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3 Undervalued Hitters to Draft (2024 Fantasy Baseball)

3 Undervalued Hitters to Draft (2024 Fantasy Baseball)

Young hitters who’ve demonstrated skills in the majors are ideal to invest in during fantasy baseball drafts. If their average draft position (ADP) is lower than their underlying data in 2023 suggests it should be, they’re perfect to target earlier to ensure securing their services. The following three hitters are undervalued relative to their performances in 2023.

Undervalued Hitters

Josh Lowe (TB – OF) – 93.7 ADP

Lowe stuffed the boxscore in the upper minors but couldn’t find his footing in The Show in 2022. The light went on last year, and he popped 20 homers and stole 32 bases with 71 runs, 83 RBIs and a .292 batting average.

According to our value-based ranking (VBR) metric, the do-it-all outfielder was the 26th-ranked hitter last season. However, Lowe is only the 54th hitter selected at his current ADP.

The toolsy outfielder’s power and speed are legitimate. According to Baseball Savant, Lowe was tied for 58th in barrels per plate appearance rate (7.6 Brls/PA%) among 258 qualified hitters. Per FanGraphs, he also had a .277 xBA and .477 xSLG, not too far below his .292 batting average and .500 slugging. In addition, Lowe’s 28.8 feet/second sprint speed was also between the major league average of 27 ft/sec and an elite mark of 30 ft/sec.

Encouragingly, Lowe’s plate discipline data was substantially better in the second half. He had a 40.4 O-Swing%, 16.6 SwStr%, and 79.9 Z-Contact% in the first half before improving those to a 37.2 O-Swing%, 12.5 SwStr% and 83.2 Z-Contact% in the second half. As a result, the outfielder’s 5.8 BB% and 27.4 K% in the first half improved to a 6.6 BB% and 21.6 K% in the second half. Lowe is a steal at his ADP and worth reaching a round earlier to select.

Francisco Alvarez (NYM – C) – 161.7 ADP

Catchers have a myriad of responsibilities, and sometimes their bat lags when they reach the majors. That wasn’t the case for Alvarez. He was only 21 years old in his first full big-league season and had a rock-solid 97 wRC+. More importantly for fantasy, Alvarez clubbed 25 homers in 423 plate appearances.

Eye-popping batted-ball data supported Alvarez’s over-the-fence power. He was tied for 33rd in barrels per plate appearance rate (8.3 Brls/PA%) and tied for 43rd in flyball/line drive exit velocity (95.7 mph).

The rookie catcher’s performance was streaky, and his production cratered in the second half. Alvarez had a 119 wRC+ in the first half and a 72 wRC+ in the second half. According to The Athletic, the Mets attributed his slump in the second half to a massive climb in games caught. Alvarez was behind the dish for 104 games last year. His previous high was 77 games.

New York’s explanation for Alvarez’s production tailing off is reasonable. Moreover, per FanGraphs, he’s the only rookie catcher 21 years old or younger since 1871 to hit over 20 homers. At the worst, Alvarez should provide gamers with power. However, he had a .277 batting average in 296 plate appearances in Double-A in 2022 and has untapped potential to be more than a power-only catcher.

Christopher Morel (CHC – 2B/3B/SS/OF) – 230.3 ADP

In a part-time role (107 games and 429 plate appearances), Morel was the 106th-ranked hitter last season. He played all over the diamond, hence his multi-position eligibility. The Cubs haven’t decided where he’ll play this season, but getting his bat in the lineup is a priority.

Morel has significant power, muscling up for 26 homers and a .260 ISO in 429 plate appearances last season. He was also 14th in barrels per plate appearance rate (9.6 Brls/PA%) and tied for 12th in flyball/line drive exit velocity (97.1 mph).

Morel’s power comes at a cost. He had a 31.0 K% last year. Although, it was an improvement over his 32.2 K% in 425 plate appearances in 2022. Morel’s approach was also encouraging. His 32.4 O-Swing% was only slightly higher than the league average (31.9 O-Swing%), and his 74.2 Z-Swing% was significantly higher than the league average (68.8 Z-Swing%). In other words, Morel wasn’t chasing balls and was combatting his swing-and-miss issues with more swings on pitches in the strike zone.

Moreover, while Morel’s .247 batting average wasn’t anything to write home about, it was supported by a .248 xBA. Morel won’t help the batting-average category, but he won’t single-handedly tank the category.

Morel can also chip in stolen bases. He had six last year after swiping 10 in 2022. Yet, his speed provides hope for a return to double-digit steals this season. His 28.6 ft/sec sprint speed last season was above average. Morel is a screaming value, and his multi-position eligibility adds to the appeal of reaching earlier than his ADP to scoop him up.

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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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