2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Rankings breakdown, No. 201-210
Learn why you should — and maybe why you shouldn't — draft players 201-210 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.
201. Ian Desmond, 1B/OF, Rockies
The case for: Ian Desmond was one of just 10 players with at least 20 homers and 20 steals last year, and eight of the others -- Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, Christian Yelich, Javier Baez, Trevor Story and Starling Marte -- are undisputed early-round picks. He's actually a five-time member of the 20-20 club, making him perfectly suited for an environment like today's where you can never have too many home runs but also need to secure steals somehow. And however his skills are diminishing at age 33, Coors Field will help soften the blow.
The case against: The thin-air magic of Coors Field can only work its wonders for players who, you know, hit the ball in the air. But in two years there, Desmond has delivered absurdly high ground-ball rates, ranking No. 1 in the category last year. It's why he had only seven homers in two-thirds of a season two years ago, and even though last year's home run total was fine, four of the 22 came in the second half. So where's the aberration?
202. Jose Martinez, 1B/OF, Cardinals
The case for: If you could design a player who would be optimized for batting average in today's hitting environment, it would look a lot like Jose Martinez, whose plus bat-on-ball skills, elite line-drive rate and all-fields approach virtually guarantee he won't hurt you in the category. And with dual eligibility in the outfield and at first base, he's doubly handy in traditional 5x5 leagues.
The case against: Being optimized for batting average means being less than optimized for power, and while Martinez isn't a zero in that respect, he doesn't elevate the ball enough to project for 20 homers. It doesn't help that he's a poor defender everywhere, and with the Cardinals acquiring Paul Goldschmidt this offseason, first base isn't even an option for him anymore. Either of Dexter Fowler or Tyler O'Neill could be what forces him out of the lineup.
203. Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP, Dodgers
The case for: The guy had a 1.97 ERA last year and pitches for one of the most consistent winners in baseball. Hyun-Jin Ryu's 5.93 strikeout-to-walk ratio would have ranked third, behind perennial Cy Young contenders Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber, if he had the innings to qualify, and his 4.79 mark from his last healthy season would have ranked eighth, suggesting it's not a one-time thing.
The case against: His last healthy season was 2014, and he has thrown a grand total of 213 2/3 innings in four years since. He was basically available for just April, August and September of last year, missing three months with a groin injury. The Dodgers always have too many arms to fit in one rotation, so it's hard to imagine they'll ride someone with Ryu's history especially hard. You can only expect to have him for spurts.
204. Kenta Maeda, SP, Dodgers
The case for: Kenta Maeda's strikeout rate took a turn for the elite last year, and between his fastball, slider and changeup, he now has three pitches built for generating swings and misses. Of course, pitching for the Dodgers presents him with a number of advantages, and there's a feeling we haven't seen the best of him at the major-league level yet.
The case against: Of course, the reason we may not have seen the best of him yet is because of all the disadvantages that pitching for the Dodgers presents. They're overloaded with arms, with Ross Stripling and Julio Urias presently on the outside looking in, and while everyone with a job is subject to phantom injury, the terms of Maeda's contract give the Dodgers another easy avenue: shifting him to the bullpen in the second half to keep his innings and start incentives from kicking in. It's what they did last year, and there's no reason to think they wouldn't do it again.
205. A.J. Minter, RP, Braves
The case for: A.J. Minter was touted as a closer-in-waiting as he ascended the minor-league ladder, and he got a couple of chances to fill in for Arodys Vizcaino in his first full big-league season, leading to a nearly even saves split between the two. It invites manager Brian Snitker to play the matchups between the lefty and righty this season.
The case against: Apart from the saves total, the truth is Minter didn't really live up to the hype, He struggled with control early and hittability late, lucking out in that he only served up three home runs all year. He won't stick as a closer until he develops a changeup to help neutralize righties, so a split role with Vizcaino is probably the best he can hope for right now, assuming he's not strictly a setup man.
