This Year’s Adolis Garcia (2023 Fantasy Baseball)
In 2021, Adolis Garcia came out of nowhere to hit 31 home runs and 16 stolen bases, winning people’s fantasy leagues in the process. There were obvious flaws that were identified in Garcia’s profile, with an almost 40% O-swing and a pitiful 77% zone contact. These red flags scared people when the draft season came around in 2022, and he was one of the most talked about players as a “fade.” The result of that was he was pushed down draft boards to the point where he became a massive value, going outside of the top 200 picks in drafts. He responded by hitting 27 home runs and stealing 25 bases with a .250 average.
So, who is this year’s Adolis Garcia? In this article, we are looking for guys that the market hates so much (for good reason) that they actually have become a bargain as opposed to being a fade. These are my picks for this year’s Adolis Garcia.
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This Year’s Adolis Garcia
Anderson had a fantastic season, throwing 178.2 innings with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP for the Dodgers in 2022. He sported a career-best walk rate and home run rate to give him a top 20 SP rank. So why is he going off the board after the top 70 starters this season? It is in large part because projection systems are predicting massive regression closer to what he was prior to 2022. However, they are not taking into account the changes that Anderson made in terms of his release point and improving his change-up. His great walk and home run rates are a good reason to believe even if he does regress, it won’t be as drastic as the market believes it will be.
Very few people in the fantasy industry have hated Cody Bellinger as much as I have over the last few seasons, and for good reason. The price in 2021 and in 2022 wasn’t cheap enough for the red flags we saw with his swing and shoulder issues. So, what has changed? The price has dropped considerably. If we think of last season as the likely floor in a full season (19 HR/14 SBs), it is still pretty darn good. I don’t think we can forget that he also has first-round upside as well if he fixes his swing. He has been one of my most rostered players because the discount is worth the gamble.
Perez made a change in his pitch mix to throw his sinker more, and it led to a breakout season that raised his ground ball rate to over 50%, which helped cut his home run rate down from 1.5 per 9 innings to 0.5 per 9 innings. This dropped him from being a mid-4 ERA pitcher having a 2.89 ERA in 2022. Every projection system believes he will regress quite a bit, but why can’t he keep some of those gains if he keeps that same approach? I think he can, especially in Texas’ spacious park. He is looked at as a player with a boring upside and a lot of downside, and while that isn’t necessarily wrong, he can be a valuable innings eater that volumes his way to being a value in drafts.
Estrada had a breakout season in 2022 that has gone remarkably unnoticed. He hit 14 home runs and 21 stolen bases with a .260 average. He was a top 100 player, but for some reason, is being drafted outside of the top 150 players in spite of his production and multi-positional eligibility. I think there are concerns that the power dips back down and that he loses plate appearances due to the platoon-happy nature of the Giants. However, the Giants are unlikely to platoon Estrada because of their signing in the outfield and the losses of established infielders to free agency. They no longer have Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria, and Tommy La Stella. They resigned Joc Pederson, who has to platoon. They also added Michael Conforto, who will likely need to be platooned as well. They currently don’t have any real left-handed infielders on the bench to take plate appearances away from Estrada. He is projected to hit first or second in the lineup, which means not only could he get as many plate appearances as last season, he could easily surpass it.
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