Here at BP, the local sites decided to band together to help provide you with some fantasy insights into the players from your favorite teams. Why did I agree to this? Specifically because most of the intro was already written, and I would rather write 2,000 non-intro words than spend 45 seconds trying to be original. I was truly made for the internet.
Note: All of the draft rounds below are based on a standard 5×5, 12-team rotisserie league with one catcher.
Worth Their Draft Spots
Mookie Betts, OF
2016 PECOTA Projections – .297, 18 HR, 71 RBI, 92 R, 25 SB
Current ADP – 22 overall, 8 among OF
If I told you in 2013 that Mookie Betts would be the first Red Sox taken in fantasy drafts in 2016, you would’ve said “who’s Mookie Betts?” That’s an exaggeration but illustrates just how meteoric Betts’ rise has been from interesting low-level minor leaguer to legit top-30 fantasy asset. He’ll flirt with both 20 homers and 20 steals, he’ll hit for a good average and 92 runs is pretty conservative if he stays healthy. If you go into the season with Betts as your no. 2 fantasy OF, your in terrific shape.
David Price, SP
2016 PECOTA Projections – 14 W, 3.19 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 204 K
Current ADP – 27 overall, 6 among SP
No pitcher is safe. But if a pitcher could be safe, Price would be that pitcher. Expect 200 innings, 200 strikeouts, 13-18 wins and a sub-3.50 ERA in 2016. And in 2017. And probably in 2018. And probably in 2026 because lefties never die.
Xander Bogaerts, SS
2016 PECOTA Projections – .282, 13 HR, 69 RBI, 65 R, 6 SB
Current ADP – 59 overall, 4 among SS
PECOTA is wrong. Xander is the best. Xander will hit 20 homers this year. He will drive in 80 runs. He’s going to steal more than 10 bases. He’s going to … ok, .282 looks about right. I get that Bogaerts is a major regression candidate thanks to his BABIP, but PECOTA can’t understand how naturally he generates power or how effortlessly he’s switched between offensive approaches. Xander is a monster, and he’s going to start nomsing this year. Just you wait.
Craig Kimbrel, RP
2016 PECOTA Projections – 3 W, 39 SV, 2.96 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 79 K
Current ADP – 67 overall, 3 among RP
Kimbrel had the worst season of his career in 2015. He struck out 36.4% of all batters he faced, posted a good ERA and nabbed 39 saves on a bad team. He’s pretty good.
David Ortiz, UT
2016 PECOTA Projections – .276, 30 HR, 94 RBI, 82 R, 1 SB
Current ADP – 85 overall, 9 among DH
Papi’s age is scary, but his 2015 production is quite inviting. While he’s definitely a threat to miss time (PECOTA’s 612 PA is a generous number), Ortiz should mash when healthy, particularly against RHP. Big Papi is ranked right behind Albert Pujols, but I’d take Boston’s older DH over Los Angeles’ brittle one for this season. Don’t be startled if Ortiz gets off to a cold start — he always does that.
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
2016 PECOTA Projections – .288, 12 HR, 58 RBI, 75 R, 9 SB
Current ADP – 167 overall, 16 among 2B
I was all prepared to put Pedroia in the busts category, but it appears as though fantasy leaguers have finally caught on that Pedroia’s best days are behind him. Still, a ranking as the 16th best second baseman is totally fair, and while PECOTA is being generous by forecasting 602 PA for our beloved Muddy Chicken, it’s also selling his power upside a little short. Odds are this is pretty close to what Pedroia’s line will look like, but in 500 PA. Make sure you have a good handicap if you draft him, but combining Pedroia with a decent backup could yield top-10 2B results.
Clay Buchholz, SP
2016 PECOTA Projections – 11 W, 3.71 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 136 K
Current ADP – 245 overall, 66 among SP
When you’re trolling for back-end starters, you may as well pick ones with upside, especially in shallower leagues. Enter Buchholz, who is usually good when healthy and always hurt a few times a season. You’ll probably only get 15-20 starts out of him, but 10-15 of those starts will be pretty good. He’s not easy to stream, because his effectiveness is based more on how he feels than his competition, but as we all know he’s capable of bouts of dominance. The guys being drafted right around him are Alex Wood, Aaron Nola and Kevin Gausman, so we’re not dealing with a steady group.
Hanley Ramirez, OF/1B
2016 PECOTA Projections – .272, 20 HR, 73 RBI, 71 R, 13 SB
Current ADP – 119 overall, 34 among OF, 17 among 1B
You’re going to want to buy low on Hanley Ramirez. The man has shown he can play a competent first base this spring, still has insane natural hitting ability, now has a year of playing in the AL under his belt and should be batting in the midst of a very strong lineup. I get PECOTA’s projection and it would represent something of a bounceback, but that’s certainly not Ramirez’s ceiling. Thirty homers and 90 RBI from an OF-eligible player isn’t out of the question here, and in redraft leagues I’d take Ramirez ahead of guys like Christian Yelich and Ben Revere, who have slightly higher ADPs.
