Connect with us

Draft Prep

Steal a Deal on Mispriced Pairs: 2015 Infielders Edition

shortstop sleepers

Fantasy Baseball drafts are all about getting value. You want the best return for your investment.

The price of a player is affected by a number of inputs. You need to consider factors such as upside, downside, injury risk, track record, and luck.

There are some concrete and statistical drivers, but emotion and feelings play a role too. Some players just have name value, usually from what they have done in the past. Players age, prospects fail, yet their price wrongly stays inflated sometimes. Consensus expectations for a player’s statistics provide a great benchmark to compare players and their associated price (consensus ADP).

In a perfect world, two players with the same expected stats should have the same ADP. This does not always occur in the real world. This flaw in the system is great since it creates opportunity for profit. If you can grab a player with very similar stats to a much more costly player, this allows you to spend a higher draft pick (or more auction dollars) on a better, more fairly priced stud.

Mispriced Pairs of Infielders in 2015

The consensus ADPs and stat projections are from www.fantasypros.com. I used their Zeile projections, which basically are consensus projections from a variety of sources. The batted ball and the BB/K projections are career averages; they are not intended to be projections.

Let’s now take a look at mispriced pairs of infielders that play the same position. In all the cases, the lower priced player is expected to provide nearly identical statistics.

The Battle of the Backstops

Evan Gattis, Houston Astros, ADP 86

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 354 44 21 65 0 .243 14.5% 40.9% 44.6% 17.1% .255 0.26
2014 369 41 22 52 0 .263 16.8% 38.7% 44.5% 18.0% .298 0.23
2015 proj. 463 60 26 74 0 .255 15.6% 39.8% 44.5% 17.6% .276 0.24 86

Brian McCann, New York Yankees, ADP 135

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 356 43 20 57 0 .256 22.3% 35.4% 42.3% 16.3% .261 0.59
2014 495 57 23 75 0 .232 22.2% 32.7% 45.1% 12.2% .231 0.42
2015 proj. 462 56 21 70 1 .248 20.2% 37.0% 42.8% 12.7% .283 0.63 135

Gattis is getting a lot of hype this year since he qualifies as a catcher, but will most likely log the majority of his innings at positions other than catcher. This should provide him with increased position flexibility and potentially more ABs.

Even considering this, McCann should match the counting stats of Gattis and his batting average should be superior, despite the lower projection. This is due to the fact that McCann has a had a better LD% rate over the past two years along with a stronger BB/KK ratio.

I do not think that the position flexibility is worth the price gap. Take the Bronx Bomber and spend your savings elsewhere.

The Scuffle at Second Base

Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox, ADP 92

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 641 91 9 84 17 .301 21.6% 50.4% 27.9% 5.6% .326 0.97
2014 551 72 7 53 6 .278 23.9% 48.3% 27.8% 5.2% .307 0.68
2015 proj. 592 83 10 62 10 .283 20.7% 44.9% 34.4% 7.4% .313 0.99 92

Ben Zobrist, Oakland Athletics, ADP 139

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 612 77 12 71 11 .275 19.7% 42.8% 37.5% 6.1% .303 0.79
2014 570 83 10 52 10 .272 18.4% 48.8% 32.8% 6.3% .301 0.89
2015 proj. 565 77 12 66 9 .267 19.4% 44.5% 36.1% 10.0% .293 0.77 139

The best years for both of these vets are in the rearview mirror. At this stage in their careers, they are basically the same player. They both get on base at a solid clip, provide a little power and speed, and are fairly durable.

Pedroia plays in a big market, while Zobrist has languished in Tampa and now Oakland.

In addition, Zobrist plays all over the diamond, which should at the very least provide a slight flexibility premium. This makes the fact that Pedroia is more expensive even more puzzling. Take the Swiss Army Knife and party like it is 1999.

The Struggle at Shortstop: Part I

Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays, ADP 42

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 382 58 10 37 15 .296 21.2% 45.7% 33.1% 9.0% .315 0.72
2014 610 94 9 51 30 .287 22.6% 41.5% 35.9% 4.7% .312 0.52
2015 proj. 573 85 10 50 27 .286 20.7% 44.1% 35.2% 6.0% .312 0.68 42

Alexei Ramirez, Chicago White Sox, ADP 102

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 637 68 6 48 30 .284 22.1% 48.7% 29.2% 3.6% .309 0.38
2014 622 82 15 74 21 .273 19.7% 47.3% 33.0% 8.4% .292 0.30
2015 proj. 604 73 11 63 20 .271 19.0% 47.0% 34.0% 8.2% .295 0.41 102

Shortstop is a position that gets thin very fast; there is a definite tier change after the top few. I believe Reyes belongs in the same tier as Ramirez, but he is not being priced that way.

Reyes plays in a better offense, but is a huge injury risk especially playing on that unforgiving turf in Toronto. Ramirez has proven to be durable and his slight power advantage should at least offset the speed and average gap vs Reyes.

Stolen bases could be the first stat to fall off once the injury bug gets ahold of Reyes. Reyes’ ADP assumes all the positives and none of the potential negatives. This creates a very poor risk/reward tradeoff. Take the Pale Hose and avoid a Canadian crisis.

The Struggle at Shortstop: Part II

Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers, ADP 123

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 620 91 4 67 42 .271 21.3% 56.3% 22.4% 3.4% .312 0.54
2014 619 72 2 41 27 .263 20.5% 58.6% 20.9% 1.8% .305 0.48
2015 proj. 604 78 3 52 30 .270 21.3% 57.4% 21.3% 3.2% .314 0.59 123

Alcides Escobar, Kansas City Royals, ADP 187

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 607 57 4 52 22 .234 23.0% 46.0% 30.9% 2.5% .264 0.23
2014 579 74 3 50 31 .285 24.2% 43.6% 32.2% 1.9% .326 0.28
2015 proj. 571 64 4 47 26 .267 21.8% 48.3% 29.9% 2.8% .300 0.31 187

These two shortstops provide speed and no power and their projections are eerily similar, as are their recent stats.

Given the underlying peripherals, Escobar’s 2013 batting average dip seems to be driven by an unlucky BABIP. The only material advantage for Andrus may be in the runs department, but that is not enough to justify the ADP gap in my opinion.

When choosing a one category player, make sure he is materially better than other similar options. Take the Runnin’ Royal and steal yourself a victory.

Conclusion

Overvalued/Undervalued
[su_list icon=”icon: chevron-right” icon_color=”#160a47″]

[/su_list]

The above data is all based on consensus, no single projection model and no single person’s biased opinions should skew the data. Seeking out value is the name of the game. Two products with the same output should be priced equally. Buy the stats, not the player. Waiting and choosing the lower priced player allows you to build your team in the most efficient manner, and get a steal of a deal.

Data courtesy of www.fantasypros.com and www.fangraphs.com

Alcides Escobar Photo Credit: Alcides Escobar

Follow Me

More in Draft Prep