2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Rankings breakdown, No. 101-110
Learn why you should — and maybe why you shouldn't — draft players 101-100 in our consensus rankings.
Welcome to our 2019 Player Profiles series. We are going through the top-300 in Heath Cummings and Scott White's consensus rankings to give you the case for and the case against drafting each player. By the time you're done, you'll know everything you need to know for drafting in 2019.
101. Miles Mikolas, SP, Cardinals
The case for: A nobody before his stint in Japan, Miles Mikolas returned to the States with a remarkably steady 200-inning season in which he delivered an ERA of 3.67 or better every single month and threw six innings or more in 24 of his 32 starts. He ranked among the best ground-ball pitchers and was No. 1 in walks per nine innings, performing well enough in those two areas to give him the 13th-best FIP among qualifiers
The case against: He better continue to dominate in those two areas because his 6.5 K/9 ranked third-to-last among qualifiers. And in an era when contact is lethal, that much contact is downright scary. It also puts him at a disadvantage just in terms of stat accumulation because, you know, strikeouts are worth something in and of themselves. Law of averages suggests another 18-4 record isn't happening, and piling up wins is his clearest path to elite-level production.
102. Nicholas Castellanos, OF, Tigers
The case for: Nicholas Castellanos has now established a lengthy track record of being one of the best line-drive hitters in the game, sort of like a lite version of Freddie Freeman, which assures him a high BABIP and at least above-average batting average. With his power production picking up in recent years, it's enough to make him a mid-round fixture in mixed leagues.
The case against: He plays for the Tigers, who aren't invested in winning right now and aren't going to offer much lineup support as a result, and while a trade is a realistic hope, it's far from a certainty. For someone with a built-in batting average advantage, his on-base skills are rather poor, so he's not helping his case as far as scoring runs goes. While it's possible there's more power to come for the 26-year-old, a 25-homer profile leaves him little hope of breaking away from the middle tiers in today's power-laden environment.
103. Buster Posey, C, Giants
The case for: He's Buster Posey, one of the longest-running Fantasy standouts ever at a historically pitiful position, and while it's true his sudden power decline came at an age (31) when most catchers experience something similar, he was playing through a torn labrum in his hip the entire time, requiring surgery before season's end. Even with those deficiencies, he was still the eighth-best catcher in terms of Fantasy points per game, and you probably won't need to draft him much higher than that.
The case against: The power decline was significant, and if it's as much a product of age as anything he was experiencing health-wise, he could quickly go the way of Jonathan Lucroy. He's certainly not someone you should reach for in 2019, more like "well, every other catcher with some hope of delivering an impact bat is gone, so let's give this a whirl."
The case for: Wil Myers saw his streak of consecutive 20-20 seasons snapped at two last year, but prorating last year's pace suggests it may well have been three if he hadn't missed so much time with injuries, namely a strained oblique. Over the past five years, only five other players have delivered multiple 20-20 campaigns, and four of them are Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve and Paul Goldschmidt.
The case against: The other is Ian Desmond, who's probably the closer comp for Myers. A prohibitive strikeout rate figures to keep the 28-year-old's batting average in the .250 range while also rendering him more of a Rotisserie specialist than someone worth paying up for in points leagues. His home park and supporting cast aren't doing him any favors either.
105. Matt Chapman, 3B, Athletics
The case for: In his first full season last year, Matt Chapman not only built on the strengths he showed during his rookie season, popping a decent number of homers while reaching base at a high rate, but also greatly improved as a contact hitter. It gave him a solid middle-round profile with the promise of excellent job security because of his first-rate defense.
The case against: Solid is less than spectacular, and there isn't much evidence of Chapman growing into the latter, especially while playing half his games at a park known for stifling power (he hit two-thirds of his home runs on the road last year). It's also just one year of mixed league-caliber production, and there are no guarantees the strikeout gains hold. Plus, he had shoulder surgery in the offseason, which is always an unwelcome wrinkle.
