2018 Fantasy Baseball: Undervalued Hitters – National League
Undervalued pitchers done. Undervalued hitters in the American League done. All that’s left is undervalued hitters in the National League.
As before, we’re looking at a player on each team and their current ADP (Average Draft Position) from their average across ESPN, Yahoo, CBS RT Sports, NFBC and Fantrax draft data. It’s not about who will have the best fantasy season, purely who will provide best value given their draft price.
Without further ado, let’s get cracking.
National League East
Atlanta Braves – Ozzie Albies (ADP 132 – 14th 2B)
If you weren’t already impressed by his debut season, you should have been. His glove will be enough to keep him in the lineup during any slump but they should be few and far between. Still young and developing his power, his speed and average will put him high in a lineup containing Ender Inciarte, Freddie Freeman and hopefully Ronald Acuna very soon. He could easily contribute significantly in all categories this year.
Miami Marlins – Lewis Brinson (ADP 300 – 87th OF)
I was in on Brinson before news broke that he will be the Marlins centre fielder on Opening Day. There’s a chance he hits leadoff there too. A power/speed guy who is comparable to 2017 Keon Broxton (albeit with a better average), are you going to let a possible 20/20 outfielder go undrafted?
New York Mets – Todd Frazier (ADP 248 – 26th 3B)
I’ve mentioned before how third base isn’t that deep and there’s a big drop off from the early round guys. But Frazier is someone who can fill that void. Expected to bat cleanup, the power is still there but double digit steals seem unlikely. In OBP leagues, Frazier’s value rockets up but if you can tolerate the batting average; homers, runs and RBIs should be plentiful to bolster his value.
Philadelphia Phillies – Carlos Santana (ADP 144 – 22nd 1B)
With news Scott Kingery has made the roster, his ADP is getting obscene. Due to Kingery, no one in the Phillies’ lineup is particularly safe except that of Santana. Like Frazier, an OBP asset but even in standard leagues he’ll tally plenty of runs and RBIs with an average that won’t hurt and enough power to assist. He’s pretty much a perfect corner infielder at a very reasonable price.
Washington Nationals – Anthony Rendon (ADP 48 – 8th 3B)
Arguably the last of the top third basemen going in drafts, Rendon now has back-to-back seasons without a DL stint. He’s also averaged 86 runs, 23 homers, 93 RBIs, 10 stolen bases with a batting average of .270 and .301. Did I also mention he had a .403 OBP last year? Hitting 4th behind Trea Turner, Bryce Harper and Adam Eaton, factoring Ryan Zimmerman behind and Daniel Murphy’s return, Rendon is only being held back from top-20 consideration as he doesn’t hit 40 homers.
National League Central
Chicago Cubs – Ian Happ (ADP 135 – 16th 2B & 40th OF)
A leadoff hitter, for a potent offense who can reach 30 homers and double digit steals. He’s pretty much Brian Dozier 2.0 (a tad less power, a bit less speed and slightly lower average). But going 10 rounds after Dozier and with outfield eligibility along with a better supporting cast means Happ should repay his owners handsomely.
Cincinnati Reds – Eugenio Suarez (ADP 199 – 24th 3B)
Another candidate for “I missed out on a top 3B so waited for him”. Suarez showed improvements in 2017, especially with his OBP shooting up to .367. Maybe playing alongside Joey Votto has paid off? Either way, Suarez needs to hit to fend off prospect Nick Senzel taking his job and nothing suggests he can’t repeat his 2017 numbers which are better than 20th round value.
Milwaukee Brewers – Orlando Arcia (ADP 200 – 16th SS)
Unlike third base, when the top shortstop choices go, you can find solid options throughout the draft. Perhaps none are better than the Brewers’ young star. Thought of as a defensive shortstop, Arcia flashed the potential of being an offensive provider too. With a full season and a bit of growth, a 20/20 season could be achievable. Don’t forget the good lineup and ballpark to aid that cause further.
Pittsburgh Pirates – Starling Marte (ADP 50 – 17th OF)
Missed the first half of 2017 due to a suspension and was slow to get going on his return. I’m loathe to support guys after such a ban as the effects of PEDs on his performance may not be clear yet. But even a lowball estimate of 12 homers, 35 steals and a .280 average will provide value for money. There’s still 20/50 potential if it all clicks.
St. Louis Cardinals – Paul DeJong (ADP 148 – 20th 2B & 15th SS)
Eligibility at both middle infield spots helps, so does the fact the Cardinals signed DeJong to a contract they didn’t need to. That shows their belief in his abilities and he should be an everyday player for St. Louis. Hitting 25 homers in 417 at-bats last year, he should hit the 30 homer club in 2018 with a batting average that won’t hurt you.
National League West
Arizona Diamondbacks – Ketel Marte (ADP 356 – 37th SS)
Featured in my “Last Round Flyer” piece, Marte returns here as a value pick for the Diamondbacks. Marte has just signed a 5 year extension to stay in the desert, which highlights the commitment to him being an everyday player. He should get second base eligibility soon too and if greenlighted more, a 30 steals campaign is possible, to go with double digit homers and a .270 average well within reach.
Colorado Rockies – Ian Desmond (ADP 126 – 17th 1B & 36th OF)
After a return to his 20/20 ways in 2016, injuries took their toll in 2017. Desmond figures to be the Rockies everyday first baseman and providing he plays half his games at Coors Field, there’s no reason to fear the power won’t return. In 95 games, Desmond stole 15 bases last year, so the speed remains along with the solid batting average. Dual eligibility enhances his stock even more.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Yasiel Puig (ADP 113 – 32nd OF)
Tempted to go with Matt Kemp here, but it’s only a matter of time before his defensive inability keeps him on the bench. Puig on the other hand seems set to bat 3rd while Justin Turner is out. Possibly the biggest wildcard going, Puig could go 30/20 if he’s still greenlighted on the bases. He could also find himself a non-factor. But in the twelfth round, it’s worth taking that gamble.
San Diego Padres – Manny Margot (ADP 153 – 46th OF)
Margot’s best asset is also the one I’m most concerned about. In 471 minor league games, Margot stole 164 bases. Last season with the Padres, Margot had 17 steals in 24 attempts. And that’s where the concern lies. In Spring, Margot is 2 for 4 in stolen base attempts. Batting leadoff, hitting for a good average with decent power means even 20 steals will set a nice floor. But if he can improve his success rate on the bases, a new Starling Marte could arrive.
San Francisco Giants – Andrew McCutchen (ADP 79 – 24th OF)
Quite frankly, there’s no one on the Giants roster I can completely advocate drafting. But the big offseason acquisition represents the best value. Hitting in the heart of the lineup; McCutchen should tally plenty of runs and RBIs, with a good average, 25+ homers and a dozen or so steals. The floor is high enough that he’s a safe pick and could easily out produce a few outfielders going ahead of him.