Mixing Fantasy & Reality: Early Draft Results & Kyle Seager

Early ADP Results

This past week I was in Arizona watching some Arizona Fall League ball action and was at Baseball HQ’s First Pitch Forum as a presenter and taking in as much information as I could. I came back with a ton of articles ideas, but one piece of information I think people will find useful now is how owners are currently valuing players. Here are the top 30 players drafted in two NFBC drafts by a mix of experts and forum participants. Additionally, the entire first 23 rounds can be seen in these two images (sorry for the one image being almost too blurry).

Early ADP Results
Round Draft 1 Draft 2
1 Trout Trout
2 Betts Betts
3 Altuve Bryant
4 Arenado Arenado
5 Bryant Altuve
6 Goldschmidt Machado
7 Machado Goldschmidt
8 Donaldson Donaldson
9 Harper Blackmon
10 Blackmon Kershaw
11 Kershaw Harper
12 Scherzer Scherzer
13 Rizzo Cabrera
14 Turner Rizzo
15 D. Gordon Encarnacion
16 Lindor Turner
17 Encarnacion Bumgarner
18 Bumgarner Freeman
19 Cabrera Correa
20 C. Seager Stanton
21 Stanton Marte
22 Bogaerts C. Seager
23 Marte Cano
24 Villar Bogaerts
25 Odor Braun
26 Correa Kluber
27 Dozier Syndergaard
28 Sale Villar
29 Pollock Votto
30 Freeman Sale

I wouldn’t put a ton of stock into the exact order of players, but I do think the list gives us a nice initial anchoring point for players going into 2017 drafts.

Kyle Seager (End-of-season 3B Rankings): 2017 Projection

It is pretty obvious from the title I am going to discuss Kyle Seager today and he is basically the same player as his brother Corey. Here are both of their stat lines from 2016. Figure out which player is which:

Seager vs. Seager
Last Name PA HR Runs + RBI SB AVG
Seager 687 26 177 3 0.308
Seager 676 30 188 3 0.278

It is tough to really separate the pair, but in the above mentioned NFBC drafts, Corey Seager’s average pick was 21st while Kyle’s average was 56th. I don’t see any way they should be separated by 35 picks. I think Corey Seager’s value is inflated because of his age (legitimate reason) and being qualified at shortstop (not a reason this season with shortstop being so deep). Most of the difference, at least for me is that “young” and “middle infielder” still get overvalued. Instead, the reason Corey should be valued higher is because he is more likely to have a higher batting average (top player in the table).

Enough about over-valued Corey, time to move onto Kyle who has been a consistent producer. His home runs have increased each of the last five seasons (20 to 22 to 25 to 26 to 30). That increase has been offset by a drop in steals from (13 to 9 to 7 to 6 to 3). His batting average has hovered around .265 and his walk rate around a decent 9%. Even though he gets moved around some, he hits in the middle of a good Mariners lineup so he can get a decent number of Runs and RBI. He’s one of those hitters who can give 4th round value but could be taken one to three rounds later because he is boring and old.

When an owner finds such an undervalued player, they need to implement a “wait-and-snag” approach in a draft . Here is how it works. An owner has done their work and has valued a player like Seager in the 4th round, but on average he is being taken in the 6th round. The owner can take another one of their other 4th round (or earlier) talents in the 4th and then grab Seager in the 5th (my preferred method) or get greedy and wait for the 6th round. Waiting until the average draft position will only give the owner around a 50% chance of getting the player. The key is to get as high of rated talent at the lowest possible cost.

Back to Kyle (he is so boring, I can’t even stay on subject). I see no reason his production won’t be more of the same.

