Happy week between sort-of-opening-day and actual Opening Day!  Last week we talked about starting pitchers to target in the deepest of leagues, and this week let’s switch the focus to hitting.  As always, we’re looking at players who may be off the radar in standard mixed leagues, but could be of use to those of us living in the world of AL-only, NL-only and other ultra deep fantasy baseball.  For now, we’ll concentrate on a handful of guys in the American League, looking for players who are likely to open the season getting at least some major league at bats, rather than minor leaguers who may make an impact later in the year.  I’m going to go right to the perceived bottom of the barrel:  all of the players on this list went for a mere dollar in the Tout Wars AL-only and/or the LABR AL-only auctions.

Tim Beckham.  How can we not kick things off with one of the stars of MLB’s 2-game opening series in Japan?  In case you missed an at bat or two, Beckham went 3-3 in the first game, with 3 runs, 2 RBI, and a walk.  In game two, he had 2 more hits and another walk, and scored another run.  Pretty good for a buck, which is what he went for in Tout Wars (I should mention he went for a whopping $4 in LABR).  Will he have another game like that first one all season?  It’s quite possible he won’t, but at least we know he’ll be starting at shortstop for the Mariners for the time being.  I gotta say, that lineup isn’t gonna be a complete cake walk for opposing pitchers, especially if and when they all get hot at the same time.

Grayson Greiner.  I am more inclined to spend on a catcher in an ‘only’ league than a mixed league these days, but the one thing I don’t want to do in an AL-only auction league is spend 6 or 7 valuable dollars on a junk catcher who gives me the same or worse production than someone I could have gotten for a buck with my last pick.  Greiner went for $1 in both LABR and Tout Wars, which seems like it could be a steal for a guy who comes from the minors with a good-looking slugging percentage and should get to play pretty regularly in Detroit. If he flops in the show and his at bats are hurting you more than they’re helping, you can dump him for a random backup catcher that isn’t getting enough at bats to drag down your average.

Brandon Drury.  ($1 Tout, free round in LABR).  I drafted Drury for a few bucks in an AL-only auction last year, hoping he’d get enough playing time with the Yankees (was that just last year??) to pay off on my modest investment.  Instead, he had debilitating vision/migraine problems from the get-go, spent months trying to fix things, spent most of the season in the minors, and got traded to Toronto.  This lost season was bad news for my 2018 fantasy team, but could be good news for anyone at the end of a deep-league draft looking for a player that could play quite a bit, and has shown decent pop in the past when he’s been healthy and gotten the chance to play.

Brian Goodwin.  ($1 Tout, undrafted in LABR).  Hmm, Goodwin is another guy who I took at the very end of a deep-league auction last year who ended up getting hurt, then traded, and falling completely off the radar in the process.  Well, Goodwin, like most of these guys, were never really on the radar to begin with, but moving on.  He’s never really shown the ability to get on base regularly, strikes out way too much, and is probably already past his baseball prime age-wise at 28.  But he’s an impressive-looking, 6-foot 200 pound athlete who has shown sneaky speed in the fast.  He should have a better opportunity for regular or semi-regular playing time in Kansas City than he’s had in a while, so who knows what he might do with what could be his last chance at a solid gig.

Hunter Dozier.  ($1 in Tout and LABR).  Dozier is another Kansas City Royal who hasn’t shown the statisticians any reason to think he’ll hit successfully in the big leagues, but who will probably have more or less a starting job, if you’re looking for a $1 corner infielder.  One has to think the power is still in there somewhere, if he can somehow find a way to get those pesky strikeout and walk rates down and up, respectively.

