2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Rankings breakdown, No. 61-70
Learn why you should — and maybe why you shouldn't — draft players 61-70 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.
61. Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers
The Case For: Considering he just missed nearly all of the season with a serious elbow injury, it's weird that I find myself finding so much to be optimistic about. I never loved Seager when you had to invest a second-round pick in him, but it's a lot easier to like what he brings to the table at his best when he's a sixth- or seventh-rounder. Seager is a good bet to hit around .300, and while he hits the ball on the ground too much to be more than a mid-20s homer threat, his all-around profile offensively isn't that different from what you can expect from Freddie Freeman. Positional scarcity matters less in 2019 than it ever has, but if you can get Freddie Freeman production from a shortstop, you'll still take it.
The Case Against: Of course … Seager is coming off a serious injury. Tommy John surgery isn't a huge concern for hitters, but combine that with hip surgery in August, and Seager's coming off not just one but two serious injuries. We simply haven't seen what he looks like yet, which makes him a risk. If his body doesn't hold up, it won't matter how low his price gets.
62. Edwin Diaz, RP, Mets
The Case For: In two of his three seasons in the majors, Diaz has belonged in the discussion for best reliever in the game. In the one season he didn't, he still had a 3.27 ERA, 34 saves and a 12.1 K/9. That's pretty good. He's coming off an absurdly dominant season, where he racked up 57 saves, a 1.96 ERA and 0.79 WHIP, as well as a staggering 124 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings. With a fastball he can regularly run up to the high-90s and a slider that might be the most devastating pitch in baseball, what reason is there to think Diaz can't keep this up?
The Case Against: One reason? Pitching is just hard to predict. Sample sizes with relief pitchers especially are tiny, and injuries are hard to predict. What separates the likes of Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman and (until recently) Kenley Jansen from the pack of closers is the ability to do it year-in, year-out. Diaz has shown the upside, but not the consistency. Which means, the case against investing in him is the case against investing in any pitcher.
63. Justin Upton, OF, Angels
The Case For: The days of viewing Upton as a potential league winner are long gone, but his steady performance year in and year out can leave him undervalued as new, shinier things come along. You know what you're getting from Upton: He hasn't played fewer than 145 games since 2010; he's hit at least 30 homers in three straight season, and at least 26 in six straight; at least 80 RBI and 80 runs, with the potential for 100 of either in a big year. He won't win you a league, but he sure won't lose you one.
The Case Against: There are higher upside bets you can make in the outfield, either through high-average players or guys who provide more steals. Upton won't help you a ton in either, though he's not a zero. The biggest knock against Upton is that he's just kind of boring. Let him fall to you in the seventh or eighth round, put him in your lineup, and don't think about it again. Just don't take him earlier than you have to.
64. Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox
The Case For: If not for Guerrero, Jimenez would be can't-miss prospect everyone would be tripping over themselves to draft. He wasn't quite Guerrero, but in hitting .337/.384/.577 with 69 strikeouts and 53 extra-base hits in 108 games, he cemented his place among the best prospects of the past few years. A rare young prospect with 80-grade raw power and an advanced hit tool, Jimenez should have been up last summer. There's nothing left for him to prove in Triple-A.
The Case Against: Of course, the White Sox will spend at least a few weeks talking about how Jimenez needs to work on his defense, or how they want him to be 100-percent ready when he gets the call. He's had relatively minor contact issues in the past, and could find himself somewhat exposed upon making the jump to the big leagues. But the biggest knock you can make against him is, "He's not Vladimir Guerrero."
65. Travis Shaw, 2B/3B, Brewers
The Case For: Shaw probably does not get the respect that he has earned, either from the Brewers organization, or from Fantasy players. Sure, he's coming off a season with a .241 average, however he still managed an .825 OPS, thanks to plus power and walk rates. The only thing holding him back in 2018 was an unsustainably low .242 BABIP.
The Case Against: Shaw will see some positive regression from that BABIP mark, but with a career .286 average on balls in play, you have to accept that the average may be on the low side. Plus, he became more pull-happy than ever in 2018, making him easier for defenses to play. The power is real, but in selling out for it, he may have put a relatively low ceiling on his average. And, with his stolen base rate chopped in half and the Brewers finding ways last season to take him out of the lineup, there may be a relatively low Fantasy ceiling, too.
