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MLB Hot Stove Update: Luis Robert, Jason Castro, Rich Hill, and more!

Heath examines the Hot Stove with a fantasy baseball slant.

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

It’s been a pretty satisfying offseason of MLB news. A steady wave, if you will. There’s almost always some new move to process, which has been pretty exciting. Today is no different!

Luis Robert signs with the White Sox

He hasn’t seen the field at the highest level yet, but he’s now enjoying a six-year, $50 million extension. Here are the specifics:

Robert, the No. 3 prospect in baseball per, is expected to break camp with the White Sox to begin 2020. He is an immediate 20/20 threat and his 108 ADP should rise with this additional clarity on his role. How high will he go? I’m unsure, but I think you can compare him favorably to guys like Victor Robles (ADP 62) and Tommy Pham (ADP 69), who are each being drafted far sooner. Get ready for a meteoric rise in that ADP, which probably means I won’t have shares in 2020. Someone always wants the shiny new toy more than I do.

The Angels sign an actual MLB catcher in Jason Castro

Mike Trout inches closer to the playoffs with this move. Castro may seem like a boring signing to most, but he’s an upgrade over Max Stassi and Anthony Bemboom. He did some good things last year:

Even still, Castro is waiver wire fodder, even in 15-team leagues. He’d be a viable C2 option in two-catcher formats, though. Off the cuff, I’m pushing him into the low 20s among my catcher rankings, into the Austin Romine/Tucker Barnhart area. I know, exciting stuff. But I’m more stoked about this in real life, as Castro is a good framer and is a solid add for a Halos team that hopes to contend in 2020.

The Twins sign veteran help in Rich Hill and Homer Bailey

Getting to pitch against the Tigers and Royals will make nearly any pitcher viable on a case-by-case basis. Of course, we’ll want to avoid the epic White Sox lineup. Anyway, Bailey slots into the starting rotation immediately, while Hill will continue to rehab and work towards a mid-year return. Hill will enter his age-40 season, and isn’t worth your time during draft season. Bailey on the other hand...there’s an intriguing name. Seriously. Here’s the visual aid, for you visual learners:

The 33-year-old Bailey ended 2019 with a 26.4% usage rate on that splitter. He could probably benefit from more sliders (13.1%) and less fastballs (50.6%) moving forward. Anyway, the splitter is dangerous and greater usage of it last year contributed to a resurgent 10.8% swinging strike rate, Bailey’s 2nd best mark as a pro. As a result, his strikeout rate rebounded to a tolerable 21.4%—after being mired in ineptitude over the last two seasons (15.2% and 16%). After logging ERA marks of 5.56, 6.65, 6.43, and 6.09 since 2015, Bailey turned in a 4.57 ERA (4.11 FIP) last season. And in a year where everyone was hitting home runs, Bailey’s HR/9 fell from 1.95 in 2018 to 1.16 in 2019. Is he someone we are drafting in any format? Probably not. But he’ll probably make his way onto the streaming radar in good matchups, so I wanted to dig into him a little bit.

Will Harris signs with the Nationals

The 35-year-old Harris gets a three-year deal, likely entering into a setup role behind closer Sean Doolittle, who is oft-injured and who split closing duties with Daniel Hudson down the stretch of 2019. Harris is on the radar for ratios help and as a guy who has an outside shot at some saves in Washington.

Starlin Castro signs with the Nationals

Another veteran second baseman falls off the board. I’m still waiting on Scooter Gennett and Brian Dozier to sign. Gennett to the White Sox, please. Anyway, Castro is fine. He’ll turn 30 years old in March, so we should know what we are getting ourselves into by now. He set a career mark with 22 homers last year...with the bouncy ball. Big deal. He doesn’t run, at least not anymore. He won’t bat atop the lineup in Washington, either. Enjoy your boring .270+ average with meh run/RBI totals. Sure, he crushed it over the second half last year (.302/.334/.558) but I’m not banking on a continuation. A bit of a beefed pull rate (44.0%) and some growth in hard hit rate (41.9%) were solid, but neither were even Top 30 marks in the MLB. On the same team, Howie Kendrick carries 1B/2B eligibility in most leagues, will likely bat higher in the order than Castro, and is being picked three rounds later than Castro on average. I’d take Kendrick. Even if he gets spelled a bit more due to being 36 years old, I’d rather ride the wave of his 2019 production and see what transpires this year.

Lastly, a reminder that positional weeks are coming here at Fake Teams! We’ll devote a solid week to each fantasy baseball position, saturating your senses with more coverage than you could ever want. Find the schedule below!

2020 Positional Weeks Schedule

Position Week
Position Week
Catcher Jan 25 - Jan 29
First Base Feb 1 - Feb 5
Second Base Feb 8 - Feb 12
Third Base Feb 15 - Feb 19
Shortstop Feb 22 - Feb 26
Outfield Mar 1 - Mar 5
Starters Mar 8 to Mar 12
RPs/Draft Guide Mar 15 - Mar 19