James Anderson posed an interesting question to me on Friday's RotoWire Fantasy Baseball Podcast.
While discussing the Cincinnati Reds' offseason, James asked me which Reds player I think I'll own in the most leagues this year. I've been a lifelong Reds fan, and there are several players I hope to own in many leagues this year, including Joey Votto and Aroldis Chapman, but one player came to mind immediately: Devin Mesoraco.
I have Mesoraco ranked as my No. 3 catcher, and had him as my 76th overall player in my initial top-350, which was compiled into the RotoWire Roundtable composite rankings. Mesoraco hit more home runs last season than any other catcher (25), finished second at the position in RBI (80) and sixth in runs scored (54) despite playing just 114 games. Further, manager Bryan Price said earlier this month that he intends for Mesoraco to catch upward of 145 games this year. Admittedly, there may not be a ton of profit to be had at his current NFBC ADP (81.48), but I was the high man on him in the Roundtable and expect to be in many drafts and auctions this spring.
James' question got me thinking; which player from each team do I realistically expect to own the most this year? Obviously, I'm going to frequently miss out on the best fantasy option on each team, but which players am I highest on relative to others in the industry?
Arizona Diamondbacks: Yasmany Tomas (NFBC ADP: 150.32, my rank: 122) - I think I'll also own quite a few shares of Chris Owings this season, especially if his shoulder issues persist and drive down his cost, but I expect to be more willing than most to gamble on Tomas around rounds 8-10.
Atlanta Braves: Jose Peraza (NFBC ADP: 336.60, my rank: 287) - The uncertainty surrounding Peraza's ETA will create a nice profit margin for those in deeper leagues. Once he's up, he will almost certainly lead off for Atlanta, at least against right-handed pitching.
Baltimore Orioles: Steve Pearce (NFBC ADP: 225.15, my rank: 214) - Pearce made the most of his opportunity last season, smacking 21 homers in 383 plate appearances. His 17.5% HR/FB may fall dramatically, but he could also see an additional 100 plate appearance.
Boston Red Sox: Mike Napoli (NFBC ADP: 262.35, my rank: 193) - While Napoli's ADP figures to rise considerably as more people point out the value to be had at his current price, he could jump 4-5 rounds and I'd still be highly interested.
Chicago Cubs: Starlin Castro (NFBC ADP: 108.96, my rank: 106) - I don't imagine the stolen base production will rebound much but I think Castro hits at least .280 with 10-15 homers, and his runs and RBI totals will improve with a better lineup around him.
Chicago White Sox: Adam LaRoche (NFBC ADP: 147.77, my rank: 120) - LaRoche trimmed his strikeout rate to 18.4% thanks to a career-low 7.7% swinging-strike rate. I doubt the power falls off much, if at all, and he'll be batting behind Adam Eaton, Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu.
Cleveland Indians: T.J. House (NFBC ADP: 405.20, my rank: NR) - I didn't rank House in my top-350 but I have landed him in several mocks as an endgame target. He doesn't have a rotation spot but I think he could take one relatively early on.
Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon (NFBC ADP: 72.34, my rank: 54) - Blackmon was a top-20 hitter last season, and while his post-April numbers are probably more indicative of his true talent, I think he's being discounted too much. I was also the high man on Nolan Arenado by a decent margin, but I imagine there will be someone who likes him even more than I do in a lot of leagues.
Detroit Tigers: Joakim Soria (NFBC ADP: 290.14, my rank: 300) - If Joe Nathan loses his job in April, Soria could finish as a top-15 closer. Unfortunately, I think I'll miss out on Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes in a lot of leagues.
Houston Astros: Chris Carter (NFBC ADP: 120.80, my rank: 64) - As I discussed in my last blog post, Carter is being way undervalued due to his projected low average. His contributions in home runs, RBI and runs could be borderline elite, and if he sustains his post-All-Star break improvements from last year, he may push .240-.245.
Kansas City Royals: Danny Duffy (NFBC ADP: 271.53, my rank: 187) - The talent is there and his rotation spot is secure. Take it with a grain of salt, but Duffy said recently that he reshaped his physique in hopes of throwing 200 innings this season.
