Here’s a post that’s gonna make you wanna slap ya mama and tell her Don Magic Juan sends his best. The other day I told you how to draft your pitchers for 2017 fantasy baseball. I laid it out to you nice and simple (if you have a degree in “What The Hell Is Grey Talking About?” Not a PhD, mind you. Just a BS.) Today, we forget all that jabberwocky on the who-ha and get down to business old school-style (which means if you don’t comprehend, I will hit you over the head with a baseball bat signed by Joe Clark.) What I’m hoping to lay out to you is who do you draft 2nd if you’ve drafted so and so first. I think it might be helpful to go through pairings for your 5 outfielders, all your middle and corner infielders too. I’m not sure I’ll have the time or patience to do them. We’ll see! Or not. Your choice. (Actually, my choice.) For easy reference, the royal we will be using the top 10 for 2017 fantasy baseball and the top 20 for 2017 fantasy baseball and the beginning of the top 100 for 2017 fantasy baseball. I’m going to assume you’re in a 12 team, 5×5, MI, CI, 5 OF, 1 Utility, 1 Catcher league, similar to our Razzball Commenter Leagues. (Assuming ESPN ever opens its doors again.) Anyway, here’s some pairings for the first two rounds of 2017 fantasy baseball drafts:
1. Mike Trout – Somehow I’ve become Jose Abreu’s biggest fan. I don’t know why this happened, and I didn’t plan on it, but invariably, if I don’t take a a 1st baseman in the first two rounds, I’m looking at Abreu in the third-slash-fourth-slash-axl. Picking Trout takes Miggy, Rizzo, Freeman and anyone else in my top 20 off the board. If you take Trout, you’re not picking again for 20-plus picks. With that said (here’s where I disregard everything I just said), Freeman is ranked 24th overall in ESPN, so Trout and Freeman is possible. Odor isn’t ranked until around the mid-50s on some sites, so he should be there to pair with Trout. That’s, as the French say about Manny Machado, Manny Feek. Trevor Story isn’t ranked until the 40s at some sites, so Trout and Story is not only a wonderful seafaring tale, but a great pairing with the first two picks. If everyone were to stick to my rankings, a pairing of Trout and Votto is muy bueno and Trout and Lindor is a gorgeous pairing rivaled only by that of chocolate and raspberry. (By the way, I’ve reached the age where baseball and dessert are my only pleasures in life.) With Trout, I’d only avoid taking another outfielder with my 2nd pick, just about everyone else, who I like, is viable.
2. Paul Goldschmidt – Feel free to throw out the knowledge I placed inside your noggin in the Trout blurb, because Au Shizz is a first baseman and opens up the world of pairings like ketchup opens up a world of flavors. Au Shizz might give you a chance for Starling Marte. Starling-Au Shizz may as well be a well-priced jewelry store that gives you money and jewels! Au Shizz-Correa isn’t just an exclamation for a future nuclear conflict, it’s also a glorious pairing! Maybe you can get Au Shizz and Springer because of where others have Springer ranked. Well, I say yes, please and thank you! Au Shizz and Giancarlo? How about Au-I feel-lightheaded-that’s-so-beautiful? Au and Lindor? That reminds me of the glorious Don Was singing Walk the Dinosaur. “Open for Lindor, I love that floor, everybody pair Au Shizz and Lindor!” Of course, Au Shizz means no 2nd round 1st baseman, which as pointed out in Trout’s blurb, isn’t necessarily available in the 2nd round anyway when drafting this early in the 1st round.
