After Opening Day there seems a sense of hope in the spring air, with Red Sox fans perhaps rejuvenated in their excitement by Monday's refreshing, 8-2 win over the Yankees. It's doubtful any of them expect Shane Victorino to drive in 486 runs this year, or Jose Iglesias to hit .600, but it's a good bet that Jackie Bradley Jr. jersey sales would be brisk if they were yet available.
How do baseball fans elsewhere feel about the Red Sox' talent, though? Most of the experts didn't expect the team to do much collectively coming into the year, but to gauge how the greater population feels about Boston's players individually this season, and the numbers they'll potentially produce, we turn to fantasy baseball and see where the Sox were typically picked in this year's drafts.
Worth pointing out, and to provide a little extra context:
- Dustin Pedroia is the consensus choice as the second-best second baseman in the fantasy game, behind only Robinson Cano of the Yankees. Pedroia went as high as 11th overall in CBS leagues, with 45th being as late as he was taken; in Yahoo! leagues, Pedroia is one of 40 players league-wide owned in 99 percent of leagues.
- Jacoby Ellsbury's draft stock is certainly lower than it was before last season, but fantasy owners weren't scared off by an injury-riddled and generally unproductive 2012. He's owned in 98 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and was still a fairly high choice.
- Jonny Gomes was the Red Sox' starting designated hitter on Opening Day, yet he has such little fantasy value that he didn't register an average draft position on a few of the sites surveyed here.
- Pedro Ciriaco, at 241.7, has a better average draft position than Stephen Drew (256.5) in Yahoo! leagues, despite the fact that Drew is the starter at shortstop when he's healthy -- and Ciriaco is a third-string option, behind Jose Iglesias.
- Will Middlebrooks is still an unknown quantity nationally. In CBS leagues he went as high as No. 75, and as low as No. 212.
- A day after his debut, Bradley was the fourth-most added player -- and second-most among position players -- in Yahoo! leagues on Tuesday. A total of 6,695 owners picked him up.
- There are a lot of fantasy owners who buy into the idea that Mike Napoli will be dangerous at Fenway Park. His average draft position is third on the team. At another site -- Mockdraftcentral.com -- his ADP was 69th overall.
- Only two catchers had more home runs than Jarrod Saltalamacchia's 25 last season, though 17 players are more popular at that position.
- David Ortiz' draft position not only reflects his injury, but also the limited usefulness of designated hitters in fantasy baseball (because of positional restrictions).
- Fantasy owners have little doubt that Jon Lester is the ace of the Sox' staff, though they apparently consider Ryan Dempster to be the No. 2 starter. His average draft position was better than Clay Buchholz' in four of the five leagues surveyed.
- Joel Hanrahan is owned in 91 percent of Yahoo! leagues, tied with Huston Street for 12th-highest among relievers.
- America appears to feel the same way Boston does about John Lackey.
Curious about auction leagues? It's a smaller sample size, but here's a look at the average dollar values that have been spent on the Sox:
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