Late Round Sleepers: ADP Bargains after 300
Updated: Feb 10
Fantasy baseball leagues are hardly ever won in the first few rounds. It takes a few deep dart throws to pan out to build a great lineup in a redraft league. I have been drafting for months now, including an 1800 player 30 team dynasty league, so I've been through the player pool and back a few times. I have identified below for you a few players with ADP south of 300 that could be impact players for you. These are not building blocks, they are fliers that take very little investment with potential for high returns. The recommendation is to jump two or more rounds higher than the ADP on players such as these to avoid the sniper.
David Dahl, Texas, OF, ADP 311
Dahl was a victim of a numbers game in Colorado and was non-tendered after an abysmal 2020 which saw him bottom out with only a .470 OPS. A 17% launch angle and career lows in walk and strikeout percentages lead me to a belief that he was pressing hard in his mere 99 at bats. Now with the Rangers, the path to 450 at bats seems relatively clear. If he can normalize his K/BB ratio, a .250 AVG with 15-20 HR, and 5-10 SB is in the cards. He basically offers the same median performance as Austin Hays, but 75 picks later.
Brad Keller, Kansas City, P, ADP 319
Conversely, Keller was simply outstanding in a short stint last year posting a 2.47 ERA. Keller possesses maybe the best slider in the game, having never been barreled up once in 2020 despite throwing it a whopping 328 times! He seems to have figured out a pitch arsenal that works for him, having increased the slider usage by more than 5% each of the last two years. Keller is your prototypical pitch-to-contact starter, and will not give you the large strike out numbers you are probably looking for. Being on a horrible team suppresses his win opportunity, as well. Keller did, however, average 6.1 innings per start last year, which was 14th among all pitchers. If you are in a league that replaced wins with Quality Starts or Innings, Keller gets a huge jump up and will help control your ratios.
Scott Kingery, Philadelphia, MI/OF, ADP 337
Ok, I'll admit I own a Scott Kingery jersey from when he was on the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs in AAA, so maybe I am still drunk on the Kool Aid. Kingery was one of those athletes who seemed to be greatly affected by Covid-19 last offseason. He came into last offseason bulked up, then Spring Training got shut down, then he caught a lingering case of the virus, then the season started up. He was never able to take advantage of his new body type and it became a lost season for him. What is important though is that two seasons in a row he improved his K/BB percentage and first pitch approach. In 2019 Kingery led MLB in 0-1 counts so the 65 hit tool we saw in the minor leagues never had a chance. With the return of Didi Gregorius, there doesn't seem to be a regular position on the surface in Philly for Kingery, but he should lead a stable of Roman Quinn and Adam Haseley in at bats in CF while spelling Andrew McCutchen in LF and getting a few games weekly in the infield. Kingery is one of the fastest runners in the league, so if he can get the OBP up to league average, there is an easy 20 stolen bases here. Add that to 15-20 HR and multi-position eligibility, Kingery makes for a perfect first bench player in daily lineup leagues.
Madison Bumgarner, Arizona, P, ADP 346
I know how ugly 2020 was, and I cannot stop looking at the 6.48 ERA either, but hear me out. Prior to 2020, Bumgarner had only had one season with an ERA over 3.50. In a season which he changed teams, with an interrupted spring training, where he had to go on the IL with a back injury, and only pitched 42 innings, we as a fantasy community, who just two years ago drafted him as a top ten starter, have accepted this terrible short sample, labeled it as the new norm, and have taken this four-time All-Star and three-time World Series Champion and relegated him to a fantasy bench role. Sign me up for that, especially since his nemesis Kiki Hernandez has moved on to the American League. If you take out the two blow up starts before he went on the IL, he was otherwise in line with his career averages. He encouragingly ended the season with ten scoreless innings.
Bumgarner is going undrafted in many shallow formats. He is still only 31 years old, despite the perception that he is old and washed. He may be, but if I can stash him on a bench and watch for a while, I'm willing to bet we will get a sub 4 ERA behind a quality chunk of innings and a 8 k/9 rate, and I will cross my fingers there is not a universal DH this season. If am wrong and he turns back into Mason Saunders, we just cut him and move on.
Adam Eaton, CWS, OF ADP 365
Eaton returns to the team where he excelled from 2014-16, and very well could be perched toward the top of this elite lineup. Eaton comes with a .282 career AVG and .343 wOBA. After the 20th round, you are generally drafting hitters who will drain your average, but not here. Considering the double digit floor in SB and HR, I cannot think of a better target on roto teams requiring five outfielders. If he finds his way to 500+ at bats in front of possibly the best lineup in the American League, he will shatter every projection model and see his way to 100 runs scored. DFS players, file this name away. He will be cash game value gold all year long.
Franchy Cordero 394
He has never been healthy, and therefore never had a regular role, so it's very hard to make a large investment in Franchy. Seemingly around forever, but only 26 years old, Franchy appears poised to grab semi-regular at bats as the left-handed threat in the middle/back of the Royals lineup. When looking at the analytics of his 284 career at bats over four seasons, there may just be an All-Star buried in there. His average exit velocity is a full 4.2 mph above league average, hard hit pecentage is superior by 9.8% and barrel rate is double the league average at 12.4% There is a little Pedro Cerrano in him when it comes to breaking pitches, as he is below average when chasing pitches out of the zone and has a tendency to swing at the first pitch.
At 6'3" 225 lbs, Franchy has surprising speed to add to the raw power, and we all know that Kansas City loves to run. With 500 AB we could get a league winner here, with a 30 HR, 20 SB ceiling not being impossible.
Others to jump on now before the ADP creeps up: Kike Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Alex Cobb, Adam Ottavino, Alex Wood, Matt Moore, Chris Archer