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Week 1 Trends and NoteWorthies: What to Watch for on the Waiver Wire

Draft season is over and the official scores are in. The 2019 Fantasy Baseball season has begun!!!! Who were the best values and worst overdrafts of the 2019 Fantasy baseball season by Average Draft Position on Who was left unowned, abundantly available and what should we be watching for on the early season waiver wire? What Trends did we see and what’s been “NoteWorthy” as the Fantasy season has begun? Let’s take a look.

The regular season is upon us! Don’t worry, there’s still time to add that “one more league!” Leagues are still forming at, so head on over and jump in one today.

2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Season Post Mortem

Average Draft Position Values

ADP matters during draft season, but it can matter after the season begins as well. It isn’t uncommon for owners that acquire a player at a draft value or an overdraft to over-demand in trade or overvalue a player because of their ADP. Owners that fell into a steal on draft night often buy into the hype and overvalue that player rather than realize they caught a break while owners that overreached commonly dig in their heels and demand more for a player that they overvalued on draft day to defend their pick rather than acknowledge a mistake. In either case, sometimes an ADP number results in a distortion of a player’s actual post-draft value. It’s a common post-draft phenomenon.

Here are a few steals, deals, reaches and draft night mistakes.

ADP Bargains

Javier Baez, 2B/3B/SS, Chicago Cubs – ADP #19.52

He produced like a Fantasy MVP, plays multiple positions on the dirt and was still drafted at the back end of round two. That’s a fall for owners benefits and could be a difference maker as the Fantasy playoffs arrive. And, he started off the season with a bang… and then a second. A two home run Opening Day.

Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, Chicago Cubs – ADP #31.7

Bryant hits in a friendly park, has the power to lead the National League in home runs along with a handfull of stolen bases, he qualifies at two positions yet he still fell to the start of the fourth round. A bad 2018 turned out to be a great break for drafters this season.

Travis Shaw, 2B/3B, Milwaukee Brewers – ADP #97.59

Shaw looked like he was going to be a light-hitting 1B as a Boston Red Sox and now, he is a power-hitting, back-to-back 30 home run, multi-position value being drafted just inside the top 100 in Fantrax leagues. Even if he doesn’t steal a base, round 10 is value for a 30 home run bat who qualifies at multiple infield positions.

Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox – ADP #133.63

A lot of swing-and-miss in his game, not unlike Javier Baez, and the ADP tends to fall. Fears of debilitating batting averages and suppression of power and overall production often become the consensus and a good Fantasy player becomes a great value on draft night. Anderson stole 26 bases and hit 20 home runs in 2018 after stealing 15 bases and hitting 17 home runs in 2017. Twenty-twenty middle infielders like Anderson, regardless of his .258 career batting average, shouldn’t be drafted in the 14th round when 20/20 outfielders like Andrew Benintendi are being selected at the end of the third. Players like Benintendi are safer, hit for a better average and have more upside because they make more contact, but over 100 picks apart? That’s why Anderson is a value. I’ll suffer with the hit to my batting average for the dual-category production in the infield in the 13th round. Love the value and I own Anderson whenever I can every year.

Mike Moustakas, 2B/3B, Milwaukee Brewers – ADP #150.89

I haven’t been a big Moustaka believer and the fact that he continues to have to settle for one-year contracts isn’t a significant surprise to me. However, he has quietly become quite the slugger with 28 and 38 homers in back-to-back seasons, he qualifies at third base now and probably will at second base by the end of April in most Fantasy leagues. He hits in a great park for left-handed bats and in one of the strongest, and deepest, lineups in the National League. And, oh, by the way, he fell to the 15th round in drafts this year. Nolan Arenado is a monster, but how is Moustakas not the better value pick when he is selected 143 picks later? 143…14 rounds for 10 home runs, 30 RBI’s and 40 points in batting average? Feels like a steep premium to me. Love me some Brewer bats in 2019.

Francisco Mejia, C, San Diego Padres – ADP #258.96

I typically bash rookie draft ADPs, as I will in overdrafts next paragraph, but the Padres made two of them great values this season in the names of Mejia and Tatis. He qualifies at catcher but can hit like an outfielder and was drafted like a flier in the 16th round. It’s unknown just how much playing time he will receive, but the Padres plan to contend and a team doesn’t break camp with a rookie if they intend to bench him. Catcher is so thin that even part-time at-bats could make Mejia a Top-5 catcher. That’s value in the 25th round.

