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9 Most Undervalued Players (Fantasy Baseball)

Mar 4, 2021

 
Every year, each fantasy manager finds themselves out on a limb on a few guys they deem to be incredibly undervalued. In some cases, we as fake baseball GMs find ourselves to be even higher than the industry and the public on certain players because we believe so strongly in their upside despite the obvious risk involved with them. Our featured experts are here to share with you who those hitters and pitchers they believe in more than almost anyone else are.

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Q1. Which starting pitcher do you think is the most undervalued by both our consensus rankings and their average draft position and why?

Patrick Corbin (WSH): ECR – 127th Overall | ADP – 127th Overall
“I have found myself drafting Corbin everywhere and I realize it’s because his ECR and consensus ADP are both at 127th overall and the 37th starting pitcher. I have him at 99th overall and as the 30th starting pitcher in my rankings. A fantasy manager’s evaluation of Corbin depends entirely on the credence you give to his awful 2020 season. If his precipitous two MPH drop in velocity is real, then I’m not only overvaluing him, but so is everyone, because he can’t succeed as a fastball-slider pitcher if he’s topping out at 90 miles per hour. But, if it’s something that can largely be attributed to the oddities of the 2020 season and the shortened ramp-up time, then he’s a bargain everywhere. I lean toward the latter. Corbin is still just 31 years old, and you just do not see a velocity drop THAT extreme in the course of a single season naturally, so I am a firm believer that it is going to bounce back to normal levels. Even his poor numbers from last year look worse because of one awful start in September when he gave up seven runs (take that out and his ERA drops from 4.66 to 4.07). If he shows the velocity is back in the spring then his ADP and ECR will skyrocket, and I’m willing to bet that he’ll be closer to the pre-2020 version of himself even now.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

“Veteran lefty Patrick Corbin is barely sitting inside the top-40 starting pitchers in the consensus rankings, but he should remain a top-30 option. Before faltering a bit last season, Corbin railed off back to back 200 inning campaigns, registering a 3.20 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 10.8 K/9 over the 2018-19 seasons. As others chase the flashier, younger options on draft day, I’ll be leaning into proven veterans capable of ramping up their workload following the shortened season. Corbin fits the mold and represents a nice draft day value.”
– Wayne Bretsky (BretskyBall)

Dylan Bundy (LAA): ECR – 125th Overall | ADP – 112th Overall
“Bundy finished last year’s abbreviated season as the 17th-ranked pitcher, making good on a change-of-scenery breakout. The righty boasts elite bat-missing secondary pitches, namely his slider and changeup (or splitter, FanGraphs credits him with throwing both a changeup and splitter and using the latter for the first time last year). He wisely used his fastballs less frequently in favor of those secondaries and the results were great, including a 3.29 ERA, 3.80 SIERA, 1.04 WHIP, 6.4 BB%, and 27.0 K%. I’m buying into the breakout and going back to the well this year.”
– Josh Shepardson (FantasyPros)

Aaron Civale (CLE): ECR – 176th Overall | ADP – 187th Overall
“Civale, after being labeled as a potential breakout pitcher, seemingly struggled in 2020. However, we can blame his poor ERA and WHIP on an unlucky .333 BABIP and 15.7% HR/FB rate. BABIP and HR/FB rate are not particularly sticky and take a long time to stabilize, so I’m not putting much stock into those stats. However, he did lower his walk rate by two percentage points, and at the same time, he increased his strikeout rate, leading to a 4.03 FIP. Throw in that Cleveland is the best in baseball at developing pitching, and I like Civale to take a big step forward this year en route to being a top-40 pitcher.”
– Carmen Maiorano (FantasyPros)

Corey Kluber (NYY): ECR – 173rd Overall | ADP – 164th Overall
“Kluber was signed by the Yankees the day after his workout to a $10+ mil deal. If he’s good enough for that sort of investment from a contender, then he’s good enough for a spot in your fantasy rotation. In a year where innings stamina will be in question for many arms, Kluber has multiple 200 IP seasons (and Cy Youngs) under his belt. The Yankees have an excellent track record over the years of getting good seasons out of undervalued veterans, and at ECR 173 and ADP 164 you could do the same.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Q2. Which hitter do you think is the most undervalued by both our consensus rankings and their average draft position and why?

Nick Castellanos (OF – CIN): ECR – 72nd Overall | ADP – 83rd Overall
“Castellanos is certainly a value as compared to his ADP of 83, but he’s also a value based on his ECR of 72. Everyone was excited for Castellanos based on his tenure with the Reds in 2019, but his 2020 season appears to be viewed as a disappointment in fantasy circles. And yes, his strikeout rate was an abnormally high (for him) 28.5% and he batted just .225. But his xBA was .273 and his barrel rate was 16%, which was in the top five percent of MLB. He was also on a 155-game pace (what he averaged over the three previous seasons) of 36 home runs, 96 runs, and 88 RBIs, and the latter two numbers were artificially depressed by the Reds randomly having an awful team batting average based on a historically low BABIP (.245). The Reds’ lineup will rebound and Castellanos could easily pop a 40-100-100 season with a plus batting average. I’m taking him two rounds earlier than ADP and a round earlier than his expert consensus ranking.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Dominic Smith (1B/OF – NYM): ECR – 128th Overall | ADP – 111th Overall
“Mets slugger Dominic Smith put together a phenomenal short season effort in 2020, slashing .316/.377/.616 while benefiting from some extra at-bats thanks to the added DH position. With a consensus ranking in the 120 range and a ADP that drops him outside the first 10 rounds in most drafts, Smith represents a massive bargain on draft day. He’s the 59th ranked player on my board and should hit more than enough to alleviate any concerns about playing time in absence of the DH. ”
– Wayne Bretsky (BretskyBall)

Nelson Cruz (DH – MIN): ECR – 59th Overall | ADP – 86th Overall
“Cruz has been extremely undervalued every draft season for the past few years, and this year is no different. He has consistently been a top-20 bat recently, but is outside the top-40 bats in ECR and is barely inside the top-100 overall in ADP. Part of that reason is because he is UT-only, but I will gladly take 40 homers, a combined 200 runs and RBIs, and a .275+ average from my utility spot. Cruz has kept his body in great shape and will hit in the heart of the order in a dangerous Twins lineup. I’ll reach two rounds to get him, easily.”
– Carmen Maiorano (FantasyPros)

Trey Mancini (1B/OF – BAL): ECR – 179th Overall | ADP – 167th Overall
“Mancini started in the 190s in ECR and is now in the 170s with a bullet. At ADP 167, where else can you find a player with 90/30/90/.280 upside? You can’t! The more he plays in spring, the higher all of the above numbers will rise. He plays in a great ballpark in a hitter-friendly division and by all accounts is hitting the ground running in camp. It’s a feel good story, and you should feel just as good getting such an incredible deal on Mancini.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Randy Arozarena (OF – TB): ECR – 54th Overall | ADP – 59th Overall
“I’m the high man on Arozarena. At first blush, it might look like an overreaction to his superb postseason, but it’s not. His Statcast data for batted balls is tantalizing, and his postseason plate discipline numbers are more in line with his minor-league work than his regular-season numbers. The sky’s the limit.”
– Josh Shepardson (FantasyPros)


Thank you to the experts for giving us their most undervalued players. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for advice all year round.


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