This is the weekly Fantasy Roundtable, where the writers of Rotoworld Baseball let the readers of Rotoworld Baseball in on a quick staff discussion. It's water cooler talk ... that we've decided to publish. Look for it every Tuesday.
Drew Silva: Let's admit some wrongs this week. Name a player you've come around on this summer -- someone you thought might be over-hyped or not quite ready leading into the 2015 fantasy baseball season. What made you change your mind, and what's the future for that player?
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Nathan Grimm: There are a couple Giants I could single out here -- both Joe Panik and Brandon Belt have made me a believer -- but I'm a big Matt Duffy fan at this point. It wasn't hard to be a skeptic heading into the season, with Duffy posting a pedestrian .267/.302/.300 line in 60 at-bats last year and owning solid-if-unspectacular minor league numbers, but he seems to be coming into his own right in front of our eyes. It's not a terribly flashy .306/.342/.470 line, but Duffy is on pace for an entirely useful 14 homers, 71 runs scored, 81 RBI and seven steals. Is his future ceiling much higher? Probably not. But it doesn't need to be for him to have solid fantasy value. Sign me up.
Ryan Boyer: I certainly didn't think Charlie Blackmon would be able to repeat his breakout 2014 campaign. Based on where he was ranked this spring and where he was selected in drafts, it didn't seem like I was alone. But, not only has he been able to repeat last season's exploits, he's been even better in 2015. Blackmon finished as the No. 14 hitter and No. 8 outfielder in fantasy last year and has been the No. 10 hitter and No. 6 outfielder in fantasy this season. Yes, he's been much better at Coors Field than on the road for the second year in a row, but who cares? As long as he's not traded elsewhere over the offseason, it's hard not to be a believer in Blackmon going forward.
D.J. Short: I strongly agree on Blackmon and Duffy. Blackmon was a player to avoid for me this spring, so I didn't own him anywhere, but I sure wish I did now. As Ryan said, he has been even better than he was last year. Serious crow-eating going on over here. As for Duffy, he seemingly came out of nowhere. His teammate Chris Heston falls under a similar category.
I'll add Jung Ho Kang here. He put up big numbers in the Korea Baseball Organization, but there were serious questions about how it would translate against major league pitching. There's a reason why the Pirates were able to get him with a modest investment of $16 million. I had concerns after watching him in spring training, but he has proved doubters wrong by batting .288/.360/.443 with nine home runs, 40 RBI, and five steals over 98 games. Those aren't monster numbers, but he has certainly held his own, especially when you consider the context of the other options at shortstop and the middle infielder position in fantasy leagues.
David Shovein: The player that stands out the most as someone that I was incredibly wrong about this season is Jacob deGrom. I didn't believe that his minor league track record supported his outstanding breakout season in 2014 and that regression was due to hit him hard this year, especially in terms of strikeout rate. Instead, the 27-year-old hurler has legitimized his 2014 effort while perhaps becoming the ace of the best young rotation in all of baseball. He has actually improved his strikeout rate a bit while drastically cutting back his walks. While a bit of good luck may be contributing to his extremely impressive numbers (.247 BABIP, 81.6% strand rate), he has certainly made me a believer going forward.
Drew Silva: Though he's fallen off considerably in the second half, I'll say A's catcher Stephen Vogt. I didn't draft him in a single league this year -- a bad-body catcher with a power-sapping home park? -- but I think the spark we saw from him in 2014 was legitimate. He's sitting on a .793 OPS (119 OPS+), 16 home runs, and 62 RBI through 110 games played in 2015. Oakland should improve its supporting cast this winter. I'll be grabbing Vogt in at least one league for 2016.
Disagree? Want to add something? Got a question? You can find each of these @Rotoworld_BB writers on Twitter: @drewsilv, @djshort, @daveshovein, @nate_grimm, @ryanpboyer.