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“On Bzdek” 2019 Middle Infield Busts

Writing about players who will “bust”, or in more kind terms provide value less than their ADP, is a bit challenging. I like many of the players covered today, however not necessarily at their price tag entering 2019. As a result, I do not have any shares of these players after numerous drafts this pre-season. I’d recommend you avoid these players as well.

Manny Machado, SD (3B, SS) – 17 ADP

I have historically been very high on Machado due to his consistent 35+ home run production. However, the move from Camden Yards to Petco Park is giving me doubt about projecting another 35-home run season. I also see some risk in the big-time contract he signed, as the pressure to live up to such a contract can result in a slow start. At an ADP of 17, there is plenty of talent I am more comfortable taking, so I’ll be owning very few shares of Machado this year.

Javier Baez, CHC (2B, 3B, SS) – 19 ADP

There is a lot of risk in Baez profile, including a 4.5% walk rate, 25.9% strikeout rate, 68.5% contact rate, and a 32.3% fly ball rate. These metrics tell me Beaz is unlikely to reproduce his .290 batting average or his 34 home runs. Baez ADP of 19 is a few picks lower than where he was being drafted three weeks ago, but it’s still not enough of a discount for my to buy in.

Ozzie Albies, ATL (2B) – 53 ADP

Ozzie Albies is coming off a 24 home run, 14 steal season, and he put up those numbers at just 21 years of age. There is no doubt that Albies future in the MLB and in fantasy baseball is a bright one. However, in assessing Albies’ value for 2019 in re-draft leagues, I think his ADP of 53 is a bit high, and at worst leaves little room for value. Albies’ second half struggles have been well documented. After getting out of the gate in 2018 with 9 home runs in April, Albies hit just 15 the rest of the season. However, my bigger concern is Albies’ decline in plate discipline. In his rookie season, Albies walked at an 8.6% clip and struck out at a 14.8% clip, both very impressive for a rookie. In 2018, the walk rate declined to an uninspiring 5.3%, and the strikeout rate creeped up to 17.0%. A player’s career trajectory is not linear. Ups and downs are to be expected for a 22 year old, I just don’t want to pay a 4th or 5th round pick to deal with those potential bumps in the road.

Gleyber Torres, NYY (2B, SS) – 58 ADP

My view on Gleyber Torres is similar to my view on Ozzie Albies. He is a player with a bright future, but not necessarily a top 60 2019. Torres showcased power in his rookie season, but he also showed a 25.2% strikeout rate and a 70.9% contact rate, neither of which are very great. On top of that, pitchers now have a book on Torres, and as we see so often that has the potential to result in a “sophomore slump”. To top it off, Torres has less speed than Albies, so his potential fantasy upside is somewhat limited.

Matt Carpenter, STL (1B, 2B, 3B) – 62 ADP

On the surface, Matt Carpenter’s 36 home runs from 2018 looks sustainable based on a 49.0% hard hit rate and a 46.9% fly ball rate. However, with a 7-year veteran entering his age 33 season, I think a higher-level analysis deserves some more weight. Carpenter has consistently hit the ball hard and in the air, however he eclipsed 23 home runs in his career only twice: last year and a 28-home run 2015. Carpenter’s 2018 sticks out like a sore thumb, and I think when we look back on his career it will end up being his peak season. And while I love Carp’s 15% walk rate, I am not willing to pay the 62 ADP for a career season that already happened.

Robinson Cano, NYM (2B) – 115 ADP

Robinson Cano’s stock has been rising as Opening Day approaches. In my initial second base rankings, Cano was being drafted at a pick of 130 on average. Today, he is going at 115 on average, meaning that his current day draft price is likely close to 100, a 2 or 3 round premium. I see Cano as a high floor players, and I expect a .280 average and 20 home runs, consistent with his projections. What I don’t see is much upside. Cano did hit .303 in an 80 game 2018, however that was boosted by a .329 BABIP, 30 points higher than his previous two seasons. One might also see a 39 home run 2016 and see some potential power upside, however Cano’s fly ball rate has exceeded 31% only one time in the last 6 years, and that was 2016. A sub-30% fly ball rate does not support 30 home run pop, and his new home field in Queens is not very hitter friendly. All in all, I think Cano is a safe pick, but the price is rising and my valuation is not rising with it.

Tim Anderson, CHW (SS) – 136 ADP

Anderson is coming off a 20 home run, 26 steal season. Despite the power/speed pop, Anderson is otherwise unimpressive, including a 5.0% walk rate, 24.6% strikeout rate, 30% hard hit rate, 33% fly ball rate, and .406 slugging. His 20 home runs is far from a sure thing heading into 2019, and while he should swipe another 20 bases, I don’t think he contributes enough across the board to garner an ADP of 136.

 

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading and I will be back next week with my last spring training article. In the meantime, feel free to drop a comment below.


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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday March 17th, 2019 from 8-9:45pm EST for episode #145 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. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. Our topic this week is Bullpens and Catchers.

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I've been playing fantasy baseball for 14 years. I am also an auditor and CPA, where I analyze information on a daily basis. Combined, my passion for fantasy baseball and analytical background create a unique perspective for analyzing and writing about fantasy baseball.

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