I hope you had a fantastic weekend and didn't draft Luke Voit before his injury news came out. This is why it makes sense to draft as close to the start of the season as you possibly can. Of course, you'll lose out on values like Andrew Vaughn who keep rising but for every prospect like Vaughn, we have a major injury like Voit or Zac Gallen. Outside of Voit, it was a massive weekend for news as team's are finalizing Opening Day rosters and teasing us with closer information.
Many still have their drafts, though, and that's why we wanted to focus on some of the tougher decisions based on average draft position. Would you rather have Ozzie Albies or Whit Merrifield in Roto/H2H categories leagues? How about Anthony Rizzo vs. Max Muncy in H2H points? We answer this questions and many more below and on today's podcast.
Also, the Fantasy Baseball Today Draft Guide is LIVE! It's a one-stop-shop to help anyone dominate their drafts that includes sleepers, breakouts, busts, rankings, analysis, tiers and more. The best part about it? It's free!
Luke Voit diagnosed with partially torn meniscus
It's a tough break for the Yankees and fantasy managers who have already completed their drafts -- Scott White being one of them! Scott just nabbed Voit 134th overall in our H2H Categories league For The People. Scott and I moved Voit, who will be shut down for three weeks before being re-evaluated, down to No. 11, while Chris sent him to No. 13 in his 1B rankings.
What's next? Jay Bruce will make the Yankees roster now and likely start in place of Voit. Mike Ford was already optioned to an alternate site a few weeks back. There's a chance they call back up Ford and this could turn into a platoon you'll want to avoid.
Instead of rushing to your waiver wire to scoop up Bruce, you should look to sign the following players to replace Voit in your lineups if you already drafted the Yankee to be your starting 1B or CI:
- C.J. Cron (rostered in 53% of leagues)
- Joey Votto (rostered in 53% of leagues)
- Jeimer Candelario (rostered in 55% of leagues)
- Christian Walker (rostered in 60% of leagues)
And for deeper leagues (the following players are all rostered in 40% of leagues or fewer):
- Amir Garrett and Lucas Sims are expected to open the season as co-closers. This is disappointing specifically for the Fantasy Baseball Today team because we were collectively high on Garrett as arguably the best value pick at the entire position. Scott is not freaking out about this because he thinks there will be a clear-cut front runner by Week 2 and believes it will be Garrett.
- Matt Barnes tested positive for COVID-19 and will be away from the team for 10 days. Adam Ottavino is the next man up and Chris thinks he's actually the better pitcher of the two. His velocity and pitch mix were the same in 2020, but the stats were different. He thinks a bounceback is certainly possible and Ottavino can run with the job if Barnes missed any time. Of course, it will be important to monitor this one since Barnes is not showing any symptoms and may be back with the team after the minimum 10 days.
- Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo told reporters on Sunday that he doesn't believe the team has a clear-cut closer. Scott is still investing in Joakim Soria here. Name to watch for the Diamondbacks if Soria loses his job: J.B. Bukauskas.
Jose Abreu (No. 41 overall) vs. Vlad Guerrero Jr. (No. 42 overall)
Scott is taking Abreu as he continued to be less than enthusiastic about paying the name brand price for Guerrero. Chris agrees and although Vlad is growing on me -- and I just got my first share of him in a recent draft -- it's a clean sweep; I'm also rolling with Abreu.
Max Muncy (No. 99) vs. Anthony Rizzo (No. 104)
For Chris, it's not even close, it's Rizzo. In H2H points leagues, the gap grows. As Chris pointed out, Rizzo was the No. 1 1B overall in the H2H points format in 2019. Scott leans Muncy specifically pointing to his position eligibility and flexibility, along with signs that Rizzo's power is on the decline. I like both of them, but to break the tie I am going with Rizzo and giving him the slight edge.
Ozzie Albies (No. 37) vs. Whit Merrifield (No. 39)
In Roto scoring, Scott likes Merrifield considerably more because he's likely to steal double the bases that Albies will. That's the category where they are the furthest apart, and it's the main reason you're drafting these players so high. Scott isn't paying the price for the difference in age and projections, but I think there's something to be said in investing in a 24-year-old in a better Braves lineup than a 32-year-old in the Royals lineup. Chris also sees a cap on Albies' ceiling because he has struggled so much more against right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers -- and two-thirds of the MLB pitchers are righties. So I don't even need to weigh on this one: Merrifield gets the win.
