I’m sure you’ve been in a few drafts this season and reached a conundrum. What to do with 3B? So you missed out on Ramirez/Machado, bummer. Then you missed out on Austin Riley, dagger. And then you were either out of position or didn’t like the draft price on the next 4-5 3B, you tell yourself you’ll address it late, and then you see THE CLIFF. Does this sound familiar? Third base is a tumultuous mess this year, welcome to fantasy baseball. There aren’t many guarantees past this point, that’s why they are past this point. All you can use now is projected playing time and looking at teams with defined rolls (or undefined for that matter). Now, this could easily be a post about Josh Jung (and maybe it should be since he’s healthy now); but, let’s say you did circle back to the corner after pick 200 and grabbed Jung due to my wink and nudge. Now you need a backup. I present to you forgotten rookie David Villar, the anointed starter that no one is talking about.
David Villar is not going to wow you, and he doesn’t need to. After pick 350 in a draft any value is plus value. The Giants have already said he’s their cornerman going into the season. The ABs will be there from the start. Will he succeed? He’s not a paragon of plus-plus contact carved from the marble atop Mount Olympus, but he does have just enough power to be interesting and is projected for the middle-ish of the Giants lineup. Let’s have a look at his recent minor-league numbers.
Through his climb up the minors, he’s shown respectable power that has increased at each stop peaking this last year at 27 HR over 366 ABs with a .617 SLG that earned him a call-up to the big league roster for a cup of coffee. Hello there. On one hand, this is offset some by a relatively high K-rate at each level of the minors. On the other hand he was able to cut it down and maintain it as he climbed to AAA. On the third hand, in his first taste of MLB action, he posted a 32% K-rate (not great) but he was still able to take walks at a decent rate of roughly 10%. That’s a lot to take in. To put it simply, he has bit of a problem striking out but he’s at least able to maintain a decent OBP and the power mostly followed him. Looks a lot like a cheap power source with playing time.
In Villar’s limited sample with the big league club, he displayed a solid flyball rate just above 44% which mirrors his minor league average. That’s always nice to see, he’s still able to put the ball in the air. In his small sample, he excelled against lefties and not-so-much against righties, but the power showed up versus both. That could hamper his average some, but his power and defense (superior to Davis) should still keep him in the lineup at 3B more often. Also in his call-up, he didn’t get caught chasing pitches outside the zone too much, keeping it under 30%. Not a lot else to go on with him so I’ll lean on prospect writer Itch who said:
“David Villar was anointed the third baseman by Farhan Zaidi before the spring began. He’s struggled so far this spring, which shouldn’t matter, except that the Giants hottest prospect is Villar’s fellow third baseman Casey Schmitt, who is seven for 18 with just two strikeouts. Villar is still going to be the guy on opening day, and I have him in about half my leagues, but Schmitt is starting to feel like an inevitability due in part to his plus defense. Doesn’t mean they won’t have room for both. Nobody’s really locked in a first base either.”
So there’s a Schmitt about to hit the fan who looks a bit more disciplined at the plate. But what do we say to the god of top-prospect service time? Not today. They will likely keep him down unless he lights the minors on fire and it’s doubtful to be any time soon. As long as Villar can replicate something close to what he did at the end of last season his job will be secure in the near term. First base isn’t housing a perennial All-star either so they certainly could co-exist.
As I said in other articles, I’m not focused on dynasty; I’m focused on this year, this season. And coming out of the gate with a healthy draft roster, you could do far worse for a backup third-baseman or corner infielder. With a current ADP post-500 (well after guys that aren’t starting for their team) David Villar could be easy profit or worst case the first cut for the hot bat of the week and it costs you nothing. Giants always seem to get useful at-bats from saddlebags, so why would they stop now? What does that mean? Never question Bruce Dickenson. He seems like just the sort of player to give you 20 bombs out of nowhere. Give it a ride.
UPDATE: So yeah, he’s a little banged up now this spring after a low-grade hip flexor strain. Right now they aren’t concerned with him missing any real games and he’s listed as day-to-day. If anything this makes him even cheaper in drafts; but, worth keeping an eye on Wilmer Flores or J.D. Davis should they need to fill in for him, and possibly Schmitt if they feel like they want to start his clock too, but not likely yet.
If you want more Coolwhip to top off your baseball experience, fantasy or otherwise, you can follow me on Twitter: @CoolwhipRB.