Projected Starting Lineup
C James McCann—If I knew that McCann would hit .250+ I would happily endorse him as a #1 catcher. Sadly, he hit .221 last year, and if he does that again, it becomes a huge problem for your team’s batting average. I still like him as a second catcher in two-catcher leagues, but right now he is nothing more than that.
1B Miguel Cabrera—Cabrera is going somewhere between picks 12-15 of most drafts right now which seems to be a nice spot for him. He is still going to hit over .300 and so long as he stays healthy, he is assured of another season of 30/100. I will gladly let others take Rizzo while I take Cabrera.
2B Ian Kinsler—For some reason I always seem to pass on taking Kinsler in drafts and auctions, but that is probably a mistake. I keep thinking that he is going to slow down one of these years, but he is surprisingly steady and produces great seasons year after year. I still won’t take Kinsler mostly because I won’t pay the $20 it will take to get him at my auction, but I am sure someone else will, and that person will benefit.
SS Jose Iglesias—Doesn’t it seem like Iglesias hits close to .345 in the first half of every season, only to slow down in the second half to slightly above replacement level statistics? I can see the slight value he brings to AL-only drafts, but I cannot imagine why anyone would want to roster him in a mixed league.
3B Nick Castellanos—Along with Miguel Sano, Maikel Franco, and Jake Lamb, Nick Castellanos is another young 3B ready to take the next step up in 2017. His batting average and power improved significantly last year, and if it looks like he will get 600+ AB (which I think he will), I easily see him increasing on those numbers. Best of all, Castellanos is going as like the 15th or 16th third baseman off the board in most leagues. Grab him at that price.
OF Justin Upton—Right now, Upton seems to be going in the 5th or 6th rounds of drafts which means that you can most likely get him as your No. 2 OF. When I think of Upton, I think of his tantalizing skill set which could mean 40+ HR and 15+ steals one day. Can he get there? Most likely not, but his upside makes him a great pick at your draft.
OF J.D. Martinez—Martinez is not flashy, but he is solid. Think .285 batting average to go along with 25-30 HR and 90-100 RBIs. Sometimes it’s good to draft players whose numbers you can count on—Martinez is that type of player.
OF Tyler Collins—Collins will play primarily against RHP while Mikie Mahtook will play primarily vs. LHP. I would not roster either of them on my seasonal teams, but I certainly could see myself playing them in DFS on nights where they bat in the top of the batting order.
DH Victor Martinez—He is certainly getting older, but he can still hit pretty well. He has lost his value at catcher (hasn’t played there since 2014) and he barely plays 1B (only 5 games last year), but he still provides a terrific batting average and decent power numbers. I generally don’t like to roster DH/utility type players due to their lack of versatility, but if I did, VMart would be right near the top of my list.
SP Justin Verlander—Verlander made a remarkable comeback last season, bringing back visions of his CY Young winning days. Because of this, he will most likely go in the 4th or 5th round of most drafts, but I think that I will be passing on him. I tend to avoid those players who throw a ton of innings in their careers. I still think he should be good for 15 wins and over 200Ks regardless.
SP Michael Fulmer—I was surprised at how well Fulmer pitched last year seeing that he wasn’t very dominant in the minors. Because of this, I can easily see some slight regression with his overall numbers in 2017. His ERA and WHIP seem unsustainable. That said, he still is the SP2 for a good team and should have the opportunity to throw 190-200 innings this year. I would be fine with Fulmer as my #3 Fantasy starter if it comes to that this year.
SP Jordan Zimmerman—How the mighty have fallen! Wasn’t it just a couple of years ago that Zimmerman was going for like $15-20 when he was the ace of the Washington Nationals? This just goes to show that when NL pitchers come to the AL, bad things often happen to their ERA and WHIP. When Zimmerman’s name comes up at my auction this year, I will make sure to stay quiet, lest anyone thinks I am bidding.
SP Daniel Norris—Norris was one of the top prospects in the Toronto system before he was shockingly traded to the Tigers. Last year, he showed promise (particularly in September), but he still let up too many base runners and allowed ten home runs in only 69 innings. He is a work in progress and has possible upside as a reserve round addition.
SP Anibal Sanchez—More of a name who has the occasional good start than anyone you can rely on these days.
RP Bruce Rondon—Rondon is only 26 even though it feels like he has been around for the past ten years. I love his fastball and think that he has the potential to close one day. I will watch Rondon closely this year, and I won’t hesitate to draft him in a league where holds are a category.
Closer Francisco Rodriguez—KRod is 35, but he is still getting the job done as closer. He is in no danger of losing his job, and I think that he is a great pick for those willing to wait on saves until the first round of top-tier closers go off the board.