One Player, Each Team: AL Edition


The time of year has come to provide you once again my yearly fantasy baseball breakdown where I highlight one player from each team that you should target in your fantasy baseball league this upcoming season.  Some may be obvious, but most will not be the star of the team.  The players are a combination of draft day value and fantasy output potential.  So without further adieu, let's dive into it.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles
  • Trey Mancini -  Has anyone ever hit 35 home runs in a quieter fashion than Trey Mancini did last year?  Mancini fell three RBI's shy of having a 35/100 year, which easily would have been attainable if he just played on a better team.  Only 13 players last season hit at least 35 home runs with 100 runs batted in.  That is the company Trey Mancini practically joined.  Do you know who also hit 35 home runs?  Bryce Harper.  Yes, Harper drove in 114, but he also batted a full 31 points less than Trey Mancini.  Harper will cost you a second, if not a first round pick, while Mancini's ADP currently sits at the 84th pick.  Mancini is really the only Oriole that is worth your intrigue on draft day, and given his value, should be on everyone's radar.

Boston Red Sox
  • Brandon Workman - With Mookie Betts off to the left coast, I think it is very fair to expect a lot of numbers to drop off slightly for the remaining Red Sox studs.  Devers and Bogaerts both put forth career years last year while JD Martinez cleared 30 home runs for the third straight year.  All of those guys remain draftable, of course, but without Mookie on base in front of them, numbers should diminish, RBI's the most.  So who else in Boston has value?  How about Brandon Workman?  The Red Sox are just not going to be cellar dwellers because of the loss of Mookie and Price.  This is a team that is still fully capable of winning at least 81 games, and someone needs to shut the door on the majority of those.  Workman won over the closer role late last year and has been named the closer for the 2020 season.  Barring an injury or unforeseen breakdown, Workman could easily grab 30+ saves.

New York Yankees
  • Gleyber Torres - This is my sole gut feeling mind you, but that gut feeling is strong.  I feel Gleyber Torres is a sleeper MVP candidate this year.  Torres is only 22 years old and already has two full seasons under his belt.  Last season Torres made a large jump in power, hitting 38 home runs.  This year, Torres will look to make a huge jump in average as his career average is .275.  Torres is that good of a player still getting better and a .300/35/100 style season is very much in play.  In redraft leagues I would overpay for Torres.  His current ADP is in the fourth round.  I would easily go third, if not late second.  Every year you get a feeling towards a player.  Torres is mine this year.

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Tampa Bay Rays
  • Jose Martinez - Jose Martinez is a natural born DH who has been stuck in the National League.  I think both the Cardinals and Rays realized that and made a move good for both teams.  Martinez easily had his worst season to date in 2019, but I chalk that up to inconsistent playing time and being shuffled around different positions.  This season, Martinez can show up to the ballpark knowing he is there for one thing and one thing only.  Hit.  Martinez will now be the Rays everyday DH, which should send him back to his .305 average from 2018 and not back to his .269 average from a year ago.  Martinez should be around that .300 average mark this season and reaching 20 home runs for the first time in his career looks extremely obtainable.  Martinez is one of my favorite picks this season.

Toronto Blue Jays
  • Bo Bichette - The Blue Jays youth movement is in full swing with Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette all slotting in to the starting lineup for 2020.  The youth does not stop there as the Jays have 2 other top 100 prospects.  Catcher Danny Jansen, who will also be their starting backstop, and of course powerhouse righty Nate Pearson.  Pearson will be the lone one out of the bunch to start the year in the Minor League's, but even Pearson should join the big league club at some point in 2020.  Out of all these names though, Bichette is my favorite because I foresee him as having a full package.  Bichette is capable of hitting for power and average, while being able to swipe some bags.  Bichette hit .311 is 46 games last year at the big league level giving him .300 as a solid floor.  I love Bichette for a .300 average, 20 home runs, 70 RBI's and 15-20 steals.  He holds great value.
AL Central 

Chicago White Sox
  • Yoan Moncado - It feels like we have been hearing about how great Moncado could be for half a decade now.  Moncada finally offered a glimpse of that greatness last season as he batted .315 with 25 homers and 79 RBI's.  Around him, the White Sox have a TON to like.  Eloy Jiminez, Luis Robert, Tim Anderson (who I LOVE), Jose Abreu, and Yasmani Grandal.  Having all that talent around Moncado is not exactly a bad thing.  The White Sox have a shot to be really good this year, and with all this talent around Moncado we can expect his numbers to get another bump making his fifth round value worth it.

Cleveland Indians
  • Oscar Mercado - Oscar Mercado is not going to knock your socks off, but he makes for an excellent depth piece with an unpredictable ceiling for any fantasy team.  He made his way to the big leagues in May last year and found himself a nice role with Cleveland.  The Indians continue to be shallow in the outfield, leaving Mercado uncontested in center field.  Mercado hit a pedestrian .269 in the majors last year, but threw in 15 dingers and 54 RBI's.  Where his value may really be felt its on the basepaths as he swiped 15 bags last year.  A potential 20 homer, 70 RBI player, that can add 20 steals will always have a spot on my fantasy team.

