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The key to winning any fantasy league is finding value where others have not. Either this means buying in on the Matt Kemps of the world early and getting value late in a draft or using roster construction to maximize stat collection. Where players play matters as much as when and how they play for fantasy owners and their rosters.

The big-ticket item for positional flexibility this year was Anthony Rizzo with his ability to play second base in some leagues. This added a ton of value to teams, as the production owners could expect from Rizzo far outweighed what the average 2B would produce. Still, all owners have heard of Rizzo, meaning that the value-add here was harder to get. At the worst, an owner is still giving up a top three pick to get that flexibility.

This article will examine players drafted after pick number 200, where owners can add value with the ability to play around the diamond. Some are off to hot starts, some will expect to play more, and other are great stashes due to the ability to play all over the park. No matter the situation, these are players with options for playing time in both fantasy and real-life baseball.  Finally, with most of these players being taken late in drafts, their trade value should be lower, meaning it will be easier to buy-low from current owners.

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Using Positional Flexibility to Your Advantage

Yangervis Solarte (TOR, 2B/SS/3B/MI/CI) - 300 ADP

No one benefited more from Devon Travis’ demotion than Yangervis Solarte. Not only has he been the replacement for Josh Donaldson at the hot corner, but he seems to have the edge over Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to take over at second when Donaldson returns. More important for fantasy owners, Solarte can play anywhere on the infield which means unlimited flexibility. Have an injury at 2B? Plug him there. SS? Same. With a .250 AVG and eight homers, there is little downside to playing him already. If you were lucky enough to draft him in the 2nd round, there is surplus value to be had.

BALLER MOVE: Sell high. While a good play now, his value is perhaps highest while playing this often. The analysis above supports Solarte playing at 2B for a while, but be careful on the context. If/when the Jays start to collapse, look for management to see what they have with Gurriel Jr. This would limit Solarte's playing time. The home runs give him some value, and the name adds even more. Sell for a critical piece now and take advantage of surplus from a late-round pick.


Austin Barnes (LAD, C/2B) - 210

Of the players on the list, Austin Barnes is the best known due to strong second half and playoff run with the Dodgers. So far this year, Yasmani Grandal is off to his usual hot start, and Barnes has been relegated to the bench. Due to this these factors, Barnes is only owned in 17% of Yahoo leagues, so he is there for the stash where owners have an open spot on the bench. So far this season, Barnes is batting .190 with two RBI and six runs.

Why then should owners take a look? First, Grandal tends to drop off in the second half with a career 104 tOPS+ in the first half, and a 95 tOPS+ in the second. Barnes will get more changes, and expect backup catchers to get more options as opposed to other reserve players due to the wear and tear at the position. The other key point? Even if Barnes is a “break glass in case of emergency” player. The ability to cover C and 2B/MI on the bench in one spot is worth its weight in gold. Take that extra slot and take a risk on the hot player on the waiver wire.

BALLER MOVE: Pick-up and stash. Barnes will get ABs and when he does, do not let other owners reap the benefit. Remember, Barnes is by default worth both his stats and those you add due to the bench slot you save.


Adam Frazier (PIT, 2B/OF) - 433

Adam Frazier is a personal favorite of mine due to both the flexibility and the situation in Pittsburgh. With Josh Harrison’s injury, Frazier has assumed the starting role at second base and still keeps outfield eligibility. What sets Frazier apart is the stolen base potential. Last season, in only 121 games, Frazier stole nine bases. While not stealing much this year, that potential is there in his minors track record. Frazier has historically been a 10-plus SB guy every year, which adds value on the fringe. Jump on now to the player owned in 1% of leagues. After a slow start, Frazier has two multi-hit games in his last three. And hey, the ability to add extra coverage to that bench works well for roster manipulation. Even more, so far Frazier is batting leadoff for the Pirates which means when he gets going expect the runs to flow.

BALLER MOVE: Pick up and stash. Frazier should be in store for a big May with the continued absence of Harrison and other players starting to heat up. In four OF leagues he offers contact and speed upside as an injury fill-in at worst, and at best a 2017 breakout candidate.


Chad Pinder (OAK, SS/OF) - 451

Perhaps a bit of a disappointment since being drafted in the second round of the 2013 Amateur Draft by the Athletics, Chad Pinder seems to have finally broken into a regular role with the team. So far so good with a .317 AVG, three home runs, and five RBI. As might be a trend on this list the middle infield and outfield eligibility makes Pinder a smart play. Most dual-eligibility players have the 2B/OF play, but in this case, the SS makes Pinder unique. What else to like about the profile? How about a 70.8% hard contact rate? While not expected to continue at this rate, there is apparently upside in this player.

BALLER MOVE: Where you can add and plug right into your starting line-up in AL-only, and stash in mixed. As long as he hits expect Pinder to be the long side of the platoon with Joyce for the long haul.


Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM, 2B/SS/3B/CI/MI) - 326

The final name on this list is another sneaky value that many added to fill a bench slot during the draft and now are relying on for production. Through 25 games Asdrubal Cabrera has five home runs to complement a .340 AVG. 20 runs and 17 RBI add to the profile that is currently ranked 35th in yahoo fantasy leagues. Will this production keep up? Perhaps not, as no one is saying Cabrera is a late-career MVP candidate, but the profile is there. A career-high O-zone contact rate with steady numbers elsewhere means Cabrera is just plain making more contact no matter where that pitch is. Even better? Like Solarte he can play almost anywhere. Due to eligibility Cabrera is one of the top offensive shortstops, and due to where he was drafted, the assumption would be that he is more like to playing MI than one of the starting slots.

BALLER MOVE: If you own hold and enjoy the ride. Where you do not wait for the first sign of trouble, then try to buy low. Cabrera’s value is too high to trade for now so hold onto that value in other players. Wait until the slump hits, then buy in and hope the profile keeps up. The peripherals look good, but without a track record, an owner might be willing to bail with some brief troubles.


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