66. Joey Gallo, 1B/OF, Rangers
The Case For: What does the best version of Joey Gallo look like? Thanks to historically poor performance on balls in play, we haven't seen it. Gallo has sported a paltry .256 BABIP in his time in the majors, helping lead to a .203 career average. However, he showed signs of improving his biggest flaws in 2018, upping his contact rate to a career-high 61.7, while becoming a less pull-happy hitter. We didn't see it pay dividends last year, but if he continues to make improvements, it's not out of the question that he could push the average to the .240-.250 range. After all, he did it in the second half last year. It would be enough to make him a top-five option at third base.
The Case Against: There's no guarantee that will happen. We've seen stretches of the good Gallo before, but we've also seen what happens when things take a turn for the worse; he hit .187 and was basically unplayable in the first half. Gallo would probably need to fundamentally alter his game if he wanted to avoid the shift-induced issues he's had, and that might just cause him to lose some of what makes him such a special power hitter.
67. Jean Segura, SS, Phillies
The Case For: At this point, skepticism of Segura's improvement is no longer warranted. He's hit .300 each year, with at least 20 steals and double-digit homers in each season. He's been the fourth-best shortstop in Fantasy over the past three seasons, and he's moving into a significantly better home park, in a lineup that could take a big step forward.
The Case Against: The biggest question surrounding Segura comes down to how much the Phillies will let him run. The Mariners haven't been shy about letting their speedsters run wild, but will the analytically inclined Phillies do the same? They ranked just 23rd in stolen bases in 2018, and someone like Odubel Herrera, who used to be a decent source of steals has seen his attempts fall from 32 in 2016 to just seven last season. If you can't count on Segura for 20-plus steals in 2019, he starts to look a lot like Andrelton Simmons, who is bound to come off the board significantly later.
68. Michael Brantley, OF, Astros
The Case For: Injuries have limited his exposure some in the last few years, but Brantley was (mostly) healthy in 2018 and re-established himself as one of the premier contact hitters in the game. He struck out in just 9.5 percent of his plate appearances, and managed a .309 average. The counting stats weren't huge for Brantley, but that could change with the move to Houston and chance to hit near the top of one of the best lineups in baseball. And with Brantley's inside-out swing, he might even be able to sneak a few over the Crawford Boxes.
The Case Against: The Astros are one of the smartest teams in baseball, and they know they'll need to give the soon-to-be 32-year-old plenty of rest, given his injury history. The Astros also aren't likely to put Brantley on the move much, so don't expect much more than a dozen or so steals. If his power continues to wane, you may be looking at a player who really only makes an impact on runs and average. Is the injury risk really worth that?
69. Mitch Haniger, OF, Mariners
The Case For: In 2017, he was hitting .342/.447/.608 through the first 21 games before an oblique injury derailed his season, leading to relatively pedestrian numbers after his return. In 2018, he went about proving he was for real, staying healthy and putting together a solid five-category season, hitting .285-90-26-93-8 while playing in 157 games. With a solid approach at the plate and a career 36.3 percent hard-hit rate, Haniger is no flash in the pan.
The Case Against: This could be a pretty bad Mariners lineup in 2019, and Haniger could lose out on both protection (if you buy into that as a factor) and run production if the Mariners continue to slide toward the bottom half of the league. The skill set is solid, but Haniger's 2018 was more a "sum is greater than the parts" kind of season; he's just about average or a little better across the board. That could continue to play up, but it will be interesting to see how he reacts if pitchers start avoiding him in a weaker lineup. His track record isn't quite long enough to say we know for sure.
70. Aroldis Chapman, RP, Yankees
The Case For: What, a seven-season stretch with a 2.08 ERA, 0.978 WHIP, 15.3 K/9, and an average of 34 saves doesn't do it for you? Tough crowd. Chapman bounced back from an uncharacteristically tough 2017 with a 2.45 ERA and the second-highest K/9 of his career.
The Case Against: He hasn't reached 60 innings since 2015, and he has missed time over the past two seasons with shoulder and knee issues. At 31, with a recent injury history and diminishing velocity, Chapman looks riskier than ever.
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