2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Outline – Which Players I’m Targeting And When

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It’s draft season, which means you better get prepped before you’re on the clock without an idea of who you should pick. Lucky for you – and everyone who I’m in a league with – I’m going to outline my entire draft plan for 2017, from who I’m targeting in each round to which positions I’m focusing on getting early in the draft and those to wait on. All my favorite players are here in one place for each position, with a round-by-round outline at the end. The rounds are a rough estimation, and should give you a general idea of when you should be looking to grab them.

Before we begin, there are a few things to note:

– This outline is meant for a redraft, 12-teamer 5×5 league. It still applies to most variants, but obviously it’s not a one-size-fits-all.
– I have purposefully left some holes since drafts are fluid creatures that need affection and constant-attention to nail down just right.
– Don’t follow this so rigidly that when Ryan Bruan falls to the 8th round you ignore him.
– Round targets are created based around Fantasy Pros’ ADP, which merges NFBC, Yahoo, and CBS data.

Catchers

I really don’t like chasing a catcher in the early to mid-rounds as there is often value to be had deeper in the draft when you can often have you favorite choice of backstop at the 12th or 13th off the board. At that point, I’m hoping Stephen Vogt, Wellington Castillo or Russell Martin are still around to snatch up. There are some interesting upside plays that you can wait incredibly long for, such as Travis d’Arnaud and Cameron Rupp if all else fails.

  • Wellington Castillo/Russell Martin/Stephen Vogt – Round 17/18
  • Travis d’Arnaud/Cameron Rupp – Round 20+

First Basemen

I’m all for grabbing as many power hefty bats early in drafts and there is an obvious drop-off in first base production if you don’t snag one early. I’d be looking to grab one of Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Cabrera, Anthony Rizzo, Joey Votto, Freddie Freeman, and Edwin Encarnacion in the first two rounds as the later options don’t bring enough value. Ian Desmond will gain 1B eligibility in the first two weeks, making him a solid grab in the fourth if he’s around, while pairing him with a later upside pick in the short term. Adrian Gonzalez has been falling due to injury and could be a good safety net if you miss out in the first four rounds. I like Matt Carpenter as well, but he’s more valuable at second base or third. Late in the draft, there are some big upside options with Tommy Joseph, Greg Bird, and Yulieski Gurriel that could pay big dividends at a much lower cost. Keep in mind, Gurriel, like Desmond, will take about two weeks to gain eligibility this season

  • Paul Goldschmidt/Miguel Cabrera/Anthony Rizzo/Joey Votto/Freddie Freeman/Edwin Encarnacion – Round 1/2/3
  • Ian Desmond – Round 4
  • Adrian Gonzalez/Kendrys Morales – Round 13
  • Tommy Joseph/Greg Bird/Yulieski Gurriel – Round 18+

Second Basemen

It’s hard to turn down Jose Altuve if he falls to you, though it may be smart to look elsewhere with that early pick as there are a sturdy amount of options in the early-middle rounds that can pay huge dividends. It starts with Robinson Cano and Rougned Odor, who each may pay big dividends if they are still there by the late 3rd and fourth. By the sixth and seventh round, I’m looking to snag one of Jean Segura, Matt Carpenter and Ian Kinsler if they fall to me. If not, I’m reaching for or DJ LeMahieu or Jason Kipnis in the seventh/eighth round as it’s a dramatic fall off from there. Worse comes to worse, Devon Travis is the later rounds has intriguing upside, while it’s hard to deny the pop of Jedd Gyorko’s bat.

  • Robinson Cano – Round 3
  • Rougned Odor – Round 4
  • Matt Carpenter/Ian Kinsler/Jean Segura – Round 6/7
  • DJ LeMahieu/Jason Kipnis – Round 7/8
  • Devon Travis/Jedd Gyorko – Round 20+

Third Basemen

As tempting as it is, it might be best to skip out on grabbing an elite third basemen early as there are decent options later on with more pressing tier drops at other positions. Still, if any of the big three fall in the first round – Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant, and Josh Donaldson, it would be foolish to pass them up. For value I’m looking for a 3B starting in the sixth and seven rounds, hoping to grab one of Kyle Seager, Adrian Beltre, and Matt Carpenter. Backup options are sturdy as well, with Justin Turner in the 10th and Maikel Franco in the 12th. And there are deeper options still that should provide plenty of value, such as Jake Lamb in the 15th, Ryon Healy and Jung-Ho Kang (who will not be heading to jail) in the 18th, and guys like Yulieski Gurriel and Mike Moustakas hanging around at the end of your draft.