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
2016 PECOTA Projections – .281, 18 HR, 75 RBI, 64 R
Current ADP – 296 overall, 28 among 3B
I’m as surprised as you are that Sandoval is listed here, but c’mon … 28th among third baseman? As bad as Sandoval was last year — and he was truly terrible — the man was too good for too long to draft behind the likes of Luis Valbuena or Eugenio Suarez. I don’t expect Sandoval to threaten for a top-10 finish at third any time soon, but if a sleeper is someone who’s being underdrafted, he fits the bill. PECOTA likes him to rebound, so that’s something.
Blake Swihart, C
2016 PECOTA Projections – .265, 9 HR, 48 RBI, 49 R, 5 SB
Current ADP – 236 overall, 17 among C
Sure, if you’re in a 12-team one-catcher league you *could* settle for a boring, safe option like Matt Weiters or Yadier Molina. Or you could understand that players like that will be on waivers anyway, and you could shoot for Swihart and his upside. After a rough start to his (rushed) MLB career, Swihart was on fire in the second half of 2015, hitting .303/.353/.452. That overstates his upside, but Swihart has the potential to hit .280 or better with 15 homers and 5-10 steals, and he could do it in 2016. It’s not altogether likely, but it’s worth gambling on.
Rusney Castillo, OF
2016 PECOTA Projections – .264, 12 HR, 52 RBI, 58 R, 14 SB
Current ADP – 310 overall, 76 among OF
While it’s perhaps unfair to make final calls on Castillo as a player given his atypical developmental path, what we’ve seen so far suggests that he’s more powerful and a far worse baserunner than he was billed as coming out of Cuba. The good news is he’s still just 28 and his glove should buy him solid playing time in the outfield. The bad news is he’s looked helpless against right-handed pitching, and the Red Sox acquired Chris Young — another lefty-mashing outfielder — who could easily eat into Castillo’s playing time. It’s not that being drafted 76 overall among OF is unreasonable for Castillo, it’s just that without 20-plus steals, his upside is unspectacular.
Rick Porcello, SP
2016 PECOTA Projections – 11 W, 3.94 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 133 K
Current ADP – 317 overall, 92 among SP
Joe Kelly, SP
2016 PECOTA Projections – 8 W, 4.45 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 97 K
Current ADP – 431 overall, 137 among SP
I truly think Porcello is better than the pitcher we saw last year. I just don’t think he’ll be good enough to justify owning in most dynasty leagues. I truly don’t think Kelly is better than the pitcher we saw last year. I don’t think he’ll be good at all, despite the fact that he has Great Stuff.
Stay away from drafting Porcello and do not draft Kelly.
Deeper/Keeper League Options
Eduardo Rodriguez, SP
2016 PECOTA Projections – 8 W, 4.00 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 98 K
Current ADP – 282 overall, 78 among SP
Even with Rodriguez’s knee injury in mind, it appears I am significantly higher on E-Rod than PECOTA is. While the young lefty certainly had an up-and-down rookie season in 2015, he showed the stuff needed to profile as a solid mid-rotation starter, and he was capable of mowing down lineups during his better moments. Rodriguez won’t be a model of consistency when he returns to the mound (probably in May), but he should miss more bats than PECOTA suggests. He’s a nice choice to stream in favorable matchups when he returns.
Travis Shaw, 3B/1B
2016 PECOTA Projections – .246, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 26 R, 1 SB
Current ADP – 329 overall, 31 among 3B, 42 among 1B
Shaw is the talk of the town after an insanely good spring training and Sandoval’s continued struggles. I think people are too bullish on him now, but there’s no question that Shaw has power and that he’s built a role for himself on this team. Don’t expect more than 300 PA and 15 homers, but that’s got appeal in deeper leagues that allow daily lineup adjustments.
Henry Owens, SP
2016 PECOTA Projections – 4 W, 4.26 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 50 K
Current ADP – 495 overall, 150 among SP
Brian Johnson, SP
2016 PECOTA Projections - 4 W, 4.06 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 51 K
Current ADP – not among top 500
These two are grouped together because they are young, left-handed, don’t have rotation jobs and shouldn’t be trusted in shallow leagues. Opt for Owens if you want upside, as his deception and swing-and-miss changeup should let him miss bats at a regular clip. If you want stability, go with Johnson, who won’t pile up the strikeouts but is likely to have a lower WHIP and provide you with a lower variance of performance. If I had to pick one to stream, it would definitely be Owens.
Brock Holt, UT -
2016 PECOTA Projections – .276, 3 HR, 31 RB, 43 R, 8 SB
Current ADP – 332 overall
He can play every position, will score runs and will hit for a decent average. If you don’t think that matters, you’ve never played in a 20-teamer.
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