2019 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: 10 bargain bats to eye in your draft

Yahoo Sports

By Fred Zinkie

Special to Yahoo Sports

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While most owners foolishly overthink the initial rounds, those who truly want to win their league have their sites set on nabbing potential studs in the second half of their draft. Each of the 10 men listed below will fall outside of pick-150 and could rival some of the early round picks at their position.

1. Yasmani Grandal, catcher, Brewers (ADP-154)

The seventh catcher off the board a typical Yahoo draft, Grandal could easily rank within the top-3 at his premium position by the end of the season. The slugger possesses a potent power stroke (24 homers per season across 2016-18) and is moving from neutral-at-best Dodger Stadium to homer-happy Miller Park. A pull hitter who produces lofty rates of fly balls and hard contact, Grandal trails only Gary Sanchez among the favorites to lead all catchers in long balls.

[Positional Rankings: Top 300 Overall | C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | P]

2. Tyler White, first baseman, Astros (ADP-247)

A deep-league sleeper at times in recent years, the 28-year-old White is set to finally get a real shot at full-time action. Currently slated as the Astros designated hitter, the slugger is a career .305 hitter in the Minors who accumulated 54 homers between Triple-A and the bigs during the past two seasons. White could collect plenty of runs and RBI by hitting for power and average in a star-studded Astros lineup.

3. Yoan Moncada, second baseman, White Sox (ADP-169)

We all know that Moncada strikes out too often -- 33.4 percent of the time last season, to be exact. But good things happen when he makes contact, including a solid ability to use all fields and keep the ball off the ground. Still just 23 years old, the former top prospect could make major strides at the dish by making some improvements with his whiff rate. And of course, somewhere within this skill set lurks the player who stole 111 bases in 267 career Minor League games.

Chicago White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada could provide last-round value in 2019 fantasy drafts. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Chicago White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada could provide last-round value in 2019 fantasy drafts. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

4. Nick Senzel, third baseman, Reds (ADP-242)

The Reds’ consensus top prospect, Senzel oozes potential. The youngster hit .321 with 14 homers and the same number of steals across two Minor League levels in 2017 before posting an .887 OPS in Triple-A during an injury-interrupted 2018 season. Now contending for the starting center field gig (which would lead to two-position eligibility), the 23-year-old could be a five-category asset in shallow leagues as soon as Opening Day.

5. Jose Peraza, shortstop, Reds (ADP-151)

Although points-league owners can keep their Peraza optimism muted, the speedy shortstop deserves more attention on the roto circuit. After all, the 24-year-old should post a helpful average (career .282 BA), swipe roughly 25 bases and score plenty of runs. And with improving power (14 homers in 2018), Peraza is bordering on being a five-category asset.

6. Hunter Renfroe, outfielder, Padres (ADP-219)

Few fantasy owners recognize that just three players out-homered Renfroe during the second half of 2018. And those who are expecting a major pullback this year should check the advanced stats, as they will notice that the slugger was among baseball’s best in hard-contact rate last season (47.2 percent) and consistently produces plenty of fly balls (career 44.1 percent rate). Although he needs to beat out fellow masher Franmil Reyes for a starting job, Renfroe has a real chance to go deep 35 times this year.

7. Max Kepler, outfielder, Twins (ADP-247)

Those who stash Kepler on their bench may wind up with one of this season’s biggest power surprises. The outfielder logged an elite 46.2 percent fly-ball rate last season, and his 37.1 percent hard-contact rate was more than respectable. And even with a lowly 9.9 percent home run to fly ball rate, he managed to reach the 20-dinger plateau. With better batted-ball luck this year -- he also endured a .236 BABIP in 2018 -- Kepler could hit .260 with 30 round-trippers.

8. Domingo Santana, outfielder, Mariners (ADP-249)

Despite hitting .278 with 30 homers and 15 steals in 2017, Santana was squeezed out of a crowded Brewers ’18 outfield that included Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun. His new situation in Seattle is similarly dicey, but the retooling Mariners would be wise to give the 26-year-old Santana the left field gig over declining veteran Jay Bruce. A return to his ‘17 level is not out of the question.

9. Eduardo Escobar, 3B/SS, Diamondbacks (ADP-234)

As a multi-position asset who hit .272 with 23 homers and 84 RBI last season, Escobar should be getting more than late-round love in Yahoo drafts. After all, his career year in 2018 was only a slight uptick from the 21 long balls and 73 RBI he produced in just 457 at-bats during the previous campaign. With plenty of playing time available in Arizona’s infield, Escobar should be a lineup regular who steadily impacts shallow-league teams.

10. Robinson Chirinos, catcher, Astros (ADP-239)

At age 34, Chirinos is definitely the oldest player on this list. But late-career breakouts sometimes take place at the catcher position, the veteran may have laid the foundation for future opportunities when he compiled 35 long balls across the past two campaigns. The 24th catcher off the board in a typical Yahoo draft, Chirinos could provide 20 homers and 70 RBI by bringing his power skills (48.9 percent fly-ball rate, 44.1 percent hard-contact rate in 2018) to Houston’s productive lineup.

More fantasy draft prep from Yahoo Sports

• Ranking the safest first-round picks

• Fades: 10 players one expert is avoiding

• Are these bounce-back candidates worth their ADPs?

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