By Chris Kreush
One of the things I always looked forward to (and still do) is to read different writers' picks and pans to try to figure out which players are maybe trending upwards and which are heading for the basement.
While we all know what opinions are like, it's still quite interesting to me to read different people's perspectives about who they like and who they don't like. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have too much information or differing points of view. Someone's bound to be right about a certain player, and I like to try to figure out who it is. So I'm going to throw my two cents' worth out there and give my opinion on NL picks this week.
Trust this pair of Pads
Pedro Alvarez - At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, the Pittsburgh Pirates hot corner man is a big boy to say the least. What Alvarez does best is what you'd think big boys would do, and that is hit the ball a long way. After hitting 30 home runs in his first full season, he followed it up with 36 in 2013 to tie for the league lead. Yeah, I know he struck out 186 times and only batted .233 and can't hit lefties, but I'm not drafting him for that. He can still hit home runs, and there are not many players who could hit more than he could from a position I want to get a lot of power from. While the rest of the league is chasing David Wright, Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Zimmerman, I'll take Alvarez and make up the batting average elsewhere. Plus, this is his magical age-27 year, if you put any stock in that.
Allen Craig - The St. Louis Cardinals 1B/OF isn't your consummate power-hitting first baseman, but he can hit for a very good average. While some may pooh-pooh his .454 mark with runners in scoring position, he still hits nearly .400 for his career in those circumstances. Keep in mind he still had 97 RBI despite missing most of the last month of the season after hurting his foot. In a draft where I don't get any of the big players at first base, I'll gladly take the diminished power from Craig to match up as a good complement to Alvarez across the diamond. In an auction, I might toss him out early while many other players are waiting for the big guns at the position to come up and try to sneak a bit of a bargain in. Oh, the dual eligibility at outfield would be nice as well.
Evan Gattis - In a one-catcher league, I'd rather have someone else. But in a two-catcher league, sign me up for Gattis as my second backstop. With the departure of Brian McCann to the Big Apple, the 28-year-old catcher stands to get more time behind the plate. While an average in the .240 to .245 range isn't ideal, you could do worse, and I want him for his pop; he led all NL catchers with 21 home runs in 2013 along with Wilin Rosario.
Paul Goldschmidt - You might think that's an obvious choice, buckaroo, but this is a list of picks, not sleepers. Everything about his 2013 is legitimate -- 36 home runs, 125 RBI, 103 runs scored. While I think he might lose a bit from his .302 average, it won't be much -- pencil him in for .290-plus. And 15 stolen bases from a first baseman with his other credentials? Sign me up! But realize that the cost is going to be steep.
Who else does Chris back?
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