Draft Prep: Late-Round Multi-Category Hitting Targets

These players going outside of the top 175 picks could help catch you up.

Ever find yourself midway through your draft and realize you need to make up ground in multiple categories? I took a look at the projections for players going outside of the top 175 picks to find players that could help catch you up.

For this exercise, I used the ATC Projections and narrowed my pool down to hitters projected to have at least 350 plate appearances (280 players). I assumed a 12-team Roto format with the 13 starting hitting positions (CI, MI, 5 OF, 1 UT), so 156 starting hitters. For our output, I tried to keep the bar relatively high at batters finishing in the top-70th percentile of a particular category. I ended up cheating a little on a couple of players, but the results were 10 players drafted outside the top 175 (NFBC) that finished in the top 67% (told you I cheated) or better in three categories. In addition, there were 16 hitters that contributed to that level in two categories. I included them below in a handy-dandy table for your reference. Without further ado, let’s get to the list.

 

Three-Category Contributors

 

Khris Davis, DH

175 ADP — HRs, RBIs, Runs

At the edge of our ADP range is Khris Davis, who was being drafted in the top 50 last year. Davis was once viewed as the poster-child of consistency, thanks to his four-consecutive seasons of batting .247. A trio of years hitting over 40 bombs doesn’t hurt that reputation either.

If there’s one thing Davis isn’t supposed to do, it’s play the field, and that’s where 2019 got derailed. After mashing 10 bombs in April, Davis was forced into the outfield in an interleague game on May 5, where he made an excellent sliding catch. Unfortunately, he slid into the left-field railing in the process, banging his shoulder. Davis didn’t go on the injured list but playing through the injury didn’t do him any favors.

This year, Davis is projected for 36 taters, which placed him in the 97th percentile of home run projections. In addition, his 95 RBIs (91st percentile) and 79 runs (73rd percentile) place Khrush in the elite group of late-round, three-category contributors.

 

Lorenzo Cain, OF

176 ADP — Runs, SBs, AVG

Like Davis, Lorenzo Cain suffered through an injury-riddled 2019 season. He played through an inflamed nerve in his thumb and hurt his knee (another injury he played through) making a diving catch. Knowing this information, it’s understandable that his productivity was down.

The projection systems are expecting a repeat performance of last year, with the batting average bouncing back some. His projected stolen bases land in the 91st percentile. Lord knows steals are scarce this year, and Cain’s come with runs (70th percentile) and average (82nd percentile). Cain is currently projected to hit second for the Brewers and with health, we could see him flash the 30 SB upside that we saw in 2018.

 

Jean Segura, SS

178 ADP — Runs, SBs, AVG

Jean Segura dealt with myriad of injuries in 2019 — hamstring, ankle, knee, shin. It was not a great first year in Philadelphia. Despite dealing with the injuries, Segura still managed a .280 average while putting up decent counting stats.

Segura’s .288 batting average projection puts him in the 91st percentile, and, with health, it’s reasonable to see a return to the .300 average that we saw in 2016-2018. Roster Resource currently has Segura hitting in the two-hole which supports his 69th percentile run productivity projection. Finally, Segura’s 13 stolen bases (man, SBs are really bad this year) place him in the 82nd percentile. Segura makes for a decent MI option late in your draft.

 

Paul DeJong, SS

190 ADP — HRs, RBIs, Runs

No doubt, Paul DeJong had a rough second-half in 2019. He seemed to sell out for power, hitting more bombs at the expense of his average. The good news is he’s only 26 entering his fourth year in the majors. Being an excellent defender will keep DeJong in the lineup every day. Roster Resource has him slotted as the cleanup hitter for the Cardinals and his 29 homer projection places DeJong in the 83rd percentile. On top of the bombs, DeJong’s runs and RBI projections also fall in the 81st and 82nd percentiles, respectively.

 

Bryan Reynolds, OF

192 ADP — Runs, RBIs, AVG

Bryan Reynolds has rapidly become one of my favorite later round picks. Yes, I hate that he’s on the Pirates, but he’s slated to hit third. In his first major league action, Reynolds posted an impressive 8.4% walk rate. While his .387 BABIP will most likely regress, that’s already built into his projection. With a projected .288 average, Reynolds lands in the 91st percentile and brings along runs (79th percentile) and RBI (69th percentile).

 

Adam Eaton, OF

197 ADP – Runs, SBs, AVG

Adam Eaton showed us what a healthy year for him looks like in 2019. This year, he’s slated to hit second for the Nationals, which should solidify his runs production. Eaton’s batting average projection lands him in the 88th percentile, while his stolen bases (81st) and runs (81st) aren’t far behind. With an ADP close to 200, Eaton is one of my favorite late-round picks.

 

Didi Gregorius, SS

201 ADP — HRs, Runs, RBIs

As a Phillies fan, I’m pumped to see Didi Gregorius in a new color of pinstripes this year. Gregorius made his return from Tommy John surgery in June and had some ups and downs. The “ups” were that the power was still there. Didi mashed 16 homers in just over 300 plate appearances. The “downs” were the .238 average and sub-.300 OBP.

If Gregorius comes into the season healthy, he provides homers (71st percentile) to go along with runs (68th) and RBI (80th). I wish he was projected to hit higher in the lineup, as he’s currently slated to hit sixth, but he should have plenty of RBI opportunities in that spot.

 

Justin Upton, OF

215 ADP — HRs, Runs, RBIs

Justin Upton had a 2019 to forget. It started off with a toe injury in a minor league game right before the season started. He finally made his season debut in mid-June and hit three bombs in 12 games to start his year. Unfortunately, he hit under the Mendoza Line over the next two months. A knee injury ended his 2019 after hitting just 12 homers.

Upton comes into 2020 healthy and an upgraded Angels lineup (Anthony Rendon and healthy Shohei Ohtani) should provide plenty of RBI opportunities for Upton. His RBI projection falls in the 78th percentile and his homers (77th) and runs (67th) don’t lag too far behind.

 

Rougned Odor, 2B

219 ADP — HRs, RBIs, SBs

The risk/reward that comes with Rougned Odor is unmatched by any other player this year. On one hand, if he manages to hit even .240 and hits his projected counting stats, you get a potential league winner at pick 219. On the other hand, he could bat sub-.200 in April and lose his job to Nick Solak. If good Odor shows up and he manages to hit his projection, he’d land in the 83rd percentile of homers, 79th percentile of stolen bases and 70th percentile of RBI.

 

Cesar Hernandez, 2B

262 ADP — Runs, SBs, AVG

This one surprised me some and required me to cheat some, but I felt it needed to be pointed out. Cesar Hernandez has literally zero competition for the Indians’ second base job. It’s pretty crazy how thin stolen bases are this year, but Hernandez’s projection of 11 steals lands him in the 79th percentile. Hernandez tacks on runs (67th percentile) and average (69th percentile) to make a relatively safe/boring late-round target.

 

 

Two-Category Contributors

 

(Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire)

Rich Holman

Tax Auditor by day (I promise I'm not the devil), dad to twin velociraptors by night. Complete sports junkie. Philly fan that only boos occasionally.

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