8 Late-Round Picks to Target (2020 Fantasy Baseball)
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We’ve asked our writers to identify the late-round pick (No. 150 or later in our Expert Consensus Rankings) that they view as the best value in upcoming fantasy baseball drafts. Here’s what they had to say.
Q: Who is your favorite late-round pick (ECR 150+)?
Jon Gray (SP – COL)
Anyone who listens to the FantasyPros Baseball Podcast knows it has been Avisail Garcia all offseason with Starlin Castro, Brendan McKay and Rich Hill mixed in, but Gray has flown up the list with recent developments. It now seems likely that MLB will not be playing any games in home ballparks which changes things quite a big for Rockies hitters and pitchers. In Gray’s case, it should allow him to pitch like the ace he is which would give us an extraordinary discount considering he is being drafted in the 20th round.
– Bobby Sylvester (@bobbyfantasypro)
Scott Kingery (SS/3B/OF – PHI)
Kingery’s ceiling isn’t as high now that Andrew McCutchen will be ready to start the season and lead off, pushing Kingery toward the bottom of the order. But he still offers a rare power-speed combination. Kingery has the speed to swipe 35 bags — he stole 71 in 333 minor league games — and easy 20-homer power. He needs to cut down on his strikeout rate (29.4% last year, bottom 8% in the league), but his barrel rate, average exit velocity, and hard-hit percentage took major jumps from his rookie year. If he can continue to trend upward, as you’d expect from a 26-year-old, Kingery could potentially bat closer to .270 and finish within the top-100 overall fantasy options.
– Dan Harris (@danharris80)
Julio Urias (SP/RP – LAD)
If weighing the pros and cons for Julio Urias earlier in the preseason, the results would have been inconclusive. Urias has yet to crack 100 major league innings in a single season, so a limit was imperative. More importantly, he had not claimed a starting rotation spot and, without a clear role, his talent could only carry his draft stock so far. Both of these negatives now appear to be removed, as Urias will be in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Since the season is almost guaranteed to be shortened, his innings limit is no longer a detriment compared to his peers. Now we can focus on the tremendous strikeout and win potential that Urias brings to the mound. And your fantasy team.
– Mario Mergola (@MarioMergola)
Trey Mancini (1B/OF – BAL)
I have my eye on Mancini’s recovery from surgery to remove a malignant tumor. A late start of the season will really benefit a guy like Mancini, an under-the-radar power hitter in a very hitter-friendly park. His average draft position is far below his actual value. I’ll take all I can get of Mancini in both AL-only and mixed leagues.
– Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff)
Willie Calhoun (OF – TEX)
With the shortened season, Calhoun is going to have time to work back from his jaw surgery after getting knocked out by a Julio Urias fastball. Now with extra time, Calhoun goes back to being my top sleeper, seeing that he has a full-time gig in left field and will bat in the middle of the order. Those two variables should have led to a combined 180 runs and RBIs over a full season. His prospect pedigree and raw power give me hope that he can hit a pro-rated 35 homers this year, and his 21 homers in a half-season last year confirms that hope. I’ve got him as a top-70 overall player, and you can nab him around pick 200.
– Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)
Paul DeJong (SS – STL)
While there remain a lot of quality outfielders this deep into a draft, the chances of landing a top-10 outfielder this late at such a deep position seem slim. However, it’s not hard to see how Paul DeJong could crack the top 10 at shortstop, which is arguably the deepest position in fantasy this year. Last year, DeJong hit 30 home runs, scored 97 runs, and stole nine bases. He only drove in 78 runs and hit a lowly .233, but underlying metrics suggest a breakout is on the horizon. DeJong has increased his BB% and reduced his K% in each of his three years in the league. At 26, he’s already one of the better defensive shortstops in baseball, so he figures to continue playing almost every day barring injury. His underwhelming average and RBI total can partly be attributed to a low .259 BABIP and hitting a paltry .193 with runners in scoring position last year. However, he’s been making strides with hitting coach Jeff Albert. Before MLB suspended spring training, DeJong was making the case to hit cleanup in a loaded St. Louis lineup. Projections, which are typically conservative, almost universally have him hitting above .250 this year, suggesting his floor is what Manny Machado did in 2019 (.256/.334/.462 with 32 HRs, 160 combined runs and RBIs) with the upside for much more. The current ADP has Machado as roughly a top-50 pick. You might get identical, perhaps even better production from DeJong more than 100 picks later.
– Paul Ghiglieri (@FantasyGhigs)
Christian Walker (1B – ARI)
Walker performed well in 2019, and his final stats were close to those of Paul Goldschmidt, whom he replaced last season. The 29-year-old slashed .259/.348/.476 with 29 home runs and 73 RBIs across 603 plate appearances in 2019. The one difference between Walker and Goldschmidt is that Goldy is going 10 rounds ahead of him. Walker will play every day and most likely bat fifth for Diamondbacks, as this is where he was slotted in the lineup before spring training was suspended. With the first base position being weak this year, Walker could easily finish in the top 10, making him a valuable pick in the later rounds.
– Brad Camara (@beerad30)
Taylor Rogers (RP – MIN)
Taylor Rogers is ranked ninth among closers in FantasyPros’ ECR, but he’s an incredible value even at that price. Rogers has finished with an ERA under 2.64 ERA in each of the past two seasons. Meanwhile, he increased his K/9 rate and decreased his BB/9 in both of those campaigns. While Rogers might never ascend to the first or second closer off draft boards, he’s a stud on a great team who should be treated as such. Rogers is a great value who should be going ahead of guys like Edwin Diaz, Brad Hand, and Kenley Jansen.
– Alex Altmix (@Altmix_23)