When I see where players are drafted on average, it reinforces my feelings about them -- particularly when the data is pulled from multiple sites, as is the case for FantasyPros ADP. We've reached a consensus, us Fantasy Baseballers, and there isn't much need for second-guessing.
But certain players get passed over for seemingly irrational reasons, which can make for some profitable possibilities. These 15 aren't sleepers or breakouts in the strictest sense (though there is some crossover with those lists), but if value is what you're looking for, they provide it in the most basic way.
In fact, I'd say I'm even more likely to draft these players than some of my sleepers and breakouts, so my endorsement of them is in the strongest possible terms.
Note that FantasyPros ADP deals exclusively with Rotisserie leagues, and I've tailored my commentary appropriately.
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Jose Altuve 2B
HOU Houston • #27 • Age: 32
Jose Altuve's 3.60 Head-to-Head points per game were 11th-most among all hitters with at least 300 at-bats last season, much less second basemen. But sure, fine, we're assessing ADP strictly for Rotisserie leagues, where Altuve's lack of strikeouts is of no tangible value, so let's compare him to Ozzie Albies, the consensus 21st player off the board. Wouldn't you give Altuve the edge in batting average and home runs? Perhaps even combined runs and RBI batting atop the Astros lineup? I, too, would take Albies first because he's good for 10-15 more stolen bases, but they're only two rounds apart for me versus 3-4 rounds for everybody else.
ATL Atlanta • #50 • Age: 38
There's no player I'm more committed to drafting this year than Charlie Morton, whose 2021 performance, which made him the No. 13 SP, is beyond reproach. He has both the track record and the underlying numbers to back it up. So is it because he broke his fibula in the World Series? Well, that's not the kind of injury that would carry over to the following season. Is it because he's 38? Well, Max Scherzer is ancient, too, and it hasn't diminished his stock. Of all the risk factors at starting pitcher, age is among the most frivolous anyway. In fact, it can be a net benefit if it leads to a bigger workload, as has been true for Morton.
OAK Oakland • #47 • Age: 29
Honestly, just taking his numbers at face value, it's a wonder Frankie Montas is being drafted in the same range as Alek Manoah, Dylan Cease, Trevor Rogers and Shane McClanahan -- up-and-comers who aspire to similar production but are likely prevented by workload limitations. What taking the numbers at face value misses, though, is that Montas' 2021 turned on a dime when he began using his splitter more prominently than ever in early July. Over his final 15 starts, he had a 2.11 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 10.8 K/9, with a swinging-strike rate (15.9 percent) comparable to Max Scherzer's full-season mark. That's more upside than we've ever seen from Jose Berrios, who goes 15 picks earlier.
PIT Pittsburgh • #10 • Age: 27
I feel like I can just gesture toward the stat line, because what's not to like there? OK, so Bryan Reynolds is no major help in stolen bases. We're a little obsessed with those, I've gathered. And 30 home runs may be a stretch for him given that his swing is built more for line drives and batting average. For the boost he gives you in that category, though, 25 seems like a terrific tradeoff. Just look at the run and RBI production it led to even in a miserable Pirates lineup. Reynolds was actually 15th-best outfielder in Rotisserie leagues last year, ahead of Randy Arozarena, who's drafted 25 spots earlier.
PHI Philadelphia • #12 • Age: 29
Seeing as I've made it my mission this year not to be outdone in the power categories, Kyle Schwarber is a must-have for me in the middle of the draft. Because of a midseason hamstring injury, he did what he did last year in only 119 games. Project those numbers over the 155 games he played in 2019, and he winds up with 44 home runs. He worked with hitting guru Kevin Long early last year to recapture his old mechanics from college and the minor leagues, and now he's reunited with him in Philadelphia. If he's at least as good as in 2019, hitting .250 with 32 home runs, he'll make good on the pick, but his best-case outcome might come closer to Pete Alonso production.
Joey Votto 1B
CIN Cincinnati • #19 • Age: 38
Joey Votto is one of what colleague Frank Stampfl calls the "profit pocket" at first base -- a group that also includes Rhys Hoskins, C.J. Cron and Josh Bell. Any of them would work for this column, but Votto is drafted the latest even though I rank him the highest. And he was by far the best last year, averaging more Head-to-Head points per game than Paul Goldschmidt, even. People rightfully discount Votto because of his 38 years of age, but this ADP gives him absolutely no credit for his conscious decision to sacrifice contact for power, as he said was his goal prior to the season. The Statcast readings back up what he did, too.
Willy Adames SS
MIL Milwaukee • #27 • Age: 26
I get that not every quality shortstop can be drafted in the top 100 -- so many already are -- and it stands to reason that a less-proven type would draw the short straw. But Willy Adames is proven, in a way. During his time with the Rays, dating back to 2018, he hit .291 with an .858 OPS away from Tropicana Field, where he complained about the batter's eye. That's precisely in line with his .285 batting average and .886 OPS after joining the Brewers last year. The likelihood of him delivering Carlos Correa-type, if not Xander Bogaerts-level, production is all the more reason you can afford to wait at shortstop.