Tony Kemp, Daniel Vogelbach.  Someone paid a dollar for Kemp in LABR; Vogelbach went in the free-round in both drafts, as Kemp did in Tout.  I’m grouping these two together as they actually have a fair amount in common:  they are both end-of-roster players both in real-life and fantasy, and they are both out of options so they are more likely to break camp with their respective teams (and Vogelbach has officially made the Mariners big club, at least for the trip to Japan).  I’d call Kemp the speed end-of-auction flier to Vogelbach’s power end-of-auction flier.  Kemp doesn’t have a much of a shot at regular playing time in Houston at any point this season, though if Vogelbach finally figures things out at age 26 and the Mariners trade Edwin Encarnacion, he could end up with a chance to play every day.



  1. Nick says:

    Hi Sweety,

    Glad to see you’re back on the beach for the Spring time …

    but be careful swimming in such ,, (very) deep waters!!

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:

      Thanks Nick, hope the offseason treated you well!

      • Nick says:

        Dear Laura ,,

        isn’t the baseball offseason called the football season ? :p

        so YES ,, as i won my Keeper league, just like last year,but with a bit more competition…

        Just wondering about your “feelings” for Yu this season,
        drafted him “mistakenly” cause i queued him after Hader, Bieber, Castillo, ,, and missed German Marquez instead… ,,, Y! rankings screwed me @pick 130

        i’m looking to trade him ,, but ,,, it’s “blistering” hard :p

        • Laura Holt

          Laura Holt says:

          Maybe this will be one of those happy accidents. I thought I’d draft Yu at least once this season, but just never could quite pull the trigger — I still think there’s a decent chance I end up regretting it. If his trade value is almost non-existent, I’d probably just hold on and hope for the best.

  2. Shart Master says:

    Would you take A flier on Healy or Fletcher?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:

      I would (and probably still will) definitely take a flier on Healy at the right price. Fletcher doesn’t have so much upside, but he’s also on my list for the end of my AL-only draft I have coming up.

  3. Giacomo Ortizano says:

    I fear Drury will get demoted when replaced by Vlad Jr.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:

      Certainly possible, but if he does manage do get off to a good start, he could be a nice dollar flier, even if it’s temporary and/or he ends up in more of a utility role. I certainly wouldn’t bank on him as your starting 3B in any size league, though ; )

  4. Kelly Denzik says:

    RCL Originals league needs members draft sunday at 1

  5. Charlie says:

    That was a good read. I’m in 10 team redraft points league and it’s so competive that it actually feels semi- deep instead of shallow!

    If you couldn only keep two of these three hitters, who would it be?



    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:

      Robles for sure; I think Dickerson/Eaton is kind of a coin flip… I’ve always had a soft spot for Eaton, but in a points league I’d probably take a flier on Dickerson.

      • Charlie says:

        Thank you

  6. Efren Velez says:

    I was offered Jon Lester for Carlos Santana, would you bite? Not that deep in SP’s

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:

      Nothing sexy about that trade, but if you need pitching it’s fair.

  7. Rick Brown says:

    Hey Laura,
    Mark Canha and Adam Frazier are available in my 20 team league.Could drop David Fletcher for one of them-thoughts?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:

      I’d probably grab Frazier. He’s not exciting and won’t exactly pile up the counting stats, but could be a serviceable roster-filler in a league that deep.

  8. Moon Shots says:

    Hey Laura! Hope you had a good offseasaon. I have been looking forward to your column as usual.

    I drafted my NL only team last night. Thought i’d see what you think…i think the hitters seem pretty stacked but the pitching is pretty cobbled together. Could go either way. We use a custom 7×7 H2H categories system (R-RBI-SB-BB-TB-AVG-OPS x ER-K-ERA-WHIP-QS-SV+H). I usually pretty much punt my bullpen since with saves+holds its not too hard to scavenge for talent throughout the season. I ended up with:

    C: Contreras
    1B: Hostkins
    2B: Shaw
    3B: Bryant
    SS: Trea Turner
    OF: McCutcheon
    OF: Almora J.
    OF: Duggar
    UT: Jeff McNeil
    BN: PeterAlonso
    BN: Flowers
    BN: Tyler Oneill
    NA: Tatis

    SP: Mikolas
    SP: Pivetta
    SP: Marquez
    SP: Eflin
    SP: Lauer
    RP: Morrow
    BN: Weaver
    BN: Burnes
    BN: Richards
    BN: Hellickson

    As you can tell, since i wasnt very organized in drafting SPs i kind of just stabbed at grabbing a bunch of them late and i can see how it shakes out or use them for trade. I have found pitchers to be so damn volatile that you never know how it will go. Last year i got buuurned on Darvish, Ray, Taijuan, Wacha.

