Taking into account trends in Major League Baseball, building a roster with flexibility continues to be tantamount for success. Especially in NFBC draft and hold formats or leagues with shallow benches to preserve free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) or waiver priorities along with leagues which use transaction limits. Last season, 574 players landed on the major league injured list resulting in 38,485 lost days of production totaling teams almost $760 million dollars of salary. This equates to an average of 19 players per team in the majors, 1,282 days lost and just over $25 million dollars of pay. Less than optimal.

No team overcame more injury issues than the Yankees in 2019 losing 30 players and over 2,800 games to the injured list yet they won the American League East with over 100 wins. What can this teach fantasy owners? Depth matters. It also takes a little luck, but with preparation and roster flexibility, savvy fantasy owners can plug holes within their own roster before heading to the waiver wire burning up precious FAAB. Especially if one hopes to reserve resources to add the hot rookie call-ups after the Super-2 date passes or having money on hand to add another closer who gets the role in the middle of the season.

Noting the Yankees struggles with the injured list in 2019, here are the top five teams in players to land on it:

  1. New York Yankees (30)
  2. Pittsburgh Pirates (27)
  3. Los Angeles Angels (26)
  4. Tampa Bay Rays (24)
  5. Los Angeles Dodgers (23)

Next, here’s the top-five in terms of days lost due to injuries:

  1. New York Yankees 2,818
  2. San Diego Padres 2,155
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates 1,850
  4. Philadelphia Phillies 1,717
  5. Miami Marlins 1,698

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Kansas City recorded the fewest number of players on the injured list with only 11 last season. Minnesota only lost 629 days to injuries resulting in the lowest total of 2019 and the Rays lost the least amount of money due to injuries with just under $7 million in salary to players on the injured list. Another wrinkle this season, an extra spot will be added to the regular season roster with teams being able to keep 26 players. This provides an opportunity for guys with the ability to play multiple positions to remain in the majors or teams to carry an extra relief pitcher.

In order to identify players at each position with built-in flexibility, each position will be broken down with some highlights to target in each one. Using at least ten games played as a guide which aligns with Yahoo, but ESPN and NFBC use 20 games played in the prior season in their rules for 2020 drafts and auctions. No matter which site a league uses, knowing which players provide multiple eligibility provides an advantage and they will be listed by the position they appeared at most often last season. This also marries with the well known SMART system employed by our own Hall of Famers, Glenn Colton and Rick Wolf, landing within their management part of their acronym.


Willians Astudillo , Twins - C (21), 1B (15), 3B (13)

Victor Caratini , Cubs - C (59), 1B (23)

Travis d'Arnaud , Braves - C (85), 1B (21)

Yasmani Grandal , White Sox - C (137), 1B (20)

John Hicks , Free Agent - C (60), 1B (29)

Isiah Kiner-Falefa , Rangers - C (38), 3B (25)

Christian Vázquez , Red Sox - C (110), 1B (10)

What a difference a year makes for a player like Willians Astudillo . He entered 2019 drafts as an upside play at catcher but injuries and production depress his expectations entering the upcoming season. Yasmani Grandal owned much more appeal before the White Sox added Edwin Encarnación to be their primary designated hitter, but there’s still plenty of fantasy appeal for Grandal in 2020. d’Arnaud enters a shared role with the Braves but do not overlook his 16 home runs in only 103 games last year and shifting to a workload Kurt Suzuki thrived in with Atlanta.

First Base

Matt Beaty , Dodgers - 1B (35), OF (35)

Brandon Belt , Giants - 1B (144), OF (15)

Michael Chavis , Red Sox - 1B (43), 2B (40)

Garrett Cooper , Marlins - 1B (73), OF (31)

Cheslor Cuthbert , White Sox - 1B (46), 3B (40)

Aledmys Díaz , Astros - 1B (26), 2B (25), 3B (19)

Brandon Dixon , Tigers - 1B (61), OF (33)

Yuli Gurriel , Astros - 1B (110), 3B (42)

Howie Kendrick , Nationals - 1B (48), 2B (23), 3B (15)

Austin Nola , Mariners - 1B (59), 2B (15)

José Osuna , Pirates - 1B (31), OF (25), 3B (19)

Dominic Smith , Mets - 1B (36), OF (33)

Eric Thames , Nationals - 1B (105), OF (12)

