We’re right in the thick of fantasy baseball draft season. For any remaining drafts you have in 2017, consider the following bargain alternatives to some popular targets. ADP data is pulled from NFBC (National Fantasy Baseball Championship).
Third base: Draft Jake Lamb (ADP: 148) instead of Kyle Seager (67)
Seager had a sizable advantage in batting average (.278 to .249 for Lamb) but otherwise their end of season totals were quite similar. Seager hit 30 home runs, scored 89 runs and tallied 99 RBI while stealing three bases. Lamb hit 29 bombs, scored 81 runs, knocked in 91 and swiped six bags. It’s worth pointing out that at the All-Star break, Lamb was hitting .291. Early in the second half, he sustained a hand injury that clearly hampered him for the remainder of the year. If he’s anything close to the monster we saw in the first half, Lamb could outproduce Seager this time around despite being available 80 picks later.
Outfield: Draft Jackie Bradley Jr. (145) instead of George Springer (34)
Since the light went on for him in the second half of 2015, JBJ has hit .266 with 134 runs, 35 home runs, 127 RBI and 11 steals. During that span, Bradley ranks 15th among outfielders in homers and is top 10 in runs and RBI. Prorate those numbers to 600 plate appearances and you get .266-94-25-89-8. Springer, meanwhile, produced a .261-116-29-82-9 last season. Is a 110-pick difference justified by a handful more runs scored? And that’s if Springer plays every day again this year. After missing big chunks of his first two seasons, that’s no sure thing.
Starting pitcher: Draft Steven Matz (164) instead of Cole Hamels (83)
Hamels has a much longer track record of success than Matz, of course. But he’s also 33 years old and coming off his worst season in nearly a decade. While both pitchers struck out about a batter per inning and posted ERAs in the 3.30-3.40 range, Matz had a better WHIP (1.21 to 1.31 for Hamels). Each pitcher plays for a contender, so they’re likely to produce similar win totals. Matz is younger, pitches in the easiest league and park, and can be had a full seven rounds after Hamels.
Closer: Draft Cam Bedrosian (219) instead of David Robertson (124)
Robertson’s strikeout percentage has dropped from 37 percent to 28 percent over the last two seasons. He’s also seen his ERA rise in each of the last three years, and just posted his worst WHIP (1.36) this decade. With the White Sox entering a full-scale rebuild, Robertson is widely expected to be traded at some point during 2017. So, while Bedrosian may not have a death grip on the ninth inning in L.A. just yet, that’s not enough to justify the gap in ADP between them. Especially when you consider that Bedrosian’s ratios (1.12 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) were much better, and he posted better strikeout and walk rates. The Angels’ bullpen is terrible, so unless Huston Street (who’s already injured again) has a comeback in him, Bedrosian’s a good bet to take the reins fairly soon.
Kyle Bishop is a lead MLB columnist at RotoBaller.com. His articles and fantasy baseball rankings are your secret weapon for winning fantasy leagues.