With real, meaningful baseball right around the corner, I’d like to thank you all for supporting RotoGraphs this offseason. I very much appreciate the opportunity to tell people I’m a professional fantasy baseball expert. You should see the faces people make as they try to figure out what, exactly, that means. Without your support, I’d have a silly job selling software widgets.
Hopefully, the tips and tricks you’ve picked up this winter will lead to fantasy victory. People who read sites like RotoGraphs tend to be the same people who put full effort into their teams. You already possess the greatest indicator for success.
The transition from winter to summer means I’ll be moving most of my content from strategy to player picks. It’s bittersweet. On the one hand, I get actual baseball. However, I relish sinking my teeth into creative avenues to do something a little bit new or unexpected. The in-season grind ensures I’m kept too busy to do something frivolous like thinking.
In any event, you have my (rambling) thanks. And because 173 words is not an acceptable post length, I’m going to spend the rest of my time explaining my staff picks. The full lists will presumably be published later today.
FanGraphs Staff Picks – AL
AL East – Tampa
AL Central – Detroit
AL West – Los Angeles
WC1 – Texas
WC2 – Seattle
MVP – Mike Trout
Cy – Yu Darvish
RoY – Mitch Haniger
You’ll notice a strong vein of contrarianism in my picks. DFS has taught me that there’s no percentage in the easy plays. Yea, Boston and Cleveland and Houston may be more likely to win their divisions, but who gives a crap if you get that right. I’d rather be uniquely wrong than boringly correct. At least when there’s nothing at stake.
Trout can win the MVP without the Angels making the postseason. The Angels cannot make the postseason without an MVP season from Trout. Similarly, if three teams are going to represent the West – an unlikely outcome since the Astros and Athletics are also good – then they’ll all need big contributions.
FanGraphs Staff Picks – NL
NL East – New York
NL Central – St. Louis
NL West – Colorado
WC1 – Chicago
WC2 – Philadelphia
MVP – Nolan Arenado
Cy – Carlos Martinez
RoY – Robert Gsellman
More of the same in the senior circuit. I couldn’t help including the Cubs in October baseball, although I did manage to snub the Dodgists. I found a place for Philadelphia because…what if I’m right? Every year, at least one team makes a surprising step forward, fueled by prospect growth, veteran breakouts, or general good fortune. When the Cubs and Astros tipped to contention, it was at least a year before they were supposed to be ready. I recall liking those teams more than the consensus. I feel similarly about the Phillies.
RotoGraphs Staff Picks – Hitters
Sleeper (201-300 overall) – Michael Brantley
Deep Sleeper (301-400 overall) – Chris Owings
Undrafted – Matt Adams
Rookie – Dansby Swanson
Sophomore – Trevor Story
Steal – Ryan Schimpf
Bust – Brian Dozier
Brantley appears to be healthy and ready for an Opening Day start. I’ve seen some scouts express (temporary) concerns about his timing. We’ll see what kind of workload he can manage. The Owings hype apparatus has gained full steam since I submitted these picks. Ruined what I thought was a rather clever pick. Adams has remained sleepy despite impending outfield eligibility and BSOHL.
There will be better steals than Schimpf, but I enjoy his story. Similarly, there will be bustier busts than Dozier, but it serves the Twins right for asking too much this offseason. And everybody loves a good Story.
RotoGraphs Staff Picks – Pitchers
Sleeper – Pat Corbin
Deep Sleeper – Michael Montgomery
Undrafted – Charlie Morton
Rookie – Robert Gsellman
Sophomore – Edwin Diaz
Steal – Addison Reed
SP Bust – Danny Duffy
RP Bust – Wade Davis
Corbin was our darling before his arm crumpled. His spring results were solid. The scouting report I saw wasn’t glowing, noting a lack of both power and finesse. We’ll see how it plays out. Montgomery lost the fifth starter job to Anderson. He’ll still throw 130-ish innings, and they’ll be better than any waiver fodder. Morton throws a cool bowling ball. He might be a better fit as a closer, not that he’ll get that chance.
Consistency! I picked Gsellman for top rookie on both lists. I didn’t realize it. The RotoGraphs list was picked about a week before the FanGraphs list. I’m looking at relievers for the best sophomore and steal. Obviously, this was before Jeurys Familia received a tiny 15 game suspension. Reed’s still the top reliever in that ‘pen.
It’s not that I dislike Duffy, but he seems a lot more likely to flop than the guys with more than a couple months of success. Davis is too glaringly obvious, except to all the people who have paid as though he’s the 2015 version.