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Player Debates: Nick Castellanos, Matt Chapman, Luis Robert, Jose Berrios, Tim Anderson

May 18, 2020

It makes a ton of sense to wait on third base for a long time and make Matt Chapman your starter.

Five more player debates on tap for you; four veterans and an exciting rookie. Check out the rest of the series at the links below before diving in!

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81) Nick Castellanos (OF – CIN)

Case For
“We know that lineup protection doesn’t actually exist, but leaving Comerica Park for Wrigley Field finally allowed Nick Castellanos to produce like the player we had hoped to see for years. Now, in Cincinnati, Castellanos goes to an even better ballpark, where he should be among the league leaders in doubles. The Cincy outfield is crowded, but Castellanos is locked into an everyday role. Draft him with confidence this year.” – Michael Waterloo

Case Against
“The fantasy baseball community certainly sees the value in Nick Castellanos, but it should be noted that the free-agent market didn’t agree. The Detroit Tigers traded away Castellanos out of necessity, but the Chicago Cubs moved on from him without much of a fight. What gives? Perhaps it’s simply due to the best that we have seen from Castellanos — and how this compares to the “best” of others. Through six full seasons, Castellanos has never hit more than 27 home runs. His RBI totals are also a far cry from what we would want in a middle-of-the-order bat, but some of that could be attributed to the Tigers’ lack of offense. He should see an uptick in these areas playing on the Cincinnati Reds, but the reality is that his hard-hit percentage has been excellent for three consecutive seasons, and he simply hasn’t taken the next step.” – Mario Mergola

Draft Approach
“Castellanos is one of the better later round bats for consistent production in a number of categories. He has been a reliable bat for several years now and will now play his home games in one of the league’s best hitting ballparks. There will be no steals, and he plays at a really deep position, but there aren’t too many guys that can contribute in four categories like he can this late in the draft. He is one of the better value picks in my eyes.” – Jon Anderson

82) Matt Chapman (3B – OAK)

Case For
“Typically at this point in the draft, you are picking and choosing between categories. If you are drafting a guy that can get you a bunch of steals, he is almost surely going to crater you in another category. There are very few power/average combinations at this point in the draft as well, which makes Chapman really stand out. Yeah, his batting average fell to a pedestrian .249 last year, but 2018 still looms as he posted a strong .278 mark. He showed major power upside last year too, belting 36 homers. It is tough for hitters to contribute majorly in power and average at the same time, but if anybody can do it at this point in the draft, it is Chapman. It makes a ton of sense to wait on third base for a long time and make Chapman your starter there while you load up at the more shallow positions.” – Jon Anderson

Case Against
“If we are looking at real baseball, Matt Chapman is one of the 10 best players in the league. If we are looking at fantasy with OBP, Chapman gets a boost in value. Neither of those are the case here, as Chapman’s average keeps him out of the elite options at third base. What he’ll give you is solid production, and if he takes the next step in batting average, he’s top 5 at the position. As of now, though, at a deep position, he’s a top 12 guy who gives you what a lot of players give you.” – Michael Waterloo

Draft Approach
“Matt Chapman tends to land in between the elite third basemen and the volume that can be had at almost any point in the draft. As a result, he becomes more of a value pick than anything else. If targeting Chapman, then home runs are clearly the priority over batting average. This changes, however, in on-base percentage leagues, where Chapman’s walk rate prevents him from crippling a fantasy lineup.” – Mario Mergola

83) Luis Robert (OF – CHW)

Case For
“Commitment. If we want anything from a team regarding its prospects, “commitment” is at the top of the list. And, what better commitment exists than signing a prospect to a long-term Major League contract before said prospect has debuted? This tells us that the Chicago White Sox will not be playing around when it comes to Luis Robert. He’s part of the Big League club and will have every opportunity to thrive. In Chicago’s lineup, “thriving” should not be overly difficult. Robert is an excellent speed source who should give enough power to be respectable. The best part, however, is that he isn’t necessarily being over-drafted. He carries hype, but not to the level of other prospects we have seen in the past.” – Mario Mergola

