10 Lottery Tickets to Target (2020 Fantasy Baseball)
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While it’s good practice to stay conservative in the early rounds — selecting players that are considered to be safer bets — fantasy owners should really open things up in the later rounds. In an effort to help fantasy baseball owners ace their late-round selections, we’ve asked our writers for their favorite lottery tickets of 2020. Lottery tickets are afterthoughts by many that have a chance to cash in big time. In this case, we’re looking for players outside the top 200 in our expert consensus rankings (ECR).
Q: Who is your top lottery ticket in fantasy baseball drafts (ECR 200+)?
Dylan Carlson (OF – STL)
Every single year there are two or three rookies who break out to become league-winners. Last year it was Pete Alonso and Fernando Tatis, before them it was Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa, Juan Soto, and Walker Buehler. It is going to happen again this year and my money is on the five-category capable, MLB-ready Cardinals outfielder. With the entire MLB likely adopting the DH this season, Carlson should now have a way onto the roster and into everyday at-bats since Dexter Fowler belongs out of the outfield and at DH at this stage in his career.
– Bobby Sylvester (@bobbyfantasypro)
Garrett Hampson (2B/SS/OF – COL)
Hampson had been battling for the left-field job but now, with a universal DH likely, he should find an everyday role somewhere. Even if he doesn’t, Hampson should find enough playing time in a super-utility role to warrant a starting spot in a fantasy lineup. Remember, despite a down year, Hampson hit five home runs and stole nine bases in September last year, and stole at least 36 bases in each of his abbreviated minor-league seasons. He could legitimately win the stolen base crown if he gets enough at-bats. Given the meager draft capital necessary to acquire him, I’m targeting him everywhere.
– Dan Harris (@danharris80)
Mitch Keller (SP – PIT)
It isn’t easy to recommend a starting pitcher who gave up 38 earned runs in 48 innings of big league action last year, but that is what I am going to attempt to do. A lot of fantasy analysts really like Mitch Keller as a bounce-back candidate due to his advanced stats. Yes, his 7.13 ERA is hideous to look at. However, what if I told you that of all starters who threw a minimum of 40 innings last year, only 14 had a better park-adjusted FIP than Keller? Sure, batters hit .343 against him in 2019, but statcast showed an expected batting average against of just .265. Keller’s shine has faded a bit but he was Baseball America’s 12th ranked prospect entering 2018. He also ranked 22nd entering last year. Additionally, he’s still considered a prospect! That is how small of a sample size we are working with him from last year. Lastly, the Pirates are becoming a little more analytically friendly. Ray Searage, who had a ton of success throughout his career preaching a down-in-the strike zone philosophy, is out as pitching coach. Much like the Twins last year, the franchise is set to undergo an analytics overhaul, which is great news for Keller as a fantasy asset.
– Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma)
Austin Hays (OF- BAL)
I think Hays has a chance to hit in hitter-friendly Camden Yards. He appears to finally be healthy, he’ll hit at the top of the order and, he will be regular in the lineup. He has outstanding upside and he’s never really had a chance to shine. I think he’ll be even better when Trey Mancini returns to the lineup, but Hays has great appeal for me.
– Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff)
Luke Voit (1B – NYY)
What if I told you the 21st overall first baseman would give you a .280/.384/.517 split with 35 HRs and 95 RBIs? You would take that every time. That’s exactly what Luke Voit has done since becoming the Yankees’ first baseman. In a little over a year, he’s played 157 games, and provided a season that just about every first baseman in baseball would be satisfied with. In that time, he’s had a .393 wOBA and 115 WRC, which are both excellent numbers. Given the extra time to truly start the season healthy, Voit will be a steal if you get him anywhere near his current ADP.
– Joe Buttgereit (@joebutter_)
Domingo Santana (OF – CLE)
Austin Hays, Corey Dickerson, and Kolten Wong are some of my favorite post-200 buys, but I’ll dig even deeper. Domingo Santana is going to hit in the middle of a great lineup, and had a tremendous first half in 2019 before getting injured, slashing .286/.354/.496 – good for a 127 wRC+. The underlying metrics back it up, given his barrel rate was in the top 15 percent of the league. Heading in to 2020, I’m expecting 20-25 homers and a combined 130 runs and RBI over a full season. Tack on a .260+ average and nearly double-digit stolen bases, and you have a solid lottery ticket as your OF4/5.
– Carmen Maiorano (@carmsclubhouse)
Miguel Andujar (3B – NYY)
If we’re aiming for a lottery ticket — a player who could perform so well that it’s a relative explosion in value compared to the price paid — then Miguel Andujar fits the mold perfectly. He’ll be back in action after missing basically the entire 2019 season, but the only full campaign of his short career was outstanding. He displayed balance in both power and batting average, and the fact that he almost never walks won’t hurt us in standard leagues. Instead, the free-swinging Andujar can return right back to his previous levels and move us into league-winning territory. The New York Yankees are committed to getting Andujar in the lineup as often as possible, which should lead to an increase in position eligibility.
– Mario Mergola (@MarioMergola)
Yandy Diaz (1B/3B – TB)
Yandy Diaz was a rock-solid contributor in 2019 before going down for the rest of the regular season on July 22nd with a fractured left foot. Until that point, Diaz finally lived up to some of the hype that many thought his superhuman body could produce. If he had played a full season, Diaz could have realistically hit 30 home runs, scored 100 runs, and hit around .270. What began to change for him in 2019 was his flyball rate. Up until 2019, when Diaz wasn’t hitting worm burners, he was rocking line drives right at defenders. Diaz simply wasn’t taking advantage of his own skillset. He had the body of a home-run hitter but the approach of a utility guy. At last, Diaz changed that in 2019; his GB% and LD% both decreased, while his FB% rose nearly 10% points from 2018. His FB%, which was 32% in 2019, still has an incredible amount of room to grow. If he can continue to up that number and hit more home runs, Diaz has the chance to be an incredible value in 2020.
– Alex Altmix (Altmix_23)
Dansby Swanson (SS – ATL)
Swanson admittedly does not offer league-winning upside. There are also plenty of top shortstops to grab before the 2015 first overall pick, but the value is often too tempting to pass on as a cheap middle infielder or bench bat. Before a heel injury banished him to the IL on July 24, the once-prized prospect was making good on past buzz by batting .265/.330/.468 with 17 homers and seven steals. Despite struggling mightily after returning in late August, he still concluded his age-25 campaign with a higher expected wOBA (.347) than Fernando Tatis Jr. and Gleyber Torres. Taking Swanson anywhere near his 268.6 consensus ADP presents a high probability of profit.
– Andrew Gould (@AndrewGould4)
Trent Grisham (OF – SD)
Trent Grisham was traded to the Padres this off-season as part of the Luis Urias deal and figures to be the team’s everyday centerfielder. He is an on-base machine and owned a .376 OBP in the minors. The 23-year-old outfielder has the ability to hit for power and has above-average speed. Grisham slashed .300/.407/.603 line with 71 runs, 26 home runs, 71 RBI, and 12 steals across 170 across two levels in the minors. His 2019 .231/.328/.410 slash line in his brief MLB tenure with the Brewers doesn’t stand out, but to get a hitter capable of smashing 15-20 homers and swiping 10 bags around the 275th pick is a steal. Expect Grisham to hit in the top third of the lineup and be a solid contributor to your fantasy teams all season long. He is worth selecting as your OF 4/5, especially in roto-leagues with OBP as a category.
– Brad Camara (@beerad30)