Players to Target for RBIs (2020 Fantasy Baseball)
This article could just as well serve as a piece on bounce-back players, but the focus here is to highlight potential sources of RBI upside through different stages of the draft. Hitting every fifth round along the way based upon current ADP trends as reflected by FantasyPros’ aggregate from sources around the industry, the following list of names are solid options to help solidify fantasy rosters in the RBI department.
Manny Machado (SS/3B – SD): 54.6 ADP
Machado disappointed fantasy owners that took him widely as a second-rounder a year ago, but that “disappointment” needs some perspective. The four-time All-Star lined up in the three-hole for the 92-loss Padres in 153 of his 154 starts in 2019 and eclipsed the 30-homer mark for the fifth-straight year. The less-than-expected stats that frustrated many were to be found in the slash line, stolen bases, and, most relative to this article, RBI.
*Machado had 709 plate appearances in 2018 and 661 plate appearances in 2019
As you can see, Machado’s overall offensive production clearly declined from 2018 to 2019, but the batted-ball profile actually suggests he had some bad luck. It’s also important to remember that he spent 96 games in an AL lineup, and then 66 more in the middle of a potent Dodgers offense during 2018. Last season was Machado’s first in San Diego, and to say the least, the long list of teammates setting the table for him were anything but consistent.
That situation should be much more favorable for Machado here in 2020. Phenom Fernando Tatis Jr., who was limited to 84 games due to injury in his rookie campaign last year, is healthy, and veteran Tommy Pham was added via trade back in December. Tatis and Pham, both of whom are high on-base guys as well as speed threats, should be in the top two spots of the Friars’ batting order on Opening Day, supplying Machado with plenty of chances to drive in runs.
Eduardo Escobar (2B/3B – ARI): 114.8 ADP
It seems almost unreal that a player who drove in 118 runs and, if anything, has an improved potential RBI situation due to the addition of a guy like Starling Marte to his lineup, would fall outside the top-100 in ADP — but that’s exactly where Escobar is to be found at the moment. To go along with his fourth-place finish in RBI (NL), the switch-hitting Venezuelan slugged .511 with 35 home runs.
Escobar’s second-half slash line of .236/.280/.472 might scare some away, but he still smacked 17 round-trippers with 51 RBI over 69 games after the break. With a dynamic duo like the previously mentioned Starling Marte and Ketel Marte at the top of Diamondbacks’ lineup, Escobar, who will be in the heart of the order somewhere, most likely third, should be primed for another 100-plus RBI effort.
Khris Davis (Util – OAK): 178.6 ADP
If Machado disappointed in 2019, Davis flat out angered those who drafted him in hopes of a fourth consecutive 40-homer, 100-RBI season. Things were going just as expected through the first 17 games of the year, as Davis was slugging a ridiculous .706 with 10 home runs. After that torrid start, various nagging injuries ultimately caught up to him, zapping his power and subsequently his RBI total.
Though Davis did still clear over 20 home runs and 70 RBI across 133 games last season, those numbers were a far, far cry from the 44 and 112 he had averaged over the previous three years. Will he bounce back? That is the obvious question right now.
Reports suggest that Davis is feeling much better in A’s camp this spring than he did last summer, and there is certainly much to love about the Oakland offense as a whole. Davis figures to take residence somewhere in the fourth through sixth range of the batting order with loads of RBI potential. At this draft position, there is absolutely nothing to lose.
Justin Upton (OF – LAA): 234.0 ADP
Trout, Rendon, Ohtani; those are the names that will be swinging the bat around possibly one of the best current values on the board regardless of position. Upton, when healthy, is a borderline superstar. Aside from batting average, where he certainly will not kill a fantasy team with his career .266 mark, Upton can contribute in literally every other category.
Yes, 2019 was a dismal year for Upton. He only got in 63 games due to injury, turning in a .215 batting average and .724 OPS while striking out more than 30-percent of the time when in action. Even still, the now 32-year-old slugger’s 12 home runs and 40 RBI set a 162-game pace of 31 and 103. Given his extensive track record, those numbers seem right in line with what to expect from a healthy Upton in 2020.