The first 10 rounds of your draft are going to be easy. Picking the top 100-120 players means choosing dependable players with predictable numbers. Finding players who contribute in a majority of the 5×5 categories will be easy.
The draft, and your league, will be won with preparation and knowledge in the later rounds. Picking high ceiling players. Correctly identifying players who are poised to break out or bounce back will provide a distinct advantage to your team.
Think about the guys on current rosters who exploded onto the fantasy scene. In the past few seasons. Mitch Moreland in 2015, J.D. Martinez in 2014/15 and or Logan Forsythe in 2014. Each player had little fantasy impact prior to their breakout season. Each was given the chance to play and produced.
To identify these players you need to look at the starter at the position. What is their health level? What is their status with the club? Is their a position battle during spring training?
Look at the numbers that support the production. How much and what type of contact does the player make? How many categories will the player contribute to?
3 MLB Backups Worth Drafting
Using these criteria, I have identified three potential backups who will contribute to your team and could help you win your league.
Travis Shaw, 1B/3B, Boston (ADP 329)
Neither Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez are in the Red Sox good graces. Their lack of production and subpar defense leave the Red Sox little room for error. Shaw is a very good defender at first base and good enough to play third should “The Panda” falter.
Shaw is on fire this spring slashing .419/2/9/1.108. While spring training numbers mean nothing once the regular season begins, Shaw is proving his bat can improve the major league lineup.
Last season, in 248 at-bats Shaw slashed .270/13/36/.813. Shaw displayed an 80.6 percent contact rate, with a solid line drive percentage of 19.9 and hard contact of rate 29.2 percent.
Shaw’s 2015 ML season provided a small sample size but with the at bats and similar peripherals to last season he could produce 20 home runs and provide upwards of 65 RBI.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) March 21, 2016
Chris Colabello, 1B/OF, Toronto (352 ADP)
In 333 at-bats last season, Colabello was great — it was his breakout season. He hit .321 (.326 vs. RHP, .308 vs. LHP) hit 15 home runs (8 vs. RHP, 7 vs. LHP) and an OPS of .886. Colabello slugged above .500 again both RHP and LHP, which makes him a great source of late-round power.
The batting average was great, but he had never hit above .240 before 2015. His BABIP was an absurd .411! We can expect regression in that and in turn a decline in batting average.
His line-drive percentage, 25.2% and HR/FB 23.4%, are both high and probably due for regression. However, his hard contact percentage in his three years in the majors leagues is 30.7%, so he makes good contact with the ball. His Contact rate was 71.3 percent last season. Shaw’s ISO was .198 last year and was above .200 in all three stops at AAA .He will put the bat on the ball and it will go far.
As Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista continue to age and battle injuries and the unforgiving turf in Toronto, Colabello will be given every chance to succeed.
Jarrod Dyson, OF, Kansas City (283 ADP)
The Royals have done almost everything right the past two seasons. Each player has an important role in success of the team. Jarrod Dyson is no different.
Dyson plays great outfield defense and runs like the wind. Dyson’s counting stats will not blow you away but his K rate dropped and ISO increased greatly in 2015. These are good trends when he earns more at-bats. His immense speed can help you win a category in a weekly league or huge boost in the stolen base category in a Roto league. He has stolen 34, 36, and 26 in the last three seasons.
— Jeff Rosen (@jeff_rosen88) March 28, 2016
Lorenzo Cain had a breakout season in 2015. Cain played in 140 games, the most he has played in a major league season. Injuries have curtailed each of Cains previous seasons. Alex Gordon suffered an injury that kept him out months last season. Reymond Fuentes is projected to start in right field but has little major league experience.
Dyson is currently injured(oblique) and may start the season on the disabled list but he should recover and has the potential, with the at-bats, to steal a lot of bases for the defending champs.
These three players will all be available at the end of your draft. Look at your team what categories do you need help in. Power is always difficult to find late in the draft. Look no further than Travis Shaw and Chris Colabello to give your team that needed power boost. Need steals? Dyson will be available and ready to give 2530 stolen bases. Look at the numbers and you will succeed.
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