One of the more underrated commodities in fantasy baseball is the presence of flexibility. Players that have position eligibility at multiple spots can make a huge impact at all levels of the fantasy game. Obviously you don’t overrate players solely based on their position eligibility, but it can be a tiebreaker in deciding between two closely ranked players.
Starting with the draft season, it’s obvious why having a player with flexibility is helpful. Say you draft Kris Bryant in the 1st round and you slot him in at third base, then select Alex Bregman in the 7th round. Later, you realize that Jake Lamb is still on the board in the 13th round. You kick yourself for already selecting your two 3B, but then it hits you! You move Bryant to one of your many outfield spots and don’t have to miss out on Lamb at great value.
Now imagine you are knee-deep in the fantasy season with this same team. You see a player who is on a hot streak that could really tear it up for you in the second half. However, he’s a third baseman and you are absolutely stacked there – or so you think. Bregman and Lamb are in sophomore slumps and you can’t deal them. This guy continues to tear it up and finally gets picked up by another team only to finish in the top 50 of the player rater. All because you couldn’t move guys around on your roster.
As previously mentioned, it’s not the end of the world to have a bunch of single-position guys as long as you are a stud drafter and avoid injuries. But this is fantasy baseball! I would strongly advise you to have at least two guys who you can move between positions. The strategy I use regularly is to draft a player with eligibility at one corner and one middle infield spot, kinda like pictured player Matt Carpenter. That way, I can throw him between the MI and CI slots as necessary.
Which players can you count on for positional flexibility in your league? Which players are on the right track to gain eligibility at another position early in the season? The answer key is below!
2017 Fantasy Baseball Positional Eligibility
*Disclaimer: I have narrowed down the list to players who are fantasy relevant. If you really want me to talk about Jarrod Saltalamacchia in Toronto, you are probably in much crazier leagues than I am and don’t need my assistance.
|Steve Pearce||Blue Jays||--||15||2||--||12|
|Brock Holt||Red Sox||--||--||8||17||7|
Noteworthy Position Eligibility Upside
Tampa Bay Rays – Infield Volatility
Whatever position the Rays decide Brad Miller will play for most games is important. Nick Franklin and Tim Beckham both have upside in deep leagues with the trade of Logan Forsythe. If Miller plays first base, then one of those guys can step up at second. However, Miller could also play second base, opening the door for (sigh) Logan Morrison.
Chicago Cubs – Embarrassment of Riches
How is Javier Baez going to get full playing time? The only way I see this happening is if he plays second base, Ben Zobrist goes to right field, and Jason Heyward mans center. The battle for who receives more playing time between Baez and Kyle Schwarber is interesting. Not interesting enough for me to invest heavily in either or both in drafts.
Speaking of Schwarber, don’t expect him to get much run at catcher this season. The Cubs are set behind the plate with Willson Contreras and Miguel Montero as a 1-2 punch. I would expect Schwarber to fill in as needed in single inning stints, but nothing more. Enjoy his catcher eligibility in Yahoo! leagues because it could be July until we see him suit up 10+ times at catcher in 2017.
Los Angeles Angels – Power Platoon at First Base
An unappreciated signing by the Angels, Luis Valbuena is expected to make plenty of starts at first base on the strong side of the platoon with C.J. Cron. With Albert Pujols unlikely to play many games at first, Valbuena should reach first base eligibility within the opening month to match up with his third base eligibility.
Toronto Blue Jays – Revolving Door of First Basemen
The first base slot is up for grabs in Toronto. Kendrys Morales is expected to be a DH-only player and Justin Smoak is no good. I’m expecting Steve Pearce to receive plenty of run, which makes him a relevant player in deeper leagues. He is eligible at three different positions, which provides great flexibility.
St. Louis Cardinals – Infield Shuffle
The Cardinals have a lot of thinking to do around the dirt. Right now, shortstop is the only set-in-stone position in their infield. Matt Carpenter can play anywhere, which is good because he won’t settle in one place until the rest of the infield is configured. Jedd Gyorko should be the favorite for a starting spot after a solid 2016 campaign. There’s still hope for Kolten Wong and the speed potential he carries. Don’t forget about Jhonny Peralta though, who had an injury-riddled 2016 season. Wong might be better off learning outfield defense and fighting Randal Grichuk.
Milwaukee Brewers – Battle at the Hot Corner
As it stands, we have a platoon rolling at third base in Miller Park. The incumbent Hernan Perez will have to fight off newcomer Travis Shaw for at-bats. My guess is that they will both end up getting every day at bats by midseason, considering the roster construction of the Brewers. Ryan Braun is a trade candidate, Eric Thames could disappoint at first, and, of course, injuries could occur. Shaw would man third while Perez wanders the field as a super utility guy.
Be sure to check out our Rankings, Position Preview and much more in the 2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit.