TDG’s Double Play: San Francisco Giants!
Your senior dynasty analysts soldier the second season of the Triple Play (sometimes Double Play)! The regular feature breaks down an arm, a bat, and a prospect within each organization for your reading pleasure!
Buster Posey, Age: 32, C
Analysis by: Keaton O. DeRocher
Once the cream of the crop of the catching position both on the real and fantasy fields, Posey and the Giants had been doing a great job fending off father time. Now as Posey enters his aged-33 season in 2020, fantasy father time has Posey fully within his grasp. But, as the great philosopher Joseph Sugarman taught us, time’s arrow merely marchers forward. So, here are with an aging catcher, trying to milk the golden years out of a dried-up position, but is there anything actually here?
If you’ve been hanging on to Posey (and I admit in a couple of leagues I have been, so you know this comes from a genuine place), then you’ve accepted the fact the golden days were over years ago. However, the landscape of the catching position is/was so bad that riding his average and OBP was still worth running him out there in your lineups every day. Now, though, there shouldn’t be any reservations about cutting bait. Age aside, Buster Posey is wrapping up the worst year he’s ever had, and it’s not very close. His slash line of .254/.317/.360 is the worst he has ever had, since his first cup of coffee where he accumulated only 17 plate appearances. With the help of a juiced ball, he was able to squeak out 6 homers, which is actually one more than he hit last season but it’s worth wondering if would have topped five without the help. Even worse though, Posey’s plate discipline finally took a major step back. For about four consecutive years he was a lock for a 10% walk rate and 11% strikeout rate, however, Posey posted his worse walk rate since 2014 and his worst strikeout rate since 2011. If that wasn’t enough for you, Posey’s exit velo and barrel rate dropped a solid chunk from last season too, which shows his stuff just wasn’t there. This is even more damning for his skill set in to see where just about everyone’s exit velocity took a large step forward.
On a previous episode of Dyansty’s Child, we rang the funeral bells for Posey’s fantasy career and I’m sticking to that. In every format, there are catchers who are providing significantly more than Posey is and will going forward. The name value and baby face might never go away, but he should go away from your roster. Forever now.
Heliot Ramos, Age: 20, OF
Analysis by: Bob Osgood
Drafted as Pick #19 in 2017 out of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Heliot Ramos (pronounced like Elliott) had his first professional at-bats at the age of 17. He was touted early on as having excellent bat speed and raw power, combined with speed, alongside a lot of swings and misses. Ramos flashed 60+ grade speed, arm, and raw power coming out of the draft, depending on the source. Despite being a long way out from a major league debut, Ramos was seen going in the first round of all dynasty league First-Year Player Drafts entering the 2018 season. Much of this hype came from Ramos showing all of the aforementioned skills during a 138 at-bat appearance in the Rookie League before even turning 18, in which he hit .348, slugged .645, and chipped in 10 steals and 6 home runs in a brief stay, to go with a 6.6% BB-rate and a 31.8% K-rate.
2018-2019: Swing and miss aplenty
Naturally, Ramos entered 2018 heading to A-Ball in Augusta. His stats throughout that season were not eye-opening, but by all accounts, his skill set was there. The .245 average and .709 OPS dropped Ramos’s value a bit, with a 25.4% K-rate a slight improvement, and it remained to be seen how he would bounce back in 2019 with a promotion to High-A against tougher competition. All things considered, 2019 was a great step in the right direction. Ramos hit .306 with 13 HR in 77 games at San Jose in High-A and then spent the final 25 games in Double-A in Richmond. Despite a .242 average in his first pass there, the overall slash line for Ramos in 2019 combining the two levels was .290/.369/.481 with 16 HR and 55 RBI in a total of 444 plate appearances (389 at-bats). The key takeaway in 2019 was the progress that Ramos made with the strike zone, increasing his walk rate from 6.5 in his first two seasons at lower levels, to 9.4-9.5% at each level in 2019. The K-rate did rise from 25.1% at High-A to 31.1% at Double-A, but the walk-rate staying the same was a good sign.
Dynasty Value: Can I get a Heli-Yeah?
Heliot Ramos heads to the Arizona Fall League to play against elite competition over the next month or so. Both in Arizona, as well as in what will likely be another year at Double-A in 2020, there are a couple of key improvements that Ramos can make. First, despite his speed being a strong point, stolen base success has been lacking. 8-for-14 in 2018, and 8-for-17 in 2019 is not going to turn any heads, so improved base running ability will be needed to contribute in the SB category at the highest level. Additionally, Ramos’ ground ball rate has sat in the 45-49% range for the last two years, which is a bit high. We did see a spike from Ramos in fly balls at High-A up to 36.4%, but this dropped to 24.6% at Double-A. With strong opposite-field power by all accounts, the Giants likely want to just see Ramos hitting the ball hard at each level, and the power may be there without a swing change.
As noted earlier, Ramos was ranked highly on prospect lists from the jump, despite being drafted as a 17-year-old. This can sometimes cause some prospect fatigue, as when all is said and done, it will likely be a total of 4-5 years for him to reach the league. I have already seen Ramos traded multiple times in dynasty leagues, as the ebbs and flows of competition windows vary from year to year. For a rebuilding dynasty franchise, now would be a great time to buy-in. Ramos will likely be on the outskirts of the top 50-75 prospects, probably for the last time as he has shown progress at each level despite being one of the younger players in each league. While it’s unknown whether Ramos will stay in Center Field or eventually move to Right, his above-average speed and arm should be patrolling the large outfield in San Francisco by 2022.
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