My 2014 Fantasy Baseball Preview continues with a stop in Arizona and a look at the Diamondbacks shortstop battle, which promises to be a good one.
The D’Backs are poised to enter spring training with two young talents battling for the everyday shortstop gig as Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers expects Chris Owings and Didi Gregorius to compete for the starting shortstop job in 2014, MLB.com reports.
Both are intriguing and both may become fantasy options if one of them can lock down the job full time.
Owings got the call last September and got a look at second base, but with Arron Hill in place, if he is going to make the Opening Day roster it will be as the everyday shortstop.
He didn’t perform badly, hitting .291/.361/.382 with no home runs and five RBI in 55 at-bats in the majors.
He also made a nice step forward with his .330/.359/.482 line for Triple-A Reno, with 12 homers and 20 steals.
I worry about his lack of pure power, but he could turn into a guy you take a chance on late in drafts. I especially would target him late in NL only formats.
I’m not as high on Gregorius.
He hit .252/.332/.373 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 357 at-bats with the Diamondbacks in 2013. But he hit 319/.374 /.521 with a .354 BABIP from his recall on April 18 through the end of May yet only hit .227/.310/.290 from June 1 through the end of the season.
One of these guys is going to have to have a big spring to separate himself from the other.
Prediction: I’m banking on Owings here, but that doesn’t mean I like him for a fantasy option very much. His ADP right now is 454 and if you need a middle infielder around that time, there are worse options out there. Overall I project him to hit around .270 with a handful of homers and maybe 40 RBI, grabbing you double digit steals in the process.
As for Gregorius, don’t rule him out.
Towers gave up Trevor Bauer to get Gregorius last winter, which is a hefty price to pay for a young shortstop. One might think that the amount of faith Towers must have in Gregorius would earn him another chance.
Gregorius is going about 100 spots higher in most drafts, which I think is a bit insane, but I would recommend staying away as I project a .250 AVG seven homers and 30 RBI.
At the end of the day I would stay away from both guys but if anything I would target Owings extremely late. He will hit for a high average and get you a few steal at the minimum.