This article is part of our The Z Files series.
Apologies to those replying to my Twitter post, answering the question, "Where should X be drafted if we were drafting today?" The plan was to write a column around the most frequent requests. However, unbeknownst at the time, our friends at the National Fantasy Baseball Championship introduced a new contest, the Memorial Day "Second Chance" Championship. So, instead of the discussion being a hypothetical, I made an executive decision to backburner the piece for a few weeks.
Instead, today's topic is players who are receiving more playing time than projected and whether they'll continue to exceed expectations. So as not to make this a review of players on which I was personally wrong, preseason plate appearance numbers from RotoWire, Baseball HQ and Mastersball were averaged. Batters pacing to exceed at-bats by at least 100 are looked at. There's 35 of them, so grab a snack. They're listed in order of most under-projected at-bats.
Brandon Lowe, 2B, Tampa Bay Rays
Lowe has primarily benefited from Joey Wendle's absence along with Matt Duffy and Austin Meadows also convalescing on the IL. The Rays like to spread playing time around, so when everyone is back, Lowe's pace will slow a bit. However, so long as he continues to outperform Daniel Robertson, Lowe will remain in the lineup quite a bit, certainly enough to be viable in mid-sized mixed leagues. He'll be borderline in mixers with a dozen or fewer teams.
Leury Garcia, OF, Chicago White Sox