$1 Salary Cap Draft Targets (2023 Fantasy Baseball)
When I think of dollar draft targets in fantasy baseball, for some reason, I think of octogenarians lined up at the penny slots along the back wall of a disco (the disco makes it funnier). It’s not just the thrill of winning that these wise elders enjoy; it’s the thrill of winning from a low-risk gamble.
One of the greatest joys of playing fantasy baseball is predicting a profound profit for peanuts (and– obviously–using alliteration when talking about it). Last year, I banked Rowdy Tellez, who is now going for around $7, and Amed Rosario, who is now going for $15.
Situated below, you will find $1 draft targets for each position. I make no guarantees that the player in question will go for a buck in your league. For all I know, you have savvy managers obsessed with waiting for potential gems in the end game too, and once the end of a draft arrives, that obsession may increase the price. Don’t forget to use the Fantasy Pros Auction Dollar Value Calculator, as I have.
- Fitz’s Positional Primers
- Justin Mason’s Draft Day Cheat Sheet
- Players the Experts Draft
- Latest Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft
$1 Salary Cap Draft Targets
As the 20th-ranked catcher on Fantasy Pros, there is a good chance you can get him cheap. Traded from Toronto to Arizona in the offseason, Moreno hit .310/.365/.479 across his minor league experience. The main reason that he can help you is the batting average, with a contact percentage hovering around 81% last year. That’s a catcher that could give you a .290 BA. That’s rare at any position nowadays, let alone a catcher. Some might point to playing time as a reason to avoid him, but now the NL has the DH and Arizona played him in the infield/outfield near the end of 2022, I’m guessing he’ll get plenty of at-bats. Add his stellar defense to the mix, and he may even take Carson Kelly‘s job. Finally, managers are concerned about the lack of power, but during spring training, he has a 1.047 OPS with two homers in just over a dozen at-bats. He’s only 23, and if Arizona can help him loft more of his hits, he could be a steal for $1.
This is a deep position. You could get Triston Casas, Kyle Manzardo, or Josh Naylor for that dollar, but I’m sticking with Spencer Torkelson, who is listed as the 32nd first baseman on Fantasy Pros, with an ADP near 300. The former first overall pick of 2020 only hit .203 last year, but he’s been rushed through the system a little (partly due to that COVID-shortened season). His on-base skills have always been solid, and he hit 30 home runs across three levels (including AAA) in 2021. In the second half of 2022, his FB% increased by nearly 10%, and his EV and launch angle went from average to elite. With only 400 plate appearances at the major-league level, he needs time. But it’s coming.
Brendan Donovan (1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF – (STL)
Hey, if you can get Vaughn Grissom (ATL) for a dollar, go for it. But Brendan Donovan has an OPS of 1.126 in spring training, and he qualifies at both middle-infield positions. That OPS includes four home runs. He hit five home runs for the entire 2022 season. That power show might make it impossible to get him for a dollar, but it is spring training (after all), and maybe your league mates don’t want to chance it. If that’s the case, grab him. Even on your bench, he’s a Swiss army knife. He has all the skills we like to invest in for cheap. 82% contact rate last year, a .394 OBP, multi-position eligibility, and plenty of at-bats. Get this: When he plays this spring, he bats leadoff. Even if that isn’t his spot in the lineup during the regular season, there is a solid chance that he bats at the top of the order. To me, this is bargain bin gold.
Alec Bohm (3B – PHI) or Jeimer Candelario (3B – WAS) or (again) Brendan Donovan (STL)
I’ll break the rule a little. If you can get Alec Bohm for cheap, get him. In fact, go to $5 if you must. I might even go higher since 3B feels scarce, and I like the lineup. There is one big reason to buy Bohm this season: He’s starting to loft the ball more. He had an FB% of 22.7% in 2021, but it was 30.5% in 2022. If he can continue the trend and maintain his .280 BA alongside his second-half improvement against righties, then he’ll still be a bargain if you spend a little more.
You could also buy Brendan Donovan for this position too in most leagues.
If you’re looking for someone else in a deeper league, toss a dollar at Jeimer Candelario for no other reason than a hopeful return to the 626 at-bats from 2021, where he smacked 16 HR (with an xSLG that was nearly 20 points higher according to Fangraphs) and a .271 BA. He will probably bat in the middle of the lineup, and though he’s having a slow start to the spring, it’s still early.
Michael Conforto (SF) requires our attention. In his last full season before the pandemic, way back in 2019, when he managed to have more than 600 plate appearances, he hit .257/.363/.494 with 33 homers. In fact, the abbreviated 2020 season was even better: .322/.412/.515 with 9 homers in 233 plate appearances. If the 30-year-old outfielder is truly healthy again, he’s a commodity. So far, in spring training, the results are promising. He has three homers and a 1.243 OPS in 16 at-bats. When the Giants have him in the lineup, he’s batting leadoff. Conforto could be a steal for a dollar.
Reid Detmers pitched a no-hitter last May. Remember that? It might have been lost in his first-half numbers. Detmers has pitched only eight innings this spring, but here’s his line: 2.25 ERA/1.00 WHIP/11 K’s. The 10th overall pick in 2020 experienced some bumps in 2022, including a brief demotion to work on a slider that returned dividends upon his subsequent call-up. In the second half, he was beginning to figure things out. He had an ERA north of 4.50 in the first half, but in 71 IP in the second half, his ERA was just above 3.00. The K% increased by a whopping 7%. It’s time to buy in while we might still get a bargain. If he can figure out how to keep the ball on the ground more, he has ace potential.
Ryan Pressly is an awesome pitcher. I’m certain of this. But as the Astros closer in 2022, he lost a few weeks due to a knee issue, and then he lost a few weeks with a neck issue. He’s 34 years old, and he’s participating in the WBC this year. You should know that even with all of those injuries, he managed 33 saves in 2022 in 48 IP. Wow! But what that indicates to me is that the team really puts their relievers in great situations. Winning situations. So I’m buying the team and the new kid on the block, Bryan Abreu. From 2021 to 2022, the 26-year-old added about 2 mph to his fastball, increased his K% by 10%, decreased his BB% by 3%, and by the second half of last year, he managed a 1.72 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 46 punchouts in 31 IP.
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