2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Rankings breakdown, No. 121-130
Learn why you should — and maybe why you shouldn't — draft players 121-130 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.
121. Yasiel Puig, OF, Reds
The case for: Having already salvaged a career that was on life support a couple years ago, Yasiel Puig now finds himself in one of the most hitter-friendly, power-inflating environments in all of baseball and in a lineup better positioned to appreciate all he has to offer. The Dodgers hit him mostly seventh and eighth the past two years, thus ensuring low run and RBI totals even as he was hitting 25-30 home runs. Shoot, all of his totals suffered. Give him middle-of-the-order at-bats in a park where the home runs come easily and a 30-homer, 20-steal season is well within reach.
The case against: Given Puig's history, you have to account for the possibility he'll mess things up. His muscular build makes him susceptible to nagging injuries. His quality-of-contact numbers are less than ideal, predisposing him to a subpar BABIP. And yes, his personality has often rubbed coaches and teammates the wrong way, which could lead to him losing at-bats to Jesse Winker or Matt Kemp at some point during the year. There's a distinct feeling of "you should know better" when heaping pie-in-the-sky hopes on Puig.
122. David Dahl, OF, Rockies
The case for: Through sporadic at-bats, David Dahl turned in an impressive half-season of work in which he demonstrated 30-homer potential, and frankly, his numbers could have been even better considering the park he calls home. A .311 BABIP is low by Coors Field standards, and if he comes closer to the .340-.350 range delivered by many of his teammates, he could emerge as a poor man's Charlie Blackmon. The Rockies appear to be committed to him in a full-time role, too, entertaining the possibility of moving Blackmon to a corner to free up center field for Dahl.
The case against: The Rockies have a history of bringing in veterans at the last minute and abandoning what seemed like a foolproof succession plan. Even if that's not the route they go this time, it's possible the left-handed-hitting Dahl gets pigeonholed into a platoon role, as he was for much of last year. And then, of course, there are health concerns. From a ruptured spleen to a stress reaction in his rib cage to last year's fractured foot, he has a knack for suffering long-term injuries.
123. Aaron Hicks, OF, Yankees
The case for: At least in points leagues, the late-blooming 29-year-old was better than Whit Merrifield, Rhys Hoskins, Mitch Haniger, Giancarlo Stanton and Lorenzo Cain on a per-game basis last year, but the price tag doesn't come anywhere close. He walks a ton and doesn't strike out much, so it adds up. His batting average holds him back in Rotisserie leagues, but then again, he had a .265 BABIP last year. Normalize it, and you're looking at a .400 on-base percentage for the guy projected to bat between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the Yankees lineup.
The case against: Of course, it's possible Hicks is simply condemned to a low BABIP. Last year was an outlier for him in terms of line-drive rate -- usually his is among the lowest in baseball -- and he has proven to be vulnerable against the shift. He hadn't gotten an honest chance to play every day prior to last year, which makes it harder to say for certain which parts of his performance were legitimate. Safe money says last year was closer to his ceiling than his floor, though.
124. Robbie Ray, SP, Diamondbacks
The case for: For all that went wrong for Robbie Ray last year, his 12.0 K/9 would have ranked fourth in all of baseball if he had the innings to qualify, so as bat-missers go, it doesn't get much better. And you could make the case that missing bats is the most telling ability for a pitcher, the one that says the most about his ceiling. We've already seen what Ray can do when he has his walks under control -- his 2017 performance was ace-like -- but last year planted so much doubt in the minds of Fantasy owners that he may not even be one of the first 35 starting pitchers off the board.
The case against: It's not just the walks he needs to get under control. Ray gives up loud contact -- what would have been the highest hard-hit rate among starting pitchers for the second straight year if he had the innings to qualify -- and it makes him vulnerable to home runs and a much higher BABIP than he allowed during his impressive 2017 campaign. There's a reason his FIP (3.72) was nearly a run higher than his ERA (2.89) that year. As for last year, he was basically a five-inning pitcher, so those walks need to come down just for efficiency reasons.
The case for: After splitting the role with Cody Allen following last season's midseason trade, Brad Hand is the only remaining candidate for saves in the Cleveland bullpen. Andrew Miller is also gone. The star-studded rotation remains intact. The Indians are still the heavy favorites to win the AL Central. Hand should thrive, in other words. He already has closing experience from his time with the Padres, and he's one of just two relievers (Dellin Betances being the other) coming off three consecutive 100-strikeout seasons.
