KFFL answers important fantasy baseball questions for each Major League Baseball team as spring training approaches. What must fantasy baseball players know about the Cincinnati Reds?
How would Chris Heisey fare in full-time duty?
The bigger question: Will Dusty Baker trust him instead of turning to a boring veteran? Heisey will get a shot to start, but he'll have to earn it. The 27-year-old is only young in experience. Though advanced age might overvalue his gains, he has shown some semblance of improvement when repeating levels, including how he made strides in the bigs last year with more playing time.
Chapman doesn't yet stand out
He's a heavy pull hitter - his biggest vulnerability and what will likely keep him from offering any BA help for a while. On the positive side, he has actually performed better versus right-handed pitchers, which, if Baker catches on, means he'll probably have an easier time adjusting to facing each handedness on a consistent basis. After returning from an oblique strain, he had a six-homer September when Baker gave him a longer look.
Those in five-outfield mixed leagues could do worse if they wait until the end of their draft to fill their No. 5 spot; a power source playing at Great American Ball Park isn't a bad toy to play with. His manager's fluctuating lineup decisions will remind you of why Heisey is ranked so low, but he could wind up being a steal.
What now for Aroldis Chapman?
Ryan Madson will close, with Sean Marshall as the understudy. Cincy plans on moving ahead on eventually moving the radar-gun-busting southpaw to the rotation; their trade of Travis Wood probably opened up a spot.
Chapman has some blatantly rough edges, with his shaky control standing out. One American League executive called him a "thrower, not a starter." Doubt exists about whether he can develop a consistent changeup and repeat his delivery consistently in a starter's workload.
Weakness in his pitching shoulder limited what Cincy could do to stretch him out this offseason; he didn't appear in Puerto Rican winter ball after seeing only a sprinkling of Arizona Fall League reps. He had left shoulder inflammation earlier in 2011, as well.
The K's are why you chase Chapman - talent before role, in many cases of speculation. But if his injury issues persist, his window for contributing anything fantasy-worthy in 2012 could dwindle. In extremely deep setups, he's worth tucking at the end of your cheat sheet, just in case, but he's becoming more of an in-season monitor in mixers.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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