Finding value for this upcoming fantasy baseball season:
At Dingerball, we are taking a little turn from analytics to just pure baseball. We want to extend value to you by using our talents for your fantasy benefits. Fantasy is a fun animal that I am excited to look into. We will highlight our current top five for this next season and then we will dive into steals at each position.
|3||Ronald Acuna Jr.|
I know that it is becoming not cool to take Mike Trout as the first pick in a fantasy baseball draft. The rare cases where you should reconsider him as first is in a dynasty league. However, just a simple glance at his stats will tell you what you are signing up for. You get an MVP at the first pick of your draft, who is projected a 173+ wRC for the 2020 season. I love Mike Trout, if you are a listener to our podcast he gets mentioned every episode. He deserves the praise though, he is a stud and will help you win a fantasy baseball championship. The next guy on this list is Christian Yelich, which should come as no surprise. He was in the race to be the NL MVP last season and will easily compete again. I love Yelli, and if you are in a standard redraft league, I would too especially with a wOBA of .397 projected. The next man on this list is Ronald Acuna Jr. Who if you are in a dynasty league you take first every time, okay? He is going to be the future stud of the Atlanta Braves. There are not many guys at his age that can compete for 40-40 titles, but he is in that category. The only reason you wouldn’t take him is if you are a rival fan in the NL East, but I advise against letting your bias in. I think a little bit of a shocker here is Jacob DeGrom because usually I do not draft pitchers early in a fantasy draft but DeGrom is worth it. He has the stuff, he is a two time Cy Young Winner, and he has a chance to hopefully improve that W/L record from his previous years, but I am not hoping on the Mets. The last on our top five fantasy guys would be Cody Bellinger. The reigning NL MVP. He is a bad, bad man. The improvements that he made last season of not striking out as much at a reduction of about 8% increased his value 10X. His wRC+ from last year was a 162 and I would not be surprised if he was to repeat that performance in 2020. The lineup that the Dodgers have is amazing and leaves pitchers shaking on the mound so that could mean more meatballs for hitters like Bellinger. Also, he will play in Coors a few times this next year, so I am just saying that you could get some easy homers from him. Enough with our top five guys, lets ride into the fun part of this article. This will be a bit lengthy but we want to help our fantasy people out. We will do players from each position that could be steals at their current ADP. Let’s GO!
Coming in at an ADP of 204 is Mr. Zac Gallen. He is a piece that got traded around a few times in the past couple of years, Cardinals ->Marlins -> Diamonbacks. I have seen Zac live before and he has the stuff it takes to be an elite starter in the big leagues. He also pitches in a generally weak league minus the Dodgers. His stats from last year were not that bad, with a FIP of 3.61 and a SIERA of 4.24. What I like the most about Zac has to be his stuff. His changeup this past season carried a value of 6.2 which is well above average. I believe that if he shows up with another great pitch to the season he could be pitching above his ADP. Now will he be a certified ace or stud, no but he does carry more value than his ADP suggests. Below is a video of him in his Diamondbacks debut, just look a that disgusting Change and Fastball combo.. It’s NSFW.
If your draft is coming up in the short term, I will let you know a little secret that Carlos Martinez will be a starting pitcher this upcoming season. I lnpw that in most drafts he is relatively low at the moment #271 in the ESPN rankings. This is a chance to get a pitcher that could be the ace of the Cardinals and pitch well above his value, I won’t go into too much detail on him. Most people should remember him as a starter and being a top 30 guy easy, so pick him up before your friends know your secret.
The next guy who is a starter that I would consider a steal at his current ADP is Griffin Canning. He was up in the MLB to start 17 games this last season. I could see him being a sneaky starter for your fantasy team. He won’t put up the big numbers that you may want but he will give you a solid base with room for upside. I like his stuff on the mound, he seems to have command with a K/BB ratio of 3.20 which will lead to hitters needing to make contact against him. The only issue is that he gave up 44.5% flyballs in the 2019 season, but I think he can curb that with utilizing some of his other pitchers more. He seemed to be a better offspeed pitcher even though he has a good fastball at 94.1 mph. Another big plus about him is his swinging strike rate of 13.8% which is well above elite. I would consider him in most leagues as a later round guy that you could hit a jackpot on.
