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Later-Round First Basemen - Fantasy Baseball Draft Values and Targets

Welcome officially to the 2022 fantasy baseball season! Now that an MLB deal is in place, a lot more fantasy drafts will be taking place -- and we're here as always to guide you through it. Once you reach the late rounds of drafts, everyone is looking to draft players with upside that can provide a great return on value. You can afford to start taking a risk or two on a variety of different players, including emerging prospects, overlooked veterans, players returning from injury, or even talented players who may have some playing time concerns. The early rounds are critical and the middle rounds shape the core of your starting squad, but the late rounds are where you have the opportunity to select hidden gems who can play a huge role for your fantasy team.

Today, we're looking at some late-round first basemen for you to consider drafting in your season-long leagues this season. Are their ADPs undervalued? Will they make significant fantasy contributions and become a late-round sleeper draft target that you're going to want to prioritize? Read on to see our take.

Our editors have hand-picked these specific MLB players for your draft prep enjoyment. Normally only available to Premium subscribers, the five outlooks below are meant to give you a taste of the in-depth analysis you receive with our industry-leading 2022 Draft Kit. Be sure to subscribe today and start reading all of our in-depth 2022 player outlooks, and many other premium articles and tools, available exclusively in our 2022 Draft Kit.

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Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants' first baseman Brandon Belt continues to crush baseballs. He finished 2021 with a .274 avg, 29 home run(s), 59 run(s) batted in, 65 run(s), three stolen base(s), and a 3.3 fWAR across 381 plate appearances. Belt produced a career-high 17% barrel rate and has managed a 150 plus wRC+ in each of the last two seasons. He managed a 70 plus percentile score in max exit velocity, hard-hit %, xwOBA, xSLG, barrel %, and BB%. Belt has more swing and miss than anticipated with a 26th percentile whiff % but his 94th percentile chase rate and 90th percentile BB% outline elite plate discipline that should remain. The recent production from Belt is no misnomer considering his elite barrel rate and plate discipline.

The issue is health. Belt has suffered from various injuries throughout his career. ATC projects Belt for 505 PA, 26 HRs, 69 RBIs, 72 runs scored, and three stolen bases. The plate appearance projection seems high. Belt has only topped 550 PA four times in eleven seasons. His current ADP sits at 268 which has him going after Jonathan Schoop and before Frank Schwindel. Considering Belt's elite discipline and barrel rate over the last two seasons he should be going next to Anthony Rizzo who is being selected around ADP 170. That said, there is obvious injury risk with Belt so fantasy managers know what they are signing up for.

-- Jacob Taylor - RotoBaller

 

Bobby Dalbec, Boston Red Sox

There is reason for optimism with the Red Sox big man this season. The power has never been in question, and he posted an elite home run rate in 2022 (25 homers in 452 PAs). The downside thus far has been the huge strikeout problem (career 35.8% K%) that has kept his batting average in the dumps. We saw Dalbec start to slightly turn this trend around in the second half of 2021 as he struck out at a lower 28.8% clip from August 1st onward.

That is still a problematic strikeout rate that is unlikely to lead to anything but a bad batting average, but there is some hope that he can hit enough homers and drive in enough runs to make that worth the trade. His 20.2% barrel rate and 115.6 max exit velocity last year leave no doubts that this guy can hit 40 homers in the show, and that's someone that is worth taking a shot at age 26 with a low ADP of 224.

-- Jon Anderson - RotoBaller

 

Nathaniel Lowe, Texas Rangers

After the dust settled, Lowe put up a pretty solid line in his first season as a Ranger. He scored 74 runs, hit 18 homers, drove in 72, stole eight bases, and hit a respectable .264. His expected high walk rate kept his on-base percentage high at .354 as well. He did all of that while largely avoiding the spotlight. The one thing that stood out about Lowe is how low his homer total seems when you consider that he posted a better-than-average 9.5% barrel rate and 113.9 max exit velocity.

The issue there was the crazy high 55% GB%. We know that ground-ball rate is somewhat sticky, but it is not crazy at all to see major shifts in a player's batted ball profile from year-to-year. This makes Lowe a guy that could flirt with 25 homers if he can get a few more balls into the air. What we have here is a late-round first baseman that does a little bit of everything, and I think there's some unrealized ceiling in here as well. In on-base percentage leagues, he's a great value that you can get after pick 225, and he's only 26 years old. Sign me up for some Nate Lowe this year.

-- Jon Anderson - RotoBaller



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