With a young roster and little MLB experience, the Padres figure to have a lot of struggles on the field in 2017.
However, there may be some surprises or just undervalued players who not only will help the Padres, but could also be valuable additions to your fantasy baseball team.
It’s all about the sleepers, and here are mine.
If you want a bullpen that will rack up a ton of points with strikeouts, and doesn’t count saves, both Brad Hand and Carter Capps are more than capable of putting up more than 100 strikeouts. Both pitchers are potentially dominating setup men who can handle both righties and lefties. They are, ironically, both former Miami Marlins.
Brad Hand’s strikeout numbers in 2016 were comical, racking up 111 in 89.1 innings pitched, which amounts to a 11.2 K/9 rate, good for 8th in the National League among qualified relief pitchers. The full-time move to Petco Park seems to have done wonders for him in regards to preventing runs and base runners, as he pitched to a 2.92 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP, both which were career bests.
But if Hand is good at getting strike three, Carter Capps is historically amazing at it. In his last season before Tommy John surgery, 2015, he recorded 58 strikeouts and only allowed seven walks in 31 innings pitched, which aside from a great K/BB of 8.29, is also 16.8 K/9, which is mind-boggling. Over a full season, that could be anywhere from 115 to 140 strikeouts. So if you’re looking for a late round pick to fill out your bullpen, Capps and Hand would be fantastic picks to rack up lots of strikeouts.
C/OF/RP Christian Bethancourt
Bethancourt makes this list simply because he can be used in basically any spot in your fantasy lineup. If your bullpen starts to succumb to injuries, you can slide him in there. Your catcher stops hitting, and Bethancourt could fill in there too. And he can also take on outfield duties if needed. Now, this is all depending on how your fantasy baseball platform lists Bethcancourt and whether you can use him like that. He has a lot of pop in his bat, and 2017 could be the year he finally puts it all together.
While picking a rookie is always a risk, a lot of Margot’s points will come from stolen bases, which are much more consistent than, say, hits or home runs. Not to knock his hitting, as he has shown that he has a great ability to put bat on ball. He also has some developing pop in his swing. Margot puts a lot of balls in the gaps and, with his speed, he should be able to stretch a lot of singles into doubles, and a lot of doubles into triples. As the Padres likely leadoff man if he breaks the opening day roster, he will also score a lot of runs with his ability to take extra bases with his speed, and having mashers like Hunter Renfroe and Wil Myers bringing him in.
For this last one, I considered putting either Luis Perdomo or Hunter Renfroe here, but decided to put neither. Perdomo’s profile as a ground ball pitcher doesn’t lend itself well to racking up points. His wins and innings totals won’t be high either, since the Padres aren’t a contending team and they will want to not overwork him in his second full MLB season.
Renfroe also proved a difficult elimination, but his calling card is his power, and that will be where most of his points come from. If he doesn’t hit home runs, like we hope he will, then his low average and high strikeout totals will bring his fantasy value down.
None of this is to say that they won’t have successful 2017 seasons; it’s just that in terms of fantasy baseball, I don’t see either as sleepers, but more like fill-ins for injuries until they can prove they can rack up innings and wins in Perdomo’s case, and home runs consistently in Renfroe’s case.