FANTASY BASEBALL 2016
VALUE VALUE VALUE!
Since Sam continually reminds me that my Fantasy Baseball posts have for 2-3 years had the highest word count per post on this blog, I will explore brevity.
Below are some high-value picks for your 2016 fantasy season. Seasons are won by filling out your roster past the first 5 or 6 rounds with productive players, often with substantial upside. Long after the easy early choices of Trout, Miggy or Kershaw have past, one must start sculpting a team around those early round picks. So enjoy these suggestions.
*Not making the list, but worth strong consideration are Billy Burns (OF – OAK), Patrick Corbin (SP – ARZ), Denard Span (OF – SF) and Victor Martinez (DH – DET). All great value.
C : Salvador Perez (KC) (25 yo)
Consistent backstop – and only 25 years old. 21 HR and 70 RBI in 2015. Look for him to bring the average up to .270, hit 26 HR’s and possibly get to 85 RBI in 2016. Draft him and just leave him in your lineup. Nobody wants to think about backup catcher options throughout the season. Unless you draft Posey (2nd round) or Schwarber (4th) – Perez is the best option, and frankly not much of a drop-off.
1B : Brandon Belt (SF) (27 yo)
An unsung 1B option in a world full of boppers and K’s. A .280 BA in 2015 is great – as well as 33 doubles. Look for him to break the 25 HR barrier in 2016 – as well as reach 80 RBI. So far this Spring, he is batting .395 with 19 RBI and 5 HR’s in 16 games. A great option for a second 1B slot, UT, or OF (which he will soon become eligible for).
2B: Josh Harrison (PIT) (28 yo)
A jack-of-all-trades with eligibility at 2B, 3B and OF. His versatility to roster in the infield makes him quite valuable. He is a career .284 hitter who can contribute across every category but HR’s. He has the starting 2B job in Pittsburgh, so a full-season of his across the board production could see spikes in all his counting stats.
3B: Maikel Franco (PHL) (23 yo)
Franco batted .280 with 14 HR with 50 RBI and 22 doubles in only 80 games in 2015. This spring he is batting .292 with 8 HR, 21 RBI and 2 doubles in only 21 games. While Philadelphia is a weak team this year, it seems that Franco has the skills to put up some impressive regular season stats all by himself. ESPN projects him for 23 HR’s and 80 RBI. I could see him hitting 31 HR easily…
SS: Ketel Marte (SEA) (22 yo)
Marte starts the season as the SS of the Mariners – and on the cusp of the leadoff spot in the order. ESPN projects him at .278 BA, 85 R, 49 RBI and 32 SB for 2016. I think Marte is the “real-deal” and will only benefit from an improved and more mature SEA offense behind him. May also be eligible for an OF spot.
OF: Gerardo Parra (COL) (28 yo)
Parra is an across-the-board kind of player. He will get you points in various categories each week. He scores runs and hits for a high average. He steals a few bases and hits a few HR’s. However, he is now moving to COORS Field, so look for his doubles and HR totals to increase. He is a perfect 3rd OF option that will contribute across categories, and could have a breakout season in his new hitter-friendly park. Consistency = value.
OF: Michael Conforto (NYM) (23 yo)
Conforto has the raw skills to make a huge impact on the Mets this season. He has tremendous power, and a ton of swagger. He could be a true “breakout star” of 2016. Frankly, if given the opportunity to play everyday, I think his season numbers could be comparable to Yoenis Cespedes. Not bad for a guy going undrafted in many leagues.
SP: Aaron Sanchez (TOR) (23 yo)
Sanchez is looking to fit into the #2 or #3 role for the Blue Jays. A massive offense behind him should produce a ton of Wins. His potential for K’s is massive, and in his 3rd year he will look to lower his ERA a bit. Currently this spring he has a 1.35 ERA with 19 K’s in 20 IP. He is young, so expect some bumps in the road – but the Blue Jays think highly enough of him to imagine him as a front of the rotation starter. His 1.4 BB/9 this spring is very encouraging. Sanchez could easily be your reliable and breakout #3 starter in your lineup.