Rolling in the deep, part 2

Two weeks ago, in Rolling in the Deep, Part 1, you got your first glimpse of eight players you could draft outside the top 250. Playing in shallow leagues, you might not be interested. But in deeper leagues, players like Austin Meadows and Miguel Vargas should be on your radar. In a 15-team league, 300 players are drafted in the first 20 rounds. But in TGFBI, there are 30 rounds.

In this column, I’m going to look at eight more players with average draft positions (ADP) between 300 and 350. The ADP data comes from the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC). Since the 2022 season ended, there have been hundreds of drafts. As I’ve said previously, these are the high-stakes fantasy players drafting. This is where TGFBI is played.

The headliner today is a player you might be trying to forget if you drafted him in 2022. It’s none other than 24-year-old Dylan Carlson. The Cardinals outfielder was a trendy pick even as he climbed inside the top 150 last year. Manager Oliver Marmol couldn’t shut up about how high expectations were, predicting he would be the team’s leadoff hitter. And he was for a while.  

The hype train went off the rails in a hurry as Carlson struggled at the plate before landing on the injured list in May with a hamstring strain. When he returned, he continued to struggle until he finally went back to the IL in September. In the end, Carlson slashed .236/.316/.380 across 488 plate appearances. After hitting 18 home runs in 2021, Carlson managed just eight last season.

Meanwhile the Cardinals emerged in July as the frontrunner in the Juan Soto trade sweepstakes. When they lost out to the Padres, a report surfaced in St. Louis that the team was unwilling to throw Carlson into a trade. As a Cardinals fan, I was stunned. While it wasn’t the only reason Soto went to San Diego, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back according to reports. 

Cardinals fans have been cursing under their breath for the past six months, but this still begs the question – what does this organization see in their young outfielder. After a solid rookie year in 2021, Carlson was a bust in 2022. Holding onto Carlson, the right fielder for the Cardinals, means the front office still believes he will become at least a solid outfielder in the coming years.

Of course, money may have had a lot to do with it. Having good young players on your roster is valuable on the field and in the financial department. By not trading him in a package for Soto, it means the Cardinals not only believe in him but are committed to him. That should mean a long leash for Carlson in 2022 and makes him a screaming good value at his current ADP of 327.

Carlson enters spring training with the thumb and wrist injury healed. And he’s only one year removed from a third-place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting for 2021 after slashing .266/.343/.437 across 619 plate appearances. The Cardinals organization believes in Carlson, and you should be able to believe enough to risk a 20th round pick in a 15-team league. Come on.


While everyone was eagerly awaiting the arrival of Nolan Gorman in St. Louis, Donovan made his big-league debut for the Cardinals in late April of last year. In 126 games, he slashed .281/.394/.379. He hit only five home runs, but he showed good plate discipline, with a 13.3% walk rate and 15% strikeout rate. He is also eligible at three different positions.


If money talks, the Phillies were heard when they signed Walker to a four-year, $72 million deal. After all, he is coming off a 3.49 ERA and 1.19 WHIP across 157.1 innings last year for the Mets. Walker’s strikeout rate dropped two percentage points to 20.3%, but he also cut his walk rate to 6.9%. Although his strikeout numbers limit his upside, he’s cheap at his ADP.


A career year for Perez in 2022 hasn’t convinced fantasy managers to draft him in the top 300. Perez, cut his home-run rate dramatically and trimmed his ERA to 2.89, ranking 14th among qualified starters. History screams regression though the estimators paint his performance last season in a generally favorable light. If he really broke out in 2022, he’s a terrific draft value.  


After a disappointing 2022, Garcia should bounce back. He’ll see playing time in Miami after signing a four-year, $53 million deal in November 2021. He hit only .224 with the Marlins, with just eight home runs in 98 games during his first contract year. But he’s a career .265 hitter just one year removed from a 29-home run season. He can also be expected to steal a few bases.


No one doubts Kiriloff’s ability, and a healthy amount of injury risk is baked into his ADP, which is outside the top 300. The 2016 first-round draft pick has shown flashes of being a productive regular with the bat. His minor-league pedigree and 2021 underlying numbers (12.8 Barrel%, 43.9 HardHit%) suggest he can be an impact hitter with upside if his wrist is healed.


Eligible at three infield positions, Flores is appealing in the last third of a 15-team draft. He has a .261 career average, so his .229 BA last year might be an outlier. His 17.1% strikeout rate, a career high was below league average, but it was also his worst ever. He had a career-high 19 homers. Flores doesn’t run, but he does offer a player with roster flexibility and some power.


Ozuna sat out most of 2021 with an injury and served a suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, but he returned to the fold for Atlanta in 2022 and played in 124 games. The veteran slugger hit 23 home runs. Granted, he only had a .226/.274/.413 slash line but he’s still under contract and should get enough playing time to help your fantasy fortunes.

Thomas L. Seltzer, AKA Doubting Thomas, writes about baseball and football for CreativeSports. Be sure to follow Thomas on Twitter@ThomasLSeltzer1.

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