The following rankings are a tiered approach, which I like using for my drafts. Outside of a handful of players I enjoy watching play this marvelous game, I don’t mind if I land Player X or Player Y – just as long as they produce for me. Using tiers helps me (and you) drafting by letting you know how many roughly equivalent players are available at a certain position at a certain time. If you have five outfielders in your fourth tier and only one third baseman in your second tier left, you want to go with the third baseman because chances are you can get one of those outfielders with your next pick.
I’ll keep these tiers updated throughout the season, so if you have any questions about them or your draft hit me up on Twitter.
Duh. I’m willing to take a risk on Stanton, because if he plays 100 games you’ll likely get 25 home runs minimum. Combine that with a waiver-wire pickup or one of the young studs I mention below and you can form a high-quality player. He’s just 26 and has the most power in the game. He’s worth the risk.
I have Springer ranked seventh, which would be tied for the second-highest ranking of the Astros’ slugger at Fantasy Pros…if I were cool enough to have my ranks posted there. I’ve taken a go-for-broke approach this year, but that’s nothing new for many fantasy players. I’m taking high-upside, fun players over boring veterans, and Springer, in 180 career games has 36 home runs and 21 steals. There’s nothing in his profile or career performance that tells me that those numbers aren’t repeatable or attainable in a season.
This is a very congested tier with power-speed threats, home-run leaders, and some uncertainty as well. I really like Blackmon here as his upper-teens power and 40-steal ability is pretty much almost unmatched. He’s a value almost anywhere you can get him. I think both Upton and Martinez are good values at their current draft spots. They should hit second and fifth, respectively, in a good Tigers lineup, and really the sky’s the limit for both of them. Cain’s going to be 30 in early April, but nothing he did in his career season last year shouts regression. He started playing baseball late, so that’s why it took him a while to break out. But he’s super-athletic, and his speed should remain elite even if he does slide some in other areas.
I would not spend too much of an early-round pick on Schwarber, as I think his plate discipline, troubles against lefties, and the Cubs’ crowded outfield will limit his performance. Somebody who should have no trouble matching projections this year is Eaton, who, from June 1-on last season, hit .311/.390/.471 with full-season paces of 18 homers, 26 steals, 107 runs and plenty of other extra-base hits. Polanco and Yelich are also personal breakout picks this year.
If you’re looking for some late-round power you can find it here. Davis, despite only 440 at-bats, finished 25th in home runs last year, blasting 28. His .258 Isolated power was 19th-best among all hitters. Yeah, he’s now hitting in a poor park, but he’s hit 22 and 27 homers the past two years, so he should be able to get you 25 again. Among hitters with at least 350 plate appearances Grichuk’s .272 Isolated power ranked 10th(!) as the now-24-year-old hit 17 home runs, 23 doubles and seven triples in only 103 games. Ramirez was a mixed-bag in his first year in Boston, but now he should be healthy and ready to repeat his 2015 first-half where he had 19 home runs and a .223 Isolated power.
Now here’s where you can get some late-round speed. I love Deshields this year. He had great plate discipline last year as a rookie, and he could come close to hitting 10 home runs with 30 steals this season at the top of a very potent Rangers’ lineup. I think he’s the most well-rounded speed option in this tier with the chance for more than just steals. I also think Ozuna and Parra have a lot of upside based on age/skill and home park/skill, respectively.
- Domingo Santana
- Socrates Brito
- Jorge Soler
- Keon Broxton