*going through the rolodex in my brain* Ah, yes, that was a good time in the summer of ’99…Oh my, that’s where I left my keys in December of 2012…Oh, shoot, the finale to Breaking Bad–Eek, don’t want to revisit that, I might rewatch it at some point. So, that was me going down Memory Lane trying to remember if I had written a Nick Solak sleeper post last year. Turns out I hadn’t, and should’ve just googled it, rather than wracking my brain. I wrote a rookie outlook post for him last year, but no sleeper, because, well, he was a rookie going into this year. Here’s what I said back then, “In 2019 through two teams’ Triple-A affiliates and a brief call-up with the RangersNick Solak’s numbers were 32 homers — take the R out of boring, because that is boing! — seven steals — you’re my daddy now! — and a .280-ish average (I say “ish” because I only do straight addition, and didn’t feel like figuring out his batting average). If this was merely a one-time breakout season from Solak, I’d still pay attention, but this is who he’s been now for his career. He also carries a 11+% walk rate and a manageable 20% K-rate. With 12 steals (seems impossible but who knows), and 25+ homers (might be more impossible, but, again, who knows) and those batted ball profile rates, Solak could squirm his way into a 27/14/.285 season and become the Rangers two-hole hitter. That’s de facto value! Narrator:  Grey thought the best kind of value was de facto value. What I’m slightly surprised about, and which, honestly, has me a little troubled is why no one is talking about him?” And that’s me quoting me! One tiny thing has changed (besides literally all the huge things that have changed due to the pandemic), Solak is no longer a rookie. One thing hasn’t changed, no one is talking about him still. So, what can we expect from Nick Solak for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Know what I really love about Nick Solak? The 50 grade power and 50 grade speed. Give me all those 20/20 guys, put them in my lap and let me tell them lies. Nah’mean? So, last year was a throwaway year (for everyone), but we can gleam one or maybe three things from it for Solak. He stole seven bags and was caught once. He’s in the 91st percentile for Sprint Speed, and he’s about as fast as 15+ steal guys like Scott Kingery, Amed Rosario and Dansby Swanson. Ya know, give or take. Not saying they all had 15 steals last year, but they have the speed for it (in theory). With the Rangers going nowhere fast, Solak could be going somewhere fast. From 1st to 2nd, and maybe onto 3rd. For steals. He has them. Clear? Good.

Nick Solak’s power (two homers last year in 209 ABs) was all but nonexistent, but that looks like a flaw in the system vs. his problem. His Launch Angle (9.4) was up from the previous year, and so was his hard hit percentage. His Soft Contact% was so low, it was about the same as Trevor Story and Michael Conforto. Solak’s SLG was .344, but his xSLG was .391. Not gonna lie to you (unlike all those other times I did lie to you), Solak didn’t make all great contact last year. Few too many ground balls; the balls he did hit hard weren’t “Top Gun tower fly-bys” that could go out anywhere. Oh, speaking of anywhere, he doesn’t play there, he plays somewhere specific, which happens to be in the heart of Texas, and where the water bugs are giant and the deep flies disappear. He doesn’t strike out a ton (18%) and hit .268 last year, and his xBA was around there too.

Last year, prior to the shutdown, I projected him for 77/22/64/.268/9 in 523 ABs, and now that I’ve seen how the new park plays, and how I can’t find where the fence is…Is there a cemetery for fly balls out in center? A centermetery? I wouldn’t expect as much power, but the speed is better, the average is spot on, and I can’t see any way he doesn’t get the at-bats. The Rangers have already said he’s their 2nd baseman. For 2021, I’ll give Nick Solak projections of 82/18/65/.266/16 in 533 ABs with a chance for more.

85 Comments
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Primetime
Primetime
1 year ago

Grey. Boy I hope so Solak.

Little Doug Pedrioa player..

Primetime
Primetime
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Haha. I meant Dustin..

DonnieB
DonnieB
1 year ago

In a roto auction keeper league—can keep for 3 years—with $300 budget, what do you think a guy should pay for Soto,Betts or Trout? I have treat Urner at $56 to give you idea. Trout went last year for $72. Thanks much.

