2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Rankings breakdown, No. 111-120
Learn why you should — and maybe why you shouldn't — draft players 111-120 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.
111. Brian Dozier, 2B, Nationals
The case for: Yeah, 2018 was pretty much a lost year for the most sluggerific second baseman, but getting traded to the Dodgers for the stretch run didn't help. We've gotten used to seeing Brian Dozier redeem himself with a late power surge year after year, but the Dodgers had too many infielders to extend him that kind of patience. That said, his batted-ball profile -- from the walk rate to the strikeout rate to the fly-ball to the hard-hit rate -- was more or less the same that saw him put together a .271-34-93-106-16 line in 2017, which would suggest that reports of his decline are greatly exaggerated. And his only competition with the Nationals is Wilmer Difo.
The case against: By the postseason, Dozier had become the Dodgers' last bat off the bench, and while it doesn't negate any of those numbers in "the case for," the fact a front office full of far better baseball minds than the ones you'll find here lost all faith in him is more than a little disconcerting. And if he follows his usual pattern of underachieving for four months before breaking through, but with the added context of "except for last year," what are the chances you ride him through thick and thin? Second base being as weak as it is, you can't afford a misfire there, and Dozier presents a high probability of one.
112. Jonathan Villar, 2B, Orioles
The case for: Big base-stealers, the kind who swipe 40 bags or more, are exceedingly rare, and those who also flash power while doing it are practically extinct. Villar fits the bill, though, and his past failures actually work to his advantage by giving him a mid-round price tag. What the Orioles lack in supporting cast they make up for in opportunity. He was on more like a 60-steal pace after claiming a full-time role with them down the stretch last year.
The case against: Anyone remember 2016? Yeah, we've gone down this path with Villar before. Of course, folks were targeting him as early as Round 3 in the aftermath of that season, and he's going nowhere near that high now. Still, his high swing-and-miss and extreme ground-ball tendencies give him a low floor as a hitter, and the memory of him bottoming out is fresh. He's not part of the Orioles future, so there's always the risk of them trading him into a reserve role or pulling the plug on him altogether, depending where those tendencies take him. A true boom-or-bust pick.
113. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Phillies
The case for: Even during a season spent in the hitter's hell of Oracle Park in San Francisco, McCutchen proved to be a perfectly capable mid-level performer, ranking right around Justin Upton and Stephen Piscotty in Head-to-Head points per game. And now he's going to a park in Philadelphia on the other end of the pitcher/hitter spectrum. He doesn't rate quite as favorably in standard 5x5 scoring, where his advanced plate discipline isn't as valuable, but because he's not a total zero in stolen bases, he's still decidedly mid-tier there.
The case against: He may become a total zero in stolen bases under manager Gabe Kapler, who takes the industry's growing reluctance to risk outs on the base paths to an extreme. It doesn't help that McCutchen has had only about a 66 percent rate over the past three seasons. And while he didn't totally sink into the abyss last year, he has been only an average source of batting average and home runs for several years now. The venue change is little more than a desperate plea for better.
114. Mallex Smith, OF, Mariners
The case for: As probably the least heralded of the three players who stole 40 bases last season (Whit Merrifield and Trea Turner being the others), Mallex Smith presents a rare opportunity to supply that scarcest of categories at a substantial discount. And it may not be at the expense of everything else. His batted-ball profile supports the high BABIP he had last year, giving him the outlook of sort of a modern day Juan Pierre, and as the projected leadoff hitter for the Mariners, he could approach 100 runs scored.
The case against: He's a virtual zero power-wise in an era when everybody who's anybody hits for power, and as helpful as a .300 batting average can be, it doesn't change the fact that Smith is useless if he isn't running and running often. Maybe it's of no great concern given that the Mariners haven't shied away from the stolen base in the past, but he's a largely unproven player going to a new organization. If he hits more like .270, as in 2017, are they as eager to play him every day?
115. Sean Doolittle, RP, Nationals
The case for: If he hadn't missed two months with a toe injury, it's likely we view Sean Doolittle as an elite closer on the level of Edwin Diaz or Blake Treinen today. Among relievers with at least 45 innings (his mark exactly), he ranked fourth in ERA, first in WHIP, third in FIP, third in BB/9 and 18th in K/9. He's an elite strike-thrower, an exceptional bat-misser, basically everything a team could want in a closer. And you could get him maybe four rounds later than Diaz or Treinen.
