The second installment of my new series tracking the NFBC average draft position market will be formatted a little differently and you can let me know which works best. I will still highlight the biggest riser and faller, but then I’ll go position-by-position for a takeaway or two. Let’s see how that works compared to last week’s. Comment below on your preferred method.
BIGGEST RISER: Neftali Feliz – +20 spots to pick 307
For the second straight week, the assumed Brewers closer is the big mover up the board. It’s not impossible to see why. His velocity returned last year, surging back to 96 MPH on average, and so did his strikeout (28%) and swinging strike (14%) rates – the latter being a career-best. The home run rate (1.7 HR/9) is worrisome, but a sky-high 19% HR/FB seems unlikely to repeat, even for a flyball pitcher like Feliz. Even with back-to-back big surges up the board, he’s still just 33rd reliever off the board so he’s likely to keep moving up. I suspect he’ll land somewhere in the mid-20s which is still cheap enough to invest, even with his flaws.
BIGGEST FALLER: Homer Bailey – -18 spots to pick 446
Both the bigger riser and faller are running back with repeats of last week. Bailey’s early-February elbow surgery has cooled any interest in gambling on the 31-year old righty, who has basically missed two seasons (34.3 IP since ’15). He can safely be ignored in all formats. I probably wouldn’t even give him a shot in a 50-round Draft Champions league at this point.
Unsurprisingly, Wilson Ramos continues to drop (-4 to 253) while a couple of deep league options (at best) are moving up: Andrew Susac (+7 to 412) and Kurt Suzuki (+6 to 498). The upper tiers of catcher are holding tight with none of the top 16 moving more than one spot up or down. Travis d’Arnaud is no longer the promising young prospect and the market has mostly moved on. However, he may be getting some post-hype buzz after three injury-riddled seasons in a row. The 28-year old is +3 spots to 294.
Jose Abreu saw his min pick (the earliest he’s been taken) jump 11 spots after someone took him 31st overall in a draft. That aided a one spot move in ADP to pick 62. His home runs have dropped yearly as a big league from 36 to 30 to 25, but he has three 100+ RBI seasons and a .290+ AVG every time out, too.
I’m torn because I think Abreu might be a better investment than Wil Myers slotted just ahead of him at pick 58, but I also like Hanley Ramirez just as much going 20 picks later at 82. Myers was incredible last year, but his 28 SBs came out of nowhere and it was his first healthy season ever, too. Ramirez has also struggled to stay healthy, but still possesses a tremendous bat.
Both sides of the Yankees platoon – Gregory Bird (-2 to 247) and Chris Carter (-6 to 258) – are dropping. I understand the concerns around a platoon, but I’m surprised Bird is only 11 spots higher despite being on the strong side of the platoon. On the other hand, Carter simply blasted 41 homers last year and didn’t have much of a platoon split (.803 OPS vR, .875 vL). For his career, Carter has just a 27-point platoon split. I’m excited about Bird’s overall potential, but don’t sleep on Carter.
Most the movement here is late with Cesar Hernandez (+5 to 294) and Joe Panik (+3 to 319) as the big movers. I’m pretty tepid on Hernandez, though I acknowledge that his walk rate (11% last year; 9% career) should keep his OBP strong for SB opportunities. Maybe I just prefer other 2B so I never end up eyeing Hernandez.
Panik would be one such player. I love him for a rebound this year. He continued to display excellent strikeout and walk rates last year, but got saddled with a hideous .245 BABIP that just has to improve in 2017. He did suffer a concussion, but the skills were essentially the same before and after. His exit velo was down, but it was a negligible 0.4 MPH difference. He’ll jump back over .300 again in 2017.
There is literally zero movement among the top eight shortstops (Carlos Correa, Jonathan Villar, Corey Seager, Xander Bogaerts, Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, Eduardo Nunez, and Addison Russell) and I mean zero as none of that group has seen even their min or max pick change, let alone any shuffling of their ADP.
Orlando Arcia (-4 to 263) has the biggest drop at the position among those in the top 300 and he needs to keep dropping. There is no reason for him to be going ahead of Mets Asdrubal Cabrera (+2 to 275) and Jose Reyes (-2 to 308). The 22-year old top prospect will get the playing time in Milwaukee, but I see some growing pains. He’ll offer some empty speed, but Reyes will at least be a better version of Arcia while Cabrera is a high-floor option who showed some power growth last year that could stick.
