Overrated/Underrated Picks for 2011

Mike’s Overrated Team

C     Carlos Santana *Just not sure a guy with 150 at bats is a top 100 player. I think he’ll be good this year but maybe all the chatter makes me think he’s being drafted to be great.

1B    Billy Butler *Said it on the show, I just don’t see a bunch of those doubles becoming homers. he’s not a guy I’d want at 1B, rather he was my CI or UT.

2B    Chase Utley *One of my favorite players but I don’t trust his health.

3B    Jose Bautista *Draft for 30-35 not the 54. Love the pos flex but there are other OF and 3B I’d rather have.

SS    Elvis Andrus *He has to steal a ton to be valuable. Could be empty in three cats. I think he is a better real baseball player than fantasy. I’d rather have Alexi, Ian Desmond and others.

OF    Matt Kemp *Cory thinks he is now potentially underrated or fair value but I still think the expectations on him are too high in the mainstream fantasy world. A tweep wanted to trade Carlos Santana  and an early 7th rounder for him. I’d rather have Santana and Jay Bruce than Kemp.

OF    Jayson Werth *I don’t think he will be happy watching the Phillies win while Washington still develops even though I think they got better. His comment about doing it for the union and leaving that park and lineup worry me plus the drop in HR, RBI and SB.

OF    Alex Rios *Addressed it on the show. he should be good but not great.last year was his first 20-20 season ever all of a sudden eh goes on a roll of them?

SP    Trevor Cahill *Great 2010 but no K’s and he’ll have a hard time besting those very nice wins and rate stats.

SP    CJ Wilson *I think the league will be ready for him this year. like the guy a ton but I don’t trust him to take the next step. that was a magical year in Arlington.

CL    Neftali Feliz *The main reason I picked him for this is the looming chatter about him going into the rotation and his year was outstanding can he repeat or best? Made an enormous jump in ADP.

Cory’s Overrated Team (see below)
Buchholz.jpg
C      Buster Posey
1B    Billy Butler
2B    Brandon Phillips
3B    Casey McGehee
SS    Elvis Andrus
OF    Josh Hamilton
OF    Austin Jackson
OF    Alex Rios
SP    Clay Buchholz
SP    Dallas Braden
CL    Ryan Franklin

Mike’s Underrated Team
Sizemore.jpg

C     Matt Wieters *Classic post hype. I like what he did in September and think this could be last chance to get him at a discount. Jump on it.

1B    Kendry Morales *The news that he has alittle ways to go for Scioscia to let him play makes me even more high on him. He plays 1B for God’s sake once he gets back he will do what he’s done since taking over and that is rake and mash.

2B    Chone Figgins *He was atrocious last year and still stole 42 bags. I’ll take my chances he can’t be that bad again so everything comes up.

3B    Alex Rodriguez *Scratching your head? He could end season as #1 3B. Doesn’t that make him undervalued if he is going 3rd or 4th at the position?

SS    Asdrubal Cabrera *Man crush city. Would have had a solid year if not for the injury which he only got because he plays hard. Huge value for 2011.

OF    Carlos Beltran *The power of the walk year, move to right and he’s a world class talent. Hopefully the knee cooperates but his ADP is 221 so where is the risk?

OF    Nate McLouth *Super sleeper for this year. No risk and 20-20 reward. I believe.

OF    Grady Sizemore *If I think Beltran can bounce back I think Grady can too. he’d be a trailblazer for coming back so quick from the surgery, putting some eggs in his basket based on age.ADP is 94 so I’m not the only believer.

SP    Dan Hudson *Some guys are so talked about they lose sleeper value. Looks like that happened to me on the new Danny Boy in MLB (sorry Haren). Knew Cory was picking Marcum so I went with next guy in line.I expect a very good year. Rank among SP is 35 according to ADP.

SP    Jorge De La Rosa *It’s a battle over who loves him more me or Joe Sheehan. ADP is 186 his strikeouts should top that number.

CL    Jonathan Broxton *Needs to get off to a fast start but if he does I think he regains close to form and never at a lower price. Closer rank is 15th. Draft as a # 2 CL and enjoy the ride.

