Pitchers and catchers have reported and Spring Training is right around the corner, and we already shared a couple undervalued infielders, along with two undervalued outfielders and two more undervalued pitchers.
So now, let’s take a look at some overvalued infielders for 2015.
When I point out that certain players are overvalued, it does not mean that they will have bad years and that you should not pick them at any cost. Rather, I believe that these players are being drafted too high given my projections based on their underlying stats. It all comes down to value and associated price.
Over the next three articles I will focus on two infielders, two outfielders, and two pitchers who have inflated ADPs.
Overvalued Infielders for 2015
When you draft players in the early rounds, you want sure things. You do not want to take risks early on in the draft, save the risk taking for the back half.
With this in mind, all of the players I will identify as overvalued will fall in the top tiers of their respective positions. I will point out their risks and provide equivalent players who are being drafted much lower.
Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston
Altuve had a great 2014, no doubt about that. By leading all of baseball in batting average and finishing tied for second in stolen bases, he caught the eye of Fantasy Baseball players everywhere.
Altuve’s production, for the most part, came as a large surprise given where he was ranked going prior to last year. Let’s dig into the numbers and check for sustainability.
The red flag is Altuve’s BABIP. As we will see later, the material increase over previous years was not supported by a change in batted ball profile. Assuming a fall back to career norms, the result will be a lower batting average, lower on-base percentage, fewer stolen base opportunities and potentially fewer runs and RBI.
As you can see Altuve’s batted ball profile is eerily similar to earlier seasons. I would have liked to see a material increase in LD% to support a sustained higher BABIP. The majority of Altuve’s 2014 production surprise came in the form of stolen bases and batting average. I believe a regression back closer to his 2012 and 2013 seasons is a major risk.
You know you are not going to get any power and very few RBI out of Altuve, so there is a lot of pressure on his speed and batting average to perform at an elite level to justify his price.
His early ADP according to www.fantasypros.com is the first 2B and 12th overall. The market has not priced in the risk that 2015 will look like 2013 and earlier for Altuve. As I previously said, I do not like risk this early in a draft. I would much rather take the safer Robinson Cano (ADP third 2B), Anthony Rendon (ADP second 2B), and Ian Kinsler (ADP fifth 2B) ahead of Altuve.
I forecast Altuve to finish out of the top three 2B with projections of 80 R, 7 HR, 55 RBI, 40 SB and a .295 batting average.
Danny Santana, SS, Minnesota
Santana had a solid rookie season, especially considering that he was not on the Twins for the entire year. With middle infielders, you can live with a decent average, some speed and no power. Let’s examine the sustainability of his stats.
You can see a hitter that strikes out a lot, does not walk often, and one that got extremely lucky in 2014. This screams regression for 2015. The result will be a materially lower batting average and a corresponding fall in Santana’s counting stats.
A very strong LD% tends to support the inflated BABIP. However, when compared to his minor-league figures, it appears to be an outlier. Also, the sample size is small, so randomness can have a larger impact, as stabilization has not yet occurred. Also, the HR/FB% feels like an outlier given his minor-league data.
His early ADP according to www.fantasypros.com is the eighth SS and 138th overall. I would much rather take the more established and known commodities of Erick Aybar (ADP 16th SS) or Asdrubal Cabrera (ADP 17th SS) ahead of Santana.
I forecast Santana to finish out of the top 15 shortstops with projections of 60 R, 5 HR, 45 RBI, 20 SB and a .265 batting average.
Both Altuve and Santana seem to be going too high in drafts given their risks and the power of regression. They both should be rostered, just make sure the price is right for these overvalued infielders.
Jose Altuve Photo Credit: Keith Allison
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