Fantasy Baseball Today

Rankings Review: Javier Baez, Josh Harrison, Jedd Gyorko and the many injured superstars

By Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer

You do know Jedd Gyorko is back, right? (USATSI)
You do know Jedd Gyorko is back, right? (USATSI)

After a week off, the latest overhaul of the rankings proved to be quite the task. The changes are too numerous to detail one by one, but at the very least, here are some highlights:

  • After a ho-hum start to the year, Yan Gomes' lastest surge has brought his percentages up to last year's levels, which makes it by definition not an outlier performance. That's enough for me to move him ahead of Brian McCann and Wilin Rosario, who were only spared because of a lack of alternatives.
  • It's basically 2012 all over again because Lucas Duda is back to being my favorite player in the world. His inability to hit left-handers, which quite often leads to his benching against left-handers, limits his ceiling, but as consistent as he's been over the last nine weeks, ranking him in must-start territory at both first base (16th) and the outfield (29th) is justified.
  • Matt Cain, Shane Victorino and even Cliff Lee are pretty safe bets, but I'm not ready to assume Paul Goldschmidt is out for the season. Kirk Gibson seems to think he is, and he's probably right, but just the off chance of him returning with first-round production the last week of a season is enough for me to continue to stash (and rank) him for now.
  • Now that the Pirates have officially named Josh Harrison an everyday player (after pretending he was something less for three months), he's no longer a reluctant play in Fantasy. In fact, without the threat of a sudden loss of at-bats, I rank him as an automatic start at both second and third base. Look at the numbers and tell me why not.
  • I'm not understanding the lack of interest in Jedd Gyorko, whose owneship rate has risen to just 59 percent since his activation from the DL. I understand he was terrible before his bout with plantar fasciitis, but he's having the hot streak we were all waiting to see. I'm not saying he belongs up with Anthony Rendon, but once you get past the Neil Walkers and Howie Kendricks at the position, he's as much of a sleeper as anyone.
  • I'm losing patience in Martin Prado. I'm not ruling out the possibility of a full-fledged rebound, but ranking him 17th at second base, 16th at third base and 42nd in the outfield (and in Head-to-Head leagues, no less) makes him something less than must-own.
  • Even though he's just breaking into the big leagues, I'm already declaring top-12 status for Javier Baez at shortstop. If he busts in a league shallow enough that owning him is even a question, the Jhonny Peralta, J.J. Hardy and Alcides Escobar types will still be available.
  • Considering he's come off the DL doing exactly what he did before going on it, I'm starting to believe in Danny Santana's improved pop at the big-league level. And in that case, I don't think his skill set is all that different from Arismendy Alcantara's. Why not rank them side by side?
  • With the big picture becoming increasingly small this time of year, the value of the injured superstar is becoming increasingly difficult to assess. I'm not totally satisfied with my ranking of Andrew McCutchen and will probably drop him more as his timetable becomes clearer.
  • Carlos Gonzalez has become something akin to infuriating. Fortunately, the divide between Melky Cabrera and Jayson Werth is wide enough for me to stash a bunch of the underwhelming superstars who are running out of time to regain Fantasy owners' trust, like Jay Bruce and Bryce Harper, between them.
  • Speaking of Harper, I'm not totally satisfied with my ranking of hm either. I could see dropping him down as far as Ben Zobrist if this goes on for another week or more.
  • Brett Gardner's ranking assumes his five home runs in six games last week were just an isolated event. He's been that good regardless.
  • I really don't want to have to move Denard Span any higher, but he just keeps producing out of thin air. At least ranking him 42nd among outfielders acknowledges he's something close to must-own (as does his 87 percent ownership rate).
  • Alex Wood continues his climb back to Fantasy prominence, now checking in at 27th among starting pitchers in Rotisserie leagues (where his relief pitcher eligibility doesn't enter into the equation). He doesn't have the consistency of an ace, but his good starts are awfully good.
  • Rick Porcello, I'm sorry I ever doubted you. Here, move up about 30 spots.
  • OK, so maybe I downgraded Dallas Keuchel and Yordano Ventura too much. Both have rebounded nicely from midseason slumps. I still think calling them top-30 options, as I once did, is a stretch, but the drop-off after them is clear.
  • And that drop-off is where I cram all of the recovering hurlers like Masahiro Tanaka, Andrew Cashner and Gerrit Cole. I suspect they'll be back at some point, but again, we don't have time to mess around anymore. If I needed immediate help, I'd be willing to dump any of them for the next several behind him, going about as far down as Jimmy Nelson.
  • The trade deadline is past, and Joaquin Benoit is still with the Padres. You know how good Huston Street was closing for them? Judging by his peripherals, Benoit could be even better. The position is deep enough that I can't rank him any higher than 23rd in Rotisserie leagues, but clearly, he deserves to be owned in more than 42 percent of leagues. Time to get with the program.
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