The old adage is, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Well, it’s no different in the fantasy baseball community. Each and every year, there is always one group of players whom the fantasy writers latch onto and write about and those players, subsequently become the hottest commodities of the draft season. The names are always different, but the buzz about them is always the same and consequently, the fantasy community becomes obsessed with drafting them. The ironic thing is that usually, these players are the young up-and-comers with very little track record. The sample size of data from which we have to go on, from an individual statistic point of view that is, is relatively small, yet rather than dismiss or even discount, we move full-speed ahead because “we know” they’re going to be great.
We first discussed this group’s players about a month ago and there was concern then about their individual ADP rankings being a bit too high, particularly in the NFBC where no trading is allowed so the “sell high” outlet which most of us use as safety net when it comes to these particular players is gone. Well here we are checking in with the group again to see if any of the trends have changed. Are they still on the rise? Are they still the hottest commodities out there? And most of all, are fantasy owners still overvaluing them?
|Player||Team||Pos||Current ADP||One Month Ago||Trend|
Since we only have the Lucky 13 here, we are able to touch on them all to a certain degree. Some warrant more attention than others, but keep in mind, that even those who are trending down may still be overvalued on the whole. But let’s go from biggest riser to biggest faller here.
Billy Hamilton, OF CIN – We’re always trained to discount and even disregard spring numbers, but in this case we cannot. Hamilton’s .303 spring average and .410 OBP are exactly what the Reds want/need to ensure that the speedster breaks camp with the big club and opens the years as their starting center fielder and leadoff hitter. Had he been hitting .203, there may have been a greater debate, but the hot spring that includes nine stolen bases and a 6:4 BB:K locks him in. And with that, his ADP continues to climb. He’s now hovering in the fifth round in the NFBC and right around the same now in most leagues actually, so if you want those stolen bases, you’re going to have to pay for them. Just make sure you don’t forget about the category during the rest of your draft. All it takes is for one injury to wipe everything out and leave you with nothing.
Jose Abreu, 1B CHW – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, his Cuban resume reads as if he were the almighty Zeus using a thunderbolt for a baseball bat. We’re talking record-breaking numbers here. Any thoughts of those numbers coming back to Earth now that he’s in the major leagues for the first time? Not according to his ADP trends. Despite a .257/.278/.400 spring slash line with just one home run and six RBI over 35 at-bats, Abreu continues to trend upwards. Even in leagues that use OBP instead of average having him climbing up because people insists that the power is so massive that the numbers this spring are virtually irrelevant. While I enter the season an Abreu owner myself in a number of leagues, I am cautiously optimistic. He did start off slowly, but has definitely turned it on over the last week or so, but what I’m appreciating more is that he’s only struck out five times. He is looking over pitchers quite methodically and seeing a lot of pitches, so that level of study and intelligence is something in which I take a lot of comfort.
Yordano Ventura, SP KC – I knew it wouldn’t be long before he started climbing up the rankings, and keep in mind that these numbers really come before he was actually named the Royals’ fifth starter, an announcement that only came a couple of days ago. Ventura has amazing stuff and has consistently touched triple-digits on the radar gun with his fastball. Both his curve and his changeup seem to be works in progress, but are steadily improving and his 15:1 K:BB this spring is no joke. Now that he has a spot locked down in the rotation, expect to see him continue his ascension up the ADP charts even more.
Corey Kluber, SP CLE – I’ll admit that I didn’t see much in the numbers from Kluber last year to warrant the level of hype he was getting. But after looking a little deeper and seeing the below-average contact hitters were making against him and the swinging-strike rates he had been posting in limited time at the major league level, I’ve softened a bit on my stance. His velocity saw a slight uptick in his first “full” season last year, and he mixes in all four of his pitches well enough that hitters have often looked confused at times when facing him. I’m not sure his ERA will ever be that of the super-dreamy sub-.300 variety, but he should post solid numbers and get 170-180 innings this year. His ADP is climbing, but he’s still going in a very reasonable 16th or 17th round.