Cory’s Underrated Team (see below)
Quentin.jpg
C      Chris Iannetta
1B    Gaby Sanchez
2B    Sean Rodriguez
3B    Edwin Encarnacion
SS    Alcides Escobar
OF    Carlos Beltran
OF    Carlos Quentin
OF    Seth Smith
SP    Shaun Marcum
SP    James Shields
CL    Chris Perez

Finding overrated and underrated players is by definition a zero-sum game: for every overrated player there must be an underrated player. For me, finding them is easiest done by finding two players who appear comparable, with the exception of maybe one category and/or degrees of risk, and then comparing their likely draft position or auction value. So rather than going through my teams one at a time, let’s compare my selections at each position, including their expected production and current ADP in recent mock drafts:

Catcher: Buster Posey plays in a tough hitters park in an average lineup, and has neither the fly ball rate nor the minor league track record to suggest big-time power numbers. Chris Iannetta, on the other hand, has the job to himself this year and both the fly-ball rate and home ballpark to easily top 20 homers given everyday playing time, and his rate stats have remained stable the past two seasons despite his struggles. Certainly Posey will hit for a much higher average and Iannetta has much greater risk given his flops of the past two seasons, but is Posey worth a 3rd or 4th round pick compared to Iannetta’s near-reserve status?

First Base: Everyone keeps waiting for Billy Butler to convert his 40+ doubles into big-time homer production, but that appears unlikely given that his groundball rate has remained consistently high. He’s an excellent contact hitter who will hit for high average, but if you cover up the batting average column, is he worth a 6th or 7th round pick compared to Gaby Sanchez, who’s going in the 15th or 16th round? Sanchez projects as the superior power hitter, and while he won’t approach Butler in average, he will also chip in a handful of steals that the slow-footed Butler won’t.

Second Base: Anyone else notice that Brandon Philips has gone from 30-30 to 20-20 to teen-teen over the past four seasons? Franchise has lost very little in terms of his underlying skills, but the power and speed are clearly in decline as he wears down from years of nagging injuries. Using a 3rd or 4th round pick on him seems very risky when you can get Sean Rodriguez in the very late rounds of 12-team mixed league drafts. S-Rod has contact issues and so won’t hit for much average, but has the power and speed to approach a 20-20 season, and may be eligible at three positions during the season.

Third Base: A big chunk of Casey McGehee‘s value is very heavily tied to RBI’s, which we know can fluctuate wildly without any relevance to the player’s skill. His ground ball rate is too high to support more than 20 or so HR’s, his underlying stats suggest .275-280 more than the .285-300 of the past two years, and he won’t steal. An 8th or 9th round pick is not terribly expensive for him, but I’d rather wait until the reserve rounds and take Edwin Encarnacion. E5’s trends in his contact and fly ball rates, combined with his presence in Toronto’s take-and-rate lineup and favorable home ballpark, and his release from the defensive burden of third base, make him my preseason pick for this year’s Jose Bautista Award.

Shortstop: Given that I hit as many homers last year as Elvis Andrus did, and that he’s not a big contributor in batting average, his value is tied entirely to runs and steals, neither of which qualify as elite. Alcides Escobar was unimpressive as a rookie last year, but his rate stats suggest he could approach Andrus’ production in those two categories this year, and while Andrus is going in the 5th or 6th round, Escobar is going in the 20’s. If you cover up the names they are very likely to be virtually identical players this season, so there is no reason to take one 15 rounds ahead of the other.

For the outfielders, I’ll try to pair them up in terms of who is most comparable…

Outfield: Josh Hamilton is a no-doubt superstar, but he’s not a .359 hitter, not that there’s nothing wrong with a .325 average. However, he is also a major injury risk, just like Carlos Quentin, who outside of batting average is a reasonably comparable player in terms of the other 5×5 categories. Given similar playing time they should put up similar numbers outside the batting average, and if either has a 40+ homer upside, I think it’s Quentin. Hamilton is going in the late first or early second round, but I’d rather gamble on Quentin in the 12th or 13th round.