Neil Walker , Free Agent - 1B (69), 3B (26)

Before Eric Thames signed with the Nationals, Howie Kendrick owned much more appeal. With a very fluid and deep infield, at-bats will be tough to come by in Washington. Kendrick owned an impressive .344/.395/.572 slash line last season in over 121 games with an average exit velocity of 91.6 MPH (top eight percent of the league) and an expected batting average of .336 provides terrific positional eligibility along with batting average insulation for his owners. It feels like Brandon Belt needs a change in scenery to convert his hard hit data to fantasy upside. There’s appeal in Yuli Gurriel as well, plus knowing he can also be used at third base benefits his profile. Over the last three years, Gurriel’s slashed an impressive .296/.334/.486 with 225 runs, 62 home runs, 264 RBI and 13 stolen bases.

Second Base

Hanser Alberto , Orioles - 2B (90), 3B (66)

Luis Arraez, Twins - 2B (49), OF (21), 3B (17)

Starlin Castro , Nationals - 2B (117), 3B (45)

Derek Dietrich , Reds - 2B (58), 1B (21), OF (16)

Mauricio Dubon , Giants - 2B (22), SS (10)

Wilmer Flores , Diamondbacks - 2B (64), 1B (16)

Garrett Hampson , Rockies - 2B (50), OF (33), SS (15)

Enrique Hernandez, Dodgers - 2B (85), OF (43), SS (11)

Brock Holt , Red Sox - 2B (60), 1B (11), OF (10)

Tony Kemp , Cubs - 2B (43), OF (33)

Tommy La Stella , Angels - 2B (46), 3B (30)

DJ LeMahieu , Yankees - 2B (75), 3B (52), 1B (40)

Shed Long , Mariners - 2B (24), OF (16)

Nicky Lopez , Royals - 2B (76), SS (33)

Ryan McMahon , Rockies - 2B (113), 3B (22), 1B (19)

Whit Merrifield , Royals - 2B (82), OF (77)

Max Muncy , Dodgers - 2B (70), 1B (65), 3B (35)

José Peraza , Red Sox - 2B (79), SS (39), OF (35)

Hernán Pérez , Cubs - 2B (45), SS (21), 3B (14), OF (10)

Luis Rengifo , Angels - 2B (104), SS (12)

Addison Russell , Free Agent - 2B (63), SS (21)

Jonathan Villar , Marlins - 2B (111), SS (97)

Joey Wendle , Rays - 2B (48), 3B (27), SS (10)

Ben Zobrist , Free Agent - 2B (32), OF (17)

What a cornucopia of multiple-eligibility talent at second base. Taking players within this group in drafts makes so much sense. There are players with upside, speed, power and a little of each. One player not listed, Cavan Biggio could be used all over the diamond by Toronto according to early reports. Biggio recorded 16 home runs and 14 stolen bases in only 100 games in 2019. His slash lines could use some work but his Statcast data provides some hope with a 20.1-degree launch angle, 40.1% hard hit rate and 16.5$ walk rate. Biggio seems on track for a 20-plus home run and stolen base season, if he hits .245 or higher, his value gets a boost.

Oft overlooked, Max Muncy can be used at three positions, five if one includes corner and middle infield spots. Muncy set career highs in games (141), runs (101), hits (122), doubles (22), RBI (98), walks (90) and stolen bases (four). And he’s blasted 35 home run in back-to-back seasons. Need some batting average help with upside in counting statistics? Enter D.J. LeMahieu. He led the majors with 61 multi-hit games, racked up an expected batting average of .322 with a 91.7 MPH average exit velocity and 47.2% hard hit rate on Statcast. Playing full-time with the Yankees should defray too much regression to the mean for an underrated hitter.

Those searching for speed can turn their eyes to Jonathan Villar , Whit Merrifield and José Peraza . Villar became the first player with at least 20 home runs and 40 stolen bases since Carlos Gómez in 2013. Surging in the second half with a .291 average, 56 runs and 32 RBI in his last 73 games, there’s going to be no bargain targeting Villar in 2020 drafts. Merrifield led the majors in hits for the second straight season and he’s the third player since 1936 to record at least 20 stolen bases, 40 doubles and 200 hits in a season. His steals could drop a bit with Mike Matheny as the manager, but he remains a stable contributor in runs and batting average for fantasy with positional versatility as the sweetener. Lastly, Peraza does not jump off the page, especially after cratering in 2019 with a .239 average and only seven steals. However, he swiped at least 20 bases in each of the prior three seasons (2016-2018), signed with Boston and could rebound at a steep discount.

