With MLB fantasy drafts set to begin, many Blue Jays are high on draft boards. In this post, we break down which Jays hitters are worthy of being drafted, and which round you should draft them in.
Fantasy baseball is great – it gives fans of the game a chance to be a general manager of a team drafted solely by them. If you draft first overall, you won’t be drafting a Blue Jays position player (take Mike Trout. Don’t think about it. Just take him). However, there are plenty of players on the Blue Jays that are worthy of both early and late round picks.
Even though every Jays fans would love to have a Blue Jays player on their fantasy roster, it is important not to reach for one if you want to have success in your league. While drafting Russell Martin may not be a bad idea, drafting him the third round would be.
We will be taking the rankings of CBS, ESPN and FOX into consideration when making our draft predictions for Blue Jays position players. However, the average draft position (ADP) will be based off solely CBS drafts.
If there is any Blue Jays player you want this season, it is Josh Donaldson. The right-handed hitting third baseball has absolutely torn the cover off the baseball since being acquired by the Blue Jays via trade with the Oakland Athletics. In two seasons with the team, Donaldson has hit 78 homeruns while collecting 222 RBIs. To go along with the power numbers, Donaldson also helps in other categories, slashing a line of .291/.387/.559 over those two seasons.
Rankings: 10 (CBS), 8 (ESPN), 9 (FOX)
ADP: 10th overall
My Prediction: 38 HR, 116 RBI, .303/.390/.565
I am known to be a bit pessimistic when it comes to Toronto sports, but I am singing a different tune with this year’s Blue Jays squad. While the team definitely still has some holes, they are quite strong overall. Assuming Donaldson hits in the two slot in the lineup again he will have plenty of lineup protection, thus his numbers will stay sky high. It all depends on who is available, but if Donaldson were to be on the board at the 10 spot in your league, I would pull the trigger and pencil him in as your fantasy third baseman. I probably would not take him much earlier than 10th, though.
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After losing to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS last season, many thought Jose Bautista had played his last game as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. However, the market for an aging, injury-riddled, weak defensive outfielder was not what most thought it would be, leaving Bautista almost no choice but to come back to Toronto on a one-year deal (with options). In 2016 Bautista had 423 at-bats, hitting 22 homeruns and driving in 69 RBIs while slashing .234/.366/.452. Not terrible numbers, but certainly ones the slugger will be looking to improve on.
Rankings: 86 (CBS), 66 (ESPN), 88 (FOX)
ADP: 90th overall
My Prediction: 33 HR, 88 RBI, .266/.390/.520 (465 at-bats)
When Bautista has something to prove, he comes through pretty well every time. After having a team friendly contract over the past seasons, Bautista will be looking to get paid handsomely. Due to his desires to be paid, Bautista is going to have to produce – and I think he will. While I am predicting a Bautista injury at some point (thus the low RBI total), when healthy, Bautista is going to absolutely rake this season. I would take Bautista earlier than 90th overall – if he is there around 60th overall and you need an outfielder, I would consider Bautista.
After letting first baseman and fan favourite Edwin Encarnacion test the free agent waters last winter, the Blue Jays decided to move on with a cheaper option in Kendrys Morales. Over the 2016 season in a pitcher-friendly ballpark in Kansas City, Morales was still able to hit 30 homeruns, collect 93 RBIs, and slash a line of .263/.327/.468. Coming to a hitter’s park like the Rogers Centre will only help his numbers.
Rankings: 136 (CBS), 136 (ESPN), 151 (FOX)
ADP: 143rd overall
My Prediction: 37 HR, 99 RBI, .252/.330/.499
Simply because he is hitting at the Rogers Centre, Kendrys Morales is going to have a monster season this year. It helps being in a lineup like the one the Blue Jays bolster, but ultimately I believe his numbers will increase solely because of the ballpark he will be hitting at. Morales will not replace the production of Encarnacion, but he will certainly fill in extraordinarily. Morales is certainly worthy of a selection, and his ADP is a good spot. If you need a first baseman around 130th-150th, Morales would be a solid pick.
