Now that the Superbowl has come and gone, all Fantasy players can now focus on America’s Pastime and the upcoming baseball season. Pitchers and catchers are due to start reporting this week. With baseball now back in our lives, the world is definitely a better place.
Fantasy players are always on the lookout for value and finding a pair of players at the same position that are mispriced is one of the best ways to achieve this.
Today, we will kickoff this year’s Mispriced Pairs series with a peek at infielders. As we have in the past, we will perform ADP analysis and see if we can spot some market inefficiencies. A player’s value is driven by a variety of factors including media attention, historical name value, prospect hype, and consistency.
Players that play in big television markets are also open to be overvalued as the world tends to hear more about them on a constant basis. Fading stars that are on the back nine of their careers can often be priced like the good ole days as Fantasy owners refuse to throw in the towel. On the flipside, buying low on an aging vet with something left in the tank is a great opportunity to cash a profit. Distinguishing the difference can usually be found in the underlying numbers as a player’s headline stats may not be telling the entire story. It is common to see rookies and prospects overvalued as everyone wants to be the first to call the breakout. Finally, consistency is sometimes confused with boring and these players tend to be cheaper than players that display extreme volatility.
We will use NFBC ADP data as our proxy for market price. To complete our ADP analysis, we will look at the player’s recent production along with FantasyPros aggregate (Zeile) projections. As with any comparison of assets, if the expected productions are equal, so should their prices.
2017 Fantasy Baseball ADP Analysis: Mispriced Pairs, Infielder Edition
Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals
Russell Martin, C, Toronto Blue Jays
These backstops are both workhorses as they have each averaged over 130 games over the past two campaigns. When you compare their stats over the same period you see that Martin has a counting stat advantage, while Perez holds the batting average bragging rights.
When you look up their respective 2017 projections, not surprisingly, they are very similar. With a near 50-point ADP gap, it does not make sense to do anything but pass on the Royal and pick up some Canadian content later on in your draft.
First Base Fight
C.J. Cron, 1B, Los Angeles Angels
Mitch Moreland, 1B, Boston Red Sox
Over the past two seasons, Moreland and Cron have nearly identical stat lines after you take into account the slight at-bat discrepancy between the two. The lone differences show a slight home run advantage for Moreland and a minor batting average benefit in favor of Cron. Another thing to consider is that Moreland’s 2016 BABIP of .266 was roughly 30 points lower than his career mark despite having a batted ball profile inline with his career numbers.
With both first basemen slated to be in everyday roles, I see no reason why the similarities will not continue. Moreland will have a new zip code in 2017; however, there is a hardly a difference in terms of park factors and team OPS that would cause any material change. The projection systems out there gives Cron a slight Fantasy advantage, but they are small in the grand scheme of things and they do not come anywhere close to explaining the triple-digit ADP gap.
Second Base Scuffle
Ben Zobrist, 2B, Chicago Cubs
Logan Forsythe, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers
All things considered, Zobrist and Forsythe should provide their Fantasy owners with essentially the same production. Over the past two seasons, Forsythe holds the upper hand in terms of home runs and stolen bases, while Zobrist has the edge in runs (thanks to his superior on-base skills) and RBIs. Projection wise, the story is the same. Expect to see no major differences in 2017.
Embedded in Zobrist’s price is the fact that he plays for the Cubs and also how he performed on their Fall march as they broke their 106-year-old curse. Zobrist does have the advantage in terms of position flexibility, but since his additional position is in the outfield, that advantage is quite minor. With the fact that Forysthe is now donning Dodger blue, we should not be expecting any major differences due to the change in address as both the Rays and Dodgers experienced similar park factors and had a similar team OPS last year. In conclusion, the 70-point ADP gap is too large given the expected minor differences in their stat lines.
Third Base Throw down
Nick Castellanos, 3B, Detroit Tigers
Yangervis Solarte, 3B, San Diego Padres
Over the past two years, there has been basically no disparity between Castellanos and Solarte despite their differences with their approaches at the plate. Castellanos has the superior batted ball profile given his line drive rate and hard hit rate, while Solarte has the advantage in terms of batting eye, evidenced by his BB/K rate. The projection systems seem to take note of this as they give a slight power nod to Castellanos and a slight batting average advantage to Solarte.
Part of the reason for Solarte being undervalued lies in the fact that he plays on the West Coast with the lowly Padres. Do not fall into the same trap as the consensus, just ignore the Tiger and patiently wait over 70 picks later and pick up the player that mans the hot corner for the Friars.
Brad Miller, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
Marcus Semien, SS, Oakland Athletics
Both Miller and Semien are coming off breakout power campaigns in 2016 as they both more than doubled their career long ball totals. Miller’s home run increase was driven by a material jump in both his hard hit rate and pull rate that led to a HR/FB spike from roughly 10-percent up to over 20-percent. Semien’s power increase came on the back of a smaller increase in his HR/FB rate from just over 9-percent up to a mark just shy of 15-percent; however, his batted ball profile was quite similar to his career numbers.
If you are looking for a mid-round shortstop that provides both pop and speed, you should be targeting Semien, since his ADP is nearly 50 points later than Miller. The projection systems seem to agree to as they show nearly the same numbers for both shortstops.
When it comes to finding value, your goal should be to maximize production with each and every pick. If you able able to uncover similar players at a given position through ADP analysis then that frees up an earlier pick to select a player at another position that is more fairly valued. Now that we have uncovered the infield mispriced pairs, make sure you check back soon as we continue our ADP analysis and move on to the outfield.
Data courtesy of www.fangraphs.com
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