Here are Eric Karabell, Tristan H. Cockcroft, AJ Mass, Kyle Soppe, Todd Zola and Mike Sheets to go through which players they feel fantasy leaders can be split right up in the middle of this season.
Cockcroft: Four years into his big league career Shohei Ohtani has gone from being one of the exciting to one of the most divisive choices in fantasy baseball. He has already proven to be an excellent hitter, with career-average per-162 games of .269-30-94 and 18 stolen bases, and it is possible that he could regain the top 25 starting form he showed before he was injured in 2018 Continuing to expect him to be healthy enough to realize his full potential is a big question, and the “splitting” part concerns his wide range of values across different league formats. He is a stronger rebound in leagues with daily transactions, where you can take advantage of his starts and avoid days he starts on the bench, as well as in rotisserie compared to point-based formats (albeit a little), but from a broad ranking perspective he probably has a high -end selection around the top 100 in general, and a low-end selection barely at the height of draft-worthy in ESPN leagues.
If not him, I would be nominated Byron buxton, and yes, I’m still on that wagon based on the hard contact growth he showed in 2020, added to his already burning speed. Sigh, if not star status happens, I guess I’m going down with this ship.
Carabell: I think we have a pretty good idea of which Yankees outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton is at this point and it’s enough for me to fade them out of the league. Durability is a skill, and these guys lack skill. Admire how far they can hit baseball, but it’s not close enough anymore. We must be able to trust that they increase the appearance of the record.
A lot: The splits are there for all to see. Along the way, in 536 games, we have a .263 stroke average and a .793 OPS. At home, in 543 games, we have a .322 stroke average and a .985 OPS. So without the Coors Field bump inflating its numbers, there will be a 2021 fall in value Nolan Arenado. The question is just how much the change of landscape will affect the third baseman. I do not think anyone says that Arenado is suddenly outside the top 10 in his position now that he is in St. Louis, but is he really still a top 50 player if he tops out at .275 and 30 HR? I’m not sure he is.
Soups: Randy Arozarena was loved in October last year, and what he did for the sport of baseball can not be overestimated … but I will pass on the resulting fantasy helium. Tommy pham and Kyle schwarber are two players who posted the average of the elite’s average exit speed measurements last season which is a bit more proven and will be prepared a handful of rounds later. My argument against Arozarena is simple: how do you build a list around him? My plan for the second half of the draft is largely dependent on how I project the first half of my draft and the truth is told, I do not know what to expect from Arozarena. This means that I not only have to deal with the risk / reward of choosing him in the early middle rounds, but I also have to make more guesses than I am comfortable in the round immediately after the election.
Zola: In general, withdrawal will lead to large differences of opinion on players with unusually good or bad seasons last year. For example, in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship, Zach Plesacs is ADP 60, he is the 21st starting pitcher from the board. This is based on eight starts last season, most against subordinate lineups. Three of his starts came with the usual four days of rest, three came on five days of rest and the other two with more than five days of rest, and he gradually improved with more rest. Granted, this is a small selection, but the 21st best starter based on eight starts is also a big leap. I have to watch Plesac work towards better competition on a regular four-day rest before I anoint him with border-top-2o starting pitcher status.
On the other side, Javier Baez had a terrible season. Despite being a free-kicker, however, he was one of the most consistent offensive performers in the game the previous four campaigns. His NFBC ADP is around 71, a significant decline from the last couple of years. It’s a story Baez missed watching video during games. If this is true, hitters will be able to see the previous one on bats with the catch signals blurry. Although the Baez matches were not related to this, the market is about to punish the Cubs shortstop.
Sheet: What are we going to do with Yordan Alvarez? This was a guy who was drafted in the third round last season after setting up a .313 / .412 / .655 slash with 27 homers and 78 RBIs in just 87 games in 2019. That is no longer the case. A match with COVID-19 and knee problems limited Alvarez to only two matches in 2020, and he finally underwent a season finale on both knees in August. He now owns an 85.5 NFBC ADP, making him an eighth-round pick in 12-team leagues. I understand that there is some uncertainty here after a lost season, but let’s not pretend that Alvarez is suddenly a wasteful old man with bad knees. He is still only 23 years old, so please do not put an injured label on him.
A quick look at Alvarez’s Statcast profile from 2019 reveals a sea of red. He finished in the top 10% in baseball in exit speed, fat rate, hard-hit rate, xBA, xwOBA, xSLG and BB%. This is an MVP-level bat. By all accounts, Alvarez’s recovery is on schedule, and he will be ready to go to spring training. Any risk of re-injury is already more than baked into the ADP, so I gladly take the big discount on one of the game’s young young mashers.