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Hitters Outside the Top 100 Overall that Can Finish No. 1 at Their Position (Fantasy Baseball)

Apr 2, 2020

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. showed immense upside after returning from a demotion last year.

Last week, we asked our writers for pitchers ranked outside the top-20 overall at the position that could finish in the top five. In a similar vein, this week we’ll examine later-round hitters that could end the season atop the rankings at their position.

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Q: Which hitter outside the top 100 overall in ECR has the best shot at finishing first overall at their position?

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (2B/OF – TOR)
From the time Gurriel was called back up by the Blue Jays, he proceeded to bat .292 with 20 homers, 50 runs, 43 RBIs, and five steals in just 71 games. That isn’t to say he will continue that scorching pace, but there is a chance that is the very player we now have. If it is, the pace over a full season comes to 46 homers, 115 runs, 100 RBIs and 12 steals with a .292 average. IE: a better version of Freddie Freeman.
– Bobby Sylvester (@bobbyfantasypro)

Cavan Biggio (2B/OF – TOR)
In part because second base is the position most devoid of quality options, Biggio gets my vote here. If you prorated his numbers last over a full season, you’d get 26 home runs, 22 steals, 107 runs, and 78 RBIs. The .234 batting average hurt, but that four-category production is elite. Now, with another year under his belt and batting in between Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., there’s every reason to think Biggio will improve. If he can adjust his overly passive approach (he swung at just 63.3% of pitches in the strike zone last year, ranking 204th in the majors) and increase his batting average, Biggio has the potential to put up an elite season, particularly for a second baseman.
– Dan Harris (@danharris80)

I debated Cavan Biggio vs. Lourdes Gurriel for this choice and decided to go with Biggio because Gurriel only played nine games at second base last season and won’t be eligible there in many leagues. As for Biggio, he flashed his potential last season and is an OBP machine. If he can cut his strikeout rate down even slightly from 28.6%, we could be looking at a 20/20 player with a .250 average, an on-base percentage north of .375, and more than 150 combined RBIs and runs scored. And those projections only account for a slight improvement. In 43 games in Triple-A last year, Biggio’s walk rate was 19.5% while his strikeout rate was 16.1%. If he even splits the difference between his MLB and Triple-A strikeout rates in 2020, we could be looking at a breakout year.
– Mike Maher (@MikeMaher)

Miguel Sano (1B/3B – MIN)
In order for a player to vault to the top position spot, there needs to be some impetus for an explosion. What better word is there to describe Miguel Sano than “explosive”? The Minnesota Twins’ slugger is built for home runs, and he has the potential to outpace everyone in the league — let alone first basemen — in this category. The biggest concern with Sano remains his health, but we’re swinging for the proverbial fences by looking for high upside. It’s the same approach Sano takes. He probably won’t catch his fellow third basemen in the rankings — there are too many ahead of him — but Sano has a chance at finishing ahead of all other first base-eligible players.
– Mario Mergola (@MarioMergola)

Tommy Edman (2B/SS/3B/OF – STL)
Not only does Tommy Edman have the talent to finish first at his position, he also has four chances to do so. Before we get into Edman’s numbers, let’s take a quick second to appreciate the fact that he’s eligible at 2B, 3B, SS, and OF. Talk about being able to help at multiple positions. Extend Edman’s at-bats to a full season last year, and he could have hit 20 home runs, stolen 30 bases, and hit over .300. Edman’s BABIP of .346 last season should be sustainable, too. He hits the ball hard but also has the speed to leg out some squibbers over the course of the year. Finally, the Cardinals released infielder Yairo Munoz last month, further signifying their belief that Edman will be a strong contributor. Don’t be surprised if Tommy Edman finishes towards the top of the rankings at more than one position this season.
– Alex Altmix (@Altmix_23)

Franmil Reyes (OF – CLE)
I think Reyes remains way under the radar regarding his home run and RBI potential. Still going fairly low in drafts, he’ll hit in the middle of an effective lineup and he has improved his patience and selectivity at the plate. He’ll also get to play in the outfield in National League parks this year. Last year, manager Terry Francona foolishly kept him on the bench in NL parks. Reyes could really bust out this year.
– Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff)

Mitch Garver (C – MIN)
Admittedly, picking a catcher for this question is cheating a little, since J.T. Realmuto is the only backstop going inside the top-100 picks. Still, I wanted to use this as an opportunity to highlight Garver’s sensational 2019 campaign. The 29-year-old erupted for 31 homers and a .995 OPS last season while ranking in the 97th percentile in both hard-hit rate and wOBA. Yes, Garver’s career year seemingly “came out of nowhere.” However, we are in the golden age of player development. A tweak here and a change there is all it takes nowadays. So what’s the biggest reason to buy into Garver this year? He played in just 93 games last season, splitting time with Jason Castro, who is now gone. Combine Garver’s efficiency with new opportunity, and you have a recipe for fantasy success.
– Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)

Christian Walker (1B – ARI)
I’m going back to the well on this one, but Christian Walker has the underlying metrics to be the top first baseman this year. Walker bested both Pete Alonso and Cody Bellinger in average exit velocity and hard-hit rate and was just behind them in barrels. These metrics resulted in a replica of Paul Goldschmidt‘s season last year. Walker also chipped in eight stolen bases, which makes him even more valuable in standard roto leagues. If Walker can cut back on his strikeouts the way he did in the minors in 2017, we could see a 40-homer, 10-steal campaign with a combined 180 runs and RBIs over a full season. I’m not concerned with Jake Lamb taking away at-bats from him, seeing that Lamb is injury-prone and has poor underlying metrics when healthy. Nobody saw Alonso breaking through to be a top-three first baseman last year, so don’t discount Walker.
– Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)

J.D. Davis (3B/OF – NYM)
J.D. Davis was essentially J.D. Martinez with fewer plate appearances last season. When finally given a brighter spotlight, he batted .335/.395/.584 with 13 homers after the All-Star break. Playing time is still an issue, and there are too many superstar third basemen and outfielders for this daydreaming to come to fruition. Yet if we’re fantasizing about a best-case-scenario, Davis’ .383 expected wOBA makes it easy to envision a four-category stud if given an everyday opportunity.
– Andrew Gould (@AndrewGould4)

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