Along with Biggio, those looking for upside with a blend of power and speed will track the progress of Shed Long in Seattle. He hit safely in ten of his last 16 contests of 2019 with nine multi-hit efforts among them. Long’s one season removed from hitting 12 home runs with 19 stolen bases at Double-A and could hit near the top of the lineup with the Mariners this year.


Ehire Adrianza , Twins - SS (24), 3B (24), 1B (20)

Tim Beckham, Free Agent - SS (41), OF (13), 3B (10)

Jon Berti, Miami - SS (32), OF (28), 3B (20)

Freddy Galvis , Free Agent - SS (110), 2B (32)

Niko Goodrum , Tigers - SS (38), OF (32), 2B (22), 1B (18)

Kevin Newman , Pirates - SS (104), 2B (23)

Myles Straw , Astros - SS (26), OF (18)

Gleyber Torres , Yankees - SS (77), 2B (65)

Luis Urías , Brewers - SS (41), 2B (26)

Unlike second base, both speed plays at shortstop face playing time issues. Even though Jon Berti notched 17 stolen bases in only 73 games last season, he does not project to start for the Marlins in 2020. Berti scored 52 runs while slashing .273/.348/.406 in 2019 plus finished as the fourth rookie since 1900 with at least 50 runs in 73 contests. Myles Straw represents stolen base potential in league-only formats, but would need a change in scenery to provide enough for mixed leagues.

If Kevin Newman hits lead-off for the Pirates, there’s a chance at major profit in his profile for 2020. Among all major league players with at least 75 games leading off, Newman owned the highest batting average (.328) last year. Also note his 61 runs, 12 home runs, 64 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 130 games with a .308/.353/.446 slash in 2019 for Pittsburgh.

Gleyber Torres broke out with a career high 38 home runs, yes all of the ones versus Baltimore count. At 22 years old, Torres became the youngest Yankee with a 30-plus home run season since Joe DiMaggio. Torres also finished as the second player in team history with at least 90 RBI (Mickey Mantle had 102 in 1954) in an age-22 season or younger.

In Milwaukee, Luis Urías will get the chance to become the starting shortstop for Milwaukee. Translation, Urias could be worth a flier in the later rounds of deeper formats. He cratered last season hitting only .223.329/.326  over 71 games, but also hit .315/.398/.600 in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League with 19 home runs in only 73 contests. Urias recorded a double-digit walk percentage across Triple-A and with San Diego.

Third Base

BrIan Anderson , Marlins - 3B (67), OF (55)

David Bote , Cubs - 3B (67), 2B (50)

Alex Bregman , Astros - 3B (99), SS (65)

Asdrúbal Cabrera , Nationals - 3B (98), 2B (31)

Jeimer Candelario , Tigers - 3B (69), 1B (20)

Yandy Díaz , Rays - 3B (50), 1B (20)

Hunter Dozier , Royals - 3B (100), OF (20)

Tommy Edman , Cardinals - 3B (55), 2B (29), OF (13)

Eduardo Escobar , Diamondbacks - 3B (144), 2B (33)

David Fletcher , Angels - 3B (90), 2B (42), SS (39), OF (23)

Ty France, Padres - 3B (36), 2B (21)

Ryon Healy , Brewers - 3B (44), 1B (11)

Jake Lamb , Diamondbacks - 3B (36), 1B (24)

Manny Machado , Padres - 3B (119), SS (37)

Brad Miller , Free Agent - 3B (19), OF (17), 2B (13)

Colin Moran , Pittsburgh - 3B (121), 2B (11)

Mike Moustakas , Reds - 3B (105), 2B (47)

Rio Ruiz , Orioles - 3B (114), 1B (12)

There are some curious players in this list along with the obvious, like Alex Bregman . Bregman finished 2019 as one of three players with at least 100 runs, walks, and RBI (Mike Trout and Juan Soto ). He’s also one of three in Astros history with 40 home runs, 110 walks and fewer than 90 strikeouts in a season. If one misses out on Bregman in the first round, heed the discount on Manny Machado this season in drafts. Machado’s one of three players with at least 30 home runs in each of the last five seasons (Nelson Cruz and Nolan Arenado ). He mashed lefties with a .315 average and .685 slugging while struggling with a .239 average versus right-handed pitching in 2019. Migration to the mean points to a rebound fpr Machado at a depressed cost.