Richard
Richard
1 year ago

In a national league only auction league with 11 teams we are allowed to keep 10 players going into next year‘s auction. Due to free agent purchasing and long-term contracts I have the following six pitchers. L Castillo.$13 K Gausman.$1 G Marquez. $1J Taillon.$1 D Smyly.$1 R Iglesias $28. Total $45
There are three additional positions to fill. With such a low price on these pitchers what strategies would you suggest for filling out the rest of the pitching staff. Just one dollar speculations at the end of the auction and spending the rest on offense or investing more in the pitching staff. It is an auction, and the inflation rate is fairly high

Dong Show
Dong Show
1 year ago

You’re the man Grey, loving all the offseason content so far!

Lengthy Dynasty trade question: 7 x6 league (R, HR, RBI, SB, K, AVG, OPS) X (W,L,SV,K,ERA,WHIP)

Guy wants my Greinke for his Dom Smith. Seems fair I guess and I dont hate the return but based on how my team is built, not sure if its a smart pivot. However, I feel Dom is the better asset to have at this point.

My 1b is locked down right now by Freeman and Voit (who is my main UTL player) and my OF is full with Mookie, Harper, Verdugo, Teoscar and Cutch so not sure when/where Dom plays.

My rotation isnt bad, but losing ZG makes it that much worse: Gray, Lynn, ZG, Bundy, Civale, Musgrove,Davies, Montgomery.

I guess the question is, take the (probably better) long term asset in Dom or keep ZG which makes my rotation better?

Side note: Taillon is a FA and someone I am targeting in the draft if I can snag him, but dont think he’s a good ZG replacement

Any advice is always appreciated. Thanks as always, Grey!

Dong Show
Dong Show
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

I hear you on both. Neither overly excite me at this point but age is really only thing driving this trade idea for me

I’ve been actively shopping ZG, but people just seem to not want him anymore, so he’s been a tough a sell. Been targeting younger arms who aren’t really established yet and using ZG as a safe floor as a selling point, but people only seeing age.

My thought was if I can get Smith, he’s probably a better guy to try and flip than ZG.

Thanks for the advice Grey, hope you have a great rest of your day!

William Hung
William Hung
1 year ago

Somewhere Grey must be crying that both Dahl and Rosario were non-tendered

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  William Hung
1 year ago

This might be the best year ever to compile an All-Star-Non-Tendered Team.

Will
Will
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

I did the deep dive on Dahl’s career home / away splits. They are markedly different for sure. But if you look at it by ballpark, he has hit poorly in Petco, ATT, Dodger Stadium and Chase Field – all in the NL West. Assuming he doesn’t go to another NL West team his away stats in nearly all other ballparks are solid. Not Coors Field of course but pretty good across the board. All small sample sizes of course but maybe he just needs to get out of the NL West away parks. And stay off the DL of course…

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.fcgi?id=dahlda01&year=Career&t=b

Will
Will
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Yeah a strict platoon or 4th OF status will plummet him down draft boards next spring.

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

For sure. There’s a reason he’s still avaible post-300 in our DC draft, but he can’t be written off either. Not too draftable in regular formats now. But, he might be a FA pick-up on standard formats in ’21.

Will
Will
Reply to  Dave D
1 year ago

Those can be the best finds sometime. Case in point, Wil Myers. Went undrafted in our 10 team 5×5 league last season. I picked him up off the wires in week 1 and he helped me win the league. Depending on where Dahl ends up he could be a similar find. Now if only somene could tell me if the Wil Myers of 2020 will repeat in 2021…

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Elieser!!! Good pick. It’s my first time not drafting him this year. I would have taken him if Taijuan wasn’t available.

Hernan
Hernan
Reply to  Dave D
1 year ago

The marlins need to make Elieser the Closer, with that sergio Romo style slider, plus he’s always getting hurt….

Hernan
Hernan
Reply to  Dave D
1 year ago

plus heard it here first, Rowdy Tellez is going to lead the AL in Homers…, in the words of the great NBA on TNT Analyst ,,. “guuurannteeed”….

Hernan
Hernan
Reply to  Dave D
1 year ago

LOL, I smell a sleeper post….

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  Will
1 year ago

Good point. Maybe he would flourish in PIT, MIA, PHI or somewhere like that if he can stay on field and get PT.

