This is a new series for the fantasy draft season where I’ll be tracking differences in the NFBC average draft that is referenced regularly throughout the community and can be found here. Each Sunday I’ll pull the data, compare it to the previous week, and then deliver my key findings. You will still need to synthesize the data into something applicable for your leagues, especially if you don’t play in the NFBC, but this is the game’s sharpest market so I think it’s worth following.
(This will usually drop on Monday or Tuesday, but with the rankings roll out, it was delayed a day.)
BIGGEST RISER: Neftali Feliz – up 48 spots to pick 327
He signed in Milwaukee over a month ago, but the market is working down an ADP that was essentially non-existent so I wouldn’t even get comfortable with the 327 average. With a Max Pick of 713, his only value was as a late-round draft pick for the Draft Champions leagues (50-round, draft and hold) before joining the Brewers where he is likely to close. His Min Pick of 167 is only down two spots, so I’m sure it’s a lot of slotting in the 167-200 range that is steadily moving his ADP. That range slots him in the early-20s among relievers, which feels right given the resurgent velocity and strikeout rate plus an opportunity.
BIGGEST FALLER: Homer Bailey – down 21 spots to pick 428
Bailey needed elbow surgery on February 8th to remove bone spurs in his throwing elbow and now has an early-June timetable for his return after being placed on the 60-day DL. He was already a late-round gamble after missing essentially two seasons (34.3 IP in 2015-16) and now he’s a complete nonfactor. I was willing to take a shot, but that was over two months ago. It looks bleak for the 31-year old righty now.
QUIET AT THE TOP
Only one player in the top 100 picks has moved more than two spots in the last week: Chris Davis. Davis has dropped three spots to pick 83 on average and he could drop a bit further as the community realizes he isn’t all that different from Albert Pujols (pick 137). Looking at their last three seasons, Davis and Pujols are near-equals in R+RBI and HR+SB per 600 plate appearances while Pujols has a substantial AVG advantage (.261 to .228). Some of the advantage is cancelled out by a six-year age difference, but until that 54-pick split is severely cut, you’re better off waiting for Pujols.
PERAZA’S PROMISING POTENTIAL
The trade of Brandon Phillips cleared the path for Jose Peraza and the market is ready to invest in the speedy 23-year old. He was already a guy going in the first 10 rounds of most drafts so the six-pick jump to 132 isn’t eye-popping, but I think it’s just the beginning of his movement and he could end up being overdrafted by mid-March. His Min Pick dropped all the way from 91 to 75 which may be more indicative of his potential uptick as his believers will be emboldened by the departure of Phillips and won’t wait as long for a guy who had almost a 50-SB full season (600 PA) pace last year.
THREE MOVERS I’M MONITORING
There are plenty of guys I expect to see major shifts in ADP as Spring Training fires up, but three key guys I’m watching are Kelvin Herrera (up 5 to 107 this week), James Paxton (up 5 to 187), and Eric Thames (up 12 to 197). All three carry substantial upside for 2017. They are also likely to regularly appear on sleeper or buzz lists as guys with a chance to severely out-earn their draft slot.
Herrera is easily a top 10 closer for me and I think I’ll have him just outside the top five when we release our first RP rankings later this week. His 2016 skills spike is commensurate with the nasty stuff he’s always had and I see it continuing en route to a 40-SV season. I’m already contributing to the buzz on Paxton and don’t intend to stop. He’s a spell of health away from a full breakout. Thames did so well in Korea that projection systems – which are always conservative by design – are seeing a 30 HR/80 RBI/10 SB/.500 SLG return to the states. Thames is that weird case where the Fans (notoriously aggressive in projecting) are actually lowest on him.
I’m not above getting multiple shares of all three, even as their prices rise. They are still a few rounds from being overpriced in my eyes.
Two popular buzz arms in Oakland both saw four pick jumps with Sean Manaea up to 172 and Jharel Cotton 258. Both will be “wide awake sleepers” this year, but have enough wiggle room to still be worth the investment a few rounds earlier than their current average.
RIGHTFULLY LOSING STEAM
Most guys seeing their ADP go the other way are for obvious reasons whether it’s injury as with Bailey, Sean Rodriguez (-11 to 324), Alex Reyes (-10 to 141… he’ll continue to plummet, of course) or playing time as with Byung Ho Park (-14 to 489), Greg Bird (-10 to 246), and Joey Gallo (8 to 410), but some are just the market wising up. Hernan Perez (-8 to 175) and Tyler Naquin (-7 to 315) strike me as necessary market corrections.
Perez only needed 430 PA for his completely shocking 13 HR/34 SB season last year so the fact that he doesn’t have a starting spot isn’t even the biggest issue. He will be a utility player who gets burn all around the diamond as a way to give the starters a breather here and there, but I think some are realizing that there wasn’t any tangible skills growth behind his surge making it tough to envision a repeat. He’ll be good for some speed because that team loves to run, but without a repeat in HR/FB rate, there’s no shot he pops double-digit homers again.
His 12% HR/FB rate doesn’t jump out as insane, but digging into his gamelog shows 10 of the 13 HR came in July and August when he had a 19% HR/FB rate. He had a hot 200 PA (also swiped 17 of the 34 bags during that run) that no doubt aiding some to a title and likely yielded dirt cheap dividends in DFS, but this a solid-but-unspectacular utilityman. Meanwhile, the additions of Thames and Travis Shaw leave him needing an injury to someone for a chance at significant time.
Naquin also had an absurd two-month run that propped up his surprising numbers in 365 PA debut. After popping just 22 HR in 1542 minor league PA, Naquin ripped 14 in his MLB debut, including 12 during the June-July hot streak. The 22% HR/FB and .411 BABIP season totals scream regression for Naquin and they were actually at 36% (!!) and .430, respectively, during the run.
Those figures returned to earth over the final two months of the season at 9% and .355, yielding a .234/.331/.331 line with just two homers. He also had a 31% strikeout rate during the debut, putting his AVG in grave danger without another obscene BABIP. With Austin Jackson and Abraham Almonte lurking on the MLB roster and both Bradley Zimmer and Greg Allen rising through the minors, Naquin could be out of a job by mid-May.