It shouldn’t be surprising that the Washington Nationals will summon Carter Kieboom, as they have a short-term need at shortstop with Trea Turner on the DL and a long-term need at second base. If he’s producing he should have the opportunity to stick on the MLB roster for the remainder of the season and he has the upside to make an instant impact.
The question facing fantasy owners are just how aggressive they should be in picking up the latest hot prospect to arrive? Let’s take a look at the few of the names people have considered (based on questions we’ve received on Twitter) and make some decisions (if you need help deciding on another player to drop, let us know here):
1) Drop Travis Shaw…
This may be the easiest question we’ve gotten in regards to Kieboom, and maybe it’s stubbornness in terms of Shaw but there is a 0% chance we’d endorse this one. Kieboom has been impressive in the minor leagues, hitting .379 with 3 HR over 83 PA at Triple-A to open the year, but he doesn’t have the upside of 30 HR currently and he doesn’t offset that with speed. He also isn’t a .350+ hitter, having benefited from a massive .512 BABIP. That’s not to say that he can’t produce a strong average, but he’s closer to .270 than he is .350.
In terms of Shaw, he has hit 30+ HR in back-to-back seasons and should significantly increase upon his current .200 AVG. The strikeout rate should improve (33.7% vs. a career mark of 22.7%), the power has been there (18.2% HR/FB) and he should see his luck improve (43.4% Hard%, .265 BABIP). Would it really be surprising if the two hit for similar averages moving forward (think .265-.270), but Shaw trumps him in terms of HR/RBI?
Verdict – Keep Shaw (or a similar buy low option)
2) Drop Jorge Polanco…
This is an interesting one, as Polanco has gotten out to a strong start hitting .366 with 5 HR, 10 RBI and 15 R over his first 92 PA. Obviously we all know that he’s not a .366 hitter, as he’s benefited from a .391 BABIP. You also have to wonder if he can maintain the power (his HR/FB currently stands at 13.9%, nearly double his 7.4% career mark). He also could be looking to swing for the fences, which will have a negative impact on his average:
- Fly Ball Rate – 53.7%
- Oppo% – 21.7%
So he’s hitting the ball in the air a lot and not using the entire field? That’s not a good makeup, even if he has an ability to make consistent contact. Polanco has potential, but he also could come crashing down and may be a player to ride while he’s going well before disposing of.
Ideally he’s a sell high candidate, but especially in a keeper league we’d be open to swapping him out for Kieboom (who has the higher upside and could easily outperform him moving forward).
Verdict – Drop Polanco (especially in keeper formats), but not an obvious move (and we are OK holding Polanco)
3) Drop Enrique
Hernandez was a popular pickup around Opening Day, and while he has hit 5 HR in 94 PA it’s come with no speed (0 SB) and a .238 AVG. You would think his 46.7% Hard% would lead to a better average, but he’s not using the entire field (11.7% Oppo%) and has had some popup issues (12.0% IFFB%). There’s also the risk of lost playing time, considering the depth of the team, and that’s going to loom large.
You can argue that Hernandez is a one-trick pony whose upside is that of 20-25 HR. Would it really be a surprise if Kieboom outproduced him the rest of the way? You can argue that Hernandez is safer, but depending on the format we’d perfer to gamble on the upside.
Verdict – Drop Hernandez (or a similar player with a ceiling shy of Kieboom’s)
Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com