Using a mix of Yahoo’s average draft position (ADP) and the staff rankings that create a composite score among three Yahoo analysts, we present a road map through the first 100 picks to come off the board in a typical Fantasy Baseball draft.
By breaking things down into segments of 10 picks at a time to highlight the safest bet, plus an underrated and overrated player, you are sure to come away with a more streamlined and less overwhelming way to plot out a course for a successful draft. While unexpected twists and turns develop in any draft, walking in prepared is the best way to come out with a competitive squad.
Safest Bet: Jean Segura – ADP 63, Staff Composite Ranking: 58
Segura reminds me of the “Jack of all trades, master of none” idiom. For the last six years, Segura has offered quality in nearly all scoring categories for hitters. Even when he’s not fantastic in one specific category, he makes up for it in others. He’s not going to give you crazy power numbers, but we’ve already seen that he can hit 20 home runs, and even if he doesn’t he will offer up 20+ stolen bases at a minimum. Oh, and his 10.9 strikeout percentage was fourth in the league in 2018. He’s obviously not a glamorous pick like some of the other shortstops ahead of him in drafts, but Segura is safe.
Underrated: – Daniel Murphy ADP 69, Staff Composite Ranking: 52
Are we underestimating the effects of Coors Field, or is this more of lack of belief in Murphy? His 2018 season was cut short by micro-fracture surgery, but we’re still talking about one of the true batting average darlings still left in the game, and Colorado’s home-field should only help him there. Surrounded by the safety of the Rockies lineup, along with a 40.1% fly ball rate the last three seasons that is sure to pay dividends for him at Coors, this ADP seems almost too cheap. Of course, all this stems on Murphy’s ability to stay healthy, but he’s coming into the season with a clean bill and his profile paired with his new park should pay off for fantasy owners.
Overrated: Stephen Strasburg – ADP 65, Staff Composite Ranking: 59
Admittedly, I actually think this ADP is acceptable for Strasburg. When Strasburg is healthy and at his best, he is one of the top pitchers in the game. But that’s a big “when.” He’s only pitched 200 or more innings once in his career. He’s started 30 or more games twice. Considering that we’re still just in Round 6 at this point of the draft, I really want to keep my risky pitcher-picks to a minimum; I feel more comfortable going for a hitter with question marks and high upside over a pitcher dealing with similar issues. Again, I expect many disagreements here, and they’re all warranted. If you love Strasburg, I’m not going to change your mind in regards to taking him here. Strasburg can offer ace production when he’s in his mode. The question that just continues to nag at me at this ADP is, is that production expected, or is it just hoped for?
Safest bet: Eddie Rosario – ADP 76, Staff Composite Ranking: 69
Eddie Rosario will turn just 28 in September, and if his year-by-year production is any indication, the best is yet to come. He’s not exactly a base-stealer, but he has the speed to swipe 10 — or even more — bags. He’s definitely not going to hurt you in batting average or home runs, either. As he matures, I expect the walks to increase as well. He won’t give you gaudy numbers by any means, but with a lot of second-tier pitchers expected to go at this stage of the draft, Rosario offers a safe option with upside at the outfield position. He’s hitting a cool .400 in 25 at-bats so far in Spring Training, too.
Underrated: Mike Clevinger – ADP 79, Staff Composite Ranking: 77
When healthy, the Cleveland Indians sport one of the best rotations in baseball. The 28-year-old Clevinger has the potential to be at the front of that line. He has gotten better and better in his three years in the majors, and possesses a quality arsenal of breaking pitches with a strong fastball (he earned first-pitch strikes near-70% of the time in 2018).
Most intriguingly, he still has room to grow (he showed the ability to bounce back from struggle, posting a 4.85 ERA in July and following up with 2.21 in August and 2.12 in Sept./Oct., respectively). 200 innings and 200+ strikeouts with a solid ERA and WHIP are not far-fetched for Clevinger in 2019, and that’s excellent production for a guy slated to come off the board in the mid-7th round.
