So, I’ve agreed to draft another fantasy baseball team this weekend. I honestly can’t tell you how many that makes for me in 2020, and I don’t really care at this point. At first I was worried about how I could possibly manage juggling so many rosters should baseball ever return (PLEASE, PLEASE return sometime this summer, baseball!) Now, though, I’ve decided that I’m just going to carry on, figuring that having a “problem” like having 20 or 30 lineups to set come July would be the greatest problem I can possibly imagine right now.
Since I’m still drafting and I know many of you are too — either joining public online leagues as a therapeutic way to pass the time, or participating in drafts for leagues you’ve been in for years and have had planned all off-season — I thought I’d look at the current state of players outside the top 250, and which names I have my eye on as being a potential value that late. I’m basing these ADP numbers on MattTruss’s Monday post in which he included a beautiful spreadsheet unveiling weeks worth of RCL ADP, so theoretically this is data that many of you have actually contributed to. Some of these players’ values got a slight VHB* bump, others I’m valuing exactly the way I would during a normal season. This is an extra tough week for me, as I try to keep what would normally be the sunshine-y giddiness of Opening Day from being permanently replaced by an ugly cloud of darkness… but to that end, let’s try to be safe, stay positive, and think about how insanely exciting it will be to finally have baseball to watch, whenever that may be.
*Virus that Hates Baseball, as my friend Grey would say
With that, my “all-outside-the-top-250” team, hitters edition:
C – Omar Narvaez. Okay, I’m already cheating slightly, as Narvaez’s ADP is actually 249.4, but I’d draft him in just about any format at that price. I think he’ll play a little more than most projections give him, and even if he doesn’t, I love me a catcher whose got some pop, plays on a decent team in a hitter-friendly ballpark, and isn’t likely to hurt my average. I know many would rather have Christian Vazquez (#252) here, and I have him in an AL-only keeper league so I hope he has a decent season… but I’m pretty worried about major regression from him and/or an overall epic collapse from the Red Sox.
1B – Yandy Diaz (#255). Who knows what will actually happen in Tampa when it comes to playing time, but I’m getting the vibe that Yandy will be in the starting lineup pretty regularly (and he also qualifies at 3B). If he stays healthy — and he is not the only player on this list who may be aided by a truncated season on that front — I think he could have a big year. There are some players whose hard hit rate you read about and are impressed by, and then there are guys like Diaz, who you can SEE hitting the ball hard in a way that is fairly breathtaking.
2B – Cesar Hernandez (#293). Not gonna lie, both 2B and SS thinned out much faster than I expected them to, given that I thought there were about 30 guys at each position that I wouldn’t mind drafting this year — first base actually had much better honorable mention choices (C.J. Cron, Daniel Murphy, Renato Nunez…) Cesar is the ultimate decent floor, low-ceiling deep league guy — despite not excelling in any one category, he’s a guy who can help you a little in all of them. I like the thought of him in the Cleveland lineup even if he’s at the bottom of it, he’s still surprisingly not-old (29), and he played in all but one game in 2019.
SS – Nico Goodrum/Nick Ahmed (#292/#300). Like I said, I was surprised that there weren’t many shortstops I liked this late even if I went mostly by upside, so I’m picking two meh ones to make up for it. Goodrum went 12/12 in 112 games last year, which is not horrible. It may even give us an idea in what he would do with the every day at bats it sounds like he’ll get for the Tigers in 2020 if we’re lucky enough to have anything near 112 games. Ahmed’s numbers are always a little better than I remember — he hit 19 homers last year with 79 runs and 82 RBI, which is actually a lot better than I remembered… and I am really, really liking the Diamondbacks 2020 lineup.
3B – Travis Shaw (#299). After the pain Shaw put me — and I’m sure many of you — through last year, perhaps only a fool would give him a second chance. But maybe the change of scenery/country and extra-long layoff after the train wreck that was his 2019 season will serve him well. At this price point, doesn’t really hurt to find out, and after 30+ homer seasons in 2017 and 2018, I’m grabbing him at the end of a draft or two just in case.
OF – Ryan Braun. I keep meaning to grab Braun late but still haven’t rostered him… yes, he’s old, yes, he’s a cheater… but in a shortened season he might actually stay healthy for most of it, and might actually help you in four or five categories if he does. As long as you temper expectations, I think pick #265 could be a bargain.
OF- Trent Grisham. I think any regular Razzball reader is familiar with Grisham as a nice sleeper pick by now — I might not be quite as high on him as one or two others on this site, but I spent a ton of FAAB money on him in one of my NL-only keeper leagues last year in hopes that he’d look like a nice value pick for 2020, and here we are. Assuming the Padres are as generous with his playing time as I’m expecting them to be, I’m looking forward to seeing what Grisham can do with a regular role at the MLB level. He’s always hit for average, has some sneaky power, and is a definite speed threat — what more could you ask for at pick #269? Also, the later the season starts, the longer he has to forget about making one of the most gut-wrenching errors in MLB playoff history, which still makes me cry a little bit for him just thinking about it.
OF – Austin Hays. (#271). I drafted Hays way back in late November (ah, late November… how young and carefree we all were!), then again in January, and will do so again in March at this price. The upside is there, the playing time is there, and there’s little to no risk at this point if he doesn’t perform.