The 2022 NFBC Unauctioned — Building an Offense, A Review

Let’s finish my review of my imaginary NFBC rosters with a team of hitters that weren’t purchased in a single NFBC auction in March. I had 110 players to choose from to build this elite squad. Let’s find out how they performed!

The Unauctioned Offense – 2022 ATC Projections
Player Position Avg HR R RBI SB
Austin Hedges C 0.195 12 33 37 1
Martin Maldonado C 0.195 12 41 40 0
Bobby Bradley 1B 0.213 21 50 58 0
Rougned Odor 3B 0.213 17 41 46 2
Carlos Santana CI 0.233 18 60 61 1
Andy Ibáñez 2B 0.263 13 42 40 2
Ramon Urias SS 0.250 12 49 48 3
J.P. Crawford MI 0.254 10 75 55 8
Seth Brown OF 0.225 20 54 60 5
Jurickson Profar OF 0.235 10 52 44 9
Steven Kwan OF 0.272 5 30 26 3
Josh Naylor OF 0.261 11 40 41 2
Cristian Pache OF 0.229 10 43 39 5
Oscar Mercado Util 0.240 8 35 30 9
Team Totals 0.234 179 645 625 50

And now let’s see how this thrilling group performed.

The Unauctioned Offense – 2022 Actuals
Player Position $ Val Avg HR R RBI SB
Austin Hedges C -4.10 0.163 7 26 30 2
Martin Maldonado C 2.39 0.186 15 40 45 0
Bobby Bradley 1B -14.79 0.118 0 1 0 0
Rougned Odor 3B 0.87 0.207 13 49 53 6
Carlos Santana CI 1.69 0.202 19 52 60 0
Andy Ibanez 2B -11.32 0.218 1 13 9 3
Ramon Urias SS 3.77 0.248 16 50 51 1
J.P. Crawford MI -0.94 0.243 6 57 42 3
Seth Brown OF 11.39 0.230 25 55 73 11
Jurickson Profar OF 9.40 0.243 15 82 58 5
Steven Kwan OF 18.60 0.298 6 89 52 19
Josh Naylor OF 11.10 0.256 20 47 79 6
Cristian Pache OF -13.06 0.166 3 18 18 2
Oscar Mercado Util -9.63 0.207 4 17 16 2
Team Totals 5.38 0.229 150 596 586 60

Once again, the group missed most of their counting stat projections, with the exception of stolen bases, most likely due to weak performance that cut into playing time. This is expected as I was scraping the bottom of the barrel, and anyone who dared take on this challenge would have replaced such players. The group also just missed their batting average projection, which makes sense considering 2022 saw the lowest league mark since 1968, though 2021 and 2020 were barely better.

The good news is there were a bunch of real gems here that likely provided strong profits for those who speculated in deeper leagues. Steven Kwan, who finished third place in the Rookie of the Year voting, was easily the best buy among the group, earning nearly $19 and costing nothing. Kwan got off to a sizzling start, batting .354 in April and motivating fantasy owners to rush to pick him up. He then disappeared in May, batting just .173, as the regression bug bit hard, immediately after fantasy owners added him during his hot streak. He was far more consistent after that, culminating in an excellent final month with three home runs and seven steals. While Kwan is still likely a better real life player given his on base ability, he did enough of a variety of things to add to solid fantasy value, even if it didn’t feel like he actually earned that much. There might be a bit more HR/FB rate upside here too.

Seth Brown was the second best earner, and it was pretty obvious that he would yield a profit if he held down the strong side of a platoon. That’s exactly what he ended up doing, and contributed both home runs and steals as a bonus. It’s too bad the Athletics offense stunk, so his RBI and runs scored totals were unimpressive.

After missing the beginning of the season as he recovered from ankle surgery, Josh Naylor enjoyed a power surge, increased his FB%, and kept his strikeout rate in the mid-teens, backed by a single digit SwStk%. There was nothing that stood out here for fantasy owners, but he did enough of everything to produce a tidy profit for those that gambled on his health.

I was betting on Jurickson Profar rebounding after a poor 2021, especially on the power side. While his HR/FB rate fell just short of his career mark, it did more than double off its low to push his home run total into double digits for the third time. He did run less often than he had in previous seasons, but a career best PAs boosted his counting stats enough to earn him close to double digit fantasy value. He was worth even more in OBP leagues thanks to that double digit walk rate.

On the downside, there was possibly no bigger bust from this group than Bobby Bradley. He ended up finishing with just 17 PAs before he got demoted to Triple-A and ultimately getting released. That’s quite the fall for the former prospect. Cristian Pache was another disappointment from this group. Although his minor league profile surely didn’t suggest a near-term star, no one expected him to be this bad offensively! He showed almost no power, posted a low .220 BABIP, and to rub salt in fantasy owners’ wounds, only swiped two bases. He spent time in the minors after his struggles, but didn’t perform much better there, posting just a .300 wOBA. Amazingly, he even recorded a negative UZR and now sports a -4.2 UZR/150 over his short career. He was supposed to be a star fielder, but if he can’t even muster a positive UZR, then there’s a lot less hope he fulfills his former top prospect promise.

Heading into the season, or at least when I wrote the original article, we weren’t totally sure what role Andy Ibáñez would serve in and whether he would play every day. But I liked his potential if he earned full time at-bats and so included him on this roster. Unfortunately, he managed just a .249 wOBA over 128 PAs, which included absolutely no power, so he made the team’s decision on his playing time quite easy.

I think it’s finally time to give up on Oscar Mercado, huh? I selected a bunch of Guardians on this team since it wasn’t clear who would garner the lion’s share of playing time and each name had potential to earn some nice profits. At one time, Mercado showed off a nice power/speed combination, but 2019 seems far in the rearview mirror now. While he has generally maintained his power, his BABIP keeps sliding, and this year he suddenly became an extreme fly ball hitter. Perhaps he has been frustrated by his struggles and is trying to throw every plate approach at the wall to see what sticks. He signed with the Cardinals last week, so perhaps they get him back on track. That power/speed upside is still there, so don’t completely forget about him.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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14 days ago

Yet another fine reminder to set alarms, calendar posts, etc to not miss one’s auction draft or else.