Five Underrated Fantasy Baseball Players to Target
Paul Shapiro of RotoExperts.com presents five undervalued players to target at drafts for 2017 Fantasy Baseball owners looking for ADP values that could pay off big.
Undervalued Players to Target on Draft Day
One thing I’ve learned in my many years of playing Fantasy Baseball is that you don’t win a league with your early-round draft picks. Typically, those top-ranked players are all about the same, and you should simply pick and choose what roster spots you want to fill. It’s really the players outside the Top 100 that make or break a team.
When I’m drafting, my goal with each pick is to obtain as much value possible at as low a cost as possible. I’m targeting the following players in every league I join due to the amazing value they have because of where they’re coming off the board in drafts. Their Average Draft Position (ADP) doesn’t match their possible production and thus makes them great value adds.
Remember, it’s where a player is going to end up, not where they start. And since a key to any draft is finding value outside the Top 100 picks, the following are five undervalued players to target at drafts, as I expect all them to end the year within the Top 100.
Bank on Bruce to Produce
Jay Bruce (ADP 180) is getting a bad rep because of a couple of rough months once he was traded to the Mets last season. This is a soon-to-be 30-year-old with something to prove has 25 or more home runs in every season of his career in which he's had at least 500 at-bats. Whether he stays with the Mets or gets traded during the season, he'll produce big power numbers at a discount price.
Adding Bruce as your third or fourth outfielder in the 15th round or later is ridiculous value for a player that essentially guarantees you 25 home runs, 90 RBIs and 75 runs scored. There are outfielders that will put up those same numbers going 100 picks earlier, a la Justin Upton, Jose Bautista and Matt Kemp. Be patient and take Bruce instead.
And if he is traded, Bruce will absolutely end up in a better situation than the one he is currently in with the Mets. Expect Bruce to end up as a Top 100 player in standard leagues with 30-plus homers and 100 RBIs in the 2017 season.
Eaton Equals Very Good Value
Adam Eaton (ADP 120) has been strangely consistent over the past two seasons. You almost have to do a double take when looking at his 2015 and 2016 numbers. Home runs 14 and 14, runs 98 and 91, RBIs 56 and 59, stolen bases 18 and 14, and batting average .287 and .284. So suffice to say Eaton will get you at or around 95-15-60-15-.285 without batting an eye, which is great for a player you’re drafting in the 10th round or later.
But going from the White Sox to the Nationals and potentially batting in front of Trea Turner, Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy, I expect a slight uptick across the board, making the outfielder a 20-20 candidate that will score 100 runs. If he hits lower in the Nats lineup (which may happen after news that manager Dusty Baker plans to bat Turner leadoff and possibly Jayson Werth second) then Eaton’s RBI numbers are likely to go up, which is another positive.
There’s a net positive in drafting Eaton no matter where he bats due to how stacked the Nationals lineup is. I mean, newly-signed catcher Matt Wieters will likely bat eighth. Eaton has a consistently high floor, but his upside is immense going after pick 100, giving him great value to any owner that drafts him. I’ll surely be one of them.
Castillo Will Wind Up Top 5 Catcher
And speaking of catchers, Wieters replacement in Baltimore, Welington Castillo (ADP 185), is the catcher I want in all of my Fantasy leagues. After hitting .264 with 14 homers and 68 RBIs, Castilllo has landed in Camden Yards, a ballpark that breeds career years for right-handed power hitters.
I expect Castillo to top all of his current career highs in his first season in Baltimore. That translates to 20-plus homers and 70-plus runs and RBIs, to go along with a .255 batting average. For the 12th catcher off the board, I’ll sit and wait to draft a backstop and reap the benefits in hopes of a Top 5 catcher by season’s end.
Make a Late Move for Moose
Mike Moustakas (ADP 240) is practically going undrafted, and I think it’s because Fantasy owners have forgotten about him following an injury-shortened 2016 season.
Moose was coming off a career high 22 homers in 2015, and was on pace to annihilate that number in 2016 when a freak ACL injury ended that campaign. Just for reference, before the injury, the Royals third baseman had hit seven home runs in the 27 games he played. Extrapolate those numbers and Moustakas was primed for a career year.
Now healthy, and in a walk year, Moose should get you 30-plus homers and 80-plus runs and RBIs from a draft afterthought. I’ll take that 10 times out of 10 from a player who clearly figured it prior to getting hurt. Take a flier on Moustakas with your last-round pick and thank me later.
Take An Ace That Fell from Grace
Dallas Keuchel (ADP 127) had a really tough 2016 season. Coming off back-to-back sub-3.00 ERA years in 2014 and 2015, the left-hander dealt with an injury riddled 26 starts amassing a 4.55 ERA and just nine wins. He’s now healthy and said he feels like a new man already this spring. I like hearing that, especially from a former AL Cy Young winner on a really good team.
If Keuchel reverts back to his old form, and I love his bounce-back potential, then you will pick up a staff ace 100-plus picks into your draft. That’s 180 strikeouts, a mid-3.00 ERA, and 15 wins -- and that’s his expected floor. Grab the Astros ace along with these other undervalued commodities and the back-end of your draft will carry you through the 2017 Fantasy season.
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