It’s not easy to draft a player who is old (at least relative to baseball ability), boring, and offers little true upside.  Well, it’s easy, but it’s not fun.  I can’t believe how often in a draft I veer off of my carefully-constructed, perfectly-ordered master list of players, skipping a solid but dull veteran to reach a few spots lower on my list for a youngster who may or may not end up with any fantasy value at all.  I’ve already been guilty of this in 2020, and I need a little re-set for myself to remember how helpful a boring but probably steady player with a decent floor can be, especially in deeper leagues.  Thus, a list of some players whom I can’t possibly call “targets,” but could actually pay off nicely down the road with solid-if-not-spectacular production come summertime.  (All of the following players are on the ugly side of 30, and are being drafted outside the top 250, according to current NFBC ADP).

David Peralta (age: 32.  ADP: #258).  Conveniently for me, our friend Son already told you why you might be interested in drafting Peralta this year in his David Peralta Fantasy.

Mark Canha (age: 31.  ADP: #265).  Maybe I have a soft spot for Canha because last year he single-handedly helped my finish in the money in a league where I’d been buried in the middle of the pack with his incredibly solid second half.  I don’t necessarily think he’s going to build on 2019 at this point, but I still think he’s being underdrafted as a ‘just in case he gets the playing time and does it again’ pick based on last year alone (.273 average with 26 homers in just 126 games).

Kevin Pillar.  (age:  31.  ADP: #326).  I happily took Pillar towards the end of my first draft of the season back in November.  I didn’t really care what team he ended up with at the value I felt I got him, but recent developments seem to have him trending upward given his landing spot in Boston.  This may cause him to get drafted earlier, of course, but I’m guessing he’ll still be a worthwhile gamble wherever his price point ends up.  If he even comes close to the 21 homers and 14 steals he had last year, I think he could be a true deep-league asset — since I’m assuming steals will be similarly valuable compared to last year, and I’m looking at players who could get into the teens in both HRs and SBs much more closely than ever before.

C.J. Cron (age: 30.  ADP: #255).  Boring?  Check.  Kind of makes you feel like you’re wasting a pick?  Check.  Horrible team in 2020?  Check.  Wait, why might you draft him again? Well, even without playing every day, he’s averaged 23 homers over the last two seasons, with a meh but not category-crushing .253 average each season.  He got slowed down by a thumb injury last year, and if he’s fully healthy and gets regular playing time (as one would assume he will with the Tigers), the power numbers could look even better this year and he could provide a corner infielder profile similar to many being taken several rounds above him.

Freddy Galvis. (age: 30. ADP: #344).  Okay, I’m certainly not telling you to base your next draft around Freddy Galvis, just pointing out that at this point in a deep-league draft you don’t have much to lose if you need a middle-infield fallback option (he qualifies at 2B and SS in most leagues).  I’ve been avoiding him up until now even at this price point assuming that the Reds would be replacing him, and they still may… but until they do, I’ll at least have him on my radar if it looks like he’s going to be getting close to everyday at bats in that lineup, in that ballpark.  Last year, he hit .260 in 147 games, with 23 (granted, perhaps juiced ball-aided) homers, plus he chipped in 4 steals, for what all that’s worth.

Corey Dickerson. (age: 30. ADP: #300).  Dickerson is another guy I drafted back in the fall before he signed with a team.  I think Miami is actually a solid landing spot for him, since the playing time should be there and since I think their lineup could be better than people expect, especially for fantasy purposes.  He’s simply a good hitter when healthy (which admittedly he has not been most of the time), and as long as he’s playing he’ll be helping deep league teams. No, he won’t be racking up counting stats, but he won’t hurt you and could be a sneaky source of positive batting average (a category that in my opinion, is too often ignored in the fantasy world, or at least the part of the fantasy world that still uses it as a category).

Joey Votto. (age: 36. ADP: #267).  If we’re going to talk about Votto this year, seems like this would be the post for it.  I’m not sure his current ADP has much if any built-in value, but since I feel like this is the first year he’s really strictly a deeper league option, I suspect I’ll end up with him on at least one team.  I’m not optimistic he’s going to bounce back in a meaningful way in terms of fantasy production as I feel he’s mostly just a victim of Father Time, but I’m not going to completely ignore him just yet either.  We can’t totally forget that he was one of the best hitters in baseball not all that long ago, and we’ve already mentioned his hitter-friendly ballpark and potentially stacked lineup earlier in this post.  And, while all common sense tells me to avoid February “best shape of his life” type notices, Votto did, after all, arrive to spring training comically early — according to reports, dude showed up on February 5th (!).  If there’s any player who might be able to use hard work plus his top-notch brain to make his body perform better…

Kole Calhoun. (age: 32. ADP: #310).  We’ll close this list with a player I just drafted as my 5th outfielder in a 15-team mixed league… and regretted at first, but then thought about it and decided that I actually liked the pick.  I normally avoid horrible batting average guys at all costs, and Calhoun is definitely that; his 3-year average BA is .229.  But even with the aforementioned juiced ball, 33 homers last year gets my attention given that Calhoun is now in a hitter friendly ballpark in Arizona, in a lineup that I’m starting to get pretty excited about for fantasy purposes.

 
  1. Zeus says:
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    My motto fuck Votto

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha, but how do you really feel

      • Zeus says:
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        You drafting him? Even as a corner? I’ll take Cron getting those abs and hitting 35 this year

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Nah, I’m not touching Votto

          • Zeus says:
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            Who’s your late corner guy with 1b sucking this year?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Well, I can certainly understand anyone who drafted him last year having that motto. Like I said, I don’t think he’s a value at his current ADP, but I could see grabbing him maybe as a corner in NL-only if the price was right.

      • Zeus says:
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        NL only is fine. He will get playing time but he’s going to suck.