Chris and Scott believe McNeil might be as close to a zero in the power department as anyone else with a top 100 ADP overall. Scott still retains some hope that he has found power now, but it's a gamble. As Scott points out, if the power regresses, you're paying a massive premium for McNeil when you can get a David Fletcher hundreds of picks later. All three of us believe you're getting an Astros discount on Altuve. It's a clean sweep -- we're all rolling with Altuve!
In Roto scoring, Scott is more invested in Baez but has Torres ranked ahead. Baez has more upside despite being terrible this spring, but Scott doesn't think we should be putting too much stock in that. Baez is entering the contract year, while Torres is years younger. Chris doesn't feel like the plate discipline is catching up to Baez and he sees this one as a toss up. Having said that, despite having Torres ranked one spot higher, he sees the upside with Baez because of the stolen bases.
Other news and notes:
- David Price was scratched from Sunday's start with an illness. He will pitch a simulated game on Monday.
- Both Miles Mikolas and Kwang Hyun Kim will open the year on the IL. Daniel Ponce De Leon and John Gant will start in the rotation.
- Alejandro Kirk will be on the Blue Jays' Opening Day roster. How the playing time is divided between him and Danny Jansen is a different story. Chris and Scott both see the upside with Kirk and think that if he's performing well early in the season he can widen the gap in playing time between Jansen. It's important to keep in mind that he's still only 22 and he hasn't even played in 100 games so the Blue Jays may not want to overwork him.
- Adbert Alzolay made the Cubs' rotation, sending Alec Mills to the bullpen. Scott says it's time to pay attention to Alzolay as a sleeper in deeper and NL-only leagues.
- Robbie Ray won't make his first start of the season as he hurt his elbow falling down the stairs earlier this offseason.
- Drew Pomeranz returned on Friday and threw a perfect inning with 2 Ks. The Padres still have Emilio Pagan and they went out and signed Mark Melancon. Scott and Chris feel like the Padres will show us here what will happen, but they may look to keep Pomeranz for the high-leverage situations.
- Triston McKenzie and Logan Allen (drafted in 2015, not the one they just drafted in 2020) have both made Cleveland's starting rotation. Logan Allen has been dominant this spring: 14 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 18 K. He also carries with him strong minor league numbers: 3.31 ERA, 459 K in 440.1 IP. Scott is more excited about other scarcely-owned pitchers like Logan Webb, Daulton Jefferies and Carlos Rodon.
- Bruce Zimmermann has made the Orioles rotation and will start their third game of the season for those in deeper leagues. Zimmermann is throwing harder than ever and has also been dominant this spring: 9 shutout innings, 1 H, 3 BB, 10 K. He's allowed just one hit all spring.
- Carter Kieboom was optioned by the Nationals, which means Starlin Castro will start at third base with Josh Harrison at second base.
- Jameson Taillon won't start for the Yankees until April 7, their sixth game of the season. The team is just being cautious with him coming off his second Tommy John surgery.
- Taylor Trammell made the Mariners' Opening Day roster and is poised to start in left field. So far Trammell has shown pop and spring this spring: 13 for 43, five doubles, three homers, two steals. He averaged 38 steals in the minors.
- Myles Straw was removed from the lineup Saturday due to health and safety protocols. If this is a COVID-19 situation, which it sounds like it could be, he won't be ready for Opening Day.
- Jazz Chisholm will be the Marlins' starting second baseman to open the season. He has a high variance profile and strikes out a lot but he showed a lot of potential this spring -- power and speed -- and he's been early FAAB darling in NFBC leagues. He's a sleeper.
- James Paxton had another strong spring outing and his velocity is still up. Paxton went 4 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K on Saturday. I've moved him all the way up to SP47 in my rankings but both Scott and Chris are less enthused and still have Corey Kluber ranked ahead of him.
- Last but not least, the Angels optioned Ty Buttrey Sunday.
So which Fantasy baseball sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued first baseman can help you win a championship? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy baseball rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Will Smith's huge breakout last season, and find out.