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Finding Over/Undervalued Outfielders Using Expected Draft Values

We're back for another installment of the FSWA-award-nominated Expected Draft Values series, where we look at historical data to identify both overvalued and undervalued players of all types. Whether you're targeting power, speed, power+speed, batting average+power, and so on, we've got you covered.

Today, we'll look at three outfielders and compare their projected statline via my Cutter Projections against their ADP's expected return. Due to a variety of factors such as name recognition, your fantasy platform's default rank in the draft room, or social media buzz, ADPs can be swayed to poorly reflect the stats you're drafting. Keep it locked here as we bring you a deeper look at undervalued and overvalued players from each position using Expected Draft Values.

Generally, what we'll do in this series is identify players who will return a positive or negative value, based on their NFBC ADP in Draft Champions Contests spanning February into March (94 drafts), their Expected Draft Value (i.e. the average stat line typically produced at that ADP), and the player's projection.

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How Expected Draft Values Help You Win Your League

It may be clear by this point already, but if you know the expected break-even stat-line of every draft slot, you can identify which of your draft picks are projected to return positive or negative value. Below, we look at three shortstops that are either over or undervalued based on their recent NFBC Draft Champions ADP, our RotoBaller projections, and Expected Draft Values.

Without further ado, here are some players that stand out at their current cost in 2022 drafts.

 

Giancarlo Stanton (OF, NYY)

NFBC DC ADP: 109
Expected Return for a Power Hitter Drafted 109th: .248-32-82-86-3
2022 RotoBaller Projection: .270-41-89-102-1

Analysis: Big G is being written off in a major way but that nonsense is our gain. I know health memes fly around but Stanton just bashed 35 home runs with 97 RBI in just 139 games (579 PAs) last season. You not only exceed the power projections but you also get a far stronger batting average for your money on top. Yankee Stadium and the AL East are great hitting environments and Stanton hasn’t posted a BABIP lower than .333 since he joined the Bombers in 2018.

Even if you don’t buy an average near .270, it’d be tough sledding to project for anything below the EDV mark of .248. Derek Carty’s THE BAT X is the most bearish of major projection systems, putting Stanton at .252. The award-winning ATC projections give him a .262 average. I don’t think anyone needs to be sold on Stanton’s power, you know exactly what massive Statcast metrics he crushes on a daily basis.

This almost surely boils down to a question of risk tolerance when it comes to Stanton’s health. He played 159 games in 2017 and 158 games in ‘18, but then only got 18 games in ‘19, 23 of the 60 games in ‘20, but came back to 139 games last year. This previous season only saw him lose 13 games to a left quad strain, which is progress! The man has a big frame and soft-tissue injuries can hit, but if you’re pushing someone with his potential past pick 100 then a safer build can absolutely take on the risk for his upside and median projection.

Verdict: Target, Stanton is severely undervalued at his current draft slot

 

Myles Straw (OF, CLE)

NFBC DC ADP: 116
Expected Return for a Speed Hitter Drafted 116th: .262-11-83-57-30
2022 RotoBaller Projection: .268-5-78-49-28

Analysis: Straw has an uphill battle to meeting or exceeding EDV as a speed hitter going early, think Mallex Smith, and this exercise shows why. Over the years, speedsters going up here are providing 41 HR+SB and Straw is projected at 33 after hitting four HR with 30 SB in 638 PAs for Houston last season. I understand that this will be Straw’s second full season but he’s already 27 years old and I don’t expect too much by way of growth, with most systems agreeing.

Batting leadoff for Cleveland is a solid spot but he’s not established enough to hot onto that through any prolonged slumps as a veteran would. The good news for him on that front is Cleveland doesn’t boast deep talent to push him. Perhaps folks are leaning hard into his 268 PAs following the trade to Cleveland, where he slashed .285/.362/.377 with 42 runs scored and went 13-of-14 on steal attempts in 60 games. I’d caution overweighing the .353 BABIP in that stretch (career .331 in 862 PAs) and point out the difference between hitting around .270 and .285 will hurt.

While not as egregious as the Mallex Smith saga, we still must conclude...

Verdict: Pass, Straw is overvalued at his current draft slot

 

Adolis Garcia (OF, TEX)

NFBC DC ADP: 185
Expected Return for a Power+Speed Hitter Drafted 185th: .236-24-74-69-13
2022 RotoBaller Projection: .238-30-81-97-14

Analysis: Another Cardinals prospect that flew once he left St. Louis, García crushed 31 home runs and swiped 16 bags in 149 games for Texas last season (622 PAs). This came after he posted similar numbers at Triple-A for St. Louis in 2019 (32 HR, 14 SB in 132 games). But the concerns are valid, as he has plenty of swing-and-miss to his game.

García only hit .211 in the second half after hitting. 270 in the first. In fact, outside of a torrid May with 11 HR, 5 SB, and a .312 average, García didn’t hit above .242 or slug more than six home runs in any other month. Though he did steal seven bases in September to bring some of us to Titletown.

However, let’s re-frame this and realize this was a 28-year-old rookie who must learn to adjust to MLB-level pitching and analytics. And even when the average faded down the stretch, he’s got speed to burn which can float his fantasy value throughout cold spells. The power-speed threat for García is real and you can’t steal first base, but an offseason as a starter coming off 2021’s breakout should give him his best chance at playing chess with MLB pitchers in 2022. It is worth this lowly pick to find out.

Of the 43 players who hit at least 30 HRs last year, García was one of 14 with double-digit steals. Of those 14 with at least 30 HRs and 10-plus steals, the next lowest in ADP is Jorge Polanco at around pick 77. You then have a 100-pick gap until García! That’s an aggressive indictment of García’s tools and I won’t stand for it. Let's just hope he really worked at plate discipline this offseason and that this can be a precursor of plate appearances to come:

Verdict: Target, García is undervalued at his current draft slot



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