206. David Robertson, RP, Phillies
The case for: David Robertson emerged as the front-runner for saves on the day he signed with the Phillies, already having a history of success in the role from his time with the White Sox (and his first stint with the Yankees). He has been remarkably consistent dating back to 2011, compiling a 2.59 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 12.1 K/9 in eight years' time.
The case against: Do we really think Gabe Kapler is going to have a designated ninth-inning guy? The second-year manager has proven to be unflinching in his analytics-minded approach and will presumably employ his best reliever in the highest-leverage situation, regardless of the inning. It's how he operated with Seranthony Dominguez last year, so even though Robertson figures to lead the Phillies in saves, he's no lock for even 20.
207. Alex Reyes, SP, Cardinals
The case for: A bat-missing machine with a fastball that regularly touches triple-digits, Alex Reyes' talents are off the charts, and 2019 may be the year he finally makes good on them. He was gearing up for it last year with one of the most impressive minor-league rehab stints you'll ever see. Working his way back from Tommy John surgery, he struck out 44 while allowing just seven hits in 23 innings.
The case against: He got hurt, OK? It's becoming a bit of a pattern for the 24-year-old. A strained lat isn't as serious as a torn elbow ligament, but it was enough to knock him out for the rest of the season and raise serious doubts about how hard the Cardinals can work him even if he remains healthy. He's still a long-term investment, obviously, and he hasn't pitched meaningful innings since 2016. If they stick him in the bullpen to preserve or extend his arm, it'll make this pick kind of the waste, and if they don't, you still shouldn't hope for much more than 120-140 innings.
208. Collin McHugh, RP, Astros
The case for: Word early this offseason was that the Astros planned to move Collin McHugh back to the starting rotation after banishing him to the bullpen for a year -- one glorious year wherein he picked up a slider from expert slider-wielder Brad Peacock and rode it to new levels of dominance. His 1.99 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings won't translate perfectly from the 'pen, of course -- can't expect him to sustain the same velocity over a longer stretch -- but even before adding the slider, he was regarded as a steady innings eater with the potential to be a big winner for a contender.
The case against: McHugh's move to the rotation was more assured back before the Astros signed Wade Miley to a one-year deal in late January. Now either Josh James or Framber Valdez — exciting rookies, both — doesn't have a job to call his own, which might inspire the Astros to shift McHugh back to the bullpen after giving him a token look this spring. The 31-year-old had a 4.34 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in his last full season as a starter, so he's not a guaranteed success even if he lands the role.
209. Luke Voit, 1B, Yankees
The case for: Luke Voit is in line to be the Yankees' starting first baseman after he rescued them from Greg Bird late last year, homering 14 times in 39 games with his new club. While his swing is more geared for line drives (which isn't such a bad thing given what it means for his BABIP), it's also perfectly suited for Yankee Stadium's short porch in right field. His pull rate on fly balls ranked among the lowest in baseball, and he pulled only five of the 15 home runs he hit between the Cardinals and Yankees. In such an environment, he may be capable of 30-plus homers — and with a good batting average to boot.
The case against: Being a 27-year-old who the Yankees acquired for next to nothing, Voit's job security is also next to nothing, so he'll need to pick up where he left off to keep manager Aaron Boone from experimenting with Bird again. Defensive liabilities Miguel Andujar (third base) and Gary Sanchez (catcher) could also get a look at first base if Voit isn't mashing.
210. Robinson Chirinos, Astros, C
The case for: At a nothing position, Robinson Chirinos isn't a complete nobody, proving himself to be a decent source of power over the past couple seasons. He wasn't as productive last year as during an injury-plagued 2017, but his 18 home runs tied for sixth at the position. Among those with at least 300 at-bats, he ranked 10th in Head-to-Head points per game.
The case against: The Rangers saw fit to sit the 34-year-old more regularly down the stretch, having him play more like every other day in August and September, and it probably won't be so different with his new team. The Astros like to mix and match, after all. Chirinos' power was his only saving grace in a year when his strikeout rate approached Mike Zunino levels, and the skills decline could come swiftly hereafter. He's what you fall back on when the top 12 are gone.
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