What would you say if I told you to consider rostering a soon-to-be 26 year old infielder with zero major league service time and was just shut down for the rest of Spring Training with an oblique strain? Hopefully nothing insulting, just an emphatic “no.” I’d counter by asking you to simply hear me out.
Obviously this post is for you DEEP dynasty leaguers, I’m talking 100 man MiLB rosters. If you are that type of fantasy player, chances are you know the name Andy Ibanez. I am on record saying that I believe he will be a Quad-A player, but in deep formats sometimes you have to take a gamble (as if you’re not already gambling with the other 85 MiLB players you have on your roster). A former star in his native Cuba, Ibanez has only been stateside for three seasons and after an injury shortened 2017, has fallen off a lot of fantasy radars.
With that being said, 2018 was a decent year for the former J2 signee. He had the fourth highest batting average (.283) and sixth highest OPS (.754) among PCL players with at least 460 at bats and he hit double digit homers for the second time in three affiliated seasons. I didn’t include Ibanez on my Texas Rangers 2019 Call Up Candidate post, but he certainly could have been on that list. Typically, we aren’t “buying low” after a solid Triple-A season, but considering the oblique injury, I’d say it is worth sending an offer to the Ibanez owner in your league.
Get to know minor league infielder Andy Ibanez & learn more about his success at the plate and in the field. pic.twitter.com/WWRn8nRNjt
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) March 22, 2017
While he won’t be a staple on the Rangers 25-man roster over the next five seasons, we could see him work his way into some MLB playing time over the next couple of rebuilding campaigns. Think of a role like Adonis Garcia had with the Braves a couple of years back. While this is not an inspiring comp, in deep leagues, sometimes we just need AB’s. Ibanez provides some of that potential.
The right handed swinger has a line drive approach at the plate and while there is potential double digit homers in the rare chance he gets a full big league season, it is safer to bank on gap to gap power. One thing that you can count on for Ibanez is the ability to consistently barrel the ball with little swing and miss and an overall solid plate approach. Primarily a pull hitter in the minors, Ibanez has upped his opposite field hit rate at each of his stops, including a 32% oppo rate in Triple-A last year. With that improvement however, came a rise in his ground ball rate.
Ibanez has been a star in Cuba’s top league, taken part in the World Baseball Classic, played in the Arizona Fall League, and got off to a decent start in big league camp. While it remains to be seen whether or not he will get a real shot at playing time in the bigs, he certainly isn’t a guy we should write off in dynasty. Chances are, Ibanez is owned in your league, but use the age and the injury history to your advantage and float an offer out there.