End Game Draft Targets at Every Offensive Position for the Shortened Fantasy Baseball Season
With the start of the baseball regular season less than one week away, drafts are in full swing. This season will be an unprecedented sprint. Every manager has to be on their toes for sudden changes at the draft table and navigating the waiver wire. That’s why I have compiled a full roster of end game draft targets and shallow league waiver wire players who could outperform their ADP in a shortened season.
Each of these players carries a Fantrax ADP of 275 or above. Make sure to also review my recent article on multi-positional hitters as a primer to this 2020 list. Use this article as a draft resource and feel free to drop a comment or reach out to me on Twitter (@TBDubbs11) or email at [email protected]
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Top End Game Draft Targets at Every Position
Catcher: Michael Perez, Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have a group of four catchers that could log innings behind the dish for Tampa Bay. While Mike Zunino should receive a majority of the starts due to his defensive abilities, Perez has consistently shown an ability to get on base and flash some power as a professional (92.5 MPH exit velocity and 48.1% hard hit in 2019). Perez would be an ideal left-handed compliment to Zunino and could be in line for more playing time if Zunino hits to a .165 AVG like he did in 2019. His ADP of 934 suggests he’s next to free at the moment, but he could be due for a spike should the Rays announce him as the clear number 2 option. As strictly a daily league player, Michael Perez is one of the few end game draft targets that could provide some offensive intrigue at catcher.
Honorable Mention: Reese McGuire, Toronto Blue Jays
First Base: Daniel Vogelbach, Seattle Mariners
Due to rookie 1B Evan White’s arrival, Vogelbach is ticketed for DH duties in 2020. Vogelbach posted an All-Star season in 2019 with a strong first half. He launched 21 HR and 51 RBI with a triple slash of .238/.375/.505. Vogelbach struggled mightily in the second half, where the triple-slash dipped to .162/.286/.341. The negative recency bias has him among the last 1B taken in most drafts. His current Fantrax ADP of 318 has him right behind Miguel Cabrera. He’s a much stronger hitter in OBP formats, but Vogelbach is a cheap source of power that can replicate a first half barrage in a short 2020 season.
Honorable Mention: Eric Thames, Washington Nationals
Second Base: Shed Long Jr., Seattle Mariners
Shed Long Jr. should be on everyone’s drafting radar in the 2020 end game. Long Jr. has a current ADP of 445, which is a bargain for a few key reasons. With both 2B and OF eligibility, Long Jr. provides valuable depth in multiple roster spots. He projects to hit leadoff for the young Mariners, where he started in the last 17 games of 2019. Long Jr. also led off against four lefties during that stretch last season. If Long Jr. can hold that position in the lineup, he’ll be more than serviceable as one of your end game draft targets. Long Jr. provides both power and speed, and he’s being drafted over 100 picks later than names such as Freddy Galvis (ADP 318), Mauricio Dubon (ADP 323), and Jurickson Profar (ADP 326). Like Galvis and Dubon, Long Jr. also has multi-positional eligibility and could out-produce other bats in that general vicinity.
Honorable Mention: Isan Diaz, Miami Marlins
Third Base: Travis Shaw, Toronto Blue Jays
With the Summer Camp news that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would be transitioning to 1B, the largest beneficiary would be Travis Shaw. The lefty slugger is just one season removed from back-to-back 30-HR campaigns while a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. Shaw enters the shortened season with a hold on a starting job while landing in a favorable lineup situation and home ballpark. Shaw still maintained a 1.023 OPS while playing at AAA in part of 2019, and there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about his performance returning value as an end of draft target. He has a steadily-climbing ADP of 347.
Honorable Mention: Rio Ruiz, Baltimore Orioles
Shortstop: Niko Goodrum, Detroit Tigers
Chances are that Niko Goodrum carries some of the most versatile multi-positional eligibility in your league. Goodrum played the most games at SS last season (38), and may also be eligible at OF (32), 2B (22), and in certain cases 1B (18) depending on your settings. Not only does Goodrum carry such valuable versatility, but he also produces a good blend of power and speed. He hit leadoff and cleanup most frequently in 2019, so he’s bound for a prominent offensive role again for the rebuilding Tigers. With solid veteran additions around him in C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop, Goodrum should build on his solid potential. With an ADP of 294, Goodrum is well worth drafting ahead of an end of draft target status in such a unique season.
Honorable Mention: Willy Adames, Tampa Bay Rays
Outfield: Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs; Trent Grisham, San Diego Padres; Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets
This trio of National League outfielders shares a common offensive trait: strong on-base ability.
Happ stands to benefit from the universal DH. On top of his defensive versatility in some leagues (2B: 13 G, 3B: 8 G, 1B: 7 G in 2019), Happ could step up in a big way in the Cubs playoff hopes in the shortened season. We’ve been hoping it for years, but Happ may finally have his chance to shine in 2020. He has an ADP of 275 and should get a boost in OBP leagues and formats that honor his versatility.
Grisham moves from Milwaukee to San Diego, where he now has a grasp on the starting CF job heading into the season. Grisham primarily led off against RHP last year while dropping in the lineup against LHP, and may be deployed similarly in his new home. He gets a downgrade in home ballparks but provides power with a hint of speed in San Diego. He’s going around pick 300 (ADP 304) in most drafts, again ticks upwards in OBP leagues.
Nimmo faced nagging injuries for much of 2019, but came back in September and thrived with 5 HR, 2 SB, and a triple slash of .261/.430/.565. Some fantasy managers may be hesitant with neck/back related injuries, as well as the arrival of Jake Marisnick, but Nimmo has a strong all-around profile that should return value above his current ADP of 307. He’s worth being especially aggressive on in OBP leagues. There’s a non-zero chance he could perform similarly to players around ADP of 150 such as Oscar Mercado (who should hit lower in the Cleveland lineup) and Hunter Dozier.
Got some end game draft targets of your own? Share some names in the comments below. We promise we’ll keep them a secret.
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