Your fantasy baseball draft is finally here and you're sitting in your war room watching a variety of picks come off the board. You've done all your homework. You've read through the entire fantasy baseball draft guide. You've studied the fantasy baseball player rankings, done a few fantasy baseball mock drafts and you've got the fantasy baseball cheat sheet right in front of you. Suddenly, you realize that all the top first basemen are gone and you're on the clock. The cheat sheet says Kansas City Royals first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino is a candidate to be taken this round. Do you do it or do you look to fill another position? That's what the Fantasy Alarm Player Debate series is all about and for today, Colby Conway and Howard Bender offer up their thoughts on what you should do. Good luck!


Why You Should Draft Vinnie Pasquantino At His ADP

by Colby Conway

Kansas City first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino was great for the team last year, slashing .295/.383/.450 with 10 home runs and a 137 wRC+ across 72 games last season. He had more walks than strikeouts, and his plate discipline metrics were amongst the league’s best. The overall hit tool has never been in question with Pasquantino, as that has been his calling card as an ascending young talent. When it comes to fantasy drafts, the Kansas City first baseman is a rock solid selection.

Pasquantino was never heralded for an exceptional power tool throughout the minors, but he showed some power potential last season. He posted an 87th percentile max exit velocity, and his average exit velocity was on par with Ronald Acuna Jr., and Freddie Freeman. Other than his 40.9 percent ground ball rate, there’s a lot to like with his batted ball profile from a fantasy perspective. 

Do I like the fact that his average exit velocity on fly balls decreased as the year went on? No, not really, but he’s still a 20 home run bat in 2023. You don’t have to be elite in the power department as a corner infielder in fantasy, and Pasquantino very well could grow into some untapped power that we have yet to see. I’m going conservative with 20-22 home runs for Pasquantino this season, because I’m comfortable projecting that amount.

Pasquantino doesn’t need to have an immense shift in his batted ball profile, but trading just a few ground balls for fly balls will translate to more home runs on his ledger. His home park suppresses left-handed power a good bit, but overall, he’s in a pretty good division for left-handed hitters. In fact, the worst stadium for lefties by Baseball Savant’s Park Factor is Comerica Park in the AL Central, and they made some adjustments to the field that figures to behoove left-handed hitters substantially.

In NFBC drafts since March 1, Pasquantino is the seventh first baseman off the board, coming off the board around pick 90. He may not possess the 30+ home run potential like the elite guys at the position, but he’s a monster in the AVG/OBP department, and I do expect him to get to 20-22 home runs this season, which is more than fine for the position. Pasquantino should hit .285 with 20+ home runs and a .365+ OBP this year, which is something that our projections only have three other first baseman doing. Who are those three? Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. Jr. If we extend it to other positions, guys like Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, Yordan Alvarez, Ronald Acuna Jr., Juan Soto, and Trea Turner enter the fold.

Harp all you want on his lack of gargantuan power, or his home park, or the bottom half of his lineup. Pasquantino’s exceptional hit tool will carry his fantasy profile, and any maturation or development in the power department beyond 22 home runs will only increase your return on investment.



You Can Do Better Than Vinnie Pasquantino at his Current ADP

By Howard Bender

As I am sure my colleague Colby Conway shared with you above, there are plenty of reasons to love Kansas City Royals first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino. Throughout his time in the minors and even last year during his first call-up, he’s proven to be an on-base machine who walks as much as he strikes out and he also hits for a high average. You’ll get 20 home runs from him and he may even steal you a couple of bases throughout the year. He’s also got one of the best nicknames in all of sports – Pasquatch. But that’s where it ends for him – at least for now.

Despite all the good the 25-year-old brings to the table, the question of whether it is enough should be in the forefront of your mind. The first base position has some depth to it, but is also pretty top-heavy when you look at the rankings. Typically, my goal is to draft one of the top-six with Jose Abreu being the lowest I really want to go. They are proven commodities who offer strong, next-level power and have been fairly consistent in their ability to deliver the goods. I have Pasquantino ranked seventh and his fantasy baseball ADP is right behind that of Abreu, but if I’m taking a player at that range – seventh or eighth round -- do I want a guy who probably won’t hit me more than 20 home runs and only give me a maybe 80 RBI, if I’m lucky? 

There just doesn’t seem to be a strong reason to reach for him in drafts and that’s what I think a lot of people are doing right now. People are afraid to get stuck without a decent first baseman and if they miss out on the top-six, they tend to panic a little. His 8.8-percent barrel rate and 91.2 average exit velocity don’t exactly scream power uptick, do they? And if he wants to hit more home runs, he’s definitely going to need to increase that 21.2-degree launch angle. I think he can be a great hitter, but when it comes to fantasy, it’s about who stuffs the stat sheet. 

Why reach for Pasquantino in the seventh or eighth when you can Christian Walker or CJ Cron who hit for more power three or four rounds later? Or how about Anthony Rizzo, Ryan Mountcastle or Ty France even beyond that? With the ban of the shift, each one should see an uptick in their batting average and they all hit in vastly superior lineups which will aid in both RBI and runs scored? I’ll even go so far as to say that Rowdy Tellez should prove to be a better fantasy asset and that guy’s ADP is floating between 165 and 170.

It's not that I want to run down Pasquatch. I love the kid. I just don’t think he’s ever really going to be a big power hitter and provide you with the totals you need to win. He’s more like an Eric Hosmer-type player than he is a Matt Olson and that matters in fantasy. If you miss out on the top-six first basemen, there’s no need to panic. Don’t reach because he’s a name-brand and you’re nervous. You can fill the position numerous other ways.



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