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Monday, March 11, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL STOCK WATCH: ENDER INCIARTE COULD BE BRAVES' LEADOFF MAN, RONALD ACUNA TO GO TO CLEANUP

Lineup decisions are always a severely underrated aspect of evaluating players in yearly fantasy baseball leagues and the Atlanta Braves have one of the more intriguing decisions to make in terms of who will bat leadoff for them in 2018.  Last season it was a combination of first Ender Inciarte and then superstar rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. who finished up in that precious spot for the team and their respective fantasy baseball values were swayed on both fronts.  While Inciarte had the leadoff spot unfairly taken away from him in our opinion, his speed-centric game was not a good match for the lower third of the order which is where he languished once Acuna came up.  While Acuna was every bit the stud we all anticipated him to be, it appears as though the Braves will shake things up among the two again this season.  For most of the spring training slate to this point, Inciarte has been the team's leadoff man as he was again on Monday when he picked up another stolen base and doubled twice.  Acuna Jr. meanwhile batted cleanup where he slammed a home run.  With both guys seeming to be natural for those two spots, count on this being the setup for Opening Day.

Now in terms of fantasy baseball, anyone owning stock in Inciarte will love to see him as the leadoff guy where his game is best suited.  While Inciarte has a bit of pop that could result in a helpful 10 home runs or so, steals, runs, and average is the name of the game here.  The steals in particular as where it's at for Inciarte who swiped 28 bags a year ago.  Add in the .280-plus average which is pretty typical of Inciarte and you have yourself a very valuable OF 3 candidate.  Acuna Jr. meanwhile will surely see fewer steal chances in the cleanup spot which is a bit of a letdown but he figures to make for this with more RBI.  Either way, both guys should be fine fantasy baseball assets this season by the looks of the current arrangement. 




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