Two Quietly Emerging Fantasy Baseball Breakouts
Not every young fantasy baseball star has the hype of Vlad Guerrero Jr. or Eloy Jimenez surrounding them. Some aren’t even the most discussed on their own respective team! However, that doesn’t in any way lessen the impact of their productivity. These are the kind of players that you look at two years from now and mutter something to the effect of, “Man, I wish I had bought in on those guys earlier when I could have gotten them on the cheap.” It happens all the time. The good news is that the two featured breakouts in this article are still somewhat “available” for the taking for different reasons. The window may be closing shortly, but there may be enough air to pry one of these low key gems away from another owner.
2 Breakouts for the 2019 MLB Season
Jeff McNeil, 2B/3B NYM
The best comparison I can give for Jeff McNeil is a young Matt Carpenter. Before Carp was dropping 30 bombs, he was nearly an identical type of statistical profile to McNeil. They are similar in size, style, and approach.
Don’t believe me?
Jeff McNeil (first 314 PA) .389/.403/.486, 3 HR, 44 R, 138 TB
Matt Carpenter (first 340 PA) .294/.365/.463, 6 HR, 44 R, 137 TB
Here’s a swing by swing comparison:
Can you hear me now?
Both have sweet left-handed strokes, excellent pitch selection and McNeil has the ability and size to add power over time as Carpenter did. We forget Carpenter reached double-digit home runs just once in his first three seasons (11 in 2013). Jeff McNeil has been lost in the MVP caliber start of the year by his teammate Pete Alonso. That’s a good thing in the sense that folks haven’t noticed just how good he’s been. There’s also the fear of imminent doom surrounding McNeil that he’ll be relegated to a bench role when Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier return from injury. However, Frazier has been taking infield at shortstop and could be more of a super utility player for this current roster upon his return. Sure, Lowrie’s contract may demand him getting playing time, but considering his long track record of poor health, he could vanish again at any moment. This is your shot in all keeper, dynasty and redraft leagues to get your Jeff McNeil shares now! The guy is going to find at bats as long as he hits, and all he’s done is hit in his short career.
Joe Musgrove, SP PIT
Pitching for a small market team, unlikely to contend, Joe Musgrove has been straight dealing to open the 2019 season. The centerpiece of the Gerrit Cole trade, Musgrove was getting comfortable at the big league level last year. His 2018 4.09 ERA wasn’t exciting, but his 7.8 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 walk rate were encouraging. Contact rates were holding Musgrove back from reaching his full potential. Well, in 2019 his H/9 has dropped from 8.8 to just 5.2. If you add in the increased K/9 of 8.5, you’ll see the makings of a #1A fantasy starter. Because he pitches for a franchise in transition, he’s getting little attention this year. Musgrove should not be overlooked any longer and you should be all over him in a trade right now.
There are plenty of big-name arms struggling mightily this year and a package for one of them involving Musgrove and another SP of note in return could be what turns your fantasy season around. At 26, Musgrove has plenty of long term keeper appeal ahead of him as well. The minor league track record says this 2019 April is no fluke. Sure, win potential could be limited, but in QS or points leagues, Musgrove can make a serious impact on our rotation.
Joe Pisapia is the author of the #1 best-selling Fantasy Black Book Series and creator of the revolutionary player evaluation tool Relative Position Value (RPV). He’s the host of The Fantasy Black Book Podcast and the LineStar DFS Podcasts. Joe was previously host of the FSTA award-winning On Target Fantasy (2016 Radio Show of the Year), The Fantasy Black Book Show, RotoExperts in the Morning and NFL Game Day for the FNTSY Fantasy Sports Radio Network, as well as RotoWire MLB/NFL DFS Podcasts, and numerous shows for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. You can also see him frequently on CBS TV in New York on The Sports Desk. He’s written for The Sporting News, FanDuel Insider and FantasyAlarm.
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