Monday, January 30, 2017


1.  Mike Trout:  The most obvious pick of any position anywhere.  Trout ran at will again last season after a two-year break to go with his tremendous contributions in the other four categories.  Should be the top pick in all leagues.
2.  Mookie Betts:  Blew the doors off of any projection anyone had for Betts last season as he exploded to 31 home runs and 113 RBI.  Throw in 26 steals, 122 runs scored, and a .318 average and you can call Betts a close second to Mike Trout in all league drafts.
3.  Bryce Harper:  Dealt with nagging injuries which help explain the sizable drop in Harper's numbers last season.  This is still the same guy who had a video game-like 2015 campaign and also keep in mind Harper ran like he was a rookie again last season with 21 steals.  Look for Harper going right back to the 40-home run plateau with good health.
4.  Charlie Blackmon:  Blackmon seeingly gets better each and every season but he is now trading steals for home runs which we will take.  There is a big home/road split as expected (.900 OPS at home/.727 on road) but the end numbers are still terrific.
5.  Trea Turner:  While he will be the Nats' every day shortstop this season, Turner still retains outfielder and second base eligibility for 2017 which is icing on the cake.  While we are a bit skeptical of the vast rise in HR rate as a rookie last season, Turner should challenge for the stolen base title while hitting .300 or better.  Along with Gary Sanchez, no one player will be fought over more in drafts.
6.  Ryan Braun:  The guy is a jerk personally but I can't argue with the very good back-to-back seasons Braun had in 2015 and 2016.  While he is running a bit less as he ages (down to 16 steals a year ago), Braun is still mashing (30 homers) and plays through injuries.
7.  Giancarlo Stanton:  I think Stanton is now firmly in the "overrated" bin as his monstrous home runs and Home Run Derby displays push up his draft slot beyond where it should be.  Given that Stanton still has never hit 40 home runs and has averaged just 115 games played per year in hsi career, some prudence should be in order here when it comes to where you select Stanton.  Also Stanton has stopped running and his average is ugly considering how much he strikes out.  Resist the temptation to reach for the name brand.
8.  Starling Marte:  Marte still strikes out a lot but his live drive rate is very good and he ran so much more in 2016 (career-best 47 steals) which helped overcome a dip in power (9 homers).  Look for Marte to bring those two numbers close together this season which will keep a firm outfielder 1.
9.  A.J,. Pollock:  No this is not too high a ranking as Pollock was a top ten fantasy baseball outfielder going into 2016 before his injury disaster of a year.  Consider last season a throw out year and start over for 2017.  Keep in mind Pollock hit 20 home runs, stole 39 bases, scored 111 runs. collected 76 RBI, and batted .315 just two years ago.  Still just 29, Pollock is the real deal.
10. Nelson Cruz:  Despite moving from Baltimore to spacious Safeco Field in Seattle, Nelson Cruz is now working on three straight 40-home run seasons.  Always underrated, Cruz is aging a bit at 37 but shows no signs of slipping.  Try him out as your main outfield power source for one more season at least.
11. Yoenis Cespedes:  Cespedes leaves some people wanting more but it is time to appreciate the fact the Cuban has upped his average to a helpful range the last two seasons while still pounding out home runs at a 30-plus clip.
12. Ian Desmond:  Yes is stunk that Desmond left Texas but he went to arguably an even better home park in Coors Field after inking a deal in free agency with the Rockies.  Desmond got himself back to 20/20 territory with the Rangers last season and he should be right around that ratio again with a .280 or so average.  Just keep in mind shortstop eligibility is a thing of the past.
13. Gregory Polanco:  While Polanco is still not a finished product due to his shaky average, Polanco is on the cusp of being the next Starling Marte in terms of being a 20-home run and 30-stolen base outfielder.  Get on board now as Polanco is ready to push himself into outfielder 1 status.
14. George Springer:  I personally am a bit cool to Springer as he seems like he is settling into a .260 hitter whose speed declined to just 9 steals last season.  The 29 home runs were nice on the surface but Springer did that in a massive 744 at-bats which takes some shine off.  We can accept the shaky average if Springer is running but that doesn't look like it is part of the equation anymore.
15. Mark Trumbo:  Massive power and I personally made a huge profit on Trumbo last season as I recommended you all buy very low after he signed with Baltimore.  He is still without a home as of this writing but Trumbo is a 40-home run masher who will supply 100-RBI as well.  Just keep in mind the ugly average that goes along the ride.
16. Andrew McCutchen:  This could be too low to rank McCutchen but he showed some very disturbing signs last season ins swiping just 6 bases and batting an ugly .256.  Injuries could have played a role but that is what 2017 will determine.
17. Carlos Gonzalez:  CarGo has evened up his home/road splits the last two years and he has found some more durability as well which is always a big plus for the previously health-averse outfielder.  The steals are long gone but 25-30 home runs is a certainty.
18. J.D. Martinez:  The Detroit outfielder has settled into being a 30-home run guy with a .280 average but nothing in the way of speed.  That works nicely as a top-end outfielder 2.
19. Christian Yelich:  Yelich is a future batting champ who comes off a strange 2016 where the steals anticipated never materialized but the power was better than anyone thought.  This stock is still moving upwards but Yelich remains a bit of a puzzle.
20. Adam Jones:  You can write in ink 25-30 home runs and 90 RBI for Jones each and every season but the steals are gone for good.  Dependable as heck but Jones is no longer as flashy as he once was a few seasons ago.
21.  Justin Upton:  It took Upton four months to find a comfort zone in his first season in Detroit but overall he remains a flawed hitter who runs extremely hot and cold.  Upton's average is now firmly in the liability realm and he doesn't seem as interested in running much anymore.  As overrated as it gets.
22. Jose Bautista:  Back in Toronto where Bautista remains in a prime power park.  Home runs and RBI are pretty much the total calling card for the 36-year-old as Bautista has hit just .250 and .234 the last two years.  Joins Upton as more name brand than actual production.
23. David Dahl:  Call me overly bullish on the Rockies youngster but this is a potential five-category Charlie Blackmon-clone who will never come cheaper.
24. Stephen Piscotty:  Yes Piscotty is one of "MY GUYS" but this youngster is a terrific pure hitter who tapped into some new power in 2016 (22 home runs) and who can take the odd base (7 steals).  Lots to like and the price remains affordable.
25. Lorenzo Cain:  Injuries derailed Cain's numbers in 2016 but he is still a guy who can contribute in all five standard ROTO categories when he right.  While the power is not likely to leave the teens, Cain will be excellent everywhere else.
26. Michael Brantley:  Tough to slot Brantley as he missed pretty much all of 2016 with ongoing shoulder trouble and he still is not 100 percent.  He is one of the best pure hitters in the game and Brantley at full health can perform like a top 20 guy.
27. Odubel Herrera:  Discussed my love Herrera in more depth the other day but in short, this is already a give-tool guy who has some room to get even better.
28. Kyle Schwarber:  Easy 30 home runs here and maybe a re-acquisition of catcher eligibility.  But boy does Schwarber have no position on the diamond.
29. Matt Kemp:  We are starting to get into the power guys who don't run and that is what Kemp is now.  He comes off a 35-home run campaign that showed that he is far from done despite losing almost all his speed.
30. Dexter Fowler:  Not my cup of tea as Fowler is a decent but not impactful fantasy baseball player.  He will do a little of this and a little of that but the move to St. Louis takes away some of his already modest power.
31. Billy Hamilton:  You all know how I feel about Hamilton who is grossly overpriced each and every season and 2017 will be no different.  This is a gadget guy all the way but one who could win the steals category for you by himself.  I still think you wait ten rounds and draft Jarrod Dyson or someone like that later.
32. Jackie Bradley Jr.:  Bradley Jr. really came into his own in 2016 but his second half struggles were a bit of a red flag.  It could be that opposing pitchers got a handle on Bradley whose .267 average was actually as good as you could expect given his strikeout tendencies.  With just modest speed, (9 steals), Bradley could go bust for you.
33. Andrew Benintendi:  Like with David Dalh, Andrew Benintendi is right there as the best hitting sleeper for 2017 fantasy baseball.  The injury issues he suffered last season with the Red Sox will be a blessing in disguise as it should keep this future five-tool stud's price down a bit.  Maybe.
34. Marcell Ozuna:  Two of the last three years now we have seen Ozuna go off with his power but his average is a bit shaky and he doesn't run which limits the overall upside.
35. Adam Eaton:  Amazing to this day how much the Washington Nationals gave up to get Eaton.  Now Eaton is a nice player who can go 15/15 with a .290 average which is very nice but don't let that trade fool you into thinking he is a star.
36. Hunter Pence:  Age shows mercy on no one and Pence is all of a sudden injury prone as he has dealt with missed games for large stretches of the last two seasons.  Still he batted .289 with 13 homers and 1 steal in just 395 at-bats last season so the hitting numbers are still there.  Now just an outfielder 3 though.
37. Byron Buxton:  The much-hyped Twins prospect showed signs of finally tapping into his vast potential last season but he still has holes in his swing which need to be covered.  It is still not too late for him to realize those 20/30 seasons.
38. Josh Reddick:  Reddick is Adam Eaton but with more injuries.  In fact Reddick has more power than Eaton and could pass him if he can stay on the field.
39. Khris Davis:  You get massive power here but a hurtful batting average from the "K" version of "Chris" Davis.
40. Adam Duvall:  Again another guy who can really collect the power numbers but put a hurt on your average.
41. Kole Calhoun:  Calhoun is solid and steady but keep in mind what you get here.  That is a good power bat with decent counting numbers and nothing in the way of speed.  Also Calhoun;s average has become a bit of an issue as well.
42. Nomar Mazara:  Likely only going to move up from here as long as Mazara proves his terrific 2016 (.266/20 HR) is no fluke.  No speed to be had here though.
43. Yasmany Tomas:  Tomas is underrated now after some initial hype coming out Cuba.  Yes he has not become a star many thought he would but 31 home runs and a .270 average works nicely in your outfielder 3 spot.
44. Carlos Beltran:  Older than dirt but Beltran showed in slamming 29 home runs last season that he will likely put up numbers right up until he retires.
45. David Peralta:  This is me giving Peralta a total mulligan on his no-show and injury-marred 2016.  Keep in mind Peralta hit 17 home runs, stole 9 bases, and batted ,273 in 2015.  Intriguing five-category talent.
46. Randal Grichuk:  Another guy who I won't chase as Grichuk's average is a killer but there is no denying his massive power.  Poor average and big power hitting outfielders are a dime a dozen so never chase them.
47. Curtis Granderson:  See above.
48. Ender Inciarte:  Lots to like here for a very cheap price as Inciarte is a true leadoff guy who can threaten 90 runs and 25 steals while hitting .300.  He also can knock the odd homer as well.
49. Matt Holliday:  Like Carlos Beltran with the New York Yankees last season, Matt Holliday could have one big 30-home run year left in his bat in that park.
50. Keon Broxton:  Ignore Billy Hamilton and instead snag this guy a few rounds later.  Broxton has speed to burn and he also hit 9 home runs in just 207 at-bats last season.
51. Kevin Kiermaier:  Sports Illustrated called Keirmaier the most underrated player in baseball and while we won;t go that far, he has quietly been very good in terms of fantasy baseball-related numbers the last two years in posting power/speed ratios of 10/18 and 12/21.
52. Yasiel Puig:  Who knows with the mercurial Puig who has all the natural talent in the world but who can't keep his head on straight.
53. Carlos Gomez:  Back in Texas where Gomez saved his quickly fading career the second half of last season.  There is still some power/speed numbers to be had here but it looks like Gomez' days of batting .280 are finished.
54. Joc Pederson:  I was a big fan prior to 2015 but no longer as Pederson is a huge average-killer whose minor league steals never made it to the majors.
55. Jorge Soler:  Post-hype sleeper alert here as Soler gets a fresh start in Kansas City to show his minor league promise was not a fluke.
56. Corey Dickerson:  Bombed the first half of last season as Dickerson dealt with his new spacious surroundings with the Rays but finished with 24 homers.  Look for some minor gains across the board this season as Dickerson is now likely more comfortable in his new home.
57. Jacoby Ellsbury:  While he might be able to swipe another 20 bags, Ellsbury's average is sinking and his power is in hiding.  Throw in all the typical injuries and Ellsbury should be avoided.
58. Jay Bruce:  If you want 30 home runs and a .260 average at best, this is your guy.
59. Michael Conforto:  I still believe Conforto is set to be a big hitting star but the Mets' outfield is a bit crowded.
60. Brett Gardner:  Now nothing more than a 15-20 steal guy who can pop some home runs.  The flash has long left the station.
61. Leonys Martin:  Found some power to go with the always solid speed last season but Martin finished terribly.  He remains a firm outfielder 3 player this season.
62. Rajai Davis:  Always seems to find the at-bats and put up big steal numbers.  Aging but Davis swiped 43 bags a year ago and will start for the A's.
63. Max Kepler:  Opened eyes by hitting 17 homers and stealing 6 bases in just 396 at-bats.  Struggled badly against lefties though and Kepler was horrible in September.  
