Steamer vs NFBC ADP – Home Run Bargains

Last week, I uncovered potential undervalued speedsters by comparing the Steamer projections to the current NFBC ADP. Today, I will go through a similar exercise for power.

In 2018, just three players launched at least 40 round trippers (K Davis 48, J.D. Martinez 43, J Gallo 40). Eleven additional players smacked at least 35 dingers, and all together there were 25 players who amassed at least 30 homeruns. Let’s dive into the players with a HR projection of 25+.

For these draft value comparisons, I match:

  • The player ranks as computed by the FanGraphs Auction Calculator with Steamer projections (standard NFBC 15 team roto league settings).
  • The current NFBC ADP (of Draft Championship leagues from December 15, 2018 to present).

Below are the players selected within the top 30 ADP, who also have a Steamer projection of at least 25 HRs:

1st & 2nd Round Power Hitters
Name AB HR R RBI SB AVG ADP
Giancarlo Stanton 516 43 93 110 3 0.267 24
Mike Trout 484 37 112 99 19 0.300 1
Nolan Arenado 573 36 96 106 3 0.286 10
Aaron Judge 512 35 95 90 7 0.250 19
J.D. Martinez 500 34 88 104 4 0.297 7
Bryce Harper 489 33 91 90 10 0.267 17
Manny Machado 542 32 87 94 8 0.288 14
Trevor Story 554 31 86 96 18 0.271 20
Francisco Lindor 595 30 103 90 21 0.286 4
Mookie Betts 574 29 112 93 25 0.303 2
Ronald Acuna Jr. 584 28 97 78 25 0.279 6
Javier Baez 565 28 78 93 16 0.269 13
Jose Ramirez 557 27 93 98 23 0.284 3
Charlie Blackmon 592 26 101 76 13 0.287 26
Juan Soto 484 26 83 84 6 0.292 30
Freddie Freeman 549 26 89 90 8 0.287 22
Christian Yelich 540 26 92 83 15 0.297 8
Paul Goldschmidt 539 26 91 86 11 0.277 18
Alex Bregman 552 25 95 89 10 0.279 12
Steamer Projections with NFBC Overall ADP

The first key item to note is that this list comprises 19 out of the possible 30 players. Additionally, there are a few pitchers selected in the first two rounds – 8 of them to be exact. That leaves only 3 players who are currently being selected in the first two rounds of the NFBC who do not have a 25+ HR projection (T Turner 16, J Altuve 17, W Merrifield 10). Without grabbing at least one of the 19 players listed above, you certainly will have to make up the power later in the draft.

Below are all of the remaining players in the draft pool with a Steamer projection of at least 25 HRs:

The players above are ordered by their difference in Steamer Hitter Rank versus ADP Hitter Rank. Differences highlighted in GREEN are the players who are going later than their Steamer values indicate that they should; differences in RED show the overvalued players.

There are some excellent power sources this year who appear as undervalued. Observing the rightmost column (“Diff”), you will see more positive values than negative ones. This is the reverse result of my earlier speedster analysis, which had far more players in the RED.

As evidenced, there are a number of “power hitters” exhibiting excellent value in both the ADP 105-120 range (8th round), as well as in the ADP 210-225 range (15th round). Drafters should be aware that power “hotspots” occur in those ranges this year.

I want to introduce the term hotspot – to denote a portion of the draft/auction where you may find a cluster of undervalued players – for a certain position or [in this case] statistic that you are looking to acquire.

In this case, we would say that hotspots for power occur in the 8th and 15th rounds of the draft. We can expect one of Grichuk/Schwarber/Sano/Smoak to be available in the 15th round – with each having an expected HR total of 25+. One or two of those players might be taken early … or some may last longer. But with four of them located within the hotspot, there is a good chance that at least one will be available – and at that opportunity cost, they are all undervalued.

Let’s now highlight a few players on our potential power bargains list:

Randal Grichuk (Steamer Hitter Rank: 70, ADP Hitter Rank: 143, Overall ADP: 233)

Grichuk sits atop the bargain power list. Steamer identifies him to be a player going many rounds later than he should. The projections have Randal as the 70th best hitter, yet NFBC players are drafting an average of 73 other hitters instead of him.

Why?

The right-handed power-minded hitter is slated to bat in the heart of the Toronto order to start the season. Grichuk only had 426 plate appearances last year, but he should shatter that in ’19. The typically over-zealous FanGraphs Fans have crowdsourced 600+ plate appearances. In under 500 PAs, Grichuk has hit at least 22 HRs in each of the last 3 seasons, including 25 homers just last year. Scaling that to Steamer’s more conservative 531 PAs, would be a pace of ~29 HRs.