2017 Projection: .270 AVG, .340 OBP, 30 HR, 80 Runs, 90 RBI, 2 SB, 665 PA

Notes

• MLB teams are fully into the Rule 5 pre-draft roster construction mode. They are trying to move quad-A players from their active rosters to the minors through waivers. Teams are losing players as some are being claimed while other are being moved in minor trades. Most of the time, these moves are fantasy irrelevant but here are some moves I found interesting

  • The Diamondbacks claimed Jeremy Hazelbaker. I think this move will likely mean some playing time for Hazelbaker, maybe a platoon with Yasmany Tomas. With the offseason still young, so don’t read too much into this move.
  • The Angels claimed Vicente Campos who was the major piece in the Tyler Clippard trade. Campos, like several of these players, is returning from an injury, so his playing time and talent level is unknown at this point.
  • The Astros moved Pat Neshek to the Phillies for a player to be named later. He gives the Phillies some bullpen depth but I don’t see him being in play for Saves.
  • The Rays acquired John Lamb, an injured soft-tossing lefty, from the Reds for cash considerations.Lamb is a fantasy non-factor until he starts throwing again after dealing with multiple injuries over his career.
  • The Rangers claimed Adrian Sampson off waivers from the Mariners. I like Sampson in deep leagues last year since he posts good walk and low home run numbers throughout the minors. He should be back around mid-season and we can see how he performs then.
  • The Angels sent Brett Oberholtzer to the minors. I thought Brett Oberholtzer could be a decent bullpen arm in 2016 where his stuff might play up. I was wrong. He stinks not matter the role.

• The Tigers traded Cameron Maybin to the Angels for Victor Alcantara. Alcantara is an interesting arm I saw throw in the AFL and Eric Longenhagen just did a write-up on him.

As for Maybin, his value could be all over the place depending on how much he plays, where he bats in the lineup, and how much the Angels let him run. I went to look at how much we should expect Maybin to run knowing the team’s manager and W-L expectations. The answer was getting a little too complex and time-consuming so I will look to answer at a later date. Just by comparing team Speed Score to stolen bases, it seems like Mike Scioscia led Angels teams don’t run as often as teams with similar Speed Scores. Instead, I would assume he keeps running as much as he did previously and he could post around 20 steals with 600 plate appearances.

• The Mariners traded Vidal Nuno to the Dodgers for Carlos Ruiz. The only part of this trade I find interesting is where Nuno fits into a currently Kenley Jansen-less bullpen. He doesn’t have elite velocity or strikeouts, so he will probably by the fourth guy in the bullpen. This will give the team some bullpen help but it will make him fantasy irrelevant.

As for Ruiz, he will be a backup catcher which has no fantasy value.

• The Indians believe Michael Brantley will be their left fielder next season.

The Indians are heading into the offseason with the expectation that Michael Brantley will be their left fielder next year. While this past season was filled with setbacks and surgeries for Brantley, Cleveland is confident he will be recovered and ready in time for Spring Training.

“Michael’s progressing really well,” Indians team president Chris Antonetti said on Friday. “He’s right on schedule for his rehab. Our expectations at this point are that he’ll begin baseball activities at some point in December and then be fully ready by the time Spring Training rolls around.

He may be ready, but I expect him to be a shell of his former self.

• The Astros claimed Nori Aoki off waivers from the Mariners. I am not sure how he fits into the Astros plans. He can’t play center field anymore and Springer and Gurriel are likely to fill the corner spots. Additionally, Ramon Laureano is making noise in the minors and could see time in 2017. Right now he is probably just going to be the Mariners fourth outfielder.

• The Phillies have declared Aaron Nola to be 100% healthy and he is ready for 2017.

But Phillies officials wanted Nola to restart a throwing program at the team’s complex in Florida. He did that in October. The initial returns encouraged both team and player.

“After completing a full throwing program, and getting his side work in, he feels 100 percent healthy and ready for spring training,” Nola’s agent, Joe Longo, said this week in an email. “So, he is starting his normally planned offseason program.”

 





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.

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“The Rangers claimed Adrian Sampson off waivers from the Rangers.”

Crafty move, how do the Mariners feel about this? 😉