The 2016 fantasy season is almost upon us, Jays From the Couch look at where some of the prominent Blue Jays land within the Top 250.
There are many factors that come into play when picking your fantasy baseball team. How you pick can be influenced by whether you’re participating in an auction or snake draft or roto/H2H/straight point. One thing is for certain, we all want to win and to win with our favorite players on our team. The Toronto Blue have 9 players ranked in the Top 250 which would all help you in your quest for Fantasy League greatness.
After winning the 2015 American League Most Valuable Player, Josh Donaldson moves up from 8th to 5th. At age 30, JD is the first ranked 3rd baseman with Baltimore Orioles 23-yr-old Manny Machado hot on his heels. Josh is expected to hit in the 2-hole again this year, so he’ll get his share of at-bats and plenty of protection with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion batting clean-up.
Jose Bautista enters his 8th season with the Blue Jays, after another 40HR, 100RBI, 100 walk season the face of the franchise bat flipped his way from the 29th in 2015 to the 12th spot in 2016. Jose Bautista is the 5th ranked outfielder, behind Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton and Andrew McCutchen. Some things to consider when picking Jose with your 1st pick: Free-Agent year, age 35 season, and a lock to hit 3rd.
Next on the list is another soon-to-be free agent 1st/DH Edwin Encarnacion. Edwin makes the jump from number 30 to number 17 with his 4th 30+ HR, 90+ RBI season. The 33-yr-old is considered to be the 4th best option at 1st base, behind Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt at #2, Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera at #14, and Cubs Anthony Rizzo at #16.
Former Colorado Rockies short stop Troy Tulowitzki jumps almost 100 spots from 149 up to 53. The oft injured SS is a high risk, high reward pick, missing large chunks of games over the years. Tulo hasn’t driven in a 100 RBI since 2011 and it’s unlikely that he will accomplish the feat in 2016, as he is likely to bat lead-off with the Blue Jays lacking a true leadoff guy. If Tulo does bat lead-off and remains healthy owners can expect 100+ runs and 600+ at-bats. Tulo is ranked 3rd among SS behind Houston’s Carlos Correa at 10 and Boston’s Xander Bogaerts at 51.
The Blue Jays best ACE option, RHP Marcus Stroman jumps all the way up from 432 to 100, ranking as the leagues 28th best starting pitcher. If the StroShow can make it out of Spring Training healthy, Stroman will likely be the Blue Jays Opening Day starter and has the potential to win 20 games. Marcus won’t rack up the strikeouts, but the 24-yr-old would be a great pick up if he’s available in a keeper league.
Russell Martin also saw his stock rise from 183 in ’15 to 131 in ’16. Russell ranks as the league’s 5th best option behind the plate in a position that isn’t known for it’s offense. Speaking from experience, a good fantasy catcher is hard to find outside the draft. Buster Posey and Kyle Schwarber are the best options behind the plate. Martin should hit another 15-20 HR and drive in another 70+ RBI near the middle of a strong offensive the lineup.
With the acquisition of Drew Storen the next player on the list saw his stock drop. With his current role with the Blue Jays up in the air, Osuna is a risky pick in first handful of rounds. Roberto is good for 9-10 K/9, saves as a closer and holds as a setup man. The soon-to-be 21-yr-old converted 20 saves after pitching for the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2014. With Toronto’s juggernaut offense, picking a Blue Jays closer is risky business. Save opportunities can disappear with one swing of the bat.
Last season’s human highlight reel, Kevin Pillar, is generously ranked as the league’s 43rd best option in the outfield at 163 overall. It’s hard not to like a guy that hit .278 with 76 runs, 12 home runs, 56 RBI and 25 stolen bases while providing gold glove caliber defense in CF. However, I’m still surprised to see him this high…although I shouldn’t be. Pillar has hit at every level, cut his K’s in half and provided John Gibbons with a speed threat at the bottom of the lineup. Pillar’s flyball rate and pull tendency indicate a AJ Pollock type breakout (read more).
Newly acquired Drew Storen is the last Blue Jay in the top 250 at 217, down from 155 last year. Everything written earlier about Roberto Osuna pertains to Drew Storen. Osuna vs Storen will be one the better Spring Training stories when camp opens up in less than 30 days.
*Featured Image Credit: Johnny Peacock UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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