Daily Dr. Roto — March 3
Fantasy Preview in a Nutshell: Los Angeles Angels
C Martin Maldonado — Maldonado shocked the Fantasy world last season by hitting 14 HR — but he also hit .221. Roster him at your own peril.
1B Luis Valbuena — Some days Valbuena will play first base to give Albert Pujols a break, so he is someone who can be looked at in AL-only leagues. Valbuena has power, but he does little else in the other four categories to make him worthy of a roster spot.
2B Ian Kinsler — Kinsler is going to be the new leadoff hitter for the Angels, and he is in a great spot for success hitting in front of Mike Trout and Justin Upton. Even though he is in his mid-30’s, Kinsler has kept his power stroke (over 20 HR the past two seasons), and he has stolen 28 bases over the past two years. I think his numbers will go down slightly (I can’t imagine the Angles giving him the green light to run with Trout at bat), but a season of 15 HR and 8-10 SB is a distinct possibility.
SS Andrelton Simmons — It took a while, but in 2017 Simmons finally matured into the hitter that Fantasy owners had predicted from the time he was with the Atlanta Braves. Now the big question is whether he can build on last season’s success? I am not so sure that we will see a further spike in either power or speed from Simmons, but if he gives me a repeat of last year’s numbers, I will be very happy.
3B Zack Cozart — The Angels signed Cozart to a three-year contract this past offseason to be their new 3B. While I appreciate the Angels wanting to stabilize the position, I am not sure that Cozart is going to continue to hit like he did last season. Expect a 15% regression in his overall numbers when you project him out for 2018.
OF Justin Upton — Upton seems to be the darling of most Fantasy experts this season as he seems to be a very solid fourth-round pick in drafts. Upton has the good fortune of hitting behind Kinsler and Trout, so he should have many RBI opportunities if he can swing a hot bat. If there is ever a year to pay up for Upton’s skill set, this is the year.
OF Mike Trout — If you don’t realize that Mike Trout is the best player in Fantasy Baseball I implore you to start preparing for Fantasy Football right now. Draft Trout at #1 and reap the amazing stats that should follow.
OF Kole Calhoun — Calhoun has never really exploded as a Fantasy superstar as many expected. He’s more of a 20-70 hitter with a mediocre batting average right now than anything else.
DH Albert Pujols — So long as he gets around 600 at bats and hits in the middle of the Angels lineup, you can expect Pujols to be around 30-100.
SP Shohei Ohtani — Although he is expected to pitch only 160 innings this year, I love Ohtani. Japanese pitchers tend to dominate in their first year or two in MLB basically because they have funky deliveries and the rare ability to throw strikes at any time in the count. Look for Ohtani to dazzle MLB this season, and don’t be afraid to pay up for him at your draft.
SP Garrett Richards — When Richards is in the rotation, he’s an absolute beast. The problem is that he has made only 12 starts in the past two seasons. The good news is that the Angels are going to use a six-man rotation for most (if not all) of this season which should benefit Richards greatly. Moreover, I expect that the Angels will be very careful of his pitch counts and innings throughout the year to keep him healthy. Like Ohtani, if Richards can throw 160 innings this year, the team will be ecstatic. Fantasy owners will be ecstatic too.
SP Matt Shoemaker — Shoemaker had a good year back in 2016, before dealing with multiple forearm injuries in 2017. I tend to avoid soft-tossers who don’t have a strikeout pitch when needed, so I don’t anticipate having Shoemaker on any of my teams this season.
SP Tyler Skaggs — Skaggs has teased Fantasy owners over the past two seasons, and he can be a great middle of the rotation starter for the Angels if only he can stay on the mound. He’s an ideal reserve round pick in a deep mixed league draft.
RP Cam Bedrosian — Even though Parker won the closer’s job convincingly last season, I am still of the opinion that Bedrosian has the best arm in the bullpen. Bedrosian has dealt with a lot of injuries and a lack of consistency in his major league career. However, he still has very high upside, and I would certainly roster him late in drafts to see if he can finally turn things around in 2018.
RP Blake Parker — Parker had a remarkable 2017 (including a WHIP of 0.83), but I am not completely sold on him as the closer for this season. I think Parker is more of a “One Year Wonder” than “Wonderful Pitcher” so I will probably not roster him this season.
Stash and Cash: OF Michael Hermosillo — He hits for average and has excellent speed and could stick around as a 5th OF to start the season.