Daily Dr. Roto—March 21
Fantasy Preview in a Nutshell: Pittsburgh Pirates
Players to Watch:
Starling Marte — I should rightfully never draft Starling Marte again after he killed my chances of winning LABR and Tout Wars with his 80-game suspension. But, the key to winning in Fantasy Sports is to have a short memory, so I am willing to forget the past and pay up for Marte again this season. It’s easy to like Marte’s skill set: he hits for a good average, he scores runs, he steals a ton of bases, and he has decent power. Put all those skills together for 600 at bats and you have the makings of an All-Star OF.
Josh Bell — Most Fantasy owners will overlook Bell, but I think he is on the cusp of having a terrific season. People worried about his power prior to 2016 and he hit 26 HR. I think the next logical step for Bell is to become the 30-100 cleanup hitter that the Pirates desperately need.
Gregory Polanco — Marte’s suspension was bad, but Polanco’s 2017 season was possibly worse for Fantasy owners. Polanco was on the DL three different times and he took a HUGE step back in every offensive category. I read multiple off-season stories about Polanco returning to the man who trained him when he was a youngster. Polanco seems very comfortable with his training methods and they both expect him to have a much better season. If Polanco can stay healthy and show some confidence at the plate, there is a good chance he is in the discussion for NL Comeback Player of the Year.
Corey Dickerson — Make no mistake, Dickerson can hit RHP. He’s been incredibly successful against them for his entire career and at the very least, Dickerson will start in all games when a RHP is on the mound. However, the news out of Pittsburgh is that Dickerson is expected to start against LHP this season. I am very intrigued by what could happen and think that Dickerson might be a sneaky reserve round pick this season.
Joe Musgrove — Musgrove came over in the Gerrit Cole deal and he will be expected to jump in the rotation every 5th day for the Pirates. Last year, Musgrove showed more out of the bullpen than he did as a starter, so I am going to watch him closely to see if he is ready to throw 100+ pitches per outing. Musgrove has always been bandied about as one of the top young arms in baseball; now he is going to get the chance to show Fantasy owners if he is ready.
Jamison Taillon — Let’s just give some major props to Taillon for returning to baseball after being diagnosed with testicular cancer last year. Regardless of whether he becomes a star, I have the utmost respect for his drive to succeed. That said, I am genuinely excited to draft Taillon in the hopes that he can put last year behind him and become the workhorse #1 starter that the Pirates have been seeking. Taillon has all the pitches and ability to jump into the upper echelon of NL starters. I would love for him to be my SP3
Felipe Rivero — Rivero is one of my favorite closers to draft. He had a 4:1 K to walk ratio last season, he let up only four (4) HR in 75 IP, and he struck out more than one batter per inning. There are only a handful of closers that I would pay money for—Rivero is certainly one of those pitchers.
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