2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Rankings breakdown, No. 251-260
Learn why you should — and maybe why you shouldn't — draft players 251-260 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.
251. Scott Schebler, OF, Reds
The case for: Scott Schebler may finally be poised to play every day with Billy Hamilton now out of the picture for the Reds. Someone has to man center field, and of the outfielders most in need of at-bats, Schebler would seem to be the most capable of doing so. It's an interesting prospect for the left-handed hitter because he's just as good against lefties as righties, if not better, and is overdue for this opportunity at age 28. He hit 30 homers as a semi-regular two years ago.
The case against: Wait, if he hit 30 homers two years ago, what happened last year? That's part of the problem: We don't really know what kind of hitter Schebler is. In 2018, he traded off fly balls for line drives, which significantly raised his BABIP, but it cost him so many home runs (i.e., BABIP-free hits) that it didn't help his batting average all that much. There has been some talk of Yasiel Puig getting looks in center field, and that's also the latest position where top prospect Nick Senzel is trying his hand. This thought of Schebler playing every day may still be a pipe dream, in other words.
252. Marco Gonzales, SP, Mariners
The case for: In his big comeback season after years lost to injury, Marco Gonzales proved to be particularly adept at two things: throwing strikes and putting the ball on the ground. It's a skill set not too unlike Miles Mikolas, who of course entered the ace conversation in Fantasy last year, but Gonzales is actually the better bat-misser of the two, averaging 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings last year compared to Mikolas' 6.5. They're comparable in terms of FIP, too, with Mikolas' 3.28 mark edging out Gonzales' 3.43.
The case against: He still hasn't proven he can stay healthy for a full season, missing about three weeks with a neck strain in the second half. He blew up his ERA over the three starts prior, giving up 19 earned runs in 13 innings, which may actually be a point in his favor if we can attribute the struggles to the injury. Bottom line, though, is you need better durability from a pitcher who doesn't measure up as a bat-misser.
253. Nick Markakis, OF, Braves
The case for: Nick Markakis showed he still has something to offer Fantasy owners last year, and that's particularly true in Head-to-Head points leagues, where he gets credit for his near 1-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and proclivity for hitting doubles. He ranked just behind Nicholas Castellanos and ahead of Justin Upton in points per game last year. The Braves saw fit to re-sign him this offseason, so there's reason to hope he'll have just as big of a role. He has played at least 155 games in six straight seasons.
The case against: He wore down in the second half last year, batting .258 with four homers and a .701 OPS. The Braves have attributed it to fatigue rather than diminished ability, and now that he's 35, that fatigue may be something he needs to manage. If he's not providing volume, he'll have a hard time measuring up at outfield, particularly in Rotisserie leagues where his lack of home run power makes him barely OF5 material to begin with.
254. Marcus Semien, SS, Athletics
The case for: There isn't much to love about Marcus Semien. He hit 27 homers back in 2016, which is of course noteworthy for a middle infielder, but he has been more like a 15-homer guy for most of his career. Still, the little contributions -- double-digit steals, a healthy doubles total -- add up to competent production, all but ensuring he'll play a critical role for someone in leagues that utilize a third middle infield spot.
The case against: Hardly a ringing endorsement, is it? Look, shortstop is deep now, so if you have to resort to someone as boring as Semien, you messed up. His swing may not be fully optimized for his skills -- not enough fly balls actually making it over the fence, which limits his batting average potential -- but seeing as he's 28, you have to assume he's pretty set in his ways.
255. Luke Weaver, SP, Cardinals
The case for: Just a year ago, Luke Weaver was considered one of the most exciting breakout candidates at starting pitcher. He had put together an ERA right around 2.00 over his previous three years in the minors and had a dominant showing down the stretch in 2017, delivering a 2.05 ERA with 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings over his first 11 appearances before faltering in his final two. That's too much success to dismiss after one bad season.
