We always are excited to start a draft. First round! The fantasy world is my oyster. Everybody available!
So let's look at the first round.
I'll use the order from a recent draft of mine and give personal snipets of what is thought of these first rounders...
1. Ronald Acuna Jr.
Acuna is the overwhelming choice at number one. Is he the best player in baseball? Nope, but we don't care.
We play fantasy baseball which embraces Power and Speed.
Acuna has lots of power and speed.
I've had the number one pick once and took Acuna.
2. Mike Trout
Trout, from year to year has been a number 1, 2, 3, or sometimes number 4 pick overall ever since the Forecaster said, "Dude, ain't that good!"
Well, the dude is that good. He really is the best player in baseball.
But, as a fantasy group, we are starting to see chinks in that he doesn't want to run as much.
Trout could totally stop running and still be a first ballot Hall of Famer at the end of his playing days.
We ding him for it.
I've had one number two pick and took Trout.
3. Christian Yelich
Yelich has had two incredible years. Overall, maybe even better numbers than Acuna or Trout during that time frame.
He's a beast.
Two years in a row, he has also complained of back ailments. Then missed most of September fouling a ball off and fracturing his knee.
The knee bone is not connected to the back bone, but other ailments make the back over compensate.
I have not drafted Yelich and will probably not roster him this year.
4. Mookie Betts
Betts was Ronald Acuna Jr. for awhile, taking over the top spot from Trout. He is fantasy goodness.
He goes from one hard hitting team to another.
His RBI falling in that, most likely, he will now be following a pitcher in the batting order.
The new ball park may ding his home run output as well.
He is in a contract year though and should be motivated by playing with a new team.
I haven't drafted him, but would.
5. Cody Bellinger
Bellinger has a lot going for him. If stealing a few more bases, I have no doubt that he would have been the number one choice for some drafters this year.
He has dual posionality. Hits in a lineup that will be better than last year.
And get this, he hit a homer in just over every 10 at bats...vs. lefties!
He's a monster.
I have only had the opportunity to take him once outside of the number one and number two picks I've had and I grabbed him.
6. Gerritt Cole
Everything seems so right about Cole.
Pitched in big games for Houston.
Former Yankee fan.
Boat loads of money.
I can't think of one thing in an analytical way to prevent Cole from being wonderful this year.
Ever have the feeling that something is going to go wrong though?
I don't know. Call it fantasy intuition. I like Cole. But I just feel like he is in for bad luck.
7. Jacob deGrom
Steadiest pitcher in baseball.
He may be the only pitcher that does not have a 'but' after listing achievements...well, except for his team.
The Mets do not win for him like other top round pitchers.
Still, that's not deGrom's fault and luck has a way of turning around Wins some year.
This may be the year.
I've drafted deGrom
8. Francisco Lindor
Will he get traded? Now/ Mid-year?
We don't know.
We do know he'll put up great numbers wherever he plays. Here is his roto stats during the last three years...
.277/110/34/85/21 in over 1,900 at bats.
Volume and fantasy goodness.
Does it matter where he plays?
I have drafted him a few times.
9. Trea Turner
Speed plays this year. Speed is behind a lot of our choices when drafting. It has become a limited commodity in the real game.
And anything limited in the real game is coveted by us.
In the past, I've turned my nose up at Turner.
This year though, as said, speed plays.
I've taken Turner twice.
10. Trevor Story
I liked Story more last year.
This year, I simply think his price is too high.
He has passed Nolan Arenado as the Rockies player in the first round this year. (More on Arenado and his type later)
Is Story a top ten fantasy player?
He was with this group of drafters. Not for me.
I have not drafted him this year.
11. Justin Verlander
A few years ago, I asked a top NFBC player why he never drafted Verlander.
He said, I don't want to be rostering him when he has his 'too old' season.
Verlander has been great every year since.
This year, I don't want to be holding the bag.
The Astros have a lot of problems. They may effect Verlander. I don't know if they will, but I won't have to worry about it.
I haven't drafted Verlander.
12. Juan Soto
Soto barely qualifies as being a base thief (12 last year).
Still, Soto just seems to be getting better.
And that is tough since he entered the Majors kicking ass.
Soto is the stud that everybody thought Bryce Harper would be. Remember Harper? Yeah, he used to be a first rounder.
I have drafted Soto a few times.
13. Alex Bregman
Bregman is falling like a rock and going in the second round of most drafts now.
He is a beast.
But, he is an Astros beast.
It should be interesting to see the effect this year.
I've drafted Bregman.
14. Max Scherzer
He was the number one pitcher for so long.
But, like Clayton Kershaw before him, he is now damaged goods.
He could come back and be great. OR not.
I haven't drafted him.
15. Walker Buehler
It looks like Buehler is trying to follow the deGrom path. Only with a good team.
The problem for him is that good team also likes to limit innings for young arms.
I expect Buehler's numbers to be good. I just expect them to be in under 200 Innings.
I've drafted Buehler.
So, do you see anything missing?
This will be the first year in NFBC history that will feature ZERO sluggers.
Sure, everybody but Turner can be deemed a slugger up above, BUT. they. All. Run.
Through the years we have had Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, Todd Helton, Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Tejada, David Ortiz, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, etc.
Four category players are no longer welcome in the first round.
This also means that no player who plays 1B or 3B exclusively, are not welcome in the first round.
Speed, or the lack of it, has made the first round a place where we have to get at least a little of that commodity.
Look at this...
Player A .255/68/23/83/24
Player B .311/129/32/115/8
They both play the same position.
And as shown, player B just beats the shit out of Player A in four categories. But, not in steals.
So, player A is taken ahead of Player B in just about every draft.
Player A is Jose Ramirez. Player B is Rafael Devers.
This is our 'Need for Speed' year.
Giancarlo Stanton can be found in the sixth round of some drafts.
Power is now, a given.
129 players hit 20 homers last year....129!
21 players stole 20 bases.
Five of those players?... First Rounders.
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