By: Noah Wright
Some of the more interesting players in fantasy are the kinds that come with a bit of risk. However, even though they do come with some risk, the payout can sometimes be very high. In fantasy, sometimes taking that bit of a roster spot risk can actually be the best acquisition of your entire season.
- Kyle Schwarber:
Risk: Schwarber is your typical three-true-outcomes player. The left fielder can crank the ball out of the park, but has a fairly high K% to go with a decent walk %. Schwarber’s major risk, other than strikeouts, is slumps. He’s an extremely streaky hitter. Post All-Star break, Schwarber had an OPS of just .740. During 2017, Schwarber started the season cold, and put up decent numbers down the stretch.
Reward: Even though Schwarber cooled off, the LH batter had hit for a very good .873 OPS pre-All-Star break. During his pre-ASG plate appearances, Schwarber had hit 18 home runs, and walked 53 times. He put up similar numbers post-ASG break in 2017 as well.
- Clayton Kershaw:
Risk: Kershaw has not started 30 games since 2015. His health has been so inconsistent, that it has kind of bumped him down in terms of rankings of pitchers overall. If you do open the season and you drafted Kershaw, expect to have a 6th starter on hand, just in case.
Reward: I don’t think I need to fully explain what the reward is if Kershaw stays healthy throughout the entire season. The left hander is a 3X Cy Young winner, an MVP winner, and still a very dominant starter. Plus, he’ll only be 31 next season, so he’s not entirely super old.
- Michael Brantley:
Risk: Michael Brantley is one of the most injury prone players in the MLB. Last season was the first time he had played in 100 or more games since 2015. The left fielder has struggled with injuries very much throughout his career. If you do pick up Brantley, I’d have a decent 4th option waiting in the wings.
Reward: A healthy Brantley is a good Brantley. Last season, the now Astros batted .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs and 12 stolen bases. Plus now that he’ll bat behind guys like Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, George Springer, Josh Reddick, and Tyler White, expect Brantley to rack up more RBI’s.
- Gary Sanchez:
Risk: We all know Sanchez struggled last season. He turned in a .697 OPS in ‘18 opposed to his .876 OPS in ‘17. Plus his struggles with blocking (18 passed balls last season) made him a defensive liability last year. Sanchez played just 89 games during the entire season, since he struggled to recover from injury. When he wasn’t on the DL, his overall performance wasn’t great either. The former catching prospect also had some questions about his hustle on the field as well.
Reward: Sanchez is only going to be 26 next year. He’s very young, and showed tons of potential in the past. Between 2016 and 2017, he combined for a .923 OPS and 53 home runs in 754 PA’s in those 2 seasons. If he can stay healthy, and prove that pitchers haven’t figured him out, he could bounce back to be a .275/.350/.500 catcher with 30 bombs, and lots of RBI’s since he bats behind some of the biggest bats in the MLB.