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2019 Fantasy Baseball: The All-Sleeper Team, Position Players

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Don’t miss out on these guys.

USA TODAY Sports/Pete Rogers Illustrations

It is my job here at Fake Teams to figure out who could return the most value in your drafts. Last year I put out an All-Sleeper Team post, and I decided to do the same thing this season as well. The only difference this year is that I have decided to divide it up into two parts. This post will cover the position players, while the second post will cover primarily sleeper pitchers. I hope you enjoy and if you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Twitter. Without further ado, let’s get into the list.

Catcher

Danny Jansen, Toronto Blue Jays (ADP: 226.3)

With Russell Martin moving to Los Angeles this offseason, Jansen will be the primary backstop for the Blue Jays in 2019. He has exceptional plate skills, which is evident by his 84.4% contact rate and 27.0% chase rate at the major league level. He has a fly ball heavy approach at the plate, but his raw power will likely limit his home run potential to somewhere around the low twenties if he doesn’t improved his hard contact rate. With this fly ball heavy approach will probably come a low BABIP. Luckily, his low strikeout rate should help his batting average stay above .260. His ceiling is relatively low due to his skill set, but his high floor should make him a target at one of the most volatile positions in the fantasy game.

Elias Diaz, Pittsburgh Pirates (ADP: 350.5)

Diaz started to breakout in 2018, and will likely continue his breakout campaign into 2019. He has an aggressive approach at the plate but still maintains a healthy chase rate while also making a consistent amount contact. This led to 78.0% of his plate appearances ending with a batted ball event, which is something important to note when you talk about projecting power potential. With a 40.5% hard contact rate according to Statcast and an improved fly ball rate, Diaz has 25+ home run potential next season. Now there are a lot of concerns surrounding his playing time with Francisco Cervelli still on the roster, but that doesn’t concern me all that much. Diaz proved last season that he was the better catcher of the two, and with Cervelli’s age and injury history, it would make sense for the Pirates to be conservative with their use of their veteran catcher.

First Base

Luke Voit, New York Yankees (ADP: 189.6)

There isn’t much you can say about Luke Voit other than the man is a monster. At 6’3” and 225 lbs, he looks like a stereotypical power hitter. With a 54.0% hard contact rate and more fly balls than ground balls in the majors last season, his power output is undeniable. His xStats last season show potential first round value as he had the highest xwOBA and xSLG among batters with at least 100 plate appearances, which was also complemented by a .296 xAVG. The only concern surrounding Voit’s game is his swing and miss. With a 68.9% contact rate, he will likely struggle to maintain a strikeout rate below 25.0%. Luckily, his batted ball profile will help offset some of that swing and miss. With an ADP approaching 200, there isn’t much risk surrounding the New York Yankees first baseman, but there is a ton of upside.

Second Base

Jeff McNeil, New York Mets (ADP: 330.6)

If you like Willians Astudillo, then you should be a fan of McNeil’s as well. Both are contact-oriented hitters who have a moderate amount of raw power and healthy fly ball rates. With his ability to make consistent contact and drive the ball, McNeil is one of the few players who has the potential to be a .300 hitter. His high amount of batted ball events paired with his fly ball rate and raw power should help him average around 20 home runs over the course of a full season. The Mets made it clear this offseason that they were fine with using McNeil in left field, but with the recent injury to Jed Lowrie McNeil could get some starts in the infield as well.

Third Base

Jung Ho Kang, Pittsburgh Pirates (ADP: 535.6)

Kang is a very interesting fantasy option as he missed nearly all of last season due to legal issues. He is back this season, however, and has already caught many people’s attention with his impressive spring numbers. He has solid plate skills and a career hard contact rate of 43.4% according to Statcast. His upside is 30 home runs with a complementary .270 batting average. With his hot spring start, don’t be surprised to see his ADP rise over the next couple of weeks.

Shortstop

Garrett Hampson, Colorado Rockies (ADP: 200.2)

Hampson has climbed up prospect lists in the past year due to his immense speed and stolen base potential, but he could prove to be more than an empty source of steals. With a decent hit tool and excellent plate discipline, he should also be a viable source for runs and batting average as well. The one thing that is getting overlooked, however, may be his power potential. Now, he likely won’t ever have a 20-homer season, but with a hitter-friendly home park in Coors Field and a decent amount of raw power, a 15-homer season is not a crazy projection for the 24-year-old rookie. If he can break camp as the Opening Day second baseman, then he should return value at least 100 spots above his current ADP.

Corner Infield

Peter O’Brien, Miami Marlins (ADP: 582.7)

O’Brien is an exciting fantasy player as he is one of the best raw power hitters in the game, but has been a little bit of a disappointment up until this point. 2019, however, looks like it could be the breakout season we have been waiting for, as he has a clear path to everyday at-bats for the first time in his career. In his short stint in the major leagues last season, he had more fly balls than ground balls, had an excellent line drive rate of 28.9%, and posted an even more impressive 51.1% hard contact rate according to Statcast. His peripherals last season are quite comparable to one Aaron Judge, which is ridiculous given that his ADP is currently approaching 600. The upside with O’Brien is undeniable and he should be a target in your upcoming drafts.

Middle Infield

Tyler Saladino, Milwaukee Brewers (ADP: 744.8)

Saladino is someone who is basically on no one’s radar but has some immense potential if he can get everyday at-bats. Last season he came over to the Brewers in exchange for cash considerations, and made some major swing changes after joining the Brew Crew. He started to used more of his legs (like he did when he was in the lower minors) to produce more raw power. This swing change helped him post a career-high 43.2% hard contact rate, which was 9.3% higher than his prior career-high he had back in 2015 and hit more fly balls than ground balls for the first time in his major league career. The one downside to his swing change was that his contact rate dropped all the way to 71.2%, which was 6.9% lower than he had the season prior. Luckily, his improved approach at the plate will help offset some of that swing and miss, and will ultimately make him an all-around better player.

