Austin Riley (NFBC ADP since 4/15: 317; Yahoo % Owned: 15%): Before universal DH talk, it seemed like Johan Camargo would win the 3B job in Atlanta. But Riley hit well in spring training (1.000 OPS) way back when and had vastly cut down on his strikeouts in that small sample size.
Ender Inciarte (ADP: 506; Owned: 2%): The universal DH would allow the Braves to put Inciarte, their best defensive center fielder, on the field and move Ronald Acuna to a corner outfield spot. No hitting pitcher also means guys like Inciarte at the bottom of the lineup can steal more as they will not be bunted over by the pitcher.
Worth a Mention: Adam Duvall is owned in 0% of Yahoo leagues but hit 10 HR in just 41 games for the Braves last year as well as 32 HR in AAA. He had great batted ball stats and is no slouch defensively.
Jon Berti (ADP: 252; Owned: 23%): Berti has 98th percentile sprint speed and stole 17 bags in just 73 games for the Marlins last year. Like Inciarte, Berti would benefit from no pitchers bunting him over. Berti’s defensive versatility means he can fill in at several positions if players like Lewis Brinson, Isan Diaz, Miguel Rojas, etc. get injured or do not perform.
Garrett Cooper (ADP: 590; Owned: 4%): As a 28 year old rookie last year, Cooper channeled his inner Brian Daubach to a solid season with an OPS around 0.800. Even if Jesus Aguilar bounces back (and that certainly is not a given), the universal DH allows the Marlins to play both of them more often.
Worth a Mention: If Brinson continues to struggle, Monte Harrison could be called up. He had five tool upside and would steal bases for you right away.
New York Mets
The DH probably further aids JD Davis but he is already getting drafted quite high (ADP: 167).
Yoenis Cespedes (ADP: 428; Owned: 11%): At Mets camp, Cespedes wowed fans during batting practice hitting dinger after dinger. The question was whether he could play defense after multiple ankle and heel injuries, and that concern would disappear with the DH.
Worth a Mention: Dominic Smith (ADP: 640; Owned: 1%) had an 0.881 OPS in 177 AB and would be an instant asset if Cespedes is not good to go.
Alec Bohm (ADP: 617; Owned: 6%): The Phillies are in “win now” mode, but most projection systems see them as a middle-of-the-pack team. The Phillies’ current management has shown is that they are willing to make financial investment if they think it helps the team. So they won’t hesitate to have their number one hitting and pitching prospects, Bohm and Spencer Howard, up for most of the season. Scouts love Bohm’s power potential and plate skills (10.4 BB%, 14.1 K% last year). He did not reach AAA last year, hitting 14 HR in half a season at AA Reading, a homer-happy park. He might need some seasoning at AAA or an adjustment period in the majors. Or, hey, maybe the bouncy ball does him a world of good and he’s great from the jump.
Worth a Mention: Jay Bruce (ADP: 626; Owned: 2%) has a career 0.245 average and hit just 0.216 last year. But he hit 26 HR in just 333 PA. Jay Bruce could easily hit 30 homers or more for the 6th time of his career given the at bats.
Howie Kendrick (ADP: 470; Owned: 20%): Kendrick had the 12th best OPS (0.960) in the majors last year for batters who had 350 PA or more. For most of Kendrick’s career, it seemed like he hit 0.290 with 10 homers every year. Now he has tapped into the launch angle revolution to become one of the scariest hitters in the league, even as he enters his age 37 season.
Worth a Mention: Keep an eye on Yadiel Hernandez, a 32 year old Cuban, whose time is now or never. Last year, Hernandez had 33 HR, 7 steals, and a 0.323 AVG at AAA.