Overvalued and Undervalued: Second 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 1/01/2019-02/17/2019. We’ll be digging into second basemen this week!
Javier Baez, CHC (ADP 14): 641 PA, 86 R, 31 HR, 96 RBI, 17 SB, .271/.315/.496/.812
Baez has long been a favorite of Cubs fans and fans of baseball everywhere. He’s been a top prospect since he was drafted 9th overall in 2011. He has some of the loudest tools in all of baseball with prodigious power, a slick glove, strong throwing arm, and speed. The biggest knock on Baez’s box of tools was his ability to make contact. He’s run high strikeout rates and extremely low walk rates throughout the minors and big leagues. He improved his plate skills in 2018 and they actually weren’t atrocious for the first time in his career. We can live with a 25.9% K rate and a 4.5% walk rate. He also found even more consistent playing time than his usual super utility role. This led to a monster season that fans have been dreaming of. The reason I think Baez is OVERVALUED at ADP 14 is because I don’t like buying players off of their career years. There’s a good chance we’ll never see a season like that out of Baez again. His 24.3% HR/FB rate was by far the highest of his career and I’m not sure he’ll get on base enough to steal 20+ bases again.
Jose Altuve, HOU (ADP 16): 651 PA, 93 R, 18 HR, 79 RBI, 22 SB, .311/.376/.474/.850
Altuve had a “down” season in 2018 compared to his previous two. He struggled through 137 games dealing with a knee injury that required offseason surgery. That fact alone has him UNDERVALUED in drafts so far in 2019. I’m just not seeing anything in his profile that would lead me to believe anything has changed for Altuve. He’s only going to be 29 years old and with a healthy knee, I see him returning to 30+ steals. I’m also expecting the 20+ home run power to come back. If Altuve is healthy (he says he is), he’s going to be a huge profit for owners who select him around his ADP 16.
Gleyber Torres, NYY (ADP 59): 596 PA, 76 R, 24 HR, 79 RBI, 10 SB, .264/.334/.457/.792
Torres was seen as a mega prospect going in to 2018. He had a really good 123 game MLB debut in his age 21 season slashing .271/.340/.480/.820 with 24 dingers. It’s certainly fair to assume growth to those numbers given his age and likely full season of plate appearances. He also plays his home games in a wiffle ball stadium, so the power numbers have a really nice floor. I don’t see anything wrong with his current projections; I just don’t think they are worthy of a top 60 pick. There isn’t going to be much profit potential in taking Torres this early. He’s a fine player he’s just OVERVALUED for 2019 based on his prospect pedigree, name and team value.
Scooter Gennett, CIN (ADP 92): 610 PA, 77 R, 22 HR, 84 RBI, 5 SB, .277/.327/.458/.784
2018 marked two straight years of the former bench utility man producing above a 120 wRC+ (100 signifies an average hitter). He’s turned himself in to a very good second baseman who has a high floor, good power, and a perfect ballpark. Projections tend to weight the last three seasons so they are still considering his 2016 pretty heavily. He’s a different player than he was in 2016 when he batted .263. I think his 50th percentile slash line projection should be .295/.350/.500/850. That’s a player who should be going much higher than 92nd overall. Scooter has the inverse of Gleyber Torres working against him: name value. People still think of him as the Brewers utility man, but he’ll be near the top of a much-improved lineup with an everyday role. He’s the most UNDERVALUED second baseman on this list.
Ketel Marte, ARI (ADP 224): 611 PA, 73 R, 13 HR, 61 RBI, 9 SB, .274/.336/.437/.772
Ketel Marte has a really cool name. He hit a bomb off of Clayton Kershaw in the 2017 playoffs. He’s a switch hitter. He hit the ball hard last season. These are all facts that can’t be argued. He’s also just not a very good player for fantasy baseball. He’s a very “blah” hitter and he’s being taken higher than he should be. While he is only entering his age 25 season, I’m just not seeing 20+ home runs or 15+ steals in his future. He’s OVERVALUED for 2019 because he doesn’t have a stand out tool that will provide a profit on his current ADP.
Jed Lowrie, NYM (ADP 264): 583 PA, 66 R, 16 HR, 63 RBI, 1 SB, .251/.333/.405/.738
Lowrie had a really good start to his 2018 with the A’s but an up and down second half. The soon-to-be 35 year old should be entering the decline phase of his career but his last two seasons have his best. He’s currently slotting in the 2 hole and playing 3rd base for the Mets according to Roster Resource, so his playing time situation is looking great. There’s power upside in his bat with a batting average that won’t kill your team. He’s a walker that doesn’t strike out much, so he should be boosted even higher in OBP and points leagues. I recently took him as my starting second baseman in an NFBC Rotowire Online Championship league and while it wasn’t plan A, I’m completely fine with it. He’s UNDERVALUED at his current ADP, because of his recent track record and lineup spot.
There will be plenty more second base content to come on KMill Sports Insights this week. Tomorrow, I’ll be diving into the dumpster to find some players that can fill the middle infield spot in your deep leagues.