There is also nothing in his batted ball profile to suggest otherwise.

Randal Grichuk – Batted Ball Profile
Season LD% GB% FB% HR/FB
2015 20.6% 37.9% 41.6% 19.1%
2016 15.7% 40.5% 43.8% 17.9%
2017 21.4% 35.9% 42.7% 18.3%
2018 18.4% 35.1% 46.6% 17.6%
SOURCE: FanGraphs

His HR/FB% appears to be fairly stable, his FB rate is ticking up, and his GB rate has a slight downward tick. Nothing here suggests that his power will be in question.

Plus, last year it appears that he was injured early on in the season – yet he mashed 15 of his 25 HRs in the 2nd half alone.

I am on fully board with Grichuk as an absolute steal for 2019, with 30+ homer potential. He is currently going in the 15th round.

Nelson Cruz (Steamer Hitter Rank: 31, ADP Hitter Rank: 70, Overall ADP: 113)

I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about Cruz, but he’s worth mentioning. At age 38, we already know who he is and what he can accomplish on the diamond. He has had 5 straight seasons of 37+ HR. The only question is … health. Last year he had a number of minor injuries pop up, so one can worry if he will finally hit a wall.

To that extent, Cruz is a playing time risk play – which needs to be factored into his price. The NFBC drafters have seemingly discounted his price greatly, effectively incorporating a large amount of risk in to his price – as he has an 8th round ADP. Steamer thinks it’s a bit too much.

Joey Gallo (Steamer Hitter: 40, ADP Hitter: 72, Overall ADP: 117)

Is Joey Gallo the new Adam Dunn lite?

What I mean by that of course, is that Gallo is close to the definition of a “three true outcomes” player; each time he comes to the plate he either walks, homers or strikes out.

In terms of fantasy – he is an immensely stable player to project … you know what you are getting. 90+ RBIs, ~40 HRs, and a .200-.210 batting average is his norm.

His upside? 40 HRs, 100+ RBI with a .250 batting average … which would be doable with either a few more line drives [and he is trending with 17%->18%->21% in the past 3 years], or a little BABIP luck. Adam Dunn used to bounce around between a .235 BA and a .265 BA in his prime, so it’s possible that Gallo could gain a few points of average as well.

Even if he doesn’t jump to a .250 level, he is still a relative bargain at his current market price. If your team can handle a batting average flirting close to the Mendoza line, 40 HRs and 90+ RBI are waiting for you in the 8th round.

Jose Abreu (Steamer Hitter: 33, ADP Hitter: 51, Overall ADP: 85)

Jose Abreu isn’t located in one of our power “hotposts” above. However, he is worth considering. Abreu has been a more than solid contributor in the 4 seasons prior to ’18. He hit 25+ homers, 100+ RBI and batted .290+ throughout that span. Even in his down year this past season, he still managed to amass 22 home runs.

Jose Abreu – Batted Ball Profile
Season LD% GB% FB% HR/FB
2015 20.7% 47.3% 32.1% 19.7%
2016 21.3% 45.5% 33.3% 14.8%
2017 18.2% 45.3% 36.4% 17.9%
2018 21.2% 44.2% 34.6% 16.1%
SOURCE: FanGraphs

I spoke about Abreu on a recent episode of the Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational Podcast. His batted ball profile (shown above) looks largely stable. It is possible that his 2018 down season can be partially attributed to injury (groin, thigh). Abreu was also somewhat unlucky in ‘18, posting a career low BABIP.

A small bounce back for him would be profitable for those selecting him at his current ADP of 85. A full recovery would be profit city. Unless injured, he may be well worth the low risk gamble in ’19 drafts.

We hoped you liked reading Steamer vs NFBC ADP – Home Run Bargains by Ariel Cohen!

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Ariel is the 2019 FSWA Baseball Writer of the Year. He is the creator of the ATC (Average Total Cost) Projection System. Ariel was ranked by FantasyPros as the #1 fantasy baseball expert in 2019. His ATC Projections were ranked as the #1 most accurate projection system in 2019. Ariel also writes for CBS Sports, SportsLine, RotoBaller, and is the host of the Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational - Beat the Shift Podcast (@TGFBI). Ariel is a member of the inaugural Tout Wars Draft & Hold league, a member of the inaugural Mixed LABR Auction league and plays high stakes contests in the NFBC. Ariel Cohen is a fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) and the Society of Actuaries (SOA). He is a Vice President of Risk Management for a large international insurance and reinsurance company. Follow Ariel on Twitter at @ATCNY.

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Danny Cioffari
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Danny Cioffari

nelson cruz is the new david ortiz