Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts is undoubtedly the No. 1 player in fantasy. He’s putting up career numbers this season. Is he the top pick in 2017 drafts?
The Boston Red Sox are well prepared for life without David Ortiz. The front office has done a great job drafting and promoting the right talents to the main roster. One of the players lighting up the stat sheets and carrying fantasy teams to a championship is outfielder Mookie Betts. With his current performance, is he worth the No. 1 pick in 2017 drafts?
Betts entered the 2016 fantasy season as a third round pick in ESPN leagues, 25.0 ADP. After his 2015 performance, that was a good spot for owners to draft him. He played in 145 games and hit 18 home runs, 77 RBI, 92 runs scored and a .291/.341/.479 line. He also stole 21 bases. It was a good sophomore season.
Any owner that was able to draft or trade for Betts has been, I can assume, grateful for his performance this year. He is hitting .317/.358/.542 with 31 homers, 108 RBI and 115 runs scored. Betts recorded his first 200-hit season, only one of two hitters to reach 200 so far.
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He also stole 24 bases, and counting. While his walk rate is down, 7.0 to 6.3 percent, his strikeout rate is also down, 12.5 to 11.6 percent. His on-base percentage is mostly from his hits. The walks are there, but not to Joey Votto levels.
Now that the numbers are out of the way, why should Betts be the first overall pick in next year’s draft?
Betts is a five-category player. He helps in every hitting stat – hits (average), runs, home runs, RBI and steals. As far as where he compares with his contemporaries, Betts is top 20 in all of them. He is first in hits, T-10th in average, third in runs, T-19th in homers, fifth in RBI and 16th in steals. That kind of consistency cannot be found in any of the other top picks from this season.
Bryce Harper can help in all, but his average tanked this season. Mike Trout saw a dip in his home runs and RBI totals, no thanks to the team around him. Jose Altuve has similar power numbers, but his value comes from his hits and steals. Paul Goldschmidt is good, but he looks like a second round player next year.
I could keep going, but the players in the bottom-half of the first round are either pitchers or will not qualify as first round picks next season, like Giancarlo Stanton or Andrew McCutchen. Betts showed his potential last season and this was his breakout year. He missed just three games so far this year. You will not find a single player that will give you these numbers day in and day out.
The Red Sox team around him won’t change much heading into the 2017 season. Hanley Ramirez turned it up in the second half. Dustin Pedroia is hitting .325. Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley crushed 20 home runs each.
Betts provides you with value across board. Whether it is contact, power or speed, Betts will be a factor in any head-to-head matchup and could change the rankings in a roto league. If you have the first pick in your draft next year, do not overthink it. Draft Betts.