With the season coming to a close, now is a good time to look back to see which MLB teams provided fantasy owners with the most valuable offensive resources this season.
This chart looks at players currently ranked in the top twelve at each offensive position (and top fifty at outfield) in both CBS (points) and ESPN (roto) rankings, broken down by team. If you’re curious about which players where ranked where, a more detailed breakdown of the ranks are found here. If a player was eligible at more than one position, they were only included once, and if a player was ranked in the top twelve in one format, but not the other they were not included. If a player was traded, the team which they played the majority of their games with was given credit.
|American League||National League|
|Team||Top 12 Players||Team||Top 12 Players|
It’s no surprise that baseball’s best teams provided owners with more high-end fantasy contributors than baseball’s worst. The Braves lead the field with six players represented (Kurt Suzuki, Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr., Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte). But there were some surprises.
The 64-86 Texas Rangers saw four different players place: Jurickson Profar, Joey Gallo, Shin-Soo Choo and Robinson Chirinos – although none of the Rangers were ranked in the top eight (or top twenty at outfield) at their respective positions. The multi-eligible Jurickson Profar appears in the top twelve at first and third base, as well as outfield. He narrowly missed out (thirteenth at ESPN) placing at shortstop. Profar has had one of the quieter breakout seasons in both real and fantasy baseball in 2018.
The Cincinnati Reds (64-87) also provided 3 hitters ranked in the top twelve at their respective positions: Eguenio Suarez, Jose Peraza and Scooter Gennett. The Reds would have seen even more representation if Joey Votto’s power hadn’t disappeared or Jesse Winker hadn’t suffered a season-ending injury. The offensive future is bright in Cincy.
The American League Central provided the fewest players – with eight, four of whom play for Cleveland. On the whole, the National League provided more value: with 43 players ranking compared to 34 in the American League.
The Marlins, Mets, Tigers and Twins provided little offensive value to fantasy owners this year, with only one player each ranking at the top twelve. J.T. Realmuto being the best among them – currently ranked as the number one catcher at both ESPN and CBS. Eduardo Escobar, who spent the first half of the season in Minnesota, also narrowly missed – as he sits as the 11th best shortstop at CBS and 14th best on ESPN.
There were three teams that have provided zero fantasy hitters worth owning in most formats: the Padres, White Sox and Blue Jays.
Unsurprisingly, White Sox and Padres were both below league average offenses this season, ranking 19th and 29th in wRC+ respectively. Interestingly however, the Blue Jays rate as a top-ten offense, currently sitting tied for 9th in baseball with a 101 wRC+. Despite the team’s offensive success, the only player that came close to making the list was Kevin Pillar, the 53rd best outfielder at ESPN and 52nd at CBS.
Both the White Sox and Padres saw injuries influence their poor showing. For Chicago, Jose Abreu missed over three weeks to undergo abdominal surgery, but has provided top-twelve production at first base in previous years – even in points formats where his low walk rate works against him. Welington Castillo, who missed 80 games to a PED suspension, would have had a good a chance at providing value at catcher, especially given how atrocious the position has been this season.
In San Diego, Wil Myers continues to provide his usual power/speed combo, although injuries have limited him to only 298 plate appearances so far this season.
The Sox and Padres also saw disappointing seasons from Yoan Moncada and Manuel Margot – two speedy youngsters that were drafted this spring with hopes of a breakthrough. Moncada has contributed 17 home runs and 11 steals, but his 33.4% strikeout rate has limited his value. Margot, has lost playing time in a crowded San Diego outfield and seen his power and speed production drop. While both players have been disappointments, they are still young enough to be post-hype sleeper targets in 2019.
The Padres newly signed 144-million dollar man, Eric Hosmer, has hit a career low .249 and seen his slugging percentage drop 100 points (.398) in a disappointing first season with San Diego.
In addition to some better health and positive regression, all three of 2018’s worst teams have some high impact fantasy contributors on the way.
Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Chicago’s Eloy Jimenez SHOULD have been playing in the majors this summer, but the team’s respective front offices decided to manipulate their service time and keep them in the minors instead. The Padres avoided a similar dilemma when Fernando Tatis Jr. fractured his thumb in July.
In addition to each team’s crown jewel, these three teams posses loaded farm systems that could see fantasy contributors emerge as soon as next year. The Blue Jays’ Danny Jansen and the Padres’ Francisco Mejia look to be potentially valuable catching options. Bo Bichette, Luis Robert and Luis Urias are all consensus top-50 prospects.
The Jays and Padres have also seen rookies Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Billy McKinney, Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe contribute in truncated major league action. These are hitters with some promise that could be valuable fantasy assets in 2019 as well.
The Padres, White Sox and Blue Jays may have been the worst teams for fantasy owners looking for offense in 2018, but don’t expect this continue into 2019.
Nick thinks running a Major League or fantasy baseball team is incredibly easy. Until he is handed one of those coveted GM positions, his writing at RotoGraphs will illustrate how to do it properly. Fantasy baseball trade consultations and anything else can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeted to @nickdika.