  • Nolan Arenado/Kris Bryant/Josh Donaldson – Late Round 1
  • Kyle Seager/Adrian Beltre/Matt Carpenter – Round 6/7
  • Justin Turner – Round 10
  • Maikel Franco – Round 11/12
  • Jake Lamb – Round 15
  • Ryon Healy/Jung-Ho Kang – Round 18
  • Mike Moustakas/Yulieski Gurriel – Round 20+

Shortstops

I’ve heard a bit about “no such thing as position scarcity this year” and I just don’t buy it. I see shortstop as being top heavy where I want to grab one of Manny Machado, Carlos Correra, or Corey Seager and I’d prefer to skip over Xander Bogaerts or Francisco Lindor given their 2nd/3rd round price tags. If I miss out on those three, I’m looking to grab one of Jean Segura or Jonathan Villar in the 5th or 6th rounds, followed by Addison Russell, Eduardo Nunez (if I’m lacking steals) and Troy Tulowitzki in the middle rounds and looking to Tim Anderson late if the slot is still empty.

  • Manny Machado – Round 1
  • Carlos Correra/Corey Seager – Round 2
  • Addison Russell/Eduardo Nunez/Troy Tulowitzki – Round 12/13
  • Tim Anderson – Round 18+

Outfielders

While you can’t say no to Trout and Betts to start your draft, the most value with outfielders lies in rounds 3-6 with plenty of excellent options to go around. I’d love to snag at least one of Nelson Cruz and JD Martinez in the third or fourth, then mix in Carlos Gonzalez/Ian Desmond/Yoenis Cespedes/AJ Pollock and Mark Trumbo between the fourth and sixth rounds. Adam Jones and Jose Bautista are great value picks near the 10th round with Andrew Benintendi shortly after in the 11th. Then there are a lot of middling options where I would rather wait toward the end of my draft to select major upside and big value players like Ender Inciarte/Keon Broxton/Kevin Kiermaier/Travis Jankowski for extra speed and Aaron Judge/Eric Thames for upside.

  • Nelson Cruz/JD Martinez – Round 3/4
  • Carlos Gonzalez/Ian Desmond/Yoenis Cespedes/AJ Pollock/Mark Trumbo – Round 4/5/6
  • Adam Jones/Jose Bautista – Round 9/10
  • Andrew Benintendi – Round 11
  • Ender Inciarte/Keon Broxton/Kevin Kiermaier/Travis Jankowski/Aaron Judge/Eric Thames – Round 18+

Starting Pitchers

I’ll be laying off of the top tier starters in my drafts unless they fall a ton, with my main three targets being Justin Verlander, Jacob deGrom, and Carlos Carrasco in that order. Unless there are weird things happening in my draft, I’m aiming to snag one of them by the fifth round, possibly early sixth for Carrasco. Then around round 10, I’ll be shifting my focus to grab a large handful of pitchers inside my Tier 3, including Aaron Sanchez, Carlos Martinez, Jameson Taillon, James Paxton, Steven Matz, Michael Fulmer, Sean Manaeaand Aaron NolaWith a huge amount of options here, be a little patient and don’t spend the price to take the first player from this group unless you were unable to snag a pitcher prior to the ninth round. There are plenty of highly undervalued arms going deep this year that I’ll be grabbing at the tail end of my draft to fill out my rotation: Garrett Richards, Jharel Cotton, Lance LynnJerad Eickhoff, Joe Rossand Dylan Bundyand in even deeper leagues, guys like Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, Matt Andriese, Alex Cobb, Joe Musgroveand Daniel Norris should not be undrafted.

