Nobody wants to be described as average. Looking at ADP it kind of looks like nobody wants to draft average either.
In a way, that makes a lot of sense. Batting average is reliant on batted ball luck and players don’t have a great deal of control over that. Also, there may be a .005-point difference between first and, well, average in the category. It’s hard to feel like you have a lot of control over that.
Still, if you take an agnostic view toward average early in the draft you may be scrambling to make up ground late. These guys can help you do just that.
Joe Panik San Francisco 2B
|ADP: 294 My Rank: 294 | Don’t be fooled by last year’s terrible unlucky season. Panik should flirt with .300 again. His .245 BABIP was the second lowest in baseball. This was just one year after posting a .330 BABIP in 432 plate appearances. Even if you split the difference, Panik figures to be a solid contributor in average because of his strikeout rate. Panik is one of only three hitters to strike out less than 10 percent of the time since he came into the league in 2014.|
Josh Reddick Houston LF
|ADP: 342 My Rank: 237 | Reddick is a great fit in the Astros lineup and park. Like Panik, Reddick boasts an elite strikeout rate. Unlike Panik, he’s also shown a pretty good power stroke in the past. Reddick changed his profile the past two years and has hit for a better average because of it. There’s a small chance he changes back to try to exploit his new home park, but should be an excellent sleeper regardless.|
Cesar Hernandez Philadelphia 2B
|ADP: 316 My Rank: 269 | Hernandez will also help in steals and could be a contributor in runs if the Phillies offense improves. There may not be a lot of upside left in Hernandez, but I feel confident in him hitting around .280 with 20 steals. Late in the draft it’s difficult to find second basemen who aren’t actively hurting you -- Hernandez should help in at least two categories.|
Melky Cabrera Chi. White Sox LF
|ADP: 247 My Rank: 275 | Cabrera is always overlooked, and my ranking compared to ADP says I may be overlooking him again. He approached .300 again last year and has been a lock to be over .270. I worry about age and the situation in Chicago but if you want safe batting average late in the draft, Cabrera is your guy.|
Josh Harrison Pittsburgh 2B
|ADP: 312 My Rank: 294 | Can Harrison make another run at .300? Even if he doesn’t he should be valuable when he’s in the lineup as a slightly less reliable version of Cesar Hernandez. Harrison has only played more than last year’s 131 games once in his career, so don’t go projecting his stats based on a normal workload.|
Howie Kendrick Philadelphia LF
|ADP: 392 My Rank: 324 | An regular job in Philadelphia could provide the basis for a resurgence from Kendrick. He slumped badly in 2016 but had hit no worse than .285 since 2011. His profile last year wasn’t that far off his career mark and he figures to hit near the top of the order in a good park. I would expect a bouceback and at this cost you aren’t out much if he’s just done being productive.|
Yunel Escobar L.A. Angels 3B
|ADP: 334 My Rank: 328 | I know he’s not exciting, unless you find a .300 average exciting. Escobar is the very definition of a player that is a one-category contributor. If there was a hope for a second category contribution, it would be in the runs department with Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout hitting behind him.|
Martin Prado Miami 3B
|ADP: 334 My Rank: 329 | Kind of the NL-version of Escobar. In fact, he’s almost exactly the same thing. If anything, Prado may have more potential for a high run total, but he looks a little bit more susceptible to regression from last year’s .305 average.|