Fantasy baseball drafts are all about trade-offs when we really get down to it. What happens to my roster if I avoid a starting pitcher for the first two rounds? If I load up on speed early, can I get enough power later in the draft? How long can I wait to select my first closer? Each of these decisions creates a multiverse of draft decisions later on. As much as we would love to have all the elite category-filler players in our fantasy baseball drafts, we are inevitably going to be left with tough choices and holes to fill at the end.
Who are the hitters that can help fill a variety of offensive category holes in our drafts? This piece will look at 10 options being taken in drafts after pick 150 that should still be able to significantly contribute to a fantasy team’s offense.
The average draft position (ADP) for each of these players reflects drafts completed on NFBC since the first of January.
The season is not here yet, but why not get a head start and jump in a Fantrax Classic Draft contest? Get a jump on the season with a Best Ball league or maybe a Draft and Hold. Or put some green on the line with a new season-long league to try and conquer. There’s no better time than now to get your baseball on!
10 Late-Round Hitters to Target in Drafts
Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets (ADP 167.2)
“Where did all of that offseason posturing and searching lead you? Back to me.” Either Brandon Nimmo or Thanos said that, I can’t remember which. But for the Mets, it’s the same as it ever was with Nimmo back at the top of the order for this team with World Series aspirations.
In OBP league, Nimmo is likely going 50 spots higher than this, but he has elite contact skills, one of the best walk rates in baseball, and just enough pop and speed to help in all categories. If can somehow get a carbon copy of his 151 games and 672 plate appearances from last season, he should vastly outperform this ADP just on runs, average, and homers alone.
Ke’Bryan Hayes. 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates (ADP 174.1)
When Hayes busted onto the scene in 24 games in 2020, slashing .376/.442/.682, we thought this was a potential star in the making. Someone who would partner with Oneil Cruz to form the next Pirates long-term offensive core. After a couple of disappointing years, that shine has diminished somewhat. But after an injury-plagued 2021, Hayes bounced back last season to the point where he might now be severely underrated.
Despite a low .314 OBP in 2022, Hayes still stole 22 bases and scored 55 runs. But it was the power that disappeared after multiple stops with a SLG% over .400. Now with a clean bill of health and a lineup slot projected to be third behind Cruz and Bryan Reynolds, Hayes has a chance to be a five-category contributor if he can improve on his ground ball rate that has been over 50% the past two season.
Jonathan India, 2B, Cincinnati Reds (ADP 179.22)
The old Ron Shandler phrase that he has used for decades goes like this: “Once you display a skill, you own it.” What that means is once a player has demonstrated they can do something on the field, it is within their power to do it again. Even if they age or get hurt, that skill is somewhere inside of them. That’s what we are counting on with India as he enters year three.
India was riddled with unlucky injuries in 2022, limiting him to 103 games and a .249/.327/.378 slash line. But he showed in 2021 that he is capable (as a rookie!) of batting .269/.376/.459 with 21 homers and 12 steals. India is now fully healthy and back atop the Reds’ lineup in one of the best hitters’ parks in the majors. He owns the elite fantasy skills, now he just needs to display them again.
Joey Meneses, 1B, Washington Nationals (ADP 192.4)
Many people chalked up the 20 homes in 96 games Meneses hit in AAA to him being a 30-year-old at that level. But then he proceeded to mash 13 bombs in 56 games in the majors, earning him a permanent spot and the DH/first base gig heading into 2023.
Meneses has big-time fly ball power and strikes out less than the league average (21.7% in 2022). He will likely hit third or fourth in the Nationals’ lineup all year and could be a sneaky late-draft player who could help with RBI if CJ Abrams and Lane Thomas can each take a step up in their development.
Ketel Marte, 2B, Arizona Diamondbacks (ADP 204.2)
Marte is still just 29 years old even though it seems like he has been around forever. Still in his peak offensive years, Marte is being drafted way too low after a season where much of the lack of production can be chalked up to extreme bad luck.
He bounced back to 137 games played after just 90 in 2021. But his BABIP was an ultra-low .276, about 35 points below his career average. His ground ball rate was the lowest of his career, and his fly ball rate was his highest, so the drop to 12 homers was likely just a fluke. Now back near the top of the Arizona batting order, he doesn’t even need a full bounce-back year to pay off a 200+ ADP.
Masataka Yoshida, OF, Boston Red Sox (ADP 203.5)
It’s not often you see a player come straight to the majors from an international league and have all projection systems call for an on-base percentage around .375. But that was Yoshida’s calling card in Japan where he frequently had seasons with an OBP over .420.
He brings almost no speed to the top of the Red Sox lineup, but he popped more than 2o homers several times in Japan and should see enough pitches to knock around 20 more over the Pesky Pole in right field. Likely batting leadoff, Yoshida may be the most likely candidate after pick number 200 to see 600+ plate appearances.
Ryan McMahon, 3B, Colorado Rockies (ADP 210.4)
What am I missing that is causing McMahon to fall past pick 210 in drafts as we approach March? He plays half of his games in Coors Field. McMahon should hit second or third this season for Colorado. He had a walk rate of over 10% last season. And he has back-to-back seasons with more than 150 games played.
I guess people expected more than a .246 batting average last season, but his BABIP and contact rates were normal, so that should bounce back to over .250 this year. In a weak 3B year, McMahon could be one of the sneakier power picks at the position for 2023.
Luis Urias, 2B/SS/3B, Milwaukee Brewers (ADP 233.1)
The multi-position eligibility plus a full-time gig is likely enough to pay the freight for a player going after pick 230, but Urias can actually offer a lot more. The 25-year-old has hit 23 and 16 homers in the past two seasons and was a very nice source of runs and RBI in his fully-healthy 2021 season.
Last season, Urias improved his contact rate, he lowered his outside-zone swing percentage, and he knocked 5% off of his ground ball rate. This is a player who can help all over your roster and is just entering his prime hitting years. If the Brewers surprise us and bat Urias higher than sixth in the lineup this year, he is player where you are going to want to have a lot of shares.
Wil Myers, 1B/OF, Cincinnati Reds (ADP 241.8)
Wil Myers drew the winning ticket in the “who gets the best park upgrade” game leading into 2023. Moving from Petco Park in San Diego to Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati should do wonders for Myers’ offensive longevity — assuming he is not just being showcased all year for a trade.
Before last season, Myers hit double-digit home runs in six straight years. He now calls home a park that has the highest home run park factor for right-handers over the past three seasons and has no real competition at 1B with Joey Votto likely shifting to DH. Myers could be a very cheap way to get a .260 average and 20 home runs this year assuming he can stay healthy.
Yoan Moncada, 3B, Chicago White Sox (ADP 313.2)
My how the mighty have fallen. After a stellar 2019 campaign which included a .315 average, 26 dingers, and 10 steals at age 24, most believed Moncada was on the fast track to stardom. But the last three years have been riddled with high strikeout rates, poor contact rates, and (especially in 2022) low BABIP numbers.
But assuming he can bounce back to league average from an extremely low .265 BABIP last season, there are still double-digit homers and steals lurking in there somewhere. Remember, once you display a skill, you own it. And Moncada displayed very high fly ball rates and barrel rates (9.8%) last season, meaning a power surge could be on the way at age 28.
Which late-round hitters are you targeting? Drop some love in the comments below. For more great analysis check out the 2023 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!