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Undervalued Players Based on Yahoo! ADP

by Max Freeze | @FreezeStats | Featured Writer
Mar 21, 2018

When you’re preparing for a draft, where do you go to find player’s average draft positions (ADPs)? There are so many sources and platforms out there and each fantasy baseball site will have their own ADPs, so you can end up getting lost trying to compile all the major sites. Luckily, FantasyPros does that for you as they compile and average all the ADPs from six major sources CBS, ESPN, Yahoo!, RT Sports, NFBC, and Fantrax. You’ll want to gravitate towards the source you use most frequently because that will be the first place many of your competitors will go to check player rankings.

Today, I’m looking at comparing Yahoo!’s ADPs to where I have them ranked on my site FreezeStats, to help fantasy owners find value in the draft room. I have several leagues and two of them are with Yahoo!, so this exercise is valuable for me as well. I’ll focus on players I have ranked higher than Yahoo! based on ADP and explain the reasoning behind my rankings. I’ll start with a few top-30 picks and work my way down the rankings. At the end of the article, I’ll display a complete list of all the players I have “significantly” higher than Yahoo!. In many cases, you won’t have to reach for “your guy.”

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Freddie Freeman (1B – ATL) Yahoo! ADP 18 FreezeStats Rank 10
I know what you’re thinking; it’s only eight spots! That’s true but remember, when we are talking about a top-tier player, eight spots is a lot. Freeman dealt with a wrist injury in 2017 that cost him about 50 games. When he came back he claimed when he was hitting it felt like “swinging a wet newspaper.” In the second half, Freeman still managed to hit .283 with 12 home runs in 74 games, wet newspaper and all. Those certainly are not first-round numbers, but clearly, the wrist was bothering him. I think people remember the mediocre second half and forget that Freeman was absolutely mashing through the first 43 games, hitting .348 with 16 home runs! I’ve heard Freeman referred to as Votto-lite, but in 2018, he will outperform Votto in just about every category (except OBP of course). I’ll leave you with Freeman’s numbers in his last 162 games:

AVG HR R RBI SB
0.321 41 124 114 10

 
Francisco Lindor (SS – CLE) Yahoo! ADP 20 My Rank 12
Lindor had a massive power breakout in 2017 with 33 home runs which was 18 more than his previous high in 2016. He did not get to that number by accident. His flyball percentage was up 14 percent from his career average! He also improved on his hard contact by nearly eight percent. The power breakout was real, however, it did come with negative regression in terms of batting average and BABIP. The good news is that his strikeout and walk rates remained unchanged and are elite. xStats.org had his projected batting average at .291 and an expected HR total of 34. Most experts and projection systems are calling for regression, but I’m not so quick to do so. If Lindor’s line in 2018 ends up as .291-34 HR with 15 steals, who are you taking, Correa or Lindor? Keep in mind Correa has never reached 30 home runs or 15 steals in a season. I’m going with Lindor all the way. 

Anthony Rendon (3B – WAS) Yahoo! ADP 53 My Rank 34
Rendon always seems to be forgotten even though he led all third baseman in total WAR in 2017. Maybe it’s because Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer fill most of the spotlight around Washington. Let’s take a look at the numbers. Rendon hit .301 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI in 2017 and had more walks (84) than strikeouts (82) while chipping in seven steals. Don’t discount the speed either. He had 12 steals in 2016. He did that while hitting mostly fifth or sixth and will now be hitting cleanup right behind Trea Turner and OBP machine Bryce Harper. I can’t figure out why Yahoo! doesn’t like Rendon as much as I do. He’s a lock to contribute in all five categories, and three of the five should be great.

Tommy Pham (OF – STL) Yahoo! ADP 73 My Rank 42
The best part about Pham is that I may be higher on him than anyone. Therefore, in drafts, I won’t be spending my third-round pick on him. I can wait until the fourth or fifth round to get him. Prior to 2017, he was labeled an injury-prone Quad-A player. His vision issues have been well documented, but in 2017, his vision appeared to be corrected. In the second half his O-Swing% and Swinging Strike% were 18.3% (MLB AVG is 30%) and 6.7% (MLB AVG is 10%) respectively. How did that translate? Well, he hit .313 with 12 home runs, 14 steals, and 53 runs in less than 70 games. I get that Pham carries risk, but anyone that can grab him after pick 70 will yield incredible results.

Luis Castillo (SP – CIN) Yahoo! ADP 122 My Rank 90
Castillo has more helium than the Goodyear blimp, and I’ve been in drafts where he’s gone as high as 70 overall! However, Yahoo! appears to be a bit behind the curve. I’ve noticed over the years that Yahoo! typically is a year late on breakouts. They will rank the steady veterans much higher assuming risk and lack of track record for young players. I’ll provide another example of where Yahoo! does this in a later pick. I’ll make this quick on Castillo. A few key metrics I look at when evaluating pitchers are GB%, K rate, and soft contact. Luis Castillo was one of two pitchers with more than 80 innings pitched last year with a K rate over 9.5%, a GB% of over 55%, and soft contact of over 22%. The other was Lance McCullers who may have been one of the most unlucky pitchers in the majors last year. The difference is that Castillo threw over 170 innings between the minors and majors, so an innings cap is not an issue.

Joey Gallo (1B/3B/OF – TEX) Yahoo! ADP 130 My Rank 73
With 57 spots between Yahoo!’s ADP and my ranks, this is the biggest discrepancy so far. What’s the difference between Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo? About 6% in K rate and .107 points in BABIP, that’s about it. Oh, and about 110 spots in terms of ADP. Gallo blasted 43 home runs last year in only 532 plate appearances, and while he hits too many fly balls to ever have a BABIP over .300, his BABIP is 2017 of .250 was extremely unlucky given the 46% hard contact. Given neutral luck, a slight improvement in strikeout rate, and 600 plate appearances, a 45-homer, 100-RBI season with a still poor but more manageable .230 batting average is not only possible but probable.

