(Photo by Keith Birmingham/Zumapress/Icon Sportswire)
While I’ve always said that fantasy baseball is often won by picking out value players later in drafts (among other things), you can also significantly hurt your team by reaching for players that are being overvalued by the public. Previously I looked at 10 hitters that are being undervalued in drafts, today I’m going to be looking at 10 hitters that are being overvalued in drafts. It’s worth noting that I don’t necessarily dislike these players, I will probably draft some of them this year, I just don’t like taking them where they’re being drafted.
Note: Overall ADP is based on NFBC ADP since 3/1 and may fluctuate some by the time you read this.
Paul Goldschmidt (ADP: 5) – Hey wai- ducks Wait please sto- ducks again Stop throwing thin- dodges last souvenir coffee mug. Look, I’m not saying you shouldn’t draft Paul Goldschmidt or even that he’s a bad player. What I am saying is that there are concerns about him this year that haven’t been there in the past, and I’m not willing to draft him at the top-half of the first-round anymore because of that. First off, he’s 30 now (shut up) I know, ok, that’s not a great reason, but it’s one to consider. The thing I worry about with Goldschmidt is (everybody drink) the humidor. From what I’ve heard from some people who know the physics of baseball a lot more than I do, we’re looking at at least a 35% reduction in home runs from the humidor. Out of Goldschmidt’s 36 home runs last year, 20 of them came at Chase Field. If we knock that down by 35%, we’re looking at him hitting 29 home runs on the year, and remember, that’s a minimum. If the humidor causes a 50% power reduction (which it could), we’re looking at Goldy having 26 home runs on the year, and that’s assuming he keeps up his career-high hard-hit rate and HR/FB rate from last year. Now, before you start thinking of different ways to tell me I’m stupid, I’m not telling you not to draft Goldschmidt, but when I’m drafting early in the first round, I want safety. Mike Trout is safe. Jose Altuve is safe. Nolan Arenado is safe. Paul Goldschmidt is not as safe as he once was, and because of that, I’m afraid to take him in the top-half of the first round. Guys like Mookie Betts and Bryce Harper are being drafted after him, I might take them instead. Shoot, I might take Freddie Freeman and Joey Votto too, maybe.
Aaron Judge (ADP: 19) – Look, I’ll draft Aaron Judge at the right price, I just think 19 is a bit high of a price. I think Judge’s value is going to be inflated some by the absolutely insane year he had last year, and while a lot of that looks legitimate, there’s some regression coming without a doubt. Given that he struck out 30.7% of the time last year and had a .357 BABIP, that average isn’t going to stick. I don’t necessarily think it’s going to plummet or anything (he did have a .270 xAVG), but I think it’s going to be a bit volatile, lest we forget that he hit .228 in the second half. The power is legit, obviously, the average, not so much I don’t think. He’s being drafted ahead of the likes of Freddie Freeman, Anthony Rizzo, and Francisco Lindor. Gimmie all those guys instead.
Dee Gordon (ADP: 28) – Look, I get it, speed is a commodity, and if you draft Dee Gordon, you’ve basically got steals locked down for your team with an average that will help you a lot (I’m looking at you Billy Hamilton). But at 28? That’s a bit pricey for my blood, and if that’s where Gordon is going to be drafted, I’m probably not going to own him. Yes, the average will be good, the steals will be amazing, and the runs should be solid, but he’s being drafted ahead of George Springer, Brian Dozier, and Marcell Ozuna. I’ll take all of those guys instead and let Gordon fall.
Alex Bregman (ADP: 32) – I think this isn’t as much of a knock against Alex Bregman as a player as it is against his ADP. I’ve got no problem drafting Bregman, I think a lot of what he did last year is legit, the average (though I could see high-.270s rather than .280s, but that’s minor), the power, even the steals to an extent (though steals can be fluky), I don’t see any reason he can’t almost repeat what he did last year. But 31 is too high for me. Right now, Bregman is being drafted ahead of Corey Seager, Anthony Rendon, and Justin Turner and I would definitely prefer to have all of those guys ahead of Bregman.
Byron Buxton (ADP: 48) – Look, I get it, Byron Buxton is exciting. I’m right there with you, I’m psyched about him too, and I love the progress he made in the second half of the year last year. But drafting him as outfielder #15? Slow your roll there, that’s too rich for me. Yes, Buxton slashed .300/.347/.546 in the second half last year, yes there were improvements to his approach and his batted ball profile, and yes he is insanely talented, but he’s also very risky. He’s being drafted ahead of Christian Yelich, Tommy Pham, Khris Davis, and A.J. Pollock, among others, and I would take all of those guys over him. Don’t get me wrong, I love Buxton, but let’s not go too crazy.
