With a lot of Fantasy Baseball seasons in head-to-head leagues coming to an end after the games on September 24, it is time to take a look at the players who played large roles in the fantasy world despite not being drafted in every league.

Today is a look at the hitters who weren't expected to be fantasy-relevant entering the season but had excellent fantasy seasons. One player at each infield position makes the team, as well as three outfielders. Players who are eligible at more than one position are listed at the position they appeared at the most.

(Stats are through games played on Sunday 9/24.)



Mike Zunino, Seattle Mariners

After being selected third overall by the Mariners in 2012, Zunino had looked completely lost at the plate going into this season. In 1,247 plate appearances over four seasons, he showed some pop with 50 home runs but owned a miserable career .195 batting average. His average this season has been a much more respectable .247 with 23 home runs and 59 RBIs in 120 games.

Honorable mentions: Welington Castillo and Kurt Suzuki

First Base - Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers

Bellinger wasn't on my fantasy radar entering the season and wasn't called up to make his major league debut until an Adrian Gonzalez injury opened up a spot for him on April 25.

Despite not being on the major league roster for the first few weeks, Bellinger broke the National League rookie home run record. He has 39 of those, along with a .273 batting average, 94 RBIs, 86 runs, and 10 stolen bases.

Honorable mentions: Ryan Zimmerman, Justin Smoak, Logan Morrison, Matt Olson, and Justin Bour

Second Base - Scooter Gennett, Cincinnati Reds

Gennett had career-highs of 14 home runs, 56 RBIs, and 58 runs while batting .263 last season for the Brewers.

Decent numbers, but far from being fantasy-relevant ones. He shocked many fans when he hit four home runs in a game on June 6, when he didn't have a single home run in his previous 39 games (97 plate appearances). He became an excellent fantasy starter at second base for the rest of the season as he has a .298 batting average with 27 home runs, 94 RBIs, 79 runs, and three stolen bases.

Honorable mention: Whitt Merrifield

Shortstop - Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds

The middle infield spots are both occupied by players from the Reds. Cozart entered 2016 with just a .246 career batting average, and his career-highs of 16 home runs and 50 RBIs last season didn't turn fantasy players' heads. He became a first-time All-Star in 2017 and has a .302 batting average with 23 home runs, 63 RBIs, 78 runs, and three stolen bases.

Honorable mentions: Didi Gregorius, Paul DeJong, Tim Beckham, and Andrelton Simmons

Third Base - Travis Shaw, Milwaukee Brewers

The Red Sox received a decent 2016 season from Shaw but traded him in the offseason for relief pitcher Tyler Thornburg (missed entire season due to injury).

Shaw took his game to another level this year as he has played a large role in helping the Brewers stay in playoff contention. He is batting .274 with 31 home runs, 99 RBIs, 79 runs, and 10 stolen bases.

Honorable mentions: Mike Moustakas, Joey Gallo, Nick Castellanos, and Eugenio Suarez


Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

Judge wasn't even guaranteed a starting spot in the Yankees outfield after batting .179 with 42 strikeouts in 95 plate appearances in 2016. This season he has hit 48 home runs (second in the majors behind Giancarlo Stanton). His 122 runs scored are second in the majors to Charlie Blackmon, and in leagues that count walks, his 119 are easily the most in the American League.

He also sports a solid .281 batting average with 105 RBIs and eight stolen bases.

Avisail Garcia, White Sox

Garcia was the White Sox primary right fielder in 2015 and 2016, and his results were underwhelming. He hit a combined .252 with 25 home runs and 110 RBIs in the two seasons. 2017 has truly been a breakout season for Garcia as his .331 batting average is the second-best in baseball only behind Jose Altuve. His All-Star season also consists of 18 home runs, 80 RBIs, 70 runs, and five stolen bases.

Tommy Pham, St. Louis Cardinals

Pham had just a total of 358 plate appearances in three seasons over his major league career heading into this season. He didn't make his first appearance of the season in 2017 until May 5 and has been a superb hitter for the Cardinals since. He is batting .310 with 22 home runs, 71 RBIs, 91 runs, and 23 stolen bases.

Honorable mentions: Marwin Gonzalez, Domingo Santana, and Rhys Hoskins