As spring training winds down, we’re in crunch time for drafts. With the exception of a few position battles that may or may not be even be decided until the season actually opens, you’ve probably got all the information you’re going to get. You know who’s doing what this spring and what the expectations are heading into the season. In addition to that, you’ve hopefully done a number of mock drafts and have studied the bulk of the ADP data and trends we’ve been discussing since January. It’s a lot to digest, but the payoff in the end is nothing short of spectacular. There’s really nothing better than bringing home a championship and really sticking it to your friends and colleagues.
For today, we’re going to look at some of my favorite picks whose ADP hasn’t really changed all that much and still remain late-round options who seem to be off-the-radar for the most part. We all know that the studs are the studs and so long as they stay healthy, you’re at least keeping pace with the rest of your league. But fantasy championships are won in the later rounds. It’s about drafting guys in the 20th round and having them produce like eighth –round picks. Now I’m not saying that all of these guys will produce that well, but I’m a firm believer that each one will out-produce his respective draft position.
Dioner Navarro, C TOR (Current ADP: 296.91) – A month ago, his ADP was sitting less than 10 picks higher than it is right now and his current ADP is almost exactly where it was at the month before that. So basically, he’s not budging which is great because he’s got some real nice potential in Toronto as the primary backstop. He took a nice step forward with both his power and his plate discipline last year and with a move to a friendlier hitter’s park along with an increase in plate appearances, he could prove to be a fantastic second catcher at virtually no cost.
Nick Swisher, 1B CLE (212.60) – I never like waiting on first base, but should you be looking late for a corner infielder, then Swisher makes for a fantastic choice. He’s hovered within five picks of his current ADP over the last two months and no one is reaching for him. You have to love his dual-position eligibility (outfield) and he’s had no fewer than 21 home runs in any of his last nine seasons. His average can be tough some years, but he’s always a solid option for OBP leagues. It’s too bad you don’t get fantasy points for being a great clubhouse guy too, but what can you do?
Anthony Rendon, 2B WAS (235.26) – Maybe people were actually scared that Danny Espinosa was going to steal his job away from him, and that’s why his ADP hasn’t changed much in the last two months, but Nats manager Matt Williams said that Rendon was his guy at the keystone and Espinosa would be mixed in as a utility guy. He disappointed a little during his first run in the majors last year, but he’s got plenty of time to develop. He’s looked pretty good this spring batting .324 with a home run and six RBI, but the strikeouts could stand improvement. People are overlooking him a lot in drafts, so when the time comes, grab him for your middle infield spot.
Derek Jeter, SS NYY ( 298.10) – Cast aside all your Yankee hatred and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played – with your head, not your heart. Jeter may not be a fantasy juggernaut, but here in his final season, he’ll make for a solid middle infielder that you can super-cheap right now. He’ll post an average close to .300, should hit 10-12 home runs, steal 15-20 bases and thanks to a reserved spot at the 2-hole in the lineup, he’ll offer a ton of runs scored. He costs you next to nothing and think how smart you’ll look when he goes out on top with strong numbers and a World Series ring.
Matt Dominguez, 3B HOU (271.03) – He’s been lingering as high as 12 picks better than his current ADP, but has stayed close to where he is now, leaving him as a high-upside corner infielder. The batting average could be rough given his strikeouts, but he’s just 24-years old and has great raw power. He blasted 21 dingers last year and has the potential to hit even more this year. Often overlooked because he plays for Houston, Dominguez is one of those late-round guys who surprises many once the season gets rolling and he starts hitting.
Carlos Quentin, OF SD (318.78) – The injury history is long and painful. Those who have owned Quentin in the past tend to stay away from him for fear of losing an outfielder for months at a time. Use that to your advantage. Quentin has, for the first time in his career, adjusted his batting stance to one that is slightly more upright which should help take a load of pressure off the knees. He still has that vicious swing and has always mashed the ball when healthy. Could this be the year he stays off the DL and jacks 30-plus? Could be, and he’ll cost you nothing to try out.
Michael Pineda, SP NYY (303.88) – How is this guy not moving up the ADP ranks? I know pitching is deep and we shouldn’t put too much stock into spring numbers, but a 16:1 K:BB over 15 innings with a 1.02 ERA is nothing to sneeze at. His shoulder is finally healthy and you should all be jumping at the chance to get him. One of the things to watch when looking at pitchers recovering from shoulder or elbow injuries is their command as that tends to be the last thing to come back. Pineda’s is most definitely back and he’ll enter the season as the team’s No. 5 starter. Though that’s how he’s listed, there’s a tremendous chance that he’ll finish as the team’s No. 2.
Nate Jones, RP CHW (218.45) – I was all set to put Joakim Soria here, but with the recent announcement that he has been named the Rangers’ closer, his ADP is moving up faster than sh*t through a goose. Jones had been moving up from his original spot, but has stabilized recently and remains a solid late-round option. He still hasn’t been officially named the closer, but he’s having a strong spring and is well-deserving of the shot after posting a 2.70 ERA with a 7:3 K:BB over 6.2 innings. If you grab yourself a high-end closer early on, you can bypass the middle-round closer runs you’ll see and grab Jones nice and late.
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