    I did get a lot of the bats i wanted, though i missed on some guys i really coveted like Hampson, Kike Hernandez, Conforto, Strahm, Paddack, Stripling, Robles, Muncy, etc. Cant have em all!

    Im curious which if any of the SPs i got stand out as good bets to you…

    Also…i feel like i could use one more speed/avg guy and i wonder if i should try and use some power to trade…would you do a Peter Alonso for someone like Robles/Hampson/Kike?

    Last question…drop a Hellickson or Flowers for any of the following? Margot, Happ (stash), Luis Urias, Kinsler, Neil Walker, Verdugo, Christian Walker, Brinson, Swanson, Wainright, Samardzija, Derek Holland, Gausman?

    Thanks for reading my opus! Looking forward to your NL hitters and to reading your column throughout the season!

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:

      Hey Moon, thanks for reading and checking in! Really like the look of your team; that infield is insane. Re. Alonso: I’m rooting hard for the guy as I have him in my NL-only dynasty, but if you can somehow turn him around for Robles I’d do that in an instant… no guarantees with prospects of course, but an outfielder with Robles’ skill set would look mighty nice in that outfield. I actually think you did pretty well for a somewhat cobbled-together staff, as you put it — you may not vault to the top of the ERA/WHIP categories, but if you stay on top of your roster and work the waiver wire I think you could be in decent shape overall. I think most of those guys could contribute this year, and the nice thing about the ones that bust is that they cost you a lot less than a Darvish or Ray did last year. Marquez, Pivetta and Mikolas could be a great top 3 if everything breaks right. I even think Hellickson is worth holding on to at least to start the season to see how he looks. I think you can easily drop Flowers and of that list and just worry about a fill in for Contreras if and when you need one. I’d probably be most interested in Urias or Verdugo in case either of them gets off to a hot start, Margot if you need a speed flier, and maybe Kinsler, who’s being completely written off in fantasy — perhaps rightfully so, but I’m giving him one last chance as a desperation speed/power threat in a couple leagues. Looking at your roster, it looks like Morrow might also be expendable in a S+H league, but obviously not sure how your roster construction works exactly. Whether you make any changes, looks like a nice start to the NL-only season!

  9. Moon Shots says:

    Thanks Laura! Those are super helpful notes! Glad to know im not crazy thing think it was a good approach to drafting the infield core heavy. And your right….Robles would look good in that OF! Unfortunately he is owned by a damned Nats fan…otherwise the 1B scarcity might help me pull it off!

    I like the call on Verdugo or Urias…pretty toolsy fellows. I feel like this year more than most a lot of former top quality players just got completely ignored. Its crazy how late guys like Kershaw and Bumgarner went in my league. Arrieta was still on the board in the very final rounds even. Kinsler might be one of those guys who is overlooked….though i always lean towards youth (Urias)

    Im super curious how you make your NL Only Dynasty work! Ive been wanting to form a dynasty league forever but as an NL only league and player it has seemed impossible…how do you deal with the high volume of legit players you might draft and lose to trades to real life AL teams? For redraft it seems like an acceptable model that ever year someone loses some major leaguers to the AL at the deadline but if your maintaining a dynasty roster its seems like it would be so volatile. Sorry to follow up on your already generous response with even bigger questions, but ive actually been dying to talk to someone about how to do a viable NL Only Dynasty!

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