Jeff Samardzija (SP – SF) Yahoo! ADP 170 My Rank 125
Depending on where you look (every site may differ a little on final rankings) Samardzija finished as about the 35th overall starting pitcher. Yahoo! currently has him ranked as the 45th overall starting pitcher. I guess they are expecting negative regression even though he had an impressive 6.39 K/BB ratio which ranked fourth in all of baseball just behind Clayton Kershaw. He also had an unlucky 67.5% left-on-base percentage (average is around 72%) and his career rate is about 71%. He also gave up a career-high 1.3 HR/FB but yielded less hard contact and had his highest strikeout rate since 2013. Samardzija was flat out unlucky in 2017 and yet he still threw 200+ innings for the fifth straight season, struck out 200 batters, and ranked tenth among qualified starters in WHIP! There’s a ton of value with a guy who can throw 200+ innings and limit walks while still getting plenty of strikeouts.

Ozzie Albies (2B – ATL) Yahoo! ADP 196 My Rank 77
I’m having a hard time figuring out how Yahoo!’s ADP for Albies is so low. I’m in a Yahoo! auction format league where he’s priced for only $2! At 21, Albies has already had his cup of coffee in the majors and showed great plate discipline, speed, and even some power. He’ll start at second base for the Braves and is slated to hit second in front of Freddie Freeman. I think the power is going to improve with Albies. He profiles similarly to Mookie Betts or Francisco Lindor in that he’s not a big guy but has great speed, good contact skills, and a swing that will develop power. He increased fly balls in 2017 and so far this spring is continuing to hit balls in the air evidenced by his 0.56 ground-out to air-out ratio. I think he can hit around .275 with 15 home runs and 25 steals while scoring a ton of runs. Numbers like that put him inside the top 75 overall.

Patrick Corbin (SP – ARI) Yahoo! ADP 316 My Rank 152
I was all-in on Corbin even before the humidor was set to be installed prior to the 2018 season. He’s also three years removed from Tommy John surgery and threw 189 innings last year. Take a look at the table below including a few pitchers with massive breakouts in 2017. I set the parameters at a minimum of 140 innings pitched a ground ball rate of over 50%, walk rate below 3%, and a K rate of 8.4/9 or above.

Min 140 IP; GB% 50+; BB/9 less than 3.0; Min K/9 8.4
Name AVG ERA K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP GB% HR/FB
Patrick Corbin 0.273 4.03 8.4 2.9 1.2 0.326 50.4% 15.3%
Jimmy Nelson 0.255 3.49 10.2 2.5 0.8 0.340 50.3% 12.6%
Alex Wood 0.216 2.72 8.9 2.2 0.9 0.267 53.0% 13.5%
Luis Severino 0.207 2.98 10.7 2.4 1.0 0.272 50.6% 14.0%

 
I’ll admit Corbin is not the caliber of the other pitchers on this list, but he’s not that far off. He had the worst BABIP and HR% of the group and the humidor should help with both of those categories effectively lowering his WHIP and ERA in the process. There’s no reason he should be taken outside of the top 50, let alone top 75 starting pitchers in Yahoo!, I have him around 40 overall for starting pitchers.

Here is a complete table of players being undervalued by Yahoo! ADP

Player Yahoo! ADP FreezeStats Rank
Freddie Freeman (ATL – 1B,3B) 18 10
Francisco Lindor (CLE – SS) 20 12
Anthony Rendon (WSH – 3B) 53 34
Alex Bregman (HOU – 3B,SS) 54 28
Tommy Pham (STL – LF,CF) 73 42
Lorenzo Cain (MIL – CF) 92 61
Adrian Beltre (TEX – 3B,DH) 103 64
David Price (BOS – SP,RP) 107 84
Luis Castillo (CIN – SP) 122 90
Chris Taylor (LAD – 2B,SS,LF,CF) 124 83
Travis Shaw (MIL – 3B) 126 96
Joey Gallo (TEX – 1B,3B,LF) 130 73
J.T. Realmuto (MIA – C,1B) 135 110
Nick Castellanos (DET – 3B,RF) 137 87
Ian Happ (CHC – 2B,LF,CF,RF) 148 107
Jeff Samardzija (SF – SP) 170 125
Chase Anderson (MIL – SP) 192 136
Ronald Acuna (ATL – CF) NRI 195 127
Ozzie Albies (ATL – 2B) 196 77
Eugenio Suarez (CIN – 3B) 230 150
Dinelson Lamet (SD – SP) 231 179
Bradley Zimmer (CLE – CF) 251 176
Tanner Roark (WSH – SP) 262 207
Delino DeShields (TEX – LF,CF) 299 205
Patrick Corbin (ARI – SP) 316 152
Tim Beckham (BAL – 2B,SS) 319 124
Luiz Gohara (ATL – SP) 332 181
Jordan Montgomery (NYY – SP) 349 178
Michael Wacha (STL – SP) 354 163
Orlando Arcia (MIL – SS) 358 199
Shin-Soo Choo (TEX – RF,DH) 362 164
Mitch Haniger (SEA – RF) 375 190
Michael Taylor (WSH – CF) 377 202
Cesar Hernandez (PHI – 2B) 379 191
Logan Morrison (MIN – 1B) 381 269
Marcus Semien (OAK – SS) 384 131

 

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Max Freeze is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Max, check out his archive and follow him @FreezeStats.

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