6 Home Run Hitters to Target Late in Fantasy Baseball Drafts
It's late in your fantasy baseball draft. Your blood sugar is down, your cheat sheets are mangled, and all of the guys you were targeting are already gone. Time to panic.
Fear not, valiant soldier. All hope is not yet lost. Over the horizon of your draft board sit power-hitting stallions you can find after the dust of the opening rounds has settled. They may not be the shining beacons of brilliance like Giancarlo Stanton or Jose Abreu, but they can still smack 'em out of the park.
Below is a list of six players who numberFire's projections have hitting 25 or more home runs despite having an average draft position (ADP) lower than the 100th overall pick. All ADPs are based on Fantasy Pros' aggregate ADP rankings, which averages a player's ADP across six different sites. There will obviously be some variation, but each of these guys will most likely be available in the ninth round and later. If you're looking for power, look no further than the late-round mashers below.
Chris Carter, 1B/OF/DH, Houston Astros
Home Runs: 31 | Average Draft Position: 114
The Houston Astros love strikeouts, and they love home runs. Chris Carter is more than happy to oblige with a boatload of both.
He hit 37 home runs last year, which was a career high. His slugging percentage, though, has been above .450 in each of his last three seasons, meaning this shouldn't be a blip on the radar. numberFire projects him at a .238/.334/.472 slash in an offense that should be much better than it was last year. If your league doesn't subtract for strikeouts, you should snatch Carter up without a second of hesitation.
Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF, Arizona Diamondbacks
Home Runs: 31 | Average Draft Position: 110
Last year was nothing short of brutal for Mark Trumbo. Everyone thought his home run totals would sky-rocket in the Diamondbacks' launch-pad of a ballpark. Instead, he dealt with injuries the whole year, hit only 14 home runs, and saw his wOBA drop to .308. Sad face.
Now is a new year. Assuming Trumbo is healthy, he should be able to regain that pop he showed from 2011 to 2013, a span in which he hit 29, 32 and 34 home runs respectively. numberFire sees his on-base percentage leaping up to .321, which would be his career high. I'm still fairly bearish on Trumbo, but if you want to take a chance on a guy with huge power potential, Trumbo might be your guy.
Lucas Duda, 1B, New York Mets
Home Runs: 27 | Average Draft Position: 150
Where in the world did Lucas Duda come from? He went from never having hit more than 15 home runs in a season to smacking 30 in his age-28 season. This was coupled with a .253/.349/.481 slash and a .361 wOBA. That'll work.
The question with Duda is whether or not he can duplicate it. numberFire's projections have him down for a .240/.341/.453 slash. At his current ADP, that would work just fine. It's not going to change any lives, but it is a solid projection for a guy going in the 15th round of 10-team leagues.
Adam LaRoche, 1B, Chicago White Sox
Home Runs: 27 | Average Draft Position: 147
The Adam LaRoche renaissance last year was neat. He took a .403 slugging percentage in 2013 and jacked it up to .455. This was even after a wretched July in which he had a .159/.238/.227 slash. His slugging percentage actually exceeded his season-long .455 mark in every month except for July, which shows how much it affected his overall stats.
Now LaRoche moves to Chicago to team up with Abreu. This helps Abreu more than it does LaRoche, but there are still reasons to be optimistic about LaRoche. Nationals Park and U.S. Cellular Field rank similarly overall in ESPN's Park Factor. However, his old crib ranks 29th in home run factor while the Cell is 13th. That should help out LaRoche's power enough to allow him to maintain his raw numbers in his age-35 season. That's enough for me to take a flyer on him late in my draft.
Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, Cleveland Indians
Home Runs: 27 | Average Draft Position: 164
The Oakland A's ain't no dummies. They had seen Brandon Moss's wOBA fall from .402 in 2012 to .369 in 2013 and to .339 in 2014. It was time to sell.
Now in Cleveland, Moss needs to re-channel some of that magic of yesteryear. numberFire sees his slugging percentage rebounding to .467 while his on-base percentage trickles down to .327. Those aren't bad numbers for a late-round guy with outfield eligibility. There is a risk factor with Moss in that he could continue his steep decline, but at his ADP, you can afford a bit of risk for a guy with the ability to blast 30 home runs.
Marcell Ozuna, OF, Miami Marlins
Home Runs: 25 | Average Draft Position: 125
Marcell Ozuna may be due for a bit of regression in his BABIP (a .337 mark in 2014), but that's not enough to scare me off. At 24, he's the only player on this list yet to hit his prime, and he's the only one that has centerfield eligibility in leagues that specify outfield location. He's going to hit home runs, and he'll probably drive in plenty behind guys like Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich. At an ADP of 125, I'm all in on Ozuna.
numberFire's projections for Ozuna are more optimistic than other models that I have seen. The numberFire computers have him slated for a .265/.328/.471 slash. His ZiPS are lower at .260/.308/.445 while Steamer is projecting .257/.306/.442. If he were to achieve his numberFire outlook, he'd outpace his ADP with ease. With the other projections, that's a bit more questionable. Either way, look for an up-tick in his outside-dependent stats with the retooling of the Marlins' lineup and potentially an increase in his own production as well.