Fantasy baseball news: Taveras' hot start gives owners options
In our daily fantasy baseball news and notes column, we'll be discussing hot topics in the fantasy baseball world, as well as offering up tidbits of information to help you set your lineup. Comments are welcome below.
We're two games into the professional career of Oscar Taveras, and the results so far aren't too shabby: The 21-year-old outfielder is 2-for-7, with a home run in his second at-bat and only one strikeout. His owners' patience has been rewarded, but now that Taveras is actually playing in the majors, what exactly should his owners do with him?
This is partly a rhetorical question, since there's absolutely nothing wrong with rolling with Taveras from here on out. After all, he is the best Cardinals hitting prospect since Albert Pujols, and we all know how well Pujols turned out. However, it's anyone's guess as to how good Taveras will be right away. Mike Trout is probably the best player in baseball, but he was lousy in his first tour of the majors; George Springer was quiet in his first few weeks, and look at him now. Taveras is widely viewed as the No. 1 hitting prospect in all of baseball, and he'll probably have an excellent career. However, we don't know if he'll take off running right away, so he may never be more valuable as a trading chip than he is right now.
At the moment, Taveras is a blank slate, a conduit for hope and optimism that his owners can project subjective value onto. That value could increase if he hits like Yasiel Puig did a year ago, or like Springer is doing now. But what if he stumbles? When Matt Adams returns from the DL, the Cardinals will have a viable, legitimate hitter on their bench, champing at the bit to get into games. Taveras will play every day so long as he's in the majors -- he takes priority over Adams by a mile. But if he struggles, there's a chance the Cardinals elect to ship him back down to the minors for more polishing so that Adams can get consistent at-bats again.
It's all speculation. There's as good a chance that Taveras will be amazing as there is that he'll be so-so, but given that uncertainty, cautious owners looking to hedge their bets wouldn't be insane to shop him for a hefty return right now. If his owners can't sell high, they shouldn't even bother putting him in trades. There's a real chance that he could be awesome, and right away.
For Your Consideration
● Josh Willingham clobbered a ninth inning homer off of David Robertson, giving him three homers in four games. Remember, this is a guy who hit 64 home runs within a two-year span not too long ago. He was miserable last season, but he's looked much closer to the player who earned Silver Slugger honors in 2012 of late. Willingham is available in 88 percent of Yahoo! leagues and should be added by anyone looking for home run help.
● Roenis Elias was sensational against the Tigers, holding Miguel Cabrera and company to three hits and no runs over nine innings, while striking out eight. Elias has been inconsistent this season -- a week ago he allowed five runs to the Angels. At his peak, he's been quite serviceable, and with a 3.53 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 74 innings, Elias definitely has value in standard leagues. The 25-year-old rookie is bound to have a few rough outings as he figures out major league hitters, but on the whole, he's not a bad pitcher to keep on the end of your fantasy bench.
● Phil Hughes turned in his sixth win of the year, limiting the Yankees to two runs over eight innings. That's eight quality starts in a row for the former Yankees prospect, who has demonstrated remarkable control this year; over those eight starts, in 54 innings of work, Hughes has allowed just three walks. (That's as many walks as David Robertson allowed during the course of his blown save yesterday.) Sporting a 3.12 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, Hughes is available in roughly half of all Yahoo! leagues.
● Michael Bourn hit a walkoff homer yesterday, his second home run of the year. Bourn has been seeing the ball well lately, with hits in 19 of his last 21 games, but he has only two stolen bases and 11 runs during that span. Considering he pretty much never hits home runs (barring yesterday's heroics, of course), Bourn's value rests almost entirely in his ability to run the bases. But Bourn has just 17 runs and four steals through 37 games; his .288 average is nice, but he's not above-average in any other category, and because of that, the former stolen base king probably shouldn't be on your radar. Don't let his name value trick you: there are much more productive fish in the sea.
● Starting at first base for the first time, Boston rookie Brock Holt went 4-for-4, stole a base and drove in a pair of RBI. In 10 games since moving into the leadoff spot for the Red Sox, Holt has hit .340 with eight runs scored, a homer and six RBI. That's not bad production at all, but there's an expiration date to him hitting at the top of the order. When Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino return, Holt will have trouble even getting on the field, let alone batting first. Until then, he's a nice stream option if you need runs.