If you have read my busts article, you would get an inkling of my feelings toward Mookie Betts. It’s not that I think he will have a bad season. His BABIP was extremely low last year and should rebound. It’s not the steals, it’s not the 20-30 home runs that I don’t believe in. It boils down to a single reason: while his Fantrax ADP is currently around 9.29, I would not draft Mookie Betts in the first-round.
Why would I not draft Mookie Betts in the first round? It’s simply the players available later in the draft. Betts at his best could be a 30/25 player. I think 25 home runs is more realistic to expect from him. However, a 25/25 guy is still pretty valuable, so why would I not select Mookie Betts in the first round? It’s simply because of the guys you can get in your draft in the later rounds; who may have a less dynamic season than Betts, but will cost less in your draft. Let’s look at a few similar players.
- Christian Yelich: Yelich was recently traded from the Marlins to the Brewers. He hit .282 with 18 home runs and 16 stolen bases while scoring 100 runs with the Marlins in 2017. He could be a legit 20/20 threat with a .280-.290 average in Miller Park. He has the best track record of players on this list. His ADP on Fantrax is 62.34
- Andrew Benintendi: Benintendi went exactly 20/20 last year while batting .271 in his rookie season for the Boston Red Sox. Bett’s teammate, they represent the best two hitters in that lineup. Benintendi’s walk-to-strikeout rate was great, being 70:112. This is fantastic for a rookie hitter where it seems most hitters are striking out a ton when called up. Being only 23 years old going into 2018, he should continue to improve as a hitter and may have the potential to reach 20/25. His ADP on Fantrax: 42.38.
- Tommy Pham: Pham came out of nowhere to be one of the best waiver wire pickups of 2017. He hit .306 with 23 home runs and stole 25 bases. One could argue he was just as valuable last year as Mookie Betts with these stats. At age 29 and with his injury history, there are plenty of reasons to doubt Tommy Pham repeats his 2017 season, but he did do it in only 128 games. If he even just repeats what he does last year, his Fantrax ADP of 86.66 will be a steal in 2018.
- Chris Taylor: Taylor hit .288 with 21 bombs and 17 steals in a breakout 2017 campaign for the Dodgers. Again, he does not have the track record Mookie Betts does, but he does have 20/20 potential at 27 years old. His positional eligibility also helps out his cause when it comes to drafting him in your league. He will be eligible at second base, shortstop, and the outfield. His ADP on Fantrax is 98.02 so just inside the top 100. His ADP is that low because again, he has no track record of doing this, like Tommy Pham.
This is a theme among the players: no track record. Maybe that’s why Mookie Betts goes in the first round, but with the players like the ones listed above available later in the draft, this writer can’t justify taking Betts in the first round.