Opening Day is still over two months away, but it's never too soon for draft prep. ADP data from early NFBC rankings can give us a glimpse into what other owners are thinking heading into a new campaign.
Today I'll be taking a look at undervalued and overvalued NL Outfielders, to try and help identify draft targets and avoids based on ADPs.
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Undervalued NL Outfielders
Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers (ADP: 52)
Braun hasn't played in 150 games in a season since 2012, thanks to an assortment of nagging injuries. As he enters his age-33 season, that's unlikely to change. However, Braun has remained a reliable five-category contributor when healthy. He's put together an average line of .295-84-27-88-20 in the last two years despite missing about a month of action in each campaign. I'd rather roll the dice on his health at this price than the similarly oft-injured Giancarlo Stanton a round earlier.
Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets (ADP: 58)
Cespedes missed some time last season himself, but he's another established guy going a bit later than he ought to be in early drafts. While correlation doesn't imply causation, Cespedes certainly seems to have taken a shine to the Big Apple. Here are his stats since becoming a member of the Mets (188 games): .282 AVG, 111 R, 48 HR, 130 RBI, 7 SB. All caveats about arbitrary endpoints aside, those are some pretty fantastic numbers for a guy going at the end of the fifth round.
Stephen Piscotty, St. Louis Cardinals (ADP: 132)
BABIP regression hit Piscotty fairly hard in 2016, but he still put forth a respectable .273 mark to go along with 22 homers, 86 runs, 85 RBI, and seven stolen bases in his first full season. Given his age - he just turned 26 this month - and his batted ball profile, there seems to be some untapped upside here. He's the 30th outfielder off the board on average, and at this price I'd prefer him to most of the guys in the 20s.
Adam Eaton, Washington Nationals (ADP: 135)
Adam Eaton's 2015 and 2016 numbers are eerily similar pretty much across the board. pic.twitter.com/IGO5LsZ1Xu
— Kyle Bishop (@amoralpanic) September 22, 2016
Eaton was Mr. Consistency the last two seasons. The power surge from 2015 carried over, as I thought it would (let's just pretend that's all I said and ignore the favorable comparison to Mookie Betts). The veteran will now be plying his trade for the Nationals, a significantly better offensive team than his former employer. He's likely hit near the top of the order, with Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, and Daniel Murphy flanking him. Ain't nothin' wrong with that. Eaton would be a great option to pair with a low-average slugger like Khris Davis or Miguel Sano, both of whom are being drafted a few rounds earlier.
Overvalued NL Outfielders
Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds (ADP: 54)
At this point, if you've read any of my work, you know how I feel about the Hamburglar. You'll get a ton of steals and little else - maybe a passable batting average and a decent amount of runs scored if Hamilton can stick atop the lineup, which he's had a lot of trouble doing. It's become fashionable to point to the drop in stolen bases last year as justification for overdrafting speedsters. However you feel about that (I'm skeptical), why take a one-category guy in the fifth round? That's without addressing the fact that Hamilton has missed significant time with injury in each of the last two seasons.
David Dahl, Colorado Rockies (ADP: 92)
It pains me to do this, because I do think Dahl will be a monster eventually. That kind of pop/speed combo in Coors is definitely worth drooling over. That said, this is a textbook case of expectant pricing. Dahl posted an obscene .404 BABIP in his rookie season. Even with his speed, batted ball profile, and home park, we can't reasonably expect that again. Then there's the unsettled nature of the Rockies roster. With the sheer number of corner infield power bats still on the market, it's not hard to imagine Colorado signing one on a cheap deal. That pushes Ian Desmond to the outfield, where he really belongs anyway. The specter of such a roster crunch, along with probable regression, makes Dahl a risky proposition at his current price tag.
Yasmany Tomas, Arizona Diamondbacks (ADP: 147)
Credit where it's due - Tomas took some legitimate strides in his sophomore season. He made significantly better contact, elevated the ball more often, and slightly improved his plate discipline numbers. You should remain a bit skeptical of his value, though. Those 31 homers were a result of nearly doubling his HR/FB%, and it's tough not to expect at least some pullback there. Even if not, Tomas' awful defense and baserunning could negatively impact his playing time with a new regime in Arizona. Players like Marcell Ozuna, Kole Calhoun, and Hunter Pence seem like safer bets to produce similar value to Tomas' 2016, and they're being drafted several rounds later.
Jay Bruce, New York Mets (ADP: 187)
Bruce has now collapsed in the second half in two straight years, and the only reason he didn't do so in 2014 is that he was terrible from start to finish. Home/road splits can be a dubious thing to rely on, but Bruce has always been a significantly worse hitter away from Great American Ball Park. Citi Field isn't the pitcher's paradise it used to be, but it's still a much worse situation for Bruce than his longtime home. The Mets reportedly tried quite hard to deal Bruce away this winter, and with both Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo lurking, he may not have much of a leash. The price isn't prohibitive, but there are several outfielders with lower ADPs I'd prefer.
More Undervalued & Overvalued Picks
Check out RotoBaller's entire 2017 fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!