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2017 Fantasy Baseball: Top-20 Multi-Position Eligible Players

While the exact value added is debatable for multi-position eligible players, the flexibility offered by rostering the players below could be the difference between winning and losing your leagues in 2017.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week we examined the Top-10 multi-position eligible players. In that article we discovered a high number of elite talents who are also eligible at multiple positions. The talent level continues a gentle decline as we move down the player list.

If you missed the first post on this subject, I'd recommend going back to check it out. If you're all caught up, let's continue on with players ranked 11th through 20th with multi-position eligibility.

  • Javier Baez (ADP: 116): I have a feeling Baez will be a tough player to nail down in your league. The talent level potential is quite high, but there's also plenty of factors that scream a 2017 breakout is not to be expected. This appears to be priced into his ADP with his earliest selection coming at pick 90 and his latest selection at pick 141. The power and speed skills are both league average, but there's potential for more. What has me concerned is Baez's ability to put those potentially above league average power & speed skills to use. As was shown on the playoffs, Baez has a horrible batting eye. This can be seen both in the pitches he decides to swing at in real life, along with his 70% +/- contact rate and horrible walk rate. A 15/15 season with 2b/SS/3b eligibility is nice. I worry there will always be at least one guy in a draft that believes 20/20 or more is coming this season. That likely prices me out.
  • Ben Zobrist (ADP: 160): The original multi-position darling (at least in the "modern" rotisserie era). Zobrist is now entering the twilight years of his career, but can still be counted on for decent fantasy production. The bat-to-ball and eye skills are in elite territory which should make his decline rather smooth. The power and speed skills look quite similar to Baez. The difference being their respective approaches at the plate, with Zobrist being far superior in that area. Zobrist will likely run less, but if you're simply looking for a 2b/OF eligible player with a relatively safe floor, look no further than Ben Zobrist in 2017 drafts.
  • Chris Owings (ADP: 305): You can have Chris Owings and his SS/OF eligibility for essentially free, even in a 15-team mixed league. Being selected on average in the 20th round of said 15-team mixed leagues, Owings makes for a great versatility selection if your team is in need of a decent speedster, who will also contribute a handful of home runs to the bottom line. A 10/20 HR/SB with a batting average that will neither hurt nor help, should be the expectation for 2017.
  • Brad Miller (ADP: 146): Miller brings the always interesting and rather rare, 1B/SS eligibility to the 2017 draft pool. The question going forward for Miller will be based on what his true-level power skills are. After hitting 30 home runs in 2016, something I did not see projected anywhere preseason, we must now determine how much of that unexpected power is sustainable. Both of Miller's Hard% found at Fangraphs (five percent above league average) and his Statcast data show the increase in pure power was real. The increased power might not be enough to sustain the 20.4% HR/FB rate he displayed last season (career 13.4%), but should be enough to hit between 20-25 home runs assuming health and playing time. One must remember Miller owns a nearly .200 point difference in OPS between facing right-handed pitchers (.776) and left-handed pitchers (.603)
  • Hernan Perez (ADP: 150): Raise your hand if you saw a 13/34 HR/SB season coming from Perez entering the 2016 season? Anyone? Now with 3b/OF eligibility, Perez is being selected on average in the 10th round of 15-team mixed drafts. Much like Baez above, the batting eye is putrid, which coupled with his merely league average power metrics, has me worried about his home run output going forward. The speed skill is certainly real and if I had to bet on either 10 home runs or 30 stolen bases in 2017, I'd put everything in my pocket (a couple of dollars and my dumb phone) on the speed statistic.
  • Howie Kendrick (ADP: 329): A 2b/OF eligible player who will contribute just enough to make rostering him worth it. The hope is that Citizens Bank Park can help increase his home run total in 2017. The power metrics have been well below league average for Kendrick over the previous four seasons. The move from Dodgers Stadium to Citizens Bank Park represents a roughly 20% increase in right-handed home runs, which could take his average of 8 home runs a season to 10 or 12 if everything breaks right in 2017. As a reserve pick in deep mixed leagues, Kendrick is fine, but expecting much more than what we've seen in recent years is advised against.
  • Jedd Gyorko (ADP: 223): The versatility is awesome: 2b/SS/3b and oh yeah, he hit 30 home runs in 2016. The question surrounding Gyorko entering 2017 is purely based on playing time. With Aledmys Diaz, Kolten Wong, Matt Carpenter & Jhonny Peralta all rostered and able to play Gyorko's positions, he'll need to get off to a hot start to hold down his projected 3b starting role. There's also the rumors that the Cardinals are looking to acquire Brian Dozier which would put even more of a roster crunch on the 2017 playing time in St. Louis. Assuming 450 at-bats, 20 home runs seems like a lock, with the potential for more, along with a batting average that won't hurt or help the bottom line.
  • Danny Valencia (ADP: 301): There's no question that Valencia can crush left-handed pitching (career: .873/.682 OPS vs LHP/RHP). Now with the Seattle Mariners, Valencia will be asked to platoon with Dan Vogelbach at first base, along with seeing limited time at third base when Kyle Seager needs a day off and time in the outfield corners. When it's all said and done, I expect Valencia to receive around 500 at-bats, which should be enough for him to reach the 20 home run level. The ballpark move is a pretty big positive change for Valencia as well, which gives this end-gamer some added value, along with his 3b/OF eligibility, which should also include 1b shortly into the season.
  • Miguel Sano (ADP: 106): With an ADP requiring a 5th to 7th round draft pick to acquire, Sano is certainly someone I will miss out on in re-draft leagues. The potential for 40 home runs is well within reach for 2017, but there's also enough red flags that the upside might be out of reach until the profile solidifies with experience. As it sits now, the main force that will bring Sano's value down is his horrible batting average. As I discussed with Yasmani Grandal in another article, major chunks of value added can be wiped away with a batting average well below the league average. Of course roster construction can help avoid this problem, but with an early round draft cost, the maneuvering of roster pieces is increased in difficulty.
  • Brandon Drury (ADP: 265): With the trade of Jean Segura, Drury is in line to receive quite a few at-bats at the second base position. The potential added versatility of 2b to go along with his 3b/OF eligibility will certainly add additional value to his game. Drury displayed slightly above league average power and speed during his first full season in the big leagues. Drury looks like a future 20 hr, .270 BA bat to me and with the potential for eligibility at three positions, makes for a solid 15th to 18th round selection in 15-team mixed leagues.
The remaining players on my list of potential valuable multi-position eligible players includes, Sean Rodriguez, Brandon Moss, Wilmer Flores, Marwin Gonzalez, David Freese, Travis Shaw, Jefry Marte, Rob Refsnyder, Tyler Saladino, Chris Coghlan & Eduardo Escobar. If your league drafts beyond 450 players, perhaps consider adding one or two of these names to your draft-target list.