2017 Fantasy Baseball draft strategy: Buster Posey, Matt Harvey, Starling Marte among our players to avoid based on early ADP
Our Fantasy experts look at the early ADP data to figure out which players they are unlikely to be drafting this season.
We’re still early enough in the drafting process that you don’t want to take too much out of average draft position data. This stuff will change, often dramatically, as we get closer to the start of the season, so there’s no point in overreacting to what we’re seeing at this point.
But in the end all that matters in Fantasy drafts is where you can get a player. If you know you can get Khris Davis in the eighth round, for instance, why would you reach for Giancarlo Stanton in the third? Average draft position can give you a sketch of what your draft might look like, and for that alone, it’s valuable information.
ADP data can also tell you who you won’t be drafting, and that’s the purpose of our first look at this year’s information. Heath, Scott, and I took a look at the aggregated ADP data at FantasyPros.com to figure out which players we won’t be drafting this year. At least, not at their current price.
All data accurate through Feb. 14.
Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves 1B
| ADP: 26 | Where Chris would target him: Round 4|
Freddie Freeman put it all together in 2016, hitting 34 homers with a .302 batting average, and was an elite Fantasy option at first base as a result. His last healthy season before 2016 saw him hit .288 with 18 homers, as well as nine fewer runs and 13 fewer RBI. When his .370 BABIP and 19.9 HR/FB% come back to Earth, he’ll look a lot more like his 2014 version.
Buster Posey San Francisco Giants C
| ADP: 42 | Where Chris would target him: Round 6|
Buster Posey took a step back last season, posting his lowest batting average since 2011, to go with just 14 homers. He’s still a catcher who plays 145-plus games every year, but with his skill set taking a step back, Posey might be one month-long injury from being a total bust at this price.
Kyle Schwarber Chi. Cubs Cubs C
| ADP: 72 | Where Chris would target him: Round 9|
As a catcher, Kyle Schwarber might be worth this draft cost, because he really does have huge offensive potential. However, with Willson Contreras set to be the everyday catcher and Miguel Montero still there to back up Contreras, Schwarber needs a lot of help to get catcher eligible. With a comparable career line to Contreras, who actually had a higher career OPS than Schwarber in the majors, it doesn’t make much sense for Schwarber to go two and a half rounds earlier when Contreras actually has the catcher eligibility you’re hoping Schwarber will reclaim.
Albert Pujols L.A. Angels Angels DH
| ADP: 135 | Where Chris would target him: Round 16|
There’s no question Albert Pujols can still be a productive Fantasy option, as he showed yet again in 2016 with a 31-homer, 119-RBI season. However, he is just a two-category contributor who, at 37, will be just five months removed from foot surgery on Opening Day. You reach a point where no pick can be a bust, but the 12th round isn’t that point.
Michael Fulmer Detroit Tigers SP
| ADP: 113 | Where Chris would target him: Round 14|
There’s no point in trying to take anything away from what Michael Fulmer accomplished in 2016. His Rookie of the Year award was well deserved, and it isn’t a stretch to think he will only get better as he moves into his mid-20’s. On the other hand, only nine pitchers outperformed their FIP by more than Fulmer did last season. Also potentially relevant: six of the past 20 Rookie of the Year winners had their best career season as a rookie.
Jonathan Villar Milwaukee Brewers SS
| ADP: 27 | Where Heath would target him: Round 7|
Was last year a new normal for Jonathan Villar ? The Houston Astros basically gave him away for nothing, only to watch him put together a 19-homer, 62-steal season in Milwaukee in 2016. If he replicates that season, he’s worth his current value, but that’s a hefty price to pay on what might just be a 50-50 proposition.
Justin Verlander Detroit Tigers SP
| ADP: 42 | Where Heath would target him: Round 6|
Justin Verlander probably should have won the American League Cy Young in 2016 and, unlike teammate Fulmer, there wasn’t much flukey about it. He might have outperformed his peripherals a bit, but even then, Verlander had the 11th-best FIP in baseball. However, we’re talking about a 33-year-old (turns 34 on Feb. 20) who looked pretty much done two years ago. Maybe this resurgence sticks, but in the long run, it’s never smart to bet against time.
Brad Miller Tampa Bay Rays SS
| ADP: 165 | Where Heath would target him: Round 21|
Brad Miller finally had that breakout season we’ve been waiting on, clubbing 30 homers and driving in 81 runs for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2016. The pedigree is certainly here, but Miller more than doubled his career HR/FB ratio in 2016, and a .250 average is a lot less appealing when it only comes with 15-20 homers.
Rick Porcello Boston Red Sox SP
| ADP: 91 | Where Heath would target him: Round 12|
Perhaps no topic in the Fantasy baseball world has been written about more than Rick Porcello ’s impending regression, so we won’t belabor the point. Porcello made real improvements, but expecting last year to be the new normal requires expecting those 223 innings being more important than the 1,245 that came before.
Matt Harvey N.Y. Mets Mets SP
| ADP: 121 | Where Heath would target him: Round 13|
This one isn’t tough. In the 10th round, the risk of Harvey never being the same just isn’t priced in enough. He might come back from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery fine, but there’s a pretty significant risk Harvey’s days as a useful Fantasy option are done.
Starling Marte Pittsburgh Pirates CF
| ADP: 25 | Where Scott would target him: Round 4|
You can live with one red flag in your second or third-round pick, whether it is injury or performance related. If Marte had only missed 25-plus games in three of the last four seasons, or only relied heavily on a high BABIP for much of his value, he might be worth the risk. Stacking both on top of each other is an easy way to get burned.
Christian Yelich Miami Marlins LF
| ADP: 66 | Where Scott would target him: Round 8|
The breakout finally came for Yelich, who drove in 98 runs and clubbed 21 homers in 2016 while hitting .298. He wasn’t quite a five-category stud -- his stolen bases and run totals left something to be desired -- but we’ve seen him swipe 21 bases and score 90-plus runs in a season before, so it might not be asking too much. On the other hand, Yelich’s power was fueled by the eighth-highest HR/FB rate in baseball, and it’s asking an awfully lot of one of baseball’s lankiest players to sustain that.
Kyle Schwarber Chi. Cubs Cubs C
| ADP: 72 | Where Scott would target him: Round 9|
Well, you get the point.
Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals 1B
| ADP: 112 | Where Scott would target him: Round 14|
Hosmer finally had the power breakout we’ve been waiting for in 2016, and he was mostly able to build on his run-production gains made in 2015, so all he has to do is repeat what he did a year ago to be worth this spot. That’s the good news. The bad news is, his numbers crashed across the board after the All-Star break, and like Yelich, he benefited from an unsustainable HR/FB rate. The bar for Fantasy relevance is so much higher at first base, it’s going to be hard to clear it when the homers come back to Earth.
Andrew Miller Cleveland Indians RP
| ADP: 106 | Where Scott would target him: Round 19|
This one isn’t particularly complicated. Taking a non-closer reliever in the ninth round just isn’t a great usage of your resources. Miller can be an elite closer, obviously, but so can Alex Colome or Jeurys Familia , both of whom are currently going after Miller.
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