This 6’8″ right handed stud may be just the guy you are looking for in a fantasy baseball draft. He has some good stuff to offer at his current draft position of #196 on ESPN as my last check. He has the potential to break into the top fifty of all players just because of his talent alone. He pitched a solid 12 games for the Rays last year with a 1.78 ERA and a 6-1 record. It seemed like it finally figured out a formula to pitch this last season. With crazy improvement in his xwOBA, BB%, and K%. It seemed that he relied on his curveball more in 2019 than some of his prior years which could signal that he could stay at his current level. He also ditched a slider that was generally effective in 2018, so it will be interesting to see if he brings that back. In 2018 his slider had a whiff % of 56.5% which is stellar. So look for news on that, but his curveball was just as serviceable. Another strong indicator of his performance is the weak contact % that he had the past two years of 1.5% and 2.9%. I believe if you are looking for an ace on a baller budget look no further. Here is a link to read more about Tyler Glasnow.
Max Fried is coming off a hot season with the Braves this past year. He finally lived up to his top prospect hype. His fastball may not be his best pitch as the batting average against is a solid .316 but his curveball is a solid pitch and his slider adds to that. He has a solid repertoire of pitches to show to hitter. He will not be the most impressive pitcher in the game but can offer a fantasy team a decent amount. He is on a solid team so if you get rewarded for wins, that will help, and he isn’t a bad pitcher. He had a SIERA of 3.83 this past season. I think that he can add to that too because of one big reason. He added a slider this past season. The slider of his was the best pitch in his backpack of pitches. That could speak well for his other pitches and even his slider. That means that there could be room to grow which means that his ADP of 162 could put him in that undervalued territory.
So you forgot to draft a top catcher early in the draft, where do you go now? Well, there might be an option for this. Carson Kelly might not be the most sexy option behind the plate. I know that we would rather have sluggers like Gary Sanchez and J.T. Realmuto, but sometimes those guys fall off earlier. I like Carson Kelly because he gives you some pop behind the plate, had an above average wRC+ of 108 in 2019. What will be interesting is that if he gets more at-bats this upcoming season we could see him rival the 25 homer mark which is great for a catcher. He may strike out a little bit too, but he makes up for it with the 13.2% walk rate. Will he single handily win you too many fantasy games? No, but that is not his job, he is meant to give you above average value in his ADP.
Mitch Garver had one heck of a season last year. He saw his hard hit % reach 50% which is quite an impressive achievement. That means that he was in the top 3% in the league in that category. I think that there may be more room for him to grow too. He seemed to mash fastballs with an average of .341, but was not as stellar against breaking and offspeed pitches with averages below the Mendoza line. That is a sign that I believe that he can achieve more this next season.There is also a stat that he only swung at only 35% of pitches which show his plate discipline. I like Mitch to continue his success especially with the addition of another slugger in the Twins lineup in Josh Donaldson. He may be underrated in his ADP of 113 and could potentially offer you a player value of someone you’d pick in the top 100.
So you are looking for a First Basemen? Well you found the right place!
Luke Voit is the player that you want on your fantasy team. Let me tell you why, HE IS A STUD. Enough with that, Over 157 games with the Yankees he has hit .280/.384/.517 with a 140 OPS+ and 35 homers. If you are talking about studly, that is it. The only issue that he carries is his injury past. I would be a little worried about that, but it is built into his ADP at 209. I would say if you are in the middle/high 100s and need a first basemen, I would recommend Luke. Some of the projections for the 2020 season do not capture his real value because he could also be a DH and IF he doesn’t get injured you are talking about a top 100 player with the numbers that I listed above. Even more good news about Luke is his wRC+ of 189 & 126 in his past two seasons. Let’s see what this dude can do when he is healthy this year and I helped you snag him early in the draft.
Christian Walker may not be the most sexy option in the world but it seems that he may be just good enough to offer some value. In 2019, he offered quite a substantial amount of production of .259/.348/.476. It could be argued that he was similar to Paul Goldschmidt this past season. I wouldn’t argue with you that he seemed to ease the transition between an All-Star and himself. His wRC+ of 112 is pretty good as well. I think that he could offer you some value around the mid 150s in ADP. He will not make your team amazing, but he offers serviceable performance at his level. Especially when you could get Paul Goldschmidt at the 50 level, who I view that he is similar to. Is the difference that great? Well you can see for yourself here. Paul had a line of .260/.346/.476. Compare that to Christian Walker’s line and you have a similar picture. Goldy had more homeruns over the past year, but I do not see a reason that Walker could not emulate that. Therefore, feel good about drafting Walker in his ADP and getting a steal.
