While fantasy baseball owners need to choose players wisely during the first ten rounds of each draft, mid-late round players can make the difference between an average team and a team vying for a title. Owners could have selected Dexter Fowler and A.J. Ramos at pick 360 or later last year, but NFBC owners are drafting Fowler at 158 and Ramos at 130 this year. H2H owners may target specific categories later in the draft to fill holes. (HR's, SB's, Saves, and K's)
Brett Lawrie's move to Chicago should help his power numbers, and fantasy owners should reap the rewards if Lawrie can book another 500 at-bats in 2016. Lawrie's .320 BABIP aided his BA last year, and he should take more free passes, 5% BB rate in 2015, to help his OBP. H2H owners should be wary of his inconsistent production, which resulted in 48% disaster weeks in 2015. He will post comparable power and speed numbers to Addison Russell, drafted 100 picks ahead of Lawrie, for Roto owners, and he could hit 20 or more homers for the White Sox.
Jonathan Schoop is another Second Baseman that could offer cheap power for fantasy owners. Schoop hit 11 HR's in the second-half last year with a 14% HR/FB, which he could sustain in 2016. He will need to improve his walk rate, 2.8% in 2015, but more AB's could lead to 20 homers like Lawrie. H2H owners should target Schoop over Lawrie because he provided more consistent weekly value by dominating 53% of the weeks that he played last year. NFBC owners are drafting Schoop at #257, which could lead to tremendous value in 2016.
Joey Gallo provides raw power at pick #313, but owners should know that the Rangers could send Gallo down to work on his 46% strikeout rate. Although Gallo struggles with making contact, he hit 32% of his flyballs for HR's, and he owned a 27% line-drive rate in 2015. Owners should hope for 15 homers in 2016, if Gallo can find 250 AB's, and he may reward owners with more homers if he can improve his 52% contact rate.
|Keith Allison Flickr|
Owners can also turn to Alcides Escobar at pick #276. Escobar's 88% contact rate and 77% Stolen Base success rate in 2015 should lead to more steals in 2016, especially if his .286 BABIP improves. Roto owners should chase Escobar's 20 steals in 2016, but H2H owners should note that Escobar only dominated 23% of his 2015 second-half weeks, even though he stole 12 bases during that time frame.
Denard Span, if healthy, can provide owners with cheap steals at pick #298. Injuries cost Span AB's in 2015, but he makes contact 89% of the time. He has dominated 55% of his weeks for H2H owners over the last two seasons. Span will provide 15-20 SB's in round 20 of a 15-team league draft.
While the last article discussed each team's need for an Ace, owners can target several SP's between picks 200-400. Baltimore's Kevin Gausman should provide excellent value at #237. Gausman dominated 60% of his second-half starts in 2015, and his 8.2 K/9 will help owners looking for cheaper strikeouts. If Gausman can improve upon his 55% first-pitch strike rate in 2015, owners can expect more Wins and a better ERA in 2016.
Even though Kyle Gibson does not provide the same upside as Gausman, owners can safely draft Gibson at #358 in 2016. Gibson's 6.7 K/9 is low, but he does not allow many blow-up starts for H2H owners. (only 19% in 2015) His ability to keep the ball on the ground, 53% GB last year, will help provide for more consistent starts. Draft Gibson for double-digit Wins, an ERA slightly under 4.00, and 170 solid IP.
Owners that are looking for upside can turn to Minnesota's Jose Berrios at #266. Keeper-league owners will move Berrios up their boards to add his 9.9 K/9 in his AAA starts last year. One-year owners should monitor Berrios' status in the starting rotation this spring, but he could contribute 100 IP, 80 K's, and and 3.90 ERA in 2016.
Follow me on twitter @BrantChesser
Follow me on twitter @BrantChesser