You smell that? No, this is the rare occasion where it is not “what The Rock is cooking.” I’m talking about the smell of fantasy baseball in the air. Mock drafts, tiered rankings, real drafts, sleepers, busts, you name it. With just a few weeks left until Opening Day, this is grind time for fantasy baseball owners. We have Spring Training games to overreact to, and small samples to over analyze. Players values are moving up and down, starting to settle into where they will be going in upcoming drafts.

One of the most important things in fantasy baseball is finding value where others in your league do not. Being able to consistently draft guys that will outperform their draft day value is a crucial ability that can drastically improve your chances of winning the championship. Whether is is getting a guy on a bounce back year, a youngster that will rise to the occasion, or a guy whose consistently gets overlooked, there are many ways you can take advantage of those who draft too heavily based on ADP. Using Fantasy Pros composite rankings, here are some guys I believe will out perform their ADP and can be obtained at a solid draft day discount.

Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox (ADP: 50)

Due to a small step back in 2017 (10 HR, .273 average), owners were able to get Xander at a discount last year. Those who did were pleased, as his .288/.360/.522 slash line along with 23 HR and 103 RBI helped him significantly outperform his price. Fully over his wrist injury from the year prior, his ISO jumped from .130 to .234 and his wOBA increased from .321 to .373. Since 2015, he has slashed .295/.354/.446 to go along with a .344 wOBA and 113 wRC+. An ADP of 50 seems a little low for him, and he again seems primed to outperform where he is going in drafts. He represents and incredibly safe floor, and could continue to elevate his game. Consistency is essential in H2H, and the fact that he hits in the heart of one of baseball’s best offenses should ensure he produces across the board all year long.

Steamer Projections: .286/.355/.465 with 82 R, 19 HR, 83 RBI, and 9 SB in 614 PA

Joey Votto, 1B, Reds (ADP: 60.3)

It feels incredibly weird seeing Votto going this late in fantasy baseball drafts. I’d be lying if I said his drop in power wasn’t concerning (12 HR, .135 ISO), but I’m not completely sold on the decline of the Vottoman Empire just yet. The 35 year old also seems confident that the dip in power was due to mechanics, and not father time catching up to him. He was still able to do Votto-like things last year, as his usually high 17.3% walk rate propelled him to a .417 OBP. His hard hit rate of 41% was actually the highest mark of his career, and he was still able to put up a wRC+ of 131. Cincinnati has a very underrated offense, and I believe his supporting cast will help aid him in his bounce back campaign. Votto is notoriously a 2nd half stud, which helps H2H owners finish the season strong. Votto could be one of the biggest steals in drafts this season.

Steamer: .278/.409/.464 with 90 R, 22 HR, 79 RBI, and 3 SB in 645 PA 

Jose Abreu, 1B, White Sox (ADP: 78.3)

Before a disappointing 2018 campaign, Abreu had hit at least .290 with 25 HR and 100 RBI in each of his first four MLB seasons. At 32 years old it seems as though his struggles can be attributed to an injuries and a bit of bad luck, not a sharp decline in skills. His .294 BABIP was significantly lower than his .329 career mark. Abreu’s .208 ISO was not far off his career .221 figure, and his average exit velocity of 91.3 MPH was good for 30th best in the bigs last year. The White Sox have some great young players on the come up surrounding Abreu that should help him return to form. There are no glaring signs pointing to Abreu’s decline, so I believe he sees significant improvement from last season and represents great value in drafts this year.

Steamer: .280/.339/.495 with 80 R, 28 HR, 92 RBI, and 2 SB in 624 PA

Daniel Murphy, 1B/2B, Rockies (ADP: 87)

Daniel Murphy and Coors Field is a match made in heaven. His .326 batting average and 40% fly ball rate over the past 3 seasons will love the Coors effect and he should benefit greatly. Murphy is one of the game’s best contact hitters, and settling into the 2-hole between Blackmon and Arenado should mean plenty of opportunities to produce runs all year long. In a season shortened by surgery he was able to slash .299/.336/.454 and add 12 HR in just 91 games. Playing half his games at Coors should allow a .300 season with 20+ homers and healthy counting stats. Though he will be playing 1st base this season, he will still be eligible at 2nd. Given how shallow that position is, I am eying to plug Murphy in there in a lot of my leagues especially at his ~7th round asking price.

