Fantasy Baseball 2017: Final Round Fliers for your Draft

We are entering the busiest time of year for fantasy baseball drafts. You know who you are taking with your first pick, so here are some suggestions for your last pick.

There are diamonds to be found at the end of every fantasy baseball draft. Whether you are looking for power or speed, strikeouts or saves, we have selected high-upside players that could be difference makers for your season.

All of the players featured in this article can be drafted outside of the top-260 according to FantasyPros consensus ADP.

Last year, Jose Ramirez and Jonathan Villar were undrafted in most leagues yet finished the year as two of the most important fantasy contributors. Final round picks like those help win leagues.

Fantasy Baseball: Raul Mondesi

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

First base: Yuli Gurriel is the epitome of a last-round, dice roll. No-one knows what to expect from the 32-year-old. He slashed .589/.874/1.463 in his last year in Cuba with 15 home runs and only three strikeouts in 49 games. Whether that translates to him becoming the next Jose Abreu or the next Rusney Castillo, is being hotly debated. He will start the season as the Astros’ everyday first baseman but will need to hit from the outset. The Astros optioned prospect A.J. Reed, who will undoubtedly demolish PCL pitching, heaping pressure on Gurriel if he gets off to a slow start. Of course, if Gurriel can convert his video game numbers to the MLB, he will be one of the steals of the draft.

He will start the season as the Astros’ everyday first baseman but will need to hit from the outset. The Astros optioned prospect A.J. Reed, who will undoubtedly demolish PCL pitching, heaping pressure on Gurriel if he gets off to a slow start. Of course, if Gurriel can convert his video game numbers to the MLB, he will be one of the steals of the draft.

Second base: Raul Mondesi is a highly-rated prospect vying for the starting job in Kansas City. He played in four levels last season, hitting nine home runs with 37 stolen bases. He reached the majors in July, three months after his 20th birthday. Mondesi is still growing into his power but offers the potential of double-digit home runs with 40 stolen bases. Watch him shoot up the draft boards if the Royals confirm Mondesi as their Opening Day second baseman.

Mondesi is still growing into his power but offers the potential of double-digit home runs with 40 stolen bases. Watch him shoot up the draft boards if the Royals confirm Mondesi as their Opening Day second baseman.

Third base: Travis Shaw is enjoying Spring Training with his new club, the Milwaukee Brewers. The 26-year-old has a 1.085 OPS with three home runs in Cactus League play. He is expected to be the Brewers’ everyday third baseman with the potential of 25 home runs and 80 RBI.The average team stole 76 bases last season, but the Brewers stole 181. Shaw is likely to be given the green light to run, so double-digit stolen bases are a possibility.

The average MLB team stole 76 bases last season, but the Brewers stole 181. Shaw is likely to be given the green light to run, so double-digit stolen bases are a possibility.

Shortstop: Ozzie Albies did not worry about being five years younger than the average player in Double-A when he recorded 100 hits with 21 stolen bases and .858 OPS in 82 games.

He looks Major League-ready, but the Braves acquired Brandon Phillips in the offseason, which means Albies will start the year in Triple-A. This could be a short stint in the minors as according to the Braves’ GM John Coppolella “No one is going to block Ozzie Albies.”

Coppolella continued in his interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Ozzie is a very special talent and person. We are excited for him to finish off his development at Triple-A. We expect him to be here soon and for a very long time.

A fractured elbow kept the switch-hitting Albies out of the Arizona Fall League and delayed his start to Spring Training, but he finished his time in the Grapefruit League hitting .375 without striking out in 11 games.

Fantasy Baseball: Steve Pearce

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Left field: Melvin Upton Jr. is an unexciting choice to take with your final pick of the draft, but don’t ignore that he hit 20 home runs with 20 stolen bases last year. Only nine players went 20/20 last season. Eight have an ADP in the top-60. Upton Jr. has an ADP of 350. It has to be one of the most underappreciated 20/20 seasons ever.

The outfield situation in Toronto is sketchy with Upton Jr. and Ezequiel Carrera expected to form the most unlikely platoon in left field, as neither can hit right-handed pitching. Carrera offers a small 10 point advantage in batting average, but Upton Jr. will contribute significantly more counting stats. If you can cope with the appalling .229 batting average over the last three years, Upton Jr. could help in the other categories.

Center field: Ben Revere is just a Cameron Maybin injury away from everyday at-bats, with the potential of leading off for the Angels ahead of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. The potential for runs and stolen bases is immense, and especially good value for a player with an ADP of 390. Maybin has missed 304 games over the last four years, so a 162-game season in 2017 looks unlikely. Only Dee Gordon and Rajai Davis have stolen more bases than Revere in the five years from 2011. He had an injury-affected down year in 2016 but has looked good in Spring Training, hitting .400 with four stolen bases.

