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Steal a Deal on 4 Mispriced Pairs: 2015 Outfielders Edition

studs and duds

Earlier, we talked about mispriced pairs of infielders for the 2015 Fantasy Baseball draft season.

Now we move on to the outfielders! This is where we usually find the players that provide significant power, speed, or ideally both.

Depending on your league settings, the majority of starting outfielders may all be drafted.  For example, in a 12-team league with five starting outfielders and a utility spot, plus a few bench spots, there may be as many as seven outfielders picked per team. That is total of 84 outfielders.

Remember, there are 30 teams in MLB and with three starting outfielders, that means over 90% get drafted. Since so many outfielders get drafted, it is vital that we pick the right ones at the right price.

Boring, stable hitters tend to go cheaper than their flashy counterparts. At the end of the day, the stats that are produced are the only thing we really care about.

Mispriced Pairs of Outfielders 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 some mispriced pairs of outfielders. In all the cases, the lower priced player is expected to provide nearly identical statistics.

The Five-Cat Fight

Jacoby Ellsbury, New York Yankees, ADP 30

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 actual 577 92 9 53 52 .298 21.0% 50.8% 28.2% 6.6% .341 0.51
2014 actual 575 71 16 70 39 .271 24.7% 41.8% 33.5% 9.8% .296 0.53
2015 projections 563 79 14 61 35 .278 21.0% 47.5% 31.5% 8.7% .321 0.53 30

Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates, ADP 54

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 actual 510 83 12 35 41 .280 21.6% 50.8% 27.5% 12.2% .363 0.18
2014 actual 495 73 13 56 30 .291 23.5% 47.3% 29.2% 12.7% .373 0.25
2015 projections 540 80 14 56 30 .278 22.0% 50.2% 27.8% 13.2% .363 0.21 54

Marte is five years younger than Ellsbury and appears to be improving. In 2014, his second full season, he improved his K%, BB%, and LD%, in addition to having another solid five category season. Marte seems able to sustain a very high BABIP using his speed coupled with a strong LD% and ability to avoid popups.

Ellsbury adapted smoothly, moving from the Red Sox to their hated, bitter rivals in New York. He is not old yet, but his best years are probably behind him. I think the ADP gap is too large given this pair’s similarities. Save your bucks and go with the Bucco.

The Power Struggle

Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners, ADP 60

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 actual 413 49 27 76 5 .266 16.9% 41.9% 41.2% 21.3% .295 0.32
2014 actual 613 87 40 108 4 .271 17.2% 41.8% 41.0% 20.4% .288 0.39
2015 projections 553 72 28 88 5 .256 17.0% 40.4% 42.7% 17.3% .299 0.36 60

Mark Trumbo, Arizona Diamondbacks, ADP 111

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 actual 620 85 34 100 5 .234 17.0% 45.9% 37.0% 20.9% .273 0.29
2014 actual 328 37 14 61 2 .235 15.2% 44.7% 40.2% 14.3% .274 0.31
2015 projections 525 68 28 85 4 .246 16.2% 45.3% 38.5% 18.8% .284 0.26 111

Trumbo had an injury-plagued season last year. A foot injury not only limited his ABs but also his HR/FB% dipped significantly from previous years.  Despite the injury, his 2014 stats work out to roughly 25 HRs and 100 RBIs over a full season. Cruz had a great 2014, but it is doubtful to happen again. Cruz has had trouble staying healthy over the years and he is no spring chicken as he turns 35 in July. He is also moving to a less friendly power environment in Seattle.

According to MLB Park Factors at ESPN.com, Safeco has ranked 29th, 21st, and 12th in HRs over the past three years. Camden has ranked 5th, 4th, and 21st over the same time period.

With the price gap present, play the Trumbo rebound, watch the Cruz regression and enjoy the D-Back domination.

The Speedy Showdown

Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins, ADP 81

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 actual 240 34 4 16 10 .288 23.0% 63.2% 13.8% 16.7% .380 0.47
2014 actual 582 94 9 54 21 .284 21.2% 61.0% 17.8% 11.5% .356 0.51
2015 projections 567 85 11 55 19 .274 21.7% 61.6% 16.7% 12.7% .363 0.50 81

Brett Gardner, New York Yankees, ADP 144

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 actual 539 81 8 52 24 .273 23.3% 41.4% 35.3% 5.7% .342 0.41
2014 actual 555 87 17 58 21 .256 21.6% 41.7% 36.7% 11.0% .305 0.42
2015 projections 515 77 12 51 19 .259 20.5% 47.1% 32.4% 6.5% .321 0.54 144

Both of these speedsters hit at the top of the lineup, get on base, steal bases, and score a lot of runs. Yelich’s propensity to hit grounders and his cavernous home park will probably limit his power numbers in the short term.

Gardner had a power surge last year that possibly looks unsustainable given the spike in HR/FB%. Gardner suffered an abdominal strain in July last year and his second half numbers declined accordingly. Even with the injury, he had a great 2014 campaign. He will turn 32 this year, but it appears he is not ready for a big decline yet.

Yelich has great potential, I just do not think a 60-plus ADP gap for 2015 is warranted. Buy the Yank, sell the Fish — and reap the rewards.

The Young Gun Skirmish

Jorge Soler, Chicago Cubs, ADP 105

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 actual (Minors) 210 38 8 35 5 .281 12.5% 47.7% 38.7% 11.8% .304 0.55
2014 actual (Minors) 200 42 15 56 0 .340 18.2% 39.0% 40.9% 23.8% .381 0.69
2014 actual 89 11 5 20 1 .292 11.9% 52.2% 35.8% 20.8% .339 0.25
2015 projections 468 63 21 76 3 .266 11.9% 52.2% 35.8% 20.8% .339 0.25 105

Khris Davis, Milwaukee Brewers, ADP 216

AB R HR RBI SB AVG LD% GB% FB% HR/FB% BABIP BB/K ADP
2013 actual 136 27 11 27 3 .279 20.4% 42.7% 36.9% 28.9% .293 0.32
2014 actual 501 70 22 69 4 .244 21.4% 38.9% 39.7% 14.5% .275 0.26
2015 projections 452 64 21 67 5 .253 21.2% 39.1% 39.1% 17.4% .279 0.28 216

Davis had a decent first full season in the majors. His 2014 dip in average seems a little surprising given his strong LD% and low popup rate. I would chalk it up to an unlucky BABIP. Late-round power with a manageable average always plays well in roto.

Soler is young and has a ton of potential. I just doubt he will reach his peak in his first full season. All young players have growing pains and Soler has missed important development time over the past few years due to injuries. Soler’s ADP has priced in the hype and ignores the risks.

Take the Brew Crew, avoid the Cubbie, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the ride.

Conclusion

Overvalued/Undervalued
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Picking up the cheaper asset is key to success. With all of these pairs, the over priced player leaves no room for profit. By picking the cheaper player, you give up very little, sometimes nothing, and leave yourself room to build a better team. Ignore the hype and focus on the output. You cannot plan the parade before you build a winner, now get out there and buy low and sell high.

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

Brett Gardner Photo Credit: Keith Allison

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