The case against: It was a really bad season, though -- so bad that the Cardinals were willing to include him in a deal to secure just one year of Paul Goldschmidt. Maybe the change of scenery will help, especially since Arizona is no longer the hitter's haven it was, but because it's hard to tell what exactly went wrong for Weaver, it's hard to tell what would make him right again. For all the strikeouts he was piling up in 2017, it wasn't with a particularly impressive swinging-strike rate, and him crumpling in his final two starts that year may have been our first indication of the league catching up to him.
256. Kole Calhoun, OF, Angels
The case for: Even in today's power-laden environment, a 20-homer season is nothing to sneeze at, and every year Kole Calhoun ... well, he almost gets there. He's at five straight with 17 or more. Plus, he's in the same lineup as Mike Trout, which greatly improves his run-scoring opportunities, particularly if he continues to bat leadoff as he did down the stretch last season.
The case against: The ability to hit 20 homers -- a dubious accomplishment given the current state of the game -- is about the only one he flashes consistently. He hit only .208 last year, the second straight in which his batting average fell about 30 points. And though he seemed to turn a corner midseason, returning from an oblique strain with a crouched stance and going on to hit .295 with 14 homers and a .950 OPS in July and August, he then hit .125 in September. There was probably some bad luck, judging from the .241 BABIP, but it's back-to-back years now that he hasn't been mixed league-relevant.
The case for: Yan Gomes was a rising star when he first became the Indians catcher in 2013, then lost his way during what looked like an unlucky 2015, then came roaring back last year with the sort of line drive-oriented swing that elevated him to prominence in the first place. He doesn't have enough power to measure up without a high BABIP, but fortunately the batted-ball profile again lends itself to one.
The case against: Who's to say it wasn't a total fluke Gomes started hitting line drives again? If a player's Fantasy relevance depends on him having a high BABIP, he's generally not someone you want to bank on. Plus, he's with the Nationals now, who also signed Kurt Suzuki to a two-year deal this offseason, and Suzuki is a better hitter point blank. Even with all that went right for Gomes last year, he had only the 11th-most Head-to-Head points per game.
258. Peter Alonso, 1B, Mets
The case for: Peter Alonso hit 36 homers between the highest two levels of the minors last year, and his power may be a true 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale (which is to say it's best-of-his-generation-type power). He overcame a bumpy transition to Triple-A with a huge finish — one probably deserving of a late-season call-up — and should have an easy path to the starting job this spring.
The case against: It should be an easy path, but the Mets have done their best to complicate it, adding so many infielders this offseason that Todd Frazier and Jeff McNeil, an exciting up-and-comer in his own right, now have nowhere to play but first base. Granted, Frazier may not have much left in the tank, and the Mets have discussed trying McNeil in the outfield. Maybe it doesn't impact Alonso's timetable at all, but he becomes much riskier absent the expectation of him arriving in mid-April.
259. Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Tigers
The case for: Jeimer Candelario has the makings of a points league specialist at third base thanks to a top-40 walk rate, and his 19 home runs as a rookie show he has enough power to measure up in today's landscape. He also has terrific job security on a Tigers team with precious little in the way of alternatives.
The case against: Taking the sum of everything, Candelario was pretty awful last year. It didn't start out that way -- he hit .275 with eight homers and an .894 OPS over the first two months -- but then his strikeout rate spiked, and it was all downhill from there. Maybe there's hope of him making more contact (and higher-quality contact) as he matures, but as his ratios stand now, it's hard to envision him hitting much better than .240. And he doesn't have the power to get away with that.
260. Drew Steckenrider, RP, Marlins
The case for: Someone has to close for the Marlins, and with Kyle Barraclough getting shipped to the Nationals, Drew Steckenrider is the obvious choice to do it. He was the top option for saves last September and has the strikeout ability to get the job done. He may have even more than he showed last year, judging by his 14.0 strikeouts per nine innings in 2017.
The case against: Steckenrider legitimately looked like a closer-in-waiting last April, when he put together a 1.32 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 14 appearances, but he had a 4.59 ERA the rest of the way. A lot of the damage was done in a couple of particularly miserable stretches in May and August, but consistency is critical for a closer. And even if Steckenrider keeps the closer gig all year, it'll be for a team so bad that it might only position him for 25 saves or so.
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