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2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Recap: Third Round

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Jan 11, 2020

Aaron Nola was a letdown for those who drafted him at the 2-3 turn in 2019.

We’re going to keep the motor running here, as we look at the third round of 2019 drafts. We featured our first and second parts of a five-part series reviewing the 2019 draft round by round. Here are the breakdowns of Round 1 and Round 2.

We’ll keep the ledes short going forward, and we’ll hop right into the round reviews.

In the third part of a five-part series, we’re going to review the third round of 2019 drafts and how those players performed for 2019 and where they are currently going in 2020 drafts.

We’ll be using FantasyPros 2019 ADP, and NFBC 2020 ADP (as of 1/8/2020)

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25. Aaron Nola (SP – PHI)

  • 2019 ADP: 24.6, 2020 ADP: 50.61
  • 2019 stats: 12 wins, 3.87 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 1.27 WHIP, 26.9 K%, 9.4 BB%

It was a letdown for those who drafted Nola at the 2-3 turn, as he didn’t take the leap into the ace-tier that we had hoped. He had a significant rise in his ERA and WHIP, and while he maintained his K%, GB%, LD%, and fly-ball rates, he saw spikes in his BB% and HR/FB%. 

I’m not shying away from Nola this year, but I’m looking at him around 17-20 in my early starting pitcher ranks.

26. Charlie Blackmon (OF – COL)

  • 2019 ADP: 25.8, 2020 ADP: 45.92
  • 2019 stats: .314/.364/.576, 32 home runs, 112 runs, 86 RBIs, two steals

On the surface, my first reaction was “why the hell is Blackmon the 45th player off the board this year, after he had quite the rebound season in 2019?” There are two factors here that are driving that early ADP. First is his age, which I get. He’s going to be 34 this year, and that’s when you can start seeing more statistical decline. Secondly, you’re going to be seeing more and more near-elite-level hitters who are getting pushed down more and more because of the surplus of great hitting and those making pitchers an early priority. The steals aren’t there for Chuck anymore, but I’m in on him for this price.

27. Gerrit Cole (SP – HOU)

  • 2019 ADP: 26.8, 2020 ADP: 5.86
  • 2019 stats: 20 wins, 2.50 ERA, 2.64 FIP, 0.89 WHIP, 39.9 K%, 5.9 BB%

I mean, come on. Do we really have to review his season? He was a third-round pick, who was arguably the best investment of the year for fantasy managers. Wins and losses are a horrible evaluation of pitchers, but Cole had one loss from April 30 to the end of the season. One. 

I expect some slight regression this year, but he’s my second starter off the board, and he’s going to be fun to roster (but better with a beard).

28. Blake Snell (SP – TB)

  • 2019 ADP: 27.8, 2020 ADP: 36.6
  • 2019 stats: Six wins, 4.29 ERA, 3.32 FIP, 1.27 WHIP, 33.3 K%, 9.1 BB%

Snell took such a leap in 2018 that he looked like he would be a top-five pitcher to roster in dynasty leagues. He still may be that, but he took a major step back last year in an injury-plagued season where he threw only 107 innings. This is the type of guy I’d target in dynasty leagues. Even at pick 36 in NFBC drafts, he’s only down nine spots from a season ago. The pitcher you’re most likely to see is someone between the 2018 and 2019 version of Snell.

29. Andrew Benintendi (OF – BOS) 

  • 2019 ADP: 30.2, 2020 ADP: 108.12
  • 2019 stats: .266/.343/.431, 13 home runs, 72 runs, 68 RBIs, 10 steals

We always figured that Benintendi had the profile that would make him better in points leagues than roto leagues, which is true. However, last year was supposed to be the big jump year for Benintendi, where he made the leap to pre-Milwaukee Christian Yelich. It didn’t happen, and he was quietly one of the bigger busts of the 2019 season. In a year of increased power throughout the league, Benintendi saw his Hard-Hit%, launch-angle, fly ball%, exit velocity, home runs, and Barrels all go down. Not great, Bob.

