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Player Debates: Jose Abreu, Josh Hader, Giancarlo Stanton, Victor Robles, Eddie Rosario

May 4, 2020

Jose Abreu is a safe player’s ideal pick, and he is a great value this year at first base.

Welcome back to our player debates series. We are slowly approaching triple digits here, as we debate four hitters and the first reliever off the board in this edition. Check out all of the debates we have already completed below.

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Player Debates: Aaron Judge, Matt Olson, Lucas Giolito, Tommy Pham, Yu Darvish

Be sure to bookmark this page to follow along for our complete player debate series.

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66) Jose Abreu (1B – CHW)

Case For
“How many guesses would it take you to land on Jose Abreu as the AL leader in RBIs in 2019? He’s not a sexy player, and frankly, he never has been. But he’s a consistent source of RBIs and his batting average bounced back after a down year in the category in 2018. Even if he doesn’t drive in 123 runs again, he’s in the best lineup of his career, and he’s a lock as a top 10 first baseman.” – Michael Waterloo

Case Against
“Jose Abreu was one of the more consistent fantasy players in recent history, but his ceiling was always capped. He rarely exploded for a major return-on-investment, but he did have a high enough floor that he wouldn’t provide a negative. That might be changing. Not only is Abreu 33 years old — where risk of a decline grows year-after-year — but his strikeout rate has now increased for three consecutive years. Similarly, his walk rate dropped from ’18 to ’19, and his fly ball rate followed. Ultimately, Abreu’s ceiling might not have changed, but his floor is dropping. That makes him too high of a risk for his ADP.” Mario Mergola

“If you are in this far into the draft without a first baseman and just want someone you can count on getting good production out of, allow me to present you with Jose Abreu. He is on the wrong side of 30, and his ceiling is very limited, but he also brings a high floor to the table and tends to fall in drafts. He is a safe player’s ideal pick, and he is a great value this year at first base.” – Jon Anderson

67) Josh Hader (RP – MIL)

Case For
“There aren’t too many players in the league that you can absolutely bank on getting elite production from, but Hader is firmly in that category. He is what I call “too good to fail”. The issue is that, as a reliever, his impact on your fantasy team is naturally limited. If you have a pitching staff full of starters, his 3-5 innings a week can only do so much to help you. However, he is a hugely impactful player if you take a short pitching staff approach in a rotisserie league. This strategy is actually pretty viable in a lot of league setups, so taking this approach could be something to seriously look into. Hader becomes one of the most valuable players in the game when you can make his elite innings become hugely impactful to your weekly lines.” – Jon Anderson

Case Against
“The rule when drafting a closer is to not be the first one to take on, rather be the second or third player to take one. If you are investing in Hader, you’re going to start the run. Is he worth it? Well, his ratios are, at least, but there’s still a chance that the Brewers use him in a multi-inning role instead of as a straight closer, as they have in the past.” – Michael Waterloo

“Two years ago, we knew how dominant Josh Hader could be out of the bullpen. The problem was that his role was undefined. Fast-forward to today, and we have one of the premier closers in the game. The skills have not diminished, the role has been solidified, and the strikeouts never end. Therein lies the approach with him. Even if the Milwaukee Brewers decide to move Hader around the bullpen, his strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP are so stellar that it won’t matter. He’s a worthwhile own in any format.” – Mario Mergola

68) Giancarlo Stanton (OF – NYY)

Case For
“Imagine if Giancarlo Stanton were to stay healthy for an entire season. I know, it’s a crazy thought, but stay with me. I’m asking you to “imagine,” not “believe.” So do it. Pretend that Stanton plays a full season and, for the sake of numbers, pretend that it’s not an abbreviated schedule. What does he produce? Using his track record, in seasons in which Stanton played at least 120 games, he averaged 41 home runs — never hit fewer than 34 in one of those seasons — 102 runs batted in, and a .277 batting average. In other words, he was an outstanding fantasy asset. Of course, the reality is that we can’t trust Stanton will give us a full season. Neither can anyone else. And that’s exactly why we should be targeting him at his decreased value. Every fantasy owner is approaching Stanton with caution, and it is continuously driving down his price. Take the discount. Mario Mergola