So this guy, would be way higher in a dynasty draft. I believe that he should potential to be in the top 50 in the league. His FanGraphs grades definitely agree with me on this too. At the ripe age of 22, he seems to be ready to show his raw power and ability in the MLB. He has torn up the minors, now the question is if it is his time to shine? I think that this year is the one. He won’t have the spotlight on him because other players on the team will carry the pressure. That is a scary thought because someone as talented as Gavin could relax early in his career and shine. I like him for the rare power that he can bring to the middle infield positions. It is rare to have a second basemen with a Game Power rating of 60/70. I think the Dodger’s fans are about to have another fun player to watch for the upcoming decade. Also, He COULD be a guy that COULD win you a fantasy baseball championship. Especially since his ADP is 143. Look no further than a chance for a player to outperform their ADP.
This one could be a little bit of a stretch but follow along with me. This guy has yet to play in the big leagues, but I think if you are in a dynasty league, you could easily get a steal for him. The same goes for a redraft league. He may not be one of the top picks that you go after but he easily could be a starter for the White Sox this next season. There is so much to love about him too according to some of his MILB stats. The easiest one to see is that he doesn’t strike out EVER. His strike out rate was 3.7% in 134 at bats in AAA, Other than that, his high was 4.7% in A+ in 107 at bats. I like the chances of a guy who doesn’t seem to strike out and has a higher BB% than K%. That means that he will be on base more, therefore more runs, which means more fantasy points. He doesn’t seem to have the big power yet, but making contact is a good sign and power comes with age so go ahead and draft this guy and know that you may get a steal out of him.
Yandy Diaz may not be the sexy Ferrari that is sitting in your garage, he is more like a compact Honda Civic. I think that if he can get a more at bats this next season, he could be in a ballpark of 20 home runs and he has an above average wRC+ of a 116 and a projected wRC+ of 116. I think that he can add value to your team. Another reason to like Yandy would be his 91.7 mph average exit velocity. Couple that with a launch angle that is increasing since 2017/2018/2019, 0.0/4.4/5.7 respectively. High exit velocity mixed with an increasing launch angle is a great recipe. If you need any other reason to draft him higher than #271, you should check out his biceps.
So the Marlins’ third basemen might possess some value right? He had a passable season last year with a .261 average and 20 homers. While that might not be impressive it can certainly help your fantasy team. I like him because he has above average bat skills with a higher than average barrel percentage and exit velocity. I think that he might be getting a little unlucky with a launch angle that is lower than average. That could easily get higher just by law of averages. I think that some of his issues may come from the lineup that he anchors. If he would get traded or have a couple of players around him in the lineup we could be talking about an All-Star caliber player. I am a little skeptical of his last season due to the fact he only hit .247 against fastballs, while in 2018 he hit .310. I think that you could see some positive regress for him, which is a scary thing. At an average ADP of 203, he could add a cheap punch to your lineup to give you an edge against your competition. Also, the fact that he can play multiple positions is a plus.
So I know that many people may underestimate what this young stud did this past season. I think that we may be talking about one of the top players in baseball with Yoan. He has a rare blend of power, contact, and speed that makes him a dangerous player. His wRC+ this past was 141 which is super impressive. I would say that he is quietly turning up for what could be a season to remember for many White Sox fans on the south side of Chicago. He only seems to be getting better too. I wouldn’t be surprised for him to outperform his projections. For Yoan, this easily could be the year that he truly breaks out. For that reason, I wouldn’t be offended him you drafted him around his position in the mid 60s of ADP. That could easily be a steal for a guy that could be in the top 25 next season.
Coming in at a ADP of around 130, you may find a player that can play above his ADP easily. In every season he has been up, he has came along with a wRC+ over 100. He seems to be a consistent player with the ability to over perform. I believe if the rest of the Cardinals lineup can perform a little better than the seasons prior, he may able to drive in more runs and have more protection which could yield to a better results for him. His hard hit rate was 34% this past season which was a little low considering his career average is around 40%. I think that with that value, he could return more than the position that he was drafted in. More to love about Paul would be the fact that he had a barrel % of 8.6 which was the worst of his career but is still impressive for considering the MLB average is 6.3%. All in All, Paul can give you a top tier player at the 100 mark, that some people would pay for in the 50s. I am all in on him.
