One Player, Each Team - NL Edition

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Whether it's because of pure talent, the ability to fill the stat sheet, or because they are a massive bargain, there will always be players on teams that I just get enamored with and have to target in my Fantasy Baseball draft.  That is what this piece is for.  This week I will take you through the National League with the premise of, if you had the ability to draft one player, from each team, who would it be?  This is who they should be...

NL East:


Atlanta Braves - The Braves have gone from cellar dweller to a young and talented team very quickly.  Coming off a year where they surprised the league and won the NL East, they will look to repeat in what is shaping up to be a very competition division.  Coming into last season, all the hype was revolving around top prospect, Ronald Acuna.  Acuna did NOT disappoint.  Coming into a full season in a Braves talented lineup this year, and the possibility to bat cleanup, Acuna is a top target.  With the ability to fill all the stat columns, Acuna has the potential to be the games next Mike Trout. Don't be left playing against him, instead of rooting for him.  Reach for Acuna in the first round and don't feel bad about it at all.  #AcunaDinga

Photo courtesy of forbes.com

Miami Marlins
- Finding a Marlin worth rostering is one hell of a difficult task.  The roster has been completely stripped down and the final piece of fantasy worthy talent in JT Realmuto is now in Philadelphia.  In all honesty, there is truly no one on this roster that should end up on your fantasy team.  With that said, if you are in an incredibly deep league (like 14 teams deep...), take a flyer on Lewis Brinson.  Brinson was once among the league's top prospects with his raw power.  Unfortunately, with raw power comes tons of holes in a swing, which we have seen more of than power.  Brinson batted a putrid .199 last year, and on any other team he never would have seen the 382 at bats that he got in Miami.  He should again have a very long leash with the little talent Miami possesses, and hopefully the power is finally turned on.

Bryce Harper Phillies Gear
New York Mets - Jacob deGrom won the NL Cy Young award a season ago.  Unfortunately he won it with only ten wins as he was backed by an anemic offense. While that win total should go up a bit, his first round ADP is awfully rich for only ten wins.  I love Syndergaard, but always worry so much about his yearly IL (not DL anymore...) stints.  Robinson Cano is now 36 years old, but is ADP of 93 is very appetizing.  A ninth round pick means you should already have 3-5 really good hitters and 3-5 really good pitchers on your team.  Taking Cano with your ninth pick is a value pick where you can expect roughly a 20/80 year with an average that won't hurt you at all, at a position that is not that deep.

Philadelphia Phillies - While the collective baseball world focuses their sites on Bryce Harper donning a new shade of red, my eyes veer off to Rhys Hoskins.  Harper is coming off a down year by his terms where he batted only . 249, but did hit 34 home runs.  Someone else that also hit 34 home runs was Rhys Hoskins.  Hoskins can be drafted 2-3 rounds after Harper, and I am someone personally that is all aboard the Hoskins breakout train.  Being in the heart of such a potent lineup, Hoskins has everything he needs to raise the average; the OBP, the RBI's, and the home runs.  Sign me up for a .260/40/110 potential year.

Washington Nationals - As an owner of Juan Soto in a Dynasty Fantasy league, one would assume he would be my choice here.  But with Soto flying off of draft boards as early as late round two, early round three, it's a little too rich for my blood in single season leagues.  As good as he was last year, I feel like there is going to be some bumps in the road now that pitchers know the tape on him.  And the fact that he is still learning at the ripe old age of 20.  Have folks forgotten how good Patrick Corbin was last year?  Playing for a subpar Diamondbacks team?  In a launching pad of a ballpark?  Corbin posted a 3.15 ERA with nearly 250 strikeouts.  Expect his wins to climb from 11 to maybe as many as 18 and the ERA to potentially drop now that he is in a better situation.  With sleeper Cy Young potential, I LOVE Corbin at his current seventh round price.

NL Central:

Chicago Cubs - Let me get this out first, I have zero faith Javy Baez repeats last year's performance.  I'm sorry, I just don't, but that is also solely a merit-less opinion.  Take it as you will.  Now that we have cleared that up, I also believe Yu Darvish will not repeat his past season either.  Not like that should be hard with only 40 IP's in his first season with the Cubs.  All early signs this spring show Darvish to be completely healed from his elbow and triceps issue that plagued him in 2018.  A healthy Yu Darvish is good for double digit wins and anywhere between 150-200 strikeouts.  He is pitching for a good Cubs team which will help him get wins. This is purely a pick off of the fact he is currently a 13th-14th round pick with a potential payout of a much higher final value.


Cincinnati Reds - Joey Votto would be the easy choice if your league heavily favors average or OBP, but most don't.  Votto's power numbers took a drastic decline last year with only 12 balls leaving the yard; a 24 home run drop off from 2017.  Yes, that number should go up, but by how much?  Especially when you come to the realization that Votto is now in his mid 30s and still is averaging to be the 6th first basemen off the board.  One guy I would roll the dice on is Yasiel Puig.  First things first, Puig overall had a decent season last year with a line of .263/23HR's/63 RBI's, and that was basically in a platoon role.  The next thing that has me high on Puig this year is that he openly admitted that when in LA, he already had a large money deal, and did not have a reason to try hard.  As bad as it is to hear that, it also means this year in his walk year, he has a reason to try hard.  Couple that with the fact he is in a hitters paradise now and also will be a focal point of that Reds lineup, Puig has a very high ceiling this year.  Barring injury, there are too many things in his favor for him to have a poor season.

