If we redrafted today, how would the first two rounds look?
That’s the arbitrary date I set every year where I can no longer tell people that’s it’s early in the season. By June 1, the season is two months old – older this year, with the early March 29 start date – and creeping up on the one-third mark of the campaign.
The data that we have now matters, and while some regression – both positive and negative – is still going to happen, a lot of guys are who they are at the season.
Looking back at your draft, that could be a good thing … but it could also have you asking “what if” if your first couple of picks didn’t pan out.
While you can’t get your first- or second-round picks back, we can look back at the first two rounds with the advantage of hindsight and how they should have played out. Plus, you can use this as a guide to current values in terms of trades. Here are the Top 30 overall off the board if we were drafting again today.
1. Mike Trout – Is there really much to say? He’s already a Hall of Fame player, putting up another historic season. He’s on pace to hit 51 home runs and steal 35 bases. Oh, he also has a triple-slash of .308/.443/.678. No one is unseating Trout as the top player any time soon.
2. Mookie Betts – What’s funny is Betts was looked at as having a poor season in 2017, but it was still really good; it just wasn’t what we saw in 2016. This year, though, he’s back to being the superstar player and the clear No. 2 player in Fantasy Baseball as he looks like a sure bet to be a 30/30 performer this year while hitting over .300.
3. Jose Altuve – Altuve will get it going. He has to. Shout out to Derek Carty, who questioned having Altuve as high as experts did.
Drop THE BAT, Steamer, or ZiPS into @fangraphs Auction Calculator, and for all three you get:
Kershaw: #2 overall
Stanton: #2 hitter
Altuve: Outside Top 5
— Derek Carty (@DerekCarty) March 23, 2018
Never mind the Clayton Kershaw and Giancarlo Stanton picks. But seriously, Altuve needs to run. He’s only on pace for 21 steals, and without showing the same power or eye at the plate he had last year, he’s in danger of not returning the first-round investment that drafters paid for. It’s a merit pick, but I’m keeping him as a Top 3 option.
4. Bryce Harper – Harper’s numbers are fantastic across the board … except when it comes to batting average. Remember that positive regression we were talking about? It’s a matter of days until Harper goes on another historic hot streak. Just pretend it’s April, Bryce.
5. Nolan Arenado – Altuve was thought to be the safest first-round pick not named Trout this year. But again, it’s Arenado. He’s on pace for his annual 30-homer, 100-RBI season with a high average.
6. Manny Machado – Machado was bumped to the second round in drafts after a poor first half season last year. He’s playing like a man who is about to be paid big time this offseason. Oh, wait …
7. Trea Turner – Turner started the season off slow, went on a nice tear in the middle of May and has found himself slumping again. He’s still a great steals source who will contribute across the board, but it’s looking more like 40 steals instead of the 50-60 we were hoping for.
8. Jose Ramirez – There’s been no better player in baseball than Ramirez in the past calendar year. No. 9 overall still feels like it’s too low.
9. Freddie Freeman – Freeman has the third-highest OBP in baseball behind Trout and Betts. Now that the Atlanta lineup is good, he’s even more dangerous.
10. Charlie Blackmon – Blackmon started off hot, but cooled down entering the month of May. What’s ironic is that he’s hit 11 of his 12 home runs on the road. He’s due for big numbers the rest of the season.
11. Max Scherzer – Who is going to stop Scherzer from winning his fourth Cy Young? He’s the most valuable pitcher in Fantasy. …
12. Corey Kluber … but Kluber isn’t far behind. Kluber has a quality start in all 12 of his starts this season. It’s not even fair what the Klubot is doing.
13. Chris Sale – The Red Sox said that they wanted to conserve Sale for the second half. As a Sale owner, that has to make you ecstatic, as the best is yet to come.
14. Aaron Judge – He strikes out a lot, but his walks make up for it. Judge is having a fantastic 2018 season, and showing that 2017 wasn’t a fluke.
15. J.D. Martinez – Remember when baseball scribes said that Martinez was asking for too much money this offseason? He’s more than lived up to his contract – and draft price for Fantasy owners. He’s only played in more than 123 games once in his career, though, so if he lands on the disabled list at some point, don’t be surprised.
16. Justin Verlander – Verlander has been the best pitcher in Fantasy so far this season. There’s something in the water in Houston, and Verlander has kept his velocity unlike many vets his age at this point in their careers.
17. Kris Bryant – Bryant has changed his approach at the plate, making better contact and striking out less. It’s hurt his power, but it’s made him a better all-around player. And it’s actually made him underrated in Fantasy circles this year.
18. Carlos Correa – We’re still waiting for that superstar season from Correa, but it’s a good reminder that he’s still only 23 years old. He’s a Top 5 dynasty asset.
19. Francisco Lindor – Thought Lindor’s 33 homers last season were a fluke? He’s doing his part to top that while hitting over .300.
20. Gerrit Cole – The Astros are letting Cole be himself, something the Pirates were unable to do. He’s a true Fantasy ace.
21. Luis Severino – Speaking of aces, Severino is just making it look easy this year. What’s underrated about Severino is that he cut his HR/9 in half from last season. He could be a member of the Big 4 as early as next year.
22. Giancarlo Stanton – Strike out much? Stanton is striking out more than 30 percent of the time, which is killing him at the plate. He’s turned into a lefty-masher, but there’s time for him to regain his 2018 form and show that he wasn’t being criminally overdrafted this year.
23. Gary Sanchez – Are you upset as a Sanchez owner? While he’s stuck in the middle of a horrid slump, he’s still the No. 1 catcher, and it’s by a lot. Tell me again how he’s not worthy of being a second-round pick.
24. Anthony Rizzo – A slow April screamed buy-low for Rizzo. His torrid May more than made up for it.
25. Paul Goldschmidt – Goldschmidt has been fine on the road, but is 40 points below the Mendoza Line at home. Either the humidor got in his head, or he’s starting to age really quickly. He’s showed signs of late of turning it around, but remember, prior to the humidor news, Goldschmidt was the consensus No. 3 player in Fantasy drafts.
26. Joey Votto – He’s walking less and striking out more, but he’s turned it around from his dreadful start. You know, just like you’d expect from Votto.
27. Brian Dozier – Like Votto and Edwin Encarnacion, Dozier is gearing up for his huge second-half run.
28. Jacob deGrom – He’s second in baseball in ERA, first in FIP and xFIP and fourth in SIERA and K%. Now if only the Mets could provide him with more than four wins …
29. George Springer – Springer is on pace to replicate his 2017 season, but with even more steals. He’s once again Top 5 in plate appearances, which is an underrated valuable Fantasy stat.
30. Jose Abreu – Even on a bad team, Abreu is a lock for his usual numbers. You don’t always need the shiny toy. Safety is often overlooked in Fantasy Baseball.
Jose Ramirez Featured Image: (AP Photo/Jim Mone)