OK, so the title may be a little harsh, but as such it just might garner a few more clicks. Winning fantasy baseball, or any fantasy sport for that matter, is all about spotting market errors or inefficiencies and exploiting them. Where did the market err this weekend? In many ways which only time will reveal. After all, none of us has a crystal ball. We’ll focus here on some potential errors that might be useful to the player, namely, potential assets that were left unrostered that present a certain amount of upside.
I HATE taking a catcher early. Todd Zola has campaigned the last couple of years that the effects of position scarcity are greatly exaggerated. The scarcity trap is most lethal when you don the tools of ignorance too early in your draft. I love taking a flier late on whatever scraps the markets have left on the table.
Robinson Chirinos - Geovany Soto was placed on the 60-day disabled list and could miss up to three months. Robinson Chirinos and J.P. Arencibia will do their best to fill in. We know what the latter gives you, tons of power but precious little contact. Chirinos slashed .438/.486/.656 this spring and outplayed the former Blue Jay backstop. He displayed good pitch recognition skills last year at Round Rock, drawing 38 walks against 55 strikeouts in 311 plate appearances. The word from Ranger brass is that the veteran will receive the larger part of the platoon, but this is a fluid situation in which the rookie could earn more at-bats if he continues to swing a hot stick. Keep in mind that even though catcher is his primary position, he won’t qualify there initially in the NFBC since he played one more game at first base in limited action last year. In the FBPC, he qualifies at catcher-only right out of the chute.
J.P. Arencibia – Is it cheating if we play both sides of the same coin? And even if it is, who cares? It’s all about numbers, probabilities, and sifting through the chaff until you find some wheat. Arencibia is a career .212 hitter who is probably going to pull an “Adam Dunn” on your batting average, but he’s also hit 62 homers over the last three years. That can be useful, particularly if you’ve got a buffer on your BA to work with. Note that his availability might be restricted to 12-team leagues.
Josmil Pinto – A decent spring earned Pinto a spot on the opening day roster. Early on during the hot stove league, it appeared the Twins wanted to give their bright young star a chance as the first stringer, but they vacillated a little and ended up signing Kurt Suzuki just in case Pinto isn’t ready. Managers are fickle and it doesn’t take much to change their mind. Displaying great discipline with a 64/71 K/BB ratio, Pinto reached base at a .411 clip and went yard 14 times in 107 games. Keep the rookie on your radar and he might be worth a $1 FAAB stash if you’re hurting at catcher and want some upside.
Brayan Pena – At 31 years of age, Pena is more of a career journeyman and backup, so he’s most likely to be a temporary fix until Devin Mesoraco returns from the disabled list. Splitting time with Alex Avila in the Motor City, the one time Tiger posted a .297 batting average, a career high. Any hitter playing half of their games in Great American Ballpark gets a slight boost due to the venue, and thus Brayan is worth a look for those in need of an emergency fill-in to stop the bleeding, and who knows what could happen if Mesoraco is forced to miss more time.
Yasmani Grandal – The young Padre has a lot more to prove than others on this list due to his connection with the Biogenesis scandal and the impact of PED’s or lack thereof in the aftermath. On the bright side, he’s always shown incredible patience and excellent pitch recognition. Those skills should remain no matter what. If Chase Headley if truly healthy and becomes the engine driving the offense as he was in 2012, and if a still young Yonder Alonso finally breaks out, the Padres’ offense might be a little better than everyone thinks. Grandal is in the right position to join in on the fun.
In the end, the joke could be on me. Each player on this short list could crap the bed. But hey, what do you expect in the 31st round?