Please see our player page for Edwin Encarnacion to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

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I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training Statistics.  You never know who the statistics are coming against.  Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level.  This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced.  You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach.  So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat?  Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards.  Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles!

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Auction drafting reminds me of playing poker. Having a plan of attack, choosing the right hand to play, and then subsequently winning the hand while finding out that you could’ve made a lot more money if you had played it correctly. If you’re patient enough, play the rights hands and stick to the calculations, it’ll work out to your benefit more often than not, but are you that patient?

Can you let a player go under value because he’s not part of your plan? Can you avoid getting sucked into the auction and over paying for your guy? Can you avoid killing your budget faster than a college kid on spring break?

Hindsight is 20/20 and that is rarely more apparent than over the course of an auction. I don’t believe I’ve ever left an auction without regret. However, even if you don’t stick to your plan, there are ways to maneuver the auction to make your team build complete.

My plan coming into the auction was similar to my draft strategy for most of my leagues. I wanted to concentrate my bat spending on top of the order, high average, speed guys. Accomplished this with my combination of Ronald Acuna Jr. and Trea Turner. I balanced that speed with power in Edwin Encarnacion, Miguel Andujar, Justin Upton, and Max Muncy.

For my pitching, I took a more aggressive stance than normal and only wanted one ace and two established closers. I got Max Scherzer and then grabbed Edwin Diaz, Sean Doolittle, and Pedro Strop late.

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Categories, eligibility and speed. These are the things that dictate where I rank hitters. Categories: A guy who contributes in all 5 categories is going to be ranked higher than someone who contributes in only 4 — even if those 4 categories are elite. That’s why I’m a bit lower on J.D. Martinez and Nolan Arenado compare to other people. Eligibility: obviously guys with multiple position eligibility or a shallower position will be ranked higher than say an outfielder. “Then why aren’t you higher on catchers?” Because after the top-2 catchers they’re basically all the same and likely to miss time. Speed: the most elusive of 5×5 categories. If you can give me at least 10 steals I’m going to give you a boost in my rankings. That’s why I’m higher on someone like Tommy Pham than others. If Trea Turner gets the 75-80 stolen base attempts that the Nationals want him to get then he has the chance to end the season as a top-3 player.

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The Winter Meetings called it quits this week, and that was perhaps the worst Winter Meetings on record.  Was it because it was in Vegas?  Maybe there were a bunch more trades, but they all “stayed” in Vegas.  The Mariners kept busy gathering veterans who will never play for them, as they grabbed Edwin Encarnacion from the Indians for Carlos Santana.  You remember Santana, he was the last vet that the M’s traded for that won’t play for them.  If the Mariners are trading for vets who won’t actually play for them, they should grab Harold Baines so he can’t go into the Hall of Fame, because last time I checked active players aren’t allowed into the Hall.  Or why bother sticking with baseball players.  C’mon, Mariners, trade for Michael Jordan or Big Show or Turtle from Entourage.  It’s not like you have any expectation of them donning an M’s uniform.  So, the assumption is that Edwin will go to the Rays to bury their recently acquired Yandy Diaz.  You’d think a guy with guns like Yandy Diaz would be doing the burying.  If you don’t know what I mean, see the picture below.  If I don’t bring out the Crisco and apply the shortening, this post will be longer than The Fountainhead, so let’s just say you know Encarnacion, whether he’s on the Rays or Mariners.  For my Encarnacion projections I am assuming he’ll be on the Rays, and putting him at 78/33/91/.241/2 in 523 ABs, and I already gave you my Carlos Santana projections after his last trade, but am upping him slightly to 74/24/84/.232/2 in 563 ABs.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2019 fantasy baseball:

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Welcome to part two of my four-part #2EarlyMocks draft series. If you’re looking for part one you can find it here: 2EarlyMock Draft Part 1. In part one, we covered the sexy rounds — one through seven. Not too many risks or reaches in those rounds, you grab your studs and stars and reap the rewards. But in rounds eight through 14 is where owners are starting to take risks and grab their sleepers, rookies and potential bounce back players. I’ll be comparing the draft position of these players during this draft to their cumulative ADP on Fantasy Pros. This cumulative ADP includes the 288 players from ESPN’s ADP, the 999 players from Fantrax’s ADP plus data from CBS, Yahoo, RT Sports and NFBC draft results. Let’s get right into it:

