It's already penciled in as a topic for discussion on Tuesday's Fantasy Baseball Today: If we were redrafting today, what would the first two rounds look like?
The easiest way to answer that question is to conduct a draft of sorts, as Adam Aizer, Al Melchior and I plan to do Tuesday. I've lived with my brain long enough, though, to know that I can't expect it to recall every one of the best players in their proper order in the heat of the moment. To do this successfully, I need rankings.
As one of the three CBSSports.com analysts, along with Al and Michael Hurcomb, who keep rest-of-season, position-by-position rankings, the task of creating a new top 24 should be easy enough, but when forced to put my money where my mouth is, I find that some of the top players at each position, particularly first base, could use some rearranging.
Here's what my first round looks like:
- Mike Trout, OF, Angels
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B/1B, Tigers
- Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks
- Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
- Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers
- Robinson Cano, 2B, Mariners
- Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Rockies
- Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins
- Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
- Max Scherzer, SP, Tigers
- Hanley Ramirez, SS, Dodgers
The top eight look about like they did in March. Cano falls a couple spots, but that has more to do with second base being even deeper than expected than Cano's slow start. He has too much of a history as a power hitter for the change in home venue to impact him this much.
Conversely, position scarcity is the main reason why Tulowitzki has risen so much. Not only has shortstop been as weak as advertised, but Tulowitzki has done his best to remind Fantasy owners just how much he stands out over everyone else at the position. These rankings are for Rotisserie leagues, but points will give us a better standard for comparison. As of Monday, Tulowitzki had outscored the second-best shortstop, Dee Gordon, by 44.5 points. The next-biggest advantage for a top scorer at any other hitter position was 11 for Brian Dozier at second base. And Gordon was second for him, too.
Stanton has obviously regained stud standing since the start of the season, and Braun has eliminated any concerns of a post-Biogenesis meltdown. Ramirez benefits from position scarcity here as well, though if not for the Jose Fernandez injury, he would belong in the second round.
So how does that look?
- Yu Darvish, SP, Rangers
- Adam Jones, OF, Orioles
- Jose Bautista, OF, Blue Jays
- David Wright, 3B, Mets
- Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers
- Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Blue Jays
- Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels
- Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
- Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Yankees
- Adam Wainwright, SP, Cardinals
- Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
- Prince Fielder, 1B, Rangers
If these rankings were for points leagues instead of Rotisserie, I'd make the case for Bautista to go in the first round. Like Tulowitzki, the longer he goes without an injury, the more he seems worth the risk. Much of his value comes from his walk rate, though, which doesn't matter so much in Rotisserie, and I expect his batting average to drop closer to the .260 range in time.
A week ago, Encarnacion probably would have ranked down with Votto and Fielder at the bottom of the second round, but his recent turnaround has closed the margin between him and his Toronto teammate. He suffers from the same walks-over-hits mentality as Bautista, making him even more valuable in points leagues.
Ellsbury falls a round or so since his stability doesn't count for as much this deep into the season. Plus, he's stealing at a lower rate than last year and hasn't added the power some thought he would at Yankee Stadium. Position scarcity also pushes the three third basemen ahead of him even though they haven't done much to date. Trust in the track record, right?
Clearly, I have faith in Fielder bouncing back and don't think Votto will get burned quite this badly in runs scored and RBI all season long. For what it's worth, Shin-Soo Choo is the one who just missed the list, so if you'd rather have him than those two, you won't catch too much flak from me.
So ... where did I get it right? Where did I get it wrong? Feel free to scream at me in the comments section, but you can watch us talk about it here during Tuesday's Fantasy Baseball Today.