Segura was terrific early on last season with 11 homers through June, but he hit only one after that. Another dozen homers with 30 steals and a good BA sounds pretty good, right? … Gennett and Weeks will battle for the keystone job. Gennett would hit for a good BA with no power and modest speed, while Weeks has already shown the ability to hit 20 homers with double-digit steals … I don’t know how Braun’s new, er, lack of chemistry will affect his play, but I’m betting on a return to form, and I’d feel comfortable taking him late in Round 1 … Many are betting on a bounceback season for Ramirez, and while that’s logical to a point, he’s going to turn 36 in June. A-Ram is outside of my top 12 at his position … Lucroy will be the fifth or sixth catcher on most fantasy draft boards. Look for another strong BA, 20 homers, and maybe 7-8 more stolen bases … A couple of years ago, if I had told you Gomez would become a top-10 fantasy outfielder and top-25 overall player, you’d have put me in an asylum. His BA might drop a bit, but otherwise a repeat of his 24-homer, 40-steal season appears likely … Reynolds, Overbay and Francisco huh? Even NL-only owners should be wary, but on the bright side, a part-time Reynolds can’t kill your team’s BA … Davis has become awfully trendy after hitting 11 homers in 56 games last season. Not a believer? Check Davis’ minor-league slugging percentages. I think he’ll hit 20 homers.
1. Kyle Lohse
2. Matt Garza
3. Yovani Gallardo
4. Wily Peralta
5. Marco Estrada
CL: Jim Henderson
The FOX Fantasy crew does not believe in Lohse; I have him ranked highest at SP68. He had a combined ERA of 3.19 from 2011-13, but with that low K rate, don’t you keep waiting for a dropoff? … Garza has had some tough injury luck over the past two seasons, but his solid career numbers make him a tempting SP4 … Early drafts suggest that we’ve all given up on Gallardo. His K rate dropped precipitously last season along with his fastball velocity. A bounceback is possible, but don’t count on it … Peralta wasn’t good last season, but he throws hard and is young enough (25 in May) to improve. Some are predicting a breakout, but I’ll go with modest improvement … Estrada whiffs plenty of batters despite being a soft-tossing righty, and doesn’t get himself in trouble with walks. He’s a top-50 starter on my board.
Henderson brings the gas and the strikeouts (75 K in 60 IP last season), and should have no trouble keeping the closer’s job. Francisco Rodriguez is next in line in case of injury or unexpected implosion.
Sleeper: Peralta. Again, I’m not completely buying into a breakout, but he’s got big stuff.
Jimmy Nelson, SP – Nelson could battle for a starting slot if Peralta falters. He throws hard, and has had some minor-league success. He’s NL-only material for now.
David Goforth, RP – Goforth needs to miss more bats with his big-time heat, and his 2013 move to the bullpen was promising. If all goes well in Double A or Triple A, he could help the Brewers and your NL-only team as a middle reliever later this season. It’s a longshot, though.