The MLB regular season is nearly upon us and fantasy baseball drafts are taking place regularly, but that doesn’t mean players values are staying stagnant! Players perceived values are constantly changing and it is very important to keep up with the trends and why their values are changing. You don’t want to miss out on a guy that you really want to draft because you thought he would last longer. So whose values are changing and why?
Francisco Mejia – Mejia has been one of the games top prospects for what seems like forever now, but he has yet to do much in the majors (albeit a small sample). Through 69 at bats spread across the past two seasons he has hit just .174 with 22 strikeouts. However, he is off to torrid start in spring training – three home runs, three doubles, nine RBI, and a .385 BA through 26 at bats – and it has his ADP soaring. Over the last week his ADP is at 238, up 19 spots from his 257 mark in the week prior. It makes sense though, given the wasteland that is the catching position in fantasy and the fact that he can still be had post pick 200. He will be on the strong side of the platoon if he hits well and there is enough upside to take a shot on him.
Peter Alonso – Alonso hasn’t stopped crushing baseballs since the start of Spring Training and it has the fantasy world on notice. His ADP this week is at 226, up 12 spots from his 238 mark in the week prior, which was also up 11 spots from his 249 mark in the week prior to that. Thus far in Spring Training he has three home runs and is second in the league in batting average (.406), slugging percentage (.813), and OPS (1.270) among qualified hitters. He even drew praise from Red Sox Manager Alex Cora who stated that “[Alonso is] probably the best hitter in Florida right now.” His strong power display shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise though, considering he hit 36 home runs and had 119 RBI across 478 at bats between AA and AAA in 2018. Even if Alonso fails to break camp as the Mets starting first baseman, it shouldn’t take too long before we see him manning the position on a regular basis.
Domingo Santana – If you caught my tweet on Friday, you know I’ve grown a bit tiresome of the abundance of Santana talk as a “sleeper.” That being said, his stock is way up and it is important to be aware of that when targeting one of the hottest names in fantasy baseball. His ADP this week has climbed into the top-200 at 198, up 17 spots from his 215 mark in the week prior. He will be an everyday starter for the Mariners and he is crushing the ball in spring training; through 22 at bats he has four home runs and a .455 batting average. He is only 26-years old and it wasn’t too long ago (2017) that we saw him bash out 30 home runs, drive in 85 runs, score 88 runs, steal 15 bags, and hit at a .278 clip. Even with his stock rising, he is still a very nice target at his current price.
Jed Lowrie – Lowrie’s slow progress in recovering from a knee injury is starting to take a toll on his ADP. His ADP plummeted to 382 to this week, down 45 spots from his 337 mark in the week prior. There haven’t been any recent updates on the injury and his return date is very murky, which will always worry drafters. The injury is not considered serious though and he may still be able to make it back in time for Opening Day (or at least shortly thereafter). He is coming off a career year and his first All-Star Game appearance, making him a decent upside selection at a pick close to 400, even going into his age 35 season. There is little-to-no risk involved when picking someone this late.
Harrison Bader – Bader has gotten off to a frigid cold start in Spring Training and people appear to be worried as his ADP has fallen to 201 this week after sitting at 187 in the week prior. Though a small sample, Bader is hitting just .160 with zero extra base hits through 25 at bats and is just 1-of-2 on stolen base attempts. However, he is coming off a very strong rookie season in which he finished with 12 home runs and 15 steals with a .260 batting average across 377 at bats. He is projected to be a regular in the Cardinals lineup and his blend of power and speed make him an intriguing player, but he is projected to hit near the bottom of the lineup and that has also put a little bit of a damper on the buzz around him. He should provide fantasy owners with a 15-15 season, but it may be coupled with a low run and RBI total. If at some point he gets bumped to the top of the lineup though, he would be a steal at his current price tag.
Craig Kimbrel – Kimbrel still hasn’t found a new home and it’s starting to affect his ADP as was going at an average pick of 93 this week, seven picks down from his 86 mark in the week prior. It is far from surprising though. The closer the season gets the more his ADP will continue to fall for as long as he remains unsigned. In all likelihood he will sign and it will be a non-issue, but there is always that slight chance that it drags into the season and becomes a headache for fantasy owners. Personally, his stock would be even lower for me than where it is and in NL/AL only leagues he would be someone I completely avoid. Know there is risk involved when considering him right now in drafts.
Stocks to watch
Chris Archer – Archer’s ADP rose slightly this week up to 131 this week, six spots higher than his 137 mark last week, and it may continue to do so. Archer was abysmal last season with a 4.31 ERA, six wins, and 162 strikeouts, but this is a guy that was going in the top-50 of drafts prior to this year and he is still only 30-years old. In the three seasons prior to last, Archer ranged between 233-and-252 strikeouts and his worst ERA mark was 4.07. He will now get a full season in the National League and should be more comfortable than he was when first joining the Pirates last season. He is also off to a fantastic start in spring training with eight strikeouts, no runs, and only three base runners against through five innings (two starts). An ERA in the high three’s and a strikeout total over 200 are more than reachable marks for Archer this year and at his price tag it’s hard to argue against drafting him.
Austin Meadows – Meadows’ ADP has held steady at 188 this week and he is someone to monitor as the season draws near. The youngster had a strong rookie campaign in his first taste at the MLB level last season as he hit .287 with six home runs and five steals across 178 at bats. Duel threat guys (power/speed) like Meadows are always in hot demand in fantasy and he makes for a strong target at his current price. He is also off to a nice start in Spring Training – two home runs, one steal, and a .308 average across 26 at bats – making it a bit surprising that his ADP has remained stagnant. He will be an everyday starter for the Rays and a 15-15 season is well within the realm of possibilities for the lefty.
*ADPs are based on NFBC drafts.