Didi is entering this season joining the Phillies, a team who seems to have some punch in their lineup. I really like the chances that Didi comes back from an injury that he had this prior season and dominates again. He could be a shortstop that you get around the 200s and plays well above that level. He had been a career 98 wRC+ player. Which is not impressive but he is playing in a hitter’s park with a good lineup so I like his chances. So if you are in need of a SS in the later rounds, look no further than Didi.
In his first season with the New York Mets, he was a solid piece that was a third basemen and an outfield. In 140 games, he hit with a wOBA of .374 which is easily a career high. I believe that there might be room for this 26 year old to grow. His exit velocity was in the top 10% of the league which is an impressive feat. It seemed that most of his success came from fastballs and breaking pitches which would be a good sign. However, he did have moderate struggles against offspeed. I think that this won’t be nearly that important as his position will be probably outside the 3-4-5. This will reduce the amount of pressure on him to perform which could see a spike in performance. The most impressive part about this dude is his inability to make weak contact. His weak contract rate was 2.3% this past season which is better than most of the league. With an ADP of 166 on ESPN, I think that you could get a good deal on this guy.
The young top prospect for the Atlanta Braves seemed to struggle last year with the major league pitching. For the age of 22 though, he seems to have a bright future ahead of him. If you are in a dynasty league, make sure that you check this guy out and draft accordingly. He could easily be one of the next big things in the league in the upcoming years. I believe that the trend is for most young guys to get better at hitting the breaking ball. Which is exactly what Austin needs to accomplish. He hit .195 on the breaking pitches this past season. That is hard to make happen again. For being a top prospect, he should be able to climb above his current ADP of 212 in ESPN leagues. He has a year under his belt now and should be able to show a little more discipline. Especially with striking out in 108 of 297 plate appearances. All I am saying is that there is potential in this young kid and you might be able to get some return in above where you can draft him.
Tyler O’Neill is a 24 year old power hitter that could offer you some solid points or homers during this fantasy season. Just take a look at him and you might draft him based on how jacked he is. Baseballs run in the other direction of Tyler. I believe that if he is able to obtain solid playing time, you may see a guy who performs well above his ADP of 241. The kind of power that he has is rare in the majors but he has to hit the ball first. His K% has always been higher than average with a career K% of 37.5%. I would not fret too much about that because he could easily reduce that once he gets solid playing time. For a guy who in the MILB hit over a 100 wRC+, I think it is only a matter of time before he shows his talent in the MLB. Just check out this video of him below. Just remember us when you draft him and he is leading the league in homers and strikeouts. HA
Oscar is a traditional Center Fielder. He possesses tons of speed, contact, and a tiny bit of power. The power may be a little questionable this following season with new baseballs. However, he seems like he could play above his ADP of around 75-100. I think that you will get the value you want out of him in this level and more. He might have struck out a decent amount at a rate of 17.4% but, that usually improves over time in the MLB. Another thing that I love about him his that he hits all pitches pretty equally. He has a range on offspeed to fastball of .236-.287 in batting average for those pitches. Traditionally that gets better over time. I would think that he could play over his value. He also may carry value in a dynasty league.
BONUS: Jo Adell
Jo Adell could be a steal in this upcoming years draft especially if you are starting a dynasty league. If he gets the call in this upcoming season, he could be an important part to an Angels’ postseason push. He has some of the markings of a guy who could make an impact on the MLB with wRC+ in the minors at every level except AAA last year. This may be interesting to follow. I don’t believe that he possess much power yet, but power comes with time and I know that he has some contact abilities. Jo could be a guy that you want to put on your bench to see how things go, especially on the Angels.
This list is not meant to be a complete list of everyone you should draft but it is meant to show you who should produce above their ADP. There are plenty of guys you could and should draft that will perform at their levels but this list could make your team have an edge. To listen to more details on this, listen to some of our podcasts, that are out now and in the future. We will focus on some fantasy and just baseball in general.