Outfield: Alex Rios had a great May last year but otherwise performed at a very similar level to what he’d done in previous seasons. His rising ground ball rate points to fewer homers, not more, although he should continue to post solid steals thanks to the green light he enjoys from manager Ozzie Guillen. Carlos Beltran, on the other hand, is a former power/speed threat who will move to right field this year due to persistent knee problems. He’s no sure thing, but he had a huge September last year to demonstrate that the skills are still there. Figure on comparable stats across the board outside of
steals, where Rios should top 30 while Beltran will be lucky to reach double-digits, but Rios is going in the 5th or 6th round while Beltran is going
an average of 10 rounds later.

Outfield: OK, Austin Jackson and Seth Smith aren’t great comps, but these are my last two! Jackson’s huge rookie season was driven by an astonishingly high BABIP, which can’t be expected to be repeated, and his massive strikeout rate and high ground ball rate suggest his average could in fact collapse, leaving him as a one-category player in the 16th round. On the other hand, Smith is going undrafted despite the fact that he’ll be near everyday player in Coors Field, where his established power makes him a threat to approach 25 homers with a solid average and a handful of steals. While he’ll likely be platooned to some extent, he did show the ability to hit lefties during his minor league career.

Starter: Clay Buchholz was one of the luckiest pitchers in baseball last year, with his strikeout, hit and strand rates suggesting an ERA around 4.00, rather than 2.33. On the other hand, Shaun Marcum is getting out of the brutal AL East into the NL, where he has struck out nearly a batter per inning so far in his career while putting up “soft ace” rate stats. Buchholz is going a round or two ahead of Marcum in mock drafts so far, but it’s Marcum who is far more likely to put up superior value this season.

Starter: When considering late-round starters, stay away from Dallas Braden, who was extremely lucky last year, as his ERA should’ve been a run higher than it was, while his poor strikeout rates further limit his fantasy value. Take a closer look though at James Shields, who was as unlucky last year as Braden was lucky, with his rate stats suggesting an ERA more than a run lower than it actually was. Shields is going in the 16th round or later in mock drafts but has the skills to put up considerably more value than that cost.

Closer: Chris Perez is already going about two rounds ahead of Ryan Franklin in mock drafts, but it shouldn’t even be that close. While
Franklin has better command and arguably more job security, his mediocre strikeout rates limit his value, and he’s been consistently lucky with his
home-run rate, a trend that is likely to regress at some point. Perez on the other hand seized the job in the second half last year, improving both his
strikeout and walk rates, and giving up fewer fly balls. Perez is likely to move up in the closer ranks this year, while Franklin is one of the most likely to
lose the job.

-CS

14 Comments

Who else could Cory pick for underrated 3B? Watch him hit 30!

I’ll repeat what I just posted on another thread… yes my enthusiasm for him might be bordering on (or perhaps well past!) irrational at this point, but by ADP he’s going as a reserve pick in mock drafts so far. Even if he only does what he did last year — 21 HR in ~400 at-bats — he’s worth a late teens pick, and if he ever gives a full season he’ll easily earn more than that. So he’s undervalued even by a rational standard, not just mine! :-)

Thanks,
Cory

Cory,

Why the continued apathy/hatred for Casey McGahee? This is two years in a row you’ve listed him as your overrated 3B, but there is nothing in his peripherals that suggests a major drop off. Should Weeks stay healthy and Fielder produces like a pending UFA should produce, .280-80-20-90 seems like a solid baseline for McGahee, which isn’t bad given a MDC value of over 100 right now.

He seems to have less risk associated with him than others in his range like Michael Young, Pedro Alvarez and Aramis Ramirez.

Topshelf, I have neither hate nor apathy towards Casey McGehee, I’m sure he’s a great guy and I hope to have a beer with him someday. I just think he’s being overdrafted right now for a guy who’s value is very heavily tied to RBI’s, which we know can fluctuate wildly without any relevance to the player’s skill… Prince Fielder had 82 RBI’s last year and he is a vastly better player. Also, McGehee’s ground ball rate is too high to support more than 20 or so HR’s, and his underlying stats do indeed suggest .275-280 more than the .285-300 of the past two years.

In short, other than the fact he’s been in the lineup more the last two years, there’s no reason on earth I would rather have him over, say, Edwin Encarnacion (!), who is going approximately 18 rounds later in mock drafts.

