In an effort to recap players with fantasy interest on each team, along with an eye on their future, Fantasy Alarm will cover each division in the Wraparound with fantasy tidbits on players from each team along with some to track as sleepers as 2020 preparation begins. Starting with this column on the National League East.
Atlanta could not parlay their second straight divisional title into a trip to the World Series. But, there’s hope for a next step for the franchise soon. Paced by the dynamic young duo of Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies along with the steady production from Freddie Freeman with a developing starting rotation, the Braves will be poised for a strong 2020 campaign. If Ian Anderson can make a jump similar to Mike Soroka to join Max Fried as a core of a strong staff fueled by youth, they could be in the Fall Classic soon. First, here’s a look at back at 2019:
Ronald Acuña Jr. - One of five players to ever reach 41 home runs and 37 stolen bases in any season. Acuna’s also the third player with 40 home runs prior to his 22nd birthday. In 156 games, Acuna scored 127 runs while driving in 101 with a .280/.365/.518 slash line.
Ozzie Albies - Led the National League in hits with 189 last season. Became the 11th player in history to record at least 40 doubles and 20 home runs in each of his first two seasons, the others: Ted Williams, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols .
Josh Donaldson - Launched 29 home runs after June 10th. Fifth player in team history with 35 or more home runs while drawing at least 100 walks.
Freddie Freeman - Cratered the last 13 games playing through injury going five for his last 39 (.128) and did not hit a home run in his last 21 contests. However, still ranked second in the National League in RBI (121), fourth in runs (113), eighth in walks (87), sixth in home runs (38), ninth in on-base plus slugging percentage (.938) and 10th in slugging percentage (.549).
Dallas Keuchel - From his debut forward, Keuchel led the majors in ground ball percentage (61 percent) and in ground ball to fly ball ratio (3.65). Won eight of his 16 decisions with a 3.75 ERA in 112.2 innings but will enter the off-season as a free agent again.
Mike Soroka - The best rookie ERA since Jose Fernandez recorded a 2.19 mark in 2013. Considering the environment Soroka notched a 2.68 ERA in and it seems remarkable. Soroka emerged as a road warrior going 7-1 with a 1.55 ERA over 98.2 innings leading all qualified starting pitchers. Also finished with a 12-3 record with a 2.58 ERA in 139.2 innings at Age-21 or younger.
Mike Foltynewicz - Yes, he imploded at home against the Cardinals. But, Atlanta also won each of his last 12 starts from June 11th through September 20th. After his recall on August fifth, Foltynewicz went 6-1 with a 2.65 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 55:17 K:BB and .211 batting average against in 57.2 innings.
In a lost season, the Marlins proved scrappy but after trading Sergio Romo , failed to find a reliable source of saves the last two months of the season. There’s still a long road to go in this rebuild and the curious trade of Zac Gallen still confounds. Hope lies in its rotation but how many games can they win without run support or a reliable bridge to high leverage?
Caleb Smith - His 168 strikeouts rank as the third most by a southpaw starter in team history. Also finished the year roughly with a 6-7 record and a 5.31 ERA after July sixth. If he can depress home runs and stay healthy, another level could be reached.
Sandy Alcantara - Eighth rookie since 2000 with two shutouts in a season. Emerged as the season progressed adding a sinker to his arsenal fueling his last 74.1 innings with a 2.78 ERA, 62:21 K:BB and 1.05 WHIP. Definitely a wide open sleeper but owns more appeal in quality start formats.
Jon Berti - Those searching for speed all season know of Berti. He went 16-for-17 in stolen base attempts from July 31st to the end of the year. Berti’s also the fourth rookie since 1900 with at least 50 runs in fewer than 73 games joining Trea Turner , Kyle Schwarber and Adam Dunn. For those looking for late round speed with positional eligibility, Berti played 20 games at third base, 32 at shortstop and 29 in the outfield.
New York Mets
No playoffs, but the Polar Bear did not disappoint in his debut with New York. Pete Alonso set the team and major league rookie record crushing 53 home runs. Jacob deGrom pitched brilliantly, Edwin Díaz did not and the trade for Robinson Canó continues to draw the ire of Mets fans. With more questions than answers entering the off-season, how this team builds the roster for 2020 will be under scrutiny along with its new manager. Stay tuned.
Jacob deGrom - Could he become the 11th pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in consecutive years? His ranked in the National League: First in strikeouts (255), second in ERA (2.43), third in innings (204) and first in WHIP (0.97). From May forward he won nine games with a tidy 2.07 ERA. Did not allow a run in his last 23 innings of work. Last, but not least, deGrom recorded 19 starts of at least seven innings and nine games with double digit strikeouts.
Seth Lugo - Arguably the best reliever on the team all year, Lugo won seven games, saved six, and notched 21 holds. He logged at least two innings in 16 contests, most in the National League. Finished third in the National League among qualified relievers with 104 strikeouts over 80 innings.