Outfield

Austin Meadows, Tampa Bay Rays (ADP: 183.9)

Meadows may be the best value you can get in your draft based off his NFBC ADP. He has decent plate discipline, which is complemented by an ability to make consistent contact. He has the potential to put up 25+ home runs, as he had a hard contact rate close to 40.0% and hit more fly balls than ground balls in the minor leagues last season. Most notably may be the fact that after coming over to the Rays he hit 11 home runs in just 132 plate appearances between Triple-A and the major leagues. With his skill set, I had Meadows projected around the top-50 fantasy players on a per plate appearance basis. With an everyday role and an immense amount of potential, there is no reason for Meadows to have an ADP around 200 in drafts this season.

Manuel Margot, San Diego Padres (ADP: 276.8)

Margot may be the exact definition of a post-hype prospect, as he seemed to be the talk of the town in 2018, and now no one will even spend a top 200 pick on the 24-year-old speedster. There is no denying his speed, but there seems to be a lot of concern over his power potential. Well, last season his hard contact rose 7.7% from the season prior, which was good enough for a respectable 36.5%. When added with a decent 37.1% fly ball rate, it is not crazy to believe that he could flirt with 20 home runs in 2019. With his ability to make consistent contact added with his power and speed combo, Margot could easily return top-100 value this upcoming season.

Steven Souza, Arizona Diamondbacks (ADP: 333.5)

To say Souza had a disappointing 2018 is an understatement, as he only hit five home runs in 272 plate appearances and saw his wRC+ drop 36 points from what it was the year prior. So it may sound weird to say that I actually like Souza more going into 2019 than I did last year. The main reason behind this thought process is his improved contact rate, as it rose 4.9% from what it was in 2017. He has never been a contact-oriented hitter, which is evident by his 31.2% career strikeout rate. If his improvements at the plate carry on into 2019, however, he could post a strikeout rate closer to 25.0% rather than the 30.0% we have seen in years past. Another thing to note from Souza’s 2018 is that he hit more fly balls than ground balls for the first time in his career at the major league level. This could really help his overall power production, as he has consistently posted a hard contact rate hovering around 40.0% according to Statcast data. With all these improvements at the plate, we could see Souza post another 30/15 season while also maintaining a batting average above .250 for the first time in his career. With an ADP outside the top-300, there is no reason to not take a shot on the soon to be a 30-year-old outfielder.

Tyler O’Neil, St. Louis Cardinals (ADP: 358.6)

O’Neil had an incredible season at Triple-A last season as he had a .311/.385/.693 slash line and owned a 170 wRC+. After getting called up to the major leagues, he led the league in barrels per batted balls among batters with at least 50 batted ball events. With that, however, came a very concerning 56.3% contact rate and 40.1% strikeout rate. This lack of contact could severely affect his batting average and hurt his overall production. Hopefully we will see that strikeout rate drop below 30.0% in 2019 and he will overcome some of that swing and miss with his excellent batted ball profile. Even with the potential batting average drain, he still has the potential to put up 35/15 if he gets the plate appearances. He could be a fantasy asset this upcoming season.

Pablo Reyes, Pittsburgh Pirates (ADP: 728.6)

I have been hyping Reyes all offseason, and I am doing everything in my power to get everyone else on the Reyes hype train as well. He is possibly not only the most underrated prospect, but could also be the most underrated player concerning redraft leagues as well. He has had an impressive minor league career up until now, and people still seem to be sleeping on him. He did get 63 plate appearances at the major league level as well last season, as he hit a 127 wRC+ and had an incredible hard contact rate of 46.8% according to his Statcast data. He seems to have no real flaw in his game as he showed above-average plate skills, can hit for power, and had one of the top sprint speeds in the game last season. The Pirates have already come out and said they hope to use Reyes as a super-utility type of player. With Polanco potentially out to start the season and the shortstop position currently in question, it seems like the at-bats will be there Reyes in 2019.

Utility

Dan Vogelbach, Seattle Mariners (ADP: 694.4)

Vogelbach has already caught many people’s attention this spring as he is not only currently out-hitting his competition in Ryon Healy but ultimately forcing the Mariners’ hand into giving him everyday at-bats. It has been well documented over the past three years that Dan has been working on adding more power to his game. It seems like he struck gold last season, as he hit 20 home runs over 378 plate appearances at Triple-A and had a 52.5% hard-hit rate over his 61 batted balls in the majors last season. He has impressive plate skills as he makes above-average contact, and has Max Muncy like patience, which is who I think he could become if put in the right position to succeed.

Honorable Mention

Dylan Moore, Seattle Mariners (ADP: N/A)

Moore has yet to get a single at-bat in the major leagues but signed a major league contract with the Mariners this offseason. With all the recent moves made by Dipoto, Moore has a chance to break camp with the team in a super-utility type role. He has a fair amount of raw power, which pairs well with his fly ball heavy approach. He also has decent contact skills, which was evident by a 7.5% swinging strike rate and 14.3% strikeout rate at Triple-A last season. He has never been regarded as a speedster but has shown ability on the base paths as he stole 23 bases in just 454 plate appearances last season. His skill set gives him 20/20 potential with a batting average that should hover around .250. With his versatility, he should be able to sneak into the lineup this season and is someone you may want to keep an eye on in 2019.