Featured Pros: Undervalued Players for 2013
It’s been a busy week at FantasyPros as we’ve unveiled 4 new reports to help with your draft prep. The reports do the heavy lifting of comparing the Expert Consensus (50+ experts) to various ADP sources. This allows you to easily uncover players that are Undervalued and Overvalued along with potential Sleepers and Busts. Even better is there are controls that let you customize the analysis with your favorite experts and preferred ADP sources.
For this post, we’re focusing on the players the Expert Consensus has deemed undervalued. We’ve highlighted several notable names and asked the experts who are high on each player to share thoughts about why the player is undervalued (relative to ADP). Read on below to get insight into these potential draft bargains.
Expert Rank: #42
After moving to Cincinnati during the off-season, Shin-Soo Choo finds his fantasy value the highest it has been in quite some time. Choo has always had the ability to post great on-base numbers due to a lack of strikeouts and a great walk rate. In addition to OBP numbers, Choo is a legitimate threat to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases, and playing half of his home games in friendly Great American Ballpark will only help his cause. With Choo hitting atop a great Reds’ lineup he will also have plenty to offer in the runs scored department in 2013. I would much rather draft Choo over Desmond Jennings or Michael Bourn. – Reggie Yinger (Baseball Press)
My guess as to why many people have Beltran rated much lower is that they think his age and injury history makes him a big risk. But mixed leaguers should be doing a little dance if they end up getting a shot at Beltran as an OF3 of OF4. He has averaged 534 at-bats and 146 games played over the past two seasons. Will he repeat 2012 (32 homers, 97 RBI), probably not. But somewhere below that, and above his 2011 season (22 homers, 84 RBI) is certainly within reach for the 35-year-old. The Cardinals have an above-average lineup, and he’ll bat clean-up behind Matt Holliday. If you get “stuck” with Beltran, that’s a good thing. – David Gonos (DavidGonos.com)
Anibal Sanchez has struggled to crack the top 200 over the last three years, his only three full season in the majors, but he’s poised for a breakout in 2013. When analyzing pitchers there are three primary stats to consider: strikeout rate, walk rate and ground ball-to-fly ball ratio (G/F). Aside from a blip in 2011 that saw his strikeout rate peak at 9.26 K/9, Sanchez has consistently been in the mid-7.00s, but his walk rates have rapidly decreased on a yearly basis to a career-best 2.21 BB/9 last year and his G/F has increased yearly to a career-best 1.44 last year. Sanchez’s peripherals are trending in the right direction, and Detroit’s lineup should help him finally be a solid source of wins (14+) after winning just 17 in the last two years combined. – Bryan Curley (Baseball Professor)
Scherzer is a pitcher to target in the middle rounds because of his nasty stuff, plain and simple. His K/9 was tops among starting pitchers last season, and he is a single strikeout short of 600 over the past 3 years. However, I’m most intrigued by the consistent regression in his ratios last year, because after April he was dominant. If that isn’t enough incentive for Mr. ‘Don’t call me Mad Max’ Scherzer, he pitches for the reigning AL Pennant winners, who should be even better in 2013. – Neil Parker (The Fake Baseball)
Latos’ first and second half splits tell the story and don’t adequately reflect how stellar he was last season. Interestingly, he threw exactly 104.2 innings both Pre and Post-All Star Break in 2012. Pre-All Star break he sported a 4.13 ERA due mostly to a rough April and May. Post-All Star break Latos lowered his ERA to 2.84. His overall 1.16 WHIP and 185 Ks while tossing 209.1 innings also is a huge plus. Lastly, pitching for a contender, Latos is a solid candidate for 16+ wins. Don’t underestimate him on draft day! – Hector Roman (RotoInfo)
2013 will be known as the year of the Kung Fu Panda. I have Pablo Sandoval ranked higher for several reasons. In the final month of the regular season last September, in 94 at bats Sandoval hit 4 home runs with 17 RBIs while batting .298. His three home runs in a single game in last year’s World Series is an indication of his power surge in 2013 and earned him MVP honors. In the off season, Sandoval continued playing baseball and was named MVP of the Venezuelan League championship series. He will be 27 years old in August, so he is still in growth mode and nearing his peak playing years. Sandoval is getting his weight issues under control as the Giants put him through a series of extra conditioning drills to be in playing condition by the end of spring training. In spring training, he is off to a great start, batting .412 with a slugging percentage of .706. By the end of 2013, Sandoval will end up with better stats than overrated Chase Headley and Aramis Ramirez. – Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Sports Empires)