Relief Pitchers

I’m all in favor of grabbing at least one sturdy reliever in drafts this year, with rounds 8/9 dedicated to finding at least one stud closer to anchor my relief core. Edwin Diaz is my favorite to provide more value than his current ADP slot, though I’d be happy with any of Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman, Edwin Diaz, and Zach Britton in the 8th. If I miss out on them, I’m looking to grab one of Ken Giles and Kelvin Herrera in the 9th, possibly going back-to-back into the 10th. To round out the staff, I’m a fan of Hector Neris and Shawn Kelley, both of whom are lower based on uncertainty in their bullpens, but can run away with the job and give you stud numbers as well. Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances should also be considered despite their lack of closing roles as their productivity as middle relievers will still be beneficial week-to-week.

  • Aroldis Chapman/Kenley Jansen/Edwin Diaz/Zach Britton – Round 8
  • Ken Giles/Kelvin Herrera – Round 9/10
  • Hector Neris/Shawn Kelley – Round 15/16
  • Andrew Miller/Dellin Betances – Round 20+

Round by Round

Round 1: Mike Trout/Mookie Betts/Nolan Arenado/Kris Bryant/Josh Donaldson/Manny Machado/Paul Goldschmidt/Miguel Cabrera

Round 2: Carlos Correra/Corey Seager/Miguel Cabrera/Anthony Rizzo/Joey Votto/Freddie Freeman/Edwin Encarnacion

Round 3: Nelson Cruz/JD Martinez/Robinson Cano/Joey Votto/Freddie Freeman/Edwin Encarnacion/Ian Desmond

Round 4: Nelson Cruz/JD Martinez/Ian Desmond/Carlos Gonzalez/Yoenis Cespedes/AJ Pollock/Mark Trumbo/Rougned Odor

Round 5: Justin Verlander/Jacob deGrom/Carlos Carrasco/Carlos Gonzalez/Ian Desmond/Yoenis Cespedes/AJ Pollock/Mark Trumbo

Round 6: Carlos Gonzalez/Ian Desmond/Yoenis Cespedes/AJ Pollock/Mark Trumbo/Kyle Seager/Adrian Beltre/Matt Carpenter/Ian Kinsler/Jean Segura

Round 7: Kyle Seager/Adrian Beltre/Ian Kinsler/Jean Segura/Matt Carpenter/DJ LeMahieu/Jason Kipnis

Round 8: Aroldis Chapman/Kenley Jansen/Edwin Diaz/Zach Britton/DJ LeMahieu/Jason Kipnis

Round 9: Ken Giles/Kelvin Herrera/Adam Jones/Jose Bautista/Carlos Martinez/Aaron Sanchez

Round 10: Adam Jones/Jose Bautista/Justin Turner/Ken Giles/Kelvin Herrera/Carlos Martinez/Aaron Sanchez/Jameson Taillon/Aaron Nola/James Paxton/Steven Matz/Michael Fulmer/Sean Manaea

Round 11: Maikel Franco/Andrew Benintendi/Carlos Martinez/Aaron Sanchez/Jameson Taillon/Aaron Nola/James Paxton/Steven Matz/Michael Fulmer/Sean Manaea

Round 12: Maikel Franco/Addison Russell/Eduardo Nunez/Troy Tulowitzki/Carlos Martinez/Aaron Sanchez/Jameson Taillon/Aaron Nola/James Paxton/Steven Matz/Michael Fulmer/Sean Manaea

Round 13: Addison Russell/Eduardo Nunez/Troy Tulowitzki/Carlos Martinez/Aaron Sanchez/Jameson Taillon/Aaron Nola/James Paxton/Steven Matz/Michael Fulmer/Sean Manaea/Adrian Gonzalez/Kendrys Morales

Round 14: Carlos Martinez/Aaron Sanchez/Jameson Taillon/Aaron Nola/James Paxton/Steven Matz/Michael Fulmer/Sean Manaea

Round 15: Hector Neris/Shawn Kelley/Jake Lamb/Carlos Martinez/Aaron Sanchez/Jameson Taillon/Aaron Nola/James Paxton/Steven Matz/Michael Fulmer/Sean Manaea

Round 16: Hector Neris/Shawn Kelley/Garret Richards/Jharel Cotton/Lance Lynn/Jerad Eickhoff/Joe Ross/Dylan Bundy

Round 17: Garret Richards/Jharel Cotton/Lance Lynn/Jerad Eickhoff/Joe Ross/Dylan Bundy/Wellington Castillo/Russell Martin/Stephen Vogt

