Overvalued Hitters in Points League Drafts

What's the point in drafting these guys anyway?

If you missed my article from a few weeks ago, I highlighted a few hitters that I believe are undervalued in points league drafts. This week, I am going in the opposite direction to discuss some hitters that I feel are overvalued in points leagues.

Now, I am not going to go so far as to say that you should altogether avoid these hitters, but based on their ADPs, they are not worth drafting in points leagues. If you can show patience and grab a few of these players a couple of rounds after they are currently being drafted, then it might be worth it. For now, though, it would probably be best to allow the other managers in your league to take these guys at their current ADPs. Also, I don’t expect the ADPs to change much for hitters with the delay to the start of the season, so bookmark this article if your points draft is still a few weeks away.

Note: The ADPs that are referenced here come from FantasyPros consensus rankings as of April 1.

 

Trea Turner, SS, Washington Nationals (ADP 11.0)

 

Trea Turner is an excellent ballplayer, he’s probably one of my favorite players in the game right now, he’s a star. Here’s the problem though: in a points league format, he is not worth your first-round draft pick. Turner has been consistently ranked as a first-round pick in fantasy baseball for the past several seasons, and for a good reason. He can contribute in all five categories in the standard H2H format, but in a points league, his overall numbers don’t stack up against other players with a similar ADP. He has never hit more than 19 home runs in a season or had more than 73 RBI in a season. I hate using RBI as a basis not to draft a guy because it is not a reliable statistic, but I have concerns that Turner can produce enough to be worthy of a first-round pick in a points format. The one area of potential for Turner is the uptick in power last season, when he tied his career-high of 19 home runs (in 122 games mind you) with a career-high .200 ISO, .356 wOBA and 117 wRC+.  However, his xwOBA and xSLG were both average, and while his Hard Contact% increased six points, his Soft Contact% was still in the range of his career average. Like I said earlier, Turner is still a star and should be for years to come. Still, if you are picking near the end of the first round in your points league, I would target someone like Nolan Arenado, Juan Soto, or Freddie Freeman, who I believe can produce the consistent power numbers needed in a points format. If Turner can maintain his uptick in power from his shortened 2019 campaign, I would gladly recommend him as a first-round pick in 2021.

 

Adalberto Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals (ADP 44.0)

 

Adalberto Mondesi has gained notoriety in fantasy circles over the past few seasons and justifiably so; since 2018, his 75 stolen bases have him tied for third place among the league leaders in that category. What’s even more remarkable is that he’s done so in only 177 games, while the three players ahead of him have at least 275 games under their belt. His 84.3 SB% is ranked fifth during that same timeframe among players with at least 40 stolen base attempts. Imagine if Mondesi was able to maintain that stolen base output over a hypothetical 250 games. He’d have over 100 stolen bases, which would far and away make him the league leader.

Here’s the problem with Mondesi though: stolen bases are about all that he brings to the table from a fantasy perspective. His K%, BB%, and xWOBA all rank near the bottom of the league. His OBP has never been higher than the .306 he had in 2018, and his run-producing numbers are below average as well (105 runs, 99 RBI, 94 wRC+ in the past two seasons). He is not entirely at fault for the lack of runs, as he is on a weak Royals team, but the lack of on-base ability and the high strikeout percentage takes away a lot of the appeal in a points format. If Mondesi was able to get on base more consistently, just imagine the damage he could do on the basepaths. However, with a career BB% of 4.1, I don’t expect that to improve anytime soon. I understand the appeal of Mondesi at his ADP in the 5×5 format, as he can help you win stolen bases week after week. If you are looking to draft a SS or MI in this range, I’d suggest going after someone like Jonathan Villar or waiting on Marcus Semien as they have shown they can produce more runs and get on base more consistently.

 

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays (ADP 64.0)

 

It seems to strange to write about Vladimir Guerrero Jr. being an overvalued player. Still, the truth is at this point in his career he hasn’t quite shown yet that he is worthy of a fifth- or sixth-round pick (I have noticed that his draft stock has fallen as he had an ADP closer to the low 40s in February, so owners appear to be taking notice). I want to make myself clear: Vlad is going to be a star in this sport for years to come, and he has the potential and the pedigree to be one of the best players we have ever witnessed, so I am not saying that as a player he is overrated. The hype for his debut last year was justified; he just didn’t quite explode onto the scene like we had all hoped. He came up with a .272/.339/.433 triple slash, which is good but certainly not great. Nothing in his Statcast profile sticks out as either above or below average, and his plate discipline numbers were middle of the road as well (even among rookies). More than likely, the power will come for Vlad, as he raked in the minors to the tune of a 1.141 OPS and .333 ISO.

I believe the reason he is still being drafted in this range is simply because of the appeal that he will have a massive breakout season as a top prospect, similar to what we have seen in the past from guys like Ronald Acuna, Kris Bryant, and Mike Trout. If you are in a keeper or dynasty league, by all means, target Vlad early on because he is going to be a stud for years, but he’s just not quite there yet if you are in a redraft points format. I would be willing to draft him a few rounds later than where he is currently going, but for other third basemen with similar projections, consider Jeff McNeil, Eduardo Escobar, or Eugenio Suarez at their lower ADPs.