Edwin Díaz - Pitching through pain in his elbow, Diaz did not dazzle in New York. After April 29th, he owned a 6.65 ERA his last 47.1 innings. If healthy, could be a terrific buy low saves target. Focus on his 17th best Fielding Independent Pitching (3.07) and 99 strikeouts despite his struggles with the slider in 2019.
Pete Alonso - Eighth player in team history with 100 runs and RBI in the same season. His 120 RBI set a team record for a rookie as did his runs (102) and hits (154). Alonso racked up 33 multiple hit games and hit 27 home runs at home.
Michael Conforto - Turns 27 in March, appeared in 151 games with 90 runs, 33 home runs and 92 RBI. Set career highs in home runs, runs, hits (141), RBI and doubles (29). Once again, surged in the second half with a .271/.366/.519 slash hitting 17 home runs in 262 at-bats (one every 15.4).
J.D. Davis - A hitter who prefers Citi Field? Davis crushed baseballs in New York and hit .339 his last 66 starts. From July 20th on, Davis played in 59 games with 36 runs, 13 home runs, 32 RBI, three stolen bases and a .339/.397/.609 slash.
Amed Rosario - Another second half surge registering 91 hits his last 285 at-bats resulting in a .319/.351/.453 line. Hit 15 home runs with 19 stolen bases and could move each total to the 20 range in 2020. Symmetry at its best.
Jeff McNeil - Hit for power with eight home runs his last 28 games trading them for average. Finished the season with a .318 average, 23 home runs and 75 RBI.
Zack Wheeler - Pending free agent, Wheeler went 5-2 his last 76.1 innings with a 2.83 ERA, 65:16 K:BB, 1.23 WHIP and 3.20 FIP.
So, they’ve already hired Joe Girardi to manage the team, and this tweet hit too close to home on Twitter:
The Phillies have their manager. Now, all they need are at least two starters, four relievers, two infielders and an outfielder. https://t.co/3AzD4PaIhh— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) October 24, 2019
Bryce Harper did not really disappoint, but it’s time to accept him for his totals, not chase upside. Aaron Nola drifted back to the mean but could bounce back in 2020. With more questions than answers, here’s a look back at 2019.
Bryce Harper - His end of the season ranks in the National League: Fifth in walks (99), tied for fifth in intentional walks (11), seventh in times on base (254) and eight in RBI (114). Third Phillies player in team history with at least 35 home runs, 110 RBI and 15 stolen bases. Mike Schmidt last did it in 1974. Over his last 49 games, Harper hit .287 with six doubles, 17 home runs, 42 RBI, 36 runs, 24 walks and nine stolen bases.
Aaron Nola - Tied for first in the National League in starts (34), fourth in innings (202.1) and tied for seventh in strikeouts with a career high 229. Has two of the four 200-plus strikeout seasons by a Philadelphia pitcher at Age-26 or younger.
Héctor Neris - Racked up 28 saves with a 1.02 ERA in 2019. His last 27 outings of 2019 resulted in a 1.00 ERA over 27 innings with 10 saves, 13 hits against and 34 strikeouts. Not too shabby.
J.T. Realmuto - Set career highs in games (145), at-bats (538), doubles (36), home runs (25), RBI (83), runs (92), extra-base hits (64), total bases (265) and walks (41). Only third catcher in history with 90 runs, 35 doubles and 25 home runs in a season joining Johnny Bench (1970/1974) and Jorge Posada (2000).
Scott Kingery - Only hitter in the majors with at least 57 extra-base hits in 500 plate appearances for fewer. Made 115 starts and hit 19 home runs in 126 games.
Rode their pitching and timely hitting to the World Series. Not sure if this represents the team’s last stand in the playoffs with Anthony Rendon, a pending free agent along with questions about its bullpen. Bake in injury issues all 2019 for Max Scherzer and things could get dicey in a tough division going forward.
Max Scherzer - Made 17 starts from May 22nd on with a 9-2 record, 2.44 ERA and 156 strikeouts against 19 walks. Led the majors in FIP (2.45) and he’s won at least 10 games in every season since 2010. Also has struck out at least 200 in eight straight.
Patrick Corbin - Ranked fourth in the National League with 238 strikeouts, fifth in innings (202), and eighth in ERA (3.25).
Stephen Strasburg - Answered the question of what he’s capable of in a full season. Strasburg won a career high 18 games leading the National League. Also ranked first in innings (209), second in strikeouts (251) and fifth in WHIP (1.05). But can one pay full retail for a repeat?
Anthony Rendon - For those questioning if another level existed in his offense, Rendon quieted his critics. Led the National League in RBI (126), tied for first in doubles (44), second in on-base percentage (.412), third in average (.319), third in on-base plus slugging percentage (1.010) and third in slugging (.598). Stud.
Juan Soto - Tied for second in history with 56 regular season home runs before his 21st birthday. Hit 34 home runs with 12 stolen bases in 150 games. Added 110 runs and RBI with a .282/.401/.548 slash line and will be a first round pick for years to come.
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MLB.com - Game Notes