I seem to remember another B-Frank saying something along the lines of “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Although Founding Father Benjamin Franklin would’ve had absolutely no idea what baseball was let alone fantasy sports, his quote still pertains to something that is at the core of Fantasy Baseball: and that’s draft preparation.
I’m here to give you players you should build your team around, possible league winners with this season’s sleepers, and others who you should just have no reason being drafted where they are ranked.
Now quick little free tip for ya: if you are playing in a points league, load up on as much elite pitching as you can because in those leagues pitchers have all the value. On the converse side, if you’re playing in a classic rotisserie league then your best move is to be as balanced as can be in every stat category. In fact in roto leagues it is best to wait on pitching, and instead get as many consistent batters as you can.
Now without further ado here are my picks:
SURE THING: Paul Goldschmidt
Gotta love Goldie!! Over the last 4 years Paul Goldschmidt has become a star in the fantasy baseball world, a darling in roto leagues for his deceptively high stolen base numbers. He’s 4 time All-Star and is currently in his peak years of production. Goldie is gonna get you at least 25 HRs, 100 RBI’s and probably even steal you 20 bases or so, all while slashing .300/.400/.500. You can take that to the bank, so definitely do not be upset if you land with 4th or 5th pick because odds are Goldie will be there ready to be the anchor for your team.
SLEEPER: Trea Turner
Might be a little tough to classify Trea Turner as a sleeper since he is now ranked in the Top 20 on most fantasy sites, but some people still may not know about him so maybe you can get lucky snagging him in the 3rd or 4th round. This dude may very well be the second coming of Rickey Henderson. Last season in only 73 games he had 13 HR 40 RBI and 33 STEALS!!!! All while slashing .342/370/.567. Now you should probably expect his average to drop, and he still needs to develop a better eye at the plate but this dude is something special because he’s just going to continue taking extra bases, don’t be surprised he reaches 80 steals this season.
STAY AWAY: Trevor Story
I know he has the Coors effect but he can only stay hot so long. Trevor Story had quite the start to his Major-League career last season, absolutely bursting onto the scene with one of the greatest starts to a career in Major League History. This isn’t a complete stay away but more of a buyer beware because the sophomore slump is a real thing, on top of that it doesn’t help his case that he lost out on half a season last year because of a thumb injury. Let’s hope injuries don’t become a pattern for good ole Trev.
SLEEPER: Marcus Stroman
Bouncing back from an awful season last year, due in part to the fact that it was his first full season coming back from a torn ACL the season before. When you look at his first and second half splits from last season (5.33 ERA in first half as opposed to 3.42 in the second half), it makes a lot of sense that Stroman will once again be an exciting young player that will help your fantasy team.
STAY AWAY: Brian Dozier
Don’t let recency bias fool you, Brian Dozier is NOT going to hit 40 bombs this year. He very well may have half of that number if pitchers just start to throw outside to him. Last year he had outrageous career highs in almost every stat. He had a wonderful season last year but Dear God please don’t draft him in the top 30 like he is ranked.
SURE THING: Edwin Encarnacion
Here’s the actual Steady Eddie. I know he’s 34 but the numbers he’s had the past 5 years have carved out a place for him as one of the surest things in Fantasy Baseball. Encarnacion has averaged 39 home runs, 110 runs batted in and a .272 batting average for five seasons and he’s currently coming off his best one ever with 42 HRs and 127 RBIs. With the age being an issue on top of him not benefitting from playing in the Rogers Centre anymore, I think he is still worthy of being one of your top 2 or 3 players.
SLEEPER: Andrew Benintendi
There have been talks in Boston that this may be the next Fred Lynn and somehow he is still ranked outside of the top 120 in most fantasy rankings. ABSOLUTE TRAVESTY. Still with his rookie eligibility, Benintendi is going to burst on the scene and will be the best number 4 outfielder in any fantasy lineup ever.
STAY AWAY: John Lackey
Unfortunately, I believe this is the year that father time catches up to Big Lack. Although he will get a boost fantasy-wise from all the W’s he’ll get on the Chicago Cub run support alone, I’m not too sure he’ll be able to stay the course and be effective all season, Maddon has been flirting with the idea of a 6-man rotation for a few stretches this upcoming season but I fear that, whoever that 6th man is, whether its Mike Montgomery, Brett Anderson (hey remember him?!?!), or another starter they bring in during the deadline, I think they eventually may push Lackey out.
SURE THING: Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw
I mean do I even have to explain myself? If you get the #1 pic you’re 100000% taking Kershaw in a points league and Trout in a roto league. You shouldn’t need my advice on this one.