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Fantasy Baseball Draft Arbitrage: Hitters to Draft (2024)

Fantasy Baseball Draft Arbitrage: Hitters to Draft (2024)

We get a better feel of the fantasy baseball Average Draft Position (ADP) as we ramp up the draft season. The key to ADP is not becoming reliant on it but instead using it as a guide to help look for value and know where certain players are drafted.

Finding potential value is the most crucial use for ADP. There are similar skill sets at each position, but some players may be drafted higher based on name value, coming off of a career year or many other factors.

If we ignore names and look at stats or projections, we could discover players going later in the draft that may be worth taking instead of someone earlier. There will be many examples of potential value throughout a draft, but I’ve been focusing on a few early in the draft season, specifically hitters.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Arbitrage: Hitters to Target (2024)

Middle Infield

Anthony Volpe (SS – NYY): ADP 144 | Trevor Story (SS – BOS): 174

Anthony Volpe is coming off a rookie season where he went 20/20 with 21 home runs and 24 stolen bases. He put up these solid numbers while only hitting .209 with a 27.8% strikeout rate. The 9% barrel rate and 42.7% hard-hit rate leave some optimism, but the batting average needs to improve drastically.

Farther down the draft board, we have Trevor Story. Story missed a large chunk of 2023, recovering from a UCL injury. Over 43 games, he hit .203 with three home runs and 10 stolen bases while striking out 32.7% of the time. Not a superb season by any means for Story, but it was great to see him return to the field as he gets ready for 2024.

The production was terrible, but he still had a 9.7% barrel rate and a 40% hard-hit rate, which was in line with previous seasons. Story was a 20/20 producer who hit close to .250 during those last seasons. Projections have Story hitting 20 home runs with 21 steals and a .240 batting average, which aligns with Volpe’s projections. Enjoy the draft day discount on Story, who is hitting in the middle of the Red Sox batting order.

Corner Infield

Alec Bohm (1B, 3B – PHI): ADP 160 | Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B – PIT): ADP 186

Alec Bohm has been a serviceable bat and was solid in 2023, hitting 20 home runs and .274. He only stole four bases with 74 runs scored but did drive in 97 runs. It was a 25 RBI jump from last season, which may not be sustainable, but the power and batting average should be similar. Bohm likely will not run much, either.

Ke’Bryan Hayes had a solid finish to 2023, hitting 15 home runs and stealing 10 bases while hitting .271. Hayes made significant improvements in the second half of the season, where he hit .299 compared to .252 in the first half. He also hit 10 of his 15 home runs in the second half. Hayes only stole one base in the second half, so maybe trading speed for power, but that is still to be determined.

Hayes improved his launch angle in the second half to go with the strong barrel and hard-hit rates he has always showcased. He could be a 20/15 player while hitting for a strong batting average. The power and speed combo gives him a bump over Bohm. If Bohm’s counting stats return to his previous season totals, then Hayes is a strong buy over Bohm at his ADP.

Outfield

Lane Thomas (OF – WAS): ADP 114 | Chas McCormick (OF – HOU): ADP 162

Lane Thomas is coming off a career year where he hit 28 home runs with 20 stolen bases and 101 runs scored. Thomas even drove in 86 runs in the leadoff role while hitting .268. It was quite an impressive year for Thomas, especially coming off a 2022 season where he hit .241 with 17 home runs and eight stolen bases. The improved production was excellent for Thomas, but the sustainability of the production is in question.

Meanwhile, Chas McCormick played part-time for the Astros and hit .273 with 22 home runs and 19 stolen bases over 115 games. This was a significant improvement on 14 home runs and four steals over 119 games in 2022. Overall, it was impressive growth for McCormick, similar to the growth Thomas showcased last season.

The big difference is that Thomas did this in an entire season. He will still lead off, but that may be even worse offensively for the Nationals than last season. McCormick will be a primary outfielder in a very potent Houston offense. McCormick was nearly a 20/20 bat last year in less than 120 games. An entire season of action could lead to a 25/20 season, which is excellent, especially going almost 50 picks after Thomas.

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