As we now move passed the ides of March, we find ourselves facing the biggest and most substantial wave of drafts. It seems most casual drafters will be opening up their live lobbies on either ESPN, Yahoo, Fantrax, CBS, or some other platform either sometime later this weekend or next. But, while many drafts have yet to happen, a substantial number of industry and non-industry drafts have and we’ve come to the point where we study the best pre-draft ADP information that we’re going to get.
For anyone trying to do draft prep, this is absolutely critical information. Identifing the best bargains available is one of the most critical pre-draft practices.According to early ADP data, there are a few Outfielders that are clearly undervalued.
Before most sections I will list a few ADP sources, primarily a composite from FantasyPros. If I reference ADP in a blurb, I will always be referencing the FantasyPros number unless otherwise stated. For the first two team-based recommendations, only Fantasypros is utilized.
Ian Desmond (OF35 / OVR124) | David Dahl (OF66 / OVR230) | Carlos Gonzalez (OF83 / OVR297) | Raimel Tapia (OF117 / OVR443)
There’s a lot of value int the Coors field outfield and someone is going to get it. The only player here who is even relatively expensive is Ian Desmond, who is a consistent 20/20 player. The playing time situation might be a bit murky for the rest– but that’s probably going to be okay if you can afford to ride it out for a while. Dahl is barely going in the top 250 on FantasyPros and CarGo barely in the top 300. I’d make a “bold” prediction that one of these two players is going to be a top 100-150 asset this year, and with both of their prices so low, I’m willing to take as many shares of these potentially valuable Colorado outfielders as I can get, at their current price.
Brett Gardner (OF50 / OVR170) | Aaron Hicks (OF69 / OVR240)
I like both Gardner and Hicks as potential five category values at low-ADPs. Jacoby Ellsbury, who I do not recommend, makes the playing time situation a bit murky for both, but that’s probably okay because both Hicks and Gardner are likely to produce a nice power + speed punch in 140-150 games. Gardner is likely to lead-off for a line-up that features a potential who’s-who of power bats, and it wouldn’t be too much of a shock to see him finish with a line of mid-teens homers, mid-teens steals, and 100 Runs. Hicks is less safe, but also far more inexpensive. Hicks is barely going in the top 250 on FantasyPros Composite ADP.
Kevin Pillar: FantasyPros: OF85 / OVR301 | NFBC: 332 | ESPN: 234 | Yahoo: 267
The first of two Gold Glove Center Fielders in the AL East named Kevin on the list (hm), Pillar may not have Kiermaier’s upside, but he doesn’t have nearly Kiermaier’s price either. Pillar is a glove first player who gets a lot of playing time that way. Hehas showcased decent speed, with mid-teens SBs the last two years. He’s also shown a little bit of pop in the bat. Pillar is nothing special with the stick, but a player who can slot into the back-end of your OF and produce 12/15 with decent counting stats will finish far higher than the OF85 Overall 301 where he currently sits. Shallow league players can probably look elsewhere though. Does seem to be going a bit earlier in ESPN formats, and at less of a value.
Jose Martinez: FantasyPros: OF77 / OVR273 | NFBC: 256 | ESPN: 265 | Yahoo: 394
Martinez does not have a clear path to playing time right now, and his limited defensive capabilities don’t project a versatile utility player who can his at-bats. But, Martinez is a bat that I’m just buying into right now, and at the price he’s currently going, there’s no real risk in taking a shot. If you’re in a daily league and have a bench, circle Jose Martinez before your draft, because he smashes lefties and if he you can bench him safely on his off days, he’s going to provide plenty of value after pick 250. His highest ranking being in NFBC leagues does suggest he’s drawing the interest of more hard-core Fantasy Baseball fans, and his ADP on Yahoo makes him a virtually un-drafted asset.
Mitch Haniger: FantasyPros: OF65 / OVR227 | NFBC: 214 | ESPN: 273 | Yahoo: 376
While not particularly special in any one category, Mitch Haniger offers fantasy owners a player with the potential to provide decent power, some speed, and a modest average, all while playing for a good line-up. Haniger looks like he could be a .270/25/10 type player, essentially putting up the stats of an Eddie Rosario, but going about 100 picks later. Like the player above, Haniger is liked in NFBC drafts, but despised and freely available in most yahoo drafts.
Kevin Kiermaier: FantasyPros: OF53 / OVR174 | NFBC: 158 | ESPN: 161 | Yahoo: 200
One of my favorite sleepers of the past few years, I love players who find a way to guarantee time with defense, and love watching them play the actual game of baseball. While Kiermaier may possess one elite skill that does not quite directly correlate to fantasy relevance (defense), he possesses another potentially elite and underrated skill that is perhaps the most important to a 5×5 league, and that is speed. Over his past two partial seasons Kiermaier has managed to hit 27 HRs and steal 37 Bases, which roughly equates to about a 20/30 season if he were to stay healthy and lead-off for a full season. The Rays may not have a good line-up, but it never hurts run production or the ability to steal bases to be the lead-off man for your club. My initial ranking was probably a bit too bullish on Kiermaier, but at OF53 and overall player 174, there’s no real risk in him. At that price, if he provides .260, 10 HRs, 15 SBs over 2/3s of a season, you probably made it out alright. If he manages his full healthy season potential, 265 BA, 20 HRs, 30 SBs, and 100 Rs, then you’re looking at Kiermaier as essentially an OF1 in 2018.
— Willie Calhoun
If not for his demotion Calhoun would have assuredly been highly touted on this list. He has skipped a lot of prospect attention by being short and not being a particularly good defender, but so long as he can find a place to get his stick to play, that won’t matter for fantasy owners.
If you hadn’t noticed, none of these players (aside from Desmond ranked) were ranked in the top 150 in terms of Overall ADP. These are the later ADP bargains. Next week’s article will cover ADP bargains in the top 150, and will include some of my favorite, potentially cost effective fantasy building blocks for the 2018 fantasy season.
Fans of my independent work should look out for some announcements coming out this Sunday alongside my change from a Top 250 to an overall top 300.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and John Gozzi live on Sunday March 18th, 2018 from [7:30]-9pm EST for episode #107 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This is our kick off show for the new 2018 fantasy baseball season. We will discuss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Marc Foster. Marc has been with the Major League Fantasy Sports community going on 10 years now. He is a 3 time baseball champion, wrote for MLFS for 2 years, and is an occassional radio guest.