These are some more guys that I probably won’t see on my team – not because they’re bad players by any means but because they are just rated too high for my liking. If you want to check out some undervalued stars (players that rank within the top 100 but should rank higher) or some more overvalued picks, just click on the links. My comments will most directly relate to ESPN Head to Head Points leagues but they should apply to every league format. These are the rankings I use.
Adam Eaton (87) provides owners with a steady blend of speed, power, runs, and average. Aside from scoring 98 runs last season, the 27 year old isn’t all that special in any particular category. Eaton does hit plenty of ground balls so his batting average on balls in play should be higher than the average player’s but his .345 mark was high even for ground ball hitters. Furthermore, Eaton’s home runs per fly ball jumped astronomically from 2014 to 2015 and while I think that ’14 may have been his absolute floor, ’15 might be his ceiling. With Eaton you are looking at what will probably be a 10 homer, .275 batter who helps you in the runs category and might rob 20 bags for you but just isn’t worth your 9th round pick when younger and more talented outfielders like Yasiel Puig (94) are still out there. Ultimately, I’d wait til about 100-110 to draft him in roto leagues and would wait even longer in points leagues.
MIN DH Miguel Sano (40) has played 80 games at the major league level and has no position to enter the season in standard ESPN leagues (Sano is currently only eligible at DH but will get OF eligibility in mid-April). I just stress that these rankings relate only to year-by-year leagues and, in a keeper or dynasty, I would have absolutely no issue with taking Sano at 40 (or even earlier!). In single season leagues, I just don’t want to waste a 4th or 5th round pick on a batter who played 80 games in the majors and managed to strike out more than 35% of the time. Sure Sano’s power is prodigious and he has a legitimate shot at hitting 40 homers – Nelson Cruz (41) hit 44 homers, and Carlos Gonzalez (52) and Albert Pujols (75) hit 40 last season as well. In fact, for 2016, I could see Sano’s statline looking somewhat like Pujols’ ’15: 40 homers, a .244 BA, 85 runs, and 95 RBI. Sano’s .396 BABIP just is not sustainable and his penchant for striking out once every 3rd at bat will get old by June. Sano is an excellent bet for home run titles and even MVP awards somewhere down the road but stay away from him at 40th overall in yearly leagues – he just isn’t worth it
DET 2B Ian Kinsler (69) hit .296 with 11 homers and 10 steals last year. I don’t know about you but that looks a lot more like the numbers that some waiver wire pickup got me (and not the numbers of my soon to be 34 year old 7th rounder). Kinsler will net you runs but I wouldn’t expect him to come anywhere close to his .296 average in 2016 – prior to last season, Kinsler had not hit .280 since 2010 and he is now far from the 30 HR bat that he used to be. Do yourself a favor and take somebody like Sonny Gray (71) here and hold off for a 2B until you reach Rougned Odor (85), Anthony Rendon (128), or Dustin Pedroia (168).
TB OF Corey Dickerson (111) is no longer with the Colorado Rockies and I think people forget that. Dickerson had a great 2014 and was doing pretty well in 2015 but both those seasons were inflated by high BABIPs (2014: Babip .356 and .312 BA; 2015 Babip .367 and .304 BA) and the fact that he got to play at Coors Field. Dickerson hit .252 away from Coors in 2014 and .257 on the road in 2015. There are just too many legitimately good players in this range for you to waste a pick on a product of Coors Field.
COL 2B DJ LeMahieu (101) is being drafted wayyyyyyyyyy above his talent level and I really hope that you guys already knew he was overvalued. LeMahieu is 27 years old and brings average and steals to the table – kind of. First, I’ll address his Runs (85) and RBI (61): neither are anything special at this point in the draft and these come on the heels of his breakout season. Next, I’ll point out how his 6 homers in 150 games while playing at Coors half the time demonstrates a complete and utter lack of power. Finally, I’ll point out that his 23 steals are almost totally a product of him being luckier on the basepaths and getting on base more often. Prior to 2016, LeMahieu had 29 steals (and 19 CS) across 376 games. Lastly, I will point out how his bump in batting average is not due to an increased contact rate (it went down from 2014-2015) but is almost entirely due to a .040 increase in BABIP to .362. I wouldn’t be shocked if LeMahieu loses his job to prospect Trevor Story (217) once Jose Reyes (205) returns from his suspension.
HOU DH Evan Gattis (126) has no position, will hurt you in batting average, won’t score a ton of runs, doesn’t really walk, and is injured. There are so many batters who will give you similar stats much later in the draft that drafting Gattis at 126 is just silly. Guys like Jay Bruce (146), Lucas Duda (150), and even Mark Teixeira (162) are all currently healthy, all have positions, and will all give you similar production to Gattis without costing you a still-pretty-high pick.
Neil Walker (136) is just not at all deserving of such a high draft rank and I really don’t know why he shows up so early. Walker will be pretty average in terms of BA, runs, and RBI. He might hit 15 or so homers (he hit 16 last season) but he is also now playing half of his games at Citi Field which is even more pitcher-friendly than PNC Park. Stay away from Walker when you can grab Addison Russell’s upside at 144, Dustin Pedroia’s stats when healthy at 168 or someone like Howie Kendrick (200).
Two other guys that I won’t be drafting are Yadier Molina (184) – why take him if you can grab players like Deven Mesoraco (191), Yasmani Grandal (215), Matt Wieters (220), or Blake Swihart (260+) instead? And Hyun Soo Kim (218) who has been so bad that the Orioles have considered buying him out of his contract.
Be on the lookout for some sleepers tomorrow.