 

Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees (ADP 75.0)

 

Out of all the players discussed in this article, the ADP of Gary Sanchez is the most surprising to me. Sanchez has been ranked as one of the top fantasy catchers for the past several seasons, with JT Realmuto and Willson Contreras being among the other popular top picks at the position going back a few years. Here is what is confusing to me, Sanchez’s FantasyPros ADP is currently 43 points higher than his overall rank of 119. What this tells me is that there are a lot of fantasy owners out there desperate to fill their catcher position around the seventh and eighth rounds. I understand some of the appeal, as Sanchez has the power stroke that fantasy managers covet (he leads all catchers with 85 home runs since 2017, his first full season). He is also a top player in a traditionally tricky position to fill in all fantasy formats. The problem is that taking him at this ADP is a reach when he does not provide that much separation from the next tier of catchers. If you look at other players with a similar ADP, Josh Bell, Marcus Semien, Tommy Pham, and Nelson Cruz, these are all players that can provide about 100 or so more points to your team in a standard point-scoring format. I generally recommend waiting on a catcher as long as possible in any fantasy format and this is no different. There are catchers you can draft much later such as Will Smith, Wilson Ramos, and Omar Narvaez that provide you solid enough value at the position that you don’t have to worry about reaching for Sanchez.

 

Tommy Edman, 2B/3B/OF, St. Louis Cardinals (ADP 137.0)

 

Edman came on in the middle of last season and ended up securing an everyday role in the Cardinals lineup due to his positional flexibility while producing a .304 average with a .350 OBP. His positional flexibility and solid average make him appealing in standard 5×5 formats, and there is a possibility for some value in a points league, but at this ADP you can do better. Consider that Tommy Edman projects for about 340 points in standard points scoring, which is lower than middle infielders such as Didi Gregorius and Jean Segura, who are being taken much later in drafts. Edman’s ADP has him taken around the 11th and 12th round, which is much too high for someone who doesn’t seem to be in a position to score a lot of runs or hit for a lot of power (.196 ISO is fine but it’s not excellent).

What’s really concerning for me is the low walk rate, which was 4.6% last year and was only in the double digits once in his minor league career (10.5% at Triple-A in 2018). He doesn’t strike out a lot (17.5% K%) which is fine, but a guy with his speed profile would be a lot more valuable in a points format if he could generate more walks. That would likely translate into him being moved from the bottom part of the order to a more desirable spot at the top of the lineup. Currently, he’s relying on his contact ability and batting average (not to mention the .346 BABIP) to get on base. While contact ability generally sticks, a higher BABIP such as this is sure to regress some, which when coupled together with the low walk rate would impact his run-scoring ability.

I would certainly pass on Edman at this ADP in points leagues.

 

Gavin Lux, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers (ADP 153.0)

 

I understand the appeal with someone like Gavin Lux, he is a highly-touted prospect that is sure to see plenty of playing time on one of the best teams in baseball. Lux saw time in the majors last season, so it is possible that taste of the action is something he has been able to build upon this offseason as he didn’t overwhelm in his brief big league action. In his 82 plate appearances, he had a .240/.305/.400 tiple slash, with a .160 ISO and 29.3% strikeout rate. That’s a bunch of ho-hum numbers but is to be expected for any young player getting a limited debut. His 8.5% walk rate is encouraging, and if he can get closer to some of the walk rates he had in the minors while bringing his strikeout rates closer to his minor league numbers as well, he should develop into a valuable fantasy asset. Here’s my issue with taking Lux at his current ADP, which has him going in rounds 12-13: it’s just way too high for a player who, while well-regarded and should blossom into a star, is not proven enough to take as a rookie in your redraft leagues. In dynasty and keeper leagues, you should be going after Lux, even at or before this current ADP, but in a redraft, you can let him fall a few rounds before considering him. Based on his projected points, you can wait for a player such as Cesar Hernandez or Kevin Newman (neither of which bring the excitement or a top prospect such as Lux) for your 2B/MI who both have similar point projections at much later ADPs.

 

Aristides Aquino, OF, Cincinnati Reds (ADP 218.0)

 

It feels weird writing that a guy being drafted in the 18th and 19th rounds overvalued, but that’s precisely where Aristides Aquino is at the moment. Aristides Aquino burst onto the fantasy scene last year with a torrent debut where he became the first player in modern MLB history to hit 10 home runs in his first 16 games while setting the NL rookie record for most dingers in a month when he hit 14 in August. “The Punisher” put the fantasy world on notice with this debut, and owners flocked to the waiver wire to grab him in the hope of riding his hot streak to their league championship. These same owners were disappointed when that sizzling steak turned cold as he finished the season with a less than ideal September in which he had a .196/.236/.382 tiple slash with only five home runs, and a 30.9% strikeout rate. These results really shouldn’t come as a surprise when you look at Aquino’s minor league numbers, where he has had high strikeout rates in both Double-A and Triple-A, along with average and on-base numbers that have been below average throughout his career. Also, factor in the possibility that with the Reds crowded outfield, he likely will not even be on the Opening Day roster (although the possibility of roster expansion in the early parts of a shortened season) and Aquino is not a player should even be drafted in redraft leagues at this point.

 

Summary

 

As I stated in my prior article, you need to carefully review your league setting if you are in a points league as there are always variations on point values. In your points league, you should be able to target other players that can provide you with the value you need to fill out your roster as opposed to following the ADPs of the players highlighted in this article.

 

Photos by Mark Goldman & Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)

Mike Bourg

Mike is a lifelong fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Buffalo Bills, so he knows a few things about misery. His hopes for glory rest on his dynasty and keeper teams. You can follow him on Twitter at @Mic_bg for his musings about baseball and music.

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