Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Astrology 2019 Projected Rosters - Earth Division

As outlined in the last post, the Fire Division has the top two signs, according to's positional fantasy tiers. Next in line is Virgo, which resides in the Earth Division. As a reminder, signs gets 5 points for each Tier I player in their talent pool, continuing in descending order, finishing off with 1 point per Tier V player. And the color coding is as follows: Green = Tier I, Blue = II, Yellow = III, Red = IV, Purple = V

Jose Ramirez won over the hearts and minds of fantasy evaluators, despite a late-season dropoff in production last year. Sticking with the 3B position (rather than going tier-by-tier), the Brewers re-signed Tier IV third baseman Mike Moustakas with the expectation of shifting him to second base, a position he's never played in his professional career. If this experiment goes well, it could work wonders for the Virgo Maidens, for which 2B was a bit of a void last year, at least according to strict fantasy eligibility. There are plenty of sluggers with experience at second base - among them Ramirez himself, Tier IV first baseman Max Muncy, super utility player Chris Taylor, and Rays shortstop Willy Adames - but you have to go all the way down to Enrique Hernandez (the sign's 38th highest-ranked player, according to before you get someone with enough 2018 games to qualify at the keystone.

For many years, Paul Goldschmidt has been the gold standard for fantasy first basemen (pun intended), and it's scary to think that his number might actually improve now that he's been traded away from Arizona, where they keep their baseballs in a humidor. Goldy headlines a famously deep crop at 1B for Virgo, which interestingly includes one in each tier: Freddie Freeman, who was once almost able to alleviate this logjam when the Braves briefly played him at 3B, Joey Votto, whose power outage in 2018 kept him from the elite status to which he is accustomed, and the aforementioned Muncy. Carlos Correa headlines a similarly deep group of players at shortstop, as he's followed (in's rankings) by Elvis Andrus, Marcus Semien, and Andrelton Simmons; which could be useful if Correa ends up missing time again. Center fielder George Springer is the lineup's lone Tier III starter, while Justin Upton earns a Tier IV placement heading into his second full season as Mike Trout's number one lineup protector.

After heading to the Astros last offseason, Gerrit Cole finally took the next step into superstardom (and Tier I honors) after several inconsistent years with the Pirates. It might be optimistic to expect him to repeat his performance, but maybe Houston's pitching gurus just have what it takes to unlock potential. Speaking of potential, Noah Syndergaard has some of the most electric stuff in the game, but injury concerns keep him stuck in Tier II land for now. David Price put up another decent regular season last year, while also exorcising some postseason demons. If's fantasy staff included a Tier V for starting pitchers, you'd have to believe that recently-extended Miles Mikolas would be in it. The Virgo bullpen is headlined by two Tier IV closers whose stars have fallen a bit of late: Wade Davis did not pitch up to his usual standards in his first season in Colorado, while Ken Giles found himself unceremoniously shipped from the Astros to the Blue Jays at last year's trade deadline. I guess there are some pitchers who are beyond the reach of Houston's pitching gurus...

One might look at Taurus's cavalcade of tiered batters - only first baseman Brandon Belt failed to get a mention in the article - and assume that this sign is a fantasy astrology superpower, but just wait until you get to the next section. Former AL MVP Jose Altuve is the lone Tier I batter, who should be fully healthy after knee issues slowed him into the 2018 playoffs. It wasn't the knee, but the elbow that kept Corey Seager off the field for most of last season, but the former Rookie of the Year should be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery by Opening Day. Another former Rookie of the Year, Aaron Judge also struggled with injuries in 2018, although the nature of those injuries escapes me at the moment. The starting catcher spot normally belongs to Salvador Perez, but his season-ending UCL damage was reported before these tiers were established, so I didn't have to do any tinkering to place Tier III backstop Willson Contreras in the starting role. For some reason, Dee Gordon gets a lot of love from's fantasy ranking system (chicks dig the stolen base, I guess?), and the potential second base logjam is alleviated since he has holdover eligibility in center field. Speaking of the second base logjam, Scooter Gennett might not have any contract extension offers to remain in Cincinnati, but he does have one more year left playing in their bandbox of a stadium.

Want even more second baseman? Former all-world power threat Brian Dozier will be suiting up at the keystone for the Nationals, while speedster Jonathan Villar will likely split his time between Baltimore's two middle infield spots. Sticking with the middle infield, Jose Peraza has found a home as the Reds' shortstop after bouncing around the diamond early in his career. I might be biased, but I think Matt Chapman deserves more than a Tier IV placement, but it is true that fantasy does not take defense into account. The catching position is fairly well stocked, even with Perez succumbing to Tommy John surgery, thanks to the presence of Welington Castillo as a backup. In the outfield, only injury concerns keep Michael Brantley as a Tier V placement, since his bat deserves better. If the hype surrounding Dee Gordon doesn't pan out, his new Mariners teammate Mallex Smith will make a fine fallback option when healthy, and of course there's one of the game's top prospects, Victor Robles, waiting in the wings.

The Bulls have the ignominious distinction of being the only sign without a single tiered pitcher in their talent pool. Breakout lefty Kyle Freeland is another candidate for a hypothetical Tier V placement, while Marcus Stroman has shown some star potential in the past, and Justus Sheffield is a fast-rising prospect to watch. It's also cool that a pair of Trevors occupies the final two slots in the rotation. The Taurus bullpen actually does have two pitchers that could be in line for their teams' respective closer roles in Mychal Givens (Orioles) and Wily Peralta (Royals), but unfortunately their potential save opportunities will be few and far between on the teams with 2018's two worst records.

Only two signs fail to boast a single Tier I player on their rosters, and you're looking at one of them. Former MVP and Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant surely has that potential, but injuries kept him from achieving it last season. A key piece of the Braves' young core, Ozzie Albies is less proven, and his production did fall off dramatically in the second half last year, but the talent level (and the enthusiasm level) is real. Mitch Haniger's center field eligibility helps his overall fantasy picture, but he doesn't need it on a Goats team that also has Odubel Herrera as a starter and all-world defender Kevin Pillar as a backup. Edwin Encarnacion likely has a tough road ahead of him to return to one of the game's premier power threats, especially playing his home games at spacious Safeco Field... until he is traded, that is. Looking ahead to the near future, shortstop prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. should take over soon, pushing Eduardo Escobar to utility infield duty.

Capricorn has a deceptively deep rotation, despite only one tiered starter: analytics student and social media bully Trevor Bauer. But Rick Porcello and Dallas Keuchel are both former Cy Young Award winners, Cole Hamels had a resurgent second half last year after a trade to the Cubs, and his teammate Jon Lester has had a long and illustrious career. All should have solid, if not spectacular, performances in 2019, assuming Keuchel eventually signs with a team. Raisel Iglesias possesses tremendous talent, but the Reds' willingness to use him as a non-traditional reliever (read: goodbye regular save opportunities) could limit his fantasy relevance. Drew Steckenrider is likely the best shot to get those save opportunities for the Marlins, but it's questionable how many will be available for a clear rebuilding team.

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