Fantasy Baseball ADP Analysis: Second Base, Shortstop
This has been the most unusual of season-long draft seasons, with an abridged 60-game MLB season awaiting us at the end of next week.
Let's now take a look at the middle infielder positions.
I'll be using average draft position (ADP) data from NFBC's 12-team Sprint - Rotowire Online Championship drafts and comparing it to what ADP looked like in March. This should give us an idea of how players are now being valued and whether that's changed over the last several months.
For reference, I've included consensus projections from FantasyPros, which includes numberFire's own model.
- Keston Hiura is the big mover up top, now cracking the top-three second basemen, and as the projections suggest, he has a strong argument for being the first one taken off the board. He has more stolen base upside than Gleyber Torres and is a better bet for power than Ozzie Albies. But overall, that trio, along with Ketel Marte and Jose Altuve, project in about the same range, explaining their fairly tight ADP grouping. Jonathan Villar's value is more tied to specific roster construction, which I'll get into with the shortstops.
- The public may be souring on Whit Merrifield, who saw his swiped bags drop from 45 (82% success rate) to 20 last year (67%), and he's now 31 years old. His sprint speed remains solid but also declined last year. Throw in the limited power, and he's probably a pass at his price unless he really plummets.
- DJ LeMahieu, Max Muncy, and Jeff McNeil conveniently line up in a row as players eligible at three positions apiece -- something that could be quite handy under these circumstances. Batting average will be really wonky over the small sample because it takes so long to stabilize, which may partially explain why we see drops for LeMahieu and McNeil. Note that LeMahieu was just cleared for camp after being an asymptomatic case. Muncy's dip is a bit more surprising, as he figures to outdo his playing time projection with easier access to the lineup through the universal DH rule.
- Eduardo Escobar's Statcast metrics didn't really back up his 2019 power surge -- his barrel rate actually went down -- which could explain his sizable ADP drop. But that doesn't mean he's a total zero in the home run department, as he's still projected for 10, and this is a more reasonable range to take him.
- Speedster Garrett Hampson is on the upswing with Ian Desmond opting out and the DH rule adding more plate appearances to go around. Of course, we should always be prepared for the Rockies to break our hearts with playing time shenanigans, so don't get overeager in the draft room.
- Kolten Wong stole a career-high 24 bags in 2019, but the people clearly aren't buying. Previously, the last time he swiped double-digit bags was 2015. Still, stolen bases will be at a premium, and Wong's 86% success rate is promising at least. For what it's worth, the consensus projections give him the same number of swiped bags as Hampson and Tommy Edman, who are going far earlier.
- Howie Kendrick rockets up the charts with the universal DH and no Ryan Zimmerman (opted out) clearing his way to more playing time. It's unclear why Kendrick hasn't reported to camp yet, but there isn't anything to suggest he won't be ready. (Update: Kendrick finally reported to camp on July 16th).
- Jose Peraza is in a competition with Michael Chavis for the starting job at second base in Boston. Peraza stole over 20 bases in three straight seasons from 2016-18, which should be more than enough to pique your interest in a late-round pick.
|4||Fernando Tatis Jr.||17.4||0.7||205||35||11||28||8||.280|
- Only six players project for double-digit stolen bases, and three of them qualify here at shortstop. I really don't think it's crazy to consider Trea Turner as a top-five or even top-three pick when he could be a game-changer in stolen bases without hurting you anywhere else. Low-volume base stealers who normally pitch in 8-10 bags will be far tougher to rely on over just 60 games, so speed will be at a premium more than ever. Sure, there are risks for even the elite options, but in a season littered with question marks, you're going to have to pick your poison.
- Adalberto Mondesi and Jonathan Villar are the other two aforementioned speedsters, with Mondesi having the top overall stolen base projection. They both project as below-average real-life hitters, but if you don't come away with any speed in the first couple rounds, you might want to pounce. The good news is they should regularly have the green light on bad teams.
- Bo Bichette is the first double-digit riser at the position. He has enticing power/speed potential, recording a combined 19 dingers and 19 stolen bases between the Majors and Triple-A last year. However, he only succeeded on four of eight stolen base attempts at the highest level and didn't really show spectacular Statcast metrics to back up the power. That said, at just 22 years old, the arrow is clearly pointing up.
- Paul DeJong has dropped to around the 200th pick but projects for 11 home runs -- identical to Carlos Correa, who goes nearly 100 picks earlier. DeJong doesn't hit for average, but as noted earlier, batting average will be really unpredictable in the shortened season, so we shouldn't penalize him as much for that.
- On the other hand, I'm less interested in Jean Segura, who's also fallen about a round. Segura only stole 10 bases last season -- his lowest total since his rookie season (2012) -- and at 30 years old, his 65th percentile sprint speed can only drop even further.
- Didi Gregorius seems to be a forgotten man, but he could flirt with double-digit home runs as his projection suggests. He may no longer call Yankee Stadium home, but Citizens Bank Park is good for dingers, too.