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Fantasy411 Podcast: A closer look at No. 3

MLB.com

MLB.com's Matthew Leach and fantasy expert Fred Zinkie unveil and break down the Top 15 players in MLB.com's Fantasy Preview and debate the No. 3 ranking. Here's a transcript from part of their Fantasy 411 podcast:

Leach: Worth noting, I want to tell you that the MLB.com fantasy preview is going live today. Go to MLB.com/fantasy, click on the link to the preview, which contains projections, rankings and information for more than 800 players. If you like Fred's analysis, then you should check it out. He's one of the people involved in that. They do really, really good stuff. If you listen to us, then it seems silly that you wouldn't also check out the fantasy preview. So we're going to start by unveiling the top 15 players from the fantasy preview. And here they go. Should we go from top to bottom or bottom to top, Fred?

Zinkie: I think we should go from top to bottom.

Leach: All right, just because there's no drama at one.

Zinkie: Definitely not. Or two, actually.

Leach: No. 1, Mike Trout. No. 2, Jose Altuve. No. 3, Paul Goldschmidt. How about this: how about we sort of stop a couple times along the way and have some discussions as we see fit?

Zinkie: Sounds good.

Leach: I think there's a big line between three and four. I think you could also make a pretty good case that there's a pretty big line between two and three. I think as we discussed a little earlier in the winter, I'm really big on Goldschmidt for the combination of ceiling and floor. I think that of all the hitters that we're going to talk about coming through here for the remainder of the top 15, I think that's the first line. I'm not sure there's anybody after Goldschmidt who I like both the ceiling and the floor as much. Do you think that that's a fair assessment that there's a pretty big line between three and four?

Zinkie: Not in my eyes, actually.

Leach: OK.

Zinkie: I like Mookie Betts a lot as almost like a younger version of Goldschmidt. I don't know why. I seem to be often a low man on Goldschmidt a little bit, and it doesn't always turn out well for me. I noticed as I was going deep on some of these players, so actually to fully explain, I have the No. 3 overall pick in the LABR mixed-league draft, which is next Tuesday, so I've been really thinking hard about who I'm going to take in that slot. When I was looking at Goldschmidt, he stole just six bases in his final 106 games last season, and we've talked over the last couple of years a few times about the possibility of the steals drying up with him and him becoming more of a 10-steal player. If that happens and his power kind of sits where it's at now, I kind of feel like Mookie Betts is a younger version of Goldschmidt, where with Betts I'm going to get about 25 homers and 25 steals. I think Betts could be up there with the league leaders in runs. I think his batting average last season was an aberration. I think Betts has been durable so far in his career. I kind of like Betts as a younger version of Goldschmidt, and I know that he's skipping right over [Trea] Turner. Turner is like his own entity. Like if you want to go for the gusto, he's your guy. He could be better than maybe even anybody and steal 65 bases. But for safety, I feel like I see Betts and Goldschmidt pretty similarly, but you are definitely of the opinion of the masses. Goldschmidt, I ran a Twitter poll about picking third overall, and Goldschmidt ran away with the votes for that selection.

Leach: Well here's the thing to me, and I think you touched on it. If you are really confident that Mookie Betts is not in any way a .264 hitter. If you're really confident, if you've set the floor for him batting average-wise at like .290, and I don't think that's unreasonable. I don't, but I wouldn't tell somebody they were wrong if they did. But if you tell me, "Look, I'm really confident this guy is at least going to be a .285, .290 hitter," then that changes the equation a lot. Because the thing that dings Betts is that his most recent season, he hit .264. I know there are reasons to believe that was kind of flukey, but it's still there. And one of the things that I like about Goldschmidt and one of the differences between the elite hitters, the truly top of the top hitters and the next tier, to me is that batting-average floor. And it's going to come into play when we talk [Giancarlo] Stanton in a little bit. I think it comes into play when we talk about {Aaron] Judge. That is, to me, the question.

MLB.com's Matthew Leach and fantasy expert Fred Zinkie unveil and break down the Top 15 players in MLB.com's Fantasy Preview and debate the No. 3 ranking. Here's a transcript from part of their Fantasy 411 podcast:

Leach: Worth noting, I want to tell you that the MLB.com fantasy preview is going live today. Go to MLB.com/fantasy, click on the link to the preview, which contains projections, rankings and information for more than 800 players. If you like Fred's analysis, then you should check it out. He's one of the people involved in that. They do really, really good stuff. If you listen to us, then it seems silly that you wouldn't also check out the fantasy preview. So we're going to start by unveiling the top 15 players from the fantasy preview. And here they go. Should we go from top to bottom or bottom to top, Fred?

Zinkie: I think we should go from top to bottom.

Leach: All right, just because there's no drama at one.

Zinkie: Definitely not. Or two, actually.

Leach: No. 1, Mike Trout. No. 2, Jose Altuve. No. 3, Paul Goldschmidt. How about this: how about we sort of stop a couple times along the way and have some discussions as we see fit?

Zinkie: Sounds good.

Leach: I think there's a big line between three and four. I think you could also make a pretty good case that there's a pretty big line between two and three. I think as we discussed a little earlier in the winter, I'm really big on Goldschmidt for the combination of ceiling and floor. I think that of all the hitters that we're going to talk about coming through here for the remainder of the top 15, I think that's the first line. I'm not sure there's anybody after Goldschmidt who I like both the ceiling and the floor as much. Do you think that that's a fair assessment that there's a pretty big line between three and four?

Zinkie: Not in my eyes, actually.

Leach: OK.

Zinkie: I like Mookie Betts a lot as almost like a younger version of Goldschmidt. I don't know why. I seem to be often a low man on Goldschmidt a little bit, and it doesn't always turn out well for me. I noticed as I was going deep on some of these players, so actually to fully explain, I have the No. 3 overall pick in the LABR mixed-league draft, which is next Tuesday, so I've been really thinking hard about who I'm going to take in that slot. When I was looking at Goldschmidt, he stole just six bases in his final 106 games last season, and we've talked over the last couple of years a few times about the possibility of the steals drying up with him and him becoming more of a 10-steal player. If that happens and his power kind of sits where it's at now, I kind of feel like Mookie Betts is a younger version of Goldschmidt, where with Betts I'm going to get about 25 homers and 25 steals. I think Betts could be up there with the league leaders in runs. I think his batting average last season was an aberration. I think Betts has been durable so far in his career. I kind of like Betts as a younger version of Goldschmidt, and I know that he's skipping right over [Trea] Turner. Turner is like his own entity. Like if you want to go for the gusto, he's your guy. He could be better than maybe even anybody and steal 65 bases. But for safety, I feel like I see Betts and Goldschmidt pretty similarly, but you are definitely of the opinion of the masses. Goldschmidt, I ran a Twitter poll about picking third overall, and Goldschmidt ran away with the votes for that selection.

Leach: Well here's the thing to me, and I think you touched on it. If you are really confident that Mookie Betts is not in any way a .264 hitter. If you're really confident, if you've set the floor for him batting average-wise at like .290, and I don't think that's unreasonable. I don't, but I wouldn't tell somebody they were wrong if they did. But if you tell me, "Look, I'm really confident this guy is at least going to be a .285, .290 hitter," then that changes the equation a lot. Because the thing that dings Betts is that his most recent season, he hit .264. I know there are reasons to believe that was kind of flukey, but it's still there. And one of the things that I like about Goldschmidt and one of the differences between the elite hitters, the truly top of the top hitters and the next tier, to me is that batting-average floor. And it's going to come into play when we talk [Giancarlo] Stanton in a little bit. I think it comes into play when we talk about {Aaron] Judge. That is, to me, the question.