Falling Hitters – ADP v. 2019

We know that the previous season has a major impact on the following season’s ADP, but I wanted to take a closer look at a comparison between the two and highlight the hitters who have the biggest difference between their 2019 finish on the Auction Calculator and their 2020 NFBC ADP (you can go to the NFBC website, but it’s also built into the Auction Calculator). I used the top 200 ADP players as the cutoff because that captures the group likely to go in virtually every draft.

Let’s take a deeper look and see if these large disparities between the ’19 finish and ’20 are merited or if there’s some value to be mined here. I’m bypassing those with obvious reasons like injury or in the case of the 2nd-biggest faller – Yasiel Puig – not having a team yet.

Christian Vázquez | BOS, C | 56th Player in ’19; 196th in ’20 ADP

There was an uprising of C2s last year that actually gave the position a modicum of depth, especially in comparison to where they were drafted and Vazquez was a big part of that with 23 HR, 72 RBI, and a .276 AVG in 521 PA. Given that it was an age-28 breakout and still only netted a 102 wRC+, it’s obvious he wasn’t going to then be a top 60 player in 2020 draft and I’d actually say this 196th ADP is acknowledging the big season and giving him some love.

Omar Narváez | MIL, C | 89th; 188th

OK, I promise this won’t just be a list of catchers (but we do have one more later). Narvaez also had a late-20s surge, but a big difference for him is that he’s always been a solid bat and viable C2. The biggest difference was the jump to 22 HR, up from 9 in 2018. Narvaez now moves to a hitter-friendly park in Milwaukee, though I’m not sure there’s another level to his game.

He could maintain his ’19 output (prorated to the 12-game season or whatever the hell they come up with), but I can’t really justify making him a top 100 pick so I get this fall. As with Vazquez, his ADP does signify a boost in confidence about him, it’s just not feasible to see these “out of nowhere” C2s wind up as top 100 picks the following year.

Danny Santana | TEX, 1B/OF | 50th; 134th

Santana’s 28 HR/21 SB season has him soaring in relation to his 2019 ADP, but he’s still a good bit lower than where he finished last year. I’m not at all surprised, though. While his power/speed skills should still be present in 2020, there are concerns about his slash line (.283/.324/.534) because of his plate skills. He had a 30% K rate with just a 5% BB rate last year, a rough combo.

This kind of profile puts a major burden on his BABIP (which was at .353 last year) and can be prone to extreme volatility. We saw a microcosm of it in 2019 when he had a .195/.214/.460 line, though 8 of his 22 hits were homers so he even maintained some value in that month. Just be careful investing too heavily here.

Joc Pederson | LAD, OF/1B | 120th, 197th

I gotta be honest, I’m surprised his season was good enough for 120th last year. It was good thanks in large part to the 36 HR, but I didn’t realize a .249 AVG, 74 RBI, and 83 R with those homers would make him the 120th player overall. The homers spiked with bouncy ball, but otherwise this is who Pederson has been throughout his career. As such, this looks a value pick. He doesn’t even have to repeat his 2019 to finish better than his usual draft position. The biggest change would likely be the Dodgers trimming his 514 PA count as he averaged 100 fewer over the previous three seasons, though some of that was due to injury.

Carlos Santana | CLE, 1B | 43rd, 118th

Santana’s brilliant late-career surge yielded career-highs in every fantasy relevant category besides stolen bases. It was enough to thrust the 33-year old into the top 50 last year, but obviously it’s prudent to drop his ADP well below that. He hit the ball a lot harder and cut his flyball rate a bit which made him an AVG asset for the first time ever. His pop and ability to get on base are constants so his ability to deliver on this ADP will depend on the batting average.

Marcus Semien | OAK, SS | 25th, 94th

There is definitely some love for Semien on the heels of his excellent 2019, but he’s still going well below where he finished. That’s probably fair, though. He played 162 games which is just hard to do. Obviously, it won’t happen for anyone this year and the condensed schedule plus an expanded roster makes it unlikely that anyone will play every game, what ever size we get… if we get anything… which feels unlikely. I’m sad now.

Anyway, it’s worth mentioning that a big part of Semien’s finish is volume-based. I believe in the skills, but without another 747 PA, it would’ve been really hard for him to repeat a top 25 finish. I’d still shave down the skills a bit, too, because while I do believe he’s gotten better, it’s still prudent to peel back on a career year. Throw in the SS depth and his ADP makes some sense. He could definitely overachieve again, so I’m buying at this price.

Mitch Garver | MIN, C | 51st, 115th

Garver’s excellence in just 359 PA makes him an easy regression candidate, but as Scott Pianowski always says – regress to what? And I think he’ll still be a premium catcher and while he’ll give back on his 52 HR per 600 PA pace, he’ll counter it with more volume in R and RBI. The hitters around the 50 ADP range include Matt Olson, Charlie Blackmon, Whit Merrifield, and Aaron Judge so I can’t justify Garver there, but I’m not against taking him as high as the 90-100 range. He’s priced to buy and gives you a leg up at the thinnest position.

Jorge Polanco | MIN, SS | 75th, 131st

We cap it off with back-to-back Twins as I really like Polanco and think he’s a worthy buy at this ADP. He enjoyed a power surge last year to a career-best .190 ISO while also benefiting from that amazing lineup with career-bests in runs and RBIs. I expect the Twins offense to remain a powerhouse and I don’t see Polanco really falling off much from his ’19 level. The depth of shortstop has made guys like Semien, Polanco, Paul DeJong, and Didi Gregorius great buys whether they’re your first shortstop or slotting into the middle infield slot.

Other Notables: César Hernández (2B, CLE | 162nd/273rd), Ryan Braun (OF, MIL | 107th/229th), Shin-Soo Choo (OF, TEX | 102nd/204th), Gio Urshela (3B, NYY | 116th/231st), Michael Brantley (OF, HOU | 59th/120th)

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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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