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Daniel Palka (OF,CWS) - Fantasy Baseball Draft Sleepers

BALLER MOVE: Draft target ~pick 300

CURRENT ADP: ~310 overall

ANALYSIS: Not many caught onto Daniel Palka last year, making him a solid OF3 in most leagues without any acquisition cost. More specifically, in 2018 Palka slashed .240/.294/.484 with 27 homers and two steals. No threat of speed here and Palka is a power-first player, making him a three-true-outcomes player to be had.

Admittedly, Palka might not make a ton of contact, with a 34.1% K rate, but when he does hit the ball, it goes far. In 2018, only 20.5% of his contact was graded as “soft,” with 36.4% being marked as “hard.” This helps explain the 27 HR/FB% and offers some hints at the sustainability of the overall power profile. Add to this that Palka posted an above-average flyball rate at 37.5%, leading to better than expected power numbers. The downside would be the plate skills, with a 16.9 swinging strike rate, but the contact is good enough to make up for this.

However you slice it, Palka has an elite power profile, and the skills match the production so far in his young career. With the addition of Yonder Alonso and the retention of Jose Abreu, there is not a spot at first for Palka. Based on the depth chart, Palka is slotted in to start the year in left field and should be able to retain this for the whole year. Despite the label as a power-only player, Palka's power has a higher ceiling than most on the team. Team context should allow Palka to play out the season to see if they have a diamond in the rough. Fantasy owners drafting him at 311 who have that diamond will not be disappointed.

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