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Points Leagues First Basemen: Overvalued and Undervalued

As we’ve discussed before, points leagues are a bit of a different animal from the more popular head-to-head and rotisserie formats. One of the easiest and best ways to ensure that you’re making a smooth transition between these disparate styles is to identify players whose values change most.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. Over the next week, I’ll be offering my thoughts on potential points league bargains and busts at every position.

Today we're looking at some potential first base sleepers and busts, or draft targets and avoids in points leagues.

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Overvalued for Points Leagues

Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers

Gallo is in many ways the poster boy for the current state of MLB hitting. His plate appearances last season ended in one of the three true outcomes – a walk, strikeout, or home run – well over 50 percent of the time. Unfortunately, he struck out 196 times, almost twice as often as he managed to pull off the other two outcomes. Those 41 home runs were great, but Gallo delivers negative value to your points league roster in over a third of his trips to the plate. In this format, hits that don’t leave the yard have value, too, and Gallo only mustered 53 of those. He was the only qualified hitter to post a contact rate below 60 percent…or 65 percent.

Wil Myers, San Diego Padres

Myers doesn’t have as severe a whiff problem as Gallo, but he did strike out in a career-worst 27.7 percent of his plate appearances a year ago. That was the third straight season his strikeout rate rose. Myers also saw his runs scored and RBI total each drop by 20 from his 2016 breakout. Lastly, in standard leagues, Myers gets a lot of value from being the best source of stolen bases at his position; those swipes aren’t nearly as valuable in a points league.

Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers

Bellinger ranked in the bottom 10 among qualified hitters in contact rate and in the top 20 in swinging strike rate. His OPS also dropped 60 points from the first half to the second, and everyone remembers his struggles in the World Series (a league record 17 Ks in the series, including three in Game 7 alone). If he can’t put wood on the ball more often, expect him to be a frustrating asset to own in points leagues.


Undervalued for Points Leagues

Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians

Santana has been one of the more durable and consistent hitters in baseball over the last several seasons, and he’s moving to a home park that should help him challenge his career high in home runs (34, set in 2016). The Phillies’ biggest free agent signing this winter (barring a last-minute move for Jake Arrieta) has improved upon his already above-average strikeout rate in each of the last four seasons. During that span, he has a higher BB/K than any hitter outside of Joey Votto and Ben Zobrist.

Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox

Like Santana, Abreu has trimmed his strikeout rate every season since 2014. He’s not a guy who draws a ton of walks (career 6.5 BB%), but he makes up for it by making plenty of contact; Abreu has never hit below .290 in the major leagues, and has eclipsed the .300 mark in two of his four seasons stateside. He’s also never failed to drive in 100 runs, and has averaged 31 homers per season, with 2016 the only time he failed to hit at least 30 bombs.

Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants

There aren't many hitters who get a bigger boost to their value from points formats than Belt. He's not worth consideration in H2H or rotisserie, thanks to a home park that murders left-handed power and counting stats that have always underwhelmed. But Belt ranks in the top 25 among qualified hitters in doubles, triples, and walks over the last three seasons despite missing nearly 100 games over that time. At his current ADP (outside the top 300) there's profit potential in points leagues.


More Points Leagues Analysis & Draft Values


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