11 Interesting Batting Draft Prices in the #TooEarlyMocks

Justin is running his annual Too Early Mocks and the wonderful Smada has once again compiled the average draft data for our perusal. Check out my 11 interesting pitching prices, too.

Christian Yelich 10.9 ADP – I was very interested in seeing how much the superstar would fall on the heels of a disappointing 2020 and unfortunately the market hasn’t overreacted as I’d have loved to catch a huge discount. Instead, he was still a firm 1st rounder ranging from pick 7 to 13 (these were 15-team leagues) and with good reason. It’s not at all unreasonable to suggest he’d have worked through his issues versus righties (1.068 OPS vL) in a full season as his .213 BABIP would’ve likely worked its way back to his career .354 while the 11-point jump in strikeout came in lieu of lower swinging strike and O-swing rates. I’m happily buying, even at this price.

Luis Robert 34.9 – His debut will likely be remembered fondly by those who didn’t have him on their fantasy team after a great start, but those who suffered through his .136/.237/.173 September (1 HR, 5 SB) might be hoping for a discount on him in 2021. No such luck as he was pacing toward a near 30-30 season and many will be dreaming on what the 23-year old could do for an encore when taking him as a firm 3rd-rounder with high 2nd-round upside.

Adalberto Mondesi 35.2 – Mondesi had the reverse trajectory from Robert, toting just a .479 OPS and going homer-less for 40 games before an insane final three weeks. In the last 19 games, he hit .370/.425/.740 with 6 HR, 14 SB, 22 R, and 16 RBI singlehandedly thrusting fantasy mangers up the standings. He could soar even higher and once again be a firm top-30 pick once folks realize he was 17th on the Razzball Player Rater.

Teoscar Hernández 64.1 – Lost 10 games due to injury and still finished 21st on the Player Rater thanks to 16 HR, 6 SB, and pacing toward 100+ R and RBI. While it is undoubtedly his best run ever complete with a blood-red StatCast profile, it didn’t really come any skill changes. His plate profile remained virtually the same (30% K, 7% BB; 32%/8% career) and the only spray profile change was a 8-point boost in line drive rate (26%), thus I’m left looking at the 33% HR/FB and .348 BABIP as major factors behind the run and feeling like I just can’t pay this price for 2021. I think it was just the best 50-game run for an otherwise solid 30 HR/.240 AVG-type hitter. Be careful.

Yordan Alvarez 88.3 – Didn’t debut until August 14th thanks to COVID and knee truble and then played just two games before his knee injuries become too much and ended his season. He had both knees scoped but is expected to be fully ready by Spring 2021 so a top 100 pick makes sense if that’s indeed the case. Obviously, his price will adjust if the timeline on returning changes so let’s assess him as though he’ll start next season on a normal schedule. I’m not one to run from UT-only studs so while I was fading Alvarez as a 2nd-3rd rounder this year to draft Nelson Cruz 3-4 rounds later, I’m open to jumping back in as a 5th-6th rounder.

Kyle Lewis 102.7 – Also had a Robert-esque season where he took a fantastic .328/.418/.527 line into September only to finish with a still-good-but-much-lower .262/.364/.437 mark. All told, he had 11 HR and 5 SB (a 31 HR/14 SB pace), but it seems Lewis isn’t getting the same leeway as Robert. Of course, he also started from a lower point as Robert was 7th in Top 100 Prospects list and Lewis didn’t even make it (he was 8th for SEA).

Some might not remember that Lewis was a premium prospect (ranked 1st for SEA in the 2017 and 2018 lists; also 38th in the ’17 Top 100) but injuries ravaged his ascent through the minors, limiting him to just 165 games from his 2016 draft summer through 2018. I’ll probably buy in at pick 85+ but if he gets a winter or spring surge, I’m likely out.

Non-J.T. Realmuto Catchers 111.0+ – Realmuto was the only to go in the top 110 picks on average during the TEMs with Will Smith checking in 2nd at the position at 111 followed by Salvador Perez (120), Yasmani Grandal (139), and Willson Contreras (140) rounding out the top five. Gary Sanchez was down at 169 while Mitch Garver was kicked to the curb checking in at 255. I often avoid young backstops, but that’s more when the hype machine gets to them so I could see myself taking a shot on Sean Murphy (204.6) and Daulton Varsho (247) or even a super-deep sleeper like Tyler Stephenson (341).

Mike Yastrzemski 115.2 – I was eager to see where the late bloomer would go as he now has a full season of work under his belt during which he’s hit .281/.357/.535 with 31 HR, 90 RBI, 103 R, and 4 SB (though these come in 9 attempts… maybe stop running) in 636 PA across 161 games. Again, I have to begrudgingly give kudos to the market here. I like Yaz and definitely want to buy in so I was hoping for a bigger discount. I will pay this price, but it’s about the max given the other OFs in his area that I like: our next guy on the list (though his price is definitely going up), Byron Buxton (128.4), Ramon Laureano (131.9), Ian Happ (143.2), and Franmil Reyes (157.0).

Randy Arozarena 116.8 – This ADP was established in early October as I posted a screenshot of his 9 draft slots on the 8th. He’s only added to the hype with an 1.152 OPS and 4 HR in the ALCS and if he goes off in the World Series, he’ll likely be a firm top 100 pick. The replies to my tweet had both encouraging and wet blanket comps. The Cuban Betts call outs are super fun, but obviously I know that’s hyperbole.

However, the reminder of Aristides Aquino was very sobering. He had nearly the exact same ADP (118.2) and we’d already seen the regression as he had a brutal September after his blistering August. Arozarena put up a 1.022 OPS in 23 regular season games before his huge playoff so we’re working off just 136 PA in 37 games. I want to believer, but I’m not sure I can pay a top 100 pick to show my Arozarena allegiance in 2021.

Jo Adell 201.6 – A disastrous debut (31 wRC+, 42% K in 132 PA) is keeping his price reasonable, but this actually marks a three-round jump from the summer Main Event drafts which surprised me a bit. He went as the 57th OF, in between J.D. Davis (193.4) and Andrew McCutchen (207.4) so he’s not overpriced, that’s for sure. I guess I just greedily wanted an even sharper discount as the fantasy community has been known to discard a prospect if they don’t click immediately. I’ll almost certainly have some Adell shares in my portfolio for 2021 as I’m not ready to say he can’t hack it in the bigs based on just over a month of work.

Ke’Bryan Hayes 210.0 – Ke’Breezy only got half of an already super-short season, but holy smokes was he good! He had just four hitless games in his 24-game run en route to a .376/.442/.682 line with 5 HR, 11 RBI, and 17 R in 95 PA. You can be forgiven for missing it if he wasn’t on your team as the Pirates weren’t generating a ton of interest, but don’t forget him at the draft table. I’d temper against overrating a one month run, but that’s not a major concern here as the price is very fair. I’m a sucker for later round AVG assets so Hayes will be a target!

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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I am deeply saddened that I am unable to act on this information for about four months. Every time I suffer fantasy baseball related depression, I do a set of pushups and stomach crunches. If fangraphs can keep up a steady pace of articles, then I will be ripped by March 2021.