by Will Overton
We’re about a month away from the end of the season. At this point there are probably only a handful of owners still in the hunt for a title. Normally I would be focusing on those owners in this column. Today though I am going to speak to the majority in this column.
More teams then not are out of the race already. It can be frustrating to be out contention and it’s hard to keep yourself interested when you don’t have a chance. If you play in a keeper league or dynasty league though there is no quitting, you’re always playing for a title, even if it’s next year’s title you’re starting to gun for a little bit early.
If you’re in a keeper league and this season is over don’t just mail it in, start making moves to set yourself up for next season. This week’s column is focusing in on a few guys who I think are good grab and stash players who could pay off big next season:
Marcell Ozuna – OF, Miami Marlins: The Marlins have a promising future, especially in the outfield, and a big part of that future is Ozuna. The soon to be 23 year old made the jump straight from double-A to the majors this season and made a pretty good impression before a thumb injury sidelined him for the season.
Ozuna was hitting a respectable .265 and over a full season would’ve been on pace for over 70 runs and 70 RBI while reaching 10/10. We’re also still just scratching the surface of his potential. Ozuna didn’t show off much power in the bigs, but he has it. Ozuna topped 20 HR’s for three straight seasons in the minor leagues before this one. Ozuna has 20/20 upside and should be a key part of the Marlins offense next season.
Nolan Arenado – 3B, Colorado Rockies: If you’re in a dynasty league you probably have absolutely no chance at picking up Arenado. In a standard keeper league though he could be floating out there and could be an excellent value pickup in those leagues.
Arenado may not have been quite as impressive this season as some would have liked, but the future is still bright for him. At just 22 years old it’s hard to expect Arenado to be at the top of his game already, he’s only going to get better. He’s got a HR/AB ratio of 44.4 so far this season which isn’t very good for a guy who’s supposed to be a power hitter. Still though he’s going to be playing half his games at Coors Field next season and for the foreseeable future. We’re only scratching the surface with Arenado and if you can land him off the wire it’s a steal.
George Springer – OF, Houston Astros: Fantasy owners have been waiting a while now for Springer to get called up and make a difference this season. I’m really not sure it’s going to happen anytime soon though. The Astros Triple-A team is going to be headed to the playoffs and it’s very possible the Astros don’t recall him until that’s over if at all.
Still, this guy is going to be on the Astros from opening day on next season and he’s going to make an early impact, guaranteed. Between double-A and triple-A ball this season Springer has 36 HR’s and 39 SB’s along with 100 R and 102 RBI. Part of that was done in the hitter friendly PCL, but he’s hit for power at every level. He’s going to do it in the big leagues too someday. Don’t wait and have to spend big in next year’s draft when you can grab and stash him in a keeper league now.
Corey Kluber – SP, Cleveland Indians: I’m not sure if Kluber is going to come back this season in enough time to help you much more than in the fantasy playoffs, if that. However, we’ve seen this guy’s upside and he’s got a bright future. If an owner in your league couldn’t stash him on their bench then take advantage of their loss.
Kluber posted a very respectable 3.54 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 21 games this season. Even more impressive was his 116:26 K/BB ratio in 122 IP. Better yet, that strikeout ratio is legit. Kluber posted strong strikeout numbers each of his last two minor leagues seasons. If Kluber can continue to keep his walks down like this season he has a very big future and you could have that for cheap.
Jennry Mejia – SP, New York Mets: There is so much solid young pitching talent in New York and one of the least talked about is Mejia. The 23 year old was off to a good start showing his potential in the bigs, but the bone spurs in his elbow ended up getting the better of him and he’s been shut down for the season to have surgery.
Reports are that he should have no problem at all recovering in plenty of time for the start of spring training and I think a spot in the rotation in New York next season is a very, very strong possibility. Mejia struck out 27 and walked 4 in 27.1 IP in his five starts in the big leagues. He’s shown this kind of control, but the strikeouts have always kind of varied over the years. If Mejia can keep up his strikeouts next season the future is very bright.
Who are you thinking about grabbing and stashing in your keeper leagues? Do you think these five guys are worth a grab?