        I’ll still get the seven digits from his momma tomorrow

  2. Son

    Son says:
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    Miss Holt!!! AARP in the house!!! Nice work as always.

    I’m with you on Calhoun. Scooped him in the 22nd round of my NFBC DC draft.

    I’m not a Votta guy as well, but it’s all about the price and roster construction.

  3. Jeremy Brewer

    Jeremy Brewer says:
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    Love seeing the call out on Corey Dickerson. If playing in daily leagues where you can lean in to his starts against righties, he can run out a 25 HR/.300 Avg pace.

    Great read on this overall strategy for solid late round values.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Thanks Jeremy!

  4. Shawn says:
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    Speaking of old…

    Offered Scherzer for M. Ozuna and J. Hader in a dynasty league. What are your thoughts?

    It’s a 20 team league and If I do the deal I would be slotting J. Upton and E. Diaz in my lineup to replace those two.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Man, that’s a tough one for me, especially without knowing a little more about league/rosters… I am definitely avoiding Max in re-draft at his current price point and am worried he’s just going to explode on the mound one of these days when I watch how intense he always looks while pitching; I just don’t know how he can keep it up for too many more seasons (although maybe he’ll be like the Nelson Cruz of pitchers and we’ll still be having this conversation years from now) . How does the rest of your starting pitching look? I’m actually a little higher than many on Ozuna this year, and even though I am a little worried about Hader not being able to continue being quite so Hader-y, it would be tough for me to let go of him in dynasty unless my pitching was dire enough that I felt Max was a necessity to compete for the time being.

      • ozone ranger says:
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        I would pass.

        Hader will implement his slider more this year, or at least that is what I have read. Everyone knew he was a 99.9% fastball thrower last year, and t-ball offed on it, hence his increase in gopherballing. No one makes the majors as a hitter without the ability to barrel a fastball, especially if they know it is coming.

        And I agree with Laura on Ozuna. Cleanup hitting with three studs hitters in front of him. Also, there is a “we play like happy kids” energy and vibe in the Braves clubhouse with Acuña and Albies that someone like Ozuna might rebound off of. The Cardinals are a little too “professionally stuffy” for a more emotional player like Ozuna. Look what happened to Donaldson last year. Granted he was healthy, but he is an emotionally charged player and had something to prove, and he feasted off that environment. And Ozuna on a one year deal, looking a big deal, has something to prove.

        Heterochromia Man is still dominant, but is fading in his dominance. Injuries and usage are catching up. Kershaw is a good parallel. The body can take only so many Max-effort pitches. Did I just do a pun?

      • Shawn says:
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        Thanks for the responses. It is a tough one! We start 5 SP’s and 3 RP’s.
        Starters-Glasnow, Gallen, Folty, Yarbrough, Heaney, J. Gray, Z. Davies
        RP- Hader, Hand, Hendricks, E. Diaz

        I came in 2nd place last year so they played well enough for that. However, my opponent did take most of the pitching categories.

        • Laura Holt

          Laura Holt says:
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          Yeah, I’d say hold for now, especially with that additional info. If Glasnow can stay healthy and effective you have the ace you need (granted that’s a huge if of course) but for 20-team league that only starts 5 SPs I think you’re in decent shape with your pitching, since you’ve got a few guys with some potential upside and/or bounceback potential. (Definitely good enough that whatever improvement Max would provide is unlikely to be worth losing both Hader and Ozuna). I assume that’s Liam Hendriks since you listed his as a reliever? If so you are clearly pretty stacked at RP for a 20-teamer — I can see why it would be tempting to trade a reliever but if so I’d probably see what you could get for Hand or Diaz — return wouldn’t be close to what you’d get in a deal for Hader of course, but might be worth exploring if either of them could net you a decent starter or a hitter upgrade (maybe offer Folty of J. Gray plus Hand or Diaz for a starter upgrade or something similar?)

          • Shawn says:
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            Thank you!

            • ozone ranger says:
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              Just remember the thing about Hader is he puts up mid-level starting pitcher K numbers as a RP. That is why his value is so high in a league where you have to start a certain number of RP’s. If he K’s 120 this year, that’s the same as a 6 K/9 SP at 180 innings. Not too mention his insane WHIP ratios.

  5. ozone ranger says:
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    Always enjoy Laura’s “Rolling in the deep” posts.

    Early in the draft is where you establish your ability to contend in a league. Late in a draft is where you can win the league.

    • ozone ranger says:
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      Peralta, Dickerson and Calhoun are all players I will be targeting late. I would write the same for Votto, but someone will auction bid him higher that what I’d pay. Name value still carries overpay value.

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Thanks for the great comments and insight ozone! I think I pretty much agree with everything you said… : )

  6. 183414 says:
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    No Choo ?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      Actually started to write him up but he’s getting drafted too high for my #250 threshold (ADP is #177 which was significantly higher than I thought)… will probably touch on him next week or the week after as I think I’m going to do a post about guys that you can draft late that could get you double digits in both HR and SB

  7. 183414 says:
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    Gardner ?

    • Laura Holt

      Laura Holt says:
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      I think Gardner also was just inside the top 250 when I started this but I see he’s at255 now so definitely belongs in this group! I’m surprised every time I check his stats and see how much production the Yankees (and fantasy teams for that matter) got out of him last year

  8. andrew edenbaum says:
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    I got Choo last night @268, and in another draft @304. I’ve drafted Gardy @ 330, and “reached” for him @266. When I started playing this game, the 1st thing I was taught is to take what the draft gives you.
    Worked last year on my championship team, with Hader falling to me @139.
    For every Bichette, Biggio, Edman, Madrigal who will occasionally go way early, it seems that others, including the grizzled old vets, fall way down. Last night I got Grichuk on my last pick @357.

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