Only Dee Gordon and Rajai Davis have stolen more bases than Revere in the five years from 2011. He had an injury-affected down year in 2016 but has looked good in Spring Training, hitting .400 with four stolen bases.

Right field: Mitch Haniger destroyed Triple-A pitching last season with 20 home runs, 20 doubles and 1.098 OPS. The former first-round pick became an offseason target for the Mariners and will start 2017 as their right fielder. He hit five home runs in the majors in September and currently leads all of Spring Training with 23 hits, including two home runs.Added to the mix, is the desire for Haniger to steal more bases.

He was two in Spring Training, and with the additions of speedsters Jarrod Dyson and Jean Segura, it appears that the Mariners will be running more this season. 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases from your last round pick would be a useful way to finish any draft, but with Haniger’s power, it could be far more than 15.

Added to the mix, is the desire for Haniger to steal more bases. He was two in Spring Training, and with the additions of speedsters Jarrod Dyson and Jean Segura, it appears that the Mariners will be running more this season. 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases from your last round pick would be a useful way to finish any draft, but with Haniger’s power, it could be far more than 15.

Left field/first base: Steve Pearce is expected to start the season in a platoon but could quickly work his way into everyday at-bats. Last season with the Rays, he slashed .285/.355/.444 with five home runs in 57 games against right-handers, and that is his weaker side! He destroyed lefties with 1.202 OPS.Expect Pearce to see time at first base and left

Expect Pearce to see time at first base and left field. He also has experience at second base, and the Blue Jays have ongoing injury concerns with Devon Travis. The extra position eligibility for Pearce would be a valuable bonus.

Fantasy Baseball: Robert Gsellman

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Starting pitcher: Robert Gsellman was an intriguing late-round pick, even before this dominant stretch in March with a 1.56 ERA in five games. He currently has the third-best starting pitcher’s ERA in Spring Training. Gsellman is expected to make the Mets’ rotation and has the potential to be one of their most valuable pitchers in 2017. He is durable, having made 20 starts in Triple-A last year before a sensational seven-game stretch in the majors. His Major League stats of 2.42 ERA, 8.46

Gsellman is expected to make the Mets’ rotation and has the potential to be one of their most valuable pitchers in 2017. He is durable, having made 20 starts in Triple-A last year before a sensational seven-game stretch in the majors. His Major League stats of 2.42 ERA, 8.46 SO/9 and 54 GB% look unreal from a pitcher with an AP of 297.

He utilizes a four-pitch mix, including a fastball that can hit 97 mph, although he probably needs to develop the changeup or curveball to take become a legitimate fantasy starter. Even if 2017 is just a stepping stone towards his realizing his potential, Gsellmann offers the chance of getting a top-40 starting pitcher for a final round pick.

Relief pitcher: Koda Glover could join the long list of relief pitchers who have appeared from nowhere to grab the closer’s job in Spring Training. The Nationals are projected to win 88 games, so there will be plenty of save opportunities, but as yet they have not confirmed who will be their ninth inning guy.

Glover flew through four levels last season with a fastball that touched 100 mph. Read more about him in Brad Kelly’s excellent analysis. The 23-year-old has more fantasy upside than the other two candidates, Blake Treinen and Shawn Kelley. He could be the 2017 version of Edwin Diaz or Seung-Hwan Oh.

Catcher: Austin Hedges is an elite defensive catcher with the starting job behind the plate in San Diego. He hit 21 home runs with .951 OPS in Triple-A last year, with just 51 strikeouts. Even making allowances for the hitter-friendly environment of the PCL, Hedges’ bat looks to have finally caught up with his glove. The 24-year-old has the potential of finishing the season as a top-12 catcher.

Catcher (DL-stash): Tom Murphy is a free-swinging, hard-hitting slugger enjoying the thin Colorado air. He hit 24 home runs between Triple-A and the majors last season with an OPS over 1.000. He fractured his forearm in Spring Training and will miss April. Draft him, stash him on the DL and then watch him explode in May. The power potential from the catching position is too great to pass up, even if Murphy starts in a job-share.

Fantasy Baseball: Ozzie Albies

Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Whatever format you play or size of your league, don’t waste the last pick of your draft with a safe option which offers little more value than other players available on waivers. Aim high. Aim for upside. There is no risk if the player fails, but the rewards could be great.