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After drudging through an Andy Dufresne-type tunnel for the top 20 catchers for 2018 fantasy baseball, I find myself with a group that actually really hurt or helped your team depending on how you drafted.  If you went wrong with your 1st baseman, it could kill your season.  Hey, Wil Myers, no hard feelings from me, because I didn’t own you.  You prolly got some splainin’ to do to your owners though.  If you went right, you might’ve won your league.  However (uh-oh), 1st base, well, I guess that’s why we’re here.  To recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2018 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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I have an unpopular opinion, that I know will never fly.  Pants with magnet buttons.  Okay, I have another one:  knock people over the head and when they wake, tell them they’re on Mars and film it.  Like Survivor but more panicked.  My final unpopular opinion, allow teams to forfeit.  I know in today’s charged political climate it’s not cool to say anything bad about herbathrowdites, but hitters pitching is stupid.  It’s okay for a quick laugh, but a team has obviously forfeited if they’re pitching Jace Peterson.  Just let them throw a white flag, and call the game.  Of course, this would be wildly unpopular with fans who paid a lot of money to see nine innings, but are people sticking around in a 19-3 game.  I don’t know, maybe they are.  So, yesterday, Xander Bogaerts (2-for-4, 2 runs, 4 RBIs) collected his 100th RBI and 22nd homer.  Just Dong Martinez (3-for-6, 3 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 42nd, a number I thought was retired.  Mookie Betts joined the 30/30 club (more on him after the jump).  Blake Swihart went 3-for-8, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and a slam (3) and legs (6), inching closer to Buster Posey’s year-long homer total.  Rafael Devers (5-for-8, 3 runs, 6 RBIs) stole the show, hitting his 20th and 21st homer.  I’ve collected 1,000 praying mantises and joined them in a prayer circle that feels insectually correct, hoping Devers doesn’t push up his 2019 fantasy value in this final week.  I talked a bit about this on the last podcast, but Devers is only 21 years old, and could easily be a middle of the order bat for the Red Sox next year.  That’s very good, assuming every team they’re facing doesn’t forfeit.  Or assuming every team does.  I don’t know, let’s figure this out together!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Didja you know The Captain from Captain & Tennille’s real name is Daryl Dragon?  Why would this guy have a nickname?  Your name’s awesome, you don’t get a nickname.  Daryl Dragon has bedtime slippers that are cooler than you.  Daryl Dragon washes his hands, then breathes a not-very-intense fire on his hands to dry them.  Daryl Dragon can’t get a speeding ticket.  “Okay, Mr. Dragon, I’ll let you go this time with a warning because your name is Daryl Dragon.” Raul Mondesi?  Now that name sucks as bad as Thanksgiving dinners with the Mondesis (Mondesii?).  “Please pass the potatoes and change your name back to Junior.”  “NO!” and chucks mashed potatoes at his father’s head.  “You throw like your mom!”  “I hate you”  And so on.  I don’t hate Adalberto Mondesi though.  Yesterday, he went 3-for-5, 2 RBIs and had a slam (9) and legs (25).  He has nine homers and 25 steals in only 219 ABs.  Mr. Prorater says, “In a full season, he’d have 20 homers and 55 steals.  And if I ate an orange a day for a year, I’d have enough Vitamin C for a Mars colony.”  You could consider this your first 2019 sleeper, assuming I don’t get too crazy with myself and rank Mondesi in the top 25 next year.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Mets outfielder/grandfather Jay Bruce hit his second home run in the past three days last night, a 3-run shot that put the game out of reach and he finished the night 2-for-5, with his eighth home run and four runs batted in. When Jay has-a-day at Fenway that calls for the throwback “Bruuuuuuuuce!” Despite battling injuries all year long, the veteran is now batting .270 with four home runs and 12 RBI in September and he’s getting hot at just the right time for his team and fantasy owners. The Mets have won seven games in a row, you guys! That’s right, that same Mets team that won just five games in June are 7-3 over their last 10 games! Why do you care? Well, Bruce’s mighty power bat could be a big reason why! There was also a rat in the dugout and on the field at ‘Family Friendly’ Fenway Friday night, and I’m inclined to say the New York Mess probably brought the plague with them, but at least no one has hand foot and mouth disease…yet. Barring him catching the black plague, Bruce might catch fire in the next couple days because that’s what Jay Bruce does, so I’m telling you now that all the signs are there for the beginning of an absolute tear and maybe you should grab him before that happens. It’s easy to forget he hit 37 home runs between New York and Cleveland last year. I’m not saying he gets to 30 home runs, or even 20, but the Mets are hot, Jay sits in the heart of this line up and one of a few players capable of a 5+ homer week. He was a BUY and he’s available in over 75% of leagues and the team is Queens in a fantasy gold mine right now. I can’t believe I’m saying that, what a wild season!

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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That’s the question that’s been on my brain as I worked on these rankings the past few weeks. I’m not over the past 10 years, not for next year, not for the next 10 years — right now — is Mike Trout still the #1 hitter this year? Even with a lengthy DL stint, Trout is still one of the top players in the league and is close to surpassing all of his numbers from last year’s (also) injury shrunken season (88 runs/31 HRs/2 SBs in 116 games so far this year vs. 92/33/22 in 114 games last year.) But while he missed 19 games in August this year, three players have kept chugging right along and putting up phenomenal numbers. Let’s take a look at these three challengers for the crown.

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