Which Designated Hitters are worth targeting on draft day?
Don’t make the mistake of undervaluing elite players just because they’re UTL-only. There are two Top 40 players on this list, one that’s being tremendously undervalued. Production is production and you’ll find that you actually don’t mind that UTL spot being occupied as much as you’d think.
Players are ranked based on Standings Gain Points (SGP) for their projected stats relative to every other player’s projections. You can read more about the idea of SGP here. For these rankings, SGP is calculated assuming a 12-team, 5×5 mixed league with default positions and is based on information from leagues of that type from the last two seasons. My projections are derived from a composite of several projection systems weighted by their accuracy in previous seasons.
1. Yordan Alvarez (UTL – HOU) — ADP: 34.4
What he did in 87 games last season was inhuman. He may be OF eligible in some leagues which helps, but don’t be afraid to take him just because he’s UTL only. You’re going to get more than quality production from this third-round pick. For context, he’d be ranked as my No. 11 OF.
2020 Projection: 92R – 38HR – 107RBI – 2SB – .283 (520 ABs)
2. Nelson Cruz (UTL – MIN) — ADP: 92.8
Cruz’s ADP is criminal. I understand he’ll turn 40 during the season, but all he does is produce at a ridiculously high level. I have him ranked in my Top 40 and he’s barely being taken in the Top 100. Take advantage of his tremendous value.
2020 Projection: 92R – 39HR – 110RBI – 0SB – .282 (561 ABs)
3. Shohei Ohtani (UTL – LAA) — ADP: 123.4
Check your league rules! Some leagues have him as a hitter only (he’ll gain pitcher eligibility in late May if the Angels stick with their timeline). Some leagues have two different players, one representing his hitting persona and the other his pitching persona. This ranking is only accounting for his hitting. As a hitter he’s my No. 82 player overall.
2020 Projection: 74R – 27HR – 84RBI – 13SB – .280 (492 ABs)
4. Khris Davis (UTL – OAK) — ADP: 175.0
Let’s look to the 2016 season as inspiration for his 2020 projections after a dreadful 2019. He’ll bounce back. He checks in at No. 134 overall.
2020 Projection: 83R – 38HR – 101RBI – 0SB – .242 (557 ABs)
5. Miguel Andujar (UTL – NYY) — ADP: 233.5
Andujar played only a dozen games in 2019 and returns to the Yankees without a guaranteed spot in the lineup. Gio Urshela will man third because Andujar simply can’t field the position. Luke Voit will play at first. Giancarlo Stanton will be the DH more often than not. Maybe Andujar gets traded, maybe Voit does, or maybe Stanton plays the field more. There’s too much uncertainty to take him in the Top 200. His ADP is appropriate.
2020 Projection: 65R – 22HR – 77RBI – 3SB – .269 (487 ABs)
6. Nick Solak (UTL – TEX) — ADP: 301.8
There isn’t an everyday spot for Solak currently, but he should find enough playing time in the infield to get closer to 400 at-bats. Maybe he becomes the primary 3B at some point if Todd Frazier can’t hang. Wait and see in standard leagues.
2020 Projection: 53R – 16HR – 56RBI – 5SB – .268 (377 ABs)
7. Jed Lowrie (UTL – NYM) — ADP: 534.7
He’s included on this list because I like the number 7 more than the number 6.
2020 Projection: 30R – 7HR – 30RBI – 1SB – .240 (242 ABs)