The Padres may not be a home to a lot of fantasy starts. Though, there are some players worth drafting late as a sleeper pick, including Yangervis Solarte.
The San Diego Padres had one of the worst offenses in baseball last season. Only one hitter ranked in the top 100 on the ESPN Player Rater. But that was 2017. We’re getting ready for next year. One player that has sleeper status is Yangervis Solarte.
Solarte became fantasy relevant went he was traded to the Padres in 2015. As the team’s starting third baseman, he saw a huge increase in playing time which affected all of his stats, good and bad.
In his first full season in San Diego, Solarte played in 152 games. He hit 14 home runs, 63 RBI and .270. He saw a jump in power and contact in the following season. Solarte was a 22nd round pick in ESPN leagues entering this season.
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Like with many other batters, Solarte sacrificed contact for added power. In just 128 games, he hit 18 home runs, 64 RBI and .255. I don’t take much solace in the low RBI numbers because that relies on the batters in front of him to get on base. Again, only one hitter in the top 100.
In a year when 117 batters hit at least 20 home runs, Solarte would have been on that list if he didn’t miss all of July. He was on pace for 23 homers, 92 RBI and 64 runs.
The added benefit is that Solarte picked up eligibility for second base and shortstop. He played 22 games at third base, 28 games at shortstop and 79 games at second base this season. I love players with multi-position eligibility, whether it’s a hitter or pitcher.
Having a player that I can move around to two or three positions opens more opportunities on who to add from the waiver wire. If Solarte was just a third baseman and performing well, you could miss out on a hot third baseman available. With second base and shortstop, you can pick up that player or a middle infielder and keep Solarte as your third baseman.
The Padres don’t have a long track record of improving through free agency. With that, I don’t expect them to add a big bat between now and then. Wil Myers hit 30 home runs and Hunter Renfroe quietly hit 26 homers. There wasn’t much support outside of those two.
Solarte is my first of many sleeper picks for 2018. He has 20-home run/.270 potential next season. As a 20th-round pick, I would love to have him as my corner, or middle, infielder or utility player.