio be?
Chances are, if you have done any research on Cavan Biggio, you probably read something like “Cavan might be a solid player, but he won’t be his father.” Well, that’s great to know, but I haven’t seen anyone picking up Craig Biggio on the waiver wire recently. Furthermore, in his prime, Craig Biggio hit 20+ home runs, stole up to 50 bases, and frequently hit over .300. If Cavan can do half of that this season, he’ll be worth every penny.
Scouts like to point out that Cavan isn’t dripping with the upside that other prospects are. Instead, he’s much more of a steady hand who is all but guaranteed to be a solid, everyday big leaguer. What’s intriguing, however, is his growth. His development has been rock solid every year thus far. Cavan also hasn’t looked overmatched in a tiny big league sample size. On top of that, he will hit for power, average, and steal some bases as well.
Sure, Biggio might not be his father, but there’s no reason he can’t help all fantasy baseball teams right now. In fact, if he plays all year, I’d put myself out on a limb and say he could easily be a 20-20 player. He strikes out a bit too much, but who doesn’t in today’s MLB? So for the rest of the season, a realistic line for Biggio could include 10-15 home runs and steals each along with a .275 average. He should put himself squarely in the second base mix in all leagues the rest of the season.
Who are some low-ownership relievers worth rostering in hopes of eventually finding saves?
Pedro Strop (CHC)
Steve Cishek has done a fine enough job as the closer while Strop has been on the IL, but he blew a save in ugly fashion the last time out. Strop should return soon, and it would be far from a surprise to see Joe Maddon throw him back into the closer’s role. Brandon Morrow still seems nowhere near a return, so the potential long-term closer for the Cubs is worth stashing.
John Gant (STL)
The Cardinals’ bullpen has been a total disaster lately outside of Gant. Jordan Hicks has imploded more than once now, and Andrew Miller still looks like a shell of his old self. The Cardinals like Gant in the utility role he’s inhabited thus far, but more late-inning struggles could force their hand to throw Gant into a ninth-inning job.
Craig Stammen (SD)
Total hunch here, but Kirby Yates has been used a lot. He is easily on pace to pitch the most innings of his career. The Padres have found themselves in a ton of save situations, and if Yates were to ever get hurt, Stammen could be in line for a lot of saves.
Ty Buttrey (LAA)
Buttrey finds himself in the exact same situation as Gant. The Angels’ bullpen hasn’t been good; Buttrey has been great. The Angels like Buttrey in a versatile role, but maybe even more so than the Cardinals, the Angels could use a solid closer. Neither Cody Allen nor Hansel Robles have had much success. It seems inevitable that Buttrey will eventually collect some saves for the Halos.