Milwaukee Brewers - Baseball fans had been waiting for a few years for Christian Yelich to finally put it all together.  That year was 2018.  In his first season in Milwaukee, Yelich not only produced career highs across the board, but also took home the NL MVP trophy.  With success comes a high draft day price in 2019.  My fear with Yelich is it took six years to finally have it all click.  That means five subpar years.  One out of six is not a ratio I personally love to warrant this man coming off the board as the fourth outfielder, ahead of guys like Aaron Judge and Bryce Harper.  I would rather take one of those guys and wait six more rounds and draft Lorenzo Cain instead.  Cain will give you some average, some long balls, a ton of runs scored, and steals.  He will pad your stats across the board at a much cheaper rate. Remember, it's all about value.

Pittsburgh Pirates - This is simple, Jameson Taillon.  He is the most talented player on the Pirates roster and is on the brink of a full breakout.  Taillon is currently just outside the first 20 pitchers being taken in drafts, but he has the best chance of that second tier of pitchers to return to Top 20 value. The only thing that may hurt him is a poor Pirates team behind him to keep his wins down.  But hey, even the worst team win 40 times a year!

Photo courtesy of theintelligencer.net
St. Louis Cardinals - I LOVE Jack Flaherty.  Being drafted just ahead of where Taillon is going,  Flaherty is a perfect number two fantasy starter, with the potential to be better.  Still only 23 years old, Flaherty is far from his prime.  Flaherty possesses a fastball and slider combo that can be one of the best in the game.  With a full MLB season now under his belt, look for Flaherty to take an even bigger step this year and improve his innings (151), ERA (3.34), and strikeouts (182).

NL West:

Arizona Diamondbacks - First things first, Arizona, thank you for signing Adam Jones.  It was absurd that he was still on the market this deep into March.  While not what he once was, he still provides plenty of value to a team.  Now to the part you're here for.  Luke Weaver was one of the main pieces in the return for Paul Goldschmidt.  Weaver is a very young, promising right hander coming off of a disappointing season in St. Louis where he finished the year in the bullpen.  Still only 25, it's too early to write him off just yet.  Weaver has gone anywhere from the 23rd round to undrafted.  On a rebuilding Diamondbacks team, he will have a very long leash.  I will be honest though, this pick is more of no one else on this roster is really worth spending a draft pick on (yes I know Greinke is still there and I just don't love him anymore).  If you have an extra pick and don't know what to do with it, use it on Weaver.

Colorado Rockies - If you are lucky enough to get the third overall pick in your draft, you draft Nolan Arenado.  If you draft later than three and he is still on the board, quit your league and find smarter people to play with.  But seriously, Arenado should be the third player taken in all drafts, and most of us won't be that lucky to get him.  If you're not, wait around until roughly the tenth round and draft David Dahl.  A very promising outfielder that he has been derailed by injuries.  Finally experiencing a healthy Spring, and not staring down the barrel of a platoon role, Dahl is slated to be the Rockies everyday left fielder and potentially bat cleanup in Coors Field.  If the words Coors Field and cleanup don't get your needle jumping, you're playing the wrong fantasy sport my friend.

Los Angeles Dodgers - Will someone put some respect on Justin Turner's name?  Still continually overlooked at the hot corner, Turner just quietly chugs away out in So Cal.  Last season Turner broke his wrist in Spring Training via a hit by pitch and missed a chunk of time.  Upon his return, which we have seen with so many other wrist injuries, Turner struggled.  But once he figured it out and got comfortable, he finished with Justin Turner numbers with a .312 average, 14 home runs, and 53 RBI's.  Currently healthy this spring, Turner is being drafted outside the top 10 in terms of third basemen.  If Turner can give you 140 games, he will return top 10 value.  His stellar approach at the plate will lead him to a plus .300 year once again and roughly a 20/70 season.  So waste a third or fourth round pick on an injured Vladimir Guerrero Jr, or stock up elsewhere and get Turner in the eighth round. 

Photo courtesy of dodgerblue.com

San Diego Padres
- Manny Machado's numbers will never be as good as what they were playing in a hitter's friendly Camden Yards and Eric Hosmer is good for a real life team, not so much a fantasy team.  With that information now given to you, and the fact I have yet to give you a closer to target, how about Kirby Yates?  Yates was having a career year before Brad Hand was sent to Cleveland and Yates took over the closer roll.  The thing with Yates is he has little to no competition to take his job, he's proved to be effective, and can be taken so much later than all the other closers.  Don't fall in line when the run of closers inevitably starts in your league.  Keep taking the best player out there and grab Yates later.



Manny Machado Padres Gear

San Francisco Giants - The Giants reign of odd year World Series finally ended a few years ago, but you can be damn sure it won't start back up this season.  This team is not good and will be competing with Arizona for last in the NL West.  With that said, if you see Madison Bumgarner falling in your drafts, pull the trigger and hope he still has something left in the tank.  Just don't reach for him.  Those days are over.


Find the One Player. Each Team - AL Edition HERE


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