Welcome to my 2016 fantasy team previews. I will be breaking down 2016 prospects for the relevant fantasy players on all 30 teams, one team at a time. Check back throughout the offseason for new team previews. Because there are 30 teams to cover in limited time, I have to get started now, even though there will certainly be some trades that move players around and open up larger roles for existing players. Hopefully you can bear with me on those issues and remember that these were written before those trades occurred.
I am starting at the bottom of the standings and working my way up. In each team preview, I will attempt to follow the same layout. First, there will be two tables of stats for hitters followed by quick analysis of the most fantasy relevant of those hitters (relevance at my discretion). After that, two tables for the pitching stats and some pitcher analysis. I will then present one breakout player (aka sleeper) and one breakdown player (or bust, if you prefer) for the team. Got it? Ok, let's get started.
|Ivan De Jesus||3B*, 2B, SS*||222||4||15||28||0||2||8.60%||24.80%||0.244||0.311||0.373|
|Brayan Pena||C, 1B*||367||0||17||18||2||0||7.90%||9.30%||0.273||0.334||0.324|
|Skip Schumaker||OF, 2B*||268||1||23||21||2||2||8.60%||19.00%||0.242||0.306||0.336|
|Kristopher Negron||3B*, SS, OF||107||0||5||2||2||0||8.40%||21.50%||0.14||0.238||0.161|
|Name||BABIP||LD%||GB%||FB%||HR/FB||SwStr%||Soft%||Med%||Hard%||ESPN Player Rater|
|Ivan De Jesus||0.315||23.80%||49.70%||26.50%||10.30%||8.50%||17.00%||59.90%||23.10%||-2.07|
*Will lose this eligibility in 2016
**The ESPN player rater is based on a player's standard 5 x 5 category performance relative to average. A score of 0 is replacement level and negative values mean the player is actually hurting your team. Values in the 1-2 range generally are for your worst starting player, unless you are unlucky. There are no positional adjustments, though, so shortstops and catchers will often have very low scores relative to everyone else. It is normalized so that guys with little playing time can be compared to guys that played all year.
This roster is a definite step up from the disaster that was the Phillies lineup last week. There are some sure-fire fantasy stars on this team. Joey Votto had an MVP-caliber year, especially in the second half (0.535 OBP!) and showed that, when healthy, he is still worth a first round pick, IMHO. He is 32 years old, but his skill set ages well and he is one of the most intelligent, adaptable hitters in baseball so I predict an Adrian Beltre-like slow decline in his 30s. I would feel confident drafting him next year ahead of Anthony Rizzo and Jose Abreu.
Billy Hamilton once again put up other-worldly steals totals but failed to do much else. With no power and a poor walk rate and average, he hurts you in every category except runs and steals. While I understand the allure of a guy that can single-handedly win you a category, I personally wouldn't want to take the hits in the other categories. With steals way down this year in the league, he does have significant value, as evidenced by his 6.27 player rater score. I don't expect the power or average to get much better than this and the aging curve on steals is very harsh, so expect a decline in steals each year. I would put him down for 45-50 steals in 2016.
Todd Frazier had a scorching first half and then fizzled down the stretch. Overall, he produced another very good season. He sold out for power in the past couple years, exchanging average and consistency for homers and slugging. The sheer number of flyballs he hits will ensure his homers continue, but also that his average will not get above 0.260. He had a great hard hit %, so I don't see much power decline next year.
Brandon Phillips put up much better numbers than anyone would have expected. His power, runs, and RBI totals were not flukey and could easily happen in 2016. I do expect his average to drop to 0.280 or so, once his BABIP drops a little and he doesn't hit so many line drives (line drive rate has very little year-to-year correlation). The steals were the biggest surprise and the biggest reason for his 7.68 player rater score. He is 34 years old and had 2 steals in 2014, 5 in 2013. So, no, I don't expect anything close to the 23 steals he had this year. I would take the under on 10.
Jay Bruce was his usual self: low OBP, above average power, low average. Expect more of the same. Zack Cozart played very well before a season-ending injury, er, ended his season. One of my favorites, Eugenio Suarez, took over and played well himself at shortstop. I like both of these two, but favor Suarez a little bit. Whichever one wins the job this spring is ownable in 12-team leagues and deeper. Both carry significant risk (see Suarez in 2014, Cozart in 2012-2014) of reverting back to being bad hitters, but if you wait on shortstop in the draft, you could take a chance on one of these two.
