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One Player. Each Team

Baseball, the floor is yours. The boys of summer have checked into their temporary homes in Arizona and Florida which means Fantasy Baseball season is right around the corner. I am here to tell you that if you could take just one player from each team, these are the guys you need to target.
(NL Version)

Arizona Diamondbacks -  The humidor is coming in. The high home run numbers are going out. Yes Colorado uses a humidor also, and the ball still jumps, but that is because of the thin, moist air at altitude. No humidor can take that away. However, Arizona is nothing but dry heat. I truly feel the humidor is going to have a noticeable impact on the home runs numbers. With that said, a guy like Paul Goldschmidt will always be fantasy baseball worthy, but this year if there is only one D-Back you can get, it should be Robbie Ray. Ray really burst onto the scene last year at the tune of a 15-5 record and a very respectable 2.89 ERA, in a launching pad of a park. With the humidor slowing balls off the bat down, Ray is my 2018 NL sleeper pick for the Cy Young. Draft him with confidence.

Colorado Rockies - Easy peezy lemon squeezy. The answer is Nolan Arenado. He hits the cover off the ball at home. He hits the cover off the ball on the road. He is arguably the best third baseman in the game today and should be drafted in all formats third overall behind Altuve and Trout.

Los Angeles Dodgers - I love Clayton Kershaw with every ounce in my body. However, back injuries are no joke and he has now had injury issues two years in a row. Corey Seager is a stud, but if you recall, he missed the entire NLCS last year with an elbow issue that was rehabbed with rest instead of surgery and that always concerns me that the injury will pop back up again. I feel you need to lean towards the reigning NL Rookie of the Year in Cody Bellinger. He burst onto the scene a year ago and while we saw lots of growing pains in the World Series, he is the real deal. He has a year under his belt now and also added 10 pounds of muscle in the winter. He is only scratching the surface of his potential.

San Diego Padres - There is nothing sexy about the San Diego Padres. It seems they have been in rebuild mode since the Yankees swept them out of the World Series two decades ago. They have a fresh face in Eric Hosmer, but I think we all have the right to think his numbers will drop in San Diego. Wil Myers will be roaming right field, but again, nothing flashy. A team like San Diego is a team you take a risk on. Whether you play in a one year league or dynasty, I think you roll the dice on Fernando Tatis Jr. He is a top 10 Prospect and the Padres overall number one. He has the makings of a middle of the lineup bat who has the potential to fill a box score. He currently mans SS, but may make the jump to third base. That is fine because he has the skills to do so. Tatis is the future of this franchise and with a less than sub par left side of the infield, his calling should come sooner rather than later.

San Francisco Giants - The Giants report to Spring Training with some new faces in Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. Both of these guys are in the second half of their careers. While still providing a fantasy purpose, I think your attention still needs to be focused on Madison Bumgarner. He missed a lot of last season, but it was because of a freak dirt biking accident and I think its safe to say he will not be doing that anymore. With a chance to cash in on an extension with the Giants, Bumgarner has every opportunity to return to his 2013-2016 form.

Cincinnati Reds - Joey Votto is still in Cincinnati huh? Now proceed to draft Joey Votto.

Chicago Cubs - The Cubs are loaded with talent once again and in my opinion will find themselves back in the Fall Classic this year. I think the acquisition of Yu Darvish tipped the scales back in their favor. You have your pick of the litter with Chicago between Rizzo, Bryant, Contreras, Schwarber, Darvish, Hendricks, and Lester. Your best bet will still be Kris Bryant in my opinion. You can look at Bryant's 2017 season and rightfully so, call it a down year. He hit 10 less home runs and had 29 less RBI's than his previous Rookie of the year season. If you look closer though, you'll see his average actually went up, along with his walks and overall OBP. Bryant knows how to get on base and knows how to hit. I think you see him back up around a 30/100 style season.

Milwaukee Brewers - Brewers appear to be a team going for it. While still short on the pitching side of things, their offense will be capable of carrying the load with the acquisitions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. I keep waiting for Yelich to have that true breakout season, and being in a new environment may bring that out, however, I will lean to closer, the first one I have recommended. Corey Knebel. Knebel didn't even take over the closer role until a quarter of the way through the season, yet finished the season with a spotless 1.78 ERA and 39 saves. That is just two saves less than the perennial All Star, Kenley Jansen. Knebel could arguably be the third closer off of the board after Jansen and Chapman.

Pittsburgh Pirates - Pirates are a team in clear rebuild mode following the trades of Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen. While they still have Marte and Harrison you have to wonder how driven they will be. Felipe Rivero was great out of the pen all year long and finally handed the closer's role in the latter stages of the season, but the chances for the Pirates closer may be few and far between this season. Josh Bell appears to be a safe bet. Once touted as a top prospect, he took a while to blossom. And while his .255 average won't make you say wow, he fell just 4 homers and 10 RBI's shy of a 30/100 season. I don't know about you, but I will take that on my fantasy team every year. There is a chance he reaches that this season and the fact he typically has a 1B/OF designation doesn't hurt either. Bell is the perfect guy for a UTIL spot on your squad.

St. Louis Cardinals - It's simple. Draft Tommy Pham, fam. This Cardinals team keeps getting older at a lot of positions but Pham is just getting started. He is a multi-category stud who will give you average, home runs, runs, RBI's, and steals. What is there not to love? If you don't want to be a believer, that's your choice, but you will be trying to trade for him come the All Star break.

Atlanta Braves - Acuna Matata. Its a wonderful phrase. Acuna Matata. It means no worries in your OF spot, for the rest of your days! Okay, I'll stop. But forget, Freddie Freeman this year. Feel free to find a spot for Ozzie Albies if you can, but Ronald Acuna is the man you want from Atlanta this year. As one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Acuna has the entire package and has a good shot of breaking camp with the Major League team. From Low Single A ball up Acuna has never hit below .359. THREE FIFTY NINE. There is no such thing as a sure thing, but Acuna is as close to one as there is. One year league or dynasty league, find a spot for Acuna on your team.

Miami Marlins - Is Derek Jeter draft-able? No? Well, I guess by default J.T. Realmuto win's this spot, but in all honesty, you may want to avoid every single person on this team. Its going to be a long summer on South Beach.

New York Mets - Just a year ago Ahmed Rosario was the hottest thing going. After getting his much warranted call up, Rosario definitely found the Major League's to be a bumpy road. Now going into this season it seems he has already been forgotten. Not quite sure why as we have seen more than enough prospects come up and struggle out the gate. Maybe people forget that even Mike Trout batted a measly .220 when he first came up? If you're in a dynasty style league, do not write Rosario off and you should be targeting him. If your in a one year league, feel free to roll the dice on Noah Syndergaard and pray he lasts the entire season.

Philadelphia Phillies - Surprisingly, the Phillies have a lot of options you could choose from. J.P. Crawford finally has the SS position all to himself. They brought in Carlos Santana, who you could see hit 30+ home runs playing 81 games at Citizen's Bank Park. They have Aaron Nola ready to be the next great ace. I don't think you can overlook what Rhys Hoskins did last season though after his callup. It was comical at times, just night after night seeing him go yard. With a full season ahead + his raw power + a hitters ballpark = potentially 40+ home runs. I'm sold.

Washington Nationals - If there was ever a year for Bryce Harper to play out of this world, its this one. In what could be his final act in the nation's capitol, Bryce has every incentive to tee off and cash in. However, with the uncertainty around Clayton Kershaw's back, that leaves Max Scherzer as the no brainer best pitcher in fantasy and real life. And when you have a shot at the best, you take it. Take Scherzer in the first round and feel great about it.


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