If you are a reader here at Razzball, you are likely in a number of leagues ranging from season-long to best ball or dynasty. In the name of the game, we must be thinking about the value of diversification. For the investment mindset of a fantasy owner, owning a wide range of players can lower your risk by weathering the ups and downs of the season. That said, even the smartest fantasy writers do not always follow the principles of diversifying their portfolio. With that premise, every draft season I find myself over-indexed to certain players. This week, our hitter profiles break down guys that sit on too many of my rosters and why I kept investing.
- Giancarlo Stanton – Aaron Judge who? If there is anybody who can threaten to lead the league in power, it is Stanton. He certainly has injury concerns and had a down 2022, but that merely brought down the price in my mind. We are talking round ten prices here. So why did I buy so many shares? First of all, the injury concerns should not be what they once were. In the last five full seasons, he has exceeded 110 games four times and 139 games three times. While he is not a model of health, I can happily buy expecting about three quarters of a season from a health perspective. Second of all, during the last two years, he has averaged a home run every 3.7 games or 32 home runs and 85 runs batted in across the course of a 120 game season. Toss in an ugly .227 BABIP and I am sold for a .260 average to tag along the power metrics. Even if we have to fill out the season with a replacement-level player, the cost was well below my expectations with the potential for much much more.
- Michael Conforto – It is amazing what sitting out for a year will do to a player’s value. Recency bias is a real thing. Let me be clear Conforto is not playing in an ideal park or lineup. He also may have lost outfield eligibility due to missing last season. However, for a player that was picked up in the late rounds for virtually nothing he has multiple seasons under his belt at .250 with 30 homers and 90 RBI. While I do not expect those type of numbers, I would be completely content for a fifth outfielder to hit knock 20 out of the park with reasonable counting stats.
- Michael Massey – One of my favorite young pickups this off-season, Massey does not have a huge prospect pedigree. A fourth-round draft pick from the Fighting Illini at the University of Illinois, Massey was more of a speed first player in his college days. As he came up through the Royals system his power jumped up to join his speed. Over 139 games between AA, AAA, and the big leagues in 2022, he got 20 big flys and 16 steals. In the majors, he hit four homers across 52 games, but had a xHR of 7.5 and would have hit 15 if he played every game in Great America Ballpark (cherry-picked example). There is certainly something here worth watching as it is not out of the question that we see Massey as the most valuable KC middle infielder if he simply continues to be who he is and get just a little bit of luck.
- James Outman – Given an opportunity in the Dodgers lineup on opening day, Outman has the chance to claim a stake to the centerfield job and never look back (sorry Chris Taylor). Another power and speed threat that can be found as a late lottery ticket, he had 32 homers and 13 steals in the high minors and a cup of coffee last season. He does have some swing in miss in his game but also walks at a good clip. There is a good chance this profile ends up as a low average bat with power and platoon potential. However, any bat that is playing in the powerful Dodgers lineup is worth tossing on the bench for a few weeks.
- Trevor Story – This story is all too similar to Giancarlo Stanton. A player with health issues being disregarded. Story can be had in the reserve rounds or even off the waiver wire this season. In most leagues, he will not even require a roster spot as he is already on the 60 day IL. With a solid first season in Boston, he showed that he is a 30/20 player on a consistent basis. If healthy, he should have been a pick in the first three or four rounds. As it is, a return after the All Star break is very much a potential with the capability to go 15/10 down the stretch. I used my last pick or two on Story in almost every draft and immediately picked up a free agent after stashing him on the IL. What do you have to lose when you get a potential difference-maker for free? Nothing.
Looking back at these names, I should not be surprised at what I found. Each of these players has some reason why the market has undervalued them. That said, when I draft in the early rounds I am always focused on stability so later round lottery tickets are not relied upon but rather have a chance to push a solid team over the top. In our fantasy game, it is about getting the most out of a roster and not about buying the names. Everybody else can have the Julios and Witts while I enjoy a discarded Giancarlo Stanton on my way to the podium.
Thanks for reading and good luck this year fellow managers! Drop your draft infatuation names below in the comments!