Case Against
“You can get a ton of home runs in the middle of the draft without having to accept the massive injure risk that Stanton brings. Sure, he has more raw power than anybody else you are going to find around this time in the draft, but I think I would rather take a slightly worse player that I can feel good about staying healthy rather than risking another total bust season from “Glass” Stanton. This dude puts the I-L in Giancarlo, am I right??” Jon Anderson

“How should you approach Giancarlo Stanton in the draft? Not by taking his as the 68th player off the board, that much is for sure. Look, there’s no denying his talent, but has any player snake-bitten fantasy managers as often as Stanton has? He’s worth the gamble if he falls around pick 100 or so, but you’re still in the early part of your draft where you’re building your foundation. You don’t want your foundation to come with built-in cracks. Michael Waterloo

69) Victor Robles (OF – WAS)

Case For
“There’s a lot of talk around Victor Robles’ lack of exit velocity in his first season, and it’s warranted. Same with the discussion around his expected stats. That’s also warranted. But do you know what he does give you? He gives you elite speed that you need, and he’s not a zero in batting average or power. He went 17/28 last year, and that’s in a bad year when the peripherals didn’t look good. Imagine what he can do if he shows the plus-hit tool that he showed in the minors.” – Michael Waterloo

Case Against
In today’s power-happy game, we always point out the sources for steals. Victor Robles appears to be one of them. The problem is that he might only be a source of steals and, relative to similar players is likely overpriced. This is due to his trajectory, which is not particularly exciting. He finished 2019 with a 24.5 soft hit percentage, the second-worst among all qualified hitters. This suggests that Robles’ batting average and home run total from 2019 is closer to his ceiling. He did include a solid 86 runs scored, but it’s not likely that Robles pushes Trea Turner out of the leadoff spot. – Mario Mergola

“The only reason you should be taking Robles is that you are behind the league in steals. There is still upside in the tank for Robles at the young age of 23, but what he showed last year was far from assuring. That said, he could see a ton of PAs at the top of the National’s lineup, which puts him in line to be a solid contributor in runs and steals – which is more than you can say for a lot of the hitters you are finding as you get deeper and deeper into your draft. Draft Robles for speed, but don’t let your hopes get too high on getting anything else from him.” – Jon Anderson

70) Eddie Rosario (OF – MIN)

Case For
“When is Rosario going to get some love? The dude has put up three straight strong seasons, hitting no lower than .276 while popping no fewer than 24 homers. There are RBI opportunities galore in the Twins lineup, and Rosario posted a ridiculous strikeout rate of just 14.6% last year. The best could be still to come for this 28-year-old, and what he’s given you the last three years has been pretty awesome to start with.” – Jon Anderson

Case Against
“All it takes for Eddie Rosario to be a better fantasy player is for him to learn how to take a walk. He now has three seasons out of five with a walk rate of 3.7 or lower. If he could get that up to 8 percent, you’re looking at a top 45 pick. As it is, he’s a guy who is going to help you in home runs, RBIs, and be fine at batting average. That player is also known as nearly every other player in fantasy. ” – Michael Waterloo

Cautiously. If there’s one word to describe how we are approaching Eddie Rosario, then “cautiously” is it. He’s the perfect example of a player who saw an uptick in production but is a risk to revert back to his mean. This is evidenced by his decline in the second half of last season. Rosario has indicated that said decline was due to a knee injury that has since been addressed, but this is another reason why caution should be taken. Otherwise, expect solid power, a decent batting average, but absolutely nothing in terms of on-base percentage — Rosario almost never walks — making him a better option in standard formats. – Mario Mergola

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