Case Against
“Every year people rush to get their hands on these high-upside rookies, and more often than not they are left wanting. Robert has that elusive power/speed combination that has him going all over the place in drafts as believers in him really reach to make sure they secure him. I would be more hesitant. If I am going to invest in a guy who has never seen a major league plate appearance, I would prefer them to have a better plate discipline tandem than a 24.7% strikeout rate and a 4.9% walk rate in AAA. Free swingers have a much tougher time translating their talents to the highest level, and it will not be surprising to see Robert take a little while to realize any of his potential at this level. Full steam ahead in dynasty drafts, but I am letting someone else take Robert in redraft leagues.” – Jon Anderson

Draft Approach
“Shiny new toy syndrome is one hell of a drug. There’s no doubting Luis Robert’s potential, and quite honestly, it’s surprising that he isn’t going higher with his ADP. We typically set the bar too high for rookies, and when you draft Robert, it’s all about expectation. If you’re expecting a superstar out of the gate, you’ll probably be disappointed. If you are OK with a hybrid of Victor Robles and Yasiel Puig from 2019, you should be happy with drafting Robert here.” – Michael Waterloo

84) Jose Berrios (SP – MIN)

Case For
“Is Jose Berrios overrated a little bit every year? Yeah, definitely. Berrios can be inconsistent from start to start, and you want more when you watch him pitch and he’s on. That said, while he may not be an ace, he’s one hell of an SP2 to have on your roster. You want guys who are going to give you 200 innings and a good strikeout rate. Berrios checks those boxes, even with the occasional bad start. ” – Michael Waterloo

Case Against
“It pains me to make a case against Jose Berrios considering how heavily I am targeting him in 2020, but looking at all angles for a player is the best way to ensure nothing was missed. For Berrios, the one area that appears to be “missing” is his strikeout rate. He averages fewer than one strikeout-per-inning, and he doesn’t necessarily make up for this with sparkling ratio statistics. The reality is that Berrios has sat in the same range for three consecutive years — almost identical numbers across the board. If he can’t see an uptick in strikeouts, it will be difficult to improve in other areas of his game.” – Mario Mergola

Draft Approach
“Berrios is pretty simple. Do you want a solid innings eater that should rack up wins and not kill you most times he takes the mound? Berrios is boiler plate for that description. He has the rare long leash to go deep into games, making him extra enticing in quality starts leagues, and there is something to be said for having an ace on your team that will be given any extra start his team stumbles across in this weird year ahead. Take Berrios for security, not for upside.” – Jon Anderson

85) Tim Anderson (SS – CHW)

Case For
“Late steals and batting average? Sign me up, please. The year Anderson had in 2019 was just ridiculous. The 21% strikeout rate, 3% walk rate, and .363 BABIP make it impossible to expect another .330+ batting average moving forward, but I mean he would have to really drop off the face the earth to be a negative in that category. He has 20-20 upside with a .300 batting average if he proves to just be a BABIP outlier. This is a good target if you’ve loaded up on the big power hitters early in the draft.” – Jon Anderson

Case Against
“Fluke. That’s the best word to use to describe Anderson’s 2019 season. Now, do I think he’ll be bad in 2020? No, I don’t. But, there’s no chance Anderson leads the league in batting average again. Anderson is a career .276 hitter, and he hit .335 last year. If you look at his xBA, though, it was .294, making his gap between his expected average and actual average the fourth-largest in baseball. To be fair, .294 is one hell of a mark, but looking around .270-.280 is more realistic for Anderson. He’ll be leading off for a great lineup, so his runs should be high, but looking at his exit velocity (36th percentile) and hard hit rate (39th percentile), we should temper expectations of a 20-homer season. It hurts Anderson that he plays shortstop, which along with third base, is the deepest position in fantasy this year. He’s an easy fade this year given the other options at the position.” – Michael Waterloo

Draft Approach
“Suggestions that Yoan Moncada might be leading off for the Chicago White Sox has a direct effect on Tim Anderson. He would project to lose some runs scored and stolen bases. This is a situation worth monitoring, especially with how deep the shortstop position is in 2020. In terms of format, Anderson almost never walks — his walk rate was at or below 3.0 for three-of-his-four seasons in Major League Baseball — so he loses tremendous value in on-base percentage leagues.” – Mario Mergola

2020 Draft Kit: View printable cheat sheets, sleepers & mistakes to avoid >>

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