Fantasy: FAAB Targets For Week 12

Image credit: CJ Abrams (Photo By Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

It’s been a few weeks since we released a proper FAAB article, but after a couple of busy weeks we return with another 11 names to help you this week in dynasty leagues big and small. With half a season of data and scout-driven insight to work off of the cream is beginning to rise to the top, and flukes of the first few months are beginning to fade. Let’s take a look at some of the hottest players over the last three weeks who are looking to ride their current momentum into the second half of the season. 

CJ Abrams, SS Padres 

League Type: Dynasty – All League Sizes 

After an injury to Padres superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. accelerated Abrams’ timeline, the young shortstop was called upon to not only fill FTJ’s shoes, but produce every day in the major leagues. He wasn’t ready yet, and the results were poor. Often struggles at the major league level can create buying opportunities in dynasty leagues. While it’s very unlikely you can FAAB your way into Abrams, you might be able to acquire his services for a lot less than they would have cost in February. 

Enmanuel Valdez, 3B Astros 

League Type: 14+ Teams or  200+ Prospects Rostered

Promoted to Triple-A a few weeks back, Valdez has continued to produce following the bump up to the highest level in the minors. He hit a trio of home runs on Wednesday and has shown that his Double-A production over the last two seasons is likely not a fluke. He’s a slightly aggressive hitter with some swing and miss, but by and large the swing decisions have been strong. He takes good angles to the ball and makes consistent hard contact, with his average exit velocity sitting at a very respectable 89 mph between Double-A and Triple-A in 2022. Valdez is a worthwhile flier in all but the shallowest of dynasty leagues. Valdez still needs to be added to the Astros 40-man roster but it wouldn’t surprise me if he is at some point this summer. 

Jonah Bride, 1B Athletics 

League Type: Redraft Add or All Dynasty Formats

After just two weeks at the Triple-A level, Bride was promoted to the major leagues on Tuesday. Bride for the better part of the last 18 months has done everything he can to answer the question surrounding any corner infielder—“can he hit”. So far in 2022 the answer is a resounding yes! His elite bat-to-ball skills, discerning eye at the plate and line drive swing mean Bride is rarely fooled or beaten at the plate. The downside, there’s limited power here, as Bride’s exit velocities and launch angles don’t yield themselves to big power production, so temper expectations. Despite this, Bride is a wise name to marry in on-base percentage and points leagues. He rarely strikes out, gets on base and will rack up hits by the bunches. He’s a worthy flier in all formats, as the Athletics have plenty of opportunities to go around. 

Ky Bush, LHP Angels

League Type: 16+ Teams or 250+ Prospects

The Angels went pitching heavy to an extreme in the 2021 draft and so far the strategy is paying off, as the Angels have added depth among their starting pitching ranks. While Chase Silseth has gotten the most attention, Bush might project for the most success long term of the group. A tall lefthander with feel for his four-pitch mix, Bush’s slider and changeup provide him with above-average secondaries to play off of his low-to-mid-90s fastball. While his four-seamer isn’t a very good bat-missing pitch, it does a good job of stealing strikes early in counts and setting up his low-80s slider and his hard-running mid-80s changeup. It’s a mid-rotation ceiling, but a high floor arm with little questions around his ability to start long term. 

Mason Auer, OF Rays 

League Type: 16+ Teams or 300+ Prospects

Speed is always a commodity worth going out and acquiring in dynasty formats of all types. What if I told you there’s a speedster widely available in a variety of formats that has all-around abilities? Welcome Mason Auer, a former two-way player as a freshman at Missouri State who transferred to San Jacinto (Texas) JC last spring before the Rays selected him in the fifth round last July. He’s a true five-tool player who was once considered a better pitching prospect than positional prospect. However, after showing a tantalizing combination of plus-plus foot speed, power and general athleticism he’s now a full-time outfielder. So far in 2022 Auer has been successful in 23 of his 26 attempts, hitting .314/.391/.514 with four home runs. If that’s not enough to sell you, perhaps this fact will, Auer attended Kickapoo High in Springfield, Mo. 

