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Player Debates: Charlie Blackmon, Jose Altuve, Pete Alonso, Ozzie Albies, Gleyber Torres

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Apr 14, 2020

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Five more player debates coming at you, we hope you are enjoying this post series. We will talk about a couple more starters, a pair of shortstops, and the top-ranked DH in fantasy for 2020 in this post.

Bookmark this page to follow along for our complete player debate series.

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31) Charlie Blackmon (OF – COL)

Case For
“Reliable batting average is hard to find, and Blackmon gives you that at a pretty steep discount. Sure, he is getting up there in age and does not steal bases anymore, but how many players can you find after the first couple rounds that can hit .300 with 30 homers and score an easy 100 runs? Not many. Blackmon is a bit boring, and he’s falling in drafts because of it. Take advantage and grab yourself some top-20 production in the third or fourth round.” – Jon Anderson

Case Against
“Coors Field. That’s the driving force for Charlie Blackmon right now. Gone are the days of 20 steals. Hell, gone are the days of double-digit steals as he stole just two bases in 2019. It makes sense, of course, since he’s 34 years old. He’s a boring, relatively safe player right now, but not everyone mid-30s player is David Ortiz or Nelson Cruz. The drop off could happen this year for Blackmon where he gives you an empty average, and that’s it.” – Michael Waterloo

Draft Approach
“Gone are the days where we can safely rely on Charlie Blackmon to be an excellent source of speed, but the rest of his skills have not entirely diminished. Most notably, in a league that continues to trend toward the ‘Three True Outcomes” of walks, strikeouts, or home runs, Blackmon has maintained an outstanding batting average throughout his career. It has helped inflate his on-base percentage, as well, but that likely makes him more valuable in traditional leagues where it’s difficult to find hitters with as high an average as Blackmon’s. Last year, he ranked 9th in batting average, but 35th in on-base percentage.” – Mario Mergola

32) Jose Altuve (2B – HOU)

Case For
Injuries have caused Jose Altuve to miss games in each of the last two seasons, and they have resulted in back-to-back down years. The term “down years,” is intentionally deceiving. His home run totals and batting average each took turns declining, but the two-year total still lands on 44 and .308, respectively. Most notably, he slugged a career-high 31 home runs and barely missed his sixth consecutive season over .300. We probably have to decrease the stolen base expectations, but Altuve remains a solid fantasy asset with a high floor.” – Mario Mergola

Case Against
The appeal of Altuve has always been his elite batting average and steals. The steals have disappeared as he approaches 30 years old, and he posted his first sub .300 batting average since 2013 last season. That came with the best home run output of his career (31), but if he is unable to repeat that, you are looking at a pretty uninspiring hitter to still be picked near the top 30. He does fill the elusive second base position, but I just see too many pathways for the production to not match the draft stock here, so I will pass on Altuve this year.” – Jon Anderson

Draft Approach
“Jose Altuve has lived in the early rounds of fantasy drafts for the past five years. But now, after the cheating scandal and slight decline, Altuve is dropping to the third round. If you haven’t noticed yet, second base is a weak position, so it’s a good spot to grab Altuve. He’s still on the right side of 30, but just temper the expectations for the stolen base numbers to return to vintage Altuve-type numbers.” – Michael Waterloo

33) Pete Alonso (1B – NYM)

Case For
Fifty-three home runs. Pete Alonso surpassed the lofty expectations that he had entering his rookie year, and while you can attribute some of that to the ball, Alonso’s power is still among the most elite in the game. Is he going to give you a lot of home runs and RBIs but not much elsewhere? Yeah, probably, but here’s the thing with the argument that he’s going to give you stats that are easy to find elsewhere — you need even more to win those categories now. If everyone is hitting bombs, get the guy who can out-homer them — especially at a top-heavy position like first base.” – Michael Waterloo

Case Against
“Pete Alonso hit 53 home runs as a rookie. Fifty-three. Since 2013, only three other players have hit at least 50 home runs in a season. For all three, it was also their only 50-home run seasons. In fact, only one player — Chris Davis — had another season of at least 40 home runs, and it happened only once, at that. If we want statistics to form the case, then we can point to Alonso’s strikeout rate, which ranked 15th-worst among qualified hitters. One of the most difficult transitions to make from Minor League to Major League baseball is not falling victim to increased strikeouts.” – Mario Mergola

Draft Approach
“If you are drafting Alonso, it’s to grab yourself a bunch of home runs and RBIs while filling the weak first base position. If you are in a rotisserie league and you don’t have a high batting average hitter or two at this point, I cannot really get behind taking Alonso. There are just too many home run hitters that you can get late in the draft to justify the pick. However, if you want to add a bunch of pop here so you can focus on batting average over your next several rounds, that makes sense to me. In points leagues, Alonso is just fine, but it requires a little more thought in categories formats.” – Jon Anderson

34) Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL)

Case For
Ozzie Albies is 23 years old, 23! He quietly had a very productive fantasy season in 2019, scoring 102 runs with 24 homers, 86 RBI, 15 steals, and a .295 batting average. Those are very, very strong numbers across the board, and there is a lot of room for growth for the very talented second baseman. He will probably be a bit of a negative in home runs for you, but he more than makes up for it with the batting average and steals — two things that are very hard to find later in the draft. Albies checks the third scarcity box as well with second base eligibility. You’re doing just fine getting 20 steals, a bunch of runs, and a .290+ batting average from a third or fourth round second baseman. Sign me up.” – Jon Anderson

Case Against
“To break the fourth wall here a bit — it’s tough to make an argument against Ozzie Albies, but that’s the way the dice rolled on this one. Even with youth on Albies’ side, he’s a rather boring pick here, but boring can be good — especially at the position. But, at a third-round cost, he doesn’t really stand out in any category. You’re banking on the .295 average being more legitimate than the .261 average in 2018 and hoping that he steals mid-teens bases again.” – Michael Waterloo

Draft Approach
“Ozzie Albies essentially combined his first two seasons of Major League ball to form his third. His batting average and on-base percentage moved back toward his rookie year statistics after a sophomore slump, while his power held after developing. The overall picture on Albies now looks bright and, if we are buying into his career trajectory as we just saw in 2019, then we have no reason to pounce in a traditional league. His batting average is high, but his on-base percentage lags slightly. That he plays a relatively thin fantasy position is an added bonus.” – Mario Mergola

35) Gleyber Torres (SS – NYY)

Case For
“We have to build power regression into the projections for Gleyber Torres, but, even if we decrease his home run total, we are still looking at a quality hitter in that is dual-eligible — including the invaluable second base designation — and batting in the middle of a deep lineup. It is also worth noting that Torres is only 23 years old and was recently considered the league’s best prospect. There’s room to grow, and he will have every opportunity to do so. This should help prevent too much of a drop in power as he thrives in the runs and RBI categories.” – Mario Mergola

Case Against

“There are just too many home run hitters in the league for me to want to prioritize that category early on, and that is what you are doing when drafting Gleyber this year. He is a big negative in steals and batting average, which are the two categories I want to prioritize early on. Playing at the exorbitantly deep shortstop position, Torres is nothing but extremely replaceable. Let someone else take him.” – Jon Anderson

Draft Approach

If you’re taking Gleyber Torres as your second baseman, fine. No argument there. But if you’re taking him as your shortstop, you’re reaching. While young with a bright future ahead of him, thus far, he’s proved to be a one-category standout with his power, and that’s about it. He isn’t bringing you the stolen bases or average that are needed to justify the cost with shortstop being so deep. Pass on him and fill another need.” – Michael Waterloo

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