Buster Posey (ADP: 59) – Honestly, if Buster Posey lost his catcher eligibility, he’d be falling a lot farther in drafts. There’s no doubt that he is going to be an asset in batting average, the guy hit .320 last year and it’s perfectly reasonable to expect a .290+ season from him this year. But the power is fairly modest, as are the counting stats, and because of that, I’d rather wait on a catcher than draft Posey in the 5th/6th round. I get drafting Gary Sanchez early because he’s so head and shoulders above every other catcher, but I don’t think Posey is so much more valuable than Salvador Perez or Evan Gattis (for example) that I’m willing to take him about 10 rounds earlier. Guys like Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer, Miguel Cabrera, and Jonathan Schoop are going after him and I just see more value in drafting one of those guys + a Perez or Gattis type than drafting Posey.
Miguel Sano (ADP: 113) – I’m just not going to own Miguel Sano in probably any leagues unless he falls further than this ADP. I get it, his power is really really enticing, but power isn’t the commodity it used to be, and there is a lot to worry about with him. First off, there’s the fact that he had a leg injury that required surgery in the offseason (though he looks to be on pace to play Opening Day). Second, there’s the fact that he had a 35.8% strikeout rate last year, which is going to limit his batting average to probably like .250s at best. And third, and this is probably the biggest one, he’s currently under investigation for allegedly assaulting a former photographer for the Minnesota Twins. I would be shocked if he isn’t suspended for that, and I’m betting it’s a Jose Reyes-like suspension, which was about 50 games (and it could be longer depending on the results of the investigation). Sano provides you huge power upside, no doubt, but all the other stuff surrounding him makes him too risky for me in the 10th round. Give me Adrian Beltre or Jake Lamb at the third base position later in the draft instead.
Marwin Gonzalez (ADP: 120) – I think Marwin is being drafted where he is for a couple reasons: First, he had a great year last year, obviously, following a few years of meh production with a breakout year, reaching career-highs in average and home runs. Second, he’s eligible at basically every position except catcher and pitcher, and multi-positional eligibility is alluring in fantasy baseball. I’m not going to draft him at this price though. I think there’s definitely some regression coming, though I do believe in the changes he made to his approach last year, but I don’t see the .303 average sticking with his .343 BABIP and a .282 xAVG, nor do I see the 18.1% HR/FB rate sticking with a 32.7% hard-hit rate. He’s still a fine player, but I’ll take guys like Trey Mancini, Ian Kinsler, and Eduardo Nunez ahead of him instead.
Ozzie Albies (ADP: 118) – I’m with you on the talent that Ozzie Albies has, I like him a lot, but there are guys he’s going ahead of that I like a bit more. Of all the guys on this list, I think Albies is the one I’m least willing to make the hill I’m going to die on, if you want to reach for Albies here, I can understand it, I just don’t know that I’d do it. Young guys like Albies are always risky because they’re unknowns. Could Albies have an amazing year and make me look stupid? Absolutely. Could he also struggle mightily? Absolutely. Right now, Albies is being drafted ahead of D.J. LeMahieu, Yoan Moncada, and Ian Kinsler, and I think I might take all three of those guys at my second base spot instead.
Ian Happ (ADP: 126) – I think the thing that concerns me the most with Ian Happ is the plate discipline. Last year’s .253 batting average came alongside a 31.2% strikeout rate and a .236 xAVG, both of which scare me. The power is legit, I have no reason to doubt that Happ will hit between 20-30 home runs and net you a small handful of steals, but that batting average seems like it could be volatile unless he makes some strides in plate discipline. I also worry a little (not a lot) about just how many outfielders are on the Cubs, with Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, Albert Almora, Jr., and Ben Zobrist. I don’t necessarily think playing time is definitely going to be a major issue for Happ, but there’s certainly a large number of outfielders on the Cubs, and it could lead to some playing time issues. I don’t have a problem drafting Happ based on potential, he certainly has it, but he’s being taken ahead of both the aforementioned D.J. LeMahieu and Yoan Moncada, as well as Adam Eaton and Adam Jones, all of whom I’d prefer to have to Happ.