The current fantasy focus is evaluating the top-100 or so players, especially the first couple rounds. I’m going to deep dive and investigate some later round values. I will group 10 players together and pick which one I would take earlier than the others.
There are several players I really like in this group like Taylor, Stripling, and Herrera but easily the best bargain is Kikuchi.
Kikuchi isn’t on par with Asian imports Ohtani or Darvish but he’s still extremely talented. He’s considered to be a better talent than Miles Mikolas and Mikolas is going 86th overall. I believe once Kikuchi signs and everyone gets to know him, his ADP will be cut in half and around a top-100 pick, if not double digits.
Another list will several names I’d not be surprised move up. The name with the most upside is Ryan Braun. I completely understand health is an issue and always will be, but his balanced approach will make him valuable when he plays. In 15-team AVG leagues last season, he was a $14 value without any replacement level value baked in. The disappointment tax his high with him.
None of these names stick out. I might pop on Gomes if I needed a second catcher. It’s a tough choice but I think, I’ll go with Sano, but it’s really close with Senzel. Senzel may sit on my bench for a couple months while Sano’s talent, or lack of it, will be quickly noticeable and I can move on.
I’d likely draft four to six players (Smoak, Marte, Seager, Santana, Godley, and Mejia) from this group before all the others in the previous group. I think I’ll go with Ketel Marte before the others but I could see another owner go with needs and take Smoak for power or Santana for on-base.
Marte has limited upside but he has a nice talent base to build off of and may be heading to center field soon.
while incumbent second baseman and sometimes shortstop Ketel Marte could see time in center field.
He’s a solid player at this point of the draft especially for an owner filling out their middle infield spot.
While there are some fun players on this list, it’s a rough list. If an owner has a spot to take a chance on a rookie, Alonso is worth taking. I’d instead go with Givens. It’s not choice I feel great about but a closer, or more precisely, the chance of closer, should be a gamble. I’d rather pay nothing for him as the 250th player than have to send FAAB for his replacement.
Another great batch and the choice is difficult. Owners should probably be making the choice off need, but in a pure vacuum, it’s Randal Grichuk. A real potential for 30 homers this late, sign me up.
Yuck. It’s got to be Brian Anderson for me. Qualified at third and outfield but a 52% GB% is dragging down his value. This pick is more on potential than production. Skaggs was a close second.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.