2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Rankings breakdown, No. 271-280
Learn why you should — and maybe why you shouldn't — draft players 271-280 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.
271. Jesus Luzardo, SP, Athletics
The case for: The Athletics announced early this offseason that Jesus Luzardo would be in the mix for a rotation spot this spring, and some publications have gone so far as to pencil him in. There's obvious upside to a pitcher who delivered a 2.88 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings between three minor-league stops last year, and his high-spin fastball and plus-plus changeup should allow for an easy transition
The case against: He's 21 and threw only 109 1/3 innings last year, his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. If the Athletics were to turn over a rotation spot to him right away, he wouldn't make it the whole season, not unless he was severely limited from start to start. Given the team's playoff aspirations, that's reason enough to be skeptical of him breaking camp with the team, and a midseason arrival wouldn't justify the price tag.
272. Austin Hedges, C, Padres
The case for: Even though he faces competition from rookie Francisco Mejia, a superior hitter by every measure, Austin Hedges' first-division defense ensures he'll never be too far out of the catcher mix for the Padres. And he's not a total slouch with the bat himself, at least contributing competitive home run totals with 32 over the past two seasons.
The case against: Have we really stooped to the level of targeting the defensive-minded half of a backstop platoon? Indeed, talent is scarce at the position, but that means volume will make up the difference in two-catcher leagues. The possibility of a dozen homers from a projected .230 hitter like Hedges isn't enough to pass up a full-timer elsewhere unless you think Mejia just isn't going to cut it behind the plate.
273. Adam Jones, OF, TBD
The case for: Last year ended a string of seven straight with 25-plus homers for Adam Jones , who at 33 should still be in line for an everyday role. His batted-ball tendencies were pretty much the same as every other year, just with his home run-to-fly ball rate cut in half. It's reason to believe a bounce-back season may be in store for a player whose low strikeout tendencies have made him one of the most consistent .280 hitters in the game.
The case against: A free agent, Jones doesn't have a job yet, and there's no telling what kind of role he'd settle for. While his home run output dropped last year, his defensive ratings plummeted, which may be the clearest sign of his age catching up to him. While it's true the batted-ball profile paints a rosy outlook, his poor on-base skills limit his upside to third outfielder status in today's hitter-happy environment.
274. Jonathan Lucroy, C, Angels
The case for: Jonathan Lucroy is a catcher who will play as often as any, having signed with an Angels team with precious few alternatives. He ranked eighth at the position with 415 at-bats last year, and that was while batting .241 with a .617 OPS.
The case against: You caught that part about him batting .241 with a .617 OPS, right? That's two years in a row now of him being totally punchless at the plate, unable to muster any measure of power despite still boasting an impressive contact rate. If there's a position where a slap hitter still has some value in 2019, it's catcher, but selecting Lucroy these days is a resignation you messed up.
275. Wily Peralta, RP, Royals
The case for: If only by process of elimination, Wily Peralta emerged as the Royals closer last year and wasn't a total disaster, going a perfect 14 for 14 in save opportunities with a respectable ERA (3.67) and strikeout rate (9.2 per nine innings). The performance was presumably good enough to earn him the first crack at the role this year.
The case against: "Wasn't a total disaster" is always a ringing endorsement, and in this case it belies Peralta's 4.73 FIP -- a product of a bloated walk rate that threatened to ruin him at every turn. He's not closer material -- he may not even be major-league material -- and the Royals' late-offseason signing of Brad Boxberger is a sure indication they too have their doubts.
276. Amed Rosario, SS, Mets
The case for: At 23, Amed Rosario still has time to fulfill the promise that put him in every prospect publication's top 10 just two years ago. He showed signs of coming around late last season, upping his line-drive rate over the final two months en route to a .284 batting average, five home runs and .731 OPS. That last number probably won't have you turning cartwheels, but when you factor in his 15 steals during that stretch (roughly one-third of the season), it's clear he has the potential to matter in mixed leagues.
The case against: Without drastic improvement as a hitter, Rosario pretty much has to be an elite base-stealer to make a real impact in Fantasy, and while the skills are there, they remain largely unrealized at a time when shortstop is deep enough that you don't have to draft with desperation. Suffice it to say he'll be dropped en masse if he can't sustain his steals pace from last August and September.
277. Ty Buttrey, RP, Angels
The case for: Though he wasn't called up until mid-August, Ty Buttrey ended last season as the Angels closer, buoyed by a big strikeout rate that seemed to translate just fine from the minors, where he had a 2.20 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings in 49 innings last year.
The case against: The Cody Allen signing means Buttrey won't be closing for the Angels at the start of 2018, and with only 16 1/3 innings at the major-league level, he's not established enough for you to trust in him delivering elite ratios.
278. Seranthony Dominguez, RP, Phillies
The case for: If not for the David Robertson signing, Seranthony Dominguez would have been the clear favorite for saves in Philadelphia, and he proved to be a worthy closer candidate with a 2.95 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 11.5 strikeouts per nine inning last year. Originally a starting pitcher prospect, he worked multiple innings for much of the first half and could emerge as the Phillies' version of Josh Hader, stealing occasional save chances while taking on a bigger workload than most relievers.
The case against: Again, he's not the favorite for saves anymore, and middle relievers still have limited utility in Fantasy. He may be one of the better ones, but if they don't matter in your league, they don't matter. And neither does he.
279. Danny Duffy, SP, Royals
The case for: There's bounce-back potential for Danny Duffy, who threw with his usual velocity last year and missed bats at his usual rate. You had to expect some rust coming off surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow, and the end of his 2018 was obviously marred by a shoulder impingement that shut him down early. For an 11-start stretch in the middle of the year, though, he put together a 2.58 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings.
The case against: Even if Duffy does bounce back (and who's to say he won't have any more health issues?), he'll be bouncing back for the Royals, whose current state gives him virtually no chance of putting together a winning record. The control problems that plagued him early in his career popped up again last year, and they were present even during that promising 11-start stretch. Clearly, he has a lot to figure out, and the upside may not be worth the investment.
280. Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers
The case for: Joc Pederson has cut way down on his strikeouts the past two years, giving him some hope of delivering a respectable batting average someday. It clearly hasn't cost him any power either seeing as his .273 ISO would have ranked eighth if he had the at-bats to qualify. Of his 25 homers, 24 came from June 1 on, a period during which he slugged .589.
The case against: The reason Pederson didn't have the at-bats to qualify is because he's putrid against left-handed pitchers, batting .170 last year and .181 for his career. It's to the point where you can't expect the Dodgers, perhaps the most platoon-friendly club in all the majors, to give him a chance to improve in that regard, which of course severely limits his upside in weekly leagues. Even in daily leagues, you'll be sitting him too often to justify more than a late-round pick.
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