Steamer: .307/.360/.506 with 84 R, 22 HR, 83 RBI, and 3 SB in 601 PA

Matt Chapman, 3B, Athletics (ADP: 101.3)

A defensive wizard, Chapman showed last year that his bat deserves some respect too. He slashed .278/.356/.508 in 145 games last year, while cutting his strikeout rate by 4.5% from the season prior. Chapman added 24 home runs, to go along with an impressive .230 ISO and 137 wRC+. He was also able to score 100 runs while driving in 68, and his defense will ensure he sees every day at bats and potent counting stats. There has been some concern over his offseason shoulder surgery, but I think it helps suppress his draft value a ton and he looks ready to go. His average exit velocity of 93.1 MPH was 7th highest among MLB players last season and should be high up on that list once again. There is a very good chance that Chapman finishes the season as a top-10 3B, but is not being drafted like one.

Steamer: .249/.326/.470 with 84 R, 28 HR, 86 RBI, and 4 SB in 632 PA

Robinson Cano, 2B, Mets (ADP: 119.5)

Some may find it hard to trust a 36 year old coming off arthroscopic knee surgery that plays for the Mets. Though the hesitations are valid, I believe Cano has at least another solid season or two left in him. After all, he did produce in his limited action last season, slashing .303/.374/.471 to go with 10 HR and 50 RBI in just 80 games. Keep in mind his missed action was due to a suspension and not injury, and he has proven to be extremely durable and consistent throughout his career. He has a career .362 wOBA and 127 wRC+ and figures to create a bunch of runs hitting in the heart of the lineup for the Mets. Second base only has a few guys you can confidently count on to produce this season, and Cano still has the skills to finish in the top 10. He represents excellent value in drafts this year and should heavily outperform his ADP.

Steamer: .278/.339/.457 with 74 R, 22 HR, 79 RBI and 1 SB in 613 PA

Victor Robles, OF, Nationals (ADP: 118.8)

Last year should have been the year Robles made big splash, but an injury kept him out the majority of the season. With Bryce Harper officially out of the outfield equation in D.C, Robles should see every day at bats and will capitalize on them. Coveted for his glove, his offensive game will prove to be a valuable asset for fantasy owners. In extremely limited action last year for the Nats, he was able to add 3 home runs and stolen bases each in just 66 plate appearances. In a full season, I expect him to provide double digit homers to go along with roughly 25 stolen bases on a ~.280 average. Stolen bases are not all that abundant across the league, so H2H owners will definitely enjoy them. He figures to start the season hitting in the bottom 3rd of the lineup, but an injury to Adam Eaton (very possible) could thrust him to the top and even further his value.

Steamer: .274/.335/.417 with 66 R, 12 HR, 59 RBI, and 26 SB in 562 PA

Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox (ADP: 136.8)

Thanks to a fan favorite known as service time manipulation, Eloy will not be starting the year on the big league roster. It’s tough drafting someone you know may not get called up within the first month, but his talent makes the risk one worth taking. Besides, countless owners are jumping on the chance to draft someone in a similar position (Vlad Guerrero Jr.) at pick 47 on average. I agree Vlady Jr. is the more desirable of the two, but Eloy is going about 9 rounds later and has an similarly impressive pedigree. Eloy slashed .337/.384/.577 across AA and AAA in 2018, swatting 22 homers in 108 games. The youth movement is coming into fruition in Chicago, and Eloy will prove to be a high impact player when his inevitable promotion comes.

Steamer: .293/.341/.502 with 69 R, 24 HR, 81 RBI, and 2 SB in 545 PA


Later-round options to consider:

Luke Voit (185), Jesse Winker (227.5), Jorge Polanco (233.5), Franmil Reyes (256), Ketel Marte (261.5), Randal Grichuk (262.8), Orlando Arcia (370.5)

  1. loro1991 says:

    Hey Yost, was wondering your thoughts on Thoughts on Miguel Andujar?

    • Yost

      Yost says:

      @loro1991: I think he’s a great hitter, but he’s going a little too early for my liking. For what it’s worth, his power isn’t backed by strong Statcast metrics, and I can see his aggressiveness at the plate bringing his average back down a little. Even still, he’s in one of the best offenses, so his counting stats should be solid. A .280 average and ~20 homers is a safe bet for him this year.

  2. BadFantasyManager says:

    Good list to consider.!!