Los Angeles Angels: Andrew Heaney (NFBC ADP: 347.76, my rank: 290) - I'm probably out on Mike Trout (unless I have the top pick), Albert Pujols, Jered Weaver and Garrett Richards just given their costs, but I will gladly add Heaney around rounds 19-21 (in 15-team leagues) if he's there.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Jimmy Rollins (NFBC ADP: 163.18, my rank: 146) - Rollins was one of four players to hit 15-plus homers and steal 25 or more bases last season, and his BABIP was close to 20 points below his career mark. He's currently projected to lead off for the Dodgers against both lefties and righties.
Miami Marlins: Henderson Alvarez (NFBC ADP: 301.08, my rank: 291) - I thought I was pretty high on Mat Latos, but my ranking for him was the second-lowest of the five in the Roundtable. Alvarez doesn't miss many bats but his numbers in the ratio categories figure to be very useful.
Milwaukee Brewers: Jean Segura (NFBC ADP: 143.46, my rank: 162) - Sure, I have Segura ranked lower than his ADP, but I've landed him in several mocks. I'm expecting the average and stolen base total to rebound.
Minnesota Twins: Kennys Vargas (NFBC ADP: 274.47, my rank: 207) - James and I both had him right at 207, while Jeff Erickson and Derek VanRiper had him at 315 and 281, respectively. Michael Rusignola didn't have him ranked. Don't sleep on this guy.
New York Mets: Lucas Duda (NFBC ADP: 135.97, my rank: 97) - Duda was a $21 dollar player in 15-team roto leagues last year (assuming a 70-30 split for hitters and pitchers), and his reduction in strikeout rate lends hope to him sustaining that success.
New York Yankees: Nathan Eovaldi (NFBC ADP: 379.59, my rank: 277) - The right-hander's FIP was a full run lower than his ERA last season, and while the strikeout rate hasn't been good by any means, his win total could improve significantly.
Oakland A's: Jesse Hahn (NFBC ADP: 301.57, my rank: 234) - I'm not expecting Hahn to exceed 150 innings this year, but the talent is undeniable and even 150 innings of his ratios and strikeout rate would be highly useful.
Philadelphia Phillies: Ken Giles (NFBC ADP: 245.90, my rank: 188) - Quite simply, I think Jonathan Papelbon gets traded (quite possibly before Opening Day) and Giles takes over. Giles has the stuff to be a top-10 closer easily, perhaps even top five.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Neil Walker (NFBC ADP: 129.46, my rank: 96) - Walker finished as the No. 8 second baseman in rotisserie leagues last season, ahead of Daniel Murphy and Chase Utley. I don't see any reason to have him outside of my top 10 at the position heading into this year.
San Diego Padres: Jedd Gyorko (NFBC ADP: 227.46, my rank: 233) - While I don't love the player, the price seems entirely fair to me. Ian Kennedy may be more of a bargain.
San Francisco Giants: Joe Panik (NFBC ADP: 370.52, my rank: 298) - For a late-round depth add, you could do a lot worse. Panik should play every day and could bat second against right-handed pitching as he did down the stretch last season.
Seattle Mariners: Logan Morrison (NFBC ADP: 370.83, my rank: 314) - Many are overlooking Morrison. Health is a big concern, but I expect to be priced out on Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma.
St. Louis Cardinals: Jason Heyward (NFBC ADP: 83.80, my rank: 42) - Heyward posted the best strikeout rate of his career last season and I'm expecting his home run total to improve (6.5% HR/FB last season). He could go 20-20 and return Michael Brantley-esque value.
Tampa Bay Rays: Alex Cobb (NFBC ADP: 87.49, my rank: 70) - My 14th ranked starting pitcher, ahead of Julio Teheran, Gerrit Cole and Jon Lester.
Texas Rangers: Rougned Odor (NFBC ADP: 261.90, my rank: 184) - Jurickson Profar's impending shoulder surgery effectively locks Odor in at second base for the year, and I was high on him even before that news broke. He hit .296/.345/.481 in September as a 20-year-old.
Toronto Blue Jays: Drew Hutchison (NFBC ADP: 261.86, my rank: 295) - I wish I could say I will end up with a ton of shares of Marcus Stroman, but the buzz he's generating is through the roof and I expect to narrowly miss out on him in most leagues.
Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer (NFBC ADP: 26.86, my rank: 22) - Scherzer should dominate the NL, and the NL East in particular. Only Clayton Kershaw stands between him and the NL Cy Young award.