2014 Fantasy Baseball — 7 Stories to Watch This OffSeason

Oscar Taveras, 2014 Fantasy Baseball

The Fantasy Football season is in full throttle right now and you may be managing your team(s) to championship greatness as you read this. However, the 2014 Fantasy Baseball season is closing in and fanatics like me, who monitor the sport year round by tuning into MLB network and reading the Fantasy blogs, want to stay informed.

Things always happen quickly! For instance, Prince Fielder was literally just traded for Ian Kinsler.

2014 Fantasy Season Storylines

There is still plenty of time before the 2014 Fantasy Baseball season starts, but for those wondering what and who to keep tabs on during this offseason, here are a few storylines to follow.

1. David Price and the Rays Rotation

David Price, 2013 Fantasy Baseball

Rays P David Price started slow, but he went 7-3 with a 2.87 ERA after the 2013 All-Star break. Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Nothing is certain, but the trade rumors swirling around David Price have only continued to, well, swirl. That being said, it is the No. 1 story to follow in the 2014 Fantasy Baseball offseason. Even though he has two years remaining, Tampa has been notorious in the past for moving elite pitchers and getting huge returns. Think James Shields and Matt Garza.

The trade may not happen soon, but it will likely happen. We’ll watch Hot Stove reports like a hawk, with this move being the biggest attraction.

If Price indeed leaves the Rays this season, the Rays’ rotation will have a huge opening. The likely candidates to fill the fifth spot will be Jake Odorizzi and Alex Colome, unless, of course, the Rays get another solid starter in a trade.

2. The Braves Rotation & B.J. Upton

It may be a little farfetched to say B.J. Upton was the most disappointing Fantasy player last season, but he was definitely in the 15 worst. No one could have expected a line of BA: .184, 9 HR, 30 R, and 26 RBI, 12 SB.

Upton always had a propensity for striking out and a career batting average around .250, but even with those strikeouts and BA, he at least still supplied power and stole bases. That did not happen last season. These 2013 numbers were career lows across the board.

The excitement that followed the Upton brothers arriving in Atlanta waned quickly last year. Although, I can see B.J. finding his swagger again in the off-season and getting back to his career average numbers. With the Braves lineup, he really should accomplish that without difficulty.

The Braves’ rotation battle will be a little less exciting to watch with Tim Hudson out of Atlanta now. This leaves pitchers like Kris Medlen finally able to focus on being a starter the whole season, and not worrying about being moved back to the bullpen.

Brandon Beachy, returning from an injury for a full season, should be back to 100 percent, and the up-and-coming Alex Wood are left to stabilize the rotation.

3. Where Will Shin Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury Land?

When looking at both Choo and Ellsbury, you see consistent performers who are very good at putting up strong Fantasy numbers in select categories.

Ellsbury is a career .290 hitter, 100 runs, and 10/50 player.

Choo is a career .280 hitter, 90 runs, and 20/20 player.

Both will be ready to contribute to their new team. However, both are also over 30 with some injury bugs. Where they land, and how their off-season/spring training progress goes, will deeply impact their draft positions this spring.

4. Can Josh Johnson Still Be Fantasy Relevant?

Anything closely resembling pre-2013 Josh Johnson will be marked as improvement for the 29-year-old, and his Fantasy owners. Signing with the San Diego Padres could really help his sleeper value in this year’s draft. San Diego is a pitcher-friendly park, so seeing him get back to a 4.00 era/150-K season really isn’t that farfetched.

He could be a sneaky SP4 or 5, putting up SP2 Fantasy numbers this season.

5. Minnesota Twins’ Top Prospects

I have to admit I am a diehard Twins fan, and I am beyond excited to see the farm talent develop and eventually make it to the majors. Unless the Twins do some headline making moves in the offseason (besides moving Joe Mauer to first base), they may not be able to promote this team or sell tickets in 2014 until players like Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, and Alex Meyer are in the majors.

Either way, I will enjoy watching spring training and seeing how soon these prospects get the call.

6. Oscar Taveras: Will He Make the Cardinals’ Lineup?

Sure, the bigger offseason storyline should be Carlos Beltran and his landing place. Yet, the Cardinals’ spring training decisions will have way more of a 2014 Fantasy Baseball impact.

Will Matt Adams remain a starter with Allen Craig in the outfield? Or will Craig man first base, while phenom prospect Oscar Taveras gets his chance with the big league club to start the season?

Oscar Taveras, 2014 Fantasy Baseball

Cardinals OF prospect Oscar Taveras was a top-five prospect last year, and he’ll turn just 22 in June. Photo Credit: Minda Haas

7. 2014 Fantasy Baseball Free Agent Watch

It wouldn’t be an off-season article without listing the biggest free agents. Rather than try and predict where the players may land, we’ll just list the players here to keep tabs on during this off-season:

  • Robinson Cano, 2B
  • Carlos Beltran, OF
  • Mashiro Tanaka, SP (Posting parameters still in the air, so nothing yet)
  • Matt Garza, SP
  • Ervin Santanna, SP
  • Curtis Granderson, OF
  • Brian McCann, C
  • A.J. Burnett, SP

This is Chris Meyers’ first article for DavidGonos.com. Leave a comment and let him know what you’re thinking about during this 2014 Fantasy Baseball offseason!



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