HITTERS I like more than ADP
Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins (Yahoo ADP 125)
Buxton comes in as one of the bigger risks of injury, but that’s included in his ADP. However, it has even greater advantages. He led homers baseball by plate appearances last season, and there is still a lot of stolen base potential left (he was the second fastest player from home until the first last year). Buxton could certainly improve his walking ability, but the former number two in the standings is excellent defensively, had a bit of bad luck with injuries and is still heading in the right direction with the statcast numbers. Hoping to get a major contract extension at 27 as he was entering his prime, Buxton rallied (and got faster at the same time!) In the off-season. Few fantasy players can keep up with their power / speed combination (and certainly no one who goes after round 10 can keep up with their fantasy advantage).
Now is the season for the design by Buxton, whose ADP will be more than 100 places higher in 2022.
Josh Bell, Washington Nationals (Yahoo ADP 169)
Bell was horrible over 57 games in last year’s shortened season, but he was one of the best baseball players the year before. In 2019, Bell’s exit speed was below the top five percent of the league, and he hit 37 homers with 116 RBI in just 143 games while playing at a pitcher’s park. Now, thanks to roughly 2.5 months, Bell isn’t a top 150 pick, despite the fact that the line-up and home stadiums have been greatly improved after the Pittsburgh to Washington trade. For the past three seasons, Pittsburgh has cut left-handed runs and homer scores, while Nationals Park has been at the forefront of left-handed runscoring and homer scores. Bell is also supposed to clean up behind national stars Juan Soto and Trea Turner. Bell, Rhys Hoskins (ADP 161), and CJ Cron (ADP 251 ?!) are all first basemen available later in draft so you don’t have to attack early.
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros (Yahoo ADP 90)
Altuve’s ADP has taken a tumble in response to last year’s regular season when he struggled hard in 48 games (.219 / .286 / .344) and what appears to be his big postseason (five homers and an OPS of 1.229 at 11th place) Runs over 8 km). It’s neither as bad nor as good as both small samples suggest, but Altuve had a top 25 ADP at this point in time, so it’s a big bargain. It is past its prime, but at the age of 30 it can remain very helpful in the imagination, even if it no longer runs as it used to, as it is motivated to end such an off-season on the plate. Altuve hit .323, averaging 22 homers and 25 steals from 2015 to 2019.
The story goes on
Don’t overlook Jose Altuve in 2021. (AP Photo / Lynne Sladky)
Kolten Wong, Milwaukee Brewers (Yahoo ADP 243)
Wong is a season (weird and shortened) away from posting an 11/24 line while beating .285. He’s going to enjoy a really nice upgrade in the home parks now after signing with the Brewers in the off-season. Over the past three seasons, St. Louis has reduced the number of left-handed homers by 11%, while Milwaukee has increased it by 8% over that period. Wong’s ADP is way too low.
Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (Yahoo ADP 63)
I mostly toss Baez’s ugly 2020 out the window, as the 28-year-old was a true elite fantasy option not so long ago. Wrigley Field was strangely the toughest place for MLB to hit by a wide margin in last year’s shortened season. It is unlikely to recur. Baez is someone to aim for – and he should benefit from the return of in-game video too.
Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees (Yahoo ADP 152)
Max Muncy had the lowest BABIP among qualified fighters last season with a score of 0.203. Sanchez’s BABIP was .159, so it is safe to point to unfortunate luck. The catcher is obviously knocking out a ton too, and the postponement does him a disservice, but Sanchez may get closer to his career back at the .236 mark; Almost all catchers have problems with the average. He’s just a season away from beating 34 homers with 77 RBI over 396 bats, and Sanchez scores in the best lineup in the league and in a nice right-handed park. He has a career of 117 wRC + despite some disappointing seasons and is only 28 years old. Sanchez offers by far the most Homer advantage in the weakest position in the game, and his ADP says this is the year he is drafted.
HITTERS I LIKE LESS THAN ADP
Nolan Arenado, Cardinals of St. Louis (Yahoo ADP 24)
I’m not too worried about Arenado’s 2020 loss, which saw him post an OPS of 0.738 – that included an xwOBA in the bottom 12% of the league and an ugly line of 0.227 / 0.302 / 0.333 with just one homer outside of Coors Field – but I’m apparently more concerned about his venue change than other fantasy managers who are still making him a second round election. In the last three seasons Coors Field increased the runscoring (35%), BA for RHB (25%) and Homer for RHB (18%). Arenado’s new digs in St. Louis cut them all down, including a whopping 15% for right-handed homers. Arenado is set to hit better than his career mark (.793 OPS) suggests because Colorado works in a hilarious way, but his ADP doesn’t come close to reflecting the average 30-50 hit he’ll get moving away from Coors Field which is a problem for someone who is not running and playing in a charged position. I prefer Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Eugenio Suarez, and Yoan Moncada more than Arenado regardless of ADP (the latter two go over 50 picks later).
DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees (Yahoo ADP 28)
LeMahieu impressed as he had the best two seasons of his career after age 30 and after leaving Coors Field, but that doesn’t mean you should pay now. Put another way, LeMahieu’s ADP, who entered in 2019 (his first year as a Yankee) wasn’t in the top 225 (!), But now, two years later, during his 33-year season, he’s costing you a fantasy choice for that third round. His sky-high .370 GDP last season was kind of a barrel% that was in the bottom 9% of the league. Most importantly, he doesn’t steal bases. Unless you start your design with aces, you’d better get bags from your batsman (not to mention LeMahieu only dwarfed 15 homers once in his career). While LeMahieu should have the better batting average, THE BAT X expects Jose Altuve to contribute better numbers literally everywhere, while the former has an ADP that is more than 60 points higher.
LeMahieu isn’t a top 5 fantasy second baseman on my board.
Cavan Biggio, Toronto Blue Jays (Yahoo ADP 65)
Biggio has expected a career batting average of .229 and had an exit speed in the bottom 26% of the league last season. The Blue Jays should score in affordable parks this year and Biggio is a perfect player who qualifies to three different positions but is likely to be at the bottom of Toronto’s roster. His ADP as the fourth or fifth second baseman off the board is just too high. Give me Keston Hiura, Biggio’s teammates Lourdes Gurriel (duh), Ketel Marte, Jose Altuve and even Mike Moustakas on Craig’s son.
Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers (Yahoo ADP 105)
Smith may be the best bat catcher in baseball, but the Dodgers treat the regular season as preparation for the playoffs, so volume could be an issue. Manager Dave Roberts has even referred to Austin Barnes (who is already Clayton Kershaw’s personal catcher) and Smith as “1 and 1A” timeshares, which fantasy managers certainly don’t want to hear. Smith is often the second catcher off the board, though Salvador Perez and Yasmani Grandal are both projected for 100-150 more bats. I later prefer Travis d’Arnaud (ADP 140) and Buster Posey (ADP 230).
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