Welcome to Stacked! A quick look at potential team stacks for the Underdog Best Ball tournament format. Crack open a Sam Adams, turn on a Matt Damon movie, and kick back as I walk through what I love about the Boston Red Sox stack this season.
When it comes to my normal draft strategy, I am looking for 3 to 4 hitters from one team with an anchor that is drafted in the first or second round. Rafael Devers is the anchor here, and with the ADP shift upward for early-round outfielders, he can slip into the middle of the second round. He is a good, but not great value there. Xander, Trevor, and J.D. are your next targets with my preference being J.D. because of the drop-off in the OF position. You can potentially grab 2 of the 3, but getting all 3 is unlikely. The addition of Story to the team recently is a great boost to the other hitters. The exception is Alex Verdugo, who gets a slight downgrade being bumped from likely 5th in the batting order to 6th. He is going at an ADP value that matches his projections so he’s still a great piece to add. Kike Hernández is the best value of this stack, as he tends to be drafted later than where Spike Week rankings have him sitting. Kike has slid down the ADP ladder but is potentially the lead-off hitter on this team who should score a lot of runs with plenty of playing time opportunity. Bobby Dalbec feels like a slight risk for playing time. He’s already blasting HRs in Spring Training like he did last season, but last year struggled in the early season to carry over the power. Tristan Casas is waiting in the prospect wings to potentially usurp Dalbec, but the first base job should be Dalbec’s to lose. He is a great addition as your 5th or 6th overall infielder. One last player to mention, Jarren Duran, is off my draft board as mostly a bench player after the addition of Trevor Story.
What I Love:
Most of my preferred stacks this season are because they include multiple hitters that are great ADP values compared to their season-long projections. That isn’t the case for Boston. Most of the main pieces of the stack are going near their projected value. So what is it? It’s their schedule. Look ahead to the Dinger and Bunt tournament finals period of 9/18 to 10/2 and you see some juicy games. Starting with two games in Great American Ball Park which had a home run factor of 1.404 in 2022 according to ESPN. The Reds have already traded Sonny Gray and by that time of the season, their other solid pitchers may be on other teams, too. Follow that with four games in Yankee Stadium with a 1.101 HR park factor. Then 4 home games in Boston against the never-ending mess of a rotation that is the Baltimore Orioles. If you can get your Boston stacks into the final round of a tournament, you have the potential for a (green) monster of a score.