Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch: March 27
Justin Vreeland surveys the fantasy baseball world and examines whose stock is rising and whose is falling.
The MLB regular season is upon us and Opening Day is tomorrow! Players perceived values are still constantly changing and it is very important to keep up with the trends and why their values are changing. Most leagues have already drafted, but we can still use ADP trends as a tool to see whose value is changing and what it means for fantasy purposes. It is helpful for who should be picked up, dropped, or even traded for. So whose values are changing and why?
Eloy Jiménez – Jimenez and the White Sox agreed to a new contract a few days ago and it was something that the fantasy community loved. The deal means that Jimenez has no reason to start the year at AAA and he will be in the White Sox Opening Day lineup. His ADP jumped up to 99 this week after having sat at 123 in the week prior. Anyone who had already drafted him (myself included in many leagues) has to be ecstatic about this news and is feeling really good about drafting him. He is the #3 prospect in baseball and he offers huge upside as a rookie. Last year across 416 at bats between AA and AAA Jimenez hit .337 with 22 home runs and 75 RBI. He is a pure hitter that is going to make a splash and now it will be right away.
Jung Ho Kang – News broke last week that Kang would be the Pirates starting third baseman and it has his ADP soaring. This week his ADP sat at 290, which is up 130(!) slots from his 420 mark in the week prior. It also doesn’t hurt that he has had a tremendous Spring Training in which he has hit .250 with seven home runs, 11 RBI, 11 runs scored, two doubles, and a stolen base across 44 at bats. Kang debuted in 2015 with the Pirates and had a strong rookie season with 15 home runs and a .287 batting average across 421 at bats. He followed that up in 2016 with 21 home runs and a .255 batting average across just 318 at bats. He’s basically been out of the game since then (six at bats in 2018) with legal issues, but he is back and continues to flash plenty of power. He could be an absolute steal this year, even at his new ADP.
Caleb Smith – The Marlins are going with a young rotation and they announced that Smith will be a part of the season opening rotation. That news, along with his strikeout upside (88 across 77.1 innings pitched in 2018), has the lefties ADP sky rocketing. His ADP this week was 381, up 107 spots from his 488 mark in the week prior. Smith has a nice strikeout profile and youth on his side, but his injury history and team put a big damper on his upside this year. The Marlins are going to be bad, very bad, and it is going to be tough for any of their starting pitchers to win a lot of games. He makes for a nice best ball target and will likely have some solid days in DFS or as a streamer, but don’t expect him to consistently help your staff this year.
Tim Beckham – Under stocks to watch in last week’s piece I wrote about Beckham “Beckham had a really nice 2017, but was a complete disappointment in 2018. However, it’s 2019 and Beckham is arguably the best player on the planet, kidding of course, but he had a monster first game as he finished 3-3 with a home run, three runs, two RBI, and a walk. I can bet you that you start seeing people pick this guy at the end of their drafts” and that statement proved true this week. His ADP jumped up to 338 (or in other words an-end-of-draft pick) after sitting at 677 (or in other words virtually undrafted) in the week prior. Beckham has a nice duel-position eligibly of SS/3B and there is no risk in taking a shot on him at the end of your draft or plucking him off the wire. He is a former first overall pick and is still only 29 years old.
Joc Pederson – Pederson has had a rough Spring Training – .167 batting average with 17 strikeouts across 48 at bats – and he still can’t hit lefties (1-9 with five strikeouts in Spring Training after hitting .170 against them last season with just one of his 25 home runs coming against a lefty across 53 at bats). The Dodgers have already stated that they plan on Platooning him and it has his draft stock plummeting. His ADP this week was 421, down 33 spots from his 388 mark in the week prior. Pederson has a lot of pop, but his inability to hit lefties and his high strikeout rate really put a damper on any possible fantasy value he has. It also doesn’t help that his home park ranks amongst the worst in the league in park factors in regards to offense. He can be avoided in most leagues.
Tyler Glasnow – Glasnow was a trendy upside pick for this year at the beginning of the fantasy baseball draft season, but a horrendous Spring Training – 10.38 ERA and 2.00 WHIP across 13.0 innings pitched – has lowered his draft stock. This week his ADP was 164, an 11 pick drop from his 153 mark in the week prior. Glasnow has flashed potential and his 64 strikeouts across 55.2 innings as a starter for the Rays last season had him looking like a breakout candidate for this year. However, he still has a 5.35 career ERA and major trouble with walks (110 across 197 innings pitched in his career). His eight walks across his 13 innings in Spring Training do not give us any reason to believe he is improving in that area either, making him a high risk/high reward pick at his current ADP.
Archie Bradley – Fantasy baseball players were hoping Bradley would be named the Diamondbacks closer and were drafting him as such, but the recent news that he would be used in a setup role (once again) this year has really crushed his value in fantasy. His ADP this week dropped to 226, down 21 spots from his 205 mark in the week prior. However, that news only broke two days ago and if we look at his ADP since then it is far lower than even that 226 mark as over the last two days his ADP is at 253. The fact that he is still being drafted in the mid-200’s shows that no one in the fantasy community believes Greg Holland will last as the Dbacks closer, but for the time being Bradley doesn’t have much value outside of leagues that use holds as a category.
Stocks to Watch
Niko Goodrum – Goodrum’s ADP has held steady in the 300-to-310 range and while draft season is coming to a close he is someone you could see getting picked up off waivers or traded for a lot if he starts the year off hot. He has multi-position eligibility on all sites (some more positions than others) and is locked into a starting role with the Tigers (albeit at multiple positions). He is slated to hit sixth in their lineup and offers a nice blend of power and speed. Last season, he flashed nice potential as he hit 16 home runs and 12 stole bags across 444 at bats as a rookie. He has had a strong Spring Training hitting .327 with two home runs and two stolen bases, making it a bit curious that his ADP hasn’t really changed much for a guy that can offer all that Goodrum does (power/speed/multiple positions). He is a very solid own in fantasy.
*ADPs are based on NFBC drafts.