One of the most common mistakes novice fantasy baseball players make while preparing for their drafts is how easily they overlook strong talent coming off a bad year.
When people discuss Comeback Player of the Year, they tend to look at those who were lost for a season due to injury. Watch how all eyes are on the Orioles’ Trey Mancini, who beat cancer in 2020 and is expected to have an outstanding rebound season. But 2020 was an odd year for many, and finding the right players who are undervalued in this year’s drafts because of a down season can be a difference-maker and a great spot to find these gems is in the outfield.
Enjoy the bargain price on Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano. Drafting him at his current ADP of 154 should be considered a heist based on his potential to be a 30-homer, 20-steal player. He flashed that power and speed combo during his first big league call-up in 2018, and he built upon it during a breakout campaign in which he hit .288 with 24 home runs and 13 stolen bases. Last season was not as kind to him.
Like many players, Laureano struggled with the unconventional spring and delayed season in 2020, and he was limited early with a calf injury. Upon heating up, during a series against the Astros, he was hit three times then was goaded into a fight by Houston bench coach Alex Cintron. A six-game suspension was handed down, and he never got back on track. Now, entering his age-26 season, Laureano is looking to put 2020 behind him and get back to business. He is ready to take that next step.
Also looking to make an improvement on a rough 2020 is Rays outfielder Austin Meadows, whose ADP of 93 is mind-boggling considering he smashed 33 homers in 2019. People are fixated on his .205 average and 33 percent strikeout rate from last year, and few are understanding of how he tested positive for COVID-19 in July, then suffered a thigh and an oblique injury while trying to play through the illness. Even with four home runs and two steals this spring, he is being widely overlooked by many. Don’t be one of them.
If your draft position or plan has you looking away from the outfield in the early rounds of your draft, understand there is plenty of talent being overlooked by your competition. Meadows and Laureano can be game-changers in the middle rounds, and that’s where you dominate. Top-tier talent at mid-round prices is the key to your success.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball advice.