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Second Year Players
By Kyle Elfrink
Chris Archer, SP, Rays
2013 numbers - 9 wins, 3.22 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 101 Ks (7.1/9) in 23 starts covering 128.2 innings He enters 2014 as one of the ‘semi-rare’ 2nd-year hurlers who should expect to see 200 innings of work. A season ago his impressive July (4-0, 0.73, 0.65 in 37 innings) saved his spot in the Rays’ rotation and his spot in the heart of fantasy owners. His strikeouts should rise as he becomes more adept with his change-up and his solid ground ball rate plays directly into the mitts of the proven defense behind him. Control has been a concern for some time, but he served up one or zero walks in 12 of his final 16 starts.
Wil Myers, OF, Rays
2013 Numbers - .293 BA, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 50 R, 5 SB....354/.478/.831 in 88 games
On June 18th, the Rays finally made the move that fantasy owners everywhere had been awaiting. After his promotion, Myers jumped forth immediately as a solid contributor, playing in 88 of the final 93 games while batting directly in the heart of the Tampa lineup. Don’t be scared away by his high BABIP of a year ago (.362) because he’s posted similar marks throughout his minor league run. A bigger concern is that more than a quarter of his rookie at-bats ended in a strikeout (91 of 335). That weakness went a step further in the postseason when the outfielder mustered just two hits in 20 at-bats. There will likely be continued issues with the punch-outs in his 2nd go around, but you can still expect Myers to deliver 20+ shots, alongside 80 RBI and an average in the .280s.
Jurickson Profar, 2B, Rangers
2013 Numbers - .234 BA, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 30 R, 2 SB....308/.336/.644 in 85 games
The punt of Ian Kinsler to Detroit, paved a path for Profar to become the everyday 2B in 2014. As a bonus, Profar will have additional eligibility at SS and 3B and could even have an ‘OF’ next to his name (he played four games in the grass last year) depending on your league standards. His sporadic playing time and an inability to touch lefties (.188/.291/.384) eroded his average a year ago. He also struggled in the stolen base department as he was successful on just two of six attempts. He might look fast but many scouts question his actual speed. On the plus side, the switch-hitter featured a good line drive rate, excellent patience, and solid power for such a young hitter. A 15/15 season looks to be in the cards, but you could see a .250 average alongside those marks.
Matt Adams, 1B, STL
2013 Numbers - .284, 17, 51, 46, 0 ... .335/.503/.838 in 108 games
There is little to no question about Adams’ power potential. The big guy connected for some mammoth shots a year ago. But, there are many issues that make Adams a squirmy pick. First off, where will he play? The Cardinals think that first base will be open with Allen Craig holding onto right field, but Craig is far from a picture of health and could be protected from injury if he’s situated at first base, leaving Adams a fill-in role. Also, how long do the ‘Birds keep Oscar Tavares at Triple-A? His move up the ladder would also shuffle Adams into a part-time role. Finally, can Adams hit around the shift? Opposing defenses employed the method a load in the 2nd half. As such, Adams saw his 2nd half average dip .060 points from where it had been in the first three months. Like many lefty-swingers, he hasn’t done much versus opposing same-siders. Amazingly, he didn’t draw a walk in 53 at-bats against them last year. There’s a high strike out rate here too with 80 punch outs in fewer than 300 at-bats. And, let’s dent him with another thing. A bum elbow, which has hampered him in each of the last two years. If you pay, pay for 20-25 homers and nothing else.
Christian Yelich, OF, Marlins
2013 Numbers - .288 BA, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 34 R, 10 SB ....370/.396/.766 in 62 games
Without taking a single at-bat at Triple-A Yelich hit the major league scene in the late July. He handled himself quite well and really came on in September by posting a .330/.429/.447 slash line. He did all of this without the help of anyone around him. Heck, he was the only Marlins’ hitter to post an average over .270 last year. He was a lot like his teammates in that he struggled at home. His home split saw an average loss of .063 points, a slugging dip of .149 points, and an OPS that took a .190 point hit. Overall, he has a solid power/speed combo (10-for-10 on steal attempts last year) that could get him to a 15/25 season. He’s likely to hit second in the Miami order, between Rafael Furcal and Giancarlo Stanton.
To read more of this article and 199 more pages of Fantasy Baseball Bliss, get the 2014 Fantasy Alarm Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide Powered by Baseball Guys and the great Ray Flowers.