Fantasy Baseball Late Round Sleepers: Power
Justin Mason takes a look at some of the late-round, under-the-radar power targets you're going to want to look for in your 2018 fantasy baseball drafts.
I absolutely hate when people call top 200 players sleepers. In this day and age, it is hard to classify anyone as a sleeper, but if you do, you better be talking about guys going late. Therefore I have decided to take on the role of sleeper whisperer at Fantasy Alarm. Each week, I will give you late round sleepers broken up by league size tiers aimed at helping you address needs late in your drafts. No matter the depth of your league, it is important to review all these names as they could become relevant for you at some point.
Power is everywhere these days, but if you prioritize other categories over it during your draft or auction, you could find yourself in a position which requires you to find some late. I am currently doing this in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. If you wait too long in some formats though, you may be surprised that there are fewer guys available than you might think. Here are my late round targets for power:
10-Team Mixed Options:
Chris Davis (ADP: 247.44)- Chris Davis had one of his worst seasons since breaking out as a huge power source in 2012. It was largely health related as he only played in 128 games in 2018. There is obviously a ton of batting average risk, but if healthy and ready to go, he has a 30 home run floor and 50 homer ceiling.
Willie Calhoun (ADP: 251.56)- Calhoun hit 32 home runs between two AAA organizations and the Major Leagues in 2018. He has a rare blend of power and contact without having to sacrifice average to get there. The only question for him is whether or not he can get 600 plate appearances, but if he does, he should be able to launch 25-30 home runs.
12-Team Mixed Options:
Matt Chapman (ADP: 283.97)- Chapman is one of my favorite cheap power sources in fantasy for 2018. He hit 30 home runs in 465 at bats between AAA and the Majors last season and should have an everyday role this year in Oakland. While he may struggle with average also, his plus defense should keep him in the lineup to hit 25-30 home runs.
Todd Frazier (ADP: 283.98)- The Todd-father is no longer a top 50-100 player in fantasy, but he can still hit the long ball. He has averaged over 32 home runs each season the last four years and can help out in the running game. The average has regressed to a negative the last two seasons, but if you need some pop and speed late, he can be a guy to target.
Scott Schebler (ADP: 288.19)- Schebler had been looked at as a platoon player, but he shined in a full-time role with the Reds last season, hitting 30 home runs in 141 games. While it is unlikely that those numbers will repeat, he is aided by a fantastic home ballpark. Schebler is a steal at 288.
Ryan McMahon (ADP: 327.23)- McMahon’s minor league numbers don’t jump off the page necessarily, but he is in line for an opening day job at first base for the Rockies. He hit 20 home runs between two minor league levels last year, but also did that in only 119 games. While his ADP says that he is more 15-team viable than 12, I put him in this tier because I not only believe the talent will play, but because he should be scooped up in almost any size format if he gets named the opening day starter.
15-Team Mixed Options:
Hanley Ramirez (ADP: 331.05)- In spite of an atrocious 2017, Hanley still hit for a decent amount of power. He launched 23 home runs in 133 games played that were marred by injury. With J.D. Martinez coming to town and the Red Sox staring down the barrel of a $22 million vesting option for Ramirez that kicks in if he hit 497 plate appearances, it is unlikely that he repeats the plate appearance totals from the last few years, but he can still mash when healthy.
Austin Hays (ADP:339.19)- The signing of Colby Rasmus could send Hays down to AAA to start the year, but he should be up fairly early. He hit 33 home runs between the minors and the Majors and could be a monster in the comfy confines of Camden Yards. The beauty of Hays is he doesn’t strikeout much. In both his stops in the minor leagues last season, he struck out less than 16% of the time, so while he doesn’t walk much, he would likely not be a detriment to the team. If you have room to stash him, he is worth the speculation.
C.J. Cron (ADP: 390.51)- With the arrival of Shohei Ohtani likely taking some at bats away from Cron, the Angels shipped him to Tampa Bay to replace Corey Dickerson. He should be in line for everyday at bats between first base and DH. With full time playing time, Cron should be able to power out 20-30 home runs in his new home.
