In fantasy baseball, the 3,4,5 hitters of a teams lineup are the focus of fantasy drafts.  That is where the majority of home runs and runs batted in are generated.  Then focus shifts to the top of the order, and the speed guys who get on base, can steal second and rack up runs.  The bottom of the order is typically overlooked, but there are some decent players who fill out a lineup in the 7th, 8th and 9th spots (AL).  

For those of you in deeper leagues and/or NL/AL Only, here are the top 20 fantasy players from last season, earning points from the bottom of the order.

Player789Total
Brandon Crawford21419810422
Alcides Escobar26205175406
DJ LeMahieu1334431388
Eduardo Escobar90140118348
Adeiny Hechavarria9623313342
Tyler Flowers67133140340
Alex Avila1741530327
Jonathan Schoop3797193327
Yan Gomes20410020324
Zack Cozart332785316
Mike Moustakas16712321311
Jordy Mercer11118910310
Chris Iannetta7213091293
Jackie Bradley Jr.381195279
Rougned Odor1990158267
Juan Uribe24764257
Alejandro De Aza1041530257
Alexi Amarista7115824253
Josh Reddick1439911253
Mike Zunino4114763251

Infielders



Crawford ranked 12th overall at SS last season, and managed to score 422 of his 481 fantasy points hitting at the bottom of the Giants lineup.  He had a career high 69 RBI last season, and while he will hit just .250, he can add some pop to your lineup, with a career 10 home runs in 2014.  He hit 20 doubles and 10 triples, thanks to the gaps at AT&T Park.   He crushed left handed pitching (.320) last year, but his 3 year splits are a bit more even vs RHP and LHP.

We ranked Crawford 19th in our SS Rankings 

Alcides Escobar actually ranked 9th at SS last year, according to our scoring system.  He is penciled in at the top of the Royals lineup in 2015, with Nori Aoki now a teammate of Crawford's.  In 69 ABs last season as the leadoff hitter, Escobar hit .362.  He hit .330 (179 ABs)out of the 8 hole and just .243 (230 ABs) batting 9th. He was still able to swipe 31 bases, the most among SS, and was caught just 6 times. Hitting leadoff could push him towards 40 SB!

We ranked Escobar 13th in our SS Rankings

LeMahieu finished the 2014 campaign as a top 20 2B, earning nearly all of his fantasy points batting 8th for the Rockies.  He is a career .319 hitter in the minors, so his .267 BA last year should come up.  He hit just .246 after the All-Star break, but saved his season hitting .307 in September.  His K% was 2nd to just Brian Dozier, tied with Jason Kipnis, among 2B.

Eduardo Escobar struggled hitting 8th (.219 in 192 ABs) but flourished batting last (.311 in 132 ABs).  In the American League, hitting last, is almost like leading off.  With Danny Santana as the Twins leadoff hitter and Brian Dozier behind him, Escobar could be a nice way to score some runs in fantasy, as his 21 2nd half runs scored was 19th among SS.  His 10 doubles after the break (35 on the year) was good for 12 at SS.

Odor will get another chance to play everyday with Jurickson Profar suffering another season ending injury. The 21 year old Venezuelan hit .259 in 389 ABs for the Rangers,  and was one of six 2B who knocked in 30 runs after the All-Star game. 

Moustakas is now entering his 4th full season and is 26 years old.  He turned his season around last year, hitting .235 after the All-Star break, and hit 5 home runs in the postseason.  If the Royals want to return to the playoffs, Moustakas is going to have to put it all together with another 30 double, 20 home run, 70 RBI season like 2012.

So what it appears we have here is a hitter whose surface results haven’t quite caught up with his underlying skills improvements. That’s basically a fantasy owner’s dream. All signs pointing to much better things to come, but you wouldn’t know it without looking deep. You see the ghastly downward BABIP and batting average trend and limited power progression and it’s easy to roll your eyes and move along. But it’s also easy to forget that Moustakas is still just 26. He admittedly still has warts, enough to require a large supply of cream, but he is primed for his coming out party this season. - FanGraphs

Outfielders



de Aza spent most of his season hitting at the bottom of the White Sox order, but once he came over to the Orioles he jumped to the top of the lineup, behind Nick Markakis.  Markakis is now playing for the Braves, so de Aza is penciled in as the Birds leadoff hitter.  That's great news for fantasy owners.  Coming off a down season, de Aza's value has never been lower, but hitting atop a Baltimore lineup that features Adam Jones, a healthy Manny Machado, Matt Wieters and whatever is left of Chris Davis means we could see de Aza score 80+ runs again!  He hit .293 after the trade!

The Red Sox have a roster filled with MLB ready players, so finding playing time for JBJ without trading Allen Craig, Shane Victorino, Brock Holt or Daniel Nava is going to be nearly impossible.  Not to mention he will have to wait for an injury to Hanley Ramirez or Rusney Castillo to struggle.  

Reddick spent most of his limited 2014 season (109 GP, 363 AB) batting 7th for the Athletics, and hit 307 there.  But Josh Donaldson is gone and there is a big shoe to fill in the 3 hole.  Reddick is penciled in there for now, and if you spend a late round pick on Reddick, you could get lucky and get a couple home runs and double digit RBI out of him in the early going of the season.  He will now be hitting behind Ben Zobrist and in front of Billy Butler, Ike Davis and Brett Lawrie.

Catchers



Gomes is the best player on this list and his ADP is right around 100.  He hit 7th or 8th for the Indians last year, but has jumped over Jason Kipnis in the batting order, penciled to hit 6th.  Gomes had a phenomenal 2nd half, hitting .303 (.525 SLG) and finished as our 4th ranked C.  He was one of six catchers to hit 20+ home runs.

We ranked Gomes 8th in our C Rankings

Zunino (22) hit one more home run than Gomes. However, he hit just .199 for the season!  He will be all of 24 when the season starts, and hit .286 in the Minors so things could and should get better.

We ranked Zunino 16th in our C Rankings

Flowers 10 2nd half home runs was bested by just Brian McCann and Buster Posey.  He is a career .218 hitter so I wouldn't expect him to repeat his .280 2nd half BA, but if you play in a two catcher league, go get some Flower power.


Scoring:
  • Singles - 1pt
  • Doubles - 2pts
  • Triples - 3pts
  • Homeruns - 2pts
  • RBI - 2pts
  • Runs Scored - 2pts
  • Walks - 1pt
  • Stolen Bases - 1pt