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Ronald Acuna Jr. and Mike Trout have feasted against divisional opponents throughout their respective careers.
Major League Baseball could return with a schedule that features a majority of divisional clashes, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. In addition to thriving against most divisional foes, the top two fantasy baseball players have achieved plenty of success at the back end of normal 162-game seasons.
Although their numbers will not come close to what they produce in a normal campaign, Acuna and Trout could top a handful of offensive categories with the list of opponents playing in their favor.
Fantasy Baseball 1st-Round Mock Draft
1. Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Atlanta
2. Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
3. Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee
4. Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
5. Mookie Betts, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
6. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland
7. Gerrit Cole, SP, New York Yankees
8. Trevor Story, SS, Colorado
9. Trea Turner, SS, Washington
10. Jacob deGrom, SP, New York Mets
11. Juan Soto, OF, Washington
12. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado
Stat Projections for Top Hitters
Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Atlanta
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Acuna experienced an uptick in power numbers in 2019, but his splits moved down in comparison to 2018.
The Atlanta Braves outfielder hit 41 home runs, drove in 101 runs and stole 37 bases, but he hit .280 and his OPS fell from .917 to .883. He will not reach the 40-homer mark in a shortened season, but Acuna could achieve plenty of success at the plate during his historically best months.
Acuna has hit 22 home runs in August, which is 10 long balls more than he has produced in any other month. August is also one of two months in which Acuna has totaled a batting average over .300 and OPS above 1.000.
Additionally, the 22-year-old has thrived against each of his four National League East opponents, which is something that carries more weight in the proposed shortened season. Acuna has 34 home runs against the Miami Marlins, Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets, with 16 of them coming against the Marlins.
If that form carries over into this summer, Acuna has a chance to outhit Trout and finish as the top fantasy baseball player.
Stat Projection: .285 batting average, 21 HR, 75 RBI, 20 stolen bases.
Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
Trout’s career-long consistency at the dish should benefit whichever owner lands him with No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick.
The Los Angeles Angels slugger has hit over .300 in three of the past four seasons and earned an OPS over 1.070 for three straight campaigns. Since 2012, Trout has eight seasons with 100 hits and 20 doubles, seven years with triple-digit runs and five 30-homer campaigns.
In a potential 82-game season, Trout’s splits should not dip, and he is expected to be in contention for the home run lead. July and August are two of the three most successful months for Trout for home runs. He has 57 long balls in July and 48 in August.
Trout has achieved the most success in divisional play against the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers, boasting at least 35 home runs, 105 RBI and a 1.070 OPS versus the two ball clubs. He may run into some trouble taking on the Houston Astros pitching staff, but that could be said about most sluggers facing Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Co.
Since he plays in a weaker division with fewer playoff contenders than Acuna, Trout might be more suited to the No. 1 overall pick because of how high his numbers could be.
Stat Projections: .305 batting average, 1.050 OPS, 22 HR, 70 RBI