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 third base position. First, I will look into a popular player that many are still waiting to bounce back and compare to another third baseman who continues to go underappreciated in drafts. The players being compared are Yoan Moncada and Jeimer Candelario, so let’s dig in and explain why passing on Moncada, as hard as it may be for some, and waiting to draft Candelario is an intelligent draft decision.
Will Yoan Moncada Ever Bounceback?
When Moncada was traded to the White Sox in 2017, many thought he was the next big thing coming to the third base position. He gave some glimmers of that potential with 17 home runs and 12 stolen bases in 2018 and then really went off in 2019 with 25 home runs, ten steals, and a .315 average. Those two seasons gave so many a strong belief that Moncada would be one of the top fantasy third basemen for years to come, but sadly that has not happened.
In 2020, Moncada caught COVID and his season was never the same. He hit six home runs, stole zero bases, and hit .225 with a 31.2% strikeout rate over 52 games. After the season, Moncada said he never felt his energy return, and breathing was still an issue at times. With that information, many fantasy managers, including myself, thought 2021 would be a big bounce-back season for Moncada. Well, we were wrong. Moncada was ok with 14 home runs, but he only stole three bases and hit .263.
Last season, Moncada’s maxEV returned to 113.8 mph, the barrel rate returned to 8.2%, and his hard-hit rate returned to 40.5%. Those were all improvements on 2020 and resembled his previous seasons a bit more. However, his power and batting average struggled even with the quality of contact improvements. One of the reasons for this was an increased ground ball rate of 43.8%, which was his worst since 2017.
Moncada’s swing rates were well below average, and his O-contact struggled. Moncada remained highly patient at the plate, and when he decided to swing, the results led to ground balls that were not super successful. Even with a BABIP of .350, he only hit .263. Moncada needs to become more aggressive at the plate and elevate the ball more, or he may forever be a mediocre batting average.
Lastly, Moncada only racked up three stolen bases just one season after zero steals in 2020. Let us not forget Moncada showcased double-digit steals in 2018 and 2019, so we know he can do it. However, his sprint speeds have dropped since 2018, and he just flat out is not running anymore. If Moncada won’t run and continues to increase his groundball rate, then it will be tough to see Moncada ever reach his full perceived potential.
Stop Sleeping on Jeimer Candelario
The Candy Man is coming off a great 2021 season where he hit .271 with 16 home runs. He also drove in 67 runs and scored 75. The only downside to Candelario is that he does not run and will likely not run much at all. However, if he steals a couple of bases, you should be happy.
Candelario has now hit .271 and .297 in consecutive seasons. He has also hit 16 and 19 home runs in the two seasons he played in 144 games (2018 and 2021). Candelario has also shown solid plate discipline, walking at least 9.2% of each season in the bigs, and has walked over 10% of the time in three of the last four years. Unfortunately, the increased plate discipline has also correlated with a yearly increase in strikeout rate. In 2018 he struck out 25.8%, and he decreased his strikeout rate to 21.6% last season.
Besides the solid batting averages the last two seasons, he has shown some power upside with an ISO of .172 and .205 and an OPS of .795 and .872. The improvements in average and power have helped return a wRC+ of 138 and 119. But wait, it gets better. Candelario’s quality of contact in the last two seasons has coincided with his success. His barrel rates were 10.3% and 9%, while his hard-hit rates were 47.1% and 39.1%. Candelario has become a force at the plate over the last two seasons.
We should lock in a solid batting average and 15+ home runs with his past results, but I believe there could be even more power. As the contact quality has increased, his extra-base skills have also increased. Last season he hit 42 doubles which could change into a few more home runs. We have seen other hitters like Manny Machado, who used to hit a lot of doubles and not as many home runs, make a slight tweak, and the home runs came flooding in. Comerica Park restricts some power, but an increase in his 42.2% pull rates to 47% in 2018/19 could result in a 20+ home run season.
Pass on Moncada and Draft Candelario
With Moncada’s increased ground ball rates and lack of speed, he becomes an average and 15 home run the third baseman. Nothing too remarkable at his ADP. On the other hand, Candelario has a better batting average and similar power to take the next step. The Tigers lineup is improving around Candelario, leading to even more counting stats and a better overall stat line. Moncada’s NFBC OC ADP over the last two weeks is 163.86 (13th 3B), while Candelario has an ADP of 264.21 (20th 3B). I will gladly pass on Moncada and draft Candelario every single time, and you should as well.