As we get set for the final weekend of Fantasy Baseball drafts, here are some players that have risen up my draft board either due to good health, spring performance or change in role. Check out my 2018 Fantasy Baseball Risers!
2018 Fantasy Baseball Risers
SP Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets
So much for getting him in round three anymore. Syndergaard has been dominant in the spring, often reaching triple digits on the radar gun. There’s always risk for injury, but the upside is huge, which could result in Thor being the best pitcher in Fantasy Baseball.
Jorge Soler, Kansas City Royals
Soler has made some changes, losing weight and changing his diet. He was a top prospect for the Cubs and has yet to deliver at age 26. He’s going to play every day and he has been crushing the ball in the spring. He’s worth a late-round pick.
Yasmani Grandal, Los Angeles Dodgers
Early in draft season, Austin Barnes was consistently going before Grandal. Barnes got most of the starts in the playoffs, but manager Dave Roberts said Grandal is the starter. Grandal batted .247 with 20 home runs and 58 RBIs last season, which isn’t bad for a catcher. He will lose some starts to Barnes, but Grandal has worked on elevating the ball more and has five homers in the spring.
Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants
No one wants Belt anymore. He’s cheap. His season ended due to a concussion, but he’s looked good in the spring with a .395 average. The home park is death on left-handers. He’s hit balls 415 feet that are outs because of the 420-foot distance in right-centerfield. Even with that, Belt was on his way to a career season last year. He batted. 241 with 63 runs, 18 home runs and 51 RBIs in 104 games. He’s even better in on-base percentage leagues.
Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics
Chapman will stay in the lineup because he has such a good glove. He has a ton of power and while the average won’t be great, he can be drafted late as a corner infielder. Chapman hit 14 home runs in 290 at-bats last season with a 50.5 percent fly ball rate and a 36 percent hard hit rate.
Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs
Schwarber lost weight and even has four steals this spring. He was overvalued in recent seasons and he’s undervalued this year. Schwarber hit 30 home runs in part-time play last year. The key to his success will be improving against left-handers. He batted .171 against southpaws in 98 plate appearances last year. He is 5-for-13 against lefties in the spring. Schwarber hit for average in the minors and he’s being drafted in the middle rounds.
Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers
Kemp wasn’t expected to play for the Dodgers. Most thought he would be shipped out by now, but he has lost 40 pounds and has been flashing power in the spring. He’s expected to be the every day leftfielder.
Mike Clevinger, Cleveland Indians
Clevinger will begin the season in the starting rotation. In 121.2 innings with the Indians last season, Clevinger had a 3.11 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, a 27.3 percent strikeout rate and a 12.4 percent swinging strike rate. He just needs to cut down on the walks.
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