These players will cost you a high draft pick or a large chunk of your auction budget, but they are worth it.
Mookie Betts (ESPN Rank: 23, Yahoo Rank: 20)
The 23-year old was a top-15 outfielder in fantasy leagues last season and has all the tools to break into the top-10 this year. He contributes in every category and after blasting 18 home runs and swiping 20 bags last year he is on the verge of joining the exclusive 20-20 club, which was achieved by only four hitters last year. He is going to score plenty of runs hitting at the top of a powerful Red Sox lineup, but his role as a lead-off hitter doesn’t prohibit him from contributing RBIs. Betts hit .333 with runners in scoring position last season, so when the bottom of Boston’s deep lineup finds a way to get on base you can bet on Mookie to deliver.
David Price (ESPN: 31, Yahoo: 42)
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This is one where you’ll need to consider the differential between the rankings on these two sites. Given how deep pitching is these days, I personally tend to avoid drafting a starter in the first few rounds and instead focus on beefing up my offense. ESPN ranks Price as the No. 6 starter, which means it may take a late second-round or early third-round pick to get him. That’s too high for my tastes, but if he slips into the fifth-round where Yahoo projects him to go then you have to consider him.
Getting an ace that piles up strikeouts is even more important in fantasy than it is in reality, which makes Price and his career 8.6 strikeout rate all the more appealing. The new anchor of the Red Sox rotation has racked up 200+ strikeouts in four of the last five seasons, including 2014 when he led the league with an astonishing 271 K’s.
Xander Bogaerts (ESPN: 60, Yahoo: 59)
Shortstop has a shallower talent pool than most positions, which provides a tremendous advantage to those that manage to secure one of the great ones. Bogaerts was the runner-up in the American League batting title race last season, so we can bank on him being a top contributor in that category. He’ll also pile up plenty of runs and RBI hitting in the heart of the Red Sox lineup.
The concern with Bogaerts from a fantasy perspective is that he doesn’t hit many home runs or steal enough bases to offset the lack of power. That was true a year ago, but expect to see his home run power get a bit of a boost this year. This spring he has talked about being more aggressive about swinging for the fences when he gets ahead in the count and can expect a fastball. Manager John Farrell has also been experimenting with Bogaerts in the cleanup spot this spring. If he ends up hitting fourth behind David Ortiz instead of in front of him then he may get the green light on the base paths more often.