As we head into the heart of the 2018 Fantasy Baseball draft season, now is a great time to perform some ADP analysis and dig into a few player values. As drafters, our goal should be to uncover value wherever we can so that we get the most out of every pick. Today, we will take a look at the infield and showcase a mispriced pair at each position.
ADP analysis consists of two inputs, cost and expected result. As for the cost side of things, we will be using ADP figures courtesy of the NFBC. The data will have February 18 as the start date so that we include the most recent information regarding factors such as trades, signings, and the humidor in Arizona. In terms of the expected result, we will be looking at projections courtesy of Fantasypros, as they combine a number of sources, which reduces the impact of outliers and biases.
Just like in the financial world, assets that produce similar results should have similar prices. Price can be skewed by factors such as recency bias, media coverage, playoff production, and even draft pedigree.
As a reminder, our ADP analysis conclusion is not necessarily that the pair of players should have the exact same ADP, it is that the ADP gap is just too wide given expectations. Therefore, for nearly the same expected production, you can save your draft capital and buy the nearly identical player at a much cheaper price.
Now, let’s get to it, here are the 2018 Mispriced Infielder Pairs.
2018 Fantasy Baseball ADP Analysis
Welington Castillo, C, CHW
Robinson Chirinos, C, TEX
Welington Castillo, now the starter for the White Sox, has been a relatively consistent Fantasy backstop over the past three campaigns. I see no reason why he won’t conjure up a 2018 season that is similar to his results from 2015-2017. His three-year average is 18 home runs, 42 runs, 60 RBIs, along with a .261 batting average.
Robinson Chirinos is set to open the 2018 season as the Rangers number one catcher, a position he has held since Texas shipped Jonathan Lucroy off to the Mile High City last July. He is coming off a career-best season, and it essentially matches his prorated 2016 season when he was limited to just 170 plate appearances.
As the starter, it is extremely likely that Chirinos will eclipse the 400-plate appearance threshold for the first time in his career, providing a further boost to his counting stats. With a career batting average a just .236, Chirinos will likely lag behind Castillo, but all of his other 5×5 counting stats should be right on par.
With a near 100 point ADP gap, it makes sense to be patient and wait on the catcher position by passing on Castillo and picking up Chirinos.
First Base Fight
Greg Bird, 1B, NYY
Justin Bour, 1B, MIA
Greg Bird has struggled to stay healthy, as he has only compiled 348 plate appearances over three big league seasons. Absent his .227 batting average, Bird has been quite productive over his young career, recording 20 long balls, 46 runs, and 59 RBIs. If you were to prorate that batting line over a full season, you would get a mark of roughly 30 home runs, 70 runs, and 90 RBI.
Justin Bour is one the last relevant Fantasy producers left standing in the Marlin cost-cutting offseason. Last year he set career highs in all five major roto categories. An uptick in playing time should offset his weaker teammates and his 2018 season should look similar to his 2017, with continued upside given his career path.
Overall, Bird and Bour appear to be the same hitter, but they come at different prices. Do not get sucked in by the Yankees hype, fade Bird and pick up Bour much later on and reap the benefits.
Javier Baez, 2B/SS, CHC
Ian Kinsler, 2B, LAA
The young Javier Baez will most likely not have an everyday role with Maddon at the helm and with the plethora of flexible options at the Cubs disposal. His BABIP and batting average seem to be at risk as his unimpressive line drive and hard hit rates do not fully support it. There is no question that Baez is a solid player, but material counting stat growth over his 2017 season seems unlikely.
Ian Kinsler is now on a new team, the Los Angeles Angels. I expect a BABIP rebound as his peripherals seem similar to career marks, which should result in a batting average recovery closer to his career mark of .273. Kinsler also looks like he will have a distinct advantage in the runs department, especially if he hits at the top of the Angels order.
Don’t be an agist and pass up on the value of Ian Kinsler. Ignore the hype and youthful exuberance of Baez and go with the vet. Your results will be the same, and you will enjoy the profit.
Hot Corner Throwdown
Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF, DET
Eugenio Suarez, 3B, CIN
Nick Castellanos is coming off a career-best year and drafters have fully bought in, as he is currently being picked within the Top 100 players. He did add outfield eligibility, which helps a bit, but optimism seems a little out of control. Given his career .309 batting average with runners in scoring position, Castellanos may continue to hold a slight RBI advantage in 2018
Eugenio Suarez’s profile is eerily similar to Castellanos. He actually has a superior BB/K ratio that should continue to support his runs scored advantage. Suarez should also have a slight SB advantage as he recorded double-digit steals in 2016.
At the end of the day, Castellanos and Suarez should provide you with essentially the same numbers. Do not pay the near triple digit ADP premium for the Tiger when the Red will do just fine.
Paul DeJong, SS, STL
Tim Beckham, SS, BAL
Paul DeJong had an impressive rookie campaign launching 25 homers in less than 450 plate appearances, combined with a .285 batting average. His path to an everyday role is also much clearer following the Aledmys Diaz trade to the Blue Jays. A significant dropoff in 2018 should not be expected as his peripherals supported his statistics for the most part.
Tim Beckham finally had the breakout campaign that many expected out of the former first overall selection of the 2008 Amateur Draft. His season took off even more after his trade deadline deal to Baltimore where he took advantage of the much more friendly hitting environment. He hit .306 and smacked 10 home runs in just 50 games with the O’s.
Beckham will likely add third base eligibility early on in 2018, as he moves over to the hot corner to allow Manny Machado to slide into shortstop.
If you are looking for a little pop from your shortstop you are better off waiting over 100 picks and picking up the former Ray on the cheap.
There are a number of ways to uncover value in Fantasy Baseball; however, through correct ADP analysis, you can make sure that each pick has the greatest return. Stay tuned to SCFE as we continue to bring you in-depth analysis to help you prepare for the 2018 Fantasy Baseball season.
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