Note: I don’t like the starters after Urias (#281) but many hitters are still interesting. If I’m in a deeper league, I may try to stock up on pitching before I get into this section of the draft.
It’s easily Daniel Palka. He owns 30 home run power since he hit 27 in under 450 PA last season. The over 30% K% is a drag on his AVG and OBP so his upside is limited. Another issue hanging over his head is his inability to hit left-handed pitching (.200/.277/.293 with a 41% K%). He could end up in a platoon situation which might not be the worst situation considering how much he struggles against lefties. I expect his value to remain low as owners don’t believe in the breakout since he has no prospect pedigree. A nice chance at this point.
It’s Max Kepler and it’s not even close otherwise. Kepler made improvements in all facets of his game including career bests in K% and BB% while lowering his GB% while increasing his HardHit%. And he was rewarded with a .236 BABIP which killed his overall value. If his BABIP regresses just a little bit, he posed for a breakout season.
What an interesting group. I would not be surprised to see several of these players in the top-50 at the season’s end if everything falls right. As much as I like Tatis and Cordero, I’d take a chance that Sonny Gray can rebound back to being a top-20 starter. This just feels too late for him and I’d like to see if he can get his mojo going again.
Some decent hitting accumulatorsin this mix and my Twitter followers are also mixed up on who they like best.
These hitters are going between picks 302 and 309 in @thenfbc drafts. Who would you prefer in a 5×5 league with AVG?
— Jeff Zimmerman (@jeffwzimmerman) December 14, 2018
Ignoring the hitters, I would take a chance on Ty Buttrey getting and keeping Angels closer’s role. It’s so tough to find cheap Saves in-season, so I’d take the chance on cheap Saves during the draft.
I don’t like most of these hitters but I would bet on the chance Kevin Kiermaier stays healthy and goes 20/20 with a decent batting average. Pillar or Goodrum could do the same.
If I’m taking a chance on Buttrey 21 picks earlier, Greene, who I like better, would be my pick here for the same reasons I took Buttrey.
Stroman does intrigue me some. He rarely strikes out hitters (career 7.3% K%) but used to also not walk anyone. His problem is that his walk rate has jumped every year from 1.9 BB% to 3.2%. His 2018’s 5.54 ERA will scare off some owners but if he falls this far, I’d take a chance.
None of these guys gives me a warm fuzzy. By default, I’ll go with Keston Hiura and the chance that the highly-touted prospect takes over the Brewers second base job. I’d prefer two bats in the next round over him.
As much as I like Souza (20 HR, 10 SB, and 239 AVG) at this point, my pick is Cedric Mullins II and I believe he should be going at least 150 ranks higher. Currently, Steamer has Mullins projected for 16 HR, 16 SB, and a .257 AVG. Here are some other hitters with similar projections and there ADP.
Mullins should be moving up quickly once everyone buys a clue.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.