Everyone that plays fantasy baseball can pinpoint the five-category players that can do a little of everything. The Trea Turner’s, Aaron Judge’s, and Mookie Betts of the world offensively and how many different categories they produce in, but what about some guys that will be taken later in drafts? Multi-category producers are more valuable than one trick ponies in fantasy baseball. That goes for offensive players and pitchers as well.
Drafting pitchers that only contribute in specific categories may not be the best approach to build out your entire pitching staff. You can definitely add players that are high strikeout upside guys on bad teams, but are they going to contribute heavily elsewhere? Provide you with wins and ERA and not hurt your team too bad with losses in formats that take them into account. Let’s dive into some of the top multi-category contributors that aren’t being drafted in the first few rounds of fantasy baseball drafts.
Michael Harris, OF Atlanta Braves
Harris didn’t play his first game this year until May, which led to just 114 games on the year, but 2023 will be a different story. Harris opens the year as the Braves' starting center fielder and is slotted to hit second in this potent lineup. He finished one home run shy of having a 20-20 season. He stole 27 bases during his 2021 minor league campaign while posting a .436 SLG%. That SLG% rose in Double-A in ‘22 before his call-up posting a .506 SLG% and then .514% in the majors. He’s poised to have a monster fantasy season.
Daulton Varsho, OF/C Toronto Blue Jays
One of the primary reasons we loved Daulton Varsho in fantasy baseball was his position eligibility as catcher and outfield. He showed why he was a legitimate fantasy asset last year, belting 27 home runs and stealing 16 bags. He has a fair chance at being a 20-20 guy as he slots in the heart of the Blue Jays lineup this year. Varsho had two minor league seasons of 19 or more stolen bases too. This could be the first 20-20 season of his career.
Corbin Carroll, OF Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks are starting their 2023 campaign with their top prospect as the leadoff hitter and we’re VERY excited to see Corbin Carroll in that spot. Carroll could one day lead the league in stolen bases and has flashed some power as well. At Double-A last year, Carroll had a .643 SLG%, then .535 SLG% at Triple-A. During his 21-game MLB stint last year he had a .500 SLG% as well. Carroll is going to maximize his opportunities hitting leadoff all year and there is a strong possibility he reaches 20-20.
Dansby Swanson, SS Chicago Cubs
Swanson had a great season all around offensively, something he wasn’t known for when he first got the call up from the Braves farm system. Swanson is coming off a year in which he had career highs in runs (99), runs batted in (96), and stolen bases (18). He also belted 25 homers last year, the second straight year he put up at least 25 bombs. His shift to the Cubs and Wrigley Park is a good one, especially when the wind is on the offensive players side. Swanson is going to slot in.
Tommy Edman, SS St. Louis Cardinals
Most people will look towards Edman for his stolen base appeal but look at Edman’s entire body of work in 2022. Edman scored 95 runs while belting 13 homers and 48 extra-base hits overall. That’s his second straight season with 90+ runs scored, double-digit home runs, and 30 or more steals. Edman opens up 2023 at the team’s starting shortstop and will once again hit atop the order, with Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado behind him. The runs are going to be at an elite level once again.
Andrés Giménez, SS Cleveland Guardians
One of the most surprising fantasy assets in 2022 was Andrés Giménez and his emergence across the board. He was a threat when he was on base and he was on base a lot considering he hit .302 and had a .371 OBP as well. He hit for some power, belting 17 home runs, and stole 20 bases as well. He has an outside chance at reaching the 20 home run, 20 stolen base plateau but even if he regresses a bit in the power department, he’ll hit for a high average while also stealing bags.
Cristian Javier, SP Houston Astros
With Justin Verlander gone, Javier is slated to be one of the Astros top pitchers heading into the 2023 year. Javier struck out 194 batters in 148.2 innings last year across 25 starts. He not only struck out a boatload of guys, but he pitched to a 2.45 ERA and had 11 wins. He could potentially be a pitcher that could approach 20 wins. Two things that he did very well in 2022 was cut down on walks and home runs, which is the recipe for staying in games longer and something that kept him from being a mainstay in the Astros rotation in 2021. He’s being drafted as the 30th pitcher off the board right now and he has top-15 upside due to his ability to stuff stat sheets in every category.
Triston McKenzie, SP Cleveland Guardians
It was interesting to see McKenzie’s development from 2021 to 2022 and boy were they great to see. In ‘21, he had a 27.5% K-rate but an 11.7% BB rate. In ‘22, McKenzie had a 35.6% K-rate but walked just 5.9% of opposing batters. His ERA improved TWO WHOLE RUNS from 4.95 to 2.96 while his WHIP dropped below 1.00 to .95, which is as elite as it gets. McKenzie is being drafted as the 38th pitcher off the board despite being top-five in WHIP, 19th in WHIP, and 18th in strikeouts. Hard not to love the prospects of getting him
Jeffrey Springs, SP Tampa Bay Ray
Everything is lining up for Jeffrey Springs to build off his 2022 season in which he set career marks in, well, everything. Yes, it’s a one-year sample. Yes, he’s already 30 years old. Yes, he’s projected to be the fourth or fifth starter for the Rays. Does any of that matter if he pitches as well as he did in ‘22? Springs posted a 2.46 ERA while also notching a 26.2% K-rate and went 9-5. Springs has a good team around him as Tampa Bay has had a .530 winning percentage or better for five consecutive seasons. Not only that, Springs doesn’t issue any free passes as he walked just 31 BB on 135.1 IP and it helped his WHIP stay very low, notching a 1.07 WHIP, which if he qualified, would have slotted him in 18th in the entire league.
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