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Undervalued Draft Targets - Staff Rankings vs. ADP


Here at RotoBaller, we've been producing fantasy baseball analysis all offseason. As part of that, our awesome MLB team has written up detailed 2019 fantasy baseball outlooks for 400+ players. These player outlooks include RotoBaller's analysis on how we expect a player to perform in 2019, where to target them in 2019 drafts, and supporting stats to back up the analysis. Typically, we only include these outlooks for Premium subscribers, but we have another special treat for you today.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be releasing some player outlooks for each position. Normally only available to Premium subscribers, the outlooks below are meant to give you a taste of the in-depth analysis you receive with our industry-leading 2019 Draft Guide. Our editors have hand-picked these specific players for your enjoyment. You will want to enjoy our sneak peeks into other positions as well: MLB rookies and starting pitchers.

Today we are continuing the party with a look at six fantasy baseball players that our staff likes more than their average draft position in 2019. Make sure to subscribe to read all 400+ of our 2019 player outlooks, available exclusively in our 2019 Draft Guide.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals

RotoBaller Rank: 40
ADP: 70

It was a tale of three seasons for Matt Carpenter (1B/3B, STL) in 2018: a terrible April, a great May-August, and a terrible September. The slow start might be attributed to his recovery from a shoulder injury as well as an unlucky .190 BABIP, but that would not explain the poor finish. His overall stat line—.257/.374/.523 with 36 HR—made him a top-three first baseman in standard leagues last year, but his prospects for 2019 rest on the question of his HR output.

With the acquisition of Paul Goldschmidt, he will head to 3B full-time and continue to hit leadoff, where he should score plenty of runs but have fewer RBI opportunities than a typical power hitter. The primary question is to what degree his HR output regresses from his 2018 career-year as his HR outburst in June-August were driven by unsustainably high HR/FB rates (i.e., 25%+), which was not supported by his batted-ball profile.

Assuming he maintains his usual BB%, K%, and FB%, then his projected HR/FB roughly translates to about 20 HR in 600 PA. He will not hit for a high BA or steal bases, and his RBI are stunted by his lineup position. But the HR and runs will make him an asset, particularly in leagues where he is 2B eligible. Carpenter’s ADP of 70 is lower that RotoBallers ranking of 40, which provides quite a bit of value.

 

Wil Myers, San Diego Padres

RotoBaller Rank: 71
ADP: 114

After a career-high 30 homers in 2017, San Diego Padres outfielder Wil Myers fell back to Earth in a big way in 2018. He played in just 83 games due to injury and hit .253/.318/.446 with 11 home runs, 39 RBI, 39 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. Anyone who spent an early-round pick on him for his power/speed combination was sorely disappointed.

Myers doesn't take many free passes (career 9.9 percent walk rate) and has struck out more in recent seasons (27.4 percent in 2018), so he's unlikely to be an asset in the average or on-base departments. The 28-year-old's value lies in his 20-20 potential and dual-position eligibility. Myers was the team's primary first baseman in 2016-17 but moved to the outfield with the signing of Eric Hosmer last year. He also finished out his season at the hot corner, and he could move around the diamond again in 2019 depending on trades/acquisitions the club makes in the offseason.

As RotoBaller's 71st-ranked overall player, Myers is on the right side of 30 and should return to 20-plus homers and 20-plus steals over a full season in 2019. He’s proven he has the power to negate Petco Park's pitcher-friendly environment.

 

Edwin Encarnacion, Seattle Mariners

RotoBaller Rank: 81
ADP: 125

Seattle Mariners first baseman/designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion is an enigmatic buy due to the uncertainty of his Opening Day uniform. The Mariners traded for him in a three-way deal with Cleveland and Tampa Bay in December but may flip him to another team. Despite only logging 579 plate appearances in 2018 due to a brief DL stint, Encarnacion still matched his ‘17 RBI tally of 107 in 90 fewer PAs and crossed the 30-homer mark in his seventh season in a row.

While his plate discipline took marked steps back, such as a five-percentage-point drop in walk rate and his chase rate rising to 29% from 23.5%, his hard-hit rate rose from 37.6% to a career-high 42.4% in ‘18. A notable slow starter, Encarnacion’s shakier second half may have come from an injury, as he was reportedly “swinging with one arm” for a few weeks after being hit on his hand July 15, which then caused a biceps injury. He had a .241 ISO prior to the HBP, which dropped to .206 after getting hit.

While the park factor of where he calls home will matter, E5’s declining bat still has immense power to offer as a top-10 first baseman when healthy per our staff rankings and is worth consideration around pick 81, though his ADP of 125 indicates there’s value in waiting.

 

A.J. Pollock, Los Angeles Dodgers

RotoBaller Rank: 79
ADP: 116

It was another year of injury for Pollock in 2018, as he appeared in fewer than 150 games for the third-straight season. When Pollock is on the field he has shown the ability to be a fantasy powerhouse, as shown in 2018 when he hit a career-high 21 home runs with 13 steals and a .257 average over 113 games. Does the move to L.A. improve his outlook? Read on...

 

Nicholas Castellanos, Detroit Tigers

RotoBaller Rank: 60
ADP: 85

Detroit Tigers outfielder Nick Castellanos remains the lone offensive bright spot for the team and a consistent high-average, power performer. In 2018, he hit 23 homers, 89 RBI, and had career-best numbers in average (.298) and OPS (.854). Shouldn't we expect Castellanos to return to norm in homers while sustaining the underlying stats? Read on...

 

Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox

RotoBaller Rank: 57
ADP: 82

The model of consistency for Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu broke in 2018. After appearing in at least 145 games in every season since his 2014 debut, Abreu battled a myriad of injuries and played in only 128 contests last season. Predictably, his production dipped to career-lows in OPS (.798), homers (22) and runs+RBI (146). Will he return to his norms in 2019? Read on...

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