Josh Johnson, why can’t I quit you? Maybe it’s your career 3.15 ERA or your 2013 second-half line of 89.1 IP, 80 Ks, 3.53 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and .220 BAA. Perhaps it’s the fact that you had as many quality starts last season (22) as Gio Gonzalez, more than Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, Matt Cain, Jered Weaver, Zack Greinke, Madison Bumgarner, C.C. Sabathia, and James Shields. What really keeps me coming back is all of the above combined with your 10th-round price tag on draft day. I just can’t quit the value. – Greg Smith (The Fake Baseball)
Doug Fister battled injuries early in the season, but once healthy he was dominate, as is highlighted by his second half numbers. For the second half of the 2012 season Fister had the seventh best ERA, 11th best FIP, and was top 20 amongst starting pitchers in total strikeouts. – Michael Pichan (RotoInfo)
For roto players, Middlebrooks has the coveted ability to give you positive value in all categories. Based on previous scouting reports and his career thus far, he projects out to be a .280 hitter with 25+ HR’s while mixing in around 10 stolen bases along the way too. While 3B has a bit more depth than past years, Middlebrooks is grossly undervalued mainly because he just hasn’t played a full MLB season yet. The Red Sox already showed their faith in Middlebrooks by getting rid of Youkilis last year and now fantasy owners should put their faith in him too. – Luke Gloeckner (Mr. Cheatsheet)
In a 12-team league the #104 pick is toward the end of the 9th round. I believe that Gardner is excellent value in that spot even though it would seem you can get him a couple rounds later. In Gardner’s last two full seasons he had 49 and 47 stolen bases, respectively. He also had an OBP of .345 and .383. What that leads me to believe is that he’ll be standing on second base quite often when Ichiro and Robinson Cano come to the plate. Both of those guys are excellent hitters with respect to batting average, so you can probably see where I’m going here… I like Gardner to score more than 100 runs this year to go along with 45+ bags. Additionally, he had an uptick in power from 5 home runs to 7 and with tremendous park factor at Yankee Stadium for left-handed power you may even see another small improvement there. It will still be a mediocre number but the point is that he won’t kill you in home runs, or batting average for that matter. I don’t expect he’ll do much in the way of RBI, but he should be a total monster in two categories while only hurting you in just the one statistic. In the 9th round (or later), that’s a steal. – Dave McKay (The Fantasy Sports Brain)
Dexter Fowler (OF – COL)
After setting new career highs in most offensive categories in 2012 despite getting just 454 at bats, new Rockies manager Walt Weiss seems committed to getting Fowler in the lineup more often, either as the leadoff man or batting second behind Eric Young. While Fowler only had 12 steals last year, Colorado is reportedly encouraging him to utilize his speed more in 2013 and he has a pedigree as a base stealer, with 27 SBs for the Rockies in 2009 and as many as 43 in a single season in the minor leagues. Beyond the stolen bases, Fowler utilizes his speed to generate extra-base hits, placing in the top 5 in triples in each of the last four seasons, including a league-leading 14 in 2010. Some regression from last year’s .300 batting average might be likely, but if Fowler can approach 550 at bats in front of a healthy Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki in the Rockies lineup, there’s no reason he can’t have a breakout campaign in 2013. – Jason Willan (The Fake Baseball)
Cuddyer was primed to be a 30/100 player before injuries cut his season short. He comes into 2013 with a clean bill of health, and some surprise speed to show us that 13 SBs with those 30 HRs was definitely possible. Do not sleep on Cuddyer who has a HUGE edge playing for the Rockies. Wait ’til he plays there in the Summer. – Muntradamus (Beast Dome)
Frazier Hit .280 with 12 HR, 40 R, and 45 RBI in 268 second half at bats in 2012. With the departure of Scott Rolen, Frazier will now get everyday at-bats, and if you project Frazier’s numbers for a full-season he has the potential to put up top 10 fantasy numbers at a scarce third base position. – Michael Pichan (RotoInfo)
Machado transitioned to the pros relatively smoothly, considering he skipped AAA to join the Orioles’ playoff push, managing 7 HR in just 51 games. I’m expecting him to hit 15-20 HR, steal 15 bases, and hit for a .270 AVG. Those are solid numbers for that late in the draft. Plus, if he can get some time at SS, he’ll just be that much more valuable. – Tim Young (MLB Soup)
Thanks to the experts for stopping by to offer their analysis. Be sure to check out each of their websites and to follow them on Twitter. Also, don’t forget that you can check out our Undervalued Report to view additional draft bargains.