2019 Fantasy Baseball Breakouts: National League
Fantasy Baseball is back in full swing (AGAIN... the puns Kevin, the puns...) for 2019! Spring training is now well underway, and Bryce Harper finally signed with a major league club! Listed below are some American League players I feel have an excellent shot of cementing themselves in Fantasy Baseball for the 2019 season and beyond. Please feel free to follow me on Twitter at @ktompkinsii and give me some feedback on what you think about these players! So without further adieu...
You can find my American League Breakout Players right here.
Michael Conforto, OF, New York Mets
With a torn capsule and the subsequent surgery in the offseason leading up to 2018 being the reason for the disparity between Michael Conforto’s “tale of two halves”, Conforto should come at a bit of a discount this season in 2019. The first half (.216/.344/.366) was not indicative of Conforto’s true talent, but the second half (.273/.356/.539) was definitely better to see from the 25 year old Mets’ outfielder. Now healthy, Conforto should be in line to build off of the 2nd half of 2018 that saw him rack up 17 home runs and 52 runs driven in 68 games. With an ADP in the low 100’s, Conforto has a chance to provide several rounds of value at a 9th or 10th round price point.
Luis Castillo, SP, Cincinnati Reds
In what’s a common thread here, Luis Castillo’s 2018 was “Jekyll and Hyde”. The bad? Let’s get that out of the way, where in his first 17 starts of 2018, saw him register a close to 6 ERA and gave up 18 homers in just 87 2/3 innings. A decreased velocity from 97.3 to 95.8 certainly factored into his early season struggles. The good here, is that to round out his 2018, he posted a sparkling 1.09 ERA in September. As long as Castillo keeps the ball down and keeps the velocity up, Castillo could provide ace-like value and he can be found in the 10th-12th round! Wins might be inconsistent, but the peripheral stats should be there as long as he keeps up his momentum from last September.
Zack Wheeler, SP, New York Mets
Long written off after he had Tommy John surgery in 2015 and with the new crop of Mets’ pitchers, the former top prospect and return in the Carlos Beltran deadline deal Zack Wheeler really started to come on in the 2nd half of 2018. He held opposing hitters to a .174 batting average, a 1.68 ERA and 0.81 WHIP and lowered his walk rate almost in half. If Wheeler is going to breakout, it will benefit him big time as he’s in his final year in Flushing before hitting free agency. Still just 28, the often overlooked Wheeler has plenty of gas left in the tank and could just now be finding the form that made him a top prospect with the San Francisco Giants. Wheeler should be taken just outside the top 25 pitchers in fantasy but could return much higher value than that.
Ozzie Albies, 2B, Atlanta Braves
The first half last season for Ozzie Albies was quite a revelation, with 20 home runs and 55 runs batted in before the All-Star break. In the 2nd half? Well that was quite the contrast. Albies hit just .226-4-17 the rest of the way, so while the overall stat line looked fine, especially for a second baseman in fantasy, it left a sour taste for his owners who were praising him relentless in April and May. Just 21 years of age, Albies has a ton of room to grow but as it stands in March, is one of the most polarizing picks of the entire draft. He won’t come at a discount, but if you happen to select him, you’re hoping his limitless potential begins to crystalize this season with more April and May months instead of his 2018 late season swoon.
David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies
David Dahl could be another version of Charlie Blackmon in Colorado, if he could only shake those injury woes. Now seeing regular at bats with Carlos Gonzalez out of the picture, this former top prospect now has the opportunity to breakout. Frankly, anybody with a bit of hype that plays in “Coors Canaveral” has fantasy usefulness and Dahl is definitely no exception. Colorado hitters in this decade have put up a .339 BABIP and Dahl’s .311 BABIP falls under that, so even he has some room to grow in the luck department. In a small 249 at bat sample size, he still put up 16 home runs and had a passable K rate. He should be a locked up back-end outfielder in all leagues. The potential and opportunity for Dahl is too great to ignore.
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