3. Mookie Betts – The more I think about Betts as the third guy drafted, the more I think I don’t want any part of him. This whole taking an outfielder with the first pick is treacherous like every 1970s rapper’s nickname. I’ll do it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m less enthused about Betts than I should be. I have this ringing in my ear of Betts going 20/20 and being solid but not top three worthy. Maybe it’s this seashell I have to my ear that has a Yankees’ logo on it that I got from Jones Beach. Any hoo! If I’m pairing Betts, you have to go corner infidel, or at least some infidel. Preferably a guy that is guaranteed power. I could see Edwin Encarnacion working. That would give you a 60 HR/20 SB start with great counting stats. Maybe Freeman is there because he’s ranked low at other sites, which gives you about the same as Edwin/Betts but with a better average. Votto’s okay, but with Mookie, I’d be Betts’ing the under on 55 combined homers. Maybe you can do Betts and Odor, that’s “it’s better, it’s better, it’s Betts” and a corner man in the 3rd. The problem is there’s not a ton of corner guys where you’ll be picking next. Story and Betts excites me from a stats perspective, but you’re so drafting Jose Abreu next or praying Carlos Santana is there in the 6th. A “Praying Carlos Santana” also happens to be an endangered insect in Latin America. In the end, I want Betts and Freeman or Edwin.
4. Kris Bryant – And we’re back to drafting a guy that makes things a little easier for the 2nd pick. I’m pairing Bryant with literally anyone. Okay, not Daniel Descalso, but anyone that is available besides a 3rd baseman. Bryant and Story is the hubbub that I’m talking about. Bryant and Votto? Sure, I can figure out outfielders later. Bryant and Marte? Fine, I will draft Jose Abreu in the third. Bryant and Giancarlo? You’ll love that or I didn’t mail my left testes to Giancarlo with the note, “Handle with Care.” Bryant and Desmond? How about Bryant and boners?! Are you following or am I being daft?!
5. Jose Altuve – Pair Altuve with a phone book and he’s five-three. Pair him with Edwin and you’ve corrected Edwin’s funky average and Altuve’s less-than-stellar power. Pair Altuve with tippy toes and he’s five-one. Pair him with Story and you’ve started the draft with 50 HR/45 SB. Oh, well, when you put it that way, give me that all day and twice on Muesday, the magical day between Monday and Tuesday. Pair Altuve with a booster seat, and he can reach to cut his own food. Altuve and Desmond and you’re again staring down a 50/45 start. I wouldn’t pair Altuve with a 2nd baseman, a guy that makes his living on steals (Marte, Blackmon) or a real tall girl.
6. Nolan Arenado – Who are we going to pair Arenado with? How about Blackmon, Story, LeMahieu and Tom Murphy? Then we can move to Colorado and open a dispensary called, “That’s The Pot Calling The Kettle…Uh, What Were We Talking About?” Arenado is similar to Bryant in that you can pair him with just about anything except a 3rd baseman. Arenado gets fewer steals than Bryant though, so I’d prefer to pair him with someone that gets at least 15 steals. For a moment, let’s think about pairing Arenado with Odor. That would be like a giant hand wafting a giant fart that smelled of roses. Arenado and Marte? That’s a combined 50/40. Pfft at that only if you mean it like, “That’s pfft’ing awesome!” Arenado and Story? I’m serious as your dad when he’s hangry, that is damn sexy. Arenado and Lindor? Don’t make me sing Don Was again, because I will. Arenado and Edwin? Meh, all power and no steals. Arenado and Giancarlo? Not my fave, though I do think I have that poster up in my bedroom. Arenado and Correa? Now we’re talking!
7. Anthony Rizzo – More similar to Arenado’s pairing than Bryant, because Rizzo’s again a little lighter on speed. Of course, instead of not drafting another 3rd baseman, now you have to avoid drafting another 1st baseman. Also, you need to draft at least some steals. Rizzo and Odor? Where do I sign up? Rizzo and Marte? There was a warrant issued and now my heart is going into cardiac arrest. Rizzo and Lindor? Yeah, man, that’s what I’m saying! Rizzo and Giancarlo? You’re tempting fate with no steals. Of course, SAGNOF, you can make up steals later, but Rizzo and Correa and 60/30 is sexier than Rizzo and Giancarlo and 70/8. I know, it’s blasphemy!