Overrated: Adalberto Mondesi – ADP 70, Staff Composite Ranking: 65
Talk about a guy who lives life on the edge. Mondesi is a threat — especially on the Royals — to steal 40+ bases. He also showed a bit of power with 14 home runs in 2018. But man, his OBP barely went over .300 last season. It was well below .300 his previous two seasons. He owns a career 4% walk-rate and a whopping 29.4% strikeout rate — that’s the kind of stuff to get a young player sent down to the minors.
The dual-position eligibility, the aforementioned blazing speed, and the electric potential make him extremely enticing, but the downfall that comes with such egregious plate discipline is just too much for me. All that said, if you cover most of your hitting categories in earlier rounds — or if you think his plate discipline can’t possibly get any worse in 2019 — snagging Mondesi solely for his base-stealing is a slam dunk pick for you. If you don’t, then the negatives sure do cast a big shadow on the positives. He will be just 23 when the season starts, so here’s to hoping that as he continues to mature and get more experience, his peripheral numbers get better as well.
Safest bet: Justin Turner – ADP 85, Staff Composite Ranking: 86
So Turner is probably not gonna give you 30 home runs. He’s 34 years old. He’s not as shiny as the other names at the hot corner taken before him. And yes, his injury risk is obviously something that can’t be ignored, but if we’re talking “safe,” Turner just isn’t going to hurt you in any major hitting category. At the 85th pick and with a healthy Corey Seager expected to return to the Dodgers lineup for Opening Day, you could do a lot worse for a third baseman at this point in drafts.
Underrated: Nicholas Castellanos – ADP 87, Staff Composite Ranking: 81
Castellanos’ outlook is hampered by two key things: his home park (Comerica was 21st in park factor runs in 2018) and his team. The Tigers are in the midst of a rebuild, so it doesn’t help Castellanos when the talent around him is lacking. But if the Tigers continue to blow it, they could trade him this go-round, hopefully to a much better lineup. For fantasy purposes, Castellanos could be in line for a .300-30-100 season. At just 27 years old, he’s an excellent option here.
Overrated: Craig Kimbrel – ADP 85, Staff Composite Ranking: 121
It would seem most drafters know something the rest of us don’t, because this is way too early for me in regards to Kimbrel. Hey, I’m a fan — his knuckle-curve is one of the most devastating pitches in all of baseball. He’s proven to be an elite closer his entire career. But there are too many question marks at this ADP. Which team will he land on? What if he ends up on a team with an established closer already? Looking closer (no pun intended): Kimbrel’s walk rate increased from 5.5% in 2017 to 12.6% in 2018 (less glaring, but noteworthy: his strikeout rate fell from an inhuman 49.6% to a still-excellent 38.9% in 2018). Kimbrel looked oddly human in the playoffs too, so we have to hope he doesn’t carry that with him into his age-31 season. All in all, this is not the right spot for Kimbrel.
Safest bet: David Price – ADP 93, Staff Composite Ranking: 87
Price might eventually join the inimitable Scott Pianowski’s “Raul Ibanez All-Stars.” These are the boring old vets who provide solid fantasy value at cheap cost. Sure, Price’s velocity is down. Yeah, he’ll give up the occasional home run or two, or have that glaring disastrous outing. And yes, he might not hit the 200-strikeout mark anymore. But at his current ADP, you’re getting a winning pitcher on the defending champs who can provide an admirable ERA and a very solid K:9 ratio — safe.
Underrated: Wil Myers – ADP 102, Staff Composite Ranking: 102
Okay, so Myers is a big question mark in the outfield, now that Eric Hosmer has supplanted him at first base for the Padres. And his health is a concern. He probably won’t hit for average and won’t score a gaudy amount of runs. But hey, a possible 20-20 guy in the middle of the 9th round? That works for me. He’s already walked four times and stolen two bags in 19 Spring Training at-bats, too.
Overrated: Robinson Cano – ADP 93, Staff Composite Ranking: 111
I love me some Robbie Cano. Prettiest swing in baseball. His current ADP? Don’t love it at all. When he’s on and healthy, Cano has been an excellent hitter seemingly his entire career (.304/.355/.493 career slash line). A move from one pitcher’s ballpark to another shouldn’t affect him much. But Father Time is undefeated, and at 36 years old, I’m willing to wait on Cano, especially when there’s still multi-position-eligible guys like Dee Gordon and Travis Shaw available later in drafts.