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ADP Cost Analysis: Aaron Judge vs. Franmil Reyes

Spring Training has finally begun. With the start of games, that also means fantasy baseball draft season is ramping up. As players prepare for drafts, they are always looking for value as they navigate the player pool. One way to locate draft day value is finding players at differing ADPs who will produce similar stat lines throughout the season. 

The outfield position is a great position to look for later round value. Depending on your league format, and whether you roster three, four, or five outfielders, you can really wait on the position in some drafts. The outfield is also a great position for filling categorical team needs as the draft goes on. There are batting average assets, a lot of power sources, and even stolen base options throughout the draft.

In this article, we will evaluate the 27-year-old Yankees slugger Aaron Judge and the 24-year-old Indians masher Franmil Reyes. Since Feb. 17 in NFBC online drafts, Judge is being drafted around the two/three turn at pick 30, while Reyes is being drafted at the beginning of round nine at pick 137. In this article, we will break down why the 34th outfielder may be worth waiting for, instead of drafting the 10th outfielder this draft season.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Can Judge Stay Healthy?

Staying healthy for Judge has been a major concern over his first few seasons in the bigs. He played 155 games in his massive 2017 season, where he put up an amazing stat line that saw him hit .284, hit 52 home runs, drive in 114 runs, score 128 runs and swipe nine bases. However, since '17, things haven’t been that healthy for Judge. In '18, he played in 112 games and in '19 only 102. He still hit 27 home runs in each of the last two seasons, but you are drafting Judge for more than 27 home runs. 

After over a week of Spring Training games, Judge has already suffered two injuries. First, Judge reaggravated the shoulder injury that hampered him in 2019. Second, Judge suffered a right pectoral injury with no set timetable for game action. The Yankees announced March 3 that they don't expect the slugger to be ready for Opening Day. With these injuries already impacting Judge’s 2020 season, it is a major risk to draft him as the 10th outfielder off the board in NFBC online drafts. 

There is no doubt that Judge has the talent of a top-10 fantasy outfielder. Even though he battled through injuries and only played in 102 games last season, we saw Judge still produce a stat line of a .272 batting average, 27 home runs, 75 RBI, 55 runs scored and three stolen bases. He is being drafted for the potential of putting up that outstanding 2017 season, but in reality, most would take something in between the '17 and '19 season. A season of 140 or so games played that could lead to 40 home runs and over 100 RBI. 

Even through injuries, the power was present last year with a .267 ISO and a 141 wRC+. When looking at his Statcast metrics, you can tell he was crushing as well. He had a barrel rate of 20.2%, an average exit velocity of 95.9 MPH (max EV of 118.1 MPH), and a hard-hit rate of 57.1%. That is some serious power. The HH rate and average EV outperformed his 2017 season, while the other Statcast metrics were just below his '17 numbers. Lastly, when looking at his Statcast metrics, Judge was amazing when he made contact with an xWOBAcon of .561 compared to his xWOBA of .401.


Unleash the Franimal

Reyes enters the 2020 season as a full-time outfielder/DH with the Indians. He should be hitting in the middle of the lineup, ready to continue his home run prowess. In 2019, Reyes was traded to the Indians from the Padres. The trade resulted in consistent playing time and 150 games played between the two teams. He hit 37 home runs in his first full season in the bigs after hitting 32 home runs between AAA and the Padres in '18. At only 24 years old, there may be even more to like about Reyes.

In 2019, the Franimal took the fantasy world by storm with his light tower power. He did not just hit home runs, he hit moon shots. He wasn’t just a home run hitter, he was an all-around power hitter with a .263 ISO and 109 wRC+. His barrel rate of 14.8% was well above average, as well as his 93.3 mph average exit velocity (115 mph max EV) and 51% HH rate. Reyes hit the ball hard the majority of the time, and when he put the ball in play, he had a really solid .478 xWOBAcon. 

A healthy Reyes will look to take the next step in his age-24 season, so knock on wood that his good health continues. He reported to Indians camp 18 pounds lighter than in his 2019 season. He has not been a major base stealer in his entire career, but he already has swiped a bag this spring. Reyes stealing 5-10 bases would make him even more comparable to Judge.


The Verdict

Judge vs. Reyes may seem simple to many, but with the current injury news for Judge, it may not be as simple anymore. ATC projections are very comparable for the two mashers. 

ATC Projections BA-HR-R-RBI-SB ISO-wRC+
Judge .268-39-103-93-5 .278-140
Reyes .261-37-76-89-0 .261-114

Both Reyes and Judge are projected to play 144 games. Both are similar in home runs, batting average, and RBI; the major difference appears to be in runs scored and stolen bases, and seeing Reyes steal some bases this spring could close the stolen base gap. If runs are the only major difference, then the draft price should not be so far apart. Not to mention, runs are one of the harder stats to project, as the player being projected is relying on his teammates to reach base to score said runs.

The 100-pick difference between the two will likely shrink with the Judge injury news. Regardless, the gap is too large for two very similar players. If you are a fan of Judge’s fantasy upside, you are better off waiting and drafting Reyes for his upside over nine rounds later. Give me all of the Franimal in 2020. 

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