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9 Undervalued Players (2019 Fantasy Baseball)

Jan 29, 2019

Jonathan Villar has exceptional upside and appears to be undervalued

While it’s still a wee bit early for redraft leagues, it’s never to start scouring through the rankings and evaluate which players might be undervalued. Guys like Scooter Gennett and Blake Snell come to mind as they were both ranked outside the top 60 hitters and pitchers, respectively, heading into last season. They easily outproduced their ranking for owners looking to get late-round steals and both received their first career All-Star Game appearances. Snell later went on to win the AL Cy Young Award.

Players found in the mid-to-late rounds who end up producing at an early-round value are the types of athletes that will help you win your league. Therefore, we’ve got our featured experts in tow to help you identify who those hitters and pitchers might be for 2019.

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Q1. Which hitter outside the top 60 in our consensus rankings is the most undervalued and why?

Jonathan Villar (2B/OF – BAL)
“Villar is the most undervalued and will end up on the majority of my teams as a result. He has struggled since a monster 62 SB, 19 HR, and .285 BA season in 2016, which had him as a top-five fantasy asset, but when the Orioles traded for him and put him at the top of the lineup, he returned to that type of production. We are talking about someone with a first-round ceiling going outside the top-100 picks.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

“Every time someone asks me about Kid Mondesi this spring, I’ll suggest they draft Jonathan Villar a few rounds later. The Orioles will play Villar and probably let him run as much as he wants. ”
– Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports)

Ian Happ (2B/3B/OF – CHC)
“Puig would have been the easy call, but he is ranked No. 59…so close! I want to dig deeper anyway, so let’s talk about Happ, the No. 143 hitter and 213th-ranked player per FantasyPros’ consensus rankings. Happ’s swing-and-miss tendencies will continue to exist, but he did improve his chase rate substantially in 2018 (31.5% to 24.7%) and his hard contact rate shot up (32.8% to 38.3%). Happ’s swinging strike rate of 15.3% a year ago was far better than teammate Javier Baez’s 17.9%, for comparison’s sake. The difference is that Baez is more of a free-swinger and makes far more contact, especially in the zone. But I’ll take a shot on a 24-year-old Happ continuing to improve as a hitter, and get a spicy power/speed combination for dirt cheap compared to his price one year ago.”
– Heath Capps (Fake Teams)

Amed Rosario (SS – NYM)
“The latest shiny new toy to quickly lose his luster, Rosario currently resides as the 110th hitter despite making major strides late in his first full season. After stinking up the Mets’ lineup for most of 2018, he batted .284 with five homers and 15 steals from Aug. 1 onward. Only five players swiped more bags after the All-Star break. A 23-year-old shortstop with elite prospect pedigree and legitimate 10-homer, 30-steal upside should be far closer to the 110th overall player.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Joey Gallo (1B/3B/OF – TEX)
“Gallo will be just 25 years old in 2019, and already showed 40+ HR power in 2018, many of those ABs coming from the bottom of the lineup. If he gets bumped up to sixth or higher this season, he should top 550 ABs with the upside for a 50 HR season, which is terrific value outside the top 60.”
– KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)

Q2. Which pitcher outside the top 60 in our consensus rankings is the most undervalued and why?

Jimmy Nelson (SP – MIL)
Andrew Heaney at 75 and Ross Stripling at 78 are tempting, but so is Nelson as the 106th pitcher off the board (and the 285th player per FantasyPros ECR). Nelson had his breakout in 2017, but he had surgery on his shoulder and missed all of 2018 to recover (a non-throwing injury, FYI). The Brewers should take it easy on Nelson as he gets re-acclimated, but he generates a healthy amount of ground balls (over 50%) and knows how to amass strikeouts (he had a 27.3% K-rate in 2017). He’s not a threat to log 200 innings in his first year back, but in today’s game that’s not as big of a deal, especially since you’re drafting him so late.”
– Heath Capps (Fake Teams)

Joe Musgrove (SP/RP – PIT)
“Musgrove posted a minuscule 4.7% walk rate, relinquishing only seven free passes in his final 10 starts. Although he accompanied that pinpoint control with an unspectacular 20.6% strikeout rate (100 in 115.1 innings), an 11.4% swinging-strike rate suggests room for improvement. That’s especially the case if he continues last year’s late trend of throwing fewer fastballs for a lethal slider that netted a 62 wRC+ and 65.1% contact rate. He’s a great late-draft target worth taking a couple of rounds above his 274 ECR.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Josh James (SP – HOU)
“There are so many names I could use here from Alex Reyes and Tyler Glasnow to Joe Musgrove and Freddy Peralta, but the one that most stands out is James. The Astros let Charlie Morton, and likely Dallas Keuchel, walk because James (and Forrest Whitley) are ready to roll. James was filthy in the minors last year, posting an absurd 13.5 K/9 with just 6.2 H/9. He was every bit as dominant in 23 big league innings. Don’t be surprised if he is this year’s Mike Clevinger.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Kenta Maeda (SP – LAD)
“Maeda of the Dodgers is being undervalued as he made just 20 starts a season ago, but is slated to open the year in the rotation. Thanks to his division, Maeda will make a majority of his starts in the best pitchers parks in baseball, and already shown his K upside in 2018 with 153 Ks in just 125.1 IP.”
– KJ (Fantasy Team Advice)

Kevin Gausman (SP – ATL)
“Gausman finally gets a safe division and the NL backdrop for a full season. He’s still young enough to have a breakthrough.”
– Scott Pianowski (Yahoo! Sports)

Thank you to the experts for naming who they feel are undervalued. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for more advice all season long.

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