Biggest Market Risers from the Memorial Day Leagues

This past weekend, the NFBC held their Second Chance Memorial Day leagues that have a season running from yesterday – Memorial Day – through the end of the season. Of course, you do not get the stats accumulated to this point, but the first two months absolutely play a huge role in the draft. Let’s look at some of the biggest moves when comparing these leagues with the Rotowire Online Championship leagues the NFBC also runs. Both are 12-team 5×5 setups so it makes the comparisons easy.

There were 48 guys who moved up at least 120 picks (10 rounds). More than half of those still landed outside the top 10 rounds while the remaining 21 looks like a who’s-who of the hottest players to start the season.

Movers Into the Top 10 Rds
Shohei Ohtani LAA P, UT 31
Jesse Winker CIN OF 43
Carlos Rodón CWS P 44
Adolis García TEX OF 46
Mark Melancon SD P 58
Jared Walsh LAA OF, 1B 59
Trevor Rogers MIA P 61
Alex Reyes STL P 65
Matt Barnes BOS P 69
Freddy Peralta MLW P 75
John Means BAL P 79
Ryan McMahon COL 1B, 2B, 3B 85
Jazz Chisholm Jr. MIA 2B, SS 87
Mitch Haniger SEA OF 91
Isiah Kiner-Falefa TEX 3B, SS 93
Yimi Garcia MIA P 94
Héctor Neris PHI P 98
Ian Kennedy TEX P 114
Alex Wood SF P 119
Buster Posey SF C 120
Mark Canha OAK OF 120

I actually thought Ohtani would go higher than his 31 ADP and he didn’t even hit the first round in any of the 12 drafts with a high of 22.

Winker is absolutely obliterating righties (1.134 OPS, 12 HR in 156 PA) and the schedule has blessed him against lefties as the Reds have faced just six southpaw starters. He has started all six games, stayed high in the order (batting 1st or 2nd in all six), and crushed them to the tune of a .308/.357/.577 line in 28 PA. His composite line against lefties is .250/.341/.361 in 41 PA so those 13 PA against relievers haven’t gone so well. I wasn’t ready to take him in the Top 50, but I grant that he’s a great hitter who could be on the verge of a true breakout season if he stays healthy.

Health is the biggest consideration for Rodon given his track record and while I don’t see him maintaining a sub-2.00 ERA, I do believe in his skills as a high impact arm (mid-3.50s or better) so I understand drafting him highly.

I still don’t see Garcia staying anywhere near this good all year given the sky-high 32% HR/FB rate and ugly swing-and-miss in his game (29% K, 17% SwStr), but even if he posts a 100-110 wRC+ the rest of the way, I think it comes with 20 HR/5 SB and only 19 players are projected to reach or exceed both marks from here on out per The BAT X.

Melancon (17 saves), Reyes (15), and Barnes (12) have been three of the best closers with only Liam Hendriks (13) keeping them from being the top 3 in saves so of course their draft prices were going to soar. Garcia, Neris, and Kennedy are definitely a lesser version of the first trio, but they highlight the accelerated push for saves in what remains a difficult landscape to navigate. Garcia and Neris can be all year guys on their clubs while Kennedy will almost certainly be dealt and might be traded into a setup role, but if he can give another 9-10 saves before then, that’d be useful.

Walsh hasn’t kept all of his K% rate gains from last year, but no one really expected him to be a 14% K% guy going forward. His 25% mark with this kind of power is more than acceptable, though that .363 BABIP will certainly dip so plan for a .260s AVG.

Rogers, Peralta, and Means will all certainly see their ERAs rise from here on out, but I believe in all three as big time must-start arms with strong strikeout rates and good ratios. All three of these surges made sense and align pretty well with my rankings.

McMahon is 49th in wOBA, but 86th in wRC+ because of the Coors Field adjustments. I’ve always felt that Rockies are a little too punished by the adjusted stats. They do need to cover for their super friendly home environment, but then they don’t have any of expressing the Coors Hangover Effect for their road numbers. At any rate, McMahon looks to finally be breaking out and he plays in Coors with triple eligibility so of course he was going to be a top 100 pick.

Chisholm has only been back for 8 games and he hasn’t been great in them (.658 OPS, 43% K%), but it was enough for drafters to feel confident in the 23-year-old power/speed stud with 2B and SS eligibility. When you already have 9 SBs despite missing just over two weeks due to injury, the draft market is going to chase those skills and rightfully so.

Haniger hasn’t been the same since his 2018 breakout as injuries cost him 99 games in 2019 and all of 2020. He is tattooing the ball to make up for lost time with 14 HR in his first 223 PA. He hasn’t run at all but it wasn’t a huge part of his ’18 (8 SB in 10 tries) so even if he just winds up with 3-5 it won’t be a huge deal as he is being drafted for run production.

Wood and Posey are the best of several Giants veterans who are playing their butts off so far. Posey was third behind only J.T. Realmuto and Salvador Perez among catchers while Wood was the second Giants starter off the board (Gausman 32nd), but all five (DeSclafani, Cueto, and Webb along with these two) were consistently drafted in these leagues while only Gausman got any attention in the spring.

Canha was one of my favorite targets this draft season and he hasn’t disappointed with 10 HR and 7 SBs in an AL-high 238 PA. That last part highlights a big reason why I liked him so much as his spot atop the Oakland lineup made him a volume and skills player. He’s 35th on Razzball’s Player Rater thus far and he still wasn’t a consistent top 100 pick. Canha remains slept on.

After a question about where Mercedes ended up, I figured I’d give you guys a table of the guys who were undrafted in the spring but made it into the top 25 rounds (pick 300 or earlier) in the Memorial Day leagues:

Undrafted in Spring; Top 300 Now
Yermín Mercedes CWS UT 185
Brandon Crawford SF SS 196
Vidal Bruján TB 2B 214
Michael Fulmer DET P 219
James Kaprielian OAK P 230
Hansel Robles MIN P 232
Tyler Naquin CIN OF 234
William Contreras ATL C 235
Pavin Smith ARZ OF, 1B 274
Vince Velasquez PHI P 298
Zach McKinstry LAD OF 299

My favorites from this group include Brujan (I can’t wait for him to get the call, I’d scoop him in leagues where you can stash minor leaguers before their call-up), Kaprielian, Smith, and McKinstry. I like Mercedes, too, but it’s just tough to get him into that UT spot with so many UT-only studs dominating.

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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11 months ago

Great stuff, Paul!
Yermin Mercedes not on the list of big movers?

Dollar Bill
11 months ago
Reply to  Paul Sporer

Interesting article. Thanks. Not sure if it was the one pick at 93 earlier this year, but a huge move of Manoah from 738 to 123 ADP.