Kendrys Morales (ADP 153.3) and Victor Martinez (210.3) – I’m likely going to spend the entire Fantasy Baseball draft season banging the drum for these two. Fantasy owners are reluctant to draft either because that means the UTIL spot is clogged, thereby limiting flexibility. I understand the hesitancy because you might have to pass on value in your drafts, but this isn’t David Ortiz and an early-round pick. Morales and Martinez are double-digit round picks, and Martinez is down in Round 18. Both are Top 100 hitters that will hit 20-plus home runs and far outweigh their costs.
Devon Travis (197.7) – Remember the hype when Travis burst on the scene in 2015? Injuries have derailed Travis a bit, but this is still a kid that will carry an average of .300 or better. That’s not Travis’ only Fantasy ability. He has 20-homer pop with the speed to add 10 stolen bases. Obviously, those numbers would come with a full season but so would 90 Runs and 60-plus RBIs. When you add all of that up, you have a Jean Segura-like season with fewer stolen bases. Just as with Morales and Martinez, Travis is a Top 100 hitter… assuming health.
Maikel Franco (138.7) – Franco had plenty of excitement surrounding him last year, so it’s a bit surprising to see Franco getting little love after hitting 25 home runs in his first full season. Granted, Franco hit just .255, but he does have the ability to hit .270-.280 and pass the 30 home run plateau. If you want a comparison for what Franco can do, just look at Kyle Seager’s season last year. A .278/89/30/99 line is within Franco’s ability, and that’s a Top 50 hitter.
Jose Reyes (285.7) – Reyes was criminally underrated before the David Wright news. Even if Wright were able to start Opening Day, between Wright playing 3-4 games per week, plus day offs for Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker nearly every week, Reyes was going to play around 150 games. The Mets have no other quality option to lead off, and he was a sparkplug for them last year. Now, Wright’s entire season is in question again, and Reyes can hit for a decent average with 90 Runs, 60-plus RBIs, mid-teen home runs and 20-plus steals. Reyes is yet another Top 100 hitter in this list, and one that’s available way too late in drafts.
Keon Broxton (206.0) – Broxton is going to make or break my season it seems. I’ve already written about him twice, so I won’t add much more. Just know that even though Broxton won’t help with his average, a 20/30 season is a near guarantee with his ability, and that alone is worthy of an ADP 40-50 spots higher.
Jason Heyward (279.7) – I know Heyward disappointed many owners and had been overrated for years, but let’s not leave him for dead. The 24th round? That’s insane. Heyward reworked his swing this offseason, and while it’s only Spring Training, it looks better and so do the results. Even if Heyward never hits 20 home runs again, getting back to a .260 average with a dozen homers, 15-20 steals and 60-plus Runs and RBIs makes him a solid OF4 for teams, which is a Top 125 hitter.
James Paxton (161.3) – Paxton only needs a full season in order to have his owners dancing in the streets. Paxton showed us the upside he carries with a 3.79 ERA and FIP 2.80 last year. He also posted a great 18.2 K-BB%. In fact, over his final 11 starts, Paxton had a 3.19 ERA with a 9.4 K/9 and 22.8 K-BB%. Paxton also had great marks in his SwStr% (11.7) and F-Strike% (62.4) largely in part to a 2.6 mph improvement on his fastball (96.7). Paxton will be a Top 30 pitcher in 2017.
Robert Gsellman (313.5) – As with the David Wright situation, there is another Mets job where the one seeing the majority of work is overlooked. Zach Wheeler is attempting his comeback, but all reports have him unlikely to start the season the rotation… if he’s pitching regularly at all. Gsellman is the favorite for the Mets fifth starter role, and there is no reason to think he can’t continue last year’s success. Now, Gsellman won’t have a mid-2.00 ERA, but he can pitch to a low-to-mid 3.00 ERA thanks to his improved strikeout ability. Gsellman was mainly a control/contact pitcher in the minors but beefed up his fastball and started striking out batters. Even if Wheeler forces his way into the rotation at some point, it’s the Mets pitching staff, and someone is bound to get hurt.
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