MLB Mock Draft Army - Late Corner Infield Options
Andy Spiteri looks at the recent mock drafts and the dilemmas fantasy baseball players face when looking at corner infielders after pick 100 in their drafts
We had some fun this week with the Army as our founding father, the Rotobuzzguy, joined us on Tuesday and Wednesday. His followers flocked to the draft room for the opportunity to see how he drafted on Tuesday so that they could snipe his favorite players away on Wednesday. What we saw this week in the mocks was a continuation of most waiting on pitching a little longer then they had been just a few weeks ago. To continue our discussion of potential values and avoids, we will zoom in on corner infielders drafted outside the top 100. The problem is that it’s a vast wasteland.
In this week’s mocks, there were 15 third basemen taken in the top 100 and nine first basemen. Almost every corner available after pick 100 is ranked tenth or worse in Fantasy Alarm’s consensus rankings. Can these players be considered values or are they being picked where they are supposed to be?
Position scarcity comes into play, especially at first base where there is a tier that represents a big drop off in my opinion after Josh Bell at number nine.
Yuli Gurriel had a career year last year at the age of 35 bashing 35 homers and driving in 104 runs. Can he come close to that production at age 36 without the benefit of a juiced ball and with any potential Astrogate ramifications? His projections by Steamer were paltry compared to 2019 based on a full season with 23 HR and 91 RBI. He ranked 21st in home runs by corner eligible infielders last year and with these projections it’s no wonder his ADP is a mid-12th round selection at 137 in the NFBC. Can the shortened season benefit Gurriel and keep him fresh so that he can approach his fountain of youth production of 2019? If he can, he becomes a value as your corner infielder or bottom end first baseman.
Kansas City seems like a vast wasteland itself when it comes to fantasy baseball unlike its football brethren from Arrowhead. In his mostly age 27 season, Hunter Dozier became a solid fantasy contributor. He improved both his walk and strikeout rates which led to a 50-point increase in his batting average to .279. This was aided by a higher than average BABIP of .339 that was surprising as he increased his FB% which should equate to a lower BABIP. This could be the reason that the projections are for a lower average, but his counting stats are in line with last year. With an ADP of 181 in the NFBC and 152 in this week’s MDA, Dozier adds a solid boost to your home run and RBI numbers at this point in the draft.
Another team that garners little interest from the fantasy perspective, sorry Ivar, are the Tigers which can lead to the value that expected starter C.J. Cron can provide. Cron’s ADP has gone from an overall of 233 in all drafts to 204 in NFBC drafts since April 1st. That’s a two-round jump as drafters have realized that he can provide solid numbers as a back-end corner option at the end of the 17th round. His projections are a rarity where the consensus has him improving over his numbers from last year. If you are still in need of a corner that late in the draft, Cron is deserving of your consideration.
As I alluded to earlier, every corner drafted after pick 100 has some inherent risk to them. All of them can be considered an “avoid” and is the reason why the position is so sought after in the top 100. You will not find players such as Corey Seager , Amed Rosario , and Jorge Polanco who can all be drafted after pick 100. In this shortened season, here is one who I am staying away from.
Joey Votto fell off the proverbial cliff in 2018 and didn’t climb back up in 2019. His decline correlated with the lowest BB% and highest K% of his career. Does anyone expect him to bounce back? In a way, the projections do as they are predicting a 50% increase in his RBI production. 50%?!?! When you only drive in 47 runs, I guess that isn’t too hard, but I’m not buying it. Votto has had back to back years of low production from the first base position and I would only invest in him as a bench player. I don't think analytics play a big role here. He is just past his prime.
The rest of the corners after pick 100 can be viewed as a collection of players who are either getting up in years (Edwin Encarnación , Carlos Santana , Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy ) or are not that exciting with limited upside (Eric Hosmer , Christian Walker , Gio Urshela , and Brian Anderson ). If you want to avoid making these decisions, grabbing your corner infielders early is the way to go and then use your picks in Rounds 9 and beyond on deeper positions.
Stay safe, join the Mock Draft Army next week, and always available on Twitter @gasdoc_spit