FANTASY PLAYS: Buxton falters while other youngsters succeed
As we head into Week 3 of the fantasy baseball season, there are several young players demanding our attention. Some have owners celebrating while others are already making them sweat.
Amir Garrett, CIN - With a 2-0 record, 1.42 ERA and 0.71 WHIP, it's not a surprise to see Garrett as one of the most added fantasy players. While Garrett is a must-add in nearly every format, you need to know what kind of pitcher you're truly getting. You're definitely not getting a pitcher that will post a sub-2.00 ERA. Truthfully, Garrett's season would be a success if he posted a sub-4.00 ERA. Garrett came to baseball late in life, and this is his first taste of the majors. In addition, he's struggled with command throughout the minors with a BB/9 in the mid-3.0 range, even topping 4.0 last year in Triple-A. Garrett also doesn't have high strikeout potential, likely maxing out around 8.0 K/9. Don't forget that Garrett will pitch plenty of games in the Great American Ballpark. Add Garrett, but pick your matchups, and don't expect him to be this year's pitching gem.
Manuel Margot, SD - It appeared Margot was destined for the minors to start this year, but situations change and Margot is starting nearly every day. People are running to the waiver wire in droves to add Margot, especially with eight runs, three home runs, five RBIs and one stolen base through 10 games. Before you overreact and think you're getting the next Wil Myers, Margot is not a power hitter. He'll top out around 10 home runs for a full season, so his speed is the real attraction. Margot has the speed to steal 30 or more bases in a year; he just needs to get on base enough. Margot won't hit .300 as a rookie, but he can hit for a strong average and provide a nice run total in addition to those stolen bases. Treat Margot as a fourth outfielder. If someone offers more in a trade, sell Margot now, as the excitement outweighs his potential... for now.
Byron Buxton, MIN - Unfortunately for Buxton, he would be better suited heading back to the minors for more seasoning. To be fair, let's not forget that Buxton is still just 23, so don't write him off yet. However, nearly 20 strikeouts and an average under .100 through 30-plus plate appearances are too much to ignore. Buxton looks lost at the plate, and it's possible that he's feeling the pressure of failing while being a highly-touted prospect. That also means you likely need to drop Buxton for a better option. You can float Buxton in a trade, possibly as a throw-in to a larger deal, but don't expect much. The best thing you can do is cut your losses, but even if you have the room to stash him on the bench, you simply cannot put Buxton in your lineup for the foreseeable future.
Tommy Joseph, PHI - Joseph is hitting just over .100 early in the season without a home run yet. If Joseph were some no-name, the amount of people dropping him would make sense, but that's not the case. Joseph has a great swing and power that fits his home park perfectly. That's why Joseph hit 21 home runs in just 107 games last year and can near 30 home runs over a full season. While Joseph won't ever be terrific in the average department, he won't hurt you either, sitting in the .260 range. With mid-20 home runs, Joseph will top 70 runs and 80 RBIs, and that makes him a great corner infield option and even starter at first base in deeper leagues.
Jose Reyes, NYM - Let's mix in one veteran with all of these youngsters. Reyes is struggling mightily to start the year with a .054 AVG and no stolen bases through the first nine games. Reyes got the night off on April 13 to ''clear his head.'' The days of Reyes nearing a .300 average and stealing 40, 50, 60 bases are long gone. However, Reyes is the Mets' best leadoff option, so don't worry about them moving on from him. Reyes can still hit around .270, and hitting atop of the Mets lineup for a full season would lead to 80-plus runs along with Reyes adding in double-digit steals. That's value in all fantasy leagues, and it's why you should be patient just as the Mets.
STREAMING AGAINST STRIKEOUT TEAMS
The Brewers continue to be one the highest-strikeout teams in the league, which gives plenty of NL Central ptichers upside this year. Week 3 has the Brewers facing two NL Central teams (Cubs, Cardinals), making John Lackey, Brett Anderson, Lance Lynn and Mike Leake strong streaming options. The White Sox are striking out quite a bit too and providing little pop. Luis Severino and Josh Tomlin are two pitchers facing them next week that normally wouldn't be of much interest. Lastly, Andrew Triggs and Kendall Graveman are lower strikeout pitchers that get a boost against the Rangers next week.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by Jake Ciely of the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com .