2020 Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Targets For Now: Hitters
For most re-draft leagues, the trade deadline has passed, and you’re stuck with your roster or waivers/FAAB. In dynasty leagues (like on Ottoneu), you still have another week or two to make some moves. Those of you not contending for the top prize this year, it’s an important time as it’ll be the last time you can make moves to improve for next year and beyond as well as the competing teams more likely willing to pay a premium in a bid for glory.
While it’s always nice to stock some top prospects, you still want Major League ready players who can help you next year and the future so we’re going to look at some hitters who are in the Majors now and have lost some glean this year but should be able to bounce-back next year and be available for cheap right now.
After an impressive 2017 season, Inciarte found himself a great source of steals in fantasy heading into 2018 drafts, with a .300 batting average and double digits homers; Inciarte was also able to be a big run producer. 2018 however saw him step back with an unspectacular .265 average, although his career high 28 steals offset that.
He then started 2019 with a .218 average before hitting the IL mid-May for two months. The emergence of Austin Riley looked to relegate Inciarte to fourth outfielder duties until opportunity presented itself again and this time Inciarte looked like his old self. In 24 games after returning from injury, Inciarte hit .293 with four steals from four attempts, three homers and had 14 walks with 14 strikeouts.
A hamstring injury looks to have ended his 2019 season but with Donaldson (and possibly Markakis) being free agents in 2020, expect Inciarte to become a regular for the Braves next year and given the paucity of steals, even if he manages 20 a season, Inciarte could be a nice outfield option to get for next to nothing now.
Few players balloon burst like Happ’s did in 2018. After an impressive debut in 2017 saw Happ hit 24 homers in 115 games for the Cubs, Happ was being drafted inside the top 100-overall in 2018, despite concerns about his strikeout rate. The concerns were justified as a poor start saw Happ lose playing time and finished the year hitting just .233 and 15 homers with the strikeout rate jumping up to 36.1%. Among hitters with 450+ plate appearances, on Chris Davis had a higher strikeout rate, that’s how bad he was.
Happ then failed to make the opening day roster for the Cubs this year but has seemingly found his groove in Triple-A, dropping his strikeout rate to 26.3%. His walk-rate remained intact at 15.2% and he managed 16 homers in 99 games, prompting the Cubs to recall Happ. Although he’s not forced his way into being an everyday player, Happ has maintained those improvements with a strikeout rate of 25.8% in 62 plate appearances with four homers and .273/.355/.564 slash line.
Happ won’t be helping a contender this season but in leagues which credit walks/OBP, Happ might well get back some of that 2018 hype next year.
Maybe because I was high on Bauers this year, I believe he can be a good option for fantasy in 2020. Something of a sleeper in drafts this year, Bauers didn’t take long to punish those of us believing in the hype. Somewhat surprisingly, the Indians persevered with the young hitter until August 01st when he was optioned to Triple-A, with a .233/.308/.379 line, 11 homers and 2 steals over 100 games.
There appears to be some tweaking to his approach in the minors as in 14 games he’s hit 3 homers, stolen 2 bases and has a .528 slugging percentage. That all comes with a 35.6% strikeout rate. Small sample size of course but worth monitoring.
Whether the Indians are going to change Bauers approach to harness more power and sacrifice contact is yet to be seen, but Bauers will likely never come cheaper than he does now and should be on the Indians 2020 opening day roster.
Naylor is someone I’d been stashing in a couple of dynasty leagues in the hope he’d find a route to playing time for the Padres. He had the bat but was close to a liability in the field. Ten homers in 45 Triple-A games was enough for the Padres to promote Naylor and he initially struggled before being sent back down late July.
After a short stint back in Triple-A, Naylor returned on August 01st and has double his season’s homer total (6) in the last sixteen games to go along with a solid slash line of .279/.367/.581. For Naylor’s value, ideally he’d be traded to an American League team so he can be a regular DH but providing his bat continues to trend up, he’ll find playing time and anyone rostering Naylor right now will be more willing than ever to cash in for some immediate help.
Gennett will be a free agent this offseason and should garner plenty of interest after hitting 50 homers across the 2017-2018 seasons. A spring training injury saw Gennett shelved for the first half of this year and his return to the Reds’ lineup wasn’t particularly great. He was traded to the Giants and is showing signs of life again hitting .288 in August with a couple of homers in 16 games.
If he continues to trend back towards the 2018 version, Gennett should have no problems finding a new home in 2019 and I can make a solid case for at least 10 teams who should sign him this winter. A plum landing spot should see Gennett drafted as a top second base option in fantasy next year and he’s someone you should be able to get for very little right now.