We have been spending time on the past three seasons and the data it gives us, but ranking players based on the past always misses something. Projections miss something too. That’s why we separate the two and eventually give you both before you start your drafts. So, we will see some new players on the board this time around because offseason moves always dictate some changes.
Just like last time, we are focusing primarily on six category formats. Even though walks are not included in five category leagues, they are crucial in evaluating the overall quality of the player. Each category is weighted equally. Naturally, you may be wondering why Steamer? Steamer tends to be fairly accurate and unlike some sources, they have projections on every one of our players.
Buster Posey– San Francisco Giants
Projection: .287, 13 HR, 69 Runs, 69 RBI, 3 SB, 62 BB
MLB Network took some flack for ranking Posey first instead of Realmuto. With the exception of the first couple of months, Realmuto approached career norms and he’s currently playing on a terrible team. That might change in the next month.
Yadier Molina– St. Louis Cardinals
Projection: .266, 16 HR, 58 Runs, 62 RBI, 6 SB, 35 BB
Before you go nuts, Molina is projected to have as many home runs as Realmuto, the same number of runs, and more RBI. They are projected at around the same average as well. Molina plays in a good lineup. In fact, they are almost the same player projection wise.
J.T. Realmuto– Miami Marlins
Projection: .267, 16 HR, 58 Runs, 61 RBI, 5 SB, 34 BB
Occasionally, a player gets overhyped. Is Realmuto the best catcher in baseball? Perhaps he would be on a new team with a neutral hitting environment. At this point, he appears to be baseball’s answer to Schrodinger’s cat.
Gary Sanchez– New York Yankees
Projection: .245, 27 HR, 65 Runs, 75 RBI, 2 SB, 48 BB
We often put too much credence in the previous season good and bad. Sanchez was on the bad side of things. Heck, that malaise even went to his defense as well. He is not as good or as bad as he has looked over the course of three seasons.
Willson Contreras– Chicago Cubs
Projection: .257, 14 HR, 51 Runs, 55 RBI, 4 SB, 45 BB
As teams and fantasy players have learned, value is determined by the gap between two players. It isn’t that above are better than Contreras, but by how much. That makes a difference when the perception doesn’t quite meet the reality. You can wait and get exceptional value on a guy like this.
Yasmani Grandal– Milwaukee Brewers
Projection: .237, 18 HR, 47 Runs, 51 RBI, 2 SB, 52 BB
No, you do not get extra credit for fielding. However, good fielding tends to keep players in the lineup and the fact that the Brewers’ depth chart is not as strong as the Dodgers depth chart makes some difference. These numbers might be a little conservative.
Danny Jansen– Toronto Blue Jays
Projection: .256, 11 HR, 44 Runs, 43 RBI, 3 SB, 33 BB
So, we get our first newcomer. The Blue Jays basically gave Russell Martin away because they wanted to fit a spot for Jansen. He may drop further then this because few casual fans have heard of him. Make sure he is somewhere on your list.
Salvador Perez– Kansas City Royals
Projection: .251, 20 HR, 50 Runs, 62 RBI, 1 SB, 16 BB
As per our usual caveat, bump him up a couple of spots in standard five category leagues. However, someday his lack of plate discipline will get him. Who knows when that day will come? That is all part of the fun of being a fantasy baseball player.
Francisco Cervelli– Pittsburgh Pirates
Projection: .256, 7 HR, 39 Runs, 38 RBI, 3 SB, 44 BB
Sometimes the musical chairs game works in reverse. The Pirates dangled Cervelli out on the trade market but no one bit. Considering that almost every team of need found someone. he might be stuck in Pittsburgh. There are worse places to be though.
Tucker Barnhart– Cincinnati Reds
Projection: .246, 7 HR, 38 Runs, 38 RBI, 2 SB, 37 BB
There are always comps at every position. The main difference between Cervelli and Barnhart is health. Others would say Barnhart is a better fielder as well, but that makes little difference to you and me (at least here in fantasy land).
Wilson Ramos– New York Mets
Projection: .261, 12 HR, 34 Runs, 42 RBI, 1 SB, 21 BB
This seems light for someone as accomplished as Ramos, but they do have Travis d’Arnaud, so maybe there will be fewer plate appearances available. Of course, the first time d’Arnaud sneezes, he will likely go on the ten day disabled list.
Mike Zunino– Tampa Bay Rays
Projection: .209, 16 HR, 38 Runs, 43 RBI, 1 SB, 27 BB
Elite power only gets you so far. If you can afford to hold your nose and go with a low batting average then he will give you nearly everything else. Of course, who knows how long the Rays can hold their nose.
Welington Castillo– Chicago White Sox
Projection: .241, 13 HR, 36 Runs, 40 RBI, 1 SB, 22 BB
He spent most of last season suspended for PEDs. So, the lack of playing time is not due to durability per se, but you do have to wonder how much he really has. He is worth a late round pickup as a backup though.
Jorge Alfaro– Philadelphia Phillies
Projection: .234, 11 HR, 36 Runs, 42 RBI, 2 SB, 19 BB
It’s often tempting to take an improved offense and extrapolate to the other members of that offense. This isn’t like basketball where you get more open shots or football where you get single blocked more often. You still have to hit no matter who else is on the lineup card.
Omar Narvaez– Seattle Mariners
Projection: .249, 6 HR, 35 Runs, 33 RBI, 2 SB, 37 BB
This was an under the radar add for the Mariners. He gets on base at a much better clip than Zunino. In real baseball, that outweighs the power that he gives up. In fantasy baseball it makes him a pretty decent fantasy bench option.
Jason Castro– Minnesota Twins
Projection: .225, 7 HR, 38 HR, 38 RBI, 0 SB, 44 BB
In real baseball, Castro is a pretty valuable catcher. He calls a good game behind the plate, has a strong throwing arm, and is a better than average pitch framer. All of those skills put him in the top third defensively at the position. None of them are fantasy categories.
Austin Barnes– Los Angeles Dodgers
Projection: .233, 6 HR, 31 Runs, 29 RBI, 5 SB, 35 BB
Remember the whole idea of comps? Barnes is essentially Jason Castro with good wheels. He had a huge 2017 rookie season, but inexplicably came back to the pack last year. He would be a decent add in case he bounces back.
Kurt Suzuki– Washington Nationals
Projection: .264, 8 HR, 28 Runs, 32 RBI, 1 SB, 15 BB
I promise I compared him to Yan Gomes (the preseason favorite to start). Suzuki was the source of a huge offseason argument on some message boards I frequent. Overall, the Nats are probably just as good going with one over the other when defense is included, but Suzuki is clearly the better offensive player.