I’m not sure we think about first round picks properly in fantasy baseball. I think too often we worry too much about if the player selected will “return first round value” which means being a top 10, 12, 15 player (or however many teams are in the league, of course). The BaseballHQ Forecaster reviews first round picks every year and compares them to those who finished as first rounders by dollar value and it shows we are terrible at actually picking first rounders in the first round. Their look at the last 12 years showed a 34% success rate.
I look for more of a balance between upside and floor with my first round pick. Make no mistake, we’re talking very high floors here. I’m not going to take Kyle Seager in the first round just because he has established a strong floor of quality play, but I’m careful not to overvalue nebulous upside while eschewing a “boring” pick just because I have a reasonable idea of what to expect from him. It’s not so much “will this guy blossom into a first round stud”, but more “will he be a centerpiece asset (top 35 or so) with a reasonable shot at first round production” which brings us to Miguel Cabrera.