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Fantasy Baseball: Four Hitters Who Surprised In 2017

September 25, 2017
The final week of the fantasy baseball season is here, and I wish all those in contention good luck as they try to win a championship.

After a long grind, it is now time to take a step back and recap what happened. During the next few weeks, we will take a look at players who surprised and disappointed and where I was right and wrong. The point of looking back now is that the season is still fresh in our minds and it will help us prepare to be better fantasy players in 2018. 

Hitters Who Surprised:

1. New York Yankees Outfielder Aaron Judge -- There was no player, regardless of position, who exceeded their average draft position more than the Yankees' rookie slugger. Judge was being drafted in rounds 23 or later and now is the favorite to win American League Rookie of the Year and will garner some MVP votes as well. Judge is batting .281 with 48 home runs and 105 RBIs this season. After struggling in July and August, the 25-year-old has bounced back nicely in September with 11 home runs. It will be curious to see where Judge is drafted next year, as he could sneak into the first round.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers First Baseman Cody Bellinger -- Like Judge, the 22-year-old Bellinger far exceeded his average draft position, as he was drafted even later than Judge. Bellinger will go from a waiver-wire darling in 2017 to an early-round draft pick in 2018. Bellinger is hitting .273 with 39 home runs and 94 RBIs this season, and he appears to be a player fantasy owners can rely on being a contributor in multiple categories. 

3. Toronto Blue Jays First Baseman Justin Smoak -- We'll have to see where Smoak gets drafted next season, but he could find himself on our yearly "players who are being over-drafted list" in 2018. Until this season, Smoak had never hit 20 home runs in a season or reached a .240 batting average, but the 30-year-old has hit 38 home runs this season and is batting .275. This just screams of a player who is a one-year wonder, and fantasy owners shouldn't be fooled next March.

4. Washington Nationals First Baseman Ryan Zimmerman -- It has been an injury-hampered few seasons for the veteran, as Zimmerman had not played more than 115 games in a season since 2013. As a result, Zimmerman wasn't fantasy relevant and his average draft position in March reflected that, as he was being drafted 37th among first basemen, according to FantasyPros.com. The 32-year-old has played 138 games heading into the final week of the season and has hit .302 with 34 home runs and 103 RBIs. Zimmerman's draft day value next year will be an interesting debate throughout March.

Photo Credit: Ed Sheahin/Gary Sousa/PressBox