Taylor Dollard, RHP Mariners

League Type: 16+ Teams or 300+ Prospects

If you’ve read enough baseball content this spring, you’re likely to be fairly familiar with the current popularity of the sweeper slider. The pitch has captivated the baseball world, and those that throw a good sweeper have gained traction in pitching circles of late. Enter Taylor Dollard, a righthander in Double-A with the Mariners. While Dollard’s fastball may not overpower you at 91-93 mph with average vertical break, his ability to play his fastball off of his sweepy low-80s slider has yielded strong results in 2022. In an organization known for developing pitching over the last few years Dollard is an unheralded name with the stuff to contribute at a variety of roles long term. 

Ruben Ibarra, 1B Reds 

League Type: 20+ Teams or 350+ Prospects Rostered

Do you like power? How about cheap power? Real 30-plus home run type power, too? If so, the Reds’ Ruben Ibarra should be a name you’re targeting in deeper dynasty formats. A fifth-round pick of the Reds last July, Ibarra has a good combination of average contact, average approach and plus-plus game power. That’s not hyperbole either, as Ibarra’s 90th percentile exit velocities exceed 110 mph, and his max exit velocities sit in the same range as the game’s best power hitters. After producing at Low-A, Ibarra was promoted to High-A this week and has the type of carrying tool to make him a dynasty sleeper.  

Troy Johnston, 1B Marlins 

League Type: 20+ Teams or 350+ Prospects Rostered

There’s something about late-round picks outperforming highly-touted players that makes baseball intriguing. Johnston is one of those players adding intrigue to the game. A former 17th-round pick out of Gonzaga back in 2019, Johnston has been excellent this season with Double-A Pensacola. Over 55 games this season the 25-year-old Johnston is hitting .311/.373/.491 with eight home runs. He’s an above-average contact hitter, with above-average on-base abilities and average game power. He has a well-balanced batted ball profile, hitting the ball in the air with lots of line drive contact and the ability to drive the ball to all fields. While Johnston doesn’t provide the most exciting profile, he does offer a nice set of foundational skills for someone looking for a sleeper in a deep dynasty format. 

Niko Kavadas, 1B Red Sox 

League Type: 20+ Teams or 350+ Prospects Rostered

The former Notre Dame slugger gained a reputation while in South Bend for his top-of-the-scale raw power and ability to get to it in games. Things haven’t changed with Kavadas entering pro ball. While Kavadas is likely playing well below his skill level in Low-A this spring, a promotion to High-A Salem should be in the slugger’s future. As of Sunday morning he was hitting .273/.449/.557 with 11 home runs and a 22% walk rate. While the strikeouts have risen in 2022, his combination of plus-plus power and excellent on-base skills serve him well as a power-hitting first base-only player. Lefthanded power and on-base skills are always worth a flier in deeper dynasty formats. While Kavadas’ profile has some holes, the upside is easy to spot. 

Damiano Palmegiani, 3B Blue Jays 

League Type: 20+ Teams or 350+ Prospects Rostered

A former Canadian high school product, Palmegiani was twice drafted by the Blue Jays, including last July in the 14th round out of the College of Southern Nevada. After a solid two months to open the season where Palmegiani showed on-base skills and power, he took another step forward with his approach in June, hitting .327/.362/.582 with three home runs. He shows above-average bat-to-ball skills and on-base ability and at least average power. He’s spent time at both corner infield spots and can play an outfield corner in a pinch. He’s not a name I’d target in formats shallower than 20 teams, but in deeper dynasty formats he has solid upside to develop into a productive second-division regular. 

Mike Antico, OF Cardinals 

League Type: 20+ Teams or 350+ Prospects Rostered

After a solid four-year career at St. John’s, Antico used the extra year of eligibility afforded to him by the pandemic to transfer to Texas for his final collegiate season. During his one season in Austin, Antico slugged 10 home runs and stole 41 bases while hitting .273/.437/.489 and starting 64 games in center field for the Longhorns. He struggled over the first two months of the 2022 season, hitting just .217/.333/.313. Something clicked in June, though, as Antico has taken off, hitting .379/.453/.742 with four home runs and six steals. While this is certainly not enough to wipe away the first two months’ struggles, it’s a sign of potential improvement from Antico and more in-line with the production we anticipated from the center fielder against younger competition. While he’s only suited for the deepest of leagues, Antico’s combination of power, speed and defensive value provide some upside.

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