Lucas Duda (ADP: 441.43)- Duda was able to stay healthy last season and he powered out 30 home runs in 127 games. He now has at least 27 home runs in three of the last four years and should be able to replicate those numbers on a Kansas City team that has no reason not to play him every day. His low ADP is held down by the fact he was unsigned for so long and should continue to rise, but savvy owners may be able to take advantage in their home leagues.
Brad Miller (ADP: 452.46)- Miller showed last season that the 2016 power surge may be an outlier, but he also struggled with injury which limited him to only 110 games. He should split his time between first and second base this season and if he is healthy, he could return to 20+ home runs. He is risky, but the multi positional eligibility that he will gain should be worth the risk/reward speculation.
AL Only Options:
Curtis Granderson (ADP: 490.31)- Granderson is a shell of the player he used to be, but he has still hit at least 26 home runs in each of the last three seasons. The move back to a full time role in Toronto should allow him to keep powering away. He could be mixed league viable, but there is a low floor as well that keeps me from throwing him up a tier in spite of the ADP.
Matt Joyce (ADP: 493.48)- Joyce crushes righties and is dreadful against left handers, but that didn’t stop the A’s from giving him close to full-time at bats last season. He is a useful AL piece and can even be employed well in mixed formats with daily moves and deeper benches. Keep in mind that his opponents in the AL West have very right-handed rotations.
Yandy Diaz (ADP: 507.82)- Yandy is the poster child for a Cross Fit style body. Dude is absolutely yolked. His massive pythons haven’t done a ton of damage in terms of power though. In spite of having a top 10 average exit velocity last year, his inability to elevate balls into the air have kept him from utilizing his fantastic strength. A change in launch angle could have an effect like Yonder Alonso had last year. A deep league stash for sure, but one to monitor in shallower formats as well.
A.J. Reed (ADP: 627.14)- After struggling in his first Major League exposure in 2016, Reed mashed once again in AAA. With Yulieski Gurriel starting the year on the DL and suspended, Reed could get a crack at early season at bats. If he shows the plus power, nice walk rates, and the ability to not strike out like he has in AAA, he could become an interesting part of one of the best lineups in baseball.
Brandon Moss (628.48)- Just someone to keep on the radar. 2017 was a down year for the 34-year-old DH, but Moss also got his fewest plate appearance totals since 2013. If he can land a job (recently DFA'd by the A's), if he can stay healthy and in the lineup, he should be able to revert to the over 25+ home run power we saw him average from 2012-2016. There is risk here, but you don’t have to pay for it at all.
NL Only Options:
Matt Adams (ADP: 475.31)- When Freddie Freeman went down for the Braves, Adams showed that he still has plenty of pop in his bat. His inability to play defense cost him his role with the team once Freeman returns. He enters this year stuck behind Ryan Zimmerman in Washington, but Zimmerman has a long history of injuries and if Adams can get into the lineup on an everyday basis, he could be a monster in that fantastic lineup.
Austin Riley (ADP: 631.44)- Riley hit 20 home runs in the minors last season and could be in the Majors at some point this year. His raw power is still translating to game power, but that should continue to develop this season and if it does he could make an impact for NL Only formats about midseason. Worth a reserve spot in 12-team NL Only leagues.
Chris Shaw (ADP: 675.46)- Shaw hit 24 home runs in 125 games in the minor leagues last year and has little left to prove at AAA. The only obstacle is his inability to play defense in the outfield (though the Giants are continuing to run him out there) and Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence. If either Pence or Belt get hurt for an extended period of time, Shaw could wind up in the Major Leagues. It is hard to see his left-handed bat fairing extremely well in AT&T Park, but he is worth a stash in 12-team NL formats.
Dylan Cozens (ADP: 693.35)- Like Shaw and Riley, Cozens will start the year in AAA, but what sets him apart is his massive power to go along with his massive frame. Seriously, the Phillies had to tell him to stop putting muscle on his 6’6”, 240+ lbs frame because he was getting so big. He has massive strikeout problems and is more likely the next Kyle Blanks than the next Aaron Judge, but he is worth monitoring in the deepest of formats.