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Players for $1: Salary Cap League Draft Targets for Fantasy Baseball - Dinelson Lamet, Brandon Nimmo, and more

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We've already identified hitters and pitchers under $10 to target in salary cap league drafts. For this exercise, we're aiming lower and targeting players for just $1. That rules out roughly the top 350 players in drafts! From this vantage point, some managers may look for high-risk, high-reward plays to strike big with a small investment. There are safer guys to acquire as well, to try to claim any and all production at the backend of a draft.

It's a cliché to say that those managers who finally dip their toe into salary cap leagues never go back to snake drafts. Snake drafts have their own charm. There is simply more going on, and thus more fun to have when participating in a salary cap draft. There become no bounds on how one wants to build their roster.

Snake drafts require managers to keep their eye on specific targets to fill out their roster. In salary cap leagues, however, a manager can build their entire roster around multiple stars and then continually fill in with late-round values. The cheaper players are key; finding those that elevate and extend a roster.

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Gavin Sheets (DH, CHW)

Don't get cocky here late. We're okay with timeshares and platoons. It's about garnering the most value, and 300 at-bats of really good production can often be more valuable than 500 ABs of league-average results. Sheets could certainly offer the former. Last year, in his first taste of the big leagues, Sheets hit rockets, specifically against right-handed pitching. The sample was small, but he put up a .900 OPS. Overall, a 44.6 percent hard-hit rate and 90.4 average exit velocity came with nothing worse than a league-average K-rate. He will have to fight off Andrew Vaughn and everyday guys needing half a day off, but Sheets should easily pass his 179 plate appearances from 2021.


Dinelson Lamet (P, SD)

We have probably seen the last of San Diego trying to force Lamet into being a 30-start guy. He just couldn't handle the wear and tear. However, we could be at the start of Lamet being a super pitcher in a hybrid/unknown role. He could be the Padres' closer; he could be a fireman in the middle innings; he could get occasional starts or follow an opener. We don't really know yet. The point is, when he's on the mound, the stuff plays.

Last year, battling through injuries, the surface numbers were blah at best. He still had great stuff. His 86.9 average exit velocity allowed was a career-low. He only gave up a 35.2 percent hard-hit rate. There were too many walks, and he wasn't missing as many bats, but we still saw glimpses of the 2020 Lamet. And boy, was that guy special.

He's only thrown 17.1 career innings as a reliever, all coming last season. We have too much evidence of bad starters moving to the pen and becoming really good. Well, what about a good starter doing the same because of durability issues? He may be the best reliever in the game or do nothing more than garner middle-inning outs. The outcomes are so vast, it's almost too enticing to pass up for $1 on draft day.


Brandon Nimmo (OF, NYM)

Here we have a player expected to play every day and bat atop what should be a really good lineup. That's highly useful even if Nimmo wasn't an on-base fiend who can mash. He won't collect a ton of counting stats besides runs but is supremely useful to bump up BA thanks to an upper-echelon eye at the plate. He ranked in the 100th percentile last year in chase rate. It's all about health and staying on the field for Nimmo. Be prepared for less than a full season and be happy with the results.


Wilmer Flores (1B/3B, SF), Brad Miller (1B/OF, TEX)

Instead of worrying where and when Flores and Miller will get into the lineup, imagine how often they can play on teams with fluid rosters. We know San Francisco is going to be shuffling guys in and out often. With Evan Longoria and LaMonte Wade Jr. both hurt to start the year, Flores may not even get any days off for a while. Miller has a bit more work to do in Texas, but his versatility could see him in the lineup at as many as five different spots.

The key is, when these guys get an opportunity, they should produce. Flores has a great eye at the plate with a little bit of pop. Miller, on the other hand, has turned into a free-swinger with some huge power upside. Yet he still draws walks. They are not similar players, but are instead lumped together because of their positional versatility and the projected fluidity of their teams' lineups. If you're looking for steady, yet unspectacular numbers with more reliable playing time, lean toward Flores. Miller offers a much higher ceiling, certainly in terms of power numbers, but could see more sporadic ABs. Both guys supply that multi-positional flexibility fantasy managers covet.


Hunter Greene (SP, CIN)

Thanks to injuries to both Luis Castillo and Mike Minor, it appears as though Greene is going to get an extended look in the Cincinnati rotation. The former second overall draft pick and 22-year-old has not yet played in the Major Leagues. This will be his first taste. It is exciting for Reds fans and should be exciting for fantasy managers as well. Greene possesses an 80-grade fastball according to scouts and mixes in a high-quality slider. He will need to build up his changeup to pitch deep into games, but this first showing offers all kinds of promise for a team that needs something to root for this season.

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