These are elite players that will cost a lot on draft day, but should be well worth the price.
Mookie Betts, OF
ESPN Rank: 3
Yahoo Rank: 2
Fantasy owners in a snake draft will need to land a spot picking near the top of the first round in order to have a chance at Betts, while a case can be made that he should be the top overall pick. He’s a five-tool stud that produces in every fantasy category. Last season he topped the century mark in both runs scored and RBI, hit over .300, bashed 31 home runs and swiped 26 bases. The 24-year old could improve upon those lofty numbers, prompting a healthy debate between Betts and Trout for the top outfielder off the board. You can’t go wrong with either, so Red Sox fans can feel secure using an early pick or spending up for Betts.
Xander Bogaerts, SS
The shortstop position isn’t as thin as it usually is, with the best influx of young talent that we’ve seen since the trinity of Nomar/Jeter/A-Rod in the late 90’s. However, that does’t mean you can afford to wait around to draft a shortstop, as there is a pretty clear cut top-five at the position and you’ll have to pay up to draft any of them. Bogaerts is firmly in that group as a hitter in the middle of a powerful lineup that provides ample scoring and run production opportunities. His batting average could climb back over .300 this season and his power continues to develop. Bogaerts is one of a dozen shortstops that had 20+ homers last season, but he was one of only four that did so with a batting average above .280.
Chris Sale, SP
Personally, I typically don’t spend up for pitching due to the depth at the position. I’d rather use my first two picks or my most expensive auction bid on a five-category stud or an elite player at a scarce position, but if you are aiming to claim an ace starter then Sale is certainly worthy of being in the mix. Last season he was fifth in the majors in strikeouts and seventh in WHIP. You never want to chase wins given the fluky nature of the statistic, but one would imagine the move to Boston should help him improve upon last year’s total of 17 with a better offense supporting him. His ERA probably won’t rival the top NL pitchers, but Sale certainly won’t hurt you in that category.