Second Base Position Preview - Overvalued Players
Justin Vreeland goes over the ADP landscape for fantasy baseball and gives you three players going too early in drafts so far this season.
Last week, in the first edition of the second baseman preview, we took a look at a number of players going after pick 200 and how they could exceed their value and/or be beneficial to your team. This week we are doing the opposite and are going to break down three second baseman going earlier in drafts than they should and why you should avoid them at their price tag. Let’s dive in!
Jonathan Villar , Marlins
NFBC ADP: 43.8
I know, speed is scarce, but there is just no way I could spend a top-50 pick on this guy. Was he amazing last year? Yes. He had a great year, hitting .274 with 24 home runs and 40 stolen bases. That being said, there are so many factors to consider and just about all of them turn me away from him. For starters, he played in all 162 games last season (and racked up 714 plate appearances!) to accrue those stats and the likely hood of that repeating is very low. No one plays 162 games anymore, only five guys did it last season and Villar played in 122 games and 141 games the two years prior. Next we must consider the chatter about the ball being changed back to the 2018 version. Sure, that will hurt everyone’s power production, but it hurts guys like Villar the most. He is not a power hitter. He does not hit the ball hard, as he was in the sub-40 percentile in both exit velocity and hard contact rate. He also hits a ton of groundballs, registering the ninth-highest ground ball rate (48.9-percent) of all hitters with at least 600 plate appearances. This means any change to the ball could be massive for him. Next we must consider his change in home ballparks and division. He hit 16 of his 24 home runs at home last season in the hitter-friendly Oriole Park at Camden Yards (top-five offensive park in both runs and HR factor). He now moves to Marlins Park, which ranked 28th in HR factors. A move from a top-five park to a bottom-five park is extreme, to say the least. He will also face stronger pitching in the NL East than he faced in the AL East and he is expected to hit leadoff, which would mean he has a pitcher hitting in front of him (Far fewer RBI opportunities). I would expect his home run total to drop below 15 this year. He is a career .261 hitter, so he’s not helping you there. So what are you left with? A guy who will steal around 30-35 bags and help you in no other category. Find your stolen bases a different way and use your 3rd-4th round pick on someone who will contribute in more than one category.
Keston Hiura , Brewers
NFBC ADP: 45.5
Let me start by saying I actually really like Hiura. I think he’s a good player and has a bright future, but this ADP is craziness. He is being drafted like an ELITE player and he just isn’t there, not this year at least. There are some major red flags from his numbers last season that should worry anyone drafting him in this range. His .303 batting average as a rookie was impressive, but it came with a .402 BABIP, which was the THIRD-highest of all players with at least 300 plate appearances. His .266 xBA is a better indicator of what his batting average should have looked like and will likely look like this season. He also had a 30.7-percent strikeout rate, which was also amongst the highest in the league. Of the 19 players who struck out at least 30-percent of the time (300 plate appearances minimum), only three of them hit at least .265, and one of them was Brandon Lowe , who had an xBA of .244. It is very difficult to hit for a high average when you are striking out this much. I would not be surprised at all if Hiura hits in the .250-.260 range this season. Next, we have to look at his stolen base production. People love the idea of Hiura swiping 15-20 bags this season, but is that likely? Looking at his minor league numbers, he successfully stole 24 bases on 39 attempts across 222 games. That is a terrible success rate and unless he can maintain the rate he had during his rookie season (9-of-12), he is not going to have the green light. His power has developed and it is legit, but it’s not anything crazy. We could be looking at a .260 batting average, 25-to-30 home runs, and about ten stolen bases. As much as I like him as a player, that production is not worth this early of a pick. He needs to develop more, but he is being drafted like a finished product.
Cavan Biggio , Blue Jays
NFBC ADP: 132.7
Another big name youngster going earlier in drafts than he should. Biggio hit .234 with 16 home runs and 14 steals across 354 at-bats last season as a rookie and while the 16-14 is nice, that batting average is a killer. He struck out at a high rate (28.6-percent) and was only in the 41st-percentile of exit velocity. He was not unlucky (.309 BABIP and .240 xBA), he just doesn’t hit for a good average. That’s who he is. Collective projection systems from THE BAT, ATC, Depth Charts, Streamer, and ZiPS have him at about 20 home runs, 13 stolen bases, and a .229 average. Is that anywhere near worth a pick in his range? Not a chance. For comparison, Niko Goodrum is being selected at around pick 275 and the collective projection systems have him at about 18 home runs, 13 stolen bases, and a .241 batting average. That is 140 picks later for an almost identical projection. Does Biggio have slightly more upside this year? Sure, but that doesn’t mean he should be going this early in drafts. He is going to kill your batting average without really helping you in any category. There are better players to be had at this pick who will help you in far more categories. Don’t reach for the shiny new toy.