5 Late-Round Hitters to Target in Fantasy Baseball
Not everyone is going to hit blackjack on their early-round draft picks. While these are the guys who should be the easiest to nail for your fantasy baseball squad, it often doesn't work out that way.
All three of those players, as well as a number of other early-round busts, helped put owners who drafted them behind the eight-ball in 2016. Only the owners who drafted wisely in the later rounds made up for those early-round miscues.
Late-round picks are the ones that truly win fantasy championships, no matter the sport. These are the guys you spend very little capital on and stash on the bench, only to be pleasantly surprised when they turn into valuable commodities. It's not easy, though -- they take a solid combination of research and luck to uncover.
Here are five hitters who would be good late-round fantasy adds for any season-long squad in 2017.
Keon Broxton - Milwaukee Brewers (OF)
Milwaukee's Keon Broxton is slated to be the Milwaukee Brewers' starting center fielder, and the kid had a heck of a half-season in 2016. Here he is setting a franchise rookie record with a five-hit game against the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.
In just 75 games, Broxton was worth 2.1 fWAR and hit .242/.354/.430 with a wOBA of .343, a wRC+ of 109, 9 home runs and 23 stolen bases. The dude plays terrific defense in center field, meaning he's likely to keep churning out plate appearances, even if he regresses a bit offensively. That's a reasonable worry given his 36.1% K-rate, but his walk-rate of 14.6% is sexy as heck.
What he did last year was pretty much what he had been doing in the Pittsburgh Pirates' minor league system, and he will get every opportunity to be the Brewers' everyday center fielder and leadoff hitter. According to NFBC Average Draft Position (ADP) data, Broxton is currently going around 201st overall, which would be early 20th round in 10-team league drafts.
Pedro Alvarez - Free Agent (1B/DH)
The first thing that needs to happen for Pedro Alvarez is a big-league team willing to employ him. So, this is all contingent on someone scooping him up later this month or as Spring Training gets started throughout Florida and Arizona. Nevertheless, Alvarez is a better fantasy player than he gets credit for.
In a part-time role that suited him well with the Baltimore Orioles, Alvarez batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 bombs, 49 RBI, a wRC+ of 117 and a wOBA of .349 in 376 PAs. He was very good in the second half, posting a slugging percentage of .549 (compared to .462 in the first half) with 13 of his 22 dingers coming after the All Star game.
He's best suited as a full-time designated hitter, and will likely land with an AL team at some point. He's currently going anywhere from 287th overall to 444th according to FantasyPros, but we'll have a better idea of his true worth upon finding out where he lands.
Tommy Joseph - Philadelphia Phillies (1B)
Here's a catching prospect that suffered multiple concussions and was forgotten about, but played his way onto the big-league club and, when all was said and done, had piled up 21 homers, a wOBA of .342, a slugging percentage of .505 and a wRC+ of 113. The dude is country strong.
The most encouraging aspect of his season were his first- and second-half splits. Before the All-Star break Joseph batted .255/.278/.516 with a walk-rate of 3.7% and a strikeout-rate of 24.7%. After the break, he put up a slash line of .259/.335/.494 with a walk-rate of 8.6% and a K-rate of 18.9%. That's dramatic improvement and could signal a player with real staying power.
Had the Phils added Brandon Moss to be a left-handed compliment to Joseph at first base, he wouldn't have been a solid recommendation, but it appears as if he's going to be the everyday first baseman. He shared the job with Ryan Howard last year, but he's now out of the picture. NFBC's ADP data currently has him going 219th overall.
Jedd Gyorko - St. Louis Cardinals (IF)
So, Jedd Gyorko hit 30 home runs last year. This is a thing that happened.
The St. Louis Cardinals' standout played all over the infield, but is expected to be the primary third baseman in 2017. While it's doubtful Gyorko will slug another 30 dingers, his eligibility at multiple positions, as well as the promise of some potential power at a position loaded with excellent fantasy stars, means he's a guy that's going to be on the vine for a long time.
Gyorko is currently being drafted around 228th overall, which is good value for a guy who hit .243/.306/.495 in 438 plate appearances last season. Steamer projections are down on him (15 homers in 356 plate appearances and a wRC+ of 100), but projections tend to be ultra-conservative this time of year for everybody.
Jorge Soler - Kansas City Royals (OF)
The former consensus top-50 prospect had an up-and-down year playing in Chicago's crowded outfield, posting a .238/.333/.436 line in 264 plate appearances, slamming 12 dingers with a wRC+ of 106 and an fWAR of 0.7. However, talent lies within him to be one of the game's best power hitters.
Soler never really found a home in Chicago, but at almost 25 years old, he's just now starting to enter his prime. He's slated to be the Royals' everyday right fielder in '17, which should afford him plenty of opportunities to prove his worth.
He's currently being drafted around 288th overall, according to NFBC ADP numbers. If he does last that long, grab him.