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Deep Pickups 5/15: Hitters

by Nick Nelson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:09 pm ET

Mike Zunino - C, SEA

There are few things more valuable in fantasy baseball than a catcher who can slug, mostly because there are so dang few of them. Only five backstops in the majors have hit six or more homers this year, and one of them is Zunino.

Zunino's enticing power potential made him the No. 3 overall pick out of the University of Florida in the 2012 draft, and also helped propel him to the majors within a year of joining the pro ranks. During his short time in the minors, the backstop slugged .571 and ripped 24 homers in 96 games.

His power didn't shine through too much last year during a short MLB debut, but has definitely been on display this season. Although Zunino's plate approach has been less than stellar (35/5 K/BB, .297 OBP) he has been hitting the ball with authority, piling up 13 extra-base hits (six homers) with a .495 slugging percentage that beats any qualifying catcher in the game.

Now, it bears noting that Zunino's value offering is very limited. His batting average is at .257 and will probably stay in that range as long as he's striking out in close to 30 percent of his plate appearances. He lacks the speed to steal bases and, as mentioned above, hasn't walked much.

Still, the power is very nice to see, and he has also tallied 17 RBI in 31 games. He has batted exclusively at the bottom of the order thus far, but could move up with a hot streak and that might lead to more opportunities.

Mike Olt - 3B, CHC

Sticking with the theme of former first-round draft picks who have established fantasy value through sheer power, we'll take a look at Olt, who has assumed a role as the Cubs' regular third baseman this year.

Olt was selected by the Rangers with a supplemental first-rounder in 2010, and was very productive in the minors, where he hit .258/.365/.479 with 67 homers in 344 games across parts of four seasons. His MLB experience with Texas amounted to a cup of coffee in 2012, but last July the Cubs acquired him in the Matt Garza deal and now they're giving him a chance to find his footing in the big leagues.

It's been slow going early on, as Olt has struggled to get his batting average over the .200 mark. That will happen when you start out 1-for-14 and go hitless in eight of your April starts. The power has been there throughout, though, and slowly the 25-year-old seems to be pulling things together offensively.

Olt leads the Cubs in home runs (8) and ranks second in RBI (19). The homers account for nearly half of his total hits (17), as he's batting only .187 on the season, but in the month of May Olt has seen his average start to crawl upward while the long balls have kept coming, boosting his slugging percentage all the way up to .462 despite the lack of hits. His Isolated Power of .275 puts him on the level of such elite sluggers as Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Abreu and Giancarlo Stanton.

His game needs a lot of rounding out, and that will hopefully happen as he continues to see MLB pitching on a regular basis, but right now Olt is one of the best pure power bats in the game, with potential to be much more going forward.

Nick Nelson
Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to Rotoworld's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter @NickNelsonMN.