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Platoon Watch - Five Players Who Could Earn Bigger Roles in 2019


With spring training games officially underway, it’s that time of year to keep a close eye on some position battles. Every year we see fringe players carve out roles on their respective teams during the spring. In other instances, these players lay in the weeds during the regular season and pounce on their opportunity to solidify themselves in the everyday lineup.

In this article, we’ll look at five players who could gain a larger role in their club’s lineup sooner than later. All these players have ADPs after 300, so they are excellent late-round targets to take a shot on.

These fliers are especially more valuable in best-ball or deep roster leagues as they may only be bench options in the early part of the year. In shallower formats, they should at least go on your watchlist until their role becomes more defined. Let’s dive into the talent pool.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!

 

Scott Kingery (3B/SS, PHI) - 402 ADP

After a strong spring training in 2018, the Phillies inked Kingery to a six-year pact before his Major League debut, essentially buying out his arbitration years because they admired him so much. The 24-year-old had difficulty establishing a consistent groove during his first season. Getting sporadic at-bats during the year, he started in five different spots around the diamond as he accumulated 484 plate appearances. He batted just .226 and socked eight HR, with 55 R, 35 RBI, and 10 SB last year. Pretty underwhelming to say the least.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler announced a couple of weeks ago that Kingery and Maikel Franco would compete for the third base job this spring. With three and a half uninspiring years of Franco managing the hot corner, it’s Kingery’s job to win this spring. Clearly the batter with more upside, the right-handed swinger was a career .294 hitter in Triple-A, and he easily has the power/speed combo to go 20/20 with an everyday role. Even if the Phillies decide to split time between the two batters, he’s only an injury away from filling in on any other position on the diamond. With multi-position eligibility at his late ADP, he’s an extremely low-cost option who can return tremendous value.

 

Greg Allen (OF, CLE) - 349 ADP

The Cleveland Indians have a lack of depth in the outfield going into the 2019 season. With the departure of Michael Brantley, occupying center field and right field will be Leonys Martin and Tyler Naquin. This leaves left field up for grabs between Jordan Luplow and the speedy Greg Allen. The soon to be 26-year-old swiped 21 bags in 291 PA with the Indians a season ago during his back-and-forth stints in Triple-A. Allen maintained a .294 AVG and a laudable .395 on-base percentage during his Triple-A tenure. With Francisco Lindor possibly starting the year on the injured list, he could find himself as the leadoff hitter to begin the campaign.

Luplow is a capable hitter as well, so it may be a tough battle to flat out win. Allen, however, has the profile to see time in center field and could usurp Martin from this position. The speedster has the advantage of being a switch-hitter, and with Martin and Luplow batting on either side of the dish, the Tribe could rest either of these bats depending on the starting pitcher that day. He has the potential to steal 40 bases with a full season of playing time and can contribute nicely to the batting average category. He’s essentially Mallex Smith, but 250 picks later.

 

Brandon Woodruff (SP/RP, MIL) - 343 ADP

Earlier this month the Milwaukee Brewers announced that they would stretch Brandon Woodruff out as a starter this season. With the fifth starting job up for grabs, the right-hander will make a strong case to occupy that spot this spring. After 42.1 IP with the Brew Crew last year mostly as a reliever, Woodruff piled up 47 K, with a 3.61 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. Other than Freddy Peralta, his 26.7% K% was the highest mark of all the Brewers starters in 2018. His 8.0% BB% was also the best mark among starters besides Zach Davies.

Woodruff has one of the best skillsets among rotation candidates and the Brewers would be wise to give him the opportunity to lock down a job on this staff. With a good showing during spring training, he can cement himself as a top arm on this underwhelming rotation. With inconsistency from Zach Davies and Chase Anderson and a return from injury with Jimmy Nelson, there’s no lock-down option to remain in the rotation other than Jhoulys Chacin. Woodruff likely won’t exceed 160 IP after throwing under 120 IP in back-to-back years, but at his cheap ADP, he’s worth adding as a contributor for strikeouts and good ratio numbers.

 

Joe Jimenez (RP, DET) - 447 ADP

With murky closer situations across the MLB, Jimenez may have the most value of all the potential save candidates. The recently turned 24-year-old picked up 23 holds last year with the Detroit Tigers and is ready for the promotion to ninth-inning duties. Generating the highest K% on the entire roster last year at 29.2%, he had a disappointing 4.31 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in his first full big-league year. His ERA wasn’t mesmerizing, but considering his FIP was 2.91, he’s bound to see some positive regression in 2019.

Shane Greene is the current draft-day favorite to remain the Tigers closer, but his 5.21 ERA and 1.37 WHIP from a year ago were even more uninspiring than Jimenez. With the sophomore’s 95.5 MPH heater and high-strikeout arm, he’s the superior pitcher in the bullpen. After a year of being groomed in the setup role, Jimenez will be the closer at some point this year. Being on a destitute Tigers team doesn’t mean he won’t see opportunities as the team had a combined 37 saves in 2018. Draft Jimenez with confidence as he’ll rack up numbers in that elusive save category as well as contribute substantially in the strikeout column.

 

Keon Broxton (OF, NYM) - 541 ADP

Still yet to establish himself as a full-time major leaguer, Keon Broxton could nail down a starting gig now that he’s a member of the New York Mets. With Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo locking down the corner outfield spots, Broxton will have the opportunity to establish himself as the center fielder for the improving Mets squad. Injury-prone Juan Lagares is the current leader in the race for the job, and Jeff McNeil could see some starts in the outfield, but Broxton has the defensive ability and upside bat to seal himself in the everyday lineup.

The 28-year-old has struggled to maintain a batting average above .220 so far in his major-league career. Partially due to inconsistent playing time, but he also has a miserable 36.6% K% in the show. With the sacrifice of a high strikeout total, Broxton is no stranger to launching a few souvenirs over the fence. A career .200 ISO hitter, he’s comfortably projected for more than 20 HR with consistent playing time as well as tossing in at least 20 SB. With Conforto and Nimmo no strangers to the DL, Broxton could see more action in the corner spots, especially against left-handers. Whether it’s during the season or a strong performance this spring, the Mets would be sensible to give Broxton the opportunity to contribute more frequently and let his untapped potential blossom.

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