Analyzing Underranked Players in CBS Drafts (2019 Fantasy Baseball)

by Carmen Maiorano | @cmaiorano3 | Featured Writer
Mar 12, 2019

Where you should take Francisco Lindor depends on how serious you think his injury is

A few days ago, we examined the players in CBS drafts going earlier than the consensus ADP, and if the drafters are right or wrong, at least from the experts’ point of view. We even equated it to dating — and it wasn’t that big of a stretch! Now, we’ll analyze the players that are underranked on CBS and whether you need to take advantage of those players, or if you can let them pass on by.

A few caveats that bear mentioning:

  • CBS’s standard league is a two-catcher league, so you’ll see a lot of catchers drafted above their consensus ADP. That doesn’t factor much into this article, but it’s something to consider if you are wondering why there aren’t catchers listed here.
  • A lot of young guns such as Casey Mize, Sixto Sanchez, and Joey Bart are ranked higher than you would expect in a standard redraft league. CBS groups their ADPs for all drafts, meaning that it doesn’t segregate between keeper/dynasty drafts, versus your regular standard draft. To keep out of that mess, we’re staying away from prospects.
  • This is geared towards 5×5 rotisserie.

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Javier Baez (2B/SS – CHC) 
ECR: 22, Consensus ADP: 16, CBS ADP: 22.58
Now, I don’t have to tell you that Baez has been a very divisive player, given that the experts expect him to regress heavily due to his lack of plate discipline. It seems that the CBS drafters have this one right, given that the CBS ADP lines up perfectly with the Expert Consensus Rankings, or ECR.

While you can’t expect a .290 average again due to his still-crazy 26% strikeout rate, there is a solid floor of .270 due to his batted ball profile. He consistently sports a .340+ BABIP as a result of his near-elite 22% line drive rate and his hustle, which is near unmatched in the game. His RBI totals may actually be consistent from 2018, given that Kris Bryant looks fully healthy in spring training so far, and Baez will hit fourth. If you miss the ace run and are looking for a four-category contributor after the middle of the second round, Baez is your man.

Francisco Lindor (SS – CLE) 
ECR: 12, Consensus ADP: 6, CBS ADP: 11
Of course, the consensus ADP may be skewed by looking at all drafts since January, rather than zeroing in on Lindor’s ADP since his calf injury. However, it’s worth noting that since his injury, Lindor’s CBS ADP and the ECR match up. There are a few experts who believe that Lindor’s injury is much more severe than the Indians are letting on, and there are others who think he’ll be fine by mid-April.

As one of the few true-five category contributors (when healthy) and a consensus top-four pick prior to the injury, you’re essentially getting a safer Baez, but exchanging some RBIs for runs. Lindor has the better batted ball profile (six percent higher hard-hit rate, 14% K rate). Therefore, he has a better floor than Baez. Even if he doesn’t steal, you’re still getting four categories that are near elite.

If you think the injury is severe, simply fade him. If you think he’s fine, draft him right around that ADP.

Starting Pitchers by Age

Jameson Taillon (SP – PIT) 
ECR: 70, Consensus ADP: 65, CBS ADP: 72.72
Taillon’s newfound slider has made him a top-20 pitcher in the projections, and rightfully so. His second half consisted of a 2.33 ERA and just under a strikeout per inning. Strangely, nobody seems to be mentioning that he had an 87% strand rate in the second as well, which may lead to some regression.

Taillon has gotten a lot of helium in the consensus ADP, but bumping him down to between 70-80 may make more sense, given that his Steamer projection says he will barely have a sub-four ERA and a K rate below 25%. The Pirates are also likely the weakest team in the NL Central, so you can’t bank on 14 wins again. If you’re playing on CBS, just hope that his helium doesn’t follow suit over there.

Madison Bumgarner (SP – SF) 
ECR: 111, Consensus ADP: 72, CBS ADP: 93.37
You’re paying for the name brand here, even though CBS drafters are doing a good job of drafting him where the experts say he should be going. Bumgarner has not been the same since his injury in 2017, and he has an 11.57 ERA in spring training. Of course, that doesn’t matter much, but you’d like to see him become effective sooner rather than later.

When he has been healthy, he has consistently outpitched his peripherals. Over the past two years, he has a 3.30 ERA, but his FIP is approaching 4.00, and his xFIP is even above that. You can’t expect that going forward. He’s going before guys like David Price and Miles Mikolas, and I’d prefer those guys’ floor over the uncertainty of Bumgarner.

Jake Arrieta (SP – PHI) 
ECR: 193, Consensus ADP: 192, CBS ADP: 213.29
Looks like the drafters over at CBS are ageists. Arrieta has said he was pitching with an injured knee the entire second half, which led to a 5+ ERA and an 80-point increase in slugging percentage. However, he was actually pretty solid in the first half, limiting batters to a .240/.307/.368 slash line, despite a major drop in strikeout rate. While he will never return to Cy Young form, his floor is worth drafting inside the top 200, especially with the Phillies drastically improving their offense. This is one guy you can pounce on if you draft on CBS.

Top-150 Volatility

Josh Hader (RP – MIL) 
ECR: 135, Consensus ADP: 102, CBS ADP: 121.63
Hader is a pretty divisive player in standard redraft leagues, given that he won’t earn many saves, but he will pick up a lot of wins (for a reliever) and have the best ratios by a reliever in the game. While CBS drafters are going in much later on Hader than the consensus ADP, they appear to be correct. There is a ton of value that you are passing up if you draft him inside the top 125 (Rafael Devers, Robinson Cano, a slew of pitchers like Charlie Morton, Robbie Ray, etc.), and he is truly helpful in just two categories. However, if you play in a league with slightly different rules (holds, per se), you can use his CBS ADP to your advantage and get him early.

Rougned Odor (2B – TEX) 
ECR: 102, Consensus ADP: 141, CBS ADP: 126.52
I’ve written about the volatile Odor before, as he seems to be a guy that has burned drafters previously and we’re now seeing the consequences. Odor plays in the best hitter’s park in the game (yes, better than Coors — at least according to ESPN), will get double-digit steals, and has potential for 30+ homers. The unfortunate thing is that the odds of him putting it together as he did in 2016 are slim. However, he can still offer a solid contribution in four categories. If you prefer the stats across the board instead of say, Mallex Smith’s or Dee Gordon’s steals, Odor can be had over 20 picks later than the experts are drafting him in CBS. That’s a great value.

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Carmen Maiorano is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Carmen, check out his archive and follow him @cmaiorano3.

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