Fantasy Baseball ADP Analysis: Outfielder Risers and Fallers
This week, I've been taking a look at how season-long drafters have been handling drafts since MLB announced its return, between how the first round has changed since March, and how corner infielders, catchers, and middle infielders are being drafted.
Today, let's have a look at the vast outfield position.
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.
Due to the sheer number of outfielders, rather than listing them all in order like the other positions, I'll be showing the biggest risers and fallers in the top 300 overall picks.
For reference, I've included consensus projections from FantasyPros, which includes numberFire's own model.
- What immediately stands out is a lot of the players above are National Leaguers who should benefit from more playing time through the universal DH rule. Plagued by injuries the past few years, Yoenis Cespedes is a clear winner here, seeing a massive triple-digit jump in ADP. Reports out of Mets camp have been overwhelmingly positive, and you have to figure he'll grab a good chunk of those DH at-bats if he's healthy. Cespedes owns a .261 ISO in a Mets uniform and projections remain confident in his power.
- The universal DH and Ian Desmond's absence (opted out) opens the door for both Sam Hilliard and Garrett Hampson in Colorado. Hilliard racked up a tantalizing 35 dingers and 22 stolen bases in Triple-A last year -- with overall tallies of 42 and 24 if you include his big league games -- while Hampson is a stolen base threat with a 99th percentile sprint speed who was already hyped up in 2019. But as their projections suggest, nothing is ever that straightforward when it comes to the Rockies and playing time for prospects, so don't expect this to be a smooth ride.
- Top prospect Dylan Carlson is drawing attention after being included in the Cardinals' player pool. However, he's now expected to begin the season in their minor league alternate site, so that ADP likely dips back down over the final week of drafting. Carlson put up promising power/speed numbers between Triple-A and Double-A last year.
- Alex Verdugo is another big winner under the circumstances, as he would've began the year on the injured list in a normal season. Now fully recovered from a back injury dating back to last year, he should slot in as an everyday outfielder for Boston. His consensus projections aren't actually all that exciting, but he doesn't strike out often and has shown enough speed and pop to be a possible all-around contributor.
- The Padres traded Franchy Cordero to the Royals on Thursday, further securing that riser Wil Myers will have an everyday role. But just as importantly, this presents an opportunity for Cordero, who makes loads of hard contact (career 45.5% hard-hit rate) and has plenty of speed. He could get regular playing time with the Royals and is worth snagging as a late-rounder.
- Yasiel Puig isn't listed above, but with the news of him signing with the Braves, his ADP will jump up from pick 209. He figures to crack the top 150 overall moving forward and will go much earlier than that in some drafts. Although Puig's peripherals took a slight dip last year, we pretty much know what we're getting from him at this point, with similar final stat lines the past three seasons.
- Puig's signing may put a dent in Austin Riley's outlook, who was another big ADP riser following the added DH and Nick Markakis opting out. Riley will presumably begin the year filling in for Freddie Freeman (COVID-19) at first base, but once they're at full strength, barring a truly hot start, he could end up splitting time with Johan Camargo at third base.
- Domingo Santana was already getting attention as a late-round value in March, and it's led to him getting bumped up a couple of rounds now. A high strikeout rate always plagues Santana (career 32.0%), but he's capable of a double-digit barrel rate and can chip in some swiped bags. His career has shown a wide range of outcomes, but he's still just 27 years old, and you're not risking much at this price.
- A.J. Pollock gets a playing time boost with the DH and could be a capable four-category asset. Injuries have sadly robbed us of the guy who showed so much promise in 2015, but the projections are still solid enough.
- Perhaps the universal DH rule helps Nick Senzel stay healthy, who's already dealing with a minor elbow issue. The intrigue is obvious after posting 12 homers and 15 stolen bases over 414 plate appearances last year.
- Giancarlo Stanton reportedly feels healthy and is running well. Even with a slight rise in ADP, the public remains skeptical of Stanton's ability to stay healthy. But he's capable of being a true difference-maker if he goes on an absolute home run barrage, and keep in mind that we only need him to stick around for 60 games. In a season that will undoubtedly have unpredictable positive COVID-19 tests and other unforeseen issues, Stanton arguably isn't much more "risky" than anyone else.
- Jo Adell doesn't sound like he'll make the Angels' opening day roster, souring his 2020 potential. We'll probably see the 21-year-old top prospect at some point, but with playing time being so critical in this abridged season, it could be tough to bank on.
- Randal Grichuk is looking like a nice source of cheap power. He hit a career-high 31 bombs in 2019, but it was actually a bit underwhelming considering he also notched a personal best in plate appearances (628). His barrel rate dropped to 8.5% -- a far cry from his elite marks from the prior two seasons (14.4% and 16.0%). Mediocre plate skills could limit his overall ceiling, but the home run potential is legit if he puts it all together.
- Hunter Renfroe's projections are nearly identical to Grichuk's, and they're going in about the same range. Renfroe hit just .216 last year, but as I've noted in previous pieces, batting average may be something to devalue in such a short season. Tropicana Field won't help, but he'll still hit plenty of dingers if he repeats last year's 46.9% hard-hit rate and 47.9% fly-ball rate.
- Austin Meadows is the latest big name to test positive and was placed on the injured list yesterday. There haven't been any further details about whether he's showing symptoms, which will make his ADP tough to gauge over the final days of drafting.