It’s been a long and very interesting off-season, but baseball is finally back! As I write this, we are under 24 hours before the first spring training game begins, that game being between the Rangers and Royals. The games are finally starting, and while we won’t know the names of a lot of players that play this weekend, any baseball fan has to be excited. Prospects will get some run and star players may only see an at-bat or two. Pitchers may look terrible, but every fan or fantasy owner needs to remember that pitchers use this time to work on certain pitches or new grips, so don’t panic if they look bad their first time out.
That being said, most of the questions in this week’s fanbag are focused on hitters from around the league. So let’s get to it!
From @Dredlot75: “What are your thoughts on Puig possibly going to the White Sox? Would he be a disruptive presence in the clubhouse in what already appears to be a good culture? Can Renteria keep him focused? Also, should anyone pick him up if he goes to an up and coming team like the White Sox? What would his numbers look like?”
There is a lot to this question. So to start, on paper I would love to see Yasiel Puig take his spot in right field for the White Sox. You would have a fun Latin connection between all three outfielders with Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, and Yasiel Puig. The swag that would be in that outfield would be off the charts and the fan base would absolutely love it. However, all that is in an ideal world. As for his actual presence on the team, I think he would be a huge disruption for the Pale Hose. They have built something very special with all the young guys they have brought up together with Moncada, Jimenez, and the soon-to-be-superstar Robert. And while Puig’s bat is good, the attitude really isn’t. Over the past two years, he has played for the Dodgers, Reds, and Indians. He hasn’t switched teams due to a lack of production, but because of his electric and carefree attitude. Puig is gonna be Puig no matter what city he plays in.
As for whether Renteria can keep him under control if he were to join the White Sox, I think it would be very hard for Ricky to do that. Ricky isn’t a bad manager, but he isn’t a game changing manager like Terry Francona or Joe Maddon. I don’t think Renteria has enough talent to control a player like Puig while also trying to run the White Sox for the first time in their competitive window.
I believe someone should pick Yasiel Puig up and I would love to see him go to a team that is ready to compete. The Indians are the first team that comes to mind because that’s where he finished 2019. The Indians need the offensive help and in the 49 games that Puig played for Cleveland, he posted a triple slash line of .297/.377/.423. He is great defensively and will be one of the best offensive players for the Tribe if he remains there.
Other than that, I would love to see him in St. Louis as a part of the Cardinals or in Atlanta with the Braves. The Cardinals need a large upgrade over Dexter Fowler for offense and defense and Puig would easily provide that. The Braves have a decent outfield already, but Ender Inciarte hasn’t been able to stay healthy and offense has never been a big part of his game. His wRC+ (weighted runs created plus) has never been over 100 for a season during his six seasons in the majors. In either spot, Puig would post offensive numbers looking something like 24 home runs and 16 stolen bases as a floor with a triple slash line of .270/.330/.470, with the upside and possibility of 28 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
From @boxcarr21: “Shun Yamaguchi predictions. Also whether Kevin Pillar will thrive in Boston or not, I’ve seen a lot of people add him in leagues recently. I’m also wondering how Shogo Akiyama and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo will transition into the MLB”
Let’s start with Shun Yamaguchi. At 32 years old and finally making his major league debut, it is tough to truly pin down what he will do in the MLB. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he sports a slider, curveball, and forkball. The forkball is his out pitch, but whether he is able to comfortably fit it in the zone here in the majors will be another story. I think Shun would best fit in the Blue Jays bullpen regardless of the fact that the Jays rotation is pretty weak. If he remains as a reliever, I think he could post a 3.15 ERA while maintaining a strikeout per inning, but as a starter, he would likely see an increase in his ERA (definitely over 4.00) and a drop in his strikeout rate.
Kevin Pillar had a career year in San Francisco in 2019 and even then he was considered a below average offensive producer once again. Pillar is a heavy pull hitter (a 48% pull rate last year) and with him moving to Boston, he will have to deal with the Green Monster more often as a right-handed batter. This could lead to more doubles, but overall I don’t like the move considering the logjam that the Red Sox have with Alex Verdugo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Andrew Benintendi already in the outfield. Verdugo is currently dealing with a back injury, but I see Pillar as a bench bat and the recent pickups are mostly due to him signing a contract and fantasy owners hoping to have any piece of a good Boston offense.
Between Shogo Akiyama and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, I think Shogo will be able to transfer into the majors a bit better because he will be given full run in the Reds outfield while the Rays are likely to platoon Yoshi a bit more due to Jose Martinez, Yandy Diaz, and the trio of Austin Meadows, Kevin Kiermaier, and Hunter Renfroe. I also like Shogo for his bat speed and better bat control compared to Yoshi. I see Shogo as a .275/.345/.440 type of line for season long leagues while Yoshi will be closer to .255/.330/.450. Shogo will be a power/speed combo type player and he should contribute 18 home runs and 8 steals at the top of the Reds lineup and I have Yoshi as a 15 home run type hitter with 0 speed.
From /u/LVThunderbirds: “Dynasty, 20 team 8x8 H2H. Which side are you taking: Altuve + Fried or Solak, Adames, and Kepler.”
This was an easy call for me. Regardless of the skepticism behind Altuve and what the Astros offense will be in 2020, I don’t think Solak, Adames, or Kepler ever match his value (even if Altuve isn’t stealing much). On top of that, Fried has a good chance for a breakout year in 2020 after learning how to limit walks even though his strikeouts dropped. There is too much talent to pass up on the first portion of the trade.
From/u/postmoderncatholic: “Trout or Acuna? Going into the first year of a keep 6 no restrictions league and struggling with who I want. League should be around for years. Usually I’d default to the younger guy. But, Trout! Literally the first time I even have a chance of owning him. Just curious what everyone else is thinking since everyone seems to be all over the place. Leaning Acuna fwiw.”
I don’t know what categories you are using, but judging on the fact that it is a 6x6 league I assume that batting average or OBP is a part of the scoring. Either way, I am taking Trout in this situation, especially since it is a roto league. While Acuna is going to be a lot of fun to watch, Trout is still Trout and is as consistent as they come. He is going to break baseball records for years and while he won’t have the same amount of steals as Acuna, Trout has good offensive pieces finally surrounding him and I can’t wait to see the kinds of numbers he puts up across the board.
From /u/JaimeVOG773: “Keep 3 for next 3 seasons. 16 Team H2H Points League. Yordan, Moncada, Sano, Giolito, Manaea & McKay.”
This was a fairly easy choice for me. I am taking Yordan, Moncada, and Giolito. Manaea isn’t likely to keep up his improved K rate in 2019 and McKay doesn’t have the same ceiling that Lucas Giolito flashed last year. Sano is becoming very valuable for fantasy, but due to his strikeout rate, I don’t like his value in a points league. Moncada and Yordan will provide plenty of value on days where they don’t get a hit due to their patience at the plate. Giolito gives you a top 25 pitcher to build around and 2 top 40 players as a part of your core.
Thanks for all the questions you guys provided this week! Baseball isn’t far away and I am just hoping we can get through Spring Training healthy. Keep your eyes here at Fake Teams for our positional rankings and my top 600 dynasty rankings that will be posted before the end of February! Follow me @DadSox for more fantasy goodness!