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Fernando Tatis Jr. headlines MLB’s most polarizing hitters

Fernando Tatis Jr. headlines MLB's most polarizing hitters

As a general rule, we can use average draft position as a pretty solid gauge of public sentiment regarding a player’s projected fantasy value. But ADP obviously has its limitations. A simple average doesn’t really tell us about the range of opinions that exist about a specific player — and with certain guys, the range of opinions is outrageously wide.

Each year, we can identify a few names in the player pool that some of us consider likely league-winners and others treat as radioactive. One manager’s early-round target is another manager’s undraftable toxic asset. Today, our mission is to review the pros, cons and various unknowns of three of the most polarizing hitters in fantasy baseball for 2023. We’re looking only at early-rounders here, top-50 picks, players who carry a non-trivial cost at the draft table.

You can miss on any number of selections in the double-digit rounds without dire consequences, but you’d better not whiff on anyone who goes as early as these guys.

Fernando Tatís Jr., SS, San Diego Padres (ADP 22.5)

If you’re fired up to select Tatís because you see a player with top-of-draft ability who, for one magical spring, is available in the mid-second round, I completely get it. The case is easily made. He’s an elite talent with a career OPS of .965 who’s only one year removed from going 42/25. Also, Tatis just turned 24 in January, so it’s entirely possible we haven’t yet seen him at his best.

Basically, the only issues you need to overlook with Tatis are the fact that he remains suspended until April 20 for a PED violation — for which his camp gave an all-time cringy/weird explanationand he has had three surgeries since he last played in a big-league game and he has had a very quiet spring. If you don’t see any red flags there, cool.

Tatís has been selected as high as No. 7 overall in NFBC drafts and as low as No. 55 (which is wild), so the difference of opinion on him in fantasy circles is huge. Players don’t get much more polarizing than this. Personally, I haven’t landed Tatis in any league just yet because there’s always another drafter who views him as something very close to the uninjured, pre-PED version of himself. And hey, maybe that drafter is right. I happen to think the discounted price on Tatis is appropriate, given that he’s guaranteed to miss the first three weeks of the season and it’s at least possible (perhaps likely) that he won’t immediately return as a five-category, superhero-level fantasy monster. I’m open…

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