Red Sox: How to value players for fantasy baseball drafts
By Sean Penney
Middle (3rd – 9th round)
Andrew Benintendi: A 20/20 rookie season provided a glimpse of Benny’s fantasy potential. He’s a threat to surpass those thresholds in both categories again. He’ll score more runs and drive in more RBI if he hits near the top of the lineup, as expected. Benintendi’s sweet swing is capable of delivering a better batting average than last year’s .271 mark. Don’t be shocked if he produces similar numbers to Betts, only he can be found two or three rounds later.
Xander Bogaerts: While he’s fallen out of the elite tier of what has become a fairly deep pool of shortstops, Bogaerts should be considered just outside the top-5 at his position. He was batting .308 on July 6 when he was hit on the hand by a fastball. The injury sunk his average and sapped his power. A healthy Bogaerts is capable of challenging for a batting title, swiping double-digit bases, and we saw him top 20 homers in 2016. Bogaerts could have early-round value if he ever puts all those traits together. He’s done it all before but never in the same season. That risk keeps him out of the conversation for the top shortstops but if he falls outside of the fifth round then his upside is worth it.
Rafael Devers: After smashing 10 home runs in only 58 games as a 20-year old rookie, Devers enters the season with 30-homer upside. That’s a lofty projection for a hitter his age, yet it may be warranted. Don’t be fooled into paying a high price expecting Devers to hit 30+ home runs. If you take him in Round 7 then he’ll provide a great return on investment if he does reach that projection. If he only hits 20-25 homers with a solid average and 90+ RBI, he’ll still hit value if you draft him in that range. Take him too early assuming he’ll hit 30 homers and you may wind up disappointed, while you’ll limit the value you receive from the pick even if he does get there.
Craig Kimbrel: My motto is typically “Don’t pay for Saves.” Closers provide minimal value in most categories due to their limited workload. Their value stems from the Saves category. Given the turnover at this volatile position, Saves can always be found on the waiver wire mid-season. That’s why I rarely pay up for a top closer. Kimbrel may be one of the few exceptions. Unlike many closers in the league, Kimbrel’s role is secure. He also provides ridiculous strikeout upside for a relief pitcher to go along with his minuscule ERA and WHIP numbers. Upgrade Kimbrel in leagues with an innings limit. He’s far more valuable if you view your staff in terms of K/9 instead of total strikeouts.