A below-the-radar upside play exists in Miami with BrIan Anderson . With the fences being moved in at his home park by 12 feet in center and right field, check out his spray chart from the last two years:

Anderson enters his power peak with an improved launch angle, stable average exit velocity and a more friendly ballpark for his batted ball profile. He could hit 25 home runs with seven pocket stolen bases and a .270 or better batting average. Not too shabby. As for Tommy Edman , there’s no surprise he will be targeted due to his ability to generate home runs and stolen bases. If he accrues enough at-bats, Edman should continue to accumulate the counting statistics fantasy owners crave. Edman played in 92 games during his debut with 59 runs, 11 home runs, 36 RBI, 15 stolen bases and a robust .304/.350/.500 slash line.

Every year fantasy owners take Mike Moustakas for granted. Please stop. First, in terms of ballpark effects, if one took all of his batted ball data from 2019, the only park Moustakas would have hit 40 home runs in would be Cincinnati. He signed with the Reds, hit at least 35 home runs in two of the last three years with a .259/.318/.516 slash in over 1,800 plate appearances.


Jake Bauers , Indians - OF (53), 1B (31)

Cody Bellinger , Dodgers - OF (136), 1B (36)

Jay Bruce , Free Agent - OF (59), 1B (16)

Mark Canha , A’s - OF (90), 1B (15)

Harold Castro , Tigers - OF (44), 2B (34), 3B (10)

J.D. Davis , Mets - OF (79), 3B (31)

Leury García , White Sox - OF (120), SS (19)

Marwin Gonzalez , Twins - OF (59), 3B (40), 1B (21)

Ian Happ , Cubs - OF (29), 2B (13)

Scott Kingery , Phillies - OF (69), 3B (41), SS (18), 2B (10)

Trey Mancini , Orioles - OF (92), 1B (56)

Ketel Marte , Diamondbacks - OF (96), 2B (83), SS (11)

Jeff McNeil , Mets - OF (93), 2B (37), 3B (31)

Joc Pederson , Dodgers - OF (122), 1B (20)

Chad Pinder , A’s - OF (77), 2B (21), 3B (17)

Danny Santana , Rangers - OF (51), 1B (44), 2B (17)

Chris Taylor , Dodgers - OF (69), SS (39), 2B (20)

Josh VanMeter , Reds - OF (48), 2B (18), 1B (17)

There’s a case to be made when targeting Cody Bellinger in the top-five picks if not taking a pitcher due to his ability to be used in the outfield or at first base. Targeting him makes sense with first base being shallow and one can take a player who falls at either position when filling out a roster. Bellinger set career highs in runs (121), hits (170), doubles (34), home runs (47), RBI (115), walks (95), stolen bases (15) and in every category of his .305/.406/.629 slash line.

Scott Kingery takes over for Marwin Gonzalez as the most appealing Swiss Army knife in fantasy. Kingery accrued 19 home runs and 15 stolen bases in only 126 games. If he can get to 150 games, he’s a 20/20 candidate. Both Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis provide multiple eligibility at a lower cost with potential profit built in. McNeil faded after his injury but still hit .318/.384/.531 in 133 games with 23 home runs and 75 RBI. Statcast hero J.D. Davis made the most of his chances in 2019 hitting .307/.369/.527 with 65 runs, 22 home runs, 57 RBI and three stolen bases. According to Statcast, Davis recorded a whopping 47.7-hard hit percentage meaning almost half of his batted ball events generated an exit velocity of 95 MPH or higher. Davis produce 36 barrels of his 315 batted balls with a .308 expected average and .548 expected slugging percentage.

Can Danny Santana repeat his 2019 with Texas? Santana provided perhaps the most below-the-radar 28 home runs with 21 stolen bases in his 130 games played last season. Santana entered 2019 with 13 career home runs, however, he’s armed with multi-positional eligibility, newly found power and speed.

Be sure to stay with Fantasy Alarm and thanks for purchasing the living Baseball Guide in order to access this article. Being able to move players between positions averts potential crises in the marathon season baseball presents. Stay the course and plan for the worst with a lineup where fluidity makes it a danger to your competition.


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