FANTASY BASEBALL IMPACT OF JOSE BAUTISTA SIGNING BY ATLANTA BRAVES AND FREDDIE FREEMAN INJURY
The Atlanta Braves pick up Ex-Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista to play 1B
Wednesday April 18, 2018
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Jose Bautista (3B/OF Atlanta Braves) was signed to a minor league deal by the Atlanta Braves on April 18 worth $1 million. Bautista is 37 years old and his best years are behind him after hitting .203 with only 23 HR and 65 RBI last season. Bautista batted .234 with 22 HR and 69 RBI while missing 46 games in 2016. One other note, Bautista hasn’t played 3B since 2012. Ryan Flaherty (3B Atlanta Braves) is off to a great start in 2018 but the Braves are obviously notconvinced it will last. Bautista will play 3B in the minors in preparation for his 2018 major league debut even though he’s played RF for the last 8 seasons. Bautista will hit some HR but he will continue to hit for a very low batting average while striking out at an alarming rate because he can’t get around on the fastball like he used to. Bautista particularly can’t hit the high fastball and has even more issues laying off the slider away. I don’t see Jose Bautista making a significant impact to fantasy baseball teams or to the Atlanta Braves this season. At age 37, Bautista will be a huge injury risk with a slow bat. Don’t rush to the wire to pick Bautista up even though I’m sure some fantasy owners will because of his name. Big names don’t win fantasy titles. Finding players who will produce now and the rest of the season do win fantasy titles even if they are not household names.
On the day the Braves sign Jose Bautista, Freddie Freeman (1B Atlanta Braves) inexplicably gets hit with a pitch in the bottom of the 8th on the same left wrist he hurt last year which just happened to also be due to a hit by pitch. Freeman missed roughly 1 ½ months last year with a fractured wrist. A MRI will be done on April 19 and we will know the severity of the injury more then.
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Lane Adams (OF Atlanta Braves) can play first base but when Jose Bautista (3B/OF Atlanta Braves) arrives to the majors, Ryan Flaherty (3B Atlanta Braves) will most likely move to 1B while Jose Bautista plays 3B.
What do fantasy owners do about replacing Freddie Freeman? Well, the truth is there most likely won’t be any free agents available that match the output of Freddie Freeman. Hopefully fantasy owners have another capable 1B on their roster. If they do not, some options could be Colin Moran (1B Pittsburgh Pirates), Lucas Duda (1B Kansas City Royals), Adrian Gonzalez (1B New York Mets), Ian Desmond (1B/OF Colorado Rockies), Tyler Austin (1B New York Yankees), and even Greg Bird (1B New York Yankees) in late May. I see Colin Moran and Lucas Duda as the BEST options right now. If fantasy owners are in deep leagues where none of these players are available, then they will have to TRADE. Analyze your roster and decide which position you have great depth in and look for the owners in your league who are weak in that same position. Don’t be desperate and trade away Chris Sale (SP Boston Red Sox) for Eric Hosmer (1B san Diego Padres) for example. Owners in your league will be well aware you need a 1B bad but keep in mind he only missed 6-8 weeks last year so Freddie Freeman owners can have him back around mid-June. Fantasy baseball is a marathon…your season is not over because you lost Freddie Freeman.