FANTASY BASEBALL: BUILDING FROM THE INSIDE OUT
Fantasy MLB Draft day is just around the corner and it’s understandable that you can hardly contain yourself, even if you would never outwardly admit it. You’re browsing and bouncing and surfing from site to site, reading blog after blog about position ranks, sleepers, breakouts candidates, potential bust and whatever other information you need to help you with your fantasy baseball team. You are so excited that it doesn’t concern you that fantasy “sleepers” and “fantasy “breakouts” are pretty much the same thing… you don’t care you just want to load up on as much info as possible. OK, there is a difference, a sleeper pick may or may not breakout, but a breakout player is always a sleeper or at least bought at a “sleeper” price. Make no mistake though, if you are playing in an informed league with reputable players, there are no “sleepers”. Everyone has their eyes on the exact same players you do and the only determining factors that decide whether or not you get these players is draft position or auction dollars available. Be confused no more, lets examine some infielders by position that may or may not be a good fit in your daily lineups, just remember, every player has a place in your line up at the right price.
FIRST BASE: Goldschmidt Is The Gold Standard
First base is deep this season, and loaded with players who play multiple positions, so you are sure to get exceptional value for cheap in daily leagues. If this is the case there is no reason to ever spend top dollar on the Miguel Cabreras, and Jose Abreus of the world. Leave the big spending at this position to the other suckers in the league that can’t resist the power these guys have to offer. Instead, check out Todd Frazier who has multi position eligibility and 4-category production. You can’t overlook the SBs Frazier brings to the table and you won’t find that kind of value at 1B unless you are scraping out Eric Hosmer from the bottom the barrel. Of course if you want to spend big Paul Goldschmidt will always be the pick of the day. No 1B will have a more robust stat line, so if you can get a moderate discount, its not a bad angle, otherwise get your power from the OF.
SECOND BASE: Make the Wong Choice
Before spending big on a 2B in daily leagues understand that this may be the position you go to fill in gaps. You may be able to secure 2-3 stats at this position but expecting anything more is unrealistic. If you want steals, great Jose Altuve will give you what you need, but you are going to pay a premium… a premium price is hardly a good choice in daily leagues and is as bad as paying for just HRs and RBIs as you would if you bought Robinson Cano. Instead, consider Kolten Wong, a legit 20/20 threat that gets on base in one of the best hitting lineups in the majors. He will be dirt-cheap for a while, but ultimately he’s gap filler that brings legit value. Rendon, Kinsler, and Kipnis will give you exactly what you pay for, but Wong is likely to exceed value more often than not.
THIRD BASE: Bananas For Santana
This position is really only 7 deep this year, but much deeper than in recent years past. Josh Donaldson will be an intriguing play as he suits up north of the border, and the rest of the top 4 are going to give you on most nights what you pay for. If you are unable to secure a top 3B gaining mostly power stats two guys to consider are Carlos Santana and Matt Carpenter. Neither will get you steals but Santana will get you plus power for cheap, and Matt Carpenter has been a run scoring machine. Nolan Arenado is on everyone’s radar and now you will have to pay for that production, but Manny Machado is going to put up similar numbers and be much cheaper.
SHORTSTOP: Star Power For Starlin
If you dig the sexiness of counting stats, than you will love every time this season it’s your turn to purchase your SS. Let’s make one thing clear, if Troy Tulowitski plays over 150 games, he’s likely to put up the best fantasy baseball season this year. He will out power Mike Trout and out hit McCutchen, Cabrerea and Goldschmidt. Who knows about speed, and who cares, that’s not why you are buying him. Aside from Tulo, the next 15 shortstops are not going to yield much of a return for you. There is no reason not to take Alcides Escobar, or Danny Sanatana. Santana is intriguing because he could actually exceed expectations, but every analyst has already dropped his name in the proverbial “exceeds value” hat so at this point he’s sneaking up on no one. Javier Baez offers plus power, if that’s where you need to chip, but if TULO can’t be had, place your dollars on Starlin Castro. He will be in the middle of the best lineup of his career and will see good pitches all season long.
CATCHER: Russell Adds Muscle
Last and certainly least the catcher position as usual offers very little excitement while offering ample predictability. Devin Mesoraco is easily the quietest #2 rank at any position. He has 35 HR potential, and is set to see 40-60 more ABs this season. That doesn’t mean more power however, and could very well translate to a decline in long balls. Tread lightly chasing power from the catcher position. Yadier Molina is a terrible investment if you’re stuck with him all season long, but in daily leagues, he’s the perfect boost to your batting average. Russell Martin, is going to love going back home to Canada, and being the leader of the Jays pitching staff. He has double digit HR and SB potential, and that’s worth the few bucks you will have to pay for him. He plays in a great lineup and hitters park as well. Posey is the obvious buy, but if you if you want to allocate funds elsewhere, there are power, average and speed catchers out there that will meet your needs.