2018 – Early Sleepers – First Base

When it comes to drafting a first baseman most people try to get one early in an auction or draft. I do think we’ve all had a time where we tried to take the best player available. Its a logical approach for value. All of a sudden you see your outfield spots are full , you secured a great third basemen and you have 3 impressive starters and a big time closer. By that time you realize your first base spot is empty and your league mates have not only taken the top 10 or so but they are also loading up their corner infield and Utility spots. Checking who is still on the board you have to decide between Mitch Moreland or Adam Lind…a tidal wave of sadness enters your brain. The panic sets in so you breath into a brown paper bag for a minute to gather yourself. There are other options that can prove to  great value picks,

Gregory Bird – Yankees – Bird got his first taste of the majors back in 2015. He dominated AA & AAA before an injury brought him up to man first base for a few months, If you add up his stats from 3 levels that year he hit 23 home runs and 83 RBI. Very impressive considering these were levels he had never been to before. There was no adjustment periods just a good hitter who has a very advanced approach at the plate. 2016 for Bird was lost due to Shoulder surgery and he dealt with a frustrating ankle injury for part of 2017. There was some time needed to get on field ready. Did anyone see Bird playing first base during the 2017 playoffs? He was hitting dingers off the Indians and Astros. So for the 25 year old 6’4″ lefty that gets to  take advantage of the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium the power possibilities are endless. Bird has had some success hitting against lefty pitchers so he should log a lot of plate appearances. My projections for 2018 are .265/71/25/73/4

Matt Olson – Athletics – Last season Matt Olson hit a combined 47 home runs between the A’s and their AAA affiliate.  Looks like Billy Beane hit the jack pot again. Olson looks like a lock for being a perennial 40 home run guy for years to come. Too soon? Fair enough. Dude has put together some very impressive video game stats though.  He is very likely the reason the A’s felt compelled to dangle Ryon Healy for other team needs. There are some stats that lead me to believe this might be sustainable. Olson has a very advanced approach and eye at the plate. His BB/K rate was 0.37 for the A’s last season which is actually one of the lowest of his professional career. Also, a power hitter with a hard hit percentage of 40.3 seems to be unlucky to have a BABIP as low as .238. There was a 20 year gap in between Mark McGwire and Aaron Judge having monster rookie seasons but whose to say we have to wait another 20? I’m going to be targeting Matt Olson in every league next year. I’m just hoping the hype doesnt get too out of hand making him a target for the masses. My projections for 2018 are: .259/84/37/101/0

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