Last week, we talked about players that are on the old side and are generally boring fantasy picks, but who might still be able to provide some decent deep-league value. This week, we’ll focus on guys that may be able to help with two components crucial to most any successful fantasy team, namely power and speed. In deeper leagues, we’re hit with a kind of double whammy. First, the potential for things to go wrong is more prevalent since we’re drafting deeper into the player pool and therefore rostering much riskier players — whether the risk is injury, demotion, or just poor performance. Second, once this level of risk leads to the need to replace players and fix holes on a roster, that’s much harder to do with what it usually a dearth of options available via the free agent pool. If you’ve ever played in a 12-team “only” league with a deep bench, you know what I mean: I’ve actually had situations where I needed to replace a hole at, say, second base when my second baseman was sent to triple A, and ended up having to just keep the minor leaguer in my lineup because there was literally not a free agent major league player who qualified at second base available in my league’s player pool.
At any rate, as I’m filling out a deep-league team, I’d often rather have two players who can both help me in both homers and steals rather than one hitter who I hope to count on for power and one who is more of a straight speed threat — even if I have to give up a little bit of ADP value or pay a buck more for a guy than I’d like to in an auction. It’s just a way to mitigate risk slightly, in hopes of preventing the loss of one player from hitting me too hard in a single category. Thus, on to some names. All of the following players A) had at least 10 homers + at least 10 steals last year, B) are guys that I think, in my completely unscientific projections, could reach a number of both home runs and steals that’s at least in the teens this year, and C) have current NFBC ADPs outside the top 225.
Avisail Garcia. ADP: #229. 2019: 20 HR, 10 SB in 489 ABs. He’s getting drafted a little sooner than the rest of the players on this list, but I’ve completely ignored Garcia so far this draft season and I’m starting to feel like maybe I should be paying him at least a smidge of my attention. Granted, getting steals into the teens from Garcia doesn’t seem extremely likely (10 is his career high), but who knows what might happen once he’s part of a Craig Counsell-led world. He had a better 2019 than I realized, and he seems likely to repeat or even build upon that with his move to Milwaukee.
Niko Goodrum. ADP: #283. 2019: 12 HR, 12 SB in 423 ABs. I won’t exactly be holding my breath until Goodrum hits 13 homers and 13 steals in 2020, but given the playing time he should get in Detroit this year I think it’s likely enough that I’ll own him in at least one AL-only league. He is a prime example of a player who shouldn’t be on the radar at all in standard leagues, but could help out in deeper ones… and having multi-positional eligibility (2B, SS, and OF in most leagues) never hurts a fellow’s value in my eyes.
Wil Myers. ADP: #284. 2019: 18 HR, 16 SB in 435 ABs. For my money, there’s hardly a more disappointing player in baseball over the last few years than Myers. But maybe it’s time to admit that no matter how big a bust he’s been for the Padres, he has still somehow been providing some fantasy value, at least in the deepest of leagues. I don’t think he’ll ever get back to standard-league relevance, but if he can either find his groove in So Cal or reinvent himself should a trade occur, it’s not impossible to imagine that he could not only match but actually improve on last year’s numbers (and looking up his age always surprises me — when the guy finishes the 2020 season he’ll STILL be in his 20’s). Yes, it’s also easy to imagine he busts to the point where he’s not playable on either a real-life MLB team or a fantasy team in the deepest league ever by June, but it’s not exactly like you’re going to have a ton of slam-dunk power/speed options available to you at his price point.
Brett Gardner. ADP: #333. 2019: 28 HR, 10 SB in 491 ABs. Whether Gardner’s surprising power output was the result of a juiced ball, new launch angle, stolen signs, or something else, he could hit half as many homers in 2020 as he did last last year and still be in the teens. If he adds a few steals — and he does have seven straight seasons of double-digit SBs, for what that’s worth — and stays north of a .250 batting average (.251 is his 3-year average), that still feels like a very nice deep-league value well outside the top 300 names off the board.
Kevin Pillar. ADP: #355. 2019: 21 HR, 14 SB in 611 ABs. I mentioned Pillar last week in my boring old guys who might have some sneaky deep-league value list, and he know has the proud distinction of making this write-up as well. I can’t remember exactly what I said last week, but all we really need to focus on here is that he’s a guy you can get outside the top 350, who ended up in a fairly good real-life situation that could translate to fantasy decent-ness in the form of another year of double-digit steals and homers.
Kevin Kiermaier: ADP: #374. 2019: 14 HR, 19 SB in 447 ABs. It’s almost physically painful for me to draft a player with a projected (at least according to our friends at CBS sports) batting average of .227, but as we often say in the deep-league world, beggars cannot always be choosers. If he stays healthy though (and, yes, that “if” should be in a font bigger than my computer offers), he could provide some ultra-cheap counting stats. I had him on a league-winning AL-only team last year, and even I didn’t realize he’d hit 14 bombs last year because it seemed like every time I sat down to watch him he was 0 for 4 before my chair was warm.
Manuel Margot. ADP: #493. 2019: 12 HR, 20 SB in 398 ABs. I almost didn’t include Margot in this list because I think the chances of him hitting 13 or more homers are pretty slim, even if he gets more playing time than it seems likely he will in the huge glob of players with largely undefined roles that is the Tampa Bay offense. But the speed has never been a question, he’s still only 25, and he has just enough post-hype prospect potential in him to keep me paying him a wee bit of attention given his barely-inside-the-top-500 ADP.