Fantasy Baseball Mailbag: Thursday 6/9/16

With the MLB Draft tonight, how should we be valuing these players as it relates to dynasty rookie selections?

We're here to try and help you navigate the ever-changing landscape that is fantasy baseball. It's not easy to keep up with all of the day-to-day fluctuations, so it can help to have someone to bounce ideas off of. That's what our daily mailbag will look to do.

Feel free to shoot us any questions you may have throughout the day on Twitter, and then we'll try to answer as many as we can in the form of a post. If you prefer, you can also send an email to These questions can be anything fantasy baseball related. That means daily fantasy baseball, season-long, dynasty, and everything else are all in play.

Obviously, we won't be able to get to all questions because there's a lot to cover. For additional questions, be sure to check out our new MLB DFS tools along with our daily and season-long projections, which should help out more times than not.

Now, enough of that. Let's dig into today's mailbag and see what's popping in the world of fantasy baseball.

This is phenomenal timing as good ol' Adam Duvall has been a hot topic of late here on numberFire. He was featured in this mailbag back on May 31st, and then Ben Bruno provided a more thorough breakdown of the Cincinnati Reds' saucy slugger back on Tuesday. I'd recommend reading through Ben's piece because he's pretttayy, pretttaaay good at this writing thing, but let's go a bit surface level on Duvall one more time because his stats are simply fun to peep.

It's entirely possible that we could have seen Duvall's mini-breakout coming simply because he had struck the ball well when he had gotten chances previously in the Majors. His first 149 plate appearances in 2014 and 2015 resulted in a 34.1% hard-hit rate and a 44.0% fly-ball rate. Those are stats that normalize fairly quickly, and Duvall was excelling there.

This year, though, has been even better, and it has blasted all expectations out of the water. Duvall's hard-hit rate is up to 40.2% -- the 17th-best mark in baseball -- and he's still hitting it in the air 44.7% of the time. Great American Ballpark ranks fifth in three-year average home run park factor, and when you put a guy with his batted-ball stats in that place, dude is going to feast. That's why we can buy into what he's doing right now.

The one reason we shouldn't expect Duvall to necessarily bud into a star is his 29.4% strikeout rate. When you combine that with a 3.5% walk rate, you're going to get a guy with wee bit concerning on-base percentage. As long as he keeps hitting for power, though, he can still absolutely be a valuable contributor to a team, both in the real-world and fantasy sense.

Can we all just take a second to give thanks that the MLB Draft is finally here? I know it doesn't get as much hype as its counterparts in the NFL or NBA, but I get geeked for this time of the year. Mostly, it gives me a whole new crop of names to check feverishly on FanGraphs, but it's also just generally underrated entertainment.

Now, back to Josh's question. He's on the right path in targeting guys like Jason Groome, whom ESPN's Keith Law has going seventh overall to the Miami Marlins in his most recent mock draft. We want to target guys who go early because -- shockingly -- MLB talent evaluators are pretty darn good at their jobs. A guy who goes seventh is much more likely to make an impact in the big leagues than a guy who goes 27th, and we should be accounting for that in our dynasty leagues. So, if you're in a league that uses waivers for draftees in lieu of a rookie draft, then keep draft capital in mind when picking and choosing.

Groome is a good jumping-off point for a couple of broader issues when it comes to MLB dynasty leagues. Josh is a smart guy who covers high school athletics for a paper in North Carolina, so I'd trust him in evaluating high school prospects. It's not my forte, though, and that's another thing I need to account for when it comes to rookie drafts.

If I know that I suck at evaluating high school prospects, it wouldn't make much sense for me to invest heavy draft capital in them. Instead, I'd prefer to use most of my picks on collegiate hitters and pitchers, an area where my deficiencies aren't as alarming. If I can increase my odds of being correct on a player by drafting to my strengths, then that's exactly what I'm going to do, even if it means I may miss out on a stud coming straight from high school.

Additionally, if you thought the bust rates of rookies was high in other sports, it's even higher in baseball. A good number of tonight's first-round picks will never even make it to the Majors, and that's not going to do your team a whole lot of good. To compensate for this, I want volume in my draft picks more than I want high picks.

Basically, the more picks I have, the more room for error I give myself in pursuit of functioning assets. I know that I'm going to mess up some of my picks, and if I only have a few, then the odds I end up with multiple valuable pieces are much lower. Thus, I'd value having a good number of picks more than I would having high-end selections to account for my own inevitable dumb mistakes.

It's totally possible that your success rate in drafting will be higher than mine, and if you're confident in that, then go ahead and go all in on players. That's just not a strategy that would work for me, personally, so I need to be mindful of that when assessing trades and formulating my draft strategy.

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