With an average draft position of 231 in Yahoo! leagues, Nick Swisher is absolutely undervalued in fantasy. Yes he plays at the best producing position and yes he does not provide value with his legs to support his bat, but he is without a doubt in my mind being undervalued on draft day.
What you are betting on with Swisher is consistency. Brad Johnson wrote about how consistent Swisher has been and why that has value in fantasy leagues back in December. Nine straight years with 20+ homers is not something to balk at. Along with his reliability in home runs, he has shown impressive reliability in being able to be on the field. The last year he did not play more than 145 games was in 2005, so while he has battled injuries at times he has never had any substantial injury that has kept him out for more than a standard disabled list stint.
Batting average leagues make Swisher look less attractive, and I am definitely not saying to wait on first base entirely and draft Swisher as your go to starter in a standard 12 team league, but if your league carries 1B/3B, multiple utility spots, or extra outfield spots, Swisher is a great guy to target and will be a consistent source of power not often found around where he is being drafted.
The flexibility is a big aspect of Swisher’s game, and while playing in a bigger park last year definitely hurt his overall numbers, it didn’t push them past usability in roto. We would all like to see the run production increase, and I have confidence that if he hits 20 homers again for the tenth straight season that his RBI total will be 70 or more. The low 63 total from last season, in my estimation, will be an aberration rather than the norm.
There are a number of reasons to go after high upside later in the draft. You have presumably locked up some top notch players earlier in the draft process and are looking to win the draft later on by grabbing some undervalued high upside players that act as a sort of lottery tickets. For instance, like Anthony Rizzo who I covered last week. I think that makes sense, but there is the ability to do both without putting yourself at risk. Having a guy like Nick Swisher on your roster who you can count on to pump out 20+ home runs and be on the field gives you the ability to take risks on other types of players.
In betting on consistency you are building a reliable foundation on your team. Will he be your best value in terms of draft spot? Maybe not. I think he is undervalued, but I do not expect Swisher to hit .288 with 29 home runs anymore as he did in 2010. With that said, not every draft pick needs to be an extremely high reward player. Banking on some consistency is a good thing, and while the sex appeal of Swisher’s name is no longer prevalent, his solid production is worthwhile of a look on your squad.
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