I have to admit that I am completely tired of talking about all the Nick Green‘s and Hector Jimenez‘s of the fantasy baseball world. I could use a one-week recharge from rummaging through the free agency trash heap of our deep leagues, which means you do to. I’m the driver, so you never really had a choice anyways. That being said, today’s subject might be useful as you begin to get a feel for what your team is and what it needs. Whether or not you are thinking about buying for a run at the championship, or already day-dreaming about drowning your team in a fire-sale, I’d like to tackle some players you should be asking for as throw-ins. And by throw-ins, I’m talking about prospects outside of the Top-100 that you should ask for in every trade proposal. My goal is to name names that aren’t expensive, don’t move the dynamic of your proposal, but could pay dividends a couple years down the road. Remember, there were 1,026 players taken in the 1988 draft before Mike Piazza. Let’s find ours.
Barrett Barnes OF PIT — Not to be confused with Brandon Barnes of the Astros, I always try to stockpile prospects with similar skillsets to both Barnes’, and that’s an ability to take a walk combined with average skills across the board. Drafted in 2012, Barrett Barnes is still a bit raw, but should be ready in a year or so. Remember, guys like this turn into cheap fantasy producers that are a poor man’s Nick Markakis and Andre Ethier. That has value in deep leagues, especially ones that use OBP as a cat.
Orlando Calixte SS KC — Posting a combined slash of 262/315/444 between the Royals Low and High-A affiliates, he’s certainly not a wow-prospect that you usually like to see at the shortstop position. But he has enough athletic ability to stick and might bring a bit of power, which should provide enough value from where he plays on the diamond. While Calixte does have a lot of swing and miss in his game, and remains pretty raw with the bat, he did improve upon his previous season’s performance while going against higher level opponents, always a good sign.
Max Kepler OF MIN — If there’s a guy I’m picking up in every dynasty format, its Kepler. The German-born outfielder is still very much under the radar, but that should change very soon. Still only 20 years old, he’s shown good contact with above average speed and enough power to dream on. He might stick in the outfield, most likely in the corner, but even if he gets moved to 1B, his hit tool will play there. If you need a comp, the one I’ve been using to describe him the last couple of years is Shawn Green. Yes, I think he’s that good.
Tyler Pike LHP SEA — Lost in the sea of Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, and James Paxton, Tyler Pike is a pitcher you should know about. While his fastball doesn’t really reach above the low-90’s, he has a good curveball and changeup from the left side. Only 19 years old, he has plenty of projection and his floor should be a mid-rotation starter with a chance for more.
Kevin Plawecki C NYM — Even though he’s currently blocked by Travis d’Arnaud, I still like what he brings to the table. While many project him as a future back-up, I like the hit tool more than others, and he has a good handle on the strike-zone. Frankly, Plawecki looks like the next John Jaso to me, so, if given a chance, he can be a low-cost investment that can pay above-average dividends to both a Major League club and your fantasy team.
Donn Roach RHP SD — While he can only throw a borderline curve, his filthy sinker and slider give him a superb ground ball rate in a good environment to pitch in. Roach will most likely be ready next season and would be an innings-eater back of the rotation starter anywhere else but PetCo. There, he could be a mid-rotation guy.