Six Bargain Buys Using Projections

Name value is a helluva drug in the fantasy game and often leads to overvalued players going several rounds higher than comparable players. Sometimes the name value is indicative of a star-level player who has shown heights in his past that are worth betting on at a loftier pick than his would-be equal counterpart, but a lot of times it’s just an opportunity to scoop comparable skills much cheaper.

Here’s one such case at each position using The BAT X projections:

CATCHER

Yasmani Grandal 116 ADP | Projection .235 AVG, 27 HR, 71 RBI, 71 R, 2 SB

Salvador Perez 158 ADP | Projection .255, 28, 81, 62, 0

A big part of this difference is that fact that Perez missed all of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery. Prior to that, Perez put up four straight seasons of 20+ HR with strong RBI counts (for the position) and decent R totals which is exactly what Grandal has done in his last four years. In standard leagues, Perez is arguably better thanks to spiking some useful batting averages over the years while Grandal is always a drag in that position (OBP leagues are a different story as Grandal has a career 14% BB rate). This three-round difference is almost certainly based on the fact that Perez is returning from injury and despite being a Grandal fan, I’ll take the discount.

FIRST BASE

Pete Alonso 31 ADP | Projection .256, 43, 108, 93, 2

Josh Bell 94 ADP | Projection .277, 32, 101, 88, 3

Alonso is a power stud, but he’s one of the most overdrafted hitters this year. When you club 53 homers in your rookie season, that’s bound to happen, but his core skills (premium power, solid eye, decent AVG) aren’t hard to find, particularly at 1B. I could see Luke Voit or Rhys Hoskins matching Alonso’s output on a per at-bat basis, but I chose Bell because we’ve seen what a peak season from him looks like and I think waiting the four rounds and trading a handful of homers for a much better AVG potential is a worthy move. The proliferation of home runs leaves me willing to give up a few in different spots in favor of AVG or in some cases, SBs.

SECOND BASE

Keston Hiura 37 ADP | Projection .259, 28, 88, 83, 10

Brandon Lowe 191 ADP | Projection .249, 29, 80, 78, 6

I consider myself a pretty big Hiura fan, but his price has just soared far too high for me. I understand it’s easy to essentially double his output after he hit 19 HR and stole 9 bases in 84 games, but I don’t think there’s been nearly enough attention paid to his 31% K rate and .402 BABIP. While I do believe he can and likely will trim that strikeout rate and put less pressure on his BABIP to maintain a strong AVG, this price requires it.

Lowe also put a strong half season of work that came with too many strikeouts and a gaudy BABIP so his .277 AVG may be headed downward if he doesn’t balance those two factors, but his power and speed are as good or better than Hiura’s with a 10-round discount! This is an easy one for me, gimme Lowe all the way and I’ll use that third round pick for Hiura on a more established premium profile.

SHORTSTOP

Gleyber Torres 26 ADP | Projection .268, 30, 85, 85, 6

Carlos Correa 105 ADP | Projection .266, 27, 84, 85, 3

I understand the split here is largely tied to the fact that Correa hasn’t topped 110 games in the last three seasons while Torres has eclipsed that mark in each of his first two seasons (123 and 144 games), but is the health profile worth a five-round split when the skills are damn near even? I say no. I also can’t see Torres repeating his 13 HR and 1.512 OPS in 75 PA against Baltimore even though they’re still a poor pitching team so it’s unlikely that he rips 38 HR again (whenever we get another full season, of course). For his part, Correa has only dipped below a 123 wRC+ once in his career (100 in ‘18). I’ll take the big discount and gamble on the health.

THIRD BASE

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 55 ADP | Projection .289, 28, 82, 81, 3

Justin Turner 160 ADP | Projection .288, 22, 79, 79, 2

I’m not going to harp on how Guerrero Jr. completely flopped against his draft price last year as he was solid-but-unspectacular in 514 PA as I didn’t think gambling on the 20-year old was necessarily a terrible idea and I’m not even fully against buying back in this year at the right price, but I’d much rather take a shot on Turner seven rounds later, especially in this shortened season even at age-35. Turner has been a top-10 hitter by wRC+ since 2014 with a 141 mark, tied with Jose Altuve, Anthony Rizzo, and Bryce Harper and just behind Paul Goldschmidt and Freddie Freeman at 142.

OUTFIELD

Luis Robert 86 ADP | Projection .257, 22, 69, 78, 16

Oscar Mercado 116 ADP | Projection .259, 15, 60, 76, 22

LuBob signed a 6-year, $50 million deal on the heels of a 32 HR/36 SB season across three levels and now finds himself as a top-100 pick ahead of his MLB debut. His robust skills could yield a strong rookie season that makes him a fantasy stud, but this price puts a heavy burden on him to perform. I’m not entirely sure Robert is given the opportunity to fully utilize his speed, so I’ll take Mercado’s lower power floor for more speed and a safer AVG profile from the guy with 482 MLB PA under his belt.

Those are my store brand pickups for the season, do y’all have any? I used the NFBC ADP data from our projection pages and they were almost equal to those of the last two weeks on the NFBC website.

We hoped you liked reading Six Bargain Buys Using Projections by Paul Sporer!

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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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Dan
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Member
Dan

Outfield:
Skip: Michael Brantley – ADP 139
Take: Bryan Reynolds – ADP 191

Brantley has the track record and a better lineup, but I’ll take the youth and upside (supported by underlying skills) of Reynolds 4 to 5 rounds later.

carter
Member
Member
carter

Reynolds seems similar to Brantley when you watch them at the plate too, but Brantley has just been soo good for so long.