Detroit Tigers
  • Jonathan Schoop - The Tigers are easily the hardest team to find a fantasy worthy player on, and basically get saved by a shallow fantasy position in second base.  I personally would avoid this team like the plague, at least to start the year, but in deep leagues Schoop is worth a look.  It may be difficult for him to post anything lofty with little to no protection around him, but he is a guy that has averaged 25 homers over the past 4 seasons.  The Tigers have to score runs somehow, and Schoop will lead that charge.

Kansas City Royals
  • Jorge Soler - If memory serves me right, a year ago I predicted that Jorge Soler would be the best player not on your fantasy team.  He ended up being one of the best players period.  Soler always had mega power potential, he just had not been able to translate it to a full season's showing.  In 2019 he did just that, blasting an AL leading 48 home runs while driving in 117 runs.  I think it's a bit unfair to expect that again, but 40 home runs is not.  Couple that with his almost 10th round ADP?  That has buy written all over it.

Minnesota Twins 
  • Taylor Rogers - A ton of folks are all on the Byron Buxton breakout train this year.  But, haven't all these people been on it for like, three years now?  I can only wait out the hype on a guy for so long, and for Buxton I am completely off until we finally see a full season of him being the star we have heard he can be.  Beyond Buxton, this is a very talented roster from top to bottom with Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Nelson Cruz, and now Josh Donaldson.  All that talent means wins, and with wins comes saves, and with saves comes Taylor Rogers out of the pen.  Rogers emerged as one of the best arms in the Twins pen this past year and was able to rack up 30 saves.  The job is now his to lose, and if he holds it all year, pushing 40 saves is well within reach on a Twins team that should repeat as AL Central champions.
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AL West

Houston Astros
  • NO ONE!  BLACKLIST THE TEAM!  CHEATERS!  Okay.  Maybe I am a little salty.  Just a tad.  But this scandal is not going away and this will take a mental toll on the players in this lineup.  I would be wary about Astros hitters.  Not to go as far as to say avoid Bregman, Springer, Altuve, and Correa, but maybe notch them down a round or two.  So let's look to pitching instead.  How about Lance McCullers?  Who doesn't love a good comeback story?  Before losing all of last season to Tommy John surgery, McCullers was well on his way to be the next great Houston ace.  In 2018 he got his ERA down to a career best 3.86 and struck out 142 batters in only 128 innings.  We have seen more and more players come back from Tommy John with great success and early reports out of camp are promising.  The only thing that should scare you is a potential innings cap, but if he falls past his 110 ADP, make the move.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  • Dylan Bundy - I love the value here.  There is not a thing flashy about Dylan Bundy, but he takes the ball every fifth day without a hitch, and now goes from the hitters paradise he was stuck pitching in of Camden Yards to Anaheim.  With a more pitcher friendly ballpark, and a lot more run support, Bundy makes for an excellent bench arm on anyone's fantasy team.  Bundy managed nine wins last year on a God-awful Orioles team.  A dozen wins is within reach on a better Angels team.  His current ADP is roughly the 22nd round.  Value, value, value.

Oakland Athletics 
  • Ramon Laureano - If I listed a guy like Oscar Mercado earlier, I need to list Laureano, who is better.  Laureano just put in his first full season in the majors.  And even though he's known for his defense, specifically his arm, he was no slouch at the plate.  Laureano was able to bat .288 and hit 24 home runs while swiping 13 bags.  Those numbers rival guys like Ozzie Albies, Kyle Seager, Starling Marte, and Ryan Braun, and you're rostering them right?  Yeah you are.  And probably for a much higher price than Laureano.  Value folks.

Seattle Mariners
  • Evan White - Apparently I spoke too early when I said the Tigers were the most difficult team to find a fantasy worthy player on.  Man, this Seattle roster is in TOUGH shape.  The Tigers, Orioles and Mariners should duke it out all season long for the worst team in the American League.  I would avoid the Mariners roster if at all possible.  However, if you're in a keeper or dynasty style league, don't ignore Evan White.  Getting a six year, $24 million contract before ever stepping foot on a major league field has to be for a reason.  He projects to be a power hitter which typically means a dip in average, but you take that trade off all the time when it comes to home runs.  Currently worth your 26th pick, if your draft even goes that deep, he is completely worth it.
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Texas Rangers
  • Joey Gallo - Gallo was beating the seams off of the ball last year when he hit the IL with an oblique injury on June 2nd.  At that point Gallo was hitting .276, roughly 60 points higher than his career average.  He came off the IL three weeks later, saw his average drop 20 points, then his season ended with a broken bone in his wrist July 25th.  If the injuries never plagued Gallo he was on pace to shatter his career batting average to go along with 45 home runs and 100 RBIs.  Even with the expectation that Gallo's average will level back out with his norm, the power is unprecedented and totally worth the investment come draft day.

Be on the lookout for the NL version in the coming weeks!

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Boston Sports Syndicate: One Player, Each Team: AL Edition
One Player, Each Team: AL Edition
Boston Sports Syndicate
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