The case against: Durability would be the biggest concern here. Last year's toe injury isn't so worrisome, but Doolittle missed time each of the previous three years with shoulder issues. Granted, the year he avoids those aches and pains figures to be a spectacular one, but you can't just assume this year will be the year.
16. Matt Olson, 1B, Athletics
The case for: There's power here, and lots of it. It didn't manifest as completely as hoped coming into 2018, when some of us looked at his 24 homers in 216 plate appearances the year before and dreamed of 50-plus, but it's also reasonable to suggest that a hitter who ranked eighth in hard contact rate and 24th in fly ball rate, as Olson did in 2018, deserved a better home run fate than 29. And as weak as first base is this year, there isn't much downside to making a dreamy-eyed investment in him in the middle-to-late rounds.
The case against: If that middle-to-late-round investment is more on the middle-round side, those eyes may be a little too dreamy. It's a profile that depends so much on power, and Olson has a home venue working against him and a spotty track record both in the majors and minors. You'd rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed again.
117. David Peralta, OF, Diamondbacks
The case for: Basically no one is drafting David Peralta according to last year's production, so if you buy that production, a discount is already applied. And it stands to reason that the player with the second-highest hard-hit rate would also have one of the highest home run-to-fly ball rates (only 13th, the same as Eugenio Suarez), so it's not like he's a mathematical enigma. Maybe, just maybe, he can do it again.
The case against: But probably not. Peralta's hard-hit rate was about 15 percent higher than normal. His 30 home runs more than doubled his 2017 total and nearly doubled his career high of 17. For a 31-year-old, it's all a little too good to be true. Maybe he's discounted enough that you can take the chance of him regressing to closer to career norms, which would still be a serviceable outfielder in mixed leagues, but it's a close call.
118. Masahiro Tanaka, SP, Yankees
The case for: By now, Masahiro Tanaka's strengths and weaknesses are well documented, so you pretty much know what you're getting. He'll mimic an ace at times, but no one is drafting him expecting ace numbers. His supporting cast figures to deliver him a good win-loss record even if his ERA continues to hover around 4.00, and his consistent ability to throw strikes should help him stand out in WHIP.
The case against: While it's true you know what you're getting, what you're getting is maddening in terms of start-to-start consistency. Tanaka will have starts when he gets buried by home runs even though he's not a pitcher with big fly ball tendencies. Maybe pitching in a division full of hitter's parks, including Yankee Stadium, doesn't help, but that leaves, what, a quarter of his starts in which he's a safe choice? Obviously, you're using him more than that given the cost and given what a "good" Tanaka start looks like, but it'll drive you crazy. It doesn't help that the Yankees handle him with kid gloves, ensuring he doesn't come close to an ace workload.
119. Marcell Ozuna, OF, Cardinals
The case for: Well, Marcell Ozuna did hit .312 with 37 homers and 124 RBI two years ago, measuring as an elite outfielder by any standard, and you'd obviously be drafting him as far less than that now. The decline may be excusable seeing as he had his shoulder scoped this offseason. Even disregarding the role health may have played, the 28-year-old did hit .290 with 20 homers over the final four months.
The case against: Of course, he had a modest .816 OPS over those four months, so it wasn't as complete of a rebound as it might appear at first glance. In fact, for his career, 2017 is much more the outlier than 2018 was, and other than an inflated home run-to-fly ball rate, there isn't much explanation for what he accomplished in 2017. Maybe it was just a complete fluke and what we saw last year is exactly what we should expect, in which case Ozuna is a little overvalued at his going rate.
120. Robinson Cano, 2B, Mets
The case for: In points leagues, it's easy: At a weak position like second base, Robinson Cano's mastery of the strike zone makes him a true standout, one who actually outscored Ozzie Albies and Scooter Gennett on a per-game basis last year. In Rotisserie leagues, he may be a tier lower, but a 20-homer ceiling isn't so out of place at the position. Plus, he has remained a good source of batting average even with his overall production declining in recent years.
The case against: Now that he's 36, the decline could hit harder than ever. Good health has always been a hallmark for Cano, but it becomes less assured with each passing year. He also served an 80-game suspension for failing a PED test last year, which ... may offend you? Honestly, for as late as he's being drafted, the concerns are minimal.
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