Smitty
1 year ago

Should have a more prominent role this year. This guy can hit! Good choice Grey

Dave D
Dave D
1 year ago

I think where you got Solak at 155 was just fine. That could be a great value. I’m a little more perplexed by your Danny Jansen pick at 245 (312ADP). That seems about as dubious as my early Hampson pick!

Smitty
Reply to  Dave D
1 year ago

Ha – or my Sugano gamble. Hey, when a guy I respect (Jimmy Leyland) heaps praise on a guy that just shut down his Team USA for 6+ innings, saying that pitcher for Japan is for real I’m interested. Still has to be posted and sign, but like his track record and took a shot. Like him to sign and compete at a high level.

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  Smitty
1 year ago

Could be. Some guy in my last DC drafted him in round 48 I believe as a “placeholder” before he was added. THAT could be a really good move. Looks like you will really be banking on Morton. He burned me last year in this league, but maybe you’ll have better fortune with him in 2021. I liked your 2020 staff a bit better but who knows… your OF looks real good though.

Smitty
Reply to  Dave D
1 year ago

Yep, thinkin Mort has some gas left (uptick in velo). Like that he signed with Atl and that he was available relatively late. Guess you could say the same about Max, buyinin in on both here DD!

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Nah, I think they released McGuire so he can devote himself full-time to his favirite activity: slapping the monkey in the shopping mall parking lot. I hear he accepted a Facebook friend request from Paul Reubens and struck up a quick bond.

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Sorry, I couldn’t resist, I mean release, it was too good an opportunity for jest to pass on… or toss on, pile on… oh geez!

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

HA!!

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Might be time finally for a Razzball poll inspired by recent player events at adult establishments:

When leaving the strip club with your pals (Reese McGuire and Tommy Pham), would you prefer to:

A) mesturbate in your car and be arrested

B) walk to your car, confront two men arguing and be stabbed?

Still taking feedback on any other options before I recommend you post.

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

oh, now that is foul, Mr. Albright!

hondo
hondo
1 year ago

I’m pretty sure most of the “regular” season games for Texas were played with the roof closed.I know it was open for at least 1 playoff game but can’t find much info.I wouldn’t consider it a dead zone until I see some games with the roof open.

NUX
NUX
1 year ago

Grey! Can I score some of that sweet, sweet… early feedback on a Fantrax BestBall? Maybe the pecks you hate (Realmuto aside) and a couple you like?

C- Realmuto (bleckkkk)
1B- HDozier
2B- Hiura
3B- JD Davis
SS- Mondessi
OF- Soto
OF- Laureano
OF- Verdugo
OF- Nelson Cruz!
OF- Solak
UT- Brian Anderson

P- Walker B
P- Flaherty
P- Paddack
P- Pablo Lopez
P- Civale
P- Hader

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  NUX
1 year ago

Your OF looks real good, IF more iffy.

NUX
NUX
Reply to  Dave D
1 year ago

Agreed! Thx Dave

Seems like there could be some great value in Cruz being available across 8 roster slots here in Fantrax (5 OF and 3 UTL). Much more used to drafting in the NFBC BB10s with the multi eligibility targets. Def a diff strategy for these, but it’s refreshing to not have to go nuts over the Muncy/McNeil, DJLem, Edman types for once

NUX
NUX
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Of course, figured that. I think this is first time I went with the top catcher ever. Just wanted to try it out and see how my team shakes out later. I had a chance for other 1B that were better than Dozier, but went with Pitchers instead, since there are 9 Pitching Slots for Fantrax, not 4 like in the goofy NFBC ones we were doing last summer.

NUX
NUX
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

12 Teams

My guess is that you’re looking at that weak infield and wondering why it’s so weak?

NUX
NUX
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Interesting. Appreciate all this. Yea prob over corrected for pitching, as I was informed that with these Fantrax Bestballs, pitching is more critical than usual. So I did go harder at it here, since the people saying that always go harder at Pitching than I do in the first place.

NUX
NUX
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Whenevs, I’ve already done 4 of them lol

But that’s just from jumping into the public lobby over on the NFBC site. I’ve been doing the 2X ones, like $10 and the Top 5 teams each win $20. But that’s just cause I did well in those in 2020 and there is still a lot of unknown, so I prefer drafting a conservative type team in December until some things shake out with Free Agency

Interested in jumping in one that fills publicly? I had touched bases with our group from shutdown, but no interest from any of them really just yet. The purpose of me getting a group together that wanted to draft was just so we can fill leagues quicker during shutdown, but we def plan to do the same thing in a couple months.

