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Esteury Ruiz
Season Long – All Sports

2024 Oakland Athletics Preview

2024 Oakland Athletics Preview The A’s have been swimming at the back of the baseball standings over the last two seasons, leading to a 110-214 record (.340%) and back-to-back last finishes in the AL West. Over the past 24 years, […]

2024 Oakland Athletics Preview

The A’s have been swimming at the back of the baseball standings over the last two seasons, leading to a 110-214 record (.340%) and back-to-back last finishes in the AL West. Over the past 24 years, Oakland made the postseason 11 times with no trips to the World Series. They won’t start playing in Las Vegas until 2028. The FullTime Fantasy 2024 Oakland Athletics Preview analyses is the A’s have a shot at ending their West Coast run as contenders. 

The days of the A’s working almost a LIMA plan to have success for the pitching staff appear to be over based on their 29th ranking in ERA (5.48), even with a pitcher favoring home ballpark. They served up 213 home runs and walked a league-high 694 batters in 2023. Oakland’s relievers had 30 wins, 40 losses, 29 saves, and 630 strikeouts over 681.2 innings with a 5.20 ERA (28th). 

Oakland finished last in runs (585) and RBIs (563) while hitting 171 home runs (20th). The addition of Esteury Ruiz (67 steals) helps the A’s to the sixth ranking in stolen bases (149) on 180 attempts (82.8%).

In the offseason, Oakland signed SP Alex Wood and RP Trevor Goff. They acquired 3B Abraham Toro from Milwaukee for P Chad Patrick. The A’s also claimed OF Miquel Andujar off waivers from the Pirates. They parted ways with 2B Tony Kemp, C Manny Pina, RP Jeurys Familia, and SP Drew Rucinski.

This franchise has weaknesses in all areas while lacking any difference-maker players in the majors and at the top levels of the minors. Oakland must develop new seeds in their farm system to avoid being the doormat of major league baseball over the next few seasons.

Starting Lineup

OF Esteury Ruiz

Ruiz had a quiet first four seasons in the minors (.263 over 205 runs, 32 home runs, 169 RBIs, and 144 stolen bases over 1,293 at-bats). His bat had significant improvement in 2021 and 2022, leading to impressive stats in runs (114), stolen bases (85), and batting average (.332) over only 437 at-bats. Ruiz showed more power (16 home runs and 65 RBIs) while improving his approach (strikeout rate – 17.4 and walk rate – 12.2). 

The Padres and Brewers gave him only 35 at-bats in 2022, but he only hit .171 with three runs, no home runs, two RBIs, and one steal. 

Oakland gave Ruiz a full-time starting job over the first three months last season, leading to a .261 batting average with 31 runs, one home run, 33 RBIs, and 41 steals over 318 at-bats. A right shoulder injury sidelined him for about a month. The A’s lost faith in him down the stretch, giving only rotational at-bats in August (52) and September (63). Despite his step in playing time, Ruiz hit four home runs and stole 24 bases over his final 115 at-bats. Besides speed, his best stat last year was his RBI rate (16).

His strikeout rate (19.9) beat the average, but he took fewer walks (4.0%). Ruiz finished with a weaker average hit rate (1.360) than his minor league career (1.609), highlighted by the worst ranking in exit velocity (82.5) and hard-hit rate (19.7) for batters (403) with at least 100 batted ball events. He had a groundball ball favoring (48.1%) swing path and a low HR/FB rate (5.0). 

