A week of Spring Training games are in the books, and there have been some definite standouts in the early going. Some pitchers looking like aces, some prospects making many feel giddy for their future, and individual players starting hot to help justify a potential bounce-back season. It is always hard to remember not to overreact to Spring Training results, especially early on where a lot of damage is done against players likely starting the season in the minor leagues. Differentiating between what is right and what is just a hot stretch is tough. Still, at the least, the early results should be used as a reminder that individual players may be back, and they are quite a discount during fantasy baseball draft season. Let’s take a look at three outfielders off to hot spring starts and the fantasy upside they bring to your drafts. 

Austin Meadows, OF, TB

Meadows is coming off a 2020 season to forget. He had a rough start to the shortened season as he contracted COVID and the lingering results affected his overall results. Meadows hit a career-low .205 with a .292 wOBA and a career-worst 32.9% strikeout rate. If you just watched playoff games, it was very noticeable how lost Meadows looked at the plate, and it even forced him into a platoon. 

Things are looking up this spring as Meadows is 3-8 in the early going with three home runs. He also has two walks, leading to a .500 OBP, but most importantly, he has only struck out two times. Since 2/22, Meadows is the 24 outfielder off the board at an ADP of 89 in NFBC online drafts. He is slowly moving up draft boards as he appears healthy. Meadows is also leading off when he is in the Rays lineup, which is great to see. I am back in on Meadows and especially at his current draft price. He has five-category upside coming being drafted in the back end of round 5 in 15 team drafts.

Joey Gallo, OF, TEX

After a 2019 season that saw Gallo hit .253, many were high on the slugger now that he hit for average. That changed in 2020 as he was back to a low batting average but was much lower than his previous .206 and .209 seasons; he hit .181. The average was not the only downer as one would hope the power would still be around, but it was not as he had a .297 wOBA, .197 ISO, and 10 home runs. 

With such a down 2020 season, Gallo has been dropping in fantasy drafts. His ADP since 2/22 is 169 as the 45 outfielder off the board. Most are unwilling to buy back in on Gallo for 2021, but he has shown signs of life early in spring to maybe change the negativity. He has started off the spring smoking hot, going 5-12 with a double and four home runs. These were not baby home runs either, and they were mammoth home runs. The type when they when hit they are blowing up Twitter. Gallo is doing his best to make people forget about 2020. It will take more for me, but I am taking notice. If I need serious power and have a solid batting average base, I am more inclined to take my chance now at his ADP—definitely, someone to monitor but not all in yet. 

Gregory Polanco, OF, PIT

Ewe, right? Polanco has burned so many fantasy owners over the years. The prospect hype train was huge, there were moments of solid production, but overall, injuries have derailed most fantasy seasons. With all the derailments, his fantasy value continues to drop year after year, now to a low ADP of 353 since 2/22 as outfielder 101. He’s nearly free in drafts, and many are hoping for the 2016 and 2018 seasons where we saw 20+ home runs and 12+ stolen bases.

The early start to spring has brought on some great optimism, but is it real? For now, we have to think it is real. Polanco has started hot, hitting 5-11 with a double, two home runs, eight RBI, and a stolen base. He looks great at the plate. In recent interviews, he has even said he feels great and is focused on baseball compared to recent seasons when he was focused on numerous injuries. The Pirates’ lineup as a whole is not great, but Polanco will hit in the middle of the order and, if healthy, is a steal at his current ADP. I am buying back in for now mainly due to price alone. At worst, he’s an early drop if he does not pan out. At best, he can be a fantasy steal in 23 round of 15 team drafts.