Spring Training is halfway over, and fantasy baseball draft season is in full swing. We have been researching for some time now and should know the player pool like the back of our hand by now. If you don’t, then don’t worry, as we have you covered. When getting into the draft’s late rounds, it can be about rounding out your roster by position, categories, or both. There are some late-round targets to keep on the radar when entering the final rounds, but today we will highlight a few post NFBC ADP 300 hitters I have been targeting late in drafts. Suppose looking for more, feel free to listen to previous episodes of Benched with Bubba going over all things draft season-related. 

Elvis Andrus, SS, OAK (ADP 323)– When Andrus was traded to the A’s, he quickly jumped onto my fantasy radar. Andrus was looking at a platoon role with the Rangers, but now is the starting shortstop for the A’s. He likely will hit near the bottom of the order, which is not ideal but post 300 picks; it will be ok. Andrus has consistently shown the ability to steal bags, stealing 21 or more bases every season he has played at least 100 games. He has even offered a bit of pop in recent years, and 2020 had his best barrel rate of 5.7% and hard-hit rate of 37.5%. If looking for a late shortstop or, more likely, a middle infield option, then Andrus and his 10+ home run and 15+ stolen base upside are pretty nice at this point in the draft. 

Justin Upton, OF, LAA (ADP 330)– Upton is entering his age 34 season and is coming off back-to-back seasons of fantasy disappointment. He was battling injuries in 2019 and just didn’t look right in 2020. It is still not time to give up on Upton, especially at an ADP of 330. Upton still had an HR/FB of 19/1% in 2020 while lowering his K% to 25.9% (lowest since 2015). His maxEV was down from his norm of 114 mph to 111.5 mph the last two seasons, while his barrel rates dropped as well, but we did see an increase in the hard-hit rate last season back to 43.8% (3rd highest of his career). The overall hit tool may not be what it once was for Upton, but the power has not disappeared. He still has 30+ home run upside in a much improved Angels offense. Upton is off to a strong spring, hitting .438 (7-16) with three home runs. If looking for later-round pop, then Upton should be one of your prime targets.

Joey Votto, 1B, CIN (ADP 339)– Yes, Votto is currently quarantining due to a positive COVID test, but appears to be asymptomatic, which is good to hear. Assuming he is ok, as ok as one can be testing positive for COVID, he is still firmly on my late-round list. Last season, Votto adjusted to his swing and was a bit more aggressive at the plate, which resulted in a return of Votto’s power, hitting 11 home runs in 54 games. His maxEV reached a career-high of 113.2 mph with a 9.1% barrel rate. He will always be an OBP machine with his 14% walk rate but should also hit around .255. He will contribute in four categories, hopefully belting 25 or so home runs, and makes for a solid late-round CI option in drafts. 

Gregory Polanco, OF, PIT (ADP 345)– Polanco has been a major DO NOT DRAFT for me in recent years; this included earlier this season. Things have changed as he appears to be healthy. Polanco has talked about his health and how he can play to the best of his abilities now, something he has not been able to do much in recent years. This seems to be entirely accurate as his spring production has backed up the talk as he is hitting .462 (3-16) with four XBH (2 HR) and has even stolen a base. If he gets back to hitting around .250, then Polanco will be a lovely fantasy asset as he can also give you 20+ home runs and potentially 10+ stolen bases. He becomes a substantial fantasy value at pick 345 if we get this Polanco, making him worth the pick for me.

Kiké Hernández, 2B/OF, BOS (ADP 349)– I passed right by Hernandez in drafts so far, but recent news out of Boston has my attention. The Red Sox what to play Hernandez every day and, more importantly, have him leadoff a bit. Alex Verdugo will still hit near the top of the order, and Hernandez may only lead off versus LHP, but yet a good sign. Hernandez is hitting .353 (6-17) this spring with four XBH (1 HR). We have seen 15+ home runs upside, with some stolen bases and a .250 or so average from Hernandez in the past. At pick 349 with some excellent positional flexibility makes Hernandez a much more intriguing draft pick and a nice puzzle piece near the ends of drafts. 

Honorable Mentions–  Robbie Grossman (346), Josh Rojas (357), J.P. Crawford (360)