Out of the playoffs? Here’s five players to stash for 2018
Most of you that are out of contention in your favorite dynasty league have probably moved onto football. But you’ll be missing a big opportunity if that’s the case. The owners who are still alive may have dropped players who aren’t contributing now in order to make a run at a championship. Some of those players are the perfect pieces to stash on your team to be better come Opening Day next season. Here’s a look at five of those guys (I’ve just had to guess that they will be available in many leagues based off of ownership information on CBS, as dynasty leagues can vary widely in scope).
Ketel Marte (ARI), SS
Can you believe that this guy is still just 23? It seems like ages ago that he was supposed to take the Seattle shortstop job and run with it. Now imagine, what if he could come in next year and seize a starting spot in the much friendlier hitter’s ballpark that is Arizona? He could be a boon for your fantasy team and still not have reached his prime.
Marte never projected to hit for a ton of power, but he’s a switch hitter with speed and solid bat control from both sides. In a hitter’s ballpark and a division that sees him play another chunk of games at Coors Field, there’s no reason he can’t hit upwards of .290 with a full season’s worth of at-bats. He’ll steal 30 bags too, and the Arizona lineup is potent enough to drive him in if he can snag a spot near the top. Sure, there are a ton of options to play up the middle for the Diamondbacks, but why not snag the 23-year-old guy who still has some upside to reach?
Phil Ervin (CIN), OF
Ervin came onto the scene hot after being drafted out of Samford in 2013. His early performance led to a preseason prospect rank of no. 63 by Baseball Prospectus before the 2014 season. Since then, he hasn’t been ranked by any service, though. But he made the majors for the first time this year, and even homered in a few games.
He’s 24, older than Marte (which shows you how young Marte really is), and he hasn’t been the biggest producer since bursting onto the scene with a combined .331 average at two levels in his draft year. But he has exhibited double-digit homer pop and stolen 30 bags in three separate seasons. If he can hit .250, he can contribute if the Reds give him the chance. Ervin, like Marte, is a post-hype sleeper that any team out of it for this year should take a stab at for next year.
Jorge Bonifacio (KC), OF
Bonifacio is probably more widely owned than either of the first two names on this list, something attributable to his early success upon his initial promotion. But since Melky Cabrera was acquired at the trade deadline by Kansas City, Emilio’s younger brother has mostly been limited to starts against left-handers, restricting his present value.
The power and hit tools have always been there for Bonifacio. The body-type remains a bit of a concern, but his young legs move well enough for now for him to be a competent corner outfielder, meaning he should get an opportunity at playing time next year. Someday, maybe as soon as next season, Bonifacio should hit .280 with 20-25 home runs. Make sure he does it on your team.
Jorge Soler (KC), OF
Another Kansas City corner outfielder, Soler might be one of the more frustrating outcomes in baseball in recent memory. When he was signed from Cuba by the Cubs, the expectation was that at least his bat was All-Star caliber. But he seemingly has forgotten how to hit after making decent first impressions in Chicago. KC traded its closer, Wade Davis, for Soler in the offseason, but between struggles at the dish and injuries, the slugger has hardly contributed.
Whenever I watch Soler hit, he looks like a good hitter. He gets his hands through the ball (although he falls into slumps when he decides to pull off early) and he’s an athletically gifted young man. The Royals will certainly give him a fresh shot in Spring Training next year. The All-Star caliber bat is still in there somewhere, waiting to be unlocked.
Daniel Mengden (OAK), SP
I’m a sucker for Daniel Mengden, and it all starts with the mustache. But it doesn’t end there. He works his fastball up into the mid-90s, compliments it with an impressive breaking ball, and he even dabbles in an effective changeup and slider. He’s struggled to find consistent success at the big-league level, be it because of controls or being homer-prone. I just can’t believe he won’t figure it out.
Mengden was an inconsequential prospect his first few years in the minors, but broke out in 2015 and carried that breakout into 2016. That suggests, that among other things, he knows how to make adjustments and will make them again. In a cavernous ballpark that greatly favors pitchers, Mengden would be lined up for success if he could just permanently seize an Oakland