Based on your preferences and current draft trends, who is the player you expect to have on more of your rosters than anyone else? Which players are you mostly or totally avoiding?
Eric Karabell: I find myself avoiding hitters who seem to have little chance of providing batting-average aid, even if their power is elite. I cannot find players like Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, Khris Davis or Chris Davis on my teams. I certainly have not bought into the Shohei Ohtani hype, either. Oh, I will be watching and I hope he is great, but I can find better bargains. Also, the injury status for Daniel Murphy concerns me.
I do have shares of Nelson Cruz everywhere, though, because he seems to be discounted -- either due to age or position eligibility status. Neither bothers me. And perhaps I am missing something, but I have been stashing Scott Kingery and Nick Senzel wherever possible. When they hit -- and they will hit -- at-bats will surely open up.
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Judging by the ADP returns, my hunch is that I'll have the most shares of Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, barely regarded as a top-50 starting pitcher by most. I've got him ranked as my SP42 (and a Round 15-16 pick) after he finished last season with 10 quality starts, a 3.41 ERA and a 26.2 percent strikeout rate in 15 second-half starts. Granted, I didn't buy him in this past weekend's League of Alternative Baseball Reality (LABR) AL-only auction, but I was in the bidding until nearly the end. I didn't go the extra buck primarily because I already had three nicely priced starters.
On the other side, I can't see Miguel Cabrera winding up on many of my rosters. He's being universally drafted as a top-15 first baseman and a top-100 overall pick in some leagues, but I barely have him ranked as one of the 20 best at his position. Cabrera is coming off an injury-plagued 2017, and while he should rebound to a degree, his power might not recover to the extent he'd need in order to turn a profit in fantasy leagues. On a rebuilding Detroit Tigers team, he might not see as many plate appearances as the team struggles to turn over the lineup. He'd also need to recover in terms of isolated power (.149 last season, .236 career) in order to fill the RBI category like he did in 2016.
AJ Mass: Last year on Opening Day, while watching Kevin Kiermaier, I remarked that as the outfielder goes, so go the Rays. He had missed 48 games in 2016 with a broken hand and the team ended up winning just 14 of those contests. On June 9, 2017, Kiermaier fractured his hip and was out for two months. At the time of the injury, he was heating up to the tune of a .357/.390/.696 slash line over the previous two weeks and the Rays appeared poised to shoot past .500. Alas, what might have been. If he can just stay healthy, his upside this season is that of a .300 hitter with 25-25 potential. I've been grabbing that potential as my No. 5 OF in nearly every mock draft, and quite happily so.
On the other end of the spectrum, I think it's common knowledge that I am a huge Mets fan. That said, I want as little exposure as possible to Noah Syndergaard. I'm thrilled he's been hitting triple-digits on the radar gun this spring. I look forward to watching him dominate the lesser lineups of the league and mount a serious surge towards 200 Ks. That said, I'm not picking him as high as I'm going to need to in order to roster him. Given Thor's injury history, I'm going to have to take a low-key approach towards Syndergaard on Draft Day.
Kyle Soppe: I fully intend on rostering Adam Eaton in most, if not all, of my redraft leagues. I understand the skepticism, as his upside isn't great and he is coming off of a torn ACL, but you're looking at a five-tool hitter who currently sits atop an elite offense. What's not to like? As long as he avoids a health setback, I've got Eaton pegged as a fringe top-20 outfielder that I can get at a 3-4 round discount
As for a player I will have zero exposure to, let's talk Aroldis Chapman. If I can't land Kenley Jansen or Craig Kimbrel, I really have no interest in paying any sort of premium for saves, but even if all the chips fell right, I'd be more tempted to go with Roberto Osuna or Ken Giles three rounds later. Last season, Chapman was the best of that trio in terms of opponent batting average with men on base. However, 34.6 percent of the batters Osuna faced came with men on base. For Giles, that number was 36.5 percent. Chapman checked in at 47.3 percent! Sure, he held opponents to a sub-.200 batting average in such situations, but the fact remains that he was often putting himself in a tough spot. I can risk my ratios with closers at any point in the draft, so why would I want to take that plunge within the first seven rounds?