30. Juan Soto (OF – WAS)

  • 2019 ADP: 31, 2020 ADP: 12.12
  • 2019 stats: .282/.401/.548, 34 home runs, 110 runs, 110 RBIs, 12 steals

Childish Bambino won’t be leaving the first round for the next decade. It’s just insane how good he is. In points-based leagues, you could make a case for him over Ronald Acuna for the long term. I think the power will stay where it is, but there’s growth there for a higher triple-slash line. You’re looking at an MVP-type season coming.

31. Trevor Bauer (SP – CIN)

  • 2019 ADP: 31, 2020 ADP: 82.81
  • 2019 stats: 11 wins, 4.48 ERA, 4.34 FIP, 1.25 WHIP, 27.8 K%, 9 BB%

Perhaps he tried a little too hard last year and tinkered with his pitches more than he should have. I’m surprised his ADP fell as much as it did, but we really only have 1.5 seasons of great pitching from Bauer in his career. I think you’ll see his ADP climb to the high 60s by the time most drafts are taking place, due to the premium of arms. Steamer likes his chances to rebound to a high-3s ERA while maintaining his K% and BB% from last year.

32. Whit Merrifield (1B/2B/OF – KC) 

  • 2019 ADP: 31.2, 2020 ADP: 51.92
  • 2019 stats: .302/.348/.463, 16 home runs, 105 runs, 74 RBIs, 20 steals

Merrifield was over-drafted last year because of the speed he brings. It made sense, in theory, because he wasn’t a zero-power speed guy, and he can hit .300. He just didn’t run enough. With a team with Adalberto Mondesi and Billy Hamilton that stole 117 bags last season, it’s surprising he didn’t match the 45 or 34 from his previous two years. 

33. Kris Bryant (3B/OF – CHC)

  • 2019 ADP: 31.4, 2020 ADP: 55.93
  • 2019 stats: .282/.382/.521, 31 home runs, 108 runs, 77 RBIs, four steals

Bryant had another solid year that warranted the pick, but we are headed into his sixth season in the big leagues, and we still only have one 100-RBI season for him so far. With Bryant expected to lose his grievance, per The Athletic, it will be interesting to see if he’s dealt or not. I’m in at his current price, though, as he’s continued to maintain a decent K% and average to go along with the 30-homer power. 

34. Anthony Rizzo (1B – CHC)

  • 2019 ADP: 31.6, 2020 ADP: 61.44
  • 2019 stats: .293/.405/.520, 27 home runs, 89 runs, 94 RBIs, five steals

We’re at the point with Rizzo where there isn’t a lot of upside, but there’s a ton of safety, right? He does, of course, get a boost in points-based leagues, but in a categories- or roto-based league, why is there a continual wide difference in ADP between Rizzo and Jose Abreu, who you can get at least a round later this year? He’s been pushed down from a third-round pick this year and unless I’m in a points league, I’m OK waiting to fill my first-base spot with someone later in drafts.

35. Noah Syndergaard (SP – NYM)

  • 2019 ADP 34.8, 2020 ADP: 74.83
  • 2019 stats: 10 wins, 4.28 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, 24.5 K%, 6.1 BB%

Is Syndergaard the Trea Turner of pitchers? Where, like I often do, we make excuses each year and just know that better times are ahead for them to be the best at their position? He threw a career-high in innings last year with 197, which is great, given his past health issues. But the numbers just weren’t there for Thor yet again. The good news is that his ERA/FIP differential was the fourth-highest in baseball, and his K% was top 25 in the league, so there are positive signs. I expect his ADP to climb to around 60 for draft season.

36. Carlos Carrasco (SP – CLE)

  • 2019 ADP: 35.4, 2020 ADP: 110.07
  • 2019 stats: Six wins, 5.29 ERA, 4.41 FIP, 1.35 WHIP, 28.2 K%, 4.7 BB%

There’s not much to say about Carrasco, except how great it was to see him return in September after battling cancer. His numbers are a wash due to throwing only 80 innings and making 12 starts out of his 23 appearances. I get the low ADP, but he should be within the top 100.

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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