Here we are at the end of all things. I feel like Roland of Eld approaching the Dark Tower.
Okay, it ain’t that serious. But it is a bit surreal that positional weeks for hitters are in the books after today. The next two weeks we’ll cover starters and relievers, and after that it will nearly be time to watch baseball that counts. Which is just awesome.
Welcome to our favorite targets. Be sure to roll back around later for some avoids. Let’s hit it (pun intended).
Mitch Haniger, Mariners (Mark Abell)
NFBC ADP: 90.46
In two seasons now, Haniger has a batting average north of .280. On a full season pace he would have had 25+ homers each season with 75+ runs and RBIs, 8+ steals, and a .490+ slugging percentage. The only knock on him appears to be the Mariners trading away some of their players (Cano). But I don’t think Edwin Encarnacion, Dee Gordon, Kyle Seager and maybe Dan Vogelbach is the worst supporting cast. Last year only Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich, and J.D. Martinez had 78+ Runs and RBIs with 5+ stole bases, 25+ homers, and a .275+ batting average.
A.J. Pollock, Dodgers (Punk Is Dead)
NFBC ADP: 113.06
I’m taking a shot on A.J. Pollock this year. His ADP is outside the Top 100, so the risk isn’t high. If he can stay healthy (big if I know) he can be a 20/20 guy with solid counting stats on a Dodgers team that was the #1 offense in the National League last season. I trust the Dodgers to play him everyday and as the leadoff hitter.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox (Heath Capps)
NFBC ADP: 223.52
JBJ was atop my list of five underrated outfielders who can help you win your fantasy league. He makes a bunch of hard contact and very little soft contact. He runs well (successful on 17-of-18 swipes last year). A subtle shift at the plate appears to have contributed to his strong second half last season. It’s always nice to point to something specific, like we did with Trevor Bauer’s increased slider usage at the end of 2017. That was something to trust heading into 2018, so I did and reaped the rewards. With JBJ, what if he truly has unlocked his swing? Last year’s second half slash line of .269/.340/.487 will play in any format. I’ll pay his next-to-nothing draft day price to find out what is in store for an encore.
Randal Grichuk, Blue Jays (Zack Waxman)
NFBC ADP: 240.92
Harrison Bader has already garnered a lot of helium so I will go with the player he replaced. Randal Grichuk is criminally underrated going into 2019. His start to 2018 was absolutely dreadful, as I believe he was hitting .106 before being sidelined with an injury after about a month. I think it is hard to argue that that sample size is not an outlier for any Major League hitter. When he came back in June, he played in 99 games and hit .271 with 23 homers, 30 doubles, 54 runs, and 54 RBIs. He slugged .553. If you extrapolate those 99 games to 160 you have yourself a .271/37/87/87 season with 48 doubles! Grichuk has never seen more than 446 at-bats in any season, but this is sure to change in 2019. In fact, since his rookie season his home run pace over 600 at-bats is 33 homers. His power has developed throughout the minors as he hit 18, 22, and 25 homers in High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, respectively. Each season in the minors, he increased his home run total in a smaller number of games played. He is being drafted after players with part-time roles, while he is cemented into the Jays’ everyday lineup. I’ve been treating him like a free square on a bingo card filling out my outfield.