NUX
NUX
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

Right on, I’ll check back in about it with you in a week or three

The Great Knoche
1 year ago

Actually really like that spin around the last two rounds with Alzolay and Odorizzi. Should both have rotation spots. Hopefully Odorizzi lands somewhere like San Fran.

Was looking at McMahon when I took Nunez. You’ve got infield well covered with him and Muncy.

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  The Great Knoche
1 year ago

Yeah, I think there were a lot of good SP values in round 19. You with Odo, Grey with Canning (you snake!!!) Hernan with Tanaka, Tantillo with Paxton, and myself with Taijuan all potential great values!

I really think rounds 20-30 carry the most weight in separating good from great fantasy teams. Many of us have real good teams now, but often times the difference-maker is getting that 5th OF, 6th SP or 2nd closer that delivers more like a top 150 type player.

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  Grey
1 year ago

I liked him in SEA, but WTF happened in Buffalo? He was “Cy Wild Wings” there. I sure hope for both fantasy and real life BB that the Angels make him an offer of 3/$30m or something like that. He looked very good in 2020 basically everywhere he pitched. I think that’s a good sign, pun inteneded!

Tom
Tom
1 year ago

Now that the Rockies have non-tendered Dahl does that increase the value of Hampson?

The Great Knoche
Reply to  Tom
1 year ago

Until they sign Jay Bruce next week.

Tom
Tom
Reply to  The Great Knoche
1 year ago

Or Schwarber.

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  Tom
1 year ago

That’s the right profile…

Will
Will
Reply to  Tom
1 year ago

I LOL’d at that move by the Rockies. Dahl is going to be a very good player on another team next season (hope it’s the Cubs). I’ll take Dahl and Eddie Rosario over Almora and Schwarber who both got non-tendered yesterday.

Reading the fan reaction to Dahl getting non-tendered when his arb figure was at or below $3 million is entertaining. They’re calling for the GMs head on a stake.

Tom
Tom
Reply to  Will
1 year ago

Well maybe, if Dahl can stay on the field but he hasn’t shown he can. Schwarber has shown he can come back from injury. As bad as Schwarber was in the 2020 non-season Dahl was just as bad. Schwarber is only 1 year older than Dahl and has accomplished a bit more, so I don’t fully get the exuberance for Dahl compared to Schwarber.

Will
Will
Reply to  Tom
1 year ago

Schwarber is pretty much a one dimensional player, much better suited for DH than playing the field. If Dahl could just stay healthy there’s a ton of potential there; this is a player who has never even gotten 400 at bats in a MLB season yet. Combine his ’18 and ’19 seasons and you have a .285 / .530 / .865 hitter with 31 HRs, 109 RBI and 9 steals in 625 at bats. I’ll take Dahl’s upside vs. Schwarber’s known quantities at this point. Plus you don’t have to substitute Dahl out defensively late in the game like the Cubs had to do with Schwarber. But then again maybe Dahl is Grady Sizemore 2.0, tons of talent but just can’t stay on the field.

Tom
Tom
Reply to  Will
1 year ago

Agreed. I’m only looking at it from a fantasy baseball perspective so the fielding does not factor into my equation.

Dave D
Dave D
Reply to  Tom
1 year ago

I think you both have pretty good points. Even though he’s a band-aid boy, there still is way to much skill there to just dump him. Baseball-wise this seems not good for Rockies, but from fantasy probably good for Dahl to get a new start. I really like it as both a Pillar and Hampson owner (for now). I think this a good indication Pillar returns as a starter, maybe hits leadoff.

Matt
Matt
Reply to  Will
1 year ago

David Dahl low-key sucks at real baseball. Career 6.5%BB/26%K rate with no kind of growth trend, never hit a ball harder than 107 MPH, nothing special defensively. Good chance he’s a 4th outfielder outside of Coors, even health concerns aside.

Macuzo
Macuzo
Reply to  Will
1 year ago

i guess if he is healthy he would produce, he has to demonstrate that he is not a injury-prone anymore. I don’t know if he will ever steal 1 bagg . I had him for 4 years in my dinasty league and i dropped the ball on him.