Devin Mesoraco missed most of the season with a hip injury, but should be a top-10 catcher again in 2016. Hip injuries can linger (see Moss, Brandon), but he's had lots of recovery time, so I'm not too worried. He might be a great buy low if your league is down on him in 2016.
Now for the young kids! Adam Duvall was acquired late in the year from San Francisco and has some sneaky power potential and can draw a walk. He might earn a starting OF job next year and is worth looking at. Jesse Winker was a great hitting prospect in 2014, but struggled early in 2015. He rebounded toward the end of the year and showcased his above average power and excellent walk rate. He hasn't played in AAA yet, so I don't expect him to start the year in the Show, but he should be up in the late summer and could be a useful pickup.
|Michael Lorenzen||RP, SP||113.1||5.4||5.4||4.82||1.66||0.322||73.50%||40.50%||8.60%|
|Name||SV||HLD||K%||BB%||Soft%||Med%||Hard%||ESPN Player Rater|
*If they were outside the top 550 pitchers on the player rater, they will show up as #N/A
FYI, I left Cueto in here, since he will be a free agent and we don't know where he will be at this point. He struggled in Kansas City and the AL, but there isn't anything in his stat line I can point to that explains his struggles. He still looks like an ace with a rare ability to limit contact and sustain a low BABIP and beat his FIP and xFIP every year. Unless he ends up in a really bad hitters park, I'm still confident in his skills.
Chapman was not quite as dominant as in 2014, but still the best RP in the game. No worries with him next year. The rest of the bullpen is/was a mess and should be avoided. Cingrani showed some promise, but his walk rate and ultimate injury killed his momentum.
I know Mike Leake isn't with the Reds anymore, but I decided to talk about him here. He is a solid top-40 SP and as long as he stays in the NL, he'll be useful, especially as a streamer. Homer Bailey will be back from TJ surgery, but he was just above average in 2014 and I think he will be a find #3-type starter, but more on the level of Desclafani.
This team is bursting with young SP potential. Despite the bad results, I like what I saw from John Lamb. He was very unlucky with the BABIP and LOB%. His K%-BB% was excellent, and he got lots of whiffs. I like his potential with more development. Raisel Iglesias was inconsistent in his first year as a starter (he was a reliever in Cuba), but put up a 3.28 xFIP and a stellar 11.7% SwStr%. He might be my favorite Reds pitcher for 2016. I expect a top-30 SP performance. Anthony Desclafani was great, then bad, then good again, but had a pretty good first full year. I would rank him between Iglesias and Lamb in the 30-45 range among SP for next year. Expect some inconsistency, but overall above average pitching. Michael Lorenzen had a rocky debut in Cincy, but still has #3 starter upside, according to scouts. I didn't see enough groundball or swinging strike potential to get excited yet.
Last, but not least, we have Brandon Finnegan. He was acquired from Kansas City in the big Cueto deal. We still haven't seen him much as a starter in the majors, so it is unclear how good he can be. I am staying away for now because I haven't seen enough good things to outweigh the high risk. He was a decent prospect once, so I haven't given up on him, but I need to see more.
The most relevant pitching prospect is Robert Stephenson, one of the top pitchers in all of miLB. His results were not great in a repeat of AA in 2015, but he continues to strike lots of hitters out with his devastating fastball. He was considered for a call up in September, but they decided to leave him in AAA. He still has incredible potential, but needs to get his walks down to even have a chance. If he's walking this many minor league hitters, wait until he sees MLB hitters. I am holding him in my dynasty league for his high ceiling, but I'm worried about his control. It is possible, but unlikely that he wins a rotation spot in spring training. He's a lottery ticket for 2016.
I touched on this earlier, but I'm a big fan. I love his pitch mix, the way he can change his arm slot for different pitches and still maintain command, his ability to get whiffs, his deception, and his ground balls. If any one of these young Reds starters is going to take over as the number 1, it's him.
As I said above, the steals aren't going to happen again and the batting average should fall. Combine those two things with a 35-year-old second baseman that could easily get injured and you get a bust waiting to happen. Sure, you can draft him as your second baseman, but don't say I didn't warn you.
Check back soon for the next team preview as we keep moving up the standings. Tschus!