25 Aug Reviewing 2018 NFBC ADP for Booms and Busts – Part 1
There are 3 critical parts of fantasy baseball that are vital to success: drafting, free agent pickups, roster management (start/sits, trading, balancing cats). The importance to winning is likely in the order as listed.
Sometimes even the best owners get snakebite in the draft, ask the Tom Brady owner in ’08 (when he blew out his knee). Properly drafting your team is paramount: avoiding busts and netting value later in the draft are musts to win in a competitive league. I am going to review this years’ ADP, highlight booms and busts, and highlight what a fantasy owners might be able to learn going forward.
The First Round
The first SP off the board (ADP: 6), Clayton Kershaw, while not a bust, Kershaw has disappointed his fantasy owners. Even those that penciled in a DL stint may have wanted more, from the #63 ranked player in 5×5 Roto per Yahoo.
Lesson Learned: Kershaw could easily improve his stock, turning in a top 40 season, but owners next year should beware of 30+ year pitchers with recurring back issues.
Finally, we have our first definitive bust! Even the biggest Houston homer cannot deny Carlos Correa‘s putrid play in 2018. Ranking as the 317st player in Roto (I will be using the format above for all player ratings), Correa has sunk batting average, hit for minimal power and not contributed speed up for owners.
Lesson Learned: Going forward, I don’t think owners can do much differently after reviewing Correa’s profile. Injuries suck. Continue buying supremely talented 23 year old’s in powerhouse offenses.
KB has been even worse than Correa, granted they both dealt with injury woes of their own. Kris Bryant ranks as the 368th best roto option for fantasy owners. Recently Bryant has been battling a bum shoulder, perhaps something that has hampered his production all season. The only downside to Bryant is the lack of steals, but he seems very safe and consistent, with this year as an exception. I would buy both of these guys again next year, especially if the discount is substantial.
Lesson Learned: Similar to Correa, Bryant busting is fluky and injury related. Sometimes c’est la vie (that’s life).
The Second Round
The King of Canada has disappointed fantasy owners in 2018, posting piss poor power numbers, a measly 9 homers. Battling injuries of late, Votto may have been affected by a lower leg contusion longer than initially known, explaining his poor power production. Regardless, he hasn’t totally sunk fantasy owners, ranking as the #208 roto player, fueled by a healthy.284 average and decent enough counting stats.
Lesson Learned: The Fantasy Baseball community is notorious for being ageist, but avoiding older players isn’t always plausible (see Nelson Cruz). Votto’s 2018 regression was inevitable, age-related and perhaps under-discussed. Potentially the most reliable player in our game, excluding Mike Trout, Votto’s fall is a huge surprise. I’m not sure what owners could have done differently.
The best catcher in fantasy drafts has sorely disappointed owners looking to get arguably the largest advantage at any single position (side note from captain obvious: the catcher position is absolutely putrid.) Gary Sanchez provides a loud advantage for those buyers, in theory. This year he got flat out BABIP’d. Coming off high BABIP’s in ’16 & ’17 (.317 & .304 respectively), Sanchez’s BABIP has cratered in ’18. That’s not to be expected, considering he hits the living snot out of the baseball. The hard hit rate is still fairly close to the expected mark for the Bronx Backstop. Amidst all this, Sanchez got hurt, something that happens more often for catchers, but I still want this elite talent, given the upcoming discount. Give me all the Gary Sanchez next season, once his price inevitably drops–some.
Lesson Learned: Seeing this fall would have been tough, even if he played daily he’d have been a mortal lock to be a top 3 or 4 C, as the power is too loud and the lineup is too good. Perhaps think twice before investing in the position that perpetually suffers injuries due to the demanding nature of the position.
Francisco Lindor/Jose Ramirez
This pair is winning people leagues, and what these booms are doing needs to be recognized more. Both Indians are likely top 5 selections in ’19 drafts, as they provide ridiculous power and speed. Lindor’s pace is RIDICULOUS, steamer has Lindor pacing for 35 HR’s, 128 runs, 97 RBI’s, 25 SB’s and a ridiculous .294 batting average. That’s a #1 pick (if Trout OR Ramirez, didn’t exist.)
Saying Jose Ramirez has put up video game numbers would be a vast understatement: he has 37 homers & 28 steals through merely 76% of the season. Fangraph’s projection systems project Ramirez to finish with 44 Homers and 34 steals..
Lesson Learned: Not even the biggest Cleveland homer would have suspected anything near this combo meal deliciousness. Betting on young talent like this can produce these results, which is why fantasy owners chase the next big young thing (hello Vlad Jr).
Over the last 365 days (155 games), Riser JD Martinez has put up a blistering .367 ISO, 58 homers, 128 runs, 151 RBI & a scorching .337 BA. Absolute superstar.
Lesson Learned: Martinez is a supreme talent, and is returning absolutely sick value for his investors. When a supremely talented power hitter enters into a much better lineup, home park and division, he should receive a bump in value.
Thor has had a strange season. His ERA is ok (a paltry 3.38), the WHIP is bad (1.25) and K’s are lower than to be expected (111K’s in 106.2). All this while getting BABIP’d (.340) and hit hard less (career low hard hit rate.) The stuff is UNQUESTIONED, but his potential lack innings scare me. I’d consider him a bust at #168.
Lesson Learned: Pitching is risky, and Syndergaard is a clear cut example as to why. His injury woes and poor play (relative to his ADP) have hurt fantasy owners. Syndergaard is a boom or bust type of arm, he could provide a great reward, or could turn in another poor season. Buy extra pitching (and safety) when building around Thor.
After his MVP season in 2015, Donaldson dealt with injuries persistently, but produced at an extremely high level.
Here is Josh Donaldson’s OPS since 2015: .939, .953, .944 & a putrid .757 mark in 2018.
Fantasy owners were correct to buy at this huge discount, but his worst case outcome happened and it has crushed his owners. A bounce back is still in the cards, but health woes may push him into a full time DH role. His 2019 ADP and contract will be fascinating.
Lesson Learned: Buying injured players is so tricky, especially older guys who are proven MVP caliber, but habitually hurt (hello Kershaw). Going forward, I’d have to get immense value on an injured player, sometimes the headache isn’t worth it.