Image credit: Jose Garcia (Photo by Mike Janes/Four Seam Images)
Five young players to place on your fantasy radar in deep dynasty leagues.
Jose Garcia, SS, Reds
The buzz Garcia began to generate late last season at high Class A Daytona and again during spring training probably means that he’s off limits in your league. In the second half of the Florida State League season last year, Garcia hit .295/.360/.451 with five of his eight homers. He then went deep four times in an abbreviated spring training. Garcia is the Reds’ shortstop of the future and will help solidify what has been a shaky Cincinnati infield defense.
Trevor Rogers, LHP, Marlins
Pushed to the big leagues by the Marlins’ myriad pitching injuries, the 22-year-old Rogers has held his own in the big leagues. While the 2017 first-rounder doesn’t have the prospect cachet of the Braves’ Ian Anderson or the Indians’ Triston McKenzie, he has a number of promising attributes. Chief among them is a high-spin, mid-90s fastball he locates well at the top of the zone for whiffs. His spin rate of 2,500 rpm puts him near the top of the board for lefthanders. Rogers looks to be adept at working north with his fastball and south with a changeup and breaking ball that should become weapons for him.
Josh Fleming, LHP, Rays
The Division III Webster University product quietly turned in an effective 2019 season, primarily at Double-A Montgomery, where he recorded a 3.31 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over 128 innings. Fleming has stepped into the Rays’ rotation at a time when the club is desperate for arms. He doesn’t light up radar guns but gets tremendous life on his sinker and changeup.
Taylor Clarke, RHP, D-backs
Injuries to Arizona’s rotation have afforded opportunities for Clarke and lefty Alex Young, a pair of 2015 draft picks. Clarke has a wide repertoire that he has begun to tinker with—fewer fastballs; more curveballs and changeups—which has kept batters off balance and led to a lot of weak contact. He will need to improve his control to stick in the rotation, but there are enough indicators here to speculate in deep leagues.
Matt Foster, RHP, White Sox
Foster is a 25-year-old rookie reliever who has put up closer-worthy numbers (14.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 5 BB, 17 SO) but has only recently been used in higher leverage spots. He still trails four other White Sox relievers in terms of average leverage index, but that could be changing. Foster appears to be behind Alex Colome, Evan Marshall, Jimmy Cordero and possibly lefty Aaron Bummer in the saves race, but things could change next season.
• The Reds called up 28-year-old OF Mark Payton. His minor league plate discipline profile is interesting (10% walks, 17% strikeouts), but more notable is the improvement he showed at Triple-A Las Vegas in the Athletics’ system last season. By my calculation, Payton improved from a 103 park-adjusted OPS+ in the first half of 2019 to a 167 OPS+ in the second. Could he be another swing-change success story?