A few caveats about this all-overdrafted team. Remember, all Major League players are great at baseball. So please place this criticism in that context. And good fantasy players may choose to pay ADP for guys on this list for roster balance either at the time of the pick or anticipating that they’ll need, say, Jonathan Villar’s projected steals in their overall roster construction.
I’m also refraining from analyzing players I’ve already addressed. For that and more, check my up-to-date 2017 draft prep archives.
C — J.T. Realmuto (ADP: 144): I get that bonus of the steals, which cracked double digits last year. But I’m not a fan of either betting on catcher steals or betting on 8-12 steals. Steals at that level are rarely evidence of any bettable skill. And it’s also unwise to bet on batting average such as Realmuto’s .303 last year when the well-hit rate is low.
According to big-league stat provider Inside Edge, his number, which includes Ks (it’s well-hit percentage of at-bats) was just .147 last year (MLB average was .138). That’s exactly Realmuto’s well-hit average in 2015, when he hit .259. A decent player but just doesn’t move the needle enough for me to forgo waiting much longer on catcher — especially in one-catcher formats. Yadier Molina is going seven rounds later, for example, if your objective is to gain batting average at the position.
1B Todd Frazier (ADP: 70): Had a terrible well-hit rate (.142) even including the strikeouts. For comparison’s sake, Chris Carter’s was .202. Frazier projects to strikeout 150-plus times and if he does that he’s probably a .235 hitter. I can’t take on this batting average hit with a single-digit pick. Remember, 111 guys hit 20-plus homers last year, a record. You can get lots of power later than this after you build up some average surplus. So forget Frazier and grab Hanley Ramirez, who goes a few picks later on average.
2B Javier Baez (ADP: 153): He’s not that young anymore. What you see probably is what you get. But you’re still paying a prospect and Cubs tax. Wait a couple of rounds for the less sexy but probably more productive Jonathan Schoop or about five more rounds for top-of-the-order MI bat Logan Forsythe.
SS Jonathan Villar (ADP: 44): I already wrote about Villar here and don’t see any other notable problems with how the deep class of middle infielders is coming off the board. I prefer Jean Segura three rounds later to Villar.
3B Kyle Seager (ADP: 50): There’s nothing wrong with owning Seager but he’s more of a 25-homer hitter and it’s hard to project him over .270. Give me ageless-wonder Adrian Beltre (about 10 picks later on average) who has hit .300 or better in five of the last six years (.287 the other year). Remember that Hall of Famers like Beltre defy standard aging curves. Beltre’s K/BB ratio (66/48) is something out of the 1950s.
OF Billy Hamilton (ADP: 85): Don’t do it. You can finesse steals in today’s game by picking your spots without sacrificing too much other-category juice and still walk out of the draft room with 110-to-120 projected steals. Hamilton could easily lose his job if the Reds decide to put Jose Peraza in center and prospect Dilson Herrera (who they traded Jay Bruce for) at second base.
OF Ryan Braun (ADP: 27): He was discounted last year given his injury and PED risk at ADP 43. You have to expect at least one DL stint and who knows how that is going to affect performance before and after. I’d take Daniel Murphy with this pick, or a host of other players. Position is irrelevant this high. I think you’re paying close to retail and likely to buy some problems.
OF George Springer (ADP: 32): He said he’s not going to steal much anymore in an interview on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Springer said that the pitchers and catchers are way too good compared with the minors so he’s basically mothballing that part of his game. Remember he was 9-for-19 stealing last year. But that ADP requires at least 15 bags and remember last season was his one healthy year.