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Champ or Chump: Victor Scott II and Colt Keith Fantasy Baseball Outlooks

Colt Keith - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, MLB Injury News

The 2024 fantasy baseball season is officially underway, and it's easy to overreact to one series of games. Everything is a small sample size that shouldn't change your preseason valuations much outside of playing time.

That said, slow starts can create buying opportunities for intriguing players who would have cost much more a month ago. Two examples are promising rookies Victor Scott II of the St. Louis Cardinals and Colt Keith of the Detroit Tigers.

What can these players do for fantasy managers? Let's find out!

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and weekly lineup resources:

 

Victor Scott II (OF, STL) 43% Rostered

Scott steals bases: 94 between two levels last season. He was only caught 14 times, giving him a success rate of 87% that plays at the MLB level. He's widely regarded as one of the fastest men in professional baseball and expressed a desire to steal 100 bags in a single MLB season. The fantasy upside is obvious.

So far, he's slashing .143/.200/.214 in 15 PAs, though he has a steal on his ledger. If your team needs speed, he seems like a great waiver wire add or cheap trade target. That might be the right move if you're desperate, but the 23-year-old has several red flags in his profile.

First, take a look at his FanGraphs scouting report:

Scott has the highest possible speed grade and outstanding defense, but his power is nonexistent and his hit tool is a work in progress. The easy comp is Esteury Ruiz, who projects for a ton of steals but is a liability in every other category.

You can fool yourself into thinking Scott can hit by looking at his MiLB numbers, but you shouldn't. He logged 310 PAs for Double-A (Springfield) last season, hitting a strong .323/.373/.450 with seven homers and 44 steals. Scott also performed in the Arizona Fall League, posting an .805 OPS across 23 games.

Sadly, those Springfield numbers come with several grains of salt. His plate discipline looked great with a 5.8 BB% and 14.5 K%, but the underlying 10.2 SwStr% didn't support such a low K%. Scott will face much better pitching jumping from Double-A to the Show, so swing-and-miss will be a bigger issue than you might expect.

Furthermore, MLB hurlers will be loath to walk Scott given that a free pass is effectively a double. He lacks the pop to hit a double naturally, so pitchers will just groove one in the zone and dare him to do something with it.

Scott is unlikely to repeat his .362 BABIP at the highest level, especially since his contact quality projects poorly. All of this will bring down his average and SB opportunities.

The other key concern is playing time. Scott hit eighth or ninth in each of his first four games, so the Cardinals have no intention of handing him an important lineup role. His starting job is secure for now, but that could change once Lars Nootbaar returns from his rib injury. Nootbaar begins a rehab assignment today and could be activated as early as Thursday, April 4.

To be clear, Scott could remain in the lineup if Jordan Walker becomes the team's full-time DH to open an outfield slot for Nootbaar. Walker should be a DH anyway, but we don't know what the team will do yet.

Scott will steal bases at every opportunity, but he's likely not a major-league hitter yet. Throw in the playing time concerns, and fantasy managers shouldn't count on this Chump.

 

Colt Keith (2B/3B, DET) 27% Rostered

Keith didn't get the draft hype accorded to Wyatt Langford, Jackson Chourio, or Jackson Holliday, but his scouting report is still worth your attention:

Anybody with 70-grade raw power offers fantasy upside, especially when combined with a decent hit tool. MLB.com likes Keith even more, giving him 55 hit and 60 power. He doesn't run or field well, but fantasy managers will overlook that for average and power.

Keith broke camp with the Tigers but is slashing .091/.231/.091 in 13 PAs, so he hasn't entered the fantasy consciousness yet. You might want to add him before he does.

The reason why is his performance on the farm. He began the 2023 season at Double-A (Erie), slashing .325/.391/.585 with 14 HR in 276 PAs. His .386 BABIP probably won't be sustained as a Tiger, but his 9.7% SwStr% supports his 9.1% BB% and 22.8% K%.

The strong performance earned Keith a promotion to Triple-A (Toledo), and he continued to rake with a .287/.369/.521 line and 13 HR in 301 PAs. His .320 BABIP was more realistic, and his 11.4% SwStr% supported his 11.6% BB% and 19.3% K%.

Most power prospects have swing-and-miss issues to iron out before they reach their potential, but Keith has an advanced plate approach. He hit .344/.463/.541 in 19 games at the Arizona Fall League with a K% equaling his BB%. Some young sluggers struggle to lift the ball consistently, but Keith had a 40% FB% between the two MiLB levels last season and an elevated LD% at each stop.

Some organizations limit a rookie's lineup role to ease the pressure on them, but Detroit has consistently hit Keith sixth in their batting order. Hitting sixth isn't ideal for fantasy purposes, but it isn't terrible and suggests that promotion may be possible if Keith's performance warrants it.

Keith is Detroit's everyday second baseman and qualifies at third in many fantasy formats as well, so you can stash him on your bench. With no obvious threats to his playing time on the roster, this Champ should be rostered in way more leagues.



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