The rise of advanced stats has led to projection systems being used constantly from experts all the way to casual fantasy players. Steamer is one of the most widely used and easily found projection systems out there and while no projections should be treated as gospel, they can be an effective tool when evaluating players. Before you get to your draft, check out the ZiPs or Steamer projections and compare that to your own expectations. Over the last month or so I’ve been going through this process and came up with a few players that stand out.
2018 Steamer All-Stars
Slash lines for each player: HR/SB/AVG/OBP
Ozzie Albies 2B Braves
Slash line: 12/21/.273/.329
-Everyone in the industry is on the Ozzie Albies train at this point, so you are more than likely going to have someone that is head-over-heels for him in your draft. It’s extremely difficult to project anyone that only has 244 at-bats at the Major League level, so what can you expect to see from Ozzie? He’s a highly touted prospect and the projection systems seem to think he is ready for the big time right now. This slash line would put him firmly in the middle infield range and would be helpful across the board in most leagues. He is a keeper league gem, but he is going to be attractive in redraft leagues as well.
Willie Calhoun 2B/OF Rangers
Slash line: 24/3/.277/.329
Calhoun might not have even been on your radar coming into 2018, but his projections show a quality bat. ZIPS actually has him at an even more attractive 28 homers. The piece that intrigues me the most about Calhoun is that he played 77 games in AAA at second base, which means there is the possibility for more eligibility at some point. He could also easily shoot up the batting order if he does what these numbers suggest. The best part is the value: Calhoun is basically free. He is currently being drafted as the 65th outfielder off the board at pick 260 overall in NFBC drafts. I’d definitely be willing to invest at that point.
Eddie Rosario OF Twins
Slash line: 23/10/.276/.316
Looking at the projections for Rosario, I don’t think many casual fantasy players realize the kind of year Rosario had last season. He hit .290 with a .312 BABIP which is actually lower than the .338 BABIP he had in 2016 and the .332 he had in 2015. This might be sustainable. The projections for homers and stolen bases are right in line with last year. The only concern is the low walk rate at around 5% but if he continues to hit for a high average and strike out 18% of the time or less, he should be okay. He’s being drafted right around the top 30 outfielders off the board in NFBC drafts, so that is about right. I haven’t see the same kind of excitement in my home leagues. Jump on Rosario if the rest of your league is sleeping on him.
Blake Snell SP Rays
9.4 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 3.82 ERA, 164 K, 1.33 WHIP
Blake Snell has long been plagued by the walks and that may not be much different this year with that high BB/9 number. Projection systems like Steamer tend to be on the conservative side with their ERAs, but take a look at Snell. They have him at a solid 3.82. Virtually every pitcher outside of the top 35 or so is projected to have an ERA north of 4. In this environment, a sub-4.00 ERA is extremely valuable. The velocity was up a tick across the board in 2017. He has 3+ pitches and had an 11% swinging strike rate in ’17 . There is a lot to like here with this profile. He may be one adjustment away, and I will likely have some shares.
Luiz Gohara SP Braves
9.5 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 3.83 ERA, 137 K, 1.32 WHIP
He has 3 pitches, but the slider is the plus pitch. He ascended quickly through high A ball with stops at four levels including 29 innings in the big leagues. With such limited time at AAA and with service time an issue, the Braves may wait till after April to promote him. Innings are not a huge issue as he had over 150 on his tour of the Braves organization last season. When Gohara arrives, he could be an impact arm for your fantasy team.
Walker Buehler SP Dodgers
11 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 3.17 ERA, 98 K, 1.21 WHIP
His early signs show so much dominance that the upside is enticing for sure. The walks were an issue in AAA and the majors last year, but that is a small sample size. He does have innings issues that Gohara does not as he didn’t reach 100 innings last year across all levels. He only has a little only 30 innings above AA, so there will likely be more seasoning needed before he’s ready. As exciting as he is, he is much more valuable in keeper leagues for 2019 than he will be this season.
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Featured image courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution