Fantasy baseball is my passion. I am more involved in baseball than any other sport tenfold. This results in me having a lot of fantasy baseball leagues and thus partaking in many fantasy baseball drafts. I, like the rest of my Fake Teams crew (and many of you reading this), make preseason rankings. I take those rankings into the draft room and follow them to a T, to an extent, on draft day. Here are a few guys I keep drafting in at least half of the leagues I play in.
Gary Sanchez, Yankees
I’ve been advocating towards grabbing Sanchez early since January. He’s the only catcher who can return top 50 overall value making him the only catcher I’m willing to pay the asking price for. In the leagues I didn’t grab Sanchez, I picked my catcher in the last round. I’ve taken Sanchez 32nd overall in a 12-team league and I’ve also spent $27 on him in an auction league (Posey went for $36 in that league for some reason). I’m taking a shot on Sanchez in 2018 and, even if I miss, the waiver wire catchers are about the same as most team’s starting catchers anyway.
Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
I guess I’m just higher on Bellinger than the rest of the industry. I have him ranked just inside the top 20 at 19th overall. He’s just ahead of Anthony Rizzo and Aaron Judge for me. I really haven’t had to reach for him there though. I got him at $13 in an auction and spent a fourth round and a fifth round pick on him in other leagues. I see Bellinger as a future first rounder as soon as 2019. He won the NL Rookie of the Year award unanimously with 39 home runs and 97 RBI in just 132 games last season. I wouldn’t be surprised if he led the NL in home runs this year.
Trea Turner, Nationals
I’ve had some weird drafts this year. In the leagues I landed Turner, I took him 16th and 17th overall. I was shocked he fell that far! PECOTA has him projected for 19 home runs, 68 RBI, 51 steals, 102 runs scored, and a .290 average. That would have made him the #3 overall hitter in fantasy last season in roto leagues. He could be even better! It’s not too hard to justify drafting him.
Adam Eaton, Nationals
The forgotten man in Washington, I have Eaton 77th overall, but his ADP on FantasyPros is 151. This is crazy town! Eaton’s worst case scenario hitting leadoff for the Nationals, who were fifth best in baseball in runs scored, is still a near top 100 player. His upside is 15 home runs, 20 steals, 120 runs scored, and a near .300 average. He has a real shot at leading baseball in runs scored and he currently can be bought for a pick past the top 100.
Ronald Acuna, Braves
The hype is real and I’m glad I’ve got him in multiple leagues before the last weekend of drafts. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go top 50 in some leagues this weekend. Acuna has Mike Trout upside! I know that’s crazy but it’s legit. PECOTA has him projected for 500 at bats resulting in a .268 average, 19 home runs, and 26 steals. As a rookie! As a 20-year-old! Amazing! Acuna might not be called up until mid-April, but he could be the reason you win your fantasy league in 2018.
Gerrit Cole, Astros
I wrote about Cole last week in my starting pitchers to target. Not much has changed since then. Cole is just two seasons removed from a 19-8 season with a 2.60 ERA and 8.7 K/9. He was essentially the same last season except he gave up more than twice the home runs. I think his 2018 season closer resembles his 2015 in which he was fourth in NL Cy Young voting. This could be the year he breaks into the top 10 starting pitcher he was hyped to be as a prospect coming into the league.
Blake Snell, Rays
Snell was outstanding down the stretch last year. Over his final eight starts, Snell posted a 2.62 ERA 0.99 WHIP and a 9.5 K/9. This includes his final start of 2017 in which he went seven scoreless innings allowing just two hits while striking out 13! PECOTA has him only throwing 132 innings in 2018 but they see his K/9 at 10.4. He has top 25 upside at starting pitcher and his current ADP is 203 overall makes him the 57th starting pitcher taken. Plus, in a recent interview, Chris Archer talked about the Rays plan in using the four-man rotation. He said Jacob Faria and Nathan Eovaldi would be asked to get through the opposing lineup twice. Day five would be a bullpen game. That leaves Archer and Snell to pitch as deep into the games they start as long as they remain effective. This is an under-the-radar comment which could mean we see Snell approach 185 innings if he stays healthy.