64. Tyler Naquin:  All in all Naquin was excellent replacing Michael Brantley as he went 14/6 and batted .296.  Was not much of a prospect though so Naquin could easily come back to earth.  Also not guaranteed playing time with a healthy Brantley.  
65. Michael Saunders:  Love the landing spot in Philadelphia where Saunders' good power can remain potent.  Just understand though Saunders doesn't run anymore (1 steal last two years) and his average is always ugly.  
66. Jason Heyward:  Was beyond brutal in his first go-round with the Cubs but Heyward can only go up from here.  Good for 20 steals and a few homers if all breaks right.
67. Melvin Upton:  Quietly had a nice year with 20 homers and 27 steals and now plays home games in Toronto.  Yes please despite the ugly average.
68. Domingo Santana:  Yet another outfielder who can hit homers but struggles with the average.  Santana could land a prominent spot in the Milwaukee order again this season,
69. Hunter Renfroe:  Talked about him earlier in day but in summary, big power potential.  
70. Alex Gordon:  Aging and coming off a terrible season.  Gordon's speed is long gone and his average is falling under the weight of an increased K rate.
71. Andrew Toles:  Could catch on with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toles has hit at all levels.  Mostly a lottery pick.
72. Steven Souza:  Has some power/speed juice but a good average for Souza is .250.  
73. Cameron Maybin:  Has had a tough time staying healthy lately but Maybin was actually pretty darn good on a per game basis the last two seasons.  
74. Mallex Smith:  Could steal a crazy amount of bases as long as the hits keep falling.
75. Jarrod Dyson:  Another speed demon who could pile up steals in a hurry.  
76. Aaron Judge:  Not sure if Judge will even make the team but the power is immense.  
77. Nick Markakis:  Now mostly a decent average and good runs/RBI guy and not much else.  
78. Jayson Werth:  He has no more speed and an average that keep dipping but Werth at least can pop some homers.  
79. Roman Quinn:  Stole 41 bags last season in the minors for the Phillies but could be blocked after Saunders signed. 
80. Avisail Garcia:  The hype has not matched the results here and so Garcia is nothing more than a backup bat.
81. Manuel Margot:  See our Draft Sleepers for details on this speedster.  Looks like a young version of Ben Revere.
82. Shin-Soo Choo:  Can still hit for power in a great ballpark but Choo's injuries and total elimination of speed make him just a boring veteran.
83. Ben Revere:  Healthy, fresh start, and good track record makes Revere a good guy to buy low on as your speed merchant.
84. Scott Schebler:  Hit .311 with 13 homers at Triple-A last season and will get a good chance to stick on the rebuilding Reds this season.
85. Denard Span:  Shocked with 21 home runs last season but that number is a big outlier for Span and his career.  Drop to just 5 steals and a shoddy .266 average shows Span's age.
86. Hyun-Soo Kim:  Kim showed in part-time duty last season that he can handle the bat but he needs to play more to gain additional fantasy baseball prominence.
87. Robbie Grossman:  Looks like a Quad-A player to me but Grossman is still just 27 and hit 11 homers in just 332 at-bats last season.
88. Alex Dickerson:  Power/speed guy who lit up Triple-A last season (.382 in two months there) but Dickerson is already 27 and has to show he is not another Quad-A guy.
89. Gerardo Parra:  Parra's first season in Colorado didn't go well and now he could be pushed to the bench by David Dahl.
90. Angel Pagan:  Can still run a bit and hit around .280 but Pagan is clearly on the down slop of his career.
91. Seth Smith:  If you play him just against lefties in a platoon on your roster, Smith can help with his power.
92. Kevin Pillar:  Was very disappointing last season when it looked like Pillar was on the verge of becoming a decent power/speed guy.  Now likely getting squeezed out of a meaningful role.
93. Colby Rasmus:  We have tired of the all-or-nothing game of Rasmus who will destroy your team average while hitting some bombs.
94. Paulo Orlando:  Get set to move up Orlando is he nets a starting job this spring as he is a solid hitter who can run.
95. Brandon Drury:  Opened some eyes with good overall hitting early on last season but Drury is just a bench outfielder.
96. Nori Aoki:  Can hit .280 in his sleep but Aoki is not running anymore.
97. Franklin Gutierrez:  The nice 2015 story didn;t carry over into 2017.  Gutierrez could already be out of chances in Seattle.
98. Michael Taylor:  Only has value if injures open up an opportunity.
99. Trayce Thompson:  Yet another in a huge fraternity of guys who can hit for power and not average.
100.Socrates Brito:  Can run all day but again needs a chance.

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