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Undervalued Players Based on 2021 Stats (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

by Scott Youngson | @jscottyoungson | Featured Writer
Feb 5, 2022
Undervalued Players Based on 2021 Stats (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

Fantasy sports are reactional. Usually, our reaction to recent success is to over-value players. We tend to think that their breakouts are the new norm. As such, players coming off a successful season tend to see their ADP elevated the following year. Sometimes, however, this doesn’t happen as fantasy managers simply aren’t buying it. They don’t believe the success will come again for one reason or another.

In the spirit of this, we put together a list of four hitters and four pitchers who are coming off of excellent 2021 campaigns but aren’t seeing the love from fantasy managers thus far in 2022 drafts. For each, we compare their 2021 value-based ranking (VBR) to their 2022 ADP, along with a few thoughts.

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Hitters

Brandon Crawford (SS – SF)

2021 VBR among all hitters:  33   |   2022 ADP among all hitters:  118
2021 VBR among shortstops:  8   |   2022 ADP among shortstops:  26

Crawford had the best offensive season of his career last year at the ripe old age of 34. He set personal bests in all five of the typical roto categories (HR, RBI, R, SB, AVG). His BABIP was a bit elevated, and his xBA suggests his average may drop, but his ADP of 26 among shortstops seems criminally low. He’s no spring chicken at 35 and will probably regress a bit, but there’s nothing in his profile that suggests he’ll suffer a massive drop-off this year.

Yuli Gurriel (1B – HOU)

2021 VBR among all hitters:  46   |   2022 ADP among all hitters:  121
2021 VBR among first basemen:  10   |   2022 ADP among first basemen:  29

Much of Gurriel’s value is derived from batting average, where he excelled en route to a batting title last season. His power isn’t great for a first baseman, but he’s always been a good hitter, and that should continue in 2022, even though he’ll turn 38 mid-way through the season.

Adolis Garcia (OF – TEX)

2021 VBR among all hitters:  43   |   2022 ADP among all hitters:  91
2021 VBR among outfielders:  18   |   2022 ADP among outfielders:  45

Garcia came out of nowhere to set several rookie records for the Rangers last season at 28 years old. His second half wasn’t nearly as productive as his first, but he didn’t have much around him after the Rangers divested themselves of Joey Gallo (OF – NYY) at the deadline. This season he gets to hit in a lineup that features Corey Seager (SS – TEX) and Marcus Semien (2B, SS – TEX). The batting average may be ugly, but the power and speed are legit.

Hunter Renfroe (OF – MIL)

2021 VBR among all hitters:  48   |   2022 ADP among all hitters:  95
2021 VBR among outfielders:  19   |   2022 ADP among outfielders:  46

Like Garcia, Renfroe will not help and will likely hurt your batting average. But he has tons of pop, and that shouldn’t change in 2022 despite moving from Boston to Milwaukee. Over the last two seasons, Renfrow has cut down his K-rate, which is encouraging, and he should find regular playing time with the Brewers.

Pitchers

Adam Wainwright (SP – STL)

2021 VBR among all pitchers:  9   |   2022 ADP among all pitchers:  64
2021 VBR among starting pitchers:  9   |   2022 ADP among starting pitchers:  52

Wainwright has reinvigorated his career the past two seasons after looking like he was just about done in 2018. At 40 years old, fantasy managers are no doubt betting that Father Time will catch up with him this season. On the other hand, people are willing to make the 37-year-old Max Scherzer (SP – NYM) a second-round pick. Wainwright was a tad lucky last season with his ERA, and he doesn’t strike out a ton of batters, but if he stays healthy, he could give you 200 solid innings – which is especially valuable if you’re in a points league where innings count.

Anthony DeSclafani (SP – SF)

2021 VBR among all pitchers:  23   |   2022 ADP among all pitchers:  74
2021 VBR among starting pitchers:  20   |   2022 ADP among starting pitchers:  59

DeSclafani had a career year last season in his first as a Giant. If you take away one blowup starts vs. the Dodgers on May 23, his ERA for the season would have been 2.67. A relatively low BABIP against him and a lack of consistency in his career appear to be scaring off fantasy managers. However, he plays in a great home ballpark for pitchers and rarely issues walks, so his floor should remain relatively high.

Chris Bassitt (OAK – SP)

2021 VBR among all pitchers:  24   |   2022 ADP among all pitchers:  54
2021 VBR among starting pitchers:  21   |   2022 ADP among starting pitchers:  43

On August 17, 2021, Bassitt was struck in the head by a line drive. It was a scary incident that led to facial surgery, but he was back on the mound about a month later. Grit aside, Bassitt has been a very good, under-the-radar pitcher for most of his career. He gets overlooked in the fantasy community as his K-rate is a bit on the low side, but he’s a good source of quality innings and can help your ERA and WHIP.

Andrew Kittredge (TB – SP,RP)

2021 VBR among all pitchers:  44   |   2022 ADP among all pitchers:  120
2021 VBR among relief pitchers:  13   |   2022 ADP among relief pitchers:  41

Kittredge looked like he may need TJ surgery after throwing only eight innings in 2020. Instead, he opted for rehab and became another gem in the Rays bullpen in 2021. The Rays are notorious for using committees and exploiting matchups with their relievers; however, Kittredge became one of the top closing options for manager Kevin Cash down the stretch. It’s hard to trust any Tampa Bay reliever as a reliable source of saves, but at his current ADP, there’s little to lose.

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