With Spring Training officially underway, I am getting the fantasy baseball jitters. A wise man once told me: “No one cares about your fantasy team.” But I looked that wise man in his corneas and told him to STFU because I care about your fantasy team. No one likes the guy that joins a serious league and then abandons his team after Week 10 so listen up, I’m going to take you on a trip through my little brain and give you some thoughts on some players that are either underrated, overrated, sleepers, or scary picks.
Justin Verlander SP – Scary
Verlander is coming off of a Cy Young year (stolen from Gerrit Cole) where he threw up a 2.58 ERA, 21 wins, and 300 strikeouts. However, the guy is 37 years old and has to fall off at some point, right? His ZiPS projection has him ending the 2020 season with 3.22 ERA, 16 wins, and 243 strikeouts. Still pretty f’n good but I wouldn’t want to use a top pick on an old man; those are for players in their prime. MLB.com has him ranked #10 overall and #2 for SP
Jonathan Villar 2B – Overrated
Sure, Villar is going to get you points for all of those stolen bases, but that’s about all he has to offer. He hit 24 homeruns last year with the juiced ball in hitter-friendly Camden Yards but now who knows how the ball will travel, especially in Marlins Park. Don’t jump the gun just because you want to scoop up a second baseman. MLB.com has him ranked #35 overall and #3 for 2B. (Preposterous)
Corey Kluber SP – Underrated
Kluber had a rough 2019 season where he only made 7 starts because of a broken forearm. In the games he did pitch, he coughed up a 5.80 ERA. I have to believe that the ace material is still inside of him and with a full Spring Training, he will hopefully return to normal. Most projections have him hovering around a 4.00 ERA which I refuse to believe since he didn’t have an ERA higher than 3.50 between 2014 and 2018. MLB.com has him ranked #90 overall and #26 for SP.
David Price SP – Sleeper
Now by all means, don’t draft Price early. He has struggled with injuries in recent years and has gotten beaten up by the Yankees more times than I can count. However, he will mostly be on the mound in the pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium and in a way easier division compared to the AL East. Expect for him to get that ERA under 4.00 (I’m thinking 3.50) with a fair amount of wins to go with it as the Dodgers are projected to win 101 games. MLB.com has him ranked #145 overall and #44 for SP.
Alex Bregman 3B – Scary
The master of apologies himself. Listen, I believe Bregman is a very good baseball player, HOWEVER, with all of the uncertainty surrounding the sign-stealing and the various forms of it, do we 100% know that Bregman is the real deal and can put up the same numbers that he did in 2018 and 2019? Are you willing to use your top pick on a guy that has most likely cheated since he’s been in the league? MLB.com has him ranked #8 overall and #2 for 3B.
Chris Sale SP – Overrated
Sale has dealt with arm injuries recently and has seen a dip in velocity at times. Not to mention that he never goes to the gym to get over the 100-pound mark. He had a 4.40 ERA last year with 218 strikeouts in 25 starts but only 6 wins. I never believed that his velocity/effectiveness was sustainable in his size and now that he’s 30, he will need to figure something out to return to form. There are plenty of reliable SP to choose over Sale. MLB.com has him ranked #23 overall and #5 for SP.
Giancarlo Stanton OF – Underrated
The 2017 NL MVP is looking to make a comeback and stay on the field in 2020. Stanton’s tenure in New York has been “under-whelming” compared to the expectations as he hit 38 homeruns with 102 RBIs in 2018 and then only played 18 games in 2019. Most projections have him hitting 40+ homeruns with 110+ RBIs which would put him right back up there among elite outfielders. MLB.com has him ranked #65 overall and #16 for OF.
Mike Foltynewicz SP – Sleeper
This 2018 All-Star is looking to once again be the ace in the Braves’ rotation after a disappointing 2019 that saw him be sent down to the minors to figure things out. Luckily, in his last 10 starts of the regular season he had a 2.65 ERA and only let up 7 homeruns in 57.2 innings. Expect for him to get that ERA down below 4.00 if he doesn’t end up being a Cy Young contender. MLB.com has him ranked #172 overall and #52 for SP.
Jose Ramirez 3B – Scary
Ramirez was expected to be a major 5-category contributor in 2019 after flashing a 30HR/30SB 2018 campaign but fell short in every aspect of the game and fractured his hand. There is a very good chance that he returns to form since he’s only 27 years old but then again, he could very well be very average again. High-risk, high-reward. MLB.com has him ranked #21 overall and #5 for 3B.
Lucas Giolito SP – Overrated
Giolito definitely deserved to be an All-Star in 2019 as he put up a 3.15 ERA and racked up 120 strikeouts before the All-Star break. After the break, he started to falter a little bit and had a 3.76 ERA. Not to mention that he was literally the worst starting pitcher in 2018. For me, he’s a guy that I would pick up if I had to fill some slots. MLB.com has him ranked #53 overall and #16 for SP.
Tim Anderson SS – Underrated
While Anderson still has a ways to go before being considered among the best shortstops in the game, he would still be a solid option in later rounds. He hits for average (lead MLB in 2019) and has the ability to hit 20 homeruns and steal 20 bags. He should be heavily considered if your team is looking power-heavy early on. MLB.com has him ranked #135 overall and #13 for SS.
Luke Voit 1B – Sleeper
Voit experienced a sports hernia during the London Series that clearly bothered him in the second half of 2019 and kept him off the playoff roster. Prior to that, he was slashing .280/.393/.509 with 17 homeruns and 50 RBIs in 78 games. That’s a 36 homerun, 104 RBI pace if he played in all 162 games. Voit, when healthy, has been a god-sent for the Yankees and he should be the everyday first baseman in 2020. MLB.com has him ranked #198 overall and #12 for 1B.
I hope these help you when your draft comes around because, remember, I care about your fantasy team when nobody else does. Also, below are some honorable mentions:
- Justin Upton OF – Sleeper – #197 overall / #46 OF
- Marcus Stroman SP – Underrated – #161 overall / #50 SP
- Andrew McCutchen OF – Underrated – #162 overall / #37 OF
- Charlie Morton SP – Scary – #40 overall / #12 SP
- Justin DiSanto – Sleeper – #420 overall / #69 in my heart