106. Michael Conforto, OF, Mets
The case for: There were some rough times following surgery to repair a torn capsule in his shoulder, but once he had a few months to work out the kinks, Michael Conforto was back to swinging a bat just like before the procedure, batting .273 with 17 homers and an .895 OPS in the second half. That version averaged 3.40 Head-to-Head points per game, which would have ranked ahead of Aaron Judge and Charlie Blackmon last year.
The case against: That version was also mostly confined to September, buoyed by a late power surge that calls everything else into question. The optimism is mostly fueled by narrative -- it stands to reason that his recovery from shoulder surgery would limit his production early on -- but the evidence isn't as bowl-you-over as some supporters would have you believe. It's true he began hitting the ball harder in June, but from June through August, he hit only .227.
107. Salvador Perez, C, Royals
The case for: In many leagues, Salvador Perez may be your last chance for getting anything worthwhile out of the catcher position, and there's no denying he has been a consistent source of power, putting together four straight 20-homer seasons. In fact, he's the leading home run hitter at the position over the past two. His defense and leadership have also made him a fixture behind the plate for the Royals, giving him a far bigger workload than the average catcher -- and with all the advantages that go along with it.
The case against: But also, the disadvantages. Catcher is a physically demanding position, and while in the past the heavy workload led to Perez wearing down in the second half, it may be starting to have a cumulative effect. There's a lot of mileage on those 28-year-old knees, so even though there's evidence last year's career-low batting average was largely a result of bad luck, it may not be so straightforward. He's also one of the worst in the majors at drawing walks, which severely limits his points-league value.
108. Felipe Vazquez, RP, Pirates
The case for: At a time when fewer managers are committing to one reliever for all of his team's saves, there's value in a proven closer, and Felipe Vazquez is ... almost that, having a year and a half of saves accumulation under his belt. Given how common turnover is in the role, though, it's a point in his favor, and it's not like his arm doesn't measure up to the role. Among relievers with at least 50 innings, he had the 12th-best FIP and the 22nd-best K/9.
The case against: He also had a stretch early last season when he nearly lost his job, sporting a 4.72 ERA as late as June 15. The FIP painted a rosier picture, but one thing it didn't account for was how hittable he was by closer standards, a reality even when he was putting together a 1.45 ERA over his final 42 appearances. It's a relatively minor quibble at a position where the quibbles are great -- you're not investing elite closer dollars in him or anything -- but if he doesn't re-introduce a breaking ball to his arsenal, he's at risk.
109. Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals
The case for: Yadier Molina validated his 2017 power resurgence with an even better home run total last year, his elevated fly-ball rate demonstrating his willingness to keep up with the Joneses. And this is from a guy whose greatest strengths are making contact and playing more than everyone else. Though drafted like he's at death's doorstep, he has a number of built-in statistical advantages, particularly in points leagues, and has rarely betrayed anyone with the wherewithal to invest in him.
The case against: He's 36, which is ancient by any position's standards but especially catcher, so yes, any year now it's all going to end. He's also the sort of player who helps you save face at a position rather than stand out, but of course that's factored into the price.
110. Charlie Morton, SP, Rays
The case for: After making a name for himself during the 2017 World Series, Charlie Morton put together a career-best 2018, good enough to earn him an All-Star nod in a crowded AL field. His 10.8 K/9 was ninth among qualifying pitchers, just two tenths behind AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell, and he recorded double-digit strikeouts six times. The elite strikeout ability is now a two-year trend for the 35-year-old, who once fancied himself more of a ground-ball specialist but has taken the Astros data-mining to heart, reconfiguring his arsenal to maximum effect.
The case against: Did you catch that part about him being 35? Given that his breakthrough has largely depended on him throwing the ball harder than ever, the age is especially concerning. The Astros took the foot off the gas in the second half, limiting him to 54 2/3 innings in part because his shoulder was barking at him, and if he hits a rough patch, their team of numbers crunchers won't be there to help him anymore now that he's with the Rays (as if you needed another reason to believe he couldn't possibly repeat last year's 15-3 record).
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