    I would like your advice.

    The fantasy I am in considers for batters OPS, K, and BB additional to the typical 5×5. Votto, Winker, and Murphy are players that I am targeting given the settings. At an ADP of 115, do you think Robles could be helpful in this kind of fantasy? Given the settings, which other hitters with an ADP over 100 would you recommend? Anyone from this list?

    • BadFantasyManager says:

      Forgot to mention. I am in a weekly H2H categories.

    • Yost

      Yost says:

      @BadFantasyManager: Off this list, I think Cano would fit really well with your settings. Michael Brantley (~116) is another guy I’m big on that I think fits (low K%, high OPS, decent walk rate). Max Kepler (~240) is a late round flier I like, especially given those settings. He brought his K-rate down to 15% (31st best) and he walks a good amount (25th best last year) and Steamer has him with a .779 OPS this year. Markakis is another high walk/low strikeout guy going really late in drafts (~262). Zobrist (~309) is getting up in age but had a great ear last year. Walks a lot/a high OBP, low K-rate.

  3. Cincinnati Man says:

    Reds fan and I’m concerned about votto. I’ve had some H2H success the past three years finishing in the top two regular season and winning the end of season tournament the past year.

    Daily league with 6×6 QS and OPS. I have gone on and off without even carrying a catcher. I’m worried it is going to catch up with me but the past two years it has worked out well (three years ago a grab Gary Sanchez as he broke into the league). Thoughts on the strategy?

    Also worried my mock drafts won’t reflect well come actual draft day. Just wrapped one (pick 12 of 12):
    W Davis

    • Yost

      Yost says:

      @Cincinnati Man: Worried his power is gone for good? Catcher is a complete crapshoot. I have also gone here and there going without one. Miss out on some opportunities for counting stats but if your offense is strong enough it can pick up the slack. But sometimes its worth it for how much they can sap your average. I’d say grab one late to start things off but if they aren’t helping you and you’ve found success without one before you can try it out. Yeah mocks are never too accurate for how things will shape up in your actual draft but can help hammer your approach. Some solid late round arms you took

  4. Utah Green Sox says:

    Hey Yost,

    I’m in a H2h OBP + Holds league…just after your thoughts on my strategy for this year. I went with a few injury risk players. My thinking is that I’ve made the top 6 each of my 5 years of playing fantasy but never taken the top spot. I feel okay about making the 6 again so I just want to risk it all for potential late upside players.

    eg: Rd1)Bregman (notorious 2nd halver)
    Rd2)Lindor (coming back from injury,,,,hopefully he eventually runs a little bit)
    Rd5) Severino (Hopefully he can bounce back)
    and Morrow, Minter, C Mart – all at heavy discounts

    Thanks heaps!

    • Utah Green Sox says:

      Oh and I’ve decided that drafting from 11th sucks…

    • Yost

      Yost says:

      @Utah Green Sox: You finish in the top half every year so it seems like you’ve got a pretty good feel. Upside players can definitely give you that last little push to make it to the top. I think Lindor can be a steal if he doesn’t miss much time, but it will come down to how it will affect his ability to swipe bags. Still think he goes ~.275 with 30 HR and at least 12 SB. Severino should have a solid year for you. I’m a little worried about Morrow but if the price was right he could be of value as the season goes on. I think Minter is a solid pick and should get plenty of holds and the opportunity to add 10+ saves again. Only thing that would hurt him is if Kimbrel signs there. C Mart a nice dart throw, though he has a wide range of outcomes but sounds like you got him cheap.

      • Utah Green Sox says:

        @Yost: Thanks for the reply Yost! Cmart was at 17 and Morrow 18…so not too worried if they’re busts.

  5. Jeff says:

    I drafted from #11 and started out with Baez Stanton Hoskins Mondesi Corbin Segura Osuna Marquez Inciarte Shaw

    • Yost

      Yost says:

      @Jeff: All in on Baez? Think he’s in store for another big year but think that average drops significantly. Good piece to build around especially in H2H. Looking good, I’m big on Segura

    • Utah Green Sox says:

      @Jeff: yeah I’m fine with my team, it’s just there were so many players in the early rounds I couldn’t get.
      My first ten were: Bregman, Lindor, Snell, Hoskins, Severino, Mondesi, Rosario, Dahl, Marquez, Conforto….so pretty similar to you.

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