Fantasy Outlook: With more information about Ruiz in the majors, it is easier to understand his potential and pitfalls. His ADP (139) ranks him as the 80th hitter in the early draft season in the high-stakes market. He finished 68th in FPGscore (0.74) for batters last year while offering all his value in steals (+6.52 fantasy points). I expect him to improve in 2024, but I must draft Ruiz as a one-dimensional speed player. His price fits rookie stats while leaving plenty of upside via more at-bats or some uptick in power. At this point in his career, he doesn’t deserve a lead-off role. With 500 at-bats, .270 with 70 runs, eight home runs, 60 RBIs, and 75 stolen bases. Hopefully, the A’s commit to him this year…

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Season Long – All Sports

2024 Los Angeles Angels Preview

2024 Los Angeles Angels Preview The past fourteen seasons have been highly frustrating for Angel fans. Their only AL West title and postseason appearance came in 2014. Los Angeles has eight consecutive losing years. Their only World Series appearance and […]

2024 Los Angeles Angels Preview

The past fourteen seasons have been highly frustrating for Angel fans. Their only AL West title and postseason appearance came in 2014. Los Angeles has eight consecutive losing years. Their only World Series appearance and win came in 2002. The FullTime Fantasy 2024 Los Angeles Angels Preview delves into the rebuilding Halos. 

The loss of P/DH Shohei Ohtani leaves a void in their starting rotation and lineup. The Angels didn’t replace his arm or bat via free agency, so they must fill his void within the franchise. Their off-season hitting moves were the additions of 3B Hunter Dozier, OF Aaron Hicks, and OF Willie Calhoun. LA tried to upgrade their bullpen by signing RP Robert Stephenson, RP Matt Moore, RP Luis Garcia, and RP Adam Cimber. Los Angeles parted ways with OF Randal Grichuk, 3B Gio Urshela, RP Aaron Loup, 3B Mike Moustakas, 1B C.J. Cron, SP Jaime Barria, 1B Jared Walsh, and 3B Eduardo Escobar.

The Angels finished 23rd in ERA (4.64), with more weakness in their bullpen (4.88 ERA – 25th). Their relievers had 31 wins, 37 losses, and 43 saves over 601.2 innings with 596 strikeouts. LA also had a below-par offense in runs (739 – 16th) and RBIs (708 – 14th) despite hitting 231 home runs (fifth). They ranked 29th in steals (72) over 103 chances (69.9%).

Offensively, Los Angeles has three potential upside players – 1B Nolan Schanuel, C Logan O’Hoppe, and SS Zach Neto. OF Mike Trout remains their foundation stud, but he hasn’t had more than 500 at-bats since 2016. 3B Anthony Rendon has been a losing investment at this point of his career with the Angels, and he doesn’t give the appearance of wanting to be one of the better players in the game. 

SP Reid Detmers failed to reach elite status last season, but he does profile as a potential front-end ace with more strikes thrown. The rest of LA’s starters have a risk/reward feel. The ninth inning will be a battle of journeyman arms.

Starting Lineup

1B Nolan Schanuel

The Angels drafted Schanuel with the 11th overall selection in the 2023 June Amateur Draft. It only took him 22 minor league games (.365/20/1/15/2) to reach the majors.

Over three seasons at Florida Atlantic, he hit .386 with 179 runs, 46 home runs, 176 RBIs, and 31 stolen bases over 620 at-bats. His approach was off the chart good, highlighted by his walk rate (17.0) and low strikeout rate (7.0). 

In the majors, Schanuel continued to take walks (15.2%) while starting with a reasonable strikeout rate (14.4). Over his 183 at-bats in the pros last year, he showed a low-power bat (two home runs) and minimal speed (2), two areas that offered a much higher ceiling in his college career. His exit velocity (85.4) and hard-hit rate (25.6) with the Angels suggest home runs won’t be an impactful area on the stats sheet early in his career.

Fantasy Outlook: When writing Schanuel’s profile, I’m brewing with excitement with no idea where he gets drafted in the high-stakes market. His success stealing bases in his college and early pro career (33-for-37) paints an edge for a first baseman in the fantasy market.

Schanuel’s ADP (420) in late January is almost a layup for a drafter reading between the lines. His approach screams a top-of-the-order opportunity until Schanuel finds his power stroke and success with runners on base. At a minimum, I see an 80/15/65/15 player with help in batting average in his rookie campaign. His size and home run total in college paint a higher picture, giving him a chance to beat expectations this season…

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