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Think before taking Matt Olson in your fantasy baseball draft

Before you click “draft” in your virtual draft room or scream your pick’s name across your buddy’s basement, make sure you ask yourself these questions: Is this player worth being taken at this point? Who else is available? Can I get more bang for my buck later?

When it comes to first basemen, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Freddie Freeman, Pete Alonso and Paul Goldschmidt will be the first four taken. The last of the top-tier at the position is Matt Olson, a great power-hitter who is glued to the middle of a loaded Braves lineup.

The most important number to consider when drafting Olson is this: 35.28. That’s his average draft position, according to Fantasy Alarm. He’s a top-five first baseman, but that doesn’t mean his ADP offers your team the best value in that spot.

Now, ask yourself those questions:

1. Is this player worth being taken at this point?

In his first year as Freeman’s replacement in Atlanta, Olson ranked eighth in RBIs (103), 11th in homers (34) and 24th in slugging percentage (.477). His average exit velocity ranked in the top 3 percent of the league, and his hard-hit rate was in the top 4 percent.

The Braves' Matt Olson
The Braves’ Matt Olson

Though his .276 BABIP indicates there was room for improvement, know that his average (.240) dipped more than 30 points after he hit .271 in 2021. His walk rate (10.7 percent) was down from 13.1 percent in 2021. His strikeout rate jumped from 16.8 percent in 2021 to 24.3 percent. He stole no bases after having four in 2021.

Olson’s numbers also dipped in the second half for a second straight year. After hitting .255 with 17 homers, 60 RBIs and a .828 OPS in the first half in 2022, he hit .219 with 17 homers, 43 RBIs and a .765 OPS after the break. That includes hitting .193 with a .695 OPS over the final 31 games — when fantasy owners needed him most.

2. Who else is available?

For around that same ADP, you could have well-rounded players such as Francisco Lindor (36.65), Randy Arozarena (39.97) or Cedric Mullins (47.58). They may not offer Olson’s power or RBI total, but do offer better averages, runs and something Olson will never provide: stolen bases. You also could grab a top-15 starting pitcher — such as Spencer Strider (35.2), Max Scherzer (40.07), Brandon Woodruff (40.3) or Carlos Rodon (42.68).

3. Can get I more bang for my buck later?

Worried about the first basemen available if you bypass Olson? Don’t be. First base is a deep position — like, absurdly deep.

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The Royals' Vinnie Pasquantino
The Royals’ Vinnie Pasquantino

You can wait about four rounds and grab Houston’s Jose Abreu (79.92). Almost 60 picks after Olson is ripped off the boards, you can snag a youngster with tons of upside in Roto Rage favorite Vinnie Pasquantino (94.52) — who hit .346 with seven homers, 21 RBIs, 16 runs, a 15-21 strikeout-walk rate and .960 OPS over the Royals’ final 43 games in 2022.

Texas’ Nathaniel Lowe (100.25), Colorado’s C.J. Cron (119.98) and Arizona’s Christian Walker (121.22) — the 2022 waiver-wire darling who smashed more homers (36) and had an ever-so-slightly better average (.242) and OPS (.804) than Olson — are solid mid-round options.

The White Sox’s Andrew Vaughn (141.03) can be had at great value, as can Cleveland’s presumptive cleanup hitter, Josh Bell (166.62). Roto Rage also believes Milwaukee’s Rowdy Tellez (170.32), who smashed 35 homers and drove in 89 runs, should have a huge target on his back. Sure, he hit .219 in 2022, but his BABIP (.215), xBA (.252) and xSLG (.479) point to a guy who was unlucky.

Boston’s Triston Casas (218.05) is an intriguing late-round option, as are Detroit’s Spencer Torkelson (260.13), Cincinnati’s Wil Myers (262.27), the Angels’ Jared Walsh (291.27) and Tampa Bay’s Harold Ramirez (350.9).

There will also be chances to snag this year’s version of Walker, or a late-season hero such as Joey Meneses, off the waiver wire during the season.

Olson is undoubtedly a great fantasy option, but Roto Rage believes the price is high — especially when you understand what else is out there.

The Tigers' Spencer Torkelson
The Tigers’ Spencer Torkelson

First base

  1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Tor
  2. Freddie Freeman, LAD
  3. Pete Alonso, NYM
  4. Paul Goldschmidt, StL
  5. Matt Olson, Atl
  6. Vinnie Pasquantino, KC
  7. Nathaniel Lowe, Tex
  8. Jose Abreu, Hou
  9. Rhys Hoskins, Phi
  10. C.J. Cron, Col
  11. Christian Walker, Ari
  12. Ryan Mountcastle, Bal
  13. Josh Bell, Cle
  14. Rowdy Tellez, Mil
  15. Anthony Rizzo, NYY
  16. Andrew Vaughn, CWS
  17. Jake Cronenworth, SD
  18. Ty France, Sea
  19. Jose Miranda, Min
  20. Josh Naylor, Cle
  21. Brandon Drury, LAA
  22. Luis Arraez, Mia
  23. Seth Brown, Oak
  24. Triston Casas, Bos
  25. Miguel Vargas, LAD
  26. Trey Mancini, ChC
  27. Spencer Torkelson, Det
  28. DJ LeMahieu, NYY
  29. Wil Myers, Cin
  30. Isaac Paredes, TB
  31. Joey Meneses, Was
  32. Dominic Smith, Was
  33. Brandon Belt, Tor
  34. Wilmer Flores, SF
  35. Jared Walsh, LAA
  36. Luke Voit, FA
  37. Garrett Cooper, Mia
  38. Jesus Aguilar, Oak
  39. Joey Votto, Cin
  40. Carlos Santana, Pit
  41. Harold Ramirez, TB
  42. Ji-Man Choi, Pit
  43. Eric Hosmer, ChC
  44. LaMonte Wade Jr., SF
  45. Bobby Dalbec, Bos

Third base

  1. Jose Ramirez, Cle
  2. Manny Machado, SD
  3. Austin Riley, Atl
  4. Bobby Witt Jr., KC
  5. Rafael Devers, Bos
  6. Nolan Arenado, StL
  7. Gunnar Henderson, Bal
  8. Alex Bregman, Hou
  9. Max Muncy, LAD
  10. Jose Miranda, Min
  11. Matt Chapman, Tor
  12. Alec Bohm, Phi
  13. Ryan McMahon, Col
  14. Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pit
  15. Eugenio Suarez, Sea
  16. Brandon Drury, LAA
  17. Anthony Rendon, LAA
  18. Justin Turner, Bos
  19. Josh Jung, Tex
  20. Josh Rojas, Ari
  21. Yandy Diaz, TB
  22. Luis Urias, Mil
  23. Jeimer Candelario, Was
  24. DJ LeMahieu, NYY
  25. Yoan Moncada, CWS
  26. Ha-Seong Kim, SD
  27. Eduardo Escobar, NYM
  28. Luis Rengifo, LAA
  29. Isaac Paredes, TB
  30. Jon Berti, Mia
  31. Josh Donaldson, NYY
  32. Brendan Donovan, StL
  33. Wilmer Flores, SF
  34. J.D. Davis, SF
  35. Rodolfo Castro, Pit
  36. Gio Urshela, LAA
  37. Brian Anderson, Mil
  38. Jace Peterson, Oak
  39. Spencer Steer, Cin
  40. Jordan Walker, StL
  41. Kyle Farmer, Min
  42. Ramon Urias, Bal
  43. Joey Wendle, Mia
  44. David Villar, SF
  45. Brett Baty, NYM

Team name of the week

Paredes by the Dashboard Light

By: Ny Post



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