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Fantasy411 Podcast: Where to draft Arenado?

February 23, 2018

Hot or not? Pitch or ditch? Deal or dump? The Fantasy 411 crew has the answer. No matter what kind of format you play, the MLB Fantasy crew has "been there, won that" and they'll help you win, too. Fred Zinkie: So I wanted to compare some rankings. Maybe this

Hot or not? Pitch or ditch? Deal or dump? The Fantasy 411 crew has the answer. No matter what kind of format you play, the MLB Fantasy crew has "been there, won that" and they'll help you win, too.
Fred Zinkie: So I wanted to compare some rankings. Maybe this can help me in the Yahoo draft next week, or it can help a lot of listeners with their rankings. I'm comparing your personal rankings that you put on the site. What's cool is about the site is that you can see Andy's, Dalton's and our rankings and see them all averaged out, or you can look at our individual rankings.
So I just looked at yours, and the first player I wanted to mention was Nolan Arenado. Now we have him eighth, and you have him third … I think I know the reason, but why do you have Arenado so high?
Scott Pianowski: Well for one thing, the gap between my ranking and the MLB ranking speaks to how deep that pocket of the draft is. It's mostly going to be [Mike] Trout and {Jose] Altuve at Nos. 1 and 2, and then I feel like that third pick could be a lot of different players. I feel like everyone you take in the first round has a lot of upside and they could all be MVP players, and they could all be the best players in fantasy. But with Arenado: He's entering his age-27 season, he's in a very deep Colorado lineup, everyone knows how great that park is for offense and maybe it's even more important now with Arizona getting the humidor and changing the shape of offense down there. Maybe Coors Field turns into a bigger advantage for its offensive players.
Arenado doesn't run much, but he's dominant in four categories. He's going to hit for a decent average, and he's just a monster in those three counting stats -- so I don't care that he only steals a couple bases every year. I feel like with the age, the lineup, the park and I like that he plays third base … I don't think too much about positions early on, I'm just trying to get the best players and the best stats that I can. But I don't think third base is a particularly deep position this year, and I always feel that there's more options in the outfield than there is in the infield -- at least in the high levels of production. So Arenado checks all the boxes for me.
It is one of those things where if you have the third pick, I feel like the player you don't choose could easily go at Nos. 7, 9 or 11 in a lot of leagues. There's such a cluster of talent after those first two players that the player I have at No. 3 could easily be someone's 11th player. We could fundamentally agree on that player, but it's just a very deep pocket of talent in that area.

Zinkie: Yeah we have the players in our preview ranked Nos. 3-8, and Arenado is ranked between $40 and $43. So you basically can't separate them. And we have the group of the four big pitchers ranked right after them. For me with Arenado, it's just the lack of steals. I would prefer to get some steals from a first-round hitter. But I think you made a good point. With him going into his age-27 season, I think fantasy owners see him as someone who's really consistent and he's safe. That's the word I hear about him all the time.
That being said, we just came off a year where two players hit 50 home runs, and there could be one more little surge in Arenado where he does have a 45-homer season -- and this year is as likely as any year. There's still some upside there.
Another player who definitely still has some upside is Kristopher Bryant. You have him higher than we do as well. You have him eighth and we have him 15th. I don't mind your ranking for him at all, because I had him in the top five last year. So maybe you can tell people why you put him higher. We have him pretty much in line with what I've seen his ADP in other formats -- around 15th -- why do you have him higher?
Pianowski: I wonder if some people are overreacting to the fact that he "only" hit 29 home runs last year and "only" drove in 73 runs -- which is a stone fluke. I see a player who's been durable and played three full seasons in a row. He's coming into his age-26 season. It's been debated what the prime is for Major League players, but it's obviously somewhere in the area where Bryant is. He's been durable, he's a four-category guy -- really 4 1/2, because he does steal a few bases. This is a soft factor, but I like the fact that he's a straight arrow. He doesn't drink at all, and he just seems really focused on maximizing his ability. He's in a very deep Chicago lineup. We know Wrigley Field isn't always the best place to hit; sometimes it's cold, sometimes the wind blows in. But more often than not, it's a decent place to hit. Plus he's got a lot of good run producers around him, which is important to me.
So I look at his age and his upside -- and he was the MVP of the league two seasons ago. Even last year when his power was down, he walked more and struck out less. I think he's still on the escalator, and he had the best OBP of his career. That's not typically a fantasy category that we count, but it's still important to me. He's getting on base 41 percent of the time, and that's ridiculous. I feel like we haven't seen his best season yet, and that's a big statement for someone who already has an MVP in his back pocket.
All of these guys have upside, but I feel like Bryant's floor is absurdly high. If he just did what he did last year, I would take it. The runs batted in would be a little disappointing, but I feel like the worst season he'll have in his 20s was probably last year. If everything goes right, he could be going first, second or third next year. I feel like he's a very safe pick. He's a second-round pick for a lot of people, but he really feels like a first-round pick.
Zinkie: I agree. I think his floor is really high. I think he had the misfortune of having a homer dip in the same season that everyone else had a homer jump, and that turned some people off. But we have him set at 37 homers, so we think they're all coming back.