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Thursday, December 19, 2013

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: CODY ASCHE 3B PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

With the 2014 fantasy baseball season getting closer than you think, let's continue along with more profiles as we hammer down the names to draft or to avoid.  One such player who no doubt brings some intrigue on opportunity alone which will be combined with vast potential is Philadelphia Phillies top third base prospect Cody Asche.  With the Phillies having cleared the third base spot for Asche to begin the season at the hot corner, now is the opportunity to learn a bit more about a kid some are comparing favorably to the New York Mets' David Wright.  Now are you intrigued?  I bet you are after that statement.

First let's take a look at Asche's 2013 minor league stats before he got a late season call to the big show. 

.295 15 HR 68 RBI 52 R 11 SB in 104 games

Now those numbers don't exactly jump off the page but if you look deeper, you can see that Ashe is the kind of player who contributes in all five of the standard ROTO categories.  Specifically, Asche's ability to offer a power/speed game is especially intriguing.  And it was this ability that Ashe showed off a bit during his 50 game trial with the Phillies late last season when he hit .235 with 5 home runs and 1 steal.   Again Asche didn't light the world on fire with those numbers but he hinted at much more to come which brings us to our projections for 2014.  Asche will begin the new season as the team's starting third baseman at the ripe old age of 23.  He will be slotted likely seventh in the lineup which is a bit of a drag on his counting stats but the rest of his potential will start showing through.  As we said earlier, there is a bit of a David Wright aspect to Asche but on a much lower scale given his age.  The ballpark is obviously conducive to hitting for power which Asche has the ability to do and the Phillies have always been one of the more aggressive teams on the basepaths which will add to his steals as well.  Finally, Asche should have some nice RBI opportunities with bigger names hitting in front of him. 

As far as the negative are concerned, like with all young hitters strikeouts are an issue which will drag on Ashe's batting average some.  Think somewhere along the lines of .270-.280 which is not awful but could be better.  Also Asche's runs total will not be terrific batting low in the order.  And of course all young players are prone to massive slumps which could earn a quick ticket back to the farm so there is a lot of volatility to deal with here.

Overall Cody Asche represents a nice sleeper investment for the upcoming season.  Third base has become one of the shallowest positions in fantasy baseball with age taking out Aramis Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, and Kevin Youkilis and injuries taking a perennial bite out of Brett Lawrie, Pablo Sandoval, and even David Wright himself.  The price will be very cheap for power/speed potential in a great ballpark.  You always want to fill out your roster in the later rounds with guys who have ceiling to their names and on that front Cody Ashe fits the bill.

2014 PROJECTION:  .271 15 HR 73 RBI 65 R 8 SB

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