2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Rankings breakdown, No. 131-140
Learn why you should — and maybe why you shouldn't — draft players 131-140 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.
131. Yu Darvish, SP, Cubs
The Case For: Darvish is an elite strikeout pitcher who has never had a year where he posted a K/9 below double-digits. Last year was the first year in his career he's had an ERA worse than 3.86. He pitches for a team we expect to compete for a division title. If Darvish stays healthy, we have every reason to believe he'll be a good starting pitcher on a good team with a ton of strikeouts.
The Case Against: "If Darvish stays healthy" is an awfully big if as we enter spring training. He only threw 40 innings last year. He's only made 30 starts twice in his career. He's saying all the right things in January, but it never feels great to draft a pitcher who missed most of the year before with an elbow injury. Especially when that pitcher is less than five years removed from Tommy John surgery.
132. Zack Wheeler, SP, Mets
The Case For: Wheeler figured out his control issues in 2018, and the results were phenomenal. His career-low 2.71 BB/9 led to a 1.12 WHIP and a 3.31 ERA. While his strikeouts weren't as impressive, his swinging strike rate did jump to a career-high 10.7 percent. If you're concerned about betting on his career-year, his FIP (3.25) backs up his production and his SIERA (3.87) isn't that far off.
The Case Against: If you're afraid of pitchers who have a big year-over-year increase in innings, Wheeler is a concern. He threw one inning in 2015 and 2016 combined. He threw 86.1 in 2017. Last year he threw a career-high 187.1. That concern could be mitigated by his 185.1 innings in 2014, depending on how you want to look at it. Wheeler is also working with a smaller margin for error in today's game without a huge strikeout total. He benefitted in 2018 from a .279 BABIP-against and his first HR/FB rate below 10 percent in his career.
133. Jose Peraza, SS, Reds
The Case For: Two of the most difficult categories are batting average and steals. Peraza helped in both last year, with a .288 average and 23 steals. He's a career .282 hitter and has at least 21 steals every year in the major leagues. The bonus was the 85 runs he scored in 2018. He was one of 10 hitters to steal 20 bases and score 80 runs with a .280 average. The other nine will be gone long before Peraza.
The Case Against: Why shouldn't you draft Peraza? Probably because you play in a points league. He needed 683 plate appearances in 2018 to be the No. 9 shortstop in Fantasy points. That is the definition of mediocre. Peraza doesn't walk and has very little power. He's no more than a bench player in points leagues.
134. Luis Castillo, SP, Reds
The Case For: As a rookie, Castillo posted a 3.12 ERA with 9.9 K/9. His SIERA (3.63) suggested some regression in 2018, but he still looked like a very promising young pitcher as his walk rate dropped two points and his swinging strike rate went up almost a full point to 13.5 percent. Somehow his ERA climbed to 4.30 and his strikeout percentage went down. You're getting a very good pitcher at a discount because of a bad first half and some wonky returns.
The Case Against: It wasn't all just bad luck. Castillo's ground balls disappeared in 2018 and his hard-contact-allowed skyrocketed. He's given up a 17 percent HR/FB rate two years in a row. Castillo does still have potential, but he hasn't figured out how to fulfill it yet.
The Case For: Despite his struggles in 2018, Gray still have a very good K-BB percentage (17.6 percent) and still has outstanding stuff. He's spent the offseason correcting a diet issue that was causing him to lose weight in season and he's working on strengthening his lower half. Gray doesn't have any less ace potential than he did heading into 2018, but he's a lot cheaper than he was.
The Case Against: The Rockies sent him to the minor leagues for a spell last season and left him off their playoff roster. With all the Rockies pitchers who broke out in 2018, Gray went backwards. There's reason to be concerned about the length of his leash after a 5.12 ERA.
136. Paul DeJong, SS, Cardinals
The Case For: DeJong's 162-game pace is 89 runs, 32 home runs and 97 RBI. He projects as a top-four hitter in a lineup that is extremely top-heavy. If DeJong stays healthy and hits between Matt Carpenter and Paul Goldschmidt he could shatter that run and RBI pace. While his average fell last year, it was mostly bad luck because he improved his walk rate and cut down on strikeouts.
The Case Against: He still struck out in a quarter of his plate appearances and a lot of that home run pace is because of a 19.8 percent HR/FB rate as a rookie. If DeJong doesn't hit towards the top of the order, he may not be a standout in any category and his strikeouts could hurt you in points leagues.
137. Carlos Santana, 1B, Indians
The Case For: Santana is a points-league star with more walks than strikeouts over the past three seasons. He's back in Cleveland, where he'll hit behind Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor. He's remarkably reliable in runs and RBI with 79-90 of each over the past three seasons.
The Case Against: Other than the fact he's turning 33 this year, there's not a lot of reason to be concerned about Santana in points leagues. Rotisserie is a different story. Santana is going to hurt your batting average, even if he improves on last year's .229. He's a career .247 hitter and he hasn't topped .260 since 2014. He's also only had one year with more than 24 home runs since then.
138. Kirby Yates, RP, Padres
The Case For: He's an elite strikeout pitcher with a secure role as the Padres closer. In today's environment, the second part of that sentence is more rare than the first. Yates should be a reliable source of saves with good ratios and and a lot of strikeouts for a reliever.
The Case Against: There's a pretty good chance the Padres are out of contention in July. A reliever with his skill set and contract situation is extremely valuable on the trade market. While I doubt the Padres have any plans of dealing him, there is a risk they shift back towards a rebuild, have a fire sale and he becomes a middle reliever on a great team. Also, last year was the first year of his career he's had an ERA or FIP below 3.74 and reliever ratios can be very volatile from year to year.
139. Wade Davis, RP, Rockies
The Case For: Davis is secure in his role as a closer for the Rockies, a rarity in today's game. He saved 43 games in 2018 and was one of the best relievers in the game from 2014-2017. The Rockies should be a competitive team that once again gives him a chance to rank among the league leaders in saves.
The Case Against: He looks an awful lot like a pitcher whose skills are deteriorating. His 4.13 ERA was a little bit unlucky but his FIP has gone up each of the past two years (3.65 in 2018) and his strikeout-to-walk ratio was not that of an elite closer. If those trends continue, Davis could be bad enough for the Rockies to consider other options late in the year. He had a 4.73 ERA at Coors Field.
140. Rougned Odor, 2B, Rangers
The Case For: Odor has the potential to hit 30 home runs and steal 15 bases at one of the weakest positions in Fantasy. He nearly doubled his walk rate in 2018 and should slot toward the top of the order for the Rangers. Last year's career-high 45 percent hard-contact rate is elite at any position.
The Case Against: He was caught stealing as often as he succeeded in 2018. If the Rangers pull back on his green light on the base paths and his career-high .305 BABIP regresses, Odor could be a difficult player to use in 2019. This isn't going to be a very good offense, so you could be looking at a player with 25 home runs, 150 runs-plus-RBI and a drag on your average.
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