by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
In this new series of articles we are going to take a position by position look at viable options that currently have an average ADP of 300 or higher (according to fantasypros.com). We’ve already looked at late round catchers (click here to view), so let’s keep things moving with first basemen. Generally considered the deepest position for fantasy baseball owners, there are definitely some intriguing options late. Who are the best players to target? Let’s take a look:
Justin Smoak – Seattle Mariners
Average ADP – 339.8
Amid all of the additions to the Mariners lineup it would be easy to overlook Smoak. While the Mariners have alternatives in Corey Hart and Logan Morrison, there is room for all three in the lineup. According to Bob Dutton of The News Tribune (click here for the post):
“I told him he’s my first baseman,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I told him that this winter. Having said that, he still has to go out and perform. I like what I see (this spring) from him. He’s doing a pretty darn good job.”
Smoak hit 20 HR in 2013, but struggled to a .238 average as he struck out 22.8% of the time with a .278 BABIP (19.6% line drive rate). There is no questioning that he can hit 20+ HR (12.1% HR/FB for his career), but can he ever correct the average issues?
He actually posted a .272 mark in the first half, courtesy of a 21.6% strikeout rate and 24.7% line drive rate. While the latter may not be believable, it does show that the potential is there. With a job his for the taking, he’s well worth rolling the dice on if you find yourself in need at the tail end of your draft.
Ike Davis – New York Mets
Average ADP – 313.8
We continue to hear the trade rumors circulating around Ike Davis, but for now he remains in a Mets uniform. Regardless, the early reports have been promising for Davis and he certainly is the best in house option (as we discussed when we looked at the Spring Battle, which you can read by clicking here).
Since we’ve talked about him in detail already, we aren’t going to rehash him here. The question is, how often can you grab a potential 30+ HR hitter this late in your draft? That’s really all you need to know.
Unless he falls into a platoon (.204/.268/.334 for his career against LHP), he’s going to be well worth the gamble.
Jonathan Singleton – Houston Astros
Average ADP – 415.0
We profiled Singleton back in November (click here to view), so make sure to check that out. There is no questioning that he is coming off a disastrous 2013 campaign, but there also is little doubt that he’s the future for the Astros. As it is, the team only has short-term fill-ins ahead of him, so if he’s not deemed ready out of Spring Training it will only be a matter of time before he arrives.
Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 recently said this about Singleton (click here for his full Top 10 Astros’ prospects):
“Yes there is swing and miss in the bat, but Singleton has bat speed and a ton of raw power. While his ceiling might have taken a hit, he still profiles as a solid-regular with 25 home run potential, batting number six in what should be a very good Astros lineup in a couple of years. Not a star, but a very good player.”
He has a 25.1% strikeout rate over the past three seasons, so there obviously is concern, but power can make us forget. With the potential for ample long balls, he’s worth the gamble (especially if you are utilizing someone like Ryan Howard early in the year).
What are your thoughts of these three players? Would you gamble on any of them? Who else are you eyeing late in your drafts/auctions?
Sources – Fangraphs, Minor League Central, Prospect 361, The News Tribune
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