2020 Fantasy Baseball: ADP vs Projections – Third Base Overdrafts
Football is officially in the rearview mirror like the fuzz when you’re trying to get to a rest stop before you destroy your khakis. For some, that means it’s time to begin fantasy baseball prep. For others (like myself) we have already been crunching numbers for months. In either case, welcome aboard! In the last edition, we took a look at third basemen who look like bargains according to the projections. We’ll flip things around this time out and look at some of the third base busts who the projections deem overvalued according to their ADP.
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ADP vs. Projections at Third Base
Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
Fantrax Projection: 679 PA, 109 R, 36 HR, 109 RBI, 5 SB, .293/.405/.566
I won’t go into any of the Astros cheating allegations here. Our own Mick Ciallela covered that topic in-depth here. Suffice to say, I’m not treating Alex Bregman any differently due to the cheating. Neither are the projections. It might seem a little odd, then, that the ninth player off of the board is only the fourth-best third base option per Fantrax projected Score. Jose Ramirez, Rafael Devers, and Nolan Arenado all stack up better than Bregman according to the projections.
Bregman’s projection is pretty beefy. Be that as it may, he still adds up to just the 15th best hitter per the projections. A lot of that value comes down to the stolen base production or lack thereof. There are only two other of those 14 higher projected hitters who are projected with single-digit steals (Devers, Arenado). The R+RBI production is the key to Devers grading out higher than Bregman, but I’ll take the over on 218 for Bregman and the under on Devers 226.
Even though I wholeheartedly disagree with Devers over Bregman at third base, I back the projections insofar as their dinging of Bregman because of his lack of steals. In points and OBP leagues, Bregman is gold. In standard roto, his lack of speed should really make you think before hitting the draft button next to his name. There are only so many elite five-category contributors to go around, and Bregman isn’t one of them. Perhaps with Dusty Baker at the helm, Bregman will run more. You don’t really want to have to hope for something like that in the first round, though.
Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals
Fantrax Projection: 608 PA, 94 R, 26 HR, 97 RBI, 4 SB, .306/.395/.543
We’re sticking at the top with this next bat. Anthony Rendon got paid in a big way this offseason, following a year in which he set career-highs in everything but steals. If you’ve ever read me before, you know how I feel about paying for career years. There is also the flimsy narrative that players tend not to perform well in their first year on a new team. I don’t have any statistical evidence at hand one way or the other for that scenario, but it’s something to bear in mind when you’re looking at a top 20 pick. We only have to look back to 2019 Manny Machado for an example.
There is no narrative built into the projection that says Rendon is only the 11th best third baseman by projected Score. The projection regresses his R+RBI total by a whopping 52, yet it is very reasonable at 191. Considering his contact rate hit a career-high in 2019 and his XBA matched his .319 average exactly, his R+RBI floor is extremely high. Health is a slight concern, and the projection regresses his 646 PAs from 2019 to a more typical 608.
Most of the poor ranking comes down to a lack of extreme thump. A home run total of 26 would be pretty modest in this day and age, but it would also be just the second time he has ever surpassed 25 HR. Even if there isn’t much ceiling beyond the projection, you’re still paying a bit for Rendon’s consistency across the board. It doesn’t reflect in the projection, but that consistency gives you the warm fuzzies. Even though you’re not getting speed here, as with Bregman, there isn’t much reason to knock the ADP, particularly in OBP and points formats.
Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox
Fantrax Projection: 633 PA, 87 R, 24 HR, 85 RBI, 12 SB, .258/.320/.463
We “finally” got the Yoan Moncada breakout we had been waiting for in 2019, even though he spent most of the season as a 23-year-old. He went 25/10/.315 over 132 games, with his largest breakout coming in the batting average department. In 210 MLB games from 2016-2018, Moncada slashed just .234/.319/.399. Naturally, the projections are going to be pretty skeptical of that .315 average and factor in some extreme regression. Moncada also posted an obscene .406 BABIP in 2019, which obviously won’t stick. While a more aggressive approach helped him cut his strikeout rate, he still whiffed at a 13.9% clip with a 27.5% K%. His 92.8 MPH average exit velocity will help stave off BA regression back to the .230 range, but even a .270-.280 mark seems optimistic.
The batting average regression is a large part of why the projections rank Moncada worse than his ADP. His power/speed combo is tantalizing though, and if he can come close to repeating his 12.2% barrel rate, he could easily out-produce his projected 24 homers. If he can also stay healthy, he could beat his 172 R+RBI projection with the White Sox lineup looking improved this year. There is probably a little upside baked into this ADP as well, as he could theoretically take another step forward as a 24-year old. The ADP has won my heart in this one.
Ryan McMahon, Colorado Rockies
Fantrax Projection: 479 PA, 63 R, 19 HR, 66 RBI, 4 SB, .251/.335/.445
It’s hard to knock a player with an ADP barely inside the top 200, and that isn’t what I’ll be doing here. However, the projected Score ranks Ryan McMahon as the 35th (!!) best option at third base compared to his 3B25 ADP, making him a prime example of the type of player worth analyzing in this series. The primary reason for the low projection is the lack of playing time. If you have owned a young Rockies player over the recent years, you can feel the pain of this projection in your very bones. The Rockies seemingly do everything they can to block their young hitters and prevent them from getting consistent at-bats.
That said, McMahon was able to accumulate 539 PAs in 2019 despite plenty of playing time competition. He shifted between first, second, and third base, and should be able to exceed at least the 500 PA mark again in 2020. If he can land everyday at-bats, he could blow the projections out of the water. That sort of playing time is very valuable for any Rockies hitter. It’s hard to say there isn’t at least a small amount of upside in terms of R/HR/RBI from this projection, and that is exactly what makes this ADP tempting. Even if he doesn’t take another step forward in terms of talent, simply accruing more PAs has me much more interested in McMahon at his ADP than his projection would dictate. For even more on Ryan McMahon’s sleeper appeal at this ADP, check out what Jorge wrote about him here.
Who are your favorite sleepers and busts at third base? Drop a few names in the comments below.
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