Round 18: Tim Anderson/Ender Inciarte/Keon Broxton/Kevin Kiermaier/Travis Jankowski/Aaron Judge/Eric Thames/Ryon Healy/Jung-Ho Kang/Garret Richards/Jharel Cotton/Lance Lynn/Jerad Eickhoff/Joe Ross/Dylan Bundy/Wellington Castillo/Russell Martin/Stephen Vogt/Tommy Joseph/Greg Bird

Round 19: Tim Anderson/Ender Inciarte/Keon Broxton/Kevin Kiermaier/Travis Jankowski/Aaron Judge/Eric Thames/Ryon Healy/Jung-Ho Kang/Garret Richards/Jharel Cotton/Lance Lynn/Jerad Eickhoff/Joe Ross/Dylan Bundy/Wellington Castillo/Russell Martin/Stephen Vogt/Tommy Joseph/Greg Bird

Round 20: Tim Anderson/Ender Inciarte/Keon Broxton/Kevin Kiermaier/Travis Jankowski/Aaron Judge/Eric Thames/Andrew Miller/Dellin Betances/Mike Moustakas/Garret Richards/Jharel Cotton/Lance Lynn/Jerad Eickhoff/Joe Ross/Dylan Bundy/Devon Travis/Jedd Gyorko/Travis d’Arnaud/Cameron Rupp/Tommy Joseph/Greg Bird/Yulieski Gurriel

Deeper SP targets: Daniel Norris/Matt Andriese/Zack Wheeler/Robert Gsellman/Alex Cobb/Joe Musgrove

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Nick Pollack

Founder
Founder of both PitcherList.com and PitcherGIFs.com. Washington Post contributor and has worked with CBS Sports, Grantland, and SB Nation. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum.

10 Responses to “2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Outline – Which Players I’m Targeting And When”

  1. Andrew March 10, 2017

    Great info. I consider this website to be my secret weapon against the other players in my 12 team keeper league. Quick question? Would you rather keep George Springer in the 8th round or Wil Myers in the 21st (and obviously why)? I’m having trouble buying Myers’ breakout last season, and I think Springer has more to offer in that stacked lineup. Other keepers are Bryant, T Turner, and Josh Bell in the 12th, 13th, and 21st round respectively.

    Thanks! Love the site.

    Reply
    • Nick Pollack

      Thanks Andrew!

      The way I see it is that you’re getting Myers + and 8th rounder for Springer, which could be pretty dang solid, especially if it’s a stud closer or another excellent bat. I’d look into who would be available in the 8th round to make the right assessment.

      At the end of the day though, I think I’d slightly lean getting Springer in the 8th.

      However, if it’s possible to not keep Bell, I’d rather have both Springer/Myers at their rounds.

      Reply
  2. Jack Weisberg

    What’s up- No mention of Jose Abreu for 1B ??

    Reply
    • Nick Pollack

      I’m not a fan of his ADP and value. He’s going in rounds 4/5/6 and I have other needs there like a SP, 2B, and OF.

      Reply
  3. luis sierra

    Nick, whats your strategy in terms of speed… don´t seem to draft any combo players early on.

    Reply
    • luis sierra

      And what about taking a Blackmon/ Starling Marte type on the second round?

      Reply
    • Nick Pollack

      Depends heavily on that first round pick. If I’m getting Trout/Betts/Altuve, I won’t look to grab someone like Pollock and Seagura to match it. I’ll almost always have a late speed guy in my OF, like Jankowski, Inciarte or Kiermaier as well.

      I hate paying too much for speed as those who go for it are going to win the week anyway while I should plan on having the power bats to overcome it. Essentially, don’t aim to have the most speed but also enough to compete with those who didn’t pay the premium for it.

      Reply
  4. Greg

    This site (and your content) is amazing! First year last year and I came in second, thanks to this site. 🙂

    For a keeper league that is selecting keepers for the first time, I have 2 pitchers to keep. I have Chapman and Jansen, but I also have Hamels, Lackey, Bundy, Happ and Hill (he’s getting older). Whatcha thinking about good keeper options?

    Reply
  5. Mark Hillard

    Did Trea Turner get abducted but aliens (with Abreu)? Pretty big misses……

    Reply
  6. Matt Nielsen

    I like Cron as a late 1B backup. Thoughts?

    Reply

Comments