Fantasy FAAB Five: Deep Dynasty League Targets For Aug. 16
The byline is mine, but the observations are the collective wisdom of BA writers including Kyle Glaser, Josh Norris and Chris Hilburn-Trenkle.
Five young players to place on your fantasy radar in deep dynasty leagues.
Rio Ruiz, 3B, Orioles
If someone in your league lost patience with the 26-year-old Ruiz while he missed most of a week with shoulder soreness, you might have been able to benefit from that impatience. Ruiz returned to action on Aug. 7 and not only homered in consecutive games but has regularly appeared as the Orioles’ cleanup hitter in August. Some of his improvement could be credited to his more athletic swing that has him in better position to drive the ball. It’s more about timing and launch angle, because his hard-hit and exit velocity numbers are similar to past seasons.
Gregory Soto, LHP, Tigers
The Tigers haven’t been afraid to bring the 25-year-old with a big arm into big spots this season. Soto has racked up three holds while allowing two hits and no runs through nine appearances. Equally impressive is Soto’s 14-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 98 mph sinker. With Detroit closer Joe Jimenez faltering, Soto could begin to see save chances. Because Soto is a lefthanded reliever, the key will be continued excellence from his putaway slider in matchups against righthanded batters. So far, so good on that front.
Erik Gonzalez, 3B, Pirates
Gonzalez hasn’t drawn a walk all season, but for fantasy purposes that’s a good thing because all his Statcast batted-ball measures are pushed into the red. Most notably, he ranks top 10 for hard-hit rate at 58.3%. Will Gonzalez’s bat stay hot long enough to see him move up from seventh in the batting order? Will he become more than a lefty masher? At age 28 and in a soft lineup with a clear path to playing time, it’s worth speculating to find out.
Tejay Antone, RHP, Reds
Pitching for the Reds used to be a reason to avoid pitchers, but that is no longer true after they added pitching coach Derek Johnson and pitching coordinator Kyle Boddy. This season the Reds have so many overqualified rotation candidates that Antone, Tyler Mahle and Lucas Sims have to wait their turns in the bullpen. Antone had the shortest résumé of the trio entering the season, so let’s focus on him. The Reds liked what they saw from Antone last season, for they added him to the 40-man roster in November. The 26-year-old’s velocity has ticked up from the low 90s to 96 mph this season, while he has shown some of the highest spin rates in the game on his sinker and curveball. It could pay off for your fantasy team to wait right along with Antone for a Reds rotation spot to open.
Enoli Paredes, RHP, Astros
In an Astros bullpen full of rookies that has lost closer Roberto Osuna to an elbow injury, the fastball-forward Paredes has a chance to separate from the pack. He has the stuff to do so, including an electric 96 mph fastball and a slider with one of the highest spin rates in baseball. In a good sign, he has been brought into high-leveraged situations this season. The key for the 24-year-old Paredes will be consistency, for he has thrown clean innings roughly as often as not this season.
Veterans Of Note
Jeimer Candelario, 1B, Tigers
Candelario has been on a tear in August and has a hard-hit rate hovering near 50%. He’s worth a flier if you’re desperate for first base, third base or corner infield support, because he now has a path to playing time with first baseman C.J. Cron's knee injury. Priority: Medium
Ryan Borucki, LHP, Blue Jays
Banish that image you have of Borucki as a soft-tossing changeup artist. The 26-year-old southpaw now throws smoke out of the bullpen and his 16.7% swinging-strike rate ranks 30th among relievers. Borucki’s fastball and slider velocity are both up nearly 3 mph from last season, and he still has a nice changeup. Given the quality of his secondary pitches, Borucki could be considered for rotation work if needed. However, the Blue Jays’ pen does not lack for starters in waiting, seeing as Anthony Kay and Thomas Hatch are also working relief. Priority: Low
Jesse Winker, OF, Reds
If you were like me, you believed Winker was poised for a breakout. He doesn’t chase out of the zone, and in 2018 he showed the kind of exit velocity and impact potential to get excited about. But Winker hit .143 through his first 12 games this season with zero extra-base hits. He moved from first in the order to sixth. If you were like me, you bailed—and you deeply regret it. Since his cold start, Winker has hit .688 with five home runs in five games. Priority: Unavailable in any league worth playing in