As I mentioned in the First Base picks, there is a huge advantage to having an elite 3B this year, with a huge drop between the Bryant/Arenado/Donaldson(/Machado) tier and the rest. But assuming you miss out on those hotshots, you'll need a backup plan, and there are some nice value picks to be had in the mid-rounds this year. In fact, I'll probably fill CI/UTIL slots with my upside 3B picks in quite a few leagues. Included here are two guys that have flashed their power across '15 and '16 but are nonetheless still underprojected and underrated, as well as a guy to avoid that probably put up a career year in '16.
This week at Harper Wallbanger, I'm sorting through the Big Board for 12-team 5x5 leagues to find the must-draft and must-avoid players at each position. Continuing around the horn, here's second base!
2B is home to a few young exciting players at the top (Altuve, Turner, Odor) as well as a ton of 30+ year olds in the middle rounds (Kipnis, Kinsler, Pedroia, etc.). The real winners and losers of this position might actually be decided by which of the old men end up hurt. But keep in mind that the easily-projected, reliable type guys on your roster are also the ones that allow you to take risks at other spots. Below I've got two low-risk guys that fit that profile well, as well as one guy that used to be the standard-bearer for reliability, but now might be getting pushed to part-time work by more exciting youngsters.
I really prefer to come out of the first round with one of the elite 3B's this year, which means I'll be missing out on great seasons from Goldy, Miggy, and Rizzo, but I won't fault anyone for drafting those guys with confidence. The next tier or two are ranked pretty well in each of the major formats, and can provide great power-AVG bases for your team to build from. I would prefer to have one of the top-10 guys in my 1B slot, but there are lots of great targets mid-to-late that can fill your IF/CI/UTIL slots. It drops off quick, so don't find yourself left holding the bag with the risky bottom tier that can include the likes of Cron, Bour, Vargas, Carter, and Napoli.
After Sanchez and Posey at the top, a short middle tier defined by Lucroy, Perez, Grandal, Gattis, Realmuto, and Contreras offers a bit of upside, but none are coming at a discount in drafts. The bottom tier is mostly unappealing, but the mostly-undrafted tier offers some interesting names to watch, including d'Arnaud, Mesoraco, and Gomes, all looking to make bouncebacks from injury-plagued '16 seasons.
Tip #1: Where do player values come from?
Tip #2: Set your Hit/Pitch split
Tip #3: Value your picks and make preseason trades
Tip #4: Draft with tiers
Tip #5: Use xFantasy, the xStats projection system
Tip #6: Use aging curves for keeper/dynasty leagues
Tip #7: Use the best projection systems
Draft week is here, or nearly here, and right around now everyone is poring over their draft prep sheets and coming up with round-by-round targets. Here at the Harper Wallbanger blog, it's no different! This week, I'll be sorting through the Big Board for 12-team 5x5 leagues and coming up with the *most* undervalued players at each position, along with which round you should be targeting them in order to make sure you get them. I'll also throw in the Big Board's choices for players to avoid at all costs. Stay tuned as they roll out with the links below!