Daily Dr. Roto — February 22
Fantasy Preview in a Nutshell: Cleveland Indians
C Yan Gomes — Yan still has some pop in his bat, but it’s only a matter of time before the Indians move on to Mejia as their permanent catcher.
1B Yonder Alonso — Alonso got a nice two-year deal from the Indians in the off-season as the team is hoping that his new-found power is real. Alonso went from seven HR in 2016 to 28 in 2017. I am not sure he will hit as many this year considering he will hit lower in the lineup, but a season of 20-70 seems reasonable.
2B Jason Kipnis — Kipnis had a great season in 2016, but if you look at the rest of his statistics 2016 seems like the outlier. He’s neither a power hitter nor is he exceptionally fast. Kipnis had a shoulder issue last year, so I am willing to go back to him again in 2018, but if he doesn’t pick his offense back up, I will move on from him quickly.
SS Francisco Lindor — If I could get Lindor in every league I am in, I would. I think we are looking at a genuine five-category star who is just coming into his own. Lindor is going in the late second rounds of most drafts, but I would not be shocked to see him go in the late first-round next season.
3B Jose Ramirez — I love Ramirez almost as much as I do Lindor. In fact, if I could start my team with Lindor at SS and Ramirez at 3B, I think I would have a great shot to win my league. People will question Ramirez’s new-found power, but I think it’s pretty legit. Put him down for a season of 24-85 and add 20 steals to boot.
OF Lonnie Chisenhall — Chiz showed some pop last year (12 HR in only 236 at bats) to put him firmly on this year’s radar. The Indians OF is a bit thin, so Chiz will get every chance to stick as an everyday player. If he does, be ready to cash in DFS when I make the “Chisen-call!”
OF Bradley Zimmer — Zimmer’s a young player who will one day be a future star in the league, but for right now he is an OF with good speed and power that is beginning to blossom. I love him more in dynasty leagues than redrafts.
OF Michael Brantley — I know he’s a talented player, but tell me — when is he not injured? There are just some guys I avoid drafting, and Brantley is usually one of them. I will take him in Round 20 onward, but before that, I will let someone else assume the risk.
DH Edwin Encarnacion — You can etch EE’s numbers ( 40 HR and 110 RBIs) on to your roster as soon as you draft him. EE will qualify at 1B this season, but with Alonso on board it might be his last season with that eligibility, so be careful in keeper leagues.
SP Corey Kluber — As a former Kluber owner I can tell you that he normally struggles in the first two months of the season and then becomes unhittable from that point forward. Knowing that I think I would rather trade for him on Memorial Day than draft him in the late first round, but either way, I do want him on my team.
SP Carlos Carrasco — Carrasco finally pitched 200 IP last season, and he showed that he is well worthy of being considered a top ten pitcher in Fantasy Baseball. Will he stay healthy for the second year in a row? I wouldn’t bet on it, but if he does another season of a 3.00 ERA and 1.10 WHIP is possible.
SP Trevor Bauer — Slowly but surely Bauer is starting to reach his potential. I think 2018 is the year where his ERA finally dips under 4.00.
SP Danny Salazar — With all the health problems he’s had over the years I think Salazar would fit best in the bullpen, but the Indians still are hoping to bring him out every fifth day to start. When Salazar is good, he’s very good. When he’s bad, he can get hit hard and let up untimely home runs. I would take a shot on Salazar but only as my SP4.
RP Andrew Miller — I think most people would agree that Miller is the best arm in the bullpen. Sadly, for Fantasy owners, it is because of this fact that the Indians use him as the “Effector” (a Lenny Melnick/Andrea Lamont term) whereby he gets the outs as needed at certain times of the game — basically whenever he is most effective. What this does is make Miller a terrific pitcher but not a star in category except WHIP.
RP Cody Allen — For now, Allen remains the team’s closer as they prefer to use Miller as the late-inning setup man. Allen goes through periods when he struggles, but for the most part, he is a reliable closer who is worthy of being selected with the other top end closers.
Stash and Cash: C Francisco Mejia — Soon enough Mejia will earn the starting catcher’s role, and when he does, he might stay there for the next decade. Mejia is a terrific young hitter, but there is talk that the Indians may move him to another position. Listen for any information about this because if he is not a catcher he loses a ton of value at drafts.