Danny Salazar, SP CLE – It’s all about the strikeouts here and for that reason alone, Salazar’s ADP continues to rise. It’s only a handful of picks at a time, but right now he’s coming off the board in the ninth round which puts him at a round higher per month. Luckily, time for drafting is running out and he can’t get much higher, but you never know. His double-digit K/9 in the minors has certainly translated to the major league level on a limited basis. Now let’s see what happens when he logs 150 innings instead of just 50.
Gerritt Cole, SP PIT – He’s the only young hurler more coveted than Salazar right now and as you can see by his ADP, it’s going to take a sixth or seventh round pick to acquire him. Heck, I was in one industry league where he went in the fourth. Mind-numbing to me, but considering his strong performance last year in the majors, I suppose we just have to go with it despite a limited showing this spring. Cole hasn’t logged much in the way of innings this spring, but he’s looked pretty good in the ones he has thrown. The velocity on his fastball seems to have even gone up a bit, but I’d prefer the same mark with better ratios, personally.
Sonny Gray, SP OAK – While his ADP has continued to trend upwards, it is only by a slight margin and he actually seems to have plateaued. Perhaps the rough spring numbers – 6.30 ERA with a 8:4 K:BB – have had something to do with it as he never quite received as much hype as guys like Cole or Salazar. It’s tough for me to be concerned right now as I haven’t seen the FIP numbers for him and being as how he is a strong ground ball pitcher, I’m curious to see just how much his inflated ERA has to do with him versus his defense. He’s given up just one home run which we can obviously pin on him, but how many of those 14 hits would have been taken away with the A’s big league defense?
Wilson Ramos, C WAS – His power display last year (.199 ISO over 303 PA) had everyone turning their heads and coming into this season he was kind of a best-kept secret. But once the fantasy community was pointed in his direction, his ADP ascension began. The depth at the position is what’s keeping his ADP from getting out of hand, but the more people realize that he’s batting .385 with a home run and 11 RBI this spring, the more his ADP will climb up. It won’t come in large increments, but just when you thought you’d be able to wait for him until the ninth round, someone’s going to swipe him in the eighth.
Khris Davis, OF MIL – “Little Khrush” Davis is doing his best to emulate the real Crush Davis apparently as his 11 strikeouts this spring (39 AB) are making people a little nervous. He does have a pair of home runs, but I believe the enthusiasm is being tempered as evidenced by the lack of significant movement up the ADP charts. He’s climbed a few rounds from two months ago, but it ldoesn;t look like you’ll have to worry much about someone reaching too high right now.
Leonys Martin, OF TEX – He too has plateaued from the times where old school fantasy pundits like Todd Zola and Lawr Michaels were raving about his impending breakout. Perhaps it was the fact that he was being pushed back down in the batting order with the arrival of Shin-Soo Choo or maybe it’s the .179 spring average with just one stolen base and two caught-stealings. He still makes for a solid play this year and he could be due for a nice breakout, but at least the ADP hasn’t gotten out of hand and he’s still reasonably priced.
Michael Wacha, SP STL – I find it very interesting that Wacha’s ADP hasn’t really done much in the last month. He’s having a great spring – 1.08 ERA with a 9:3 K:BB over 8.1 innings – and his playoff performance from last year is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Could it be that the fan base are tempering their enthusiasm on their own? Are the Wacha supporters just being both sensible and reasonable? I certainly won’t complain if they are policing themselves but I would still garner league opinion before heading into my draft. Someone in your league quietly loves him and will undoubtedly pull a reach when you least expect it.
Matt Adams, 1B STL – He started trending downwards a month ago when there was growing concern that the Cardinals would continue to carve out playing time for everybody, but now that Oscar Taveras is headed to the minors and there is growing concern regarding his health – particularly the mental state with regard to his ankle – it appears as if Adams is again headed for full-time duty. Continue to watch his trends over the next week or so though as we might see him start to creep up a round or two soone enough. That drop-off in talent at first base is becoming more and more evident each week.
Yasiel Puig, OF LAD – We don’t need to get into my feelings about Puig again. We’ve played that out. I do like the fact that he’s trending downward even by just a bit. That tells me some of the craziness is being tempered. Still, a second round pick? That little tub of goo is batting only .122 this spring with no home runs and only three RBI over 41 spring at-bats.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By scottyry, 3/22/2014 6:12 AM
Salazar looked great to me in Feb now way too expensive...