The case against: Maybe he'll lose some of the innings that have helped set him apart at relief pitcher if confined to closing duties, but that's a welcome tradeoff as far as Fantasy owners are concerned. For all of their recent success, the Indians haven't provided their closers with a high number of save chances -- Allen never had more than 34 saves in five years on the job -- but with more and more teams going by-committee in the ninth inning, it's not like Hand needs 40 saves to justify the price tag. Honestly, he seems pretty safe.
126. Victor Robles, OF, Nationals
The case for: Long considered one of the elite prospects in baseball, Victor Robles is poised to take over as the Nationals everyday center fielder, and the skill of his that should translate most immediately (stolen bases) just so happens to be one of the most in demand in Rotisserie leagues. He also makes a ton of contact and has the sort of bat skills that often lead to surprising power at the major-league level. But really, anything he offers beyond the stolen bases this year is gravy.
The case against: A hyperextended elbow early last season severely limited his power production in the minors, and while homering three times during his stint in the majors more or less put those concerns to rest, it was still an awfully small sample. Anytime you expose a hitter to major-league pitching for the first time (his first extended look, anyway), there's the potential for things to go catastrophically wrong. Robles' ADP seems to rise by the day, and by the end of March, he could have so much helium that he actually does need to contribute something significant with the bat to justify the price tag.
127. Miguel Andujar, 3B, Yankees
The case for: As a rookie last year, Miguel Andujar hit .297 with 27 homers and 92 RBI. He hit a bunch of doubles, too, and with a low strikeout rate, so his value in points leagues is just as high as in Rotisserie. A .316 BABIP supports his high batting average, and there's nothing in his batted ball profile that would suggest last year's stat line is too good to be true.
The case against: He's abysmal on defense -- a distant last among full-time third basemen last year, according to FanGraphs -- which puts heavy pressure on his bat to remain not only competent but exceptional. And though the profile appears to be safe, sophomore slumps are a thing. Maybe he moves to first base or even DH in the long run, but with those spots filled for now, he can't afford a slow start.
128. Billy Hamilton, OF, Royals
The case for: It wasn't too long ago that Billy Hamilton was getting drafted as early as Round 4 in Rotisserie leagues, where a scarcity of stolen bases gives a 60-steal threat like him inflated value. So unless you think his decline to 34 steals last year is evidence of him slowing down, there's just as strong of a case for him to go in Round 4 today. More likely, the decline was a product of a philosophical change for the Reds, who switched managers and moved Hamilton down in the batting order. Hamilton is with the Royals now, though, whose philosophy on stolen bases is pretty clear given what Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi accomplished last year.
The case against: Of course, you could make the argument Hamilton was never worth an early-round pick of any kind given the amount of damage he'd do in every other category but stolen bases, and that's not going to change with the Royals. Getting him in the Round 12-14 range is a nice discount if you assume a full bounce-back, but anything less makes him virtually worthless in Fantasy. He may be either way in points leagues.
129. Dallas Keuchel, SP, TBD
The case for: Dallas Keuchel is a former Cy Young winner who has three times delivered an ERA below 3.00 over the past five years. When healthy, he's a good bet for 200 innings, as he showed last year, and his place at or near the top of the ground ball leaderboard every year gives him a high floor.
The case against: There's really no substitute for missing bats, especially in 2019, and while an outlier ground-ball rate helps, the fact is a lot has to go right for Keuchel to deliver ace numbers. His changeup wasn't as effective in 2018, causing that strikeout rate to sag even more, and he no longer has the benefit of the Astros supporting cast to pad his win total.
130. Raisel Iglesias, RP, Reds
The case for: Raisel Iglesias is the undisputed closer for a team looking to be make a move in the NL Central, if the Reds' offseason maneuvering is any indication. He has an innings advantage over most other closers, too, exceeding 70 each of the past two years.
The case against:
He showed some vulnerability to the home run last year and was lucky to have the ERA he did, judging by his 4.23 FIP. His line-drive rate is also pretty concerning for someone who misses only an average number of bats by closer standards, and the same was true in 2017. Iglesias may not be as safe as his year-to-year ERA would have you believe, in other words.
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