Nelson Cruz is still a strong source of power entering his age-40 season
You should not be spending a lot of time poring over my fantasy baseball designated hitter (DH) rankings for 2020 or really any other experts' rankings for that matter. Most players that qualify at DH (or utility/UT depending on the league) often play or are eligible at another position. Don't get yourself all lathered up trying to decide if Franmil Reyes or Edwin Encarnacion is the better DH. How does Reyes compare to his fellow outfielders and how does Encarnacion compare to his fellow first basemen? You're not going to pick one or the other based upon how good of a DH either is!
The one thing that you need to do when it comes to DH is to be sure to include those players that only qualify at DH/UT in your rankings. And the only two this distinction applies to this year are Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis. Neither is likely to be selected in the first six or seven rounds anyway. But a good rule of thumb is before you get to the 10th guy at any position, check to see if you'd rather take Cruz first. And yes, that number is more like 25 for OF and *cough* two for catchers.
Because as much as Cruz can gridlock your starting lineup, you'll be on easy street when he hits 37 or more home runs for the seventh year in a row. And while I don't think he will hit .311 like he did last year to go along with a four-digit OPS, his career .283 average and .906 OPS marks are reasonable expectations.
Davis is a little more complicated as he had one of his worst years last year after crashing into a wall. But he's one of my favorite bounce-back candidates for 2020. I think he can hit 40-plus home runs like he did the three years previous to last season. Despite being such a big disappointment in 2019, he still clubbed 23 HRs in less than 500 at-bats.
Updates (as of March 27)
- The biggest change is the addition of Shohei Ohtani, who might not see much playing time outside of DH especially should he also pitch this year. Depending on your league rules, he might qualify at OF, but he is definitely one of those DH-only types that should be on your radar.
- Miguel Cabrera, Justin Smoak, Daniel Vogelbach, and Ji-Man Choi should qualify at first base, but each should see plenty of time at DH. Therefore, I added them here as well. Omar Narvaez took the brunt of those additions. He's perfectly fine as a catcher, but fairly worthless as a DH.
ADP - Average Draft Position
— Rankings by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.