Fantasy Baseball: Week 1 Hitting Preview

Indians Michael Brantley

On a normal week this article would be discussing the free agents/waiver wire adds, line-up choices and prospect watch but the week 1 hitting preview is going to take on a slightly different feel. This week there is nothing majorly different from recent draft days in terms of hitters that make me desperate to add a number of guys and so the focus this week is more on whom I am watching as the season opens.


Schedule notes

This week we have two teams playing 11 games, Texas and Oakland, and two teams playing just 8, Seattle and Minnesota, and the remaining 26 teams playing either 9 or 10. If I have a decision regarding Texas or Oakland players compared to Seattle or Minnesota then that might make a difference but in general this week I am going for best player available rather than focusing too much on the schedule.

Players to add now

Michael Brantley, OF (50% owned)

Brantley has actually returned to spring training games but will begin the season on the DL. The Indians outfielder offers ton of upside when it comes to average and can give you a mix of power and steals. At this point he is such a bargain that you cannot afford to not gamble on a player who has the upside to be a top 20 outfielder if it all clicks.

Scott Kingery, 2B (33% owned)

If I can afford the bench spot I am almost certainly adding Kingery now rather than waiting for his call up. They just signed him to a new contract eliminating the service time concerns and he has been raking in spring training. If you add him now and he ends up in the minors for a prolonged period of time you can always drop him and pick up the hot guy off waivers.

Players I am watching

Tim Beckham, 2B/SS (40% owned)

Beckham seems to have the trust of the Orioles to play third base every day and hit at the top of the line-up. The former number one overall prospect seems to final be settling into the major leagues and the change of scenery may be just what he needs to kick start his career. Even though he won’t play SS much this season he has that all important eligibility. He has a little bit of a groin issue right now but it doesn’t seem to be major issue. The big question to watch this week is; are the Orioles going to use him as the everyday lead-off hitter? If they do then he has top 12 SS upside this season and should be owned in any league with a middle infield spot.

Lewis Brinson, OF (30% owned)

The key here is where Brinson hits in the line-up. If he starts the season leading off then I am looking to add him ASAP. I spoke about his potential as a leadoff hitter this week on the podcast and 25ish steals is possible for a young player in a line-up which needs to generate runs. Actually if he hits 2nd through 5th I still think he is a good add and actually if he hits 2nd behind someone like Maybin then he becomes an even better value.

Jose Martinez, 1B/OF (20% owned)

If Matt Carpenter spends a large amount of time at second or third to start the season then Jose Martinez and his power upside becomes a really interesting early season pick-up. However, if Carpenter starts mostly at first base and just spells people at second and third then Martinez is going to be an incredibly frustrating player to own. In this first week or so I want to see any ABs Martinez gets because if he looks good he may force the issue to a point where the Cardinals have no choice but to shift Carpenter.

Mets Asdrubal Cabrera

Mike Stobe – Getty Images

Asdrubal Cabrera 2B/3B/SS (14% owned)

A combination of playing time and where he plays make Cabrera’s value an interesting one to watch. Given the age of the infield for the Mets there is every chance Cabrera is the regular second baseman but also spells both Frazier and Gonzalez at first and third. If he is the everyday guy be it at second or as the utility infielder then he only really has value if leading off. If he starts slowly and Rosario starts well then Cabrera could quickly find himself hitting in the final third of the line-up and then he has very limited value.

Devon Travis, 2B (8% owned)

Travis has a ton of upside and if he can stay healthy (doubtful) then he has top 10 upside at second base given the relative weakness of the position. It will be interesting to see whether the Blue Jays let him play every day or whether they mix and match him and someone like Solarte at second.

Jorge Soler, OF (6% owned)

If Soler starts hot then he could be a valuable early season addition. Soler is going to be a player to watch for large parts of this season because I expect he will have three or four hot patches interspersed with real cold spells. When he is hot then he will do wonders for you home run totals but when he is cold he could be a real drain on your average.

Matt Duffy, 2B/3B (2% owned)

It was not that long ago we were talking about Duffy as the next big thing when he was in San Francisco. Now the opinion of him has changed to such an extent that I think he is massively under rated. A player with 10/10 and maybe more in power and speed that can hit close to 0.300 with eligibility at both corner and middle infield spots could be a valuable addition to your roster.

Prospect watch

Nick Senzel, 3B (8% owned)

The Reds seemed to be giving Senzel every opportunity in the spring to claim a job but ultimately they have decided to send him down and stick with the Peraza/Gennett combination in the middle infield. If Senzel starts hot and one of the above two struggle we could see Senzel within the first month of action and so if he does seem to be hot to start the year he is worth a speculative add.

Austin Hays, OF (5% owned)

Seemed to be unlucky to be sent down but the issue is that the Orioles are always cautious with calling prospects up. If Hays is good in AA and the Trumbo replacements cannot get it done then we could see him called up fairly quick. I really thought he had a shot to open the season on the MLB roster and so this is a guy I am going to be keeping a close eye on.

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