8. Manny Machado – You have to — it’s imperative, y’all! — draft a guy with steals. Marte and Machado is a pairing made in heaven, or on earth if Belinda Carlisle is reading. Machado and Lindor? Let’s just call them The Machador, put a wrestling mask on them and book them for a match in Mexico. Of course, I want The Machador! I would pin my hopes on them. Machado and Giancarlo? Again, broken record, but you have five steals total after two rounds and you’re in serious catchup mode without drafting a 1st baseman yet. Machado and Story? Yeah, and you will enjoy Jose Abreu in the 3rd. Machado and Votto? No steals whatsoever. How about Machado and Correa? Yes, everybody Kim Jong-un tonight! Then Jose Abreu in the 3rd. Ugh, with the Abreu. Recurring Theme Alert! You will be the death of me this year, Jose Abreu.
9. Bryce Harper – I just thought about what pairings I can get with Bryce and I had a mind orgasm — a mindgasm? My medulla got super oblongta and I short circuited like Johnny Five. I’m not kicking Trout out of bed, but if I can get the 9th pick, and Harper, you’re gonna have a hard time finding a bad pairing with him. You can do Bryce and Odor, which smells sweet! You can do Bryce and Turner, which is Nats’urally awesome. You can do Bryce and Miggy, Bryce and Freeman, Bryce and Correa, Bryce and you name it, doode! Well, I’d try to avoid Bryce and another outfielder. Bryce and Springer isn’t terrible for stats’ sake, but you should try to get at least one infielder.
10. Josh Donaldson – What kind of pairings can we get with Donaldson? None come to mind. I mean, I could figure out pairings with him. I don’t hate Donaldson and Miggy paired up. You just need to figure out speed later. You could do Donaldson and Turner and figure out 1st base in the 3rd round. You could do Donaldson and Bryce if the Gods smiled down on you when they were done with their bottle of Coke. Why do I not think these are possible? I have Donaldson ranked lower than anyone else I’ve seen, so he should be drafted already. As mentioned in the top 10, this was by design. I’m ready to not be bothered with Donaldson.
11. Miguel Cabrera – There’s at least a 100% chance that I own Miggy and Trea if I have the 11th or 12th pick in any draft. Actually, the percentage might even be closer to 125%. It’s like the chance of rain in Seattle. Almost certainly someone is drafting Kershaw, before this point, and I don’t think anyone’s drafting either Miggy or Turner this high. After the 11th and 12th pick? For sure. But at 11 or 12? It seems very likely I own them both. There’s also a roughly 125% chance that if I have the 10th pick I have both Miggy and Turner. Why not Donaldson, you ask as you bat your eyebrows. Donaldson and Miggy are the same tier for me, and maybe I’ll stick to Donaldson, but there’s a bigly chance I go to Miggy and Turner. Possibly, I go Donaldson and Miggy as I said above. But dream a little dream for me like the two Coreys — Miggy and Turner is 200/45/200/.310/40 combined. Who is beating that combo? That’s a combo like biting into a hamburger at McDonald’s that has a used condom in it. You can now sue for $40 million and you’re set for life. That hamburger and used condom combo is your golden ticket! Miggy and Turner is that good.
12. Trea Turner – Turner in all the pairings he’s mentioned in above, but him as the first guy and needing to draft a guy after him? That seems unlikely. I mean, how weird can a pairing with Turner get? Maybe Kershaw is drafted in front of Miggy. Maybe Scherzer too. But that means you’re drafting Miggy, Bryce or Donaldson here and not Turner, and then taking Bryce and Donaldson or Bryce and Miggy. The only way you can actually draft Turner 12th is if everyone before him is drafted exactly as I have them ranked, which is terrific flattery, but highly unlikely. Terrific Flattery, by the way, was not the actor who played Roger on Mad Men. So, maybe you can do a Bryce and Turner combo? That’s butter, baby, but seems impossible for numerous reasons. If Harper is around it’s because starters were drafted in the 1st ten players, but they did not take Miggy that high too, so you’d draft Bryce and Miggy. The only reasonable pairing I can see that is not one mentioned above, I see Rizzo being drafted later than I have him ranked, so just maybe you could draft Trea and Rizzo, which sounds like a Wicked-style re-imagining of Grease. And no less delightful!