Welcome, my thrifty shoppers, to the first edition of Clearance Sale. We here at RotoBaller are all about a good deal (have you seen our Draft Prep tools?!), and I am the king of good deals. Discount sales, expired goods -- I'm all about value. So to help you prepare for your drafts, we're bringing you some late round fliers to keep an eye on.
In this edition we'll start with the most important stat in baseball - runs. As Tim McCarver would say, you have to score more runs than the other team to win. We will break our search down into three factors: team's offense, players position in the batting order, and expected playing time. Let's get started.
Editor's note: for even more draft prep, visit our awesome 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It has lots of in-depth staff rankings and draft strategy columns. You will find tiered rankings for every position, 2017 impact rookie rankings, AL/NL only league ranks and lots more. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.
Late Round Fliers For Runs in 2017
Devon Travis (2B, TOR)
Current ADP: 198
I'm going to get yelled at by numerous people for even mentioning his name. Travis has been an enigma for fantasy players, with injuries being his main culprit. In 432 AB he produced a .300/.332/.454 line with 54 runs scored, with Travis in the leadoff spot for only 43% of the time. The Blue Jays experimented in that spot extensively, even using Jose Bautista for 40 games.
That shouldn't happen in 2017. Travis is expected to enter camp as the favorite to bat leadoff for a potent Blue Jays sans Edwin Encarnacion. His OBP (.332) isn't what you'd imagine from your top spot, but when the alternative Kevin Pillar (.302) is even worse you make due. Travis has great pop (.154 ISO) and is a sleeper candidate for 20 HR if he can stay healthy. If Travis can reach 550 AB for the first time ever he should be a great candidate for 85+ runs in 2017.
Carlos Gomez (OF, TEX)
Current ADP: 204
Gomez was Jekyll and Hyde in 2016. He was a massive disappointment in Houston, slashing .210/.272/.322 until they released him for nothing. Gomez signed with the Rangers with something to prove and went on fire. In 33 games he hit .284/.362/.543 with 18 runs and 8 HR. The Rangers re-signed him and have plugged him into the leadoff spot for 2017. As you may recall, Gomez was a first-round talent as recently as 2014. At virtually zero cost, Gomez is an excellent flier for runs in a potent Rangers lineup.
Shin-Soo Choo (OF, TEX)
Current ADP: 428
Am I reading that correctly? Shin-Soo Choo, a player ranked in the top 100 in 2015, is now virtually worthless on draft day? Recency bias is real, people.
Choo, 33, had a disappointing 2016, slashing .242/.357/.399 in only 210 PA. His season included four trips to the disabled list and ended in August with a fractured forearm. Choo has declared himself physically fit and performing normal offseason workouts. Recall that Choo posted a .372 OBP with 92 runs in 2015. He's on the decline in his career but his track record makes him worth a flier at $1.
Ender Inciarte (OF, ATL)
Current ADP: 216
You heard it here first; the Braves are going to be a fun offense this year. The Braves were a sneaky good offense to finish 2016, posting a .774 OPS in the second half (third in MLB). The addition of Matt Kemp provided Freddie Freeman the first protection he has seen since Brian McCann was a Brave, but the biggest X-factor was Ender Inciarte.
Inciarte was a tale of two halves, hitting .227 with 26 runs in the first half and .341 with 59 runs in the second half. The 59 runs were tied for second in baseball with teammate Freddie Freeman. So which Inciarte is the real one? Inciarte has always held a BABIP above .300 and was injured in the first half. I'm betting he's closer to the latter. The Braves brought everyone back from 2016 and added the versatile Sean Rodriguez. Inciarte is a fantastic bet for 80+ runs with an average over .300.
Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL)
Current ADP: 183
Batting behind Inciarte will be the "rookie" Dansby Swanson. I note the rookie status because Swanson was one AB away from losing prospect eligibility in 2016. The universally ranked top-3 prospect was great in his debut, slashing .300/.362/.442 in 145 at-bats. He spent the majority of the time in the 8-hole, but coach Brian Snitker has already stated Swanson will start the year batting 2nd.
In between Inciarte and Freeman is a great spot for a young player, and he should be given all the leash he needs to succeed on a Braves team with no serious plans to contend in 2017. Swanson's hype has inflated his ADP compared to the other options here, but he's a great bet to finish in the top 10 at SS with 75+ runs.
Jarrod Dyson (OF, SEA)
Current ADP: 247
Dyson has been in the majors since 2011 and has yet to earn a full-time role. That changed this offseason as the Mariners acquired Dyson and labeled him their projected leadoff hitter for 2017. Dyson is a slap hitter with excellent speed, averaging 33 steals in the past four seasons. Keep in mind he never eclipsed 405 at-bats in any of those seasons. Now with a full-time opportunity ahead of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz, Dyson is going to find himself crossing the plate often if he holds the spot. He's in line to shatter his career-high of 48 runs and is a candidate for 80/40 (runs/steals).