It’s late in the draft and after 300 picks the board is a cesspool of fossils, playing time issues, and disappointment. Pouring through the trash to find a glimmer of usefulness is all that can be asked for. Fortunately, there are some intriguing late-round picks that could remain on your fantasy roster all year. These players may not have tantalizing upside, but they should outperform where they are selected. ADP is from NFC https://nfc.shgn.com/adp/baseball.
1. Jose Quintana -ADP-309.57
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Jose Quintana is coming off a strange season. His H/9 skyrocketed to a career-high 10.1 and yet Quintana significantly reduced his walk rate. He also lowered his HR/9 from 2018’s 1.29 to 1.05 last season. Not an easy task with the home run ball of 2019. When runners got on base, Quintana had a career-low 65.9% strand rate. That is a significant decrease compared to his 2015-2018 campaigns. All this suggests Quintana ran into some bad luck in 2019.
Quintana used his changeup significantly more in 2019 at 11%, up from 6.8% the prior season. His changeup is not an effective pitch. Fangraphs shows his wCH at a -10, and that’s not an anomaly with 2018 numbers at -6.2. Quintana needs to up his fastball percentage to be more effective. I think a return to 2017 form where Quintana had a 9.9 K/9 is unrealistic, but if he can combine his H/9 from 2018 and his BB/9 from 2019, Quintana should provide solid ratios at a cheap draft price
2. Corey Dickerson – ADP 319.49
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Corey Dickerson would have shot up draft boards if he was stayed healthy during 2019. Between Pittsburgh and Philly, Dickerson slashed a solid .304/.341/.565. Miami signed him this offseason to a two-year $17.5m deal. Marlins Park may not be the ideal landing spot, but there is no questioning, if healthy, Dickerson will play.
The real value with Dickerson lies in the average. It’s hard to find a player this late who provides the average upside and doesn’t hurt you in other categories. The injury concern is there, but when you are drafting a guy after pick 300, every player has some type of risk. I think the injury risk is overblown as well, from 2016-2019 he played 135+ games four out of those five years. Best case scenario Dickerson approaches his 2017 season, where he hit 27 home runs with a .282 average.
3. Anibal Sanchez – ADP 337.27
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Coming into his age 36 season, Anibal Sanchez seems to have figured out how to pitch again. After experiencing a rebound in Atlanta during the 2018 season, Sanchez carried the momentum into a two-year contract with the Nationals and won a World Series title last year. Like Quintana, Sanchez is not going to contribute spectacular strikeouts numbers. His 2017 and 2018 campaigns did come with a 8.9 K/9. So the potential for a strikeout per inning is there. He can provide good ratios and a better than league average ERA to help shore up the backend of your starters.
Sanchez doesn’t have any juicy underlying numbers, there isn’t an incredible upside here. Stability at the backend of your rotation is what Sanchez can offer. Drafting a pitcher like Quintana or Sanchez may be “boring”, but upside alone doesn’t win championships. Having a steady/boring rotation option each week gives much-needed depth for a fantasy rotation. As the old saying goes, “You can never have too much pitching.”
4. Brandon Nimmo – ADP 367.85
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Nimmo is another guy coming off an injury-shortened 2019. It’s doubtful his ADP would be around here if only OBP leagues were considered. His value in that format is obvious, but he can contribute in 5×5 leagues. Nimmo’s neck injury severally hurt his 2019 season. Nimmo hit .221 with 8 home runs and 3 stolen bases. 2018 was his breakout season, where he hit .263 with 17 home runs and 9 stolen bases. Nimmo has good sprint speed, so with health, stealing around 10 bases is reasonable.
During 2019 Nimmo did not play June-August. His numbers once returning in September give a glimpse at what he can do when healthy. He hit .261 with 5 home runs and two steals, good for a 159 wRC+. Extrapolating his September and expecting a .995 OPS for 2020 is silly, but it does show the effect the injury had and what kind of hitter Nimmo is.
A best-case scenario would be a 20/10 season with around a .260+ batting average. That’s a great value, especially in 5 outfield slot formats. His OBP should keep him near the top of the Mets lineup, allowing for good counting stats. It’s hard to find a reason not to take him this late.
5. Travis Shaw – ADP 393.37
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It’s hard to look at Travis Shaw’s 2019 performance and find any positives. A putrid .157 batting average and 7 home runs in 86 games is a giant fall from his previous two seasons. His strikeout rate went from 18.1% to 33% in two seasons! I could continue to list things on the abysmal season Shaw had, but not all hope is lost.
He should have an opening day job with the Toronto Blue Jays and Rogers Centre is one of the best home stadiums Shaw could have picked. Nothing Shaw did in 2019 can’t be fixed. His career BABIP is .270, a stark difference from last seasons .216. His 2018 season was .242, so rebounding so a huge rebound in that department isn’t a given. There are not many signs to point that he was getting unlucky, but his average exit velocity didn’t change much from 2018. 88.7 mph in 2018 to 88.4 mph last season. Additionally, betting on a rebound is essentially free at around pick 400.
It will be interesting to see what players get hype as we draw closer to Spring Training. A good showing there could catapult guys like Nimmo or Shaw, but for now, they remain an undervalued asset in redraft leagues.