Fantasy rankings: Differences of opinion on Bogaerts, Cano
Have you seen our recently-published fantasy baseball player rankings? If not, you should check ’em out RIGHT NOW.
When you’re done, come on back here to discover where I disagreed with colleagues Ryan Fowler and Adam Meyer. I know I’m right in all cases, of course, but see if you agree.
Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals
Positional rankings: Fowler 4, Meyer 6, Halpin 9
I like Molina, but he’s a 32-year-old catcher with a lot of mileage who saw his offensive numbers take a dive (.719 OPS) last season. Could he rebound? Sure, but betting on that doesn’t seem smart.
First base: Todd Frazier, Reds
Positional rankings: Fowler & Meyer 14, Halpin 10
These rankings aren’t dramatically different, and Frazier would be more valuable for you at third base. But, after a 29-homer, 20-steal season, Frazier seems like a better bet than Joey Votto, Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols.
Second base: Robinson Cano, Mariners
Positional rankings: Fowler & Meyer 1, Halpin 3
Again, not a big disparity, but when you’re drafting up near the top you can’t make mistakes. Yankee Stadium is an EASY park for lefthanded home-run hitters, while Safeco Field played slightly below-average in that department last season. That makes the 32-year-old Cano a different fantasy proposition than before â he’ll struggle to reach 20 homers again, and his other power numbers are likely to stay at good-but-not-great levels. You can accuse me of irrational exuberance on Anthony Rendon (who also qualifies at 3B), but I’m all-in after last year’s fantasy bonanza. Same for Altuve, who stands a good chance of batting .300 with 50 steals.
Third base: Chase Headley, Yankees
Positional rankings: Fowler 25, Meyer 27, Halpin 14
Yankee Stadium tips the scale again. Headley batted .243 last season, but with a .301 BABIP (career BABIP: .331) and a line-drive rate of 27 percent. If he keeps hitting the ball hard, his BA will improve. His HR total is likely to approach 20, thanks to the 157-foot right-field fence in the Bronx. Headley is no star, but he can definitely play on my 12-team mixed league squad.
Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
Positional rankings: Fowler & Meyer 9, Halpin 15
And I thought I liked Bogaerts. Fowler and Meyer are in line with the NFBC ADP, so am I the crazy one? Nah. Bogaerts should improve and might be a star someday, but he’s coming from a very low baseline (.660 OPS in 2014) and he has no speed. A .260 BA with 15-18 home runs would be a nice step forward, but that’s not a top-10 shortstop.
Outfield: Jayson Werth, Nationals
Positional rankings: Fowler 37, Meyer 42, Halpin 22
Werth will be 36 in April, and offseason shoulder surgery puts his Opening Day availability in doubt. But over the last two seasons, he’s ranked fifth among outfielders in BA (.305), T-12 in runs, 16th in homers and RBI, and T-25 in stolen bases. Unless you’re really worried about Werth’s shoulder, you should grab him as a top-30 outfielder.
Starting pitcher: James Shields, free agent
Positional rankings: Fowler 20, Meyer 19, Halpin 33
Shields has thrown 200-plus innings for eight consecutive seasons. That’s a testament to his durability … but doesn’t it also mean there’s plenty of mileage on his arm? Shields’ K rate dipped to a below-average 7.14 per nine innings in 2014, and his FIP was a so-so 3.59. Unless he lands in a pitcher-friendly home park, he won’t be worth his draft slot.
Relief pitcher: Addison Reed, Diamondbacks
Positional rankings: Fowler 25, Meyer 29, Halpin 15
Reed gives up too many fly balls and home runs â like, waaaaay too many. He also misses plenty of bats, throws an above-average amount of strikes, and appears to have the D-backs’ closer role. He might lose it at some point, but we could say that about 15 other guys, too. As your second closer in a mixed league, he’s fine.