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Finding Under and Overvalued 3B Using Expected Draft Values

We've been rolling out our Expected Draft Values series, starting with Nick Mariano's look into some undervalued players and overvalued players. Today, we're going to give you some undervalued and overvalued players who qualify at third base.

As a quick primer, Expected Draft Value is the value you would historically expect, on average, from a given draft slot. In other words, Expected Draft Value lets you put a stat line next to every pick in the draft... if the player you draft performs better than expected, you get positive value. If the player you draft performs worse than expected, that's negative value. As we all know, a fantasy draft is all about maximizing the potential positive value from every pick.

For example, we can say that "if you draft a power + average hitter 97th overall, your Expected Draft Value should be a line of 285-26-76-75-4. That's your 'break even point'. If you draft a player at 97 who performs better than that, you win, or at least put yourself one player closer to winning.  For a full explanation of our Expected Draft Value research, see Nick's article's from yesterday, linked above. >With the introduction out of the way, let’s dive into some undervalued and overvalued third basemen!

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Undervalued Third Basemen to Target

Justin Turner - 3B, LAD

Expected Return for a Power + Batting Average Hitter Drafted 109th: 286-26-75-75-3
2019 The Bat + ATC Projection: 297-22-82-82-4

The value with Turner is mostly found within his batting average. As you see above a player who contributes in both batting average and power and it taken around the 109th pick usually contribute a .286 batting averge. However, Turner has the potential to get into the .300 region.

If you look at his Statcast xBA for each of the last two seasons, then his current batting average projection is actually his floor. Power wise he is a little below what we might expect at this level but those extra four or five home runs can be found later in the draft, batting average cannot.

Maikel Franco - 3B, PHI

NFBC ADP: 267.5
Expected Return for a Power Hitter Drafted 265th: 222-28-76-64-3
2019 The Bat + ATC Projection: 258-25.5-80-64.5-1.5

2018 was a better season for Franco, as he hit 22 home runs with a .270 batting average in just 465 PA. Given his current ADP Franco can afford to regress a little in his batting average this season and still return value. Over the last three years, he averaged 23.7 home runs per season, and has not been below 20 in any of those years. The batting average is the bigger question mark as it has fluctuated from .230 to .280 over the last four seasons.

His xBA across those four season has been pretty much dead on his current projection at .256. If Franco reaches his projection then he is more than likely to find himself among the top-200 hitters for fantasy which means a substantial profit on his low ADP.


Overvalued Third Basemen to Target

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - 3B TOR

Expected Return for an Power + Batting Average Hitter Drafted 63rd: 302-28-86-80-4
2019 The Bat + ATC Projection: 299-21.5-78-75.5-5

Guerrero's fantasy value has received a massive pump thanks to the success of recent prospects in the majors. Guerrero is an extremely talented hitter but his expectations are absolutely sky high. His value has gotten more realistic since his oblique injury. However as you can see from the numbers expected above, his current projection doesn't meet the break even point we would need to return value from a power and batting average hitter drafted 63rd.

The issue with the way Guerrero was being drafted earlier in draft season is that the majority of his upside was being negated by the high price. His current price is better but it is still a round or two higher than the value his current projections indicate.

Joey Wendle - 2B/3B TB

Expected Return for a Power, Speed Hitter Drafted 225th: 242-15-60-68-16
2019 The Bat + ATC Projection: 266-9.5-55.5-57.5-12

Wendle had a fascinating 2018 season, hitting .300 with seven home and 16 stolen bases. However, his current draft price is not only assuming he can do that again but that he can go one better. His batting average is the most interesting as his actual number last season (.300) was .039 higher than his xBA (.261). Therefore, it is reasonable to expect some regression this season. Even though regression down to his xBA from last season would still be an improvement on the batting average expected return for his ADP, the other numbers are a concern.

Wendle did manage to succeed in 80% of his stolen base attempts last season, thanks to ranking in the 81st percentile in sprint speed. However, repeating his 16 stolen bases is likely his upside. In terms of power, it s a major concern that Wendle had a barrel% of just 2.7 last season, leading to a exit velocity ranked in just the 47th percentile. It would be a surprise if Wendle finished with double digit home runs this season, and the lack of upside in either his power or speed is what makes him overvalued at this price.