MLB’s spring training camps in Florida and Arizona are in full force now. While the games that really matter are still several weeks away, it’s never too early to think ahead to the start of the upcoming season, and that’s especially the case when it comes to fantasy baseball.
Even though the regular season doesn’t start until April, late February and March are the most exciting months to be a fantasy baseball fan, especially if you love the draft. In fact, it’s entirely possible that some drafts have already started, and for those in Dynasty leagues the season never truly ends.
So what better way to shift the focus to the 2017 season than with some rankings, right? Below you can find my initial top 300 overall. It probably goes without saying, but these will be fluid and updated as spring training progresses and we get closer to April.
On the field, much of the attention will be paid to the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. Their amazingly young core of players seems well positioned to defend their title, something that’s reflected in four Cubs landing in my top 40 – with reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant and All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo both in the top 10.
Mike Trout continues to have a stranglehold on the top spot overall, and he mentioned wanting to become a terror on the base paths once again, which would only add to his fantasy value. Mookie Betts’ fantastic 2016 campaign helped myself and plenty of others realize he is the real deal and is easily a top-three player along with Paul Goldschmidt.
Further down the rankings is where the more difficult decisions are made. Can players like Michael Fulmer continue to build on his strong AL Rookie of the Year campaign? What about Wil Myers? Will top prospect Yoan Moncada get his playing time in a new uniform with the White Sox and meet his potential? Which Byron Buxton is the real one? The one we saw the final two months of the 2016 season, or the version that spent his time shuttling back and forth between Minnesota and AAA? Also will Bryce Harper rebound to his MVP form? I certainly hope so. Can Justin Verlander maintain his Cy Young-esque production?
So many questions and the beauty of it is you have to make your best guess since the draft will take place before we can actually “see” the results. If anything, these will help get you started with your draft prep, as well as your discussions, debates and the always-entertaining Twitter tantrums. Keep checking back at AthlonSports.com for updates to these overall rankings, and stay tuned for positional rankings, tiers and more good stuff!
— Rankings by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including socalledfantasyexperts.com. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.