Early ADP Thoughts – Outfield, Part I by Paul Sporer January 19, 2017 As we continue our tour of the NFBC average draft data by position, I want to reiterate something I may have been unclear about early on: this isn’t a ranking list and as such, not every player will be mentioned. Additionally, every position header after these intros is a link to the ADP data of said position. Previous Editions: C/1B 2B/SS 3B OUTFIELD I have to go two parts on outfield, it’s too robust. I’ll go first 50 today and then the rest in another piece. For someone reason Mike Trout (pick 1) has a max pick of 2, meaning he was not taken first in a draft. You are trying way too hard if you’re taking any hitter but Trout at #1. I can listen to the Kershaw #1 camp, especially since we’re not going into the season thinking there are upwards of 20 aces like last year. It was Mookie Betts (2) who went first when Trout didn’t. It doesn’t show how many drafts, but I imagine it was just one. Dropping 18 homers and hitting .243 cost Bryce Harper (10) a whopping eight picks on average from last year. I agree with this relatively scant drop and can see myself taking him as high as 8. It’s not too surprising that Starling Marte (25) has played more than 135 games just once in that last four seasons given that he leads the league with 76 HBP. Not all of his DL stints and games missed to injury have come as a result of the HBPs, but he puts himself in harm’s way regularly. Marte stole bases at a clip of 31 per 529 PA (his count for 2016), so for him to steal 47 was quite an anomaly that paired with a .380 BABIP to save his season. I’d be a little careful here. George Springer (32) needed an MLB-high 744 PA to net 29 HR and 9 SB, something that Justin Upton (31 HR/9 SB, pick 84) and Hanley Ramirez (30 HR/9 SB, pick 86 at 1B) did in 626 and 620 PA, respectively. They both scored 81 runs to his 116, but they also drove in 87 and 111 to his 82. Just sayin’. I love Springer the real life player, but Springer the fantasy player is probably overpriced, especially when Jackie Bradley Jr. (139) is available over 100 picks later on average. They just weren’t that different last year and they’re the same age. Missing virtually all of 2016 has barely dented A.J. Pollock’s (36) price tag which isn’t too surprising given how rare his power-speed potential is these days. Even if he falls back to his projection of 16 HR/25 SB, he’d essentially be 2015 Lorenzo Cain (129). You know that shitty person in your life who constantly flakes on you and the only thing you can count on from them is disappointment, yet you keep trying? That’s Giancarlo Stanton (39). Stop answering his texts so quickly. Maybe see what J.D. Martinez (51) is up to instead. The last three seasons, he’s averaging .299/28/82 to Stanton’s .266/30/82. Stanton does have that obscene potential if he ever stayed healthy for a year, but Martinez’s career-high of 38 homers is better than Stanton’s at 37. Waiting on Stanton to stay healthy feels like Troy Tulowitzki all over again, except at least Tulo showed us what the full season excellence looks like. Many are still tabbing Stanton for 50 HRs when he’s never hit 40! That was painful to write because Stanton is among my favorite players to watch, but we need to look at him with a dose of reality, especially with the power boom diminishing his value. I’m not shy about my fantasy dislike of Billy Hamilton (54), especially at his cost, but I will acknowledge his legitimate potential to be our first 80-SB guy since 1988 (Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman). Maybe I’m just lazy and don’t want to do the extra work with Hamilton. First, you have to draft differently to cover his deficiency in both batting average and power, and then if he does actually steal 80+ (or look like he’s pacing toward it by July or so), you have to figure out a trade because it’d be overkill in most leagues to get all of those SBs. Christian Yelich (56) beat the odds and hit 21 HR despite the fourth-highest GB% in the league, thanks to a doubling of his HR/FB rate. Yelich’s homers seemed to come at the expense of his speed (career-low 9 SB), but he also moved to the middle of the order and drove in 98 runs, so it was a net positive in the end. I’m not sure he repeats the 24% HR/FB rate, but I can see him continuing to chisel at that GB% making him less reliant on a gaudy HR/FB rate. I’m buying… and not just because someone made this picture saying we look alike, which is very flattering to me and kinda mean to Yelich. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop on Mark Trumbo (61), but it never did and he led baseball with 47 HR. Yet, he’s team-less as of January 19th so maybe the league thinks the shoe drops in ’17? Ian Desmond (63) has a .327 BABIP since 2010, 21st-best in the league among 123 qualified hitters (min. 3000 PA) and he’s going to Coors where the home team has a .340 BABIP in that same time, easily the league’s best mark (Fenway .327 is 2nd). Plus, his 4381 PA are 15th-most during that span. He was 37th on the ESPN Player Rater last year. How is he not a top-50 pick? I’d take him ahead of some top-40 picks, including the aforementioned Springer. Desmond is hardly a prototypical 1B, but adding position eligibility is never a bad thing, especially in deep leagues. If I had an early pick meaning I was drafting late in the fourth round, I’d be very interested in taking one of the teammate pairs available here: Desmond (63) & Carlos Gonzalez (66) or Gregory Polanco (67) and Andrew McCutchen (68). If I had the 2nd pick in a draft, I’d like to try a Rockie-centric strategy with four of my first five picks coming from that team: nab Nolan Arenado (5) in the first, Joey Votto (28) and Trevor Story (32) with my 2nd/3rd combo, Desmond/Cargo in