As the draft season continues, it is always good to look over the average draft position (ADP) to find perceived value. One of the best-perceived value forms is finding players with similar skill sets and likely statistical outcomes with ADPs that differ quite a bit. The value is waiting and drafting the second player at a cheaper ADP while using the early draft pick on a different team need.
When combing through the NFBC Online Champions (OC) ADP, there are a lot of excellent values that relate to similar players. In this article, I will be digging into another one of these values to help you better plan your draft strategy and maximize the best out of your teams as you leave the draft room.
For this ADP analysis, looking into similar players will revolve around the second base position. I will look into a popular stolen base target that most will draft when short on steals and compare this player to another second baseman who continues to go underappreciated in drafts. The players being compared are Tommy Edman and Kolten Wong, so let’s dig in and explain why passing on Edman, as hard as it may be for some, and waiting to draft Wong is an intelligent draft decision.
Don’t Chase Edman’s Steals Appeal
There is no doubting Edman is coming off a great 2021 season for the Cardinals. He played in 159 games, usually leading off, and hit .262 with 11 home runs, 91 runs scored, 56 RBI, and most importantly, 30 steals. The 30 steals are outstanding in a league where steals are becoming harder to find and throw in the 91 runs scored. Edman became a great fantasy value last season.
Over the last two weeks, Edman has been the 11th-second baseman off the board at an ADP of 84.92. That is quite the jump from last year’s ADP. There was a lot to like with Edman in the underlying metrics but is it enough. His contact skills are outstanding, leading to one of the best strikeout rates of 13.7%.
The contact skills are elite, especially the zone contact which makes his 6.4% SwStr rate and elite strikeout rate make since. The contact is great, but what Edman does with the contact is less than desirable. He hits the ball on the ground at a 46.9% rate and only barrels the ball 4.5% of the time with a 35.3% hard-hit rate. There’s a reason Edman only hit 11 home runs over 159 games even though he puts the ball in play a lot.
Edman is an ok option if you need steals, but the 30 steals may not be a guarantee to repeat either. His xSB was only 11 last year, and most projection sites have a regression to 20 or so steals in 2022. Edman ran pure with health in 2021 and only walked 5.5% of the time to coincide with a .308 OBP. The OBP is not great for a leadoff, man. Any injury or overall decline in production could affect his full-time leadoff role as well as overall stolen bases.
Stop Sleeping on Kolten Wong
Most pass on Wong year after year, and year after year, he continues to produce a quality fantasy stat line. Yes, Wong is often injured, and that has been a problem, but even in 116 games last year, he hit .272 with 14 home runs, 70 runs, scored 50 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. His batting average and home runs were better than Edman, while his RBI was only six short. His runs and stolen bases were less due to the games, but an entire season can change that. It was not long ago, in 2019, where Wong played in 148 games and stole 24 bases.
When digging deeper into some of the power and production metrics, Wong outproduced Edman in a few last season.
Wong has continued to improve his power metrics in recent years while the steals and batting average games have always been solid. Wong also brings excellent OBP skills to the lead-off position, unlike Edman. Last season Wong’s OBP was .335 and had been .321 or higher since 2015.
Wait on Wong Instead of Reaching on Edman
Sure, Wong has injury concerns while Edman is coming off an entire season of action. Outside of the injury concerns, the similarities are off the charts. Wong brings above-average contact skills as well as a decent SwStr and K-rate. When comparing the BAT X projections, Wong compares well to Edman.
Projections are not the end all be all, but the similarities are tough to ignore. What makes Wong even more appealing than Edman is the difference in ADP. With Edman being drafted early with a pick of 84.92, you can wait for similar production with Wong at an ADP of 190.43. Over a 100 pick difference. The slight differences in production are worth the wait. You can pass on Edman and draft Dylan Cease, JD Martinez, Frankie Montas, or others around the same ADP. Bottom line, pass on Edman and take a chance on health and the value of Wong.