Toronto Blue Jays
Ever since being acquired in a mid-season trade with the Colorado Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki has done nothing but improve over his time with the Blue Jays. After playing in the NL West division his entire career, it took a bit of time for Tulowitzki to get adjusted to AL East pitching. With a season-and-a-half in the AL East now under his belt, watch for Tulo to only improve on his totals from last season (24 HR, 79 RBI, .254/.318/.443).
Rankings: 140 (CBS), 142 (ESPN), 153 (FOX)
ADP: 146th overall
My Prediction: 29 HR, 92 RBI, .269/.340/.490
During his days playing in Colorado, the altitude helped Tulowitzki’s batting average. In Toronto, he does not have the luxury of high altitude, but he does play in a homerun-friendly field. Tulowitzki will more likely than never be that .300 hitter he used to be, but you can bet his power and production numbers will be high. Watch for Tulo to have a good season with Toronto, adding another great power bat to the meat of this Blue Jays order. Being a short stop that can hit for power, I would take Tulowitzki much higher than 146th overall. Keep your eye on shortstops – once the top tier ones start to dwindle away, don’t be afraid to take a chance on Tulo.
An absolute stud behind the plate, Russell Martin calls an exceptional game night in and night out. While it is evident he knows how to handle a pitching staff, he also holds his own with the bat in comparison to other catchers. In 2016, Martin hit 20 homeruns while collecting 74 RBIs, all while registering a slash line of .231/.335/.398. A slight decline from his 2015 season, Martin will be looking to improve in 2017.
Rankings: 169 (CBS), 198 (ESPN), 190 (FOX)
ADP: 179th overall
My Prediction: 18 HR, 60 RBI, .230/.325/.375
While Martin will be looking to improve in 2017, I don’t think he will. Calling games behind the plate takes a toll on a player, and after years of doing so, many catchers are sore come mid-to-late season. I think this will be the case with Martin. While his ADP is 179, I probably would take him later then that. There are a few catchers destined for breakout seasons across the league, so Martin may be a Blue Jays player you would want to avoid.
When healthy, Devon Travis is an ideal guy you would love to have hitting at the top of your order. In his two-year career with the Blue Jays, the 26-year-old second baseman has hit 19 homeruns, driven in 85 RBIs, and slashed an outstanding line of .301/.342/.469. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, Travis is rarely healthy. Over those two seasons, Travis has only been able to average 315 at-bats per season. Both Blue Jays fans and Travis are hoping he can stay healthy and have a big 2017 season.
Rankings: 185 (CBS), 225 (ESPN), 205 (FOX)
ADP: 191st overall
My Prediction: 10 HR, 47 RBI, .291/.335/.499 (360 at-bats)
I mentioned earlier how I am a bit pessimistic when it comes to Toronto sports – I guess this is a good example of my pessimism. Yes – I do believe Travis will get hurt once again. The man is like glass, and can’t seem to just stay healthy. While I wish him the absolute best in 2017, he hasn’t shown me anything to prove he is going to be a durable player. He’s already missed most of spring training with an injury, so what’s to say that the injury won’t linger? However, when healthy, there is no question that Travis produces. If Travis is available late I would totally take him, especially if your league has a few DL spots. I would be comfortable taking Travis anywhere from 170th-200th overall.
If you REALLY want a few Blue Jays on your team, some potential sleepers you could take would be both Kevin Pillar and Rowdy Tellez.
Pillar is an outfielder that has proven he can hit at every single level he has played at (except the MLB). With a few seasons under his belt, he’ll be looking to break out at the plate. As a potential guy who could pick up some stolen bases, Pillar is a wild card you could draft super late, or even add via free agency once the draft ends.
If your league has an NA spot, don’t be afraid to draft Rowdy Tellez in the last round. First base is a position that is up for grabs for the Blue Jays, and if nobody produces in April/May, watch for Tellez to be promoted to the major leagues. However, if your league does not have an NA spot, Tellez would be a wasted pick and I do not suggest drafting him.
That wraps up the Jays Journal positional fantasy projections. What do you think about the fantasy value of the Toronto Blue Jays players? Comment and let us know!