the 4th/5th, and then load up some pitching. Maybe only one pitcher in that 6th/7th combo with the other pick being DJ LeMahieu (89)? Have you tried a full on Rockies strategy (for offense only, of course)? If so, did it work? I’m not sure Cutch is toast or that ’16 is the beginning of his decline. He played through nagging injuries and still gave fantasy teams a playable 675 PA. Obviously previous injury is the best indicator of future injury, but with just a modicum of health late in the season, he looked a lot more like himself: .280/.372/.471 in his final 60 games. Polanco never hit the DL, but played through four different nagging injuries (hamstring, shoulder, face, and neck) from July on which likely explains his .216 AVG in that time after a .299 through June. He might just be scratching the surface at 25 years old. Buy in bulk. Maybe in my little pairing exercise from above, I’d rather just take one from each duo: Desmond and Polanco. While I’m going bananas for everything Colorado, I might as well mention David Dahl (91), the only Rockie who is going at something of an inflated price given that he’s played all of 63 MLB games. Shiny New Toy Syndrome strikes again! That said, it’s a shiny new toy I’m interested in. No, he won’t maintain that .404 BABIP, but he averaged 17 HR and 27 SB per 600 PA as a minor leaguer (1621 PA) and posted a .315/25 HR/32 SB season in 637 PA across three levels last year (AA, AAA, MLB). I’ll take .290/13/20 which I think he can even if he’s relegated to the strong side of a platoon. Need a low AVG/big power outfielder? The 7th-8th round range has you covered. Take your pick of Khris Davis (99), Miguel Sano (111), and Jose Bautista (119). Skip Matt Kemp (93) and just get Adam Jones (120) nearly two rounds later. Their last three seasons say the differences are negligible, plus Jones is a year younger and hasn’t been on the DL since 2009. Better yet, skip both and take 26-year old Stephen Piscotty (131), who netted virtually the same $20ish value of the other two last year, but also carries some upside. I’m not sure how both Odubel Herrera (125) and Lorenzo Cain (129) are going ahead of Adam Eaton (138). What he lacks in AVG, he’ll make up in runs over the pair. I don’t think that lasts all draft season. I know they both topped 30 HR last year, but there’s no chance I’m taking Yasmany Tomas (146) and Adam Duvall (147) ahead of Joc Pederson (202), who is going nearly four rounds later. No. Chance. Pederson has only stolen 10 bases in 1099 career PA, but I refuse to believe that’s all he’s got after 32 SB per 550 PA as a minor leaguer. The difference in draft slot is far less egregious between Tomas/Duvall and Marcell Ozuna (165), but I’m just as adamant that there’s no way I’d take those two over him. A June wrist injury curbed Ozuna’s breakout (.948 OPS before, .605 after). As such, I still think there’s more in store for the 26-year old. I’m a sucker, I’ll no doubt get a share or three of Carlos Gomez (161) after his rejuvenation in Texas. Ya know, if you extrapolate his massive 33-game sample in Texas, it’d be 40 HR and 25 SB with a .280/.362/.543 line… :awaits the flood of comments from people taking this part seriously: Speaking of small samples, Byron Buxton’s (147) massive September (1.011 OPS, 9 HR) quickly made everyone forget his .561 OPS through August in 218 PA (which, of course, is also a tiny sample). Any sort of nice spring will boost his price another 20-30 picks. A strained hamstring cost Ender Inciarte (193) the first month of the season and likely had some impact on his awful May (.216 AVG, .539 OPS), but he was even better than the strong 2015 version from June on with a .308/.363/.411 line in his final 470 PA (.303/.338/.408 in ’15). Could be a sneaky runs asset if the Braves are anywhere near their second half prowess all season. A hand injury ate up nearly 50 games of Kevin Kiermaier’s (197) season, but he was nearing a 20 HR/30 SB pace. If he can get back on track vR (.241 AVG, .718 OPS in ’16 after .274, .790 in ‘14-15) and hold some of his vL gains (career-best .262/.364/.452 line), then he could definitely chase down that 20/30 pace. I’m buying. Keon Broxton (201) actually had a 20/50 pace, but it was in just 75 games and he needed a .373 BABIP to hit just .242. That said, he doesn’t need a 20/50 season to be well worth his pick slot. Is it impossible to envision him emulating Rajai Davis’ (238) 2016? Davis hit .249 with 12 HR and 43 SB last year. Broxton needs to curb some of the swing-and-miss, but he has great speed, an excellent walk rate, and some legit punch heading into his age-27 season. Nomar Mazara (205) is just one 11 players to hit 20+ HR at age-21 or younger since 2000 joining Trout, Harper, Stanton, Upton, Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman, Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, and Ryan Zimmerman. That’s a helluva list. In fairness, he did so in the season with the most 20-HR hitters ever and his .739 OPS was easily the lowest of the group, but even if you just look at players with that OPS or higher at 21 years or younger, he’s still part of a damn good list. Mazara doesn’t need to be great to pay off on the 205th pick, either. Buyyyyyy. If I’m not giving up on Gomez, then you’d better believe I’m not even close to quitting Yasiel Puig (212), who is cheaper and younger. His OPS is on a straight downward trajectory and both hamstrings have wreaked havoc on his last two seasons, but the risk associated with those factors is built into the price. Any measure of health should yield at least a .280-20-10 season for Puig and there’s still a tinge upside for something like a .300-30-15. — It’s your turn! Who are your prime targets and favorite bargains at each of these positions? Anyone you’re avoiding?