2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Rankings breakdown, No. 141-150
Learn why you should — and maybe why you shouldn't — draft players 141-150 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.
141. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers
The Case For: Cabrera is one of the greatest hitters of his generation and (when healthy) he's still showing a lot of those same skills. His walk rate (14 percent), strikeout rate (17 percent), hard contact rate (46 percent) and line drive rate (25 percent) were all near or better than his career average. Cabrera is getting old and he is an injury risk, but he still has plenty of upside in the double-digit rounds.
The Case Against: There was one skill that disappeared for Cabrera in 2018; his ability to lift the ball. His fly ball rate plummeted to 20 percent and his ground-ball rate was a career high 54 percent. This is obviously disastrous for a player with his power and (lack of) speed. It was possibly related to his injury, but that should just serve as a reminder he's turning 36 years old and he's played more than 130 games once in the past four years.
142. Yusei Kikuchi, SP, Mariners
The Case For: Did you see Miles Mikolas last year? OK, that's not entirely fair. Kikuchi does look like an above-average control pitcher who has been excellent at run prevention in Japan. Over the past two seasons he's posted WHIPs of 0.91 and 1.03 while striking out 370 hitters over 351.1 innings. He's averaged over seven innings per start each of the past two seasons.
The Case Against: We don't ever know for sure how a pitcher's repertoire is going to translate when he makes the transition to the major leagues. What we do know is it will take time for him to get used to the five-man rotation, and that will likely limit his innings total to around 160 innings. That type of limit puts a serious cap on a pitcher's upside, especially on a rebuilding club like the Mariners.
143. Jurickson Profar, 1B, 3B, SS, Athletics
The Case For: Ignore the fact that Profar has been around forever. It only seems that way. He just broke out in his age 24 season with 20 home runs, 10 stolen bases and a .793 OPS. He's eligible at three positions and should gain a fourth (second base) in the first week of the season. Profar should also have positive batting average regression coming if you trust his batted ball data from 2018.
The Case Against: He had an .874 OPS at home last year and just a .712 OPS on the road, and his new ballpark is not as friendly to power. His new team is not near as friendly to the run game as his old team. The Athletics were dead last in baseball with 35 steals. If Profar takes a step back in home runs and steals, a small bump in average won't help.
144. Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Rangers
The Case For: Outside of 2016, Choo has been very consistent as a hitter. He's going to hit around 20 home runs, score 80-90 runs and walk at a high rate. He'll likely be better in points league than Roto just because he doesn't stand out in any one category and his on-base percentage is better than his batting average.
The Case Against: The Rangers offense may not be very good, which could hurt Choo in the runs category. He's already a borderline player in Roto leagues and he won't get many RBI hitting at the top of the order. Choo will also turn 37 years old this season and could fall off the cliff at any time.
145. Stephen Piscotty, OF, Athletics
The Case For: Piscotty's first season in Oakland was a resounding success. He hit 27 home runs, drove in 88 runs and cut his strikeout rate to 18.8 percent. His batted ball data was much better as well, with a 42 percent hard contact rate, a 12 percent soft contact rate and a 22 percent line drive rate. He doesn't have great upside, but his profile suggests a very safe outfielder in either format.
The Case Against: He hits the ball on the ground way too often. PIscotty had a 33 percent fly ball rate last season and a 45 percent ground ball rate. Those numbers are right in line with his career norms. If his 18 percent HR/FB rate regresses, he'll lose some power numbers and be far less appealing in Roto.
146. Mike Moustakas, 3B, TBD
The Case For: Over the past two seasons, Moustakas has averaged 33 home runs with 90 RBI and he hasn't hurt you with a .262 batting average. Moustakas walks at an acceptable rate and rarely strikes out. While he's being undervalued again on the free-agent market, he should be a good source of power once he finds a team.
The Case Against: We just don't know when or where he's going to sign. And we don't know for sure that he won't end up in a platoon somewhere. You're taking a risk that his value doesn't decrease once he signs.
The Case For: Hill has struck out 316 hitters over the past two seasons in 271.1 innings. He has a 3.49 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. Yes, he'll miss a few starts due to his health concerns and the Dodgers use of the disabled list, but when he's healthy he's a borderline ace. Hill's brilliance when he's healthy is well worth using a streamer when he's not.
The Case Against: The argument against Hill isn't so much about what's happened with injuries, at least not the past two years. He's going to turn 39 before the season starts. He'd thrown 292.1 innings in the nine (!) seasons before 2017. His injury risk is not just that he'll miss a handful of starts. That's more the upside. He could break down at any moment. Besides, he wasn't near as brilliant in 2018 as he was in 2017.
148. Nick Pivetta, SP, Phillies
The Case For: What's not to like with Nick Pivetta? He had 188 strikeouts to 51 walks in 164 innings last year. He generated a bunch of ground balls (46.7 percent) when he wasn't whiffing batters. His xFIP (3.42) was the 13th best in baseball. Pivetta is a good pitcher on what is looking like a very good Phillies team. He'll make you forget 2018's unfortunate results.
The Case Against: You don't get Fantasy points for peripherals. To be clear, I don't actually believe this line of reasoning. I expect he's going to far exceed last year's results. But there could be something the peripherals are missing, like command. Pivetta did get hit very hard and he did struggle with runners on base. If those things don't change, this is a massive overpay because the industry is largely in agreement on Pivetta.
149. Adam Eaton, OF, Nationals
The Case For: Batting average is arguably the most valuable stat in Roto right now and Eaton hasn't hit worse than .284 since 2013. Last year he hit .301 and stole nine bases in 95 games. In Washington his full-season pace is for 109 runs and 17 stolen bases with a .300 average. That's a top-100 player in Roto, which may not even be his best format.
The Case Against: It's really tough to use full-season pace for a guy who has played 118 games in the past two seasons combined. Even without Bryce Harper, the Nationals have plenty of young outfielder with upside. At the very least they'll likely be used to keep him healthy by giving him extra rest days. Also, the run pace largely came from hitting in the same lineup as Harper. He may not have that luxury in 2019.
150. Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox
The Case For: Devers is still just 22 years old. He has 730 career plate appearances and he's hit 31 home runs with 93 runs and 96 RBI. His sophomore slump can be blamed on injuries, poor conditioning and dumb luck. The BABIP will bounce back and Devers says he's lost weight to combat the injury issues. This could be his breakout year.
The Case Against: While he did have some bad BABIP luck, he's also had some good home run fortune. Devers' batted ball profile has been pretty average, with a 34 percent hard contact rate and his line drive rate (15 percent) is terrible. While it's good he's taking his health more seriously, it's not great he had to hit .240 and miss time due to injuries before he did. Boston has a couple of third base prospects who aren't far away. Devers needs to hit now or he may find himself in a platoon or worse.
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