Overvalued and Undervalued: First Base Edition
Overvalued and Undervalued: First Base Edition
Each week of draft season I’ll take a look at some players that I think are overvalued and undervalued based on their current NFBC ADP. The projections next to the player names are an average of THE BAT, ATC, Steamer, and ZIPS projection systems found on Fangraphs. NFBC ADP data is from the date range 1/01/2019-02/11/2019. Let’s get first base week underway!
Joey Votto, CIN (ADP 72): 635 PA, 86 R, 21 HR, 80 RBI, 4 SB, .288/.416/.475/.891
Votto was a disappointment in 2018 but it’s not scaring me off of him completely for this season. He’s coming off of a jarring power outage that saw him hit only 12 home runs, his lowest total since his injury shortened 2014. He still managed to get on base at a .417 clip and he walked more than he struck out for the 4th straight year. His on base skills are legendary and I don’t expect that to change in his age 35 season. There’s little chance that he can replicate his 2017 when he hit 36 dingers and had an OPS over 1.000. However, he’s going to get on base, he’s going to hit for a high average, and I think he’ll hit somewhere between 23-28 home runs. That makes him UNDERVALUED at ADP 72.
Max Muncy, LAD (ADP 110): 530 PA, 71 R, 25 HR, 73 RBI, 3 SB, .243/.353/.468/.821
Where did that come from? Muncy exploded onto the scene for the Dodgers by smacking 35 homers and getting on base at a .391 clip in his age 27 season. While he’s a late bloomer, he made some swing changes before his breakout and has the plate skills to at least limit the inevitable regression. It’s not yet known if he’s going to play everyday or continue to be the strong side of a platoon. Either way, he should get a good amount of playing time. I’d say his second half K% of 32.7% is closer to what we’re going to see from him going forward. With all that said, I think he’s currently OVERVALUED at pick 110. I have him a couple of rounds later in my rankings and I need to see him show that he can stave off the regression before I’m ready to spend this high of a pick on him.
Matt Olson, OAK (ADP 110): 634 PA, 84 R, 32 HR, 91 RBI, 2 SB, .243/.336/.475/.811
Olson already has 53 career home runs in his first 232 big league games. He’ll turn 25 years old this season and has the look of a prototypical first basemen. It’s not likely that he’s going to be much of an asset in the batting average department but he isn’t the kind of player that will tank your teams average. He walks at over a 10% rate and struck out less that 25% of the time last season. The biggest reason I’m buying Matt Olson this season is my belief in his ability to take another step forward. There’s room for growth, if he improves his consistency against southpaws. His big time power, a locked in spot in the middle of the lineup, and improving plate skills have Olson UNDERVALUED in drafts this year.
Edwin Encarnacion, SEA (ADP 125): 554 PA, 72 R, 29 HR, 86 RBI, 2 SB, .240/.339/.464/.803
Encarnacion put together another 30-plus homer season at 35. He’s been extremely consistent throughout his career but he started to show his age a tad in 2018. His OPS has declined each of the past three years, dropping all the way down to .810 last season. Edwin lost almost 5% in his walk rate last season while also raising his K% a few ticks. The deteriorating plate skills are certainly concerning, but he still had a hard hit rate of 42.4%, the highest of his career. He’s in Seattle now and in a bad lineup, but with him hitting the ball hard I think he’s UNDERVALUED at pick 125.
Luke Voit, NYY (ADP 186): 483 PA, 57 R, 19 HR, 60 RBI, 1 SB, .265/.339/.470/.809
After Voit was traded to the Yankees from St. Louis, he went on an absolute tear to finish the season. He slashed .333/.405/.689/.1.095 with 14 homers. He never really got a chance show what he could do at the big league level with the Cardinals, but once he was set loose in Yankee Stadium he showed exactly what he could do. He’s never hit for a ton of power until last season when he went off for 40.5% HR/FB%. While that’s definitely not sustainable, I do think he’ll have continued success with the Yankees, if given the playing time. Now we’ve gotten to the part of Voit’s 2019 outlook that I’m concerned about. I wonder about the Yankees really committing to Luke Voit as their starting first basemen. Greg Bird has been injured or ineffective for most of the last two years but he’s younger and he has more pedigree than Voit. There’s also a chance that New York makes a trade for a big ticket first basemen. I like his batted ball profile, but Voit just has too much draft helium for me right now. I think he’s OVERVALUED at his current price.
Tyler White, HOU (ADP 258): 518 PA, 64 R, 21 HR, 69 RBI, 2 SB, .256/.333/.453/.786
Tyler White arrived in Houston last season after destroying AAA pitching over 70 games. Between the big leagues and AAA he hit 26 homers with above average plate skills. He had a double digit BB% and a K% of 20.7% proving this isn’t your typical strikeout prone power hitter of today’s day and age. I feel pretty good about White’s playing time prognosis going into 2019, as I don’t think they have another great option for the 1B/DH situation after he and Yuli Gurriel. I’m actually expecting closer to 500 AB’s and somewhere in the range of 25-30 home runs. Take White in the late rounds for your Corner Infield spot as he’s UNDERVALUED.
Overall, first base isn’t nearly as deep as it’s been in the past. I’m actually pretty surprised at the amount of value that can be had later in the draft. It may not be a deep position but I’m comfortable taking any from about 13-25 in my rankings as I don’t see much of a difference between them.
Since it’s first base week at KMill Sports Insights, I have plenty more first base content ready as the week rolls on. Next up, Dumpster Dives and Dynasty Finds. I’ll be digging deep to find some sluggers that can produce the kind of return that wins you fantasy leagues.