With baseball starting on Thursday, that means fantasy baseball is starting and the St. Louis Cardinals have a few guys to keep your eye on.
The baseball regular season is very close and that means if you haven’t done it yet, you better get your drafts all taken care of ASAP. While, the St. Louis Cardinals aren’t at the top of the pack when it comes to fantasy-relevant players, they definitely have a few guys who would make great additions to your roster.
If you feel the need to roster a Cardinal or two these are the guys to pay attention to:
To no surprise, Marcell Ozuna was a fantasy monster last year. He was a top-ten outfielder and a mainstay in fantasy lineups. Looking to this year, it’s hard to expect anything less than starting outfielder production from him. The question of course remains, can he repeat last season? That’s hard to say.
Ozuna had been productive for most of his Major League career. Last year though was the big breakout. If he can sustain his production from last year, he’s a cornerstone of your lineup. If he regresses he’s still a starter on your team. There isn’t a whole lot of bust potential with this one.
This is another pick that isn’t exactly a surprise but he needs to be mentioned. Carlos Martinez is the St. Louis Cardinals ace, but he hasn’t quite hit the point of league wide ace. Is this the year he takes that next step? Hopefully, but it feels like we’ve asked that the last couple years. Last year he eclipsed 200 Ks for the first time, which put him in the top-ten in all of baseball.
He was also top-ten in innings, complete games, shutouts, and walks. The only thing keeping him from the upper echelon of Major League pitching is his ERA. Last season Carlos posted a 3.64 ERA which ranked 22nd among starting pitchers. Clearly, not a bad number but not the numbers of an ace.
Carlos is right there, he could be the number one starter on your fantasy team but even if he isn’t he will be a regular starter for you week to week.
First, I want to preface this, catcher is so unbelievably top heavy that if you don’t get one early it will turn into a grab bag of options. Yadier Molina is not the sexiest of picks but in comparison to the rest of your options he isn’t bad. Essentially if you don’t grab one of Gary Sanchez, Buster Posey, Wilson Contreras, Salvador Perez or JT Realmuto, Yadi may be your best option.
Molina will not carry your team, but he will put up consistently solid numbers. If you want to sit back and wait on a catcher then Yadier would probably be a pretty solid pick. If you wait much longer after Molina then be prepared to be swapping out catchers all season, because it is rough out there.
First base is another position that can get ugly pretty quickly. If you aren’t grabbing a stud early, then Matt Carpenter may be just what your team needs. Of course this is also a risk considering his back issues that have plagued him for quite some time.
Carpenter’s new approach could benefit his owners greatly, getting on base and providing RBI and runs to fantasy owners is a lot more valuable than hitting below .250 and hitting a few more home runs.
Another thing going for Carpenter is his multi position eligibility. We already know he will get third base eligibility and it’s not out of the question that he could get second base as well. The ability to move a guy around when injuries pop up is incredibly valuable and as long as Carpenter is on the field he will provide that for you.
This is quite possibly the riskiest of the players mentioned in this piece. Luke Weaver is going to be pitching in his first full season at the Major League level, but his stats to this point have been promising. If Weaver can duplicate those stats from last year this is a home run pick. More realistically, he regresses a bit but is a very solid streaming option for your team.
Strikeouts are key for pitchers. It helps amp up stats in points league and can be key in winning weeks in a Roto league. In his 22 appearances at the Major League level, Weaver has posted a 10.89 K/9. That is a great number for a fantasy starter, while there may be some regression if he can keep it above 9 the value will absolutely be there.
Dark Horse: Dominic Leone
More from Redbird Rants
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- MVP voter listed Cardinals’ Arenado 8th on ballot
- What Happened to the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals? Matt Holliday Edition
- St. Louis Cardinals non-tender former All-Star closer Alex Reyes
- St. Louis Cardinals sign Oscar Mercado and four others to MiLB deals
Closer is probably the most divisive position when it comes to fantasy baseball. If you don’t get one of the top guys you may just decide to punt saves all together and go with guys with RP eligibility that start. This is an absolutely reasonable decision.
When it comes to drafting closers if you draft them near the end of the draft it is safe to assume you will end up dropping them at some point for the next man up. It happens every year.
Dominic Leone seems to have fallen into the closer role thanks to injuries to Luke Gregerson opening the door. So far this spring, Leone has done exactly what you want from a closer, strikeout guys at a high clip and not allow runs.
To this point Leone has been the perfect combination of that. If he can get a grasp on the closers role and not let go then having the closer on a team projected to win almost 90 games is a really solid option.
Guy I’m Avoiding: Tommy Pham
I first want to say I am not avoiding Tommy Pham because I think he has a bad season. I am avoiding Pham because of the price currently attached to him. Pham’s consensus Average Draft Position (ADP) is sitting at 57. In most standard leagues that puts him between the 5th and 6th round. That is a high price to pay for a guy who broke out last year and has been struggling to this point in spring.
For me, Pham is the ultimate buy low candidate. If he struggles to start the year and his owner starts to freak out, move in on him. Pham has had some issues with his eyesight again and that more than likely has a connection to his struggles. If you can get him on the cheap and can be patient with him this could be quite the move for your team come playoff time.
Wait Until Next Year: Alex Reyes
People are very excited about Alex Reyes being healthy and able to pitch this year. That does not mean draft him.
You more than likely will see very little return on investment with his innings limit. Unless you are in a fairly large keeper league don’t overpay for a guy who may not make a difference on your team. Especially when it can be used on a far more productive player. Once he shows he is healthy and can pitch a full load in 2019, draft him and reap the rewards.
Fantasy baseball is a great way to connect with people across the country. It gives you a reason to stay in touch and that is a great part of it. But the most important part of fantasy baseball is crushing your friends, family, and coworkers and being able to hold that over them for the foreseeable future. So draft smart and don’t let your love of the Cardinals control your team too much.