The first 10 rounds in a 15-team fantasy baseball draft with standard 5×5 scoring likely have 130 players in common in some sort of order. Some players may dip, some may be taken a bit early, but in general, they are equivalent. After round 10 however, is where your team is truly made. Here is where you really start looking at bounce-back players and high-risk/reward guys and taking a chance to hit gold.
Here are eight players whose ADP* is 151-225 (rounds 11-15 in a 15-team league) who will outperform their current draft position.
* NFBC ADP from February 1-March 13
Keibert Ruiz – Catcher – ADP 184
Ruiz has always had a very good eye at the plate. Even in his first full season with the Washington Nationals last year, he struck out only 11.6 percent of the time. His overall counting stats don’t jump off the page, but there is plenty of room for a jump in production. As recently as 2021, Ruiz blasted 21 home runs in 316 plate appearances in Triple-A. With the lack of firepower in Washington’s lineup, Ruiz will likely bat in the heart of the order. At just 24 years old, Ruiz was a bit cautious last year at the plate. With a bit more aggressiveness, the Venezuelan backstop should take a step forward, especially in the power department.
Prediction: .267/.345/.427, 60 runs, 67 RBIs, 15 HRs, 8 SBs
Josh Bell – First Base – ADP 176
There is a little recency bias against Bell. He was traded to the Sand Diego Padres last year and batted a paltry .192 with just three home runs in 53 games. That small sample saw Bell have the lowest average exit velocity and the highest groundball rate of his career. What people tend to forget is that the switch-hitting first baseman was slashing .301/.384/.493 with 14 homers and 57 RBIs in Washington prior to the trade. He should be batting cleanup in the Guardians lineup after superstar Jose Ramirez. Bell may not get back to the 37 HRs and 116 RBIs he had with Pittsburgh in 2019 but 25 and 90 are certainly feasible.
Prediction: .273/.368/.478, 81 runs, 94 RBIs, 26 HRs, 0 SBs
Ketel Marte – Second Base – ADP 197
Another player looking to get back to 2019 production is Marte. He is a tough guy to figure out. While he hit more balls in the air last year than any other season, and his hard hit percentage and AEV were fairly in line with his last five years, Marte still struggled with a .240 average. His BABIP was only .276 which may have been a bit unlucky. The upside is that Marte set a career-high in doubles in 2022 with 42. This season he will likely be batting second after speedster and NL Rookie of the Year favorite Corbin Carroll. Just like Bell, I think Marte’s 2019 season may have been his absolute ceiling but expect a solid return to fantasy relevance for the 29-year-old.
Prediction: .281/.355/.471, 85 runs, 79 RBIs, 21 HRs, 6 SBs
Alec Bohm – Third Base – ADP 177
The former third pick in the 2018 draft has had an up and down few years. In 2020, Bohm batted .338 and looked like he could be the future star the Philadelphia Phillies drafted. He had a down year in 2021 and bounced back a bit last season with a .280 batting average and 13 home runs. After nearly two full seasons of major league experience under his belt, Bohm is ready to take the next step. He increased his launch angle to 10.4 last season and should see even more of a gain as he gets more aggressive. Bohm is a big guy with pedigree, some experience, and an excellent lineup around him. Look for a solid breakout this season.
Prediction: .292/.335/.478, 83 runs, 87 RBIs, 23 HRs, 4 SBs
Thairo Estrada – Shortstop – ADP 166
Estrada found a home with the San Francisco Giants. Since heading out West in 2021, the infielder has 21 HRs, 22 SBs, 90 runs, and 84 RBIs in 673 plate appearances. He just turned 27 and will bat toward the top of the Giants lineup. There aren’t a ton of guys who are going to be solid in all five categories at this point in the draft. Estrada is one of them and a shot at a 20/20 season is gold after round 10.
Prediction: .262/.330/.421, 77 runs, 70 RBIs, 17 HRs, 22 SBs
Alex Verdugo – Outfield – ADP 195
Verdugo has never been a fantasy stud. He isn’t a power guy and doesn’t really steal bases. He does give you a boost in batting average as a .288 hitter in his time with the Boston Red Sox. Over the last three seasons, Verdugo has seen his launch angle and sweet spot percentage increase while his strikeout rate has decreased. He is simply becoming a better hitter. Verdugo will turn 27 this season and it is time for him to turn some of the 39 doubles he hit last year into home runs. He also may be inclined to run a bit more batting fifth. Not that it will make him Rickey Henderson, but Verdugo has enough speed to possibly get you to double-digits.
Prediction: .297/.349/.450, 78 runs, 80 RBIs, 16 HRs, 9 SBs
Jordan Montgomery – Starter – ADP 169
Montgomery was pitching well for the New York Yankees when they shipped him off to St. Louis for Harrison Bader last year. Now, heading into a contract year, the right-hander is looking to have a career season. He walked fewer than two batters per nine innings last year and set a career-high for innings pitched (178.1). Montgomery gets his fair share of punchouts, but with the Cardinals fielding one of the best defensive teams in baseball consistently, Montgomery should be able to keep the runs off the board.
Prediction: 13-7, 3.07 ERA, 1.071 WHIP, 181 Ks
Reid Detmers – Starter – ADP 208
I have been all over Detmers since his Louisville days. The kid may not light up the radar gun, but he knows how to pitch. The southpaw has gained a little velocity and now sits around 92-95 with his fastball. That plays off of his curveball which he drops at 73. A 20-mph difference and a similar arm slot make it tough to pick up. Detmers has 30 MLB starts under his belt including a no-hitter. He is going to be a steal this season at his ADP.
Prediction: 12-7, 3.22 ERA, 1.122 WHIP, 171 Ks
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