The Super Bowl hasn’t even been played yet, so it’s way too early to firm up your fantasy baseball draft prospects – especially with news out today that the season may be delayed a month. But with that said, let’s start looking at some position players I like. Today’s it’s A-C.
José Abreu – The reigning AL MVP has a career OPS of .870 and a career batting average of .294, which makes him a four-category player in my book. It’s surprising that in early fantasy drafts he’s going in the fourth or fifth round. I wouldn’t hesitate to take him there but not much higher.
Ronald Acuña Jr. – Although his batting average in 2020 was only .250, he’s a five-category player and still deserves to be one of the top draft picks. He has a rare combination of speed and power, although he also ran less in 2020. If he runs less in 2021, he may not be No. 1 in Roto.
Pete Alonso – As expected, he regressed in 2020, with his average dropping 30 points. But his home run production still makes him attractive. With the Mets getting better players in the lineup in 2021, he’s worth grabbing if he slips into the sixth or seventh round, which is a real possibility.
Jose Altuve – He posted career lows in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He also recorded a career-high 18.6 percent strikeout rate in 2020. If he sounds like a player to avoid, he probably is unless he slips to eighth round. Then, I’m a buyer based on his superior pedigree.
Yordan Alvarez – I had a very bad taste in my mouth last year when I took him with the 38th pick in the draft and he played two games. Having knee injuries at his age is not good, but he still might be a value if he falls far enough. When I say far enough, I mean the eighth or ninth round.
Nolan Arenado – The new Cardinal third baseman slumped a little bit in 2020, with his average and OPS dipping to the lowest points since his rookie year. A four-category player, he has a lifetime OPS of .890 and batting average of .293. If he slips to the third or fourth round, I’m interested in him.
Cody Bellinger – He took a big step back last year after a breakout in 2019. But he can contribute in five categories if healthy. His injury last year, sustained in the NLCS celebration, was concerning. If others discount him enough, however, he’s worth a late second or early third round selection.
Mookie Betts – The Dodgers are building their team around him, and he’s the darling of most analysts. I think he may be slightly overrated, however. His walk rate did drop a bit in 2020, and he struck out at a career-worst 15.4 percent. If he slips to late in the first round, you can take him.
Bo Bichette – The 22-year-old Blue Jays shortstop has flashed potential, playing parts of the last two seasons. He’s slashing .307/.347/.549 with 16 home runs, 44 RBI, 50 runs and eight stolen bases. But the small sample size concerns me. Take him if he slips to the fourth round in your draft.
Xander Bogaerts – The 28-year-old Red Sox shortstop has a career batting average of .289 and .805 OPS. Unlike many players, 2020 was not a down year for this four-category contributor. I’ve benefitted from owning him the past two years. He’s well worth a fourth round selection.
Michael Brantley – The 33-year-old slashed .300/.364/.476 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 24 runs scored and two stolen bases over 187 plate appearances for the Astros in 2020. He’s a career .297 hitter and can hit 20 homers and steal 10 bases. If he’s still on the board in the 12th round, pounce.
Alex Bregman – I’m willing to overlook his only down year in 2020 because it was 2020. He has a lifetime OPS of .877 and batting average of .272. He is also eligible at two positions. If he’s available late in the second round, or early in the third round, I’m interested in owning him again on my team.
Nelson Cruz – Like a fine wine, Cruz just seems to get better with age. He’s 40, but he was still one of MLB’s preeminent power threats for the 2020 season. He’s back as DH with the Twins and could still blast 40 home runs. If he’s still on the board in the 9th round, I would gleefully take him on my team.