FYI, the last time I checked McGehee is also going ahead of Pedro Alvarez, Pablo Sandoval, and Mark Reynolds, and just a half-round or so behind Aramis Ramirez. I’d take any of those guys over him.

Thanks,
Cory

Sorry, that’s “whose”, not “who’s”. Yes, I speeks good Engrish.
–CS

Hello Fantasy 411,

It feels good to be back at it again, right? I know I’m definitely looking to better than I did last season (4th of 10). I know I can surely get off on the right foot by actually showing up to draft my team instead of relying upon auto-draft. I was wondering if any of you guys had general strategies for drafts. I’ve already researched the many lists about top picks for 2011 in each position, but I’d like to go in with an actual game plan on draft day. What positions should I focus on securing first for top players? What are some positions I can leave towards the end? Basically, how would you draft a good team? Here’s to another season of fantasy baseball thrills.

Glenn–NY

Hey Siano,

How about D Wright baby?? haha

Is Matt Kemp really overrated? He was a top 10 guy last year and is still young. I think we should give him a pass for last year since his head was else wheres ( Under an umbrella or something) :)

Keeper question which Zach answered but would like your guys takes as well. I need to drop one for a roto: Latos, Gallardo, Haren. I’m leaning towards Latos b/c of the unproven factor, bad team and big innings increase. Thoughts?

Thanks as always,

Appreciate it,

Hey Siano,

How about D Wright baby?? haha

Is Matt Kemp really overrated? He was a top 10 ranked guy last year and is still young. I think we should give him a pass for last year since his head was else wheres ( Under an umbrella or something) :)

Keeper question which Zach answered but would like your guys takes as well. I need to drop one for a roto: Latos, Gallardo, Haren. I’m leaning towards Latos b/c of the unproven factor, bad team and big innings increase. Thoughts?

Thanks as always,

Appreciate it,

Two thoughts on your OF overrated:

1) Cory seems to think there are 12 Jay Bruces in the league, so anyone can have one whenever. I know he’s awesome but he’s just one man!
2) Last year, if Joe Torre could have batted Matt Kemp 10th, he would have.

“Finding overrated and underrated players is by definition a zero-sum game; for every overrated player there must be an overrated player.”
Cory Schwartz, everyone! :)

Everyone is overrated!!! (except E5)

D’oh! Nice catch, I will fix that right away. But you’re right, E5 is NOT overrated. :-)

Thanks,
Cory

Great stuff guys, love reading this kinda stuff to see what we can learn from last years stats. As a longtime EE fan though, I must admit I had jumped off the band wagon a year or so ago now, but seeing what he did in limited time last year, and hearing Cory’s powerful speech has brought me right back on board! Wheres the E5 nickname come from, seems a new one?

Rather than questioning selections from people far more knowledgeable than me, could you give me your take on these potential breakout names for me:
1. Desmond Jennings- could he have an ‘Elvis Andrews type year’ at a much lower price and provide a bit more pop (not hard!)?
2. Aaron Hill- very low BABIP last year, good bet to bounce back to say 270-25 bombs at a weak position?
3. Brian Matusz- great 2nd half last year unnoticed by most (me included until recently), could he provide no3 starter value at a minimal price?
4. Derek Holland- basically see Matusz above!

Big Barry
East End, England

Big Barry, interesting names. Thoughts:

1. Desmond Jennings – great prospect but the Rays have blocked him for now and he’ll start back at Triple-A, where he struggled somewhat last year due to some injuries. Probably a second half contributor though but hard to be a breakout pick on a half-season.
2. Aaron Hill – Agreed on him. K/BB was stable but got into some very bad mechanical problems and never recovered. Should bounce back into .260-270 range with 25 or so homers.
3. Brian Matusz – K-rate isn’t great and second year SP’s are still very risky, but not much to not like about him. Did very well in the tough AL East last year and should get more run support this year too. Not what I would call a target guy, but a very nice late-round 4th starter in vanilla non-keeper leagues.
4. Derek Holland – Interesting, but not quite Matusz. Bumped up the K rate but walks increased too, and pitches in a brutal ballpark. More of a late-round flier for me, but definitely intruiging.

Thanks,
Cory

What do you make of E. Volquez? He can’t seem to throw a strike and is getting hitting hard. Is it just spring or should I be worried I kept him?

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