STL St. Louis • #50 • Age: 40
As compared to Votto, it makes even more sense why people would downgrade Adam Wainwright for age (40) and perceived decline, but letting one of the top 10 starting pitchers last year (no lie) slide to only 45th at the position goes beyond just playing it safe. It's also worth pointing out that the turnaround wasn't confined to 2021. In his past 42 starts dating back to the start of 2020, Wainwright has a 3.08 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, averaging 6.5 innings per start. Whatever he's doing has teeth to it. Even if you scoff at the strikeout rate, with the volume he provides, the totals will be there.
MIL Milwaukee • #12 • Age: 30
I can't even begin to explain this one. Hunter Renfroe was the No. 19 outfielder in Rotisserie leagues last year. His power credentials were never in question. He finally brought his strikeout rate to a level where he could hold down a job and hold his own in batting average. Now, he's going to Milwaukee and a venue where even better power outcomes are possible. How he could be going 40 spots behind Ryan Mountcastle, who wasn't as good last year and isn't as likely to sustain his production, is beyond my comprehension. For where he's drafted, Renfroe is one of the last good bets for a 30-homer outcome.
Adam Duvall CF
ATL Atlanta • #14 • Age: 33
Adam Duvall led the NL in RBI last year, which in and of itself would suggest he's being undervalued. He hit nearly 40 home runs, and no one else going in his vicinity is a safe bet for even 30. And yes, I use the word "safe." He's held down an everyday job two years in a row, is a low-key defensive standout and does what he does really, really well. Sure, he's a drain on batting average, but if you're chasing batting average that late in a draft, it's probably a lost cause. Duvall's counting stats made him the 20th-best outfielder in Rotisserie leagues last year, and those numbers are within reach again.
Luke Voit DH
SD San Diego • #45 • Age: 31
You could argue it made sense for Luke Voit to go outside the top 200 when it looked like he was on the outs with the Yankees. I wouldn't, but you could. Now, though, he's with the Padres, who plan to play him every day, and yet even since the trade, he's still going outside the top 200. That's according to NFBC, where you can track ADP over smaller stretches of time. Voit led the majors in home runs two years ago, for crying out loud. During his stint with the Yankees, which began in 2018, he hit .271 with a .901 OPS, homering at a better rate than Matt Olson, so we're talking top-five potential at first base.
CHC Chi. Cubs • #28 • Age: 32
What's going on here? One of the steadiest pitchers of the past half-decade -- longer even -- finally has a misstep, and that's it? Bury him and move on? It's true that Kyle Hendricks was frustratingly inconsistent last year, with the final numbers being what they are, but amid the struggles, he had a stretch of 12 quality starts in 13 chances in which he delivered a 2.50 ERA. His stuff wasn't diminished in any way (to the extent we can tell for someone who throws 88 mph), so I suspect his command was just a little off. I'd be leery if we were still drafting him like a top-25 starting pitcher, but this is ridiculous.
Zack Greinke SP
KC Kansas City • #23 • Age: 38
Everything I just said about Kyle Hendricks could also apply to Zack Greinke, right down to him throwing 88 mph. The case for his decline is a little easier given that he's 38 (as opposed to 32), but again, you would think the raw stuff would reflect it more. I was prepared to downgrade him coming off his worst season in six years, but let's not forget we were drafting him as a top-20 starting pitcher just last year, not to mention the entire decade prior. Underwhelming though his numbers were, they were still useful in many respects, and if his 2021 turns out to be just a blip in a Hall of Fame career, he'll be one of the biggest steals of the draft.
Nicky Lopez 2B
KC Kansas City • #8 • Age: 27
The two categories that most need to be filled early, stolen bases and batting average, are the two to which Nicky Lopez will contribute late. Oh so late. We're talking 80 picks later than the similarly powerless Myles Straw, who likely won't be as much help in batting average. Lopez himself isn't totally proven in that regard, but he hit .334 over his final 93 games (about the time he became an everyday player) and .296 over his minor-league career. Add 25-30 steals, and he's the player we once hoped Nick Madrigal would be.
NYM N.Y. Mets • #59 • Age: 35
Lather, rinse, repeat. Like Hendricks and Greinke, Carlos Carrasco has been so reliable for so long that it's silly to discard him after one bad year, particularly one derailed early by a bum hamstring. He also recently revealed that he couldn't fully extend his elbow because of a bone fragment that has since been removed. He may not age as gracefully as the other two given that his fastball sits in the mid-90s, but there it was in the mid-90s again last year. If you look beneath the surface numbers, there aren't clear signs of decline, and I'm not sure who at the position would offer more upside for the price.