Daily Dr. Roto — February 16
Fantasy Preview in a Nutshell: Boston Red Sox
C Christian Vazquez — Vazquez seems to hang on as the Red Sox catcher even though it always seems like the team is looking to replace him. That said, his batting average is solid, and he is a nice late-round buy in AL-only formats.
1B Mitch Moreland — Moreland signed a two-year contract in the off-season with the team, but with the Red Sox still trying to sign JD Martinez, his job security is hanging on by a thread. If he gets 480+ at bats, he should go 20-70 as he always does.
2B Dustin Pedroia — Pedroia had off-season knee surgery which is expected to sideline him until June. The Red Sox signed Eduardo Nunez to play 2B in his absence which is a great move by the front office. When Pedroia comes back, Nunez will move to a utility role, but I would limit my expectations with Pedroia as I can see a big drop off in power and speed.
SS Xander Bogaerts — Bogaerts’ power dropped from 21 HR in 2016 to 10 in 2017 which was a shock to most fantasy owners. In fact, his numbers were down across the board. 2018 is a pivotal year for Bogaerts. At 25 he needs to step up and become a force in the team’s lineup. I don’t see myself drafting Bogaerts as his name recognition will increase his value and I don’t want to pay the premium for mediocre stats.
3B Rafael Devers — Only 21 years old, Devers is a future star in the making. He’s got loads of power that will only increase as he gets older. I love his upside in dynasty leagues as he should be an All-Star in five years. In redraft leagues, he is probably a year or two early to make an impact as he hasn’t had more than 222 at bats at the major league level.
OF Andrew Benintendi — Benintendi went 20-20 last year and just arrived at camp looking all jacked and ready to go for 2018. His work ethic is unmatched, and he wants to be a star. If that is going to happen, he’s going to need to hit LHP better. I can see him increasing to 25-25 this year with a chance for more, but I am not sure his average is ready to climb over .285.
OF Jackie Bradley Jr. — Bradley is not the power hitter we saw in 2016 (he had 26 HR), nor is he the OF who hit only 17 last season. I think the true JBJ lies somewhere in the 20-24 HR range with about 75-80 RBIs. Bradley has talked about stealing more bases in 2018, and I think he can get about a dozen if the team is more aggressive on the base paths. Bradley’s true value is in his defense which is outstanding. Go watch a YouTube video of his great plays and you will be amazed.
OF Mookie Betts — Many people look at Betts’ 2017 year as a disappointment, but I think there are a lot of positives to take away. Firstly, he was mashing the ball in Spring Training, but as soon as the year started, he was ice cold for the first 6-8 weeks of the season. That should bring his batting average up from .264 to about .290. Secondly, there is talk of Betts possibly batting leadoff which would increase his stolen base output. I can see Mookie going 20-40 this year which would be outstanding. Even better is that he is going in the late first round and you might steal him at pick 9 or 10.
DH Hanley Ramirez — Ramirez is a conundrum this season. If the team signs JD Martinez, Ramirez might end up being a platoon player at 1B and DH. If they don’t sign Martinez, he might play every day — unless they sign someone or trade for someone at some point. Regardless, Ramirez is not the power hitter that the team was hoping for when they signed him. I expect a season of 20-70. If he gives you more than that, it’s a big bonus.
SP Chris Sale — Sale had 308 Ks last year which was outstanding in only 214 IP. I am not sure that he (or any pitcher) will throw 200 innings again this year, but Sale might just be the best pitcher not named Kershaw. I am not usually a fan of starting out my Fantasy teams with a pitcher, but I could make an argument that Sale might be the guy to do it with. He is one of the four anchors who can lead your staff. Invest.
SP David Price — Price is the biggest question mark on the staff. At the beginning of last season, Price had pain in his elbow, and the team shut him down for much of the season. When he came back, he was used as a starter and in the bullpen, and he never complained of pain. Price came to Florida early to get his arm ready. He has said that he is throwing pain-free and I know that the Red Sox are excited. There is no way that Price will throw over 200 IP this season as the team will try to limit his innings as best they can. If Price can throw for 175 IP, however, he might end up being one of the sneaky good picks on draft day. Even better is that you can get him in like Round 9-10 of your drafts and he just might provide Round 3-4 type value.
SP Rick Porcello — My first rule when I look at pitchers is to try to find guys who have fewer hits allowed than innings pitched. In 2017, Porcello let up 236 hits in 203 IP. That tells me that he is allowing too much contact and there is no chance I am going to roster him.
SP Eduardo Rodriguez — ERod is going to be out until at least May as he recovers from knee surgery. When he returns, he should slide into the Red Sox rotation and be one of their top starters. ERod needs to work on limiting his HRs and walks, but the upside is there for sure. I would love to get him in the reserve rounds of my draft.
SP Drew Pomeranz — Pomeranz doesn’t get nearly as much love as he deserves probably because he is the SP5 on his team. If Pomeranz were on the Brewers, he would be their SP1 for sure. He’s not a sexy pick, but he is a safe pick and someone who I would be very happy to have as the SP4 on my Fantasy staff.
RP Craig Kimbrel — Kimbrel is an absolute beast and arguably one of the top two closers in baseball. His WHIP last season was .68, and he had 126 Ks in 69 IP — those numbers are insane!! I don’t like taking closers early, but if I did, I have no problem with taking Kimbrel.
Stash and Cash: 1B Sam Travis — Travis impressed last year in his short stay with the team, but he’s going to need an injury to Moreland and/or Ramirez to get some playing time. The good news is that Hanley Ramirez is almost always injured so I would expect to see Travis up with the big club by July.