The regular season is now a few days away and it appears the early obstacles due to COVID-19 have been sorted out and teams are gearing up to begin playing meaningful games.

Our final preseason article will look at a combination of players I like and don’t like due to their average draft position.

Players I Like:

Boston Red Sox Outfielder Andrew Benintendi — The outfielder regressed in 2019, as his average dipped from .290 to .266 and home runs fell to a career-low 13. However, the 26-year-old has proven to be durable throughout his career and has had at least 10 stolen bases in all three seasons. After the departure of Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Benintendi will now bat leadoff for the Red Sox. Any time we can target a leadoff hitter in a good lineup, we want to capitalize. Especially in a shortened season, we want as many opportunities as possible for our players to make an impact. Benintendi has an average draft position of 104 and is the 30th outfielder being drafted, according to Benintendi should provide help in multiple categories this season for fantasy owners.

New York Mets Reliever Seth Lugo — In our quest to find relievers who can help us in a shortened season, we land on Lugo as a good target. The right-hander will handle a variety of roles for the Mets, which is good news because he can be in line for wins or saves. In 2019, Lugo finished with seven wins and six saves. The versatility should once again be on display in 2020. The 30-year-old will also help with strikeouts, as he finished last season with 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings. Lugo has an average draft position of 244 and should be on the radars of fantasy owners when constructing their rosters.

Players I Don’t Like

Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Pitcher Walker Buehler — Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced the right-hander is a little behind and still needs to be built up and will likely be slotted as the No. 5 starter to open the season. Buehler is one of the most talented pitchers in baseball and the Dodgers have their eye on winning a championship. If the result of that to them is Buehler being eased into his first couple of starts, they can live with it. However, fantasy owners cannot. We are only getting 12 to 13 starts from these guys and if they are on a short leash for three of them, it really hurts their value. The righty has an average draft position of 16 overall which is good for the fifth starting pitcher. I love the player, but I just cannot invest in a pick for a guy that may not be a full go until the middle of August.

St. Louis Cardinals First Baseman Paul Goldschmidt — The power-speed combination at first base that Goldschmidt displayed for many years made him one of the most valuable fantasy performers in the game. However, at the age of 32, Goldschmidt is not stealing bases; he had a career-worst three in 2019. That was following a season in which he only stole seven bases. The last time we truly saw Goldschmidt as the player who did both was in 2017. Goldschmidt will continue to hit for power and he still hits in the middle of the lineup, so the RBIs will be there as well. However, we can find power hitters anywhere in fantasy baseball, so the appeal is not the same. Goldschmidt has an average draft position of 65 and is the seventh first baseman being selected. I would much rather target Max Muncy of the Los Angeles Dodgers later — Muncy is eligible at multiple positions — or a player I have spotlighted before, Rhys Hoskins of the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Phil Backert

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