Fantasy Baseball

2018 Fantasy Baseball: Throwing Darts Late In Your Draft, Part II

As promised, part 2 of the last round draft dart throws features outfielders and pitching. Remembering the criteria for inclusion; they must have an Average Draft Position of 300+ across ESPN, CBS and Yahoo). So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

Outfielders

Nick Williams (ESPN N/a – CBS 318 – Yahoo – 344)

Williams’ minor league career translates to a .280 hitter with 20 home runs and 10 stolen bases. His Spring isn’t off to a good start and he’s still only got half a season in the Majors to be used as a sample size.

But the tools are there and if he gets a starting gig in Philadelphia, there’s no reason he can’t be a useful contributor in fantasy either.

Mallex Smith (ESPN N/a – CBS 403 – Yahoo – 369)

This is purely as late dart throw if you need stolen bases. His Major League career is 153 games, where he’s stolen 32 bases in 45 attempts (not great for a speedster) with a .256 average. He’ll need to hit at least that to keep a place in the lineup and we’ve already established the Rays won’t be particularly good this year.

But in the minors, Smith stole a base every 1.77 games and hit .294 so there’s reason to believe in some growth. In these speed starved times, Smith could be a nice little gold mine for steals late in your draft.

Derek Fisher (ESPN N/a – CBS 453 – Yahoo – N/a)

The big question for Fisher is playing time, but with Gurriel expected to miss the first month of the season, Fisher could cover an outfield spot with Marwin Gonzalez manning first base.

In 53 games for the Astros last year, Fisher hit .212 with 5 homers and 3 steals (from 6 attempts). At 23, Fisher is still raw, but his minor league numbers suggest there’s plenty more to come.

He hit .282 in the minors, with a .372 OBP. He slugged 66 homers in 378 games to go along with the 92 stolen bases. Basic maths has that as a 24/34 season over 140 games. As unlikely as that is, if he gets off to a hot start he should stick in the lineup and even a 15/25 season from the last draft pick is nothing to be sniffed at.

Starting Pitchers

Sean Newcomb (ESPN N/a – CBS 393 – Yahoo – N/a)

There’s only one thing stopping Newcomb from stepping into a much more prominent role; limiting base runners. Mainly, reducing walks.

The fact the Braves’ young lefty had an ERA of 4.32 despite a WHIP of 1.57 and a 5.1 BB/9 rate is impressive. His 9.7 K/9 rate is also impressive. The concern is that if Newcombe doesn’t right his walk issues, there’s plenty of talent in the Braves’ farm system to step up.

If they get off to a solid start, they might not be able to tolerate his wildness for long. But if he can correct his one big flaw, Newcomb could be a solid starter and fantasy goldmine.

Vince Velasquez (ESPN N/a – CBS 362 – Yahoo – N/a)

I hate saying this, but Velasquez is having a nice Spring. 7.2 innings have gone for 3 earned runs, with 7 strikeouts and 2 walks. Given his struggles last year and the fact the Phillies could well sign Jake Arrieta this Spring, Velasquez needs to earn a starting spot.

A promising 2016 saw him announce himself with a 4.12 ERA over 131 innings with 152 strikeouts. His WHIP was a serviceable 1.33. His 2017 was a step back. The ERA jumped up by a full run and he managed just 72 innings due to injury.

There’s more than one if here for Velasquez, but if he can stay healthy, get back to 2016 levels and make the rotation out of Spring, there’s value to be had.

Jharel Cotton (ESPN N/a – CBS 470 – Yahoo – N/a)

One of last year’s trendiest sleepers in drafts, Cotton didn’t live up to the hype. His five starts in 2016 saw him have a 2.15 ERA, but a full season of work in 2017 (24 starts) ended with a 5.58 ERA and just a 7.3 K/9 rate.

Compare that to his minor league career numbers; 3.65 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and a 10.1 K/9 rate. Few pitchers can just walk into the Majors and get the same success they had in the minors, most need time to adapt and settle.

Maybe his July finger injury played its part but there’s no reason not to speculate on a step forward with a last round pick.

Relief Pitchers

This is purely a search for saves. There are a few bullpens with unclear roles which should become less murky as Opening Day nears so makes sure you monitor things up to and during your draft. I remember snagging Jeremy Jeffress with my last pick in 2016 when it was announced he’d be the Brewers closer as the draft was going on.

Cam Bedrosian (ESPN N/a – CBS 418 – Yahoo – 301)

Bedrosian started the 2017 season as the Angels closers, before losing the role to Bud Norris no less. There’s every chance he could win the role back with a successful Spring as the Angels could opt to use Blake Parker in more high leverage roles.

Brad Boxberger (ESPN N/a – CBS 423 – Yahoo – N/a) & Yosihisha Hirano (ESPN N/a – CBS 476 – Yahoo – N/a)

2017 showed us that the Arizona Diamond backs best reliver is Archie Bradley. Recent times have also shown us that teams are much more willing to use their best reliever earlier than the 9th inning.

News from the desert suggest that Bradley may be used as the high leverage fireman which opens the door for Boxberger or Hirano. Both have closing experience (Hirano’s in Japan) so both could step into the 9th inning role for a team projected to have a good year.

There you go. Good luck drafting and keep calm if you need a boost with your final draft pick.

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