The Shelby Miller trade will forever be mocked as the Arizona Folly that sent potential superstar Dansby Swanson (and his beautiful hair) to Atlanta; however, the Braves somehow grabbed a controllable center fielder who has been worth 8.5 WARP in the exact same deal.

Ender Inciarte is a 25-year-old outfielder who signed with the Diamondbacks as an international free agent in 2008. He lacked the loud tools that propel guys onto top-prospect lists, but he compiled a .284/.345/.372 slash line over his nine minor-league seasons and showed an extended track record of straight-up hitting.

This is why his lousy early-season performance shocked fantasy owners. He was barely treading water above the Mendoza Line at the All-Star Break, which caused him to become a fantasy afterthought.

My, how things have changed since the mid-season break:







1st Half







2nd Half







To put this impressive stretch in perspective, Inciarte has been the sixth-ranked fantasy outfielder in the past 30 days. He’s been one of the unheralded gems of the fantasy championship run.

I’m not really interested in making an argument that the Venezuelan native can perform at this level throughout the entire 2017 season. Instead, it’s more significant that Inciarte’s banner second half has pulled up his stat line to be roughly in line with what he did last year. Overall, he has hit .293/.351/.386 in 2016 and hit .303/.338/.408 in 2015. There are obvious differences in the walk rate (7.5 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively), but the relevance for fantasy owners is the hit tool.

Coming into the season, Inciarte was an under-the-radar option for the average, run and stolen base categories. Some questioned how his batting average would respond to leaving the hitter-friendly Chase Field; however, few should continue to worry about his ability to hit for average next year. He’s also stolen 15-to-21 bases in each of his professional seasons, so he shouldn’t be an empty-average asset (i.e., Martin Prado).

In each of the last two seasons, Inciarte has been at least a top-50 fantasy outfielder. In 2015, he ranked in the top-30. It’s not an impact profile, but it’s absolutely a useful one—perhaps more so in points leagues—with the proper valuation. He’s been better than long-time stalwarts like Brett Gardner and Denard Span, guys who have traditionally occupied the kind of role that Inciarte can fill.

Buyer’s Advice: BUY

The final rounds of fantasy drafts are not often won with all-or-nothing gambles or high-minor studs who don’t make their debut until July. They’re won when fantasy owners can unearth starting-caliber assets when other owners are filling their benches. Inciarte should be a late-round bargain for the savvy in 2017.

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