All eligibility based on CBSSports.com standard of five appearances in a season.
There's no easy way to break down the positional hierarchy, because it is, at least to some extent, based on team construction. First base is typically considered the easiest position to fill in Fantasy, but I know some of you out there are using multi-eligible players like Matt Carpenter and Daniel Murphy as their first basemen, despite that fact.
However, there's a general pecking order to follow, with first base at the top, followed by outfield and third base, the middle infield positions -- second ahead of short -- and catcher at the bottom. When it comes to players gaining eligibility, you want them moving toward the bottom of the hierarchy, gaining eligibility at positions where it is hardest to find freely available help. Big boppers like Tommy Joseph and Justin Bour would be must-start guys at shortstop or catcher, but are fairly middling options at first base.
Typically, we don't see first basemen move to positions that increase their value midseason -- moves the other way are much more common -- but there are two on the cusp of gaining eligibility that could change the Fantasy landscape. We've been waiting for them for a while, so Carlos Santana and Anthony Rizzo getting close to a new position shouldn't be a surprise. However, with Santana now just one game away from outfield eligibility, and Rizzo one away from second base, and that could have a profound impact on their value for the rest of the season.
Santana is a solid starting first base option -- especially in points leagues, where his plate discipline really plays up -- but it's easy to get squeezed out. He's more of a borderline option, someone you might use as a utility, or consider benching with tough matchups if you picked up someone like Ryan Zimmerman or Eric Thames at the beginning of the season. With three to five outfield spots to fill, however, that flexibility should mean you can keep him out there every week, ensuring you'll never miss out on the kind of big performance he's been known to produce.
Rizzo's case is even more drastic, and it shouldn't be sneaking up on you. He got his fourth appearance at second Monday, meaning he is just one more double switch away from it. To give you a sense of how big a deal this is, Rizzo isn't even in the top-10 in Fantasy scoring at first base in H2H points leagues this season, but he would be third at second base. Because the replacement level is so high at first, pairing Rizzo with someone like Bour, Joseph, or Josh Bell could make a huge impact on your team.
Besides, we know at some point, someone else on your team is probably going to get 1B eligibility at some point. That's just how it goes.
- Obviously, Desmond and Holliday gaining 1B isn't a huge thing for their value, but the flexibility helps. You want them in your lineup somehow, and now you have four different options in Roto, between 1B, CI, OF and utility.
- Bregman is one game away from SS eligibility, but an appearance at 2B got him his MI eligibility early. It's been hard to justify him as a starting third baseman amid his slump this season, but as a MI, he's a viable though by no means must-start option.
- Happ's flexibility is more a reflection of the Cubs' willingness to keep him in the lineup, and we'll see how far they stretch that with the whole team healthy. They're going to have a hard time finding a place for Happ everyday, but perhaps an even harder time justifying keeping him on the bench -- or sending him to the minors.
- There's not much in Brad Peacock's history -- 4.30 career ERA over 284 1/3 innings -- that should make anything about him interesting. However, he has been throwing harder out of the bullpen this season, and struck out eight over 4 1/3 innings in a spot start Monday. He is worth keeping an eye as a SPARP on if this sticks.
One game away
- Solarte has been a major disappointment this season, and you won't be using him at first even if he turns things around. This is a move in the wrong direction.
Two games away
- Forsythe is coming off the DL this week, and coming off a 20-homer season with the Rays, he should be someone you keep an eye on once he gets back up to speed. Of course, he'll have a lot more utility as a 2B or MI than at 3B or CI. This just gives you some potential flexibility in a pinch.
Three games away
- It looked like Gordon might get to SS eligibility with all of the Marlins' injuries, however with T.J. Riddle starting nine games in a row there, it seems like that moment has passed. Maybe if Martin Prado returns from his injury before Adeiny Hechavarria comes back from his own, they'll slide Derek Dietrich to second and let Gordon play short, but that seems like a long shot at this point.
- Bautista's chances of actually getting 3B eligibility similarly seem pretty slim, with Josh Donaldson nearly ready to return from the DL. Bautista has made just two appearances there in double switches, and if he didn't get five with Donaldson out, it seems like we can kiss that dream goodbye.
- It doesn't much matter where Gyorko plays, we just want to see him out there. He has logged most of his time at third this season, but we saw him play 25-plus games at third, second and short last season, so he could have eligibility all around the infield – a rare feat indeed.