The All Bum Team

Yesterday, I put together my All Sleeper Team, identifying a group of players being drafted outside the Top 200 who could greatly exceed that draft day cost. While those guys are outright recommendations by me, today’s group is a bit different. We’re looking at the All Bum Team, a group of players with quality track records and high draft status in 2017 who ended up being terrible.

The idea is that these guys could reasonably bounce back, especially with health as most were injury flameouts, and the price to see if they will is worth taking a shot. This is more of a cost v. upside situation as opposed to me standing firmly behind them as investments. I’m not trying to hedge or anything, just stating the difference between yesterday’s and this piece. If you believed in these guys last year, then you should probably double down in ’18 because the price has tanked. I will be clear about the ones I’m most interested in buying with the write-up.

C: Jonathan Lucroy | Free Agent, Pick 56 in 2017 vs. 199 in 2018 – He’s actually struggled in two of the last three years with wRC+ totals of 95, 123, and 82 so I understand skepticism about a comeback, especially since he doesn’t have a team, but there is positional scarcity and a 143-pick discount. Lucroy’s an even better gamble if he’s your second catcher, paired with an Evan Gattis or Wilson Ramos type.

1B: Chris Davis | Orioles, 82 v. 246 – How crazy was it that in a year when the league hit homers at will that Davis – a perennial homer stud – matched his six-year low with just 26? He did miss time with a strained oblique, but he was still well off his HR/PA pace set in the five seasons before 2017. Had he maintained that clip, he would’ve hit 33 yaks in his 524 PA. I’d always been a Davis skeptic… until last year. Thanks, Chris. I can still see myself slotting him in at CI with a mid-teens pick in 15-teamers.

2B: Ian Kinsler | Angels, 79 v. 185 – It’s hard not to blame the BABIP on Kinsler’s poor batting average from 2017 when looking at the rest of his profile. His strikeout and walk rates improved and his batted ball profile was in line with previous seasons. The one major difference was his pull rate, down from 44% to 39%, but that shouldn’t have eaten 52 points off his average. Back in a great lineup and heavily discounted, I like taking a shot on Kinsler this year. His age (36) and even the potential a repeat dud batting average is more than built into the price so buy the upside of a .265 AVG, 105 R, 25 HR, and 20 SB. If Andrelton Simmons holds his ’17 gains and Martin Maldonado can recapture the 11% BB rate from 2015-16, then Kinsler could push 70 RBI, too.

Honorable mention goes to Jonathan Villar who has dipped from pick 21 to 176. He was taken as a shortstop last year, but only qualifies at 2B this year. He’s probably (definitely?) not going to pop 19 homers with 62 SBs like he did in ’16, but a 15 HR/30 SB season is very plausible. That kind of speed this cheap makes him a great mid-round target.

3B: Todd Frazier | Mets, 80 v. 282 – Frazier was a fantasy stud from 2014-16, averaging .251, 86 R, 35 HR, 89 RBI, and 16 SB per season, but saw his AVG sink to .213 and nabbed just 4 SB in seven attempts last year. That fall off overshadowed the fact that he improved his strikeout and walk rates. Unfortunately the Mets really don’t run so those SB probably won’t return, but if he sells out for power just a little less and curbs the pop ups, he could back to .250/35 in New York.

SS: Trevor Story | Rockies, 30 v. 122 – After a 97-game debut that saw Story hit 27 homers and swipe eight bases, expectations were high about what a full season could look like in Coors for the young shortstop. He labored through his first full season and actually fell three homers and a stolen base shy of his 2016 totals despite 140 more plate appearances. He quietly had a strong summer with a .251/.310/.505 line including 14 HR and 5 SB from July 1st on, a 30/11 pace. He will remain in the heart of one of the league’s best lineups in baseball’s best venue for hitting. I was buying at the premium price last year so you better believe I’m in with the discount.

OF1: Carlos Gonzalez | Free Agent, 64 v. 313 – Another free agent whose outlook certainly depends on where he lands, but he’s free right now in drafts and I just don’t believe he’s completely toast at age-32 even outside of Coors. He finished with a bang, popping six of his 14 HR and posting a 1.250 OPS in September. I wish the non-roster invite that Colby Rasmus got in Baltimore would’ve been a one-year deal for Cargo, but such is life. There have been some White Sox rumors and that’d be a nice landing spot as it’d open up plenty of playing time and the park plays very well for homers, especially for lefties.

OF2: Gregory Polanco | Pirates, 63 v. 152 – To date, Polanco’s 2016 stands out as a clear outlier, but I think he can get back to that level if the shoulder holds up. It was hurt in Spring Training last year and then a chronic hamstring injury sent him to the DL three different times. He’s now nearly 100 picks cheaper, pricing in some of the injury risk finally. He’s still just 26 years old and I absolutely think the skills are there for a 25 HR/20 SB season if he can stay healthy.

OF3: Ryan Braun | Brewers, 46 v. 117 – You need more than a $15 season out of a top-50 pick, but he did that in just 104 games as a strained calf cost him about six weeks. There’s chatter of some 1B in his Braun’s future which would only help the health piece. He’s the most expensive guy on this list as he had the best season of the bunch. He was the only one to put up double-digit power and speed with a wRC+ north of 100. A perfect world scenario is probably only 135 games, but he averaged 25 HR/85 RBI/17 SB in 137 games per year in 2014-16 so he can be great in just over 550 PA.

OF4: Kyle Schwarber | Cubs, 77 v. 171 – I’m finally on the Schwarber train because he’s finally not incredibly overpriced! I had some interest on the heels of his strong second half (.894 OPS, 17 HR in 209 PA) during my December drafts before we even saw Svelte Schwarber in action. It’s not that I didn’t believe Schwarber was talented when I was actively against buying him in 2016 and 2017, it’s just that his draft spot required him to excel to pay off and I didn’t think we’d seen enough to expect such a performance. In fairness, the 2016 price was fueled by catcher-eligibility at some outlets. Schwarber’s ADP will rise from its current level, but I can’t imagine it’ll go much higher than ~130 unless he just goes bananas and pops 10 spring homers.

My favorites from the All Bum Team: Kinsler, Story, Polanco, and Schwarber.

We hoped you liked reading The All Bum Team 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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Will there be pitching posts on these topics?