Daily Dr. Roto — March 26
Fantasy Preview in a Nutshell: St. Louis Cardinals
Players to Watch
Matt Carpenter — Carpenter has been a very interesting player to watch in drafts thus far this season. On the one hand, there have been experts who have taken him in Round 6 or 7 thinking he will return with a vengeance, and on the other hand, he fell about 60 spots from his ADP in my NFBC draft last night. Who will be correct? I think I am going to lean towards Carpenter having a rebound season for the Cardinals. He is a prideful player who wasn’t completely healthy in 2017 and wants to make up for it this year. I am a bit worried about two things though: 1) his back is still an issue as it has given him some problems in spring training, and 2) Jose Martinez is a pretty good player in his own right and if Carpenter struggles St. Louis might get Martinez more playing time.
Kolten Wong — Wong’s success is based on where he bats in the Cardinals’ batting order. If he bats atop of the order he will have a great chance to steal 25-30 bases and potentially be an impact player in Fantasy leagues. If, however, he bats 8th in the order, he might only steal about 10-15 bases which deflates his value greatly. Keep a close eye on Wong throughout the season. If the opportunity is there, pounce on him.
Paul DeJong — One of my good friends compared DeJong to Brian Dozier this offseason in terms of people not believing in his ability. It took Fantasy owners three years to figure out that Dozier was a Fantasy monster. Are people waiting too long on DeJong? They might be. A lot of people will look to his strikeout rate (28%) and think the worst. I look at his 25 HR in 417 at bats and think that he might hit 30+ this season if he stays healthy.
Tommy Pham — I had never heard Tommy Pham’s name before Gene McCaffrey (wiseguybaseball.com) mentioned it on my radio show a few years ago. Since Gene has forgotten more about baseball than most experts know, I filed Pham’s name in the recesses of my brain and picked him up last season when I saw that the Cardinals were giving him a chance to be a starter. Pham exploded onto the season and was a Fantasy superstar going 23HR and 25 SB with a .306 BA. The problem with Pham in 2018 is that you are going go have to pay full price to own him. And while I like him as a player, it’s quite possible that his numbers take a slight 10-15% regression. If so, he’s still an excellent player, but his value might not be worth the round you draft him.
Marcell Ozuna — For the same reason I am probably not taking Pham, will be the reason I pass on Ozuna. Once again, let me clarify: it is not that I don’t like Ozuna. I do like him. However, you are going to have to draft him in Round 3 based on last year’s stats. If Ozuna does what he did last year, he is worth a third round pick. If he does slightly worse (which is possible in this Cardinals’ lineup), then he is not.
Dexter Fowler — If it’s late in your draft or auction and you need an OF with some upside, take a close look at Dexter Fowler. Fowler has some power, speed, should score some runs, which all makes him a very good (but not great) five category Fantasy player. Those players are hard to find at any time of the draft, but often Fowler slips into Rounds 16-18 when his actual value could be 3-5 rounds higher.
Luke Weaver — As many of you know, I have my Roto children in football. I also have Paul Goldschmidt Roto in baseball. I haven’t spoken to Mrs. Roto about future baseball adoption just yet (there is only so much chaos she can have in the house), but when I do, one of the names on my list is going to be Luke Weaver. While I am not quite sure the Cardinals will get him to 200 IP this season, I think he is a lock for 180 IP and if he does that he should have 200+ Ks. The bottom line is that I love this guy and you should too.
Michael Wacha — It seems strange to think that Wacha is only 26 years old since it feels like he’s been pitching for the Cardinals forever. Wacha thrilled Fantasy owners when he was 21 and 22 only to see his last two years be rather pedestrian. The truth is that I think he is finally coming into his own as a pitcher. As opposed to trying to dominate hitters, he is concentrating on making them miss and throwing the right pitch at the right time. This happens when throwers become pitchers. This also should help his Fantasy numbers and make him successful this season.