Overvalued and Undervalued: Shortstop 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 2/01/2019-03/03/2019. Let’s kick off shortstop week!
Manny Machado, SD (ADP 17): 660 PA, 88 R, 33 HR, 97 RBI, 13 SB, .283/.349/.514/.863
After an offseason that saw many of the top free agents go unsigned, Manny Machado finally agreed to join the San Diego Padres on February 19th. It’s a move that initially caused some concern for fantasy owners but I’m here to tell you not to worry. PETCO Park is actually a neutral stadium, now, after the many changes the Padres have made over the years. It’s certainly not as good as his old home in Baltimore but it’s not the hitter’s graveyard it used to be. Add in the fact that Machado is coming off the best season of his career in his age 25 season and that makes him UNDERVALUED at pick 17. Buy Machado with confidence, because there’s nothing to suggest he can’t repeat his numbers from last year.
Carlos Correa, HOU (ADP 50): 595 PA, 82 R, 24 HR, 88 RBI, 6 SB, .269/.353/.470/.823
Do those look like the stats of a top 50 player? They don’t to me. Correa has played in just 109 and 110 games in the last two seasons and that’s the biggest concern for me. He had major prospect hype coming through the minors and he made a huge splash in his first big league season. Fantasy owners seem to be banking on that prospect pedigree and a return to his 2017 levels of production. There are a couple of problems with that line of thinking, though. Correa doesn’t steal bases anymore and he’s got a bad back. Back injuries tend to crop back up at any time and though he’s only 24 years old, they can plague careers. He doesn’t hit for enough power to have less than 5 steals per year. He’s just a normal guy out there in a deep pool of short stops. He’s OVERVALUED because people love to dream on old prospect reports. Let someone else dream while you win your league.
Jose Peraza, CIN (ADP 97): 625 PA, 74 R, 12 HR, 60 RBI, 25 SB, .282/.320/.405/.725
Peraza did a lot to turn himself in to a legitimate fantasy asset in 2018, adding some power to his speedy profile. My issue with him is actually that “speedy” profile though. This is a player everyone expected 30+ steals from when he was coming up in the minors. He stole 21 bases in just 72 MLB games in 2016 so it’s fair to expect more than the 23 he posted in back to back full seasons. Peraza has the speed to steal 30+ bases but he just doesn’t give himself enough chances. He owns just a 3.9% career walk rate that hinders his ability to rack up steals. It’s something that doesn’t appear to be improving as he ages. Peraza is also likely to hit much lower in the order than he did last season so the counting numbers could be even lower. This is a below average major league hitter that doesn’t hit for enough power, or steal enough bases to be a top-200 player, let alone top-100. He’s extremely OVERVALUED at pick 97.
Paul DeJong, STL (ADP 180): 561 PA, 69 R, 25 HR, 77 RBI, 2 SB, .251/.310/.455/.765
For leagues that don’t count on base percentage, DeJong is hardly any less valuable than Carlos Correa. Certainly not 130 picks less valuable. He’s a great option if you pass on the elite SS early in drafts. DeJong missed a couple months last season due to a broken wrist and when he returned, his numbers were horrible. Wrist, hand, and shoulder injuries have the ability to completely torpedo a season, so I’m expecting a much better performance in 2018. He hit 38 HR between AAA and the MLB in 2017; this is a player with big time pop. He’s likely not going to hit for the .285 average that he did that season but he’s shown quality batting averages through his pro career. His walk rate jumped up 2.5% in 2018 and the K% decreased by 3%. Those improvements in plate skills along with renewed health have DeJong UNDERVALUED in 2019.
Willy Adames, TB (ADP 222): 610 PA, 69 R, 14 HR, 61 RBI, 10 AB, .250/.322/.383/.705
Prior to being called up by the Rays in 2018, Adames was one of the top prospects in baseball. According to Fangraphs, he has an above average hit tool and power. They have him listed with 40 grade speed, which is below average, but Baseball Savant has his spring score in the 83rd percentile. He’s clearly got some speed but he was just 6 for 11 on the bases in 2018 so he has some work to do in that category. I’m really intrigued by his 9.6% walk rate from last year, though he did strikeout 29.4% of the time. Going into his age 23 season, he’ll need to cut down on the strikeouts and improve his power output. Given his prospect pedigree, there’s a good chance he grows into 20+ HR power with 10+ SB and a solid batting average/OBP. Bet on a former top prospect to take a step forward as he’s UNDERVALUED for both 2018 and beyond.