The depth at third might be why Jose Ramirez (-1 to 97), Evan Longoria (-1 to 106), Javier Baez (-1 to 119), and Maikel Franco (-1 to 127) all dropped a spot with Justin Turner, Jake Lamb, Ryon Healy, Mike Moustakas, and Nick Castellanos all going after them as perfectly viable options. I understand the upside of the four who took the hit, but the five behind them are hardly devoid of accessing some untapped potential. Hernan Perez (-6 to 181) is right in that middle of that second group and he deserved took another drop. I’m not a fan this year.
The market could be expressing some concern about Yoan Moncada’s playing time (-5 to 240) potential this year. After all, he is just 22 years old with 45 games at Double-A under his belt. The White Sox aren’t going anywhere this year, either, so there’s no real need to rush him into a major league role. He won’t be on any of my teams this year.
He’s the biggest mover among top 25 OF, but why is Khris Davis (+2 to 101) still behind Mark Trumbo (pick 70), a non-catcher eligible Kyle Schwarber (77), and Matt Kemp (99). He has as many homers as Trumbo the last two years (69… nice) in 162 fewer PA. Schwarber has all of 71 MLB games under his belt and we have no idea if he can hit lefties. Honestly, I didn’t need to include Kemp here. I could’ve just deleted him, but I figured I’d show you the full thought process.
Once I looked at their stats side-by-side, Kemp makes up the power deficiency with a clear AVG advantage and he dropped 30 pounds this offseason, which might spur him to run again with his chip-in SBs in the 8-12 range. Two picks separate the pair anyway, which is essentially nothing. But now I’m pairing Kemp with Davis as someone who should be going ahead of Trumbo and Schwarber, too, or at least be much closer in ADP.
Some interesting movement toward the backend of the top 50 OF with Kevin Kiermaier (+3 to 188), Eric Thames (+5 to 191) and Rajai Davis (+4 to 203). Kiermaier had more homers and stolen bases in 121 fewer PA hinting at some 15 HR/30 SB upside for defensive wizard. A doubling of his walk rate and a huge spike versus lefties are encouraging signs, too, though the latter came in just 99 PA so it’s not exactly “real” yet.
Thames came up in last week’s MW after a 12 spot jump and I’m starting to think he could be biggest riser all spring and wind up overrated. I know the projections love him after he decimated the KBO, but with a min pick of 110, he’s a handful of Spring Training homers from being in the low-30s among outfielders (around pick 130) and at that point, he has to perform for you.
Davis is that aging speedster who always comes at a discount compared to his output and that’s not about to change at age-36. He’s been a $20+ player four of the last five seasons with 2015 being the only miss. He just didn’t run much that year with a career-low 18 SBs. Perhaps there was a lingering injury from June on as he went just 6-for-11 in those four months after starting the season 12-for-15. He’s never been a huge AVG guy despite being a speedster, but he also gets more homers than your normal rabbit.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (+5 to 475) is slated to throw a simulated game on Wednesday. If he shows health and pitches all spring, he could legitimately jump 100+ spots. He had two fantastic seasons in 2013-14, but has pitched just 4.7 IP since then with shoulder and elbow injuries. This story just came out a few days ago, so I doubt his move is in reaction to it, but it looks like Kendall Graveman (+4 to 446) might take a Bartolo Colon-esque approach to pitching by throwing virtually all fastballs in 2017.
The other biggest moves at starter are both on my radar: Lance Lynn (+4 to 305) returning from injury and Tyler Anderson (+4 to 362) trying to show his debut in Coors wasn’t a fluke. Both are priced to buy even if they continue to rise. Mike Fiers (420), Brandon Finnegan (338), and Daniel Norris (292) all had +2 gains while seeing significant jumps in their min pick of 65, 18, and 22, respectively. Not sure why Fiers was taken 275 in a draft, but both Finnegan and Norris are late-rounders I like.
Luke Weaver (-3 to 158) had the interesting week where his ADP fell, but his min pick jumped 23 spots to 158. The other drops outside of big injury concerns Bailey and Tyson Ross (-7 to 364) include Junior Guerra (-4 to 280) and several -2s, the most interesting being youngsters Lucas Giolito (353), Jose De Leon (353), and Julio Urias (166). I’m proceeding with caution on all three, but especially Urias, who is way too high at 166.
Kelvin Herrera (+2 to 105) remains on the rise, but is still priced to buy. Unless he rises into the top 80, I have no problem paying the price. He also made last week’s MW so for more thoughts on him check that out. Outside of Feliz and Herrera, most of the other reliever movement is among non-closers.