2024 Fantasy Baseball Late Round Targets: RBI

Consider these players for RBI production later in drafts.

Generally speaking, most players who do well from an RBI standpoint don’t last very long in fantasy drafts. In order, Matt Olson, Pete Alonso, Kyle Tucker, Ozzie Albies, and Juan Soto (tied), as well as Mookie Betts and Adolis García (tied) ranked in the top five in the league in RBI last season. All seven players are among the first 20 selected in drafts, per NFBC, with none sporting an ADP north of 23.

In other words, they’ll all probably be taken by the time the third round rolls around. At worst, in most cases, none should be available by the fourth round.

A look slightly further down the RBI leaderboard sees names like Ronald Acuña Jr., Julio Rodríguez, Freddie Freeman, Marcus Semien, and Rafael Devers all reaching triple digits in terms of total RBI. Essentially, things get slightly more tricky where RBI are concerned the later and later you get in drafts.

With that in mind, finding later-round hitters who can contribute quality RBI production is crucial, particularly for fantasy managers who prioritize pitching early on in the proceedings on draft day. Still, regardless of draft strategy, if you’re looking for RBI upside from hitters later in drafts, these are a few hitters to consider.

*All ADP data via NFBC.


Josh Bell – 286.89 ADP


Bell, like teammate Jake Burger, saw his production change upon being dealt from an American League Central club to the Miami Marlins.

After hitting just .233 with a .318 on-base percentage, a .150 ISO, a 96 wRC+, and 11 home runs in 393 plate appearances with Cleveland, Bell saw a significant uptick in production upon being dealt to the Marlins.

With Miami, the 30-year-old hit .270 with a .338 on-base percentage and the same amount of home runs (11) that he tallied in Cleveland, but in 169 fewer plate appearances. Unsurprisingly, his ISO jumped considerably, sitting at .210 for his time with the Marlins last year. So too did his wRC+, which was 119 for the National League East franchise.

It was very much a return to form for Bell after an uncharacteristically slow start to the year. Since 2017, Bell has turned in a wRC+ between 108 and 135 in each of his six full major league seasons. His 2019 (135), 2021 (119), and 2022 (123) metrics were the three best of his career.

Bell also turned in a double-digit for the season in 2023 – it was 10.1% for the season and 10.7% with the Marlins – something he’d only done once before in his career.

Josh Bell Since 2016

That Bell is back to producing as he has in the past, and potentially this time with a bit more power production if the barrel rate holds, sets him up for a potentially strong fantasy season in Miami from an RBI standpoint, particularly if last season’s lineup trends repeat themselves.

After being traded to Miami, Bell exclusively hit either second, third, or fourth, with the bulk of his plate appearances coming in the top third of the lineup.

Josh Bell With The Marlins In 2023

As long as that continues in 2024, it’ll mean hitting either directly after or relatively soon after the league’s reigning batting champ (who also finished with the league’s sixth-highest on-base percentage among qualified hitters) in Luis Arraez. This is all to say that Bell should be in a strong position to tally plenty of RBI. Miami’s lineup depth after the slugger is another story, especially with Jorge Soler departing, making Bell’s RBI upside considerably better than his runs-scored potential. Still, with a return to form at the plate, regular plate appearances in the top third of a lineup, and regular plate appearances after Arraez inevitably gets on base, Bell makes for a quality option for fantasy managers later in the draft.


Nelson Velázquez – 275.87 ADP


To say that Nelson Velázquez is an emerging power threat in the league is probably a bit of an understatement. Not only is it an understatement, but it’s a rather significant one at that.

The outfielder showed plenty of promise where power production was concerned in 2023, hitting .235 with a .302 on-base percentage and a staggering 17 home runs in only 179 plate appearances. Much of that production came from August 10 onwards with the Kansas City Royals after a mid-season trade from the Chicago Cubs.

No longer blocked by the likes of Ian Happ, Cody Bellinger, and Seiya Suzuki in the outfield, Velazquez took full advantage of the opportunity in Kansas City and thrived from a power-hitting perspective, registering a 22.0% barrel rate (20 barrels total) with the Royals from August 10 through the end of the season. The 22.0% barrel rate, as it happens, was the second-best in the majors among qualified hitters during that span, behind only Aaron Judge.

In fact, the Royals outfielder’s 20 barrels were just three off Isaac Paredes‘ season-long total and more than Jeremy Peña and Ha-Seong Kim logged all year.

And while Kansas City’s lineup will be improved with a full season of Vinnie Pasquantino and the addition of Hunter Renfroe, the improved nature of it strikes a perfect balance for Velazquez fantasy-wise in that he’ll have more quality hitters around him, but not too many where it forces him from the lineup to the bench.

Overall, it seems unlikely that the former Cub will replicate his barrel rate over the course of a full season – no qualified hitter logged a barrel rate north of 20.0% in 2023, and just 13 batters registered one north of 15.0%. Still, it’s hard not to like Velazquez’s power and RBI potential in a full-season sample size.

Currently going in the 23rd round of 12-team leagues, it’s difficult to find power threats, in general, this late in the draft, certainly not ones with the Royals slugger’s fantasy ceiling.


Byron Buxton – 255.57 ADP


Sticking in the American League Central with another outfielder Byron Buxton, like Velazquez, should benefit from lineup changes.

Minnesota traded away Jorge Polanco and added the likes of Carlos Santana and Manuel Margot. And while neither might make the impact that Polanco did, the departure of the veteran second baseman via trade to the Seattle Mariners only solidifies Buxton’s place in the top half of the Twins’ lineup.

Likely hitting after Edouard Julien and around some combination of Royce Lewis, Carlos Correa, and Max Kepler, the 30-year-old has reached double digits in barrel rate in each of the last four seasons.

Byron Buxton Since 2020

The only question is whether Buxton can stay healthy for a full season. He’s logged more than 500 plate appearances in a full season just once. Still, he’s been extremely effective when he has been on the field.

Thanks in no small part to the barrel rate (respective xwOBAs of .407, .358, and .320 don’t hurt either), Buxton has connected on a combined 64 home runs in his last 967 plate appearances dating back to the start of the 2021 campaign.

For reference, that’s one more than either Willson Contreras (1,465 plate appearances) or Randy Arozarena (1,903) have during the same span in significantly fewer plate appearances.

The total is also just 10 off of Dansby Swanson’s home run total during that span despite the Cubs shortstop more than doubling Buxton’s plate appearance tally.

There’s certainly risk here in terms of if Buxton isn’t able to play a full season. However, this late in the draft the risk is well worth it. Furthermore, the upside is exponential. It’s not hard to imagine the veteran finishing the year as a top-25 position player if he can log a full season’s worth of plate appearances, or something close to it.


Photos by Icon Sports Wire and Wikimedia Commons | Adapted by Carlos Leano

Ben Rosener

Ben Rosener is baseball and fantasy baseball writer whose work has previously appeared on the digital pages of Motor City Bengals, Bleacher Report, USA Today, FanSided.com and World Soccer Talk among others. He also writes about fantasy baseball for RotoBaller and the Detroit Tigers for his own Patreon page, Getting You Through the Tigers Rebuild (@Tigers_Rebuild on Twitter). He only refers to himself in the third person for bios.

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