2017 Fantasy Baseball Undervalued Hitters
In Fantasy Baseball, and in real baseball, there are many types of hitters. There are catchers, infielders and outfielders. There are speedsters, home run hitters and contact hitters. But for this article, let’s put them into the broad group of plain old “hitters” as we examine three undervalued hitters that can help you in Fantasy Baseball this season.
In category based Fantasy leagues, you likely can’t be great in every category. Usually, I gravitate towards picking hitters over pitchers because they are simply better to build a team around for many reasons. Let me explain. First off, hitters are easier to build a team around because they are more consistent in many aspects. When you draft a hitter, unless you get an injury or an Andrew McCutchen-esque drop-off, you know what you are going to get, for the most part. With pitchers, arm injuries are more common (and random) and you see much more busts.
Second, it is much easier to find pitching sleepers than hitting sleepers. In my undervalued pitchers article, I had an easier time picking pitchers that were undervalued than picking the hitters in this article. In fact, the hard part of the pitchers article was picking which pitchers to use! While there are hitting sleepers every year, they are harder to identify and less common, because like I said earlier, when drafting a hitter, you mostly know what you are going to get.
The third reason is the most obvious. This reason is the fact that hitters get drafted higher than pitchers. The reason for this is that you need much more hitters than pitchers. You could try and draft a stacked pitching rotation and get the scraps when it comes to hitting. But even then you wouldn’t be guaranteed to win the pitching categories, although you would surely be guaranteed to lose the hitting ones. Looking at it, building around hitters over pitchers almost seems to be a necessity.
That is enough blabbering for now. Let’s get into the list.
Fantasy Baseball Undervalued Hitters
Brad Miller, 1B/SS, Tampa Bay Rays
Although he only hit .243, Brad Miller managed to slug 30 home runs during the 2016 season. Cool … so what? Well, Mr. Brad Miller is eligible at both the shortstop and first base positions for this year in Fantasy Baseball. While it is obviously huge that someone can play both corner infield and middle infield in Fantasy, the position that he is eligible at that I want to focus on is shortstop.
Baseball is experiencing an age where the shortstop position is at its best in years. Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, etc. These young shortstops, and others as well, are putting shortstop from an offensive scarcity to an offensive position of strength in terms of Fantasy ? So why should we interested in Brad Miller when it comes to shortstops?
Well, if you were to look around the elite players at the shortstop position, one of the categories that are lacking is home runs. Sure, you could spend a first round pick on Manny Machado. You could also spend a third round pick on Trevor Story. But how about waiting until the end of your draft to grab a player in Brad Miller who’s power comes to play at any position, not just shortstop?
Maybe you aren’t a believer in last year’s power surge from Miller, but I believe that his average numbers will surely rise this year. Even if his home runs drop a little bit, he still has the profile of a borderline Top 100 player in rotisserie leagues, not one of someone barely making it in the Top 200.
Josh Reddick, OF, Houston Astros
Imagine a player who is in one of the best lineups in all of baseball. This player has hit above .270 in each of the past two seasons. In those two seasons, he has also hit 30 home runs in 264 games, while even adding 18 steals and a solid amount of runs and RBIs, making him a borderline five-category producer (I know 18 steals over two seasons doesn’t really count as a plus in the steals category, but just go with it).
Now tell me where you think that player falls in Fantasy drafts this season. Top 150 overall? For sure at least a Top 50 outfielder, right. Actually, try the 88th outfielder taken on average according to CBS, about 286th overall.
This player is Josh Reddick. With his new home in Minute Maid Park, Reddick will be the starting right fielder for the Astros. This is a stacked lineup up and down and will surely be one that will give Reddick plenty of opportunities to rack up runs and RBIs along with his already solid average and decent home run totals.
I honestly don’t see much downside to Reddick. He will contribute in all categories and even though he is getting older, he has a very high floor for a player being drafted so low.
The only real downside in injuries. While he hasn’t had an injury that has shelved him for most of a season yet in his career, he has only topped 115 games twice in his eight-year MLB career. If he is able to stay healthy, he is a solid fourth outfielder. Even if he only plays closer to 100 games, I still believe that 100 games of Josh Reddick is better than a full season of Mitch Haniger, Domingo Santana or Cameron Maybin, all who are being drafted above Reddick.
Mitch Moreland, 1B, Boston Red Sox
OK, I get that Mitch Moreland may not be the most exciting to player end with, but I would certainly stand by the fact that he is worthy of it. Let me give you a number real quick: 33. I want you to remember this number, and we will come back to it in just a minute.
First off, let’s talk about what Fantasy life will be like for Mitch Moreland, post-Rangers. For starters, he is playing in a lineup probably even better than the already solid lineup that he was in with the Rangers last season. For Fantasy purposes, he has always been a cheap source of power. This should still be true this season. You can expect at least 20 homers from Moreland and I doubt that he will disappoint you.
Now we have to figure out which of the last two seasons is more representative of Moreland’s true talent level. Is it the 2015 season, where he slashed .278/.33o/.482 with 23 home runs and 78 RBIs? Or is it the 2016 season where he only managed to slash .233/.298/.422 with 22 home runs and 60 RBIs? My honest guess would be likely somewhere in the middle.
The 2o15 season was full of career bests for Moreland. I expect somewhere between the 2015 Moreland and the 2016 Moreland, giving him stats closer to his career average. I don’t think that it would be unreasonable to expect him to slash .250/.310/.440 with around 20 home runs and 60 RBIs. Solid stats, but not exciting in any way, shape or form.
Now lets go back to the number that I gave you earlier. 33 happens to be where he is being drafted among first basemen this year according to CBS. That means that there are plenty of players who aren’t even starting that are being picked ahead of Moreland. So although I don’t expect a huge year from him, if you are in a deeper or AL-Only leagues, then Moreland is surely worth a look with a later pick.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Be sure to check out other great articles from our draft kit using the links below.
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