Fernando Tatis Jr., SS San Diego Padres – ADP #263.67

Tatis was the forgotten mega prospect and that’s not something we see very often. Eloy Jimenez was drafted #103.79 and Vlad Guerrero Jr. was drafted #46.99 even though owners didn’t know when they would make their rookie debuts while Tatis fell to the 26th round and like Jimenez and unlike Vlad Jr, he could play a full season in the majors this season. I ranked Tatis as my #1 prospect in Dynasty leagues because of his stolen base contributions and shortstop eligibility and in yearly leagues, he was a top stash in my view. Not everyone agreed. #263 could become the steal of 2019 drafts.

Kike Hernandez, 2B Los Angeles Dodgers – ADP #323.35

I am not a huge Hernandez believer and I don’t love how Los Angeles platoons seemingly everybody, but the starting second baseman who qualifies at almost every position on the Fantasy field on a pennant contender who hit 21 home runs in 2018 seems like a value as a waiver wire player in most leagues who, when he was drafted in 41% of Yahoo leagues, was selected outside the top 30 rounds. At the very least, Kike is a strong bench player and fill in when the need arises and it often does during a long season. Everyone in the National League has at least one series in Coors right?

ADP Overdrafts and Reaches

There is nothing wrong with reaching to ensure you acquire a player that you like in snake drafts. The bigger mistake is waiting and missing. But, the value has to justify the reach. Loving a player is all well and good, but giving away too much value, too often, results in a mid-level Fantasy team and middle-of-the-pack finish. Here are a few from 2019.

Walker Buehler, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers – ADP #41.53

A young pitcher with an explosive arm and lots of potential. I understand the appeal. But #41? He was drafted alongside Carlos Carrasco (#40.17), who has struck out 225 batters in back-to-back seasons, almost a full round ahead of Patrick Corbin (#49.31) who struck out 178 and 226 hitters in back-to-back years, and James Paxton who was just traded to a Yankees team that should win him 15 games even if he chose to throw right handed and pitch half a season – and he is coming off a 208 strikeout season himself. I have Buehler’s ceiling at 200 strikeouts and a conservative projection of 170-175 whiffs this season. His ADP of #41.53 was paying for risk for a young player without a track record to rely on rather than investing in upside. He has a ton of potential and in Dynasty leagues that potential deserves a higher ranking, but in redraft leagues, he was a significant reach that even if he pitches to his ceiling, he is unlikely to justify.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Toronto Blue Jays – ADP #46.99

This is the baffler of all bafflers to me, both in yearly and Dynasty leagues. Vlad the Impaler is a potential monster, I get that. But, in yearly leagues, he won’t steal even five bases and owners don’t know when Toronto will choose to promote him. And, even after his injury, Vlad’s ADP barely fell. Rookies rarely hit 30 home runs and just as rarely have impactful rookie seasons that justify drafting them over established veterans. The next Miguel Cabrera isn’t going to be the next Miguel Cabrera until 2020 or 2021. Owners realize this is 2019 right?

Without stolen bases to fall back on during stretches of rookie year struggles I can’t see how someone drafts him in the top 50. A top five pick for a team? He MUST produce. That ADP isn’t an investment in upside, it’s paying for a player to lead your team to a title. He was drafted ahead of Anthony Rendon (#47.6) and Adalberto Mondesi (#49.15) in league drafts. And in Dynasty leagues, here is a thought. Doesn’t his value drop when he is a first baseman in 2021 and beyond? I smell an enormous sell high. The helium is insane regardless of how high the hype may make owners. Shoot for the moon and see just how much you can squeeze out of another owner in long term keeper leagues. It scares me to think of the sticker shock.

Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds – ADP #62.44

Votto was horrible in 2018 and just breezed right on through into 2019’s spring training like a continuation of a trainwreck. It looks like the bat speed is gone and while the walks are still there, he isn’t making the consistent contact he made when used to choose to swing in the past. It could be too early to call the funeral home on Votto, but he batted .147 with five singles, nine strikeouts, zero home runs, and zero extra-base hits in 34 at-bats. Spring statistics are supposed to mean nothing… but it’s tough to dismiss those.

The Unowned

Players sneak past owners. They fall through the cracks. Not every Fantasy viable player makes a roster and often times it’s just because of the overwhelming bulk of options and a fluke in draft sites rankings. Every owner has seen a player drafted in the late rounds and did their best Homer Simpson, “DOH,” or found themselves in the last two rounds of a draft and three or four players they want on their opening day rosters. It happens in every draft. We can’t own every player we like or draft every flier we have on our “To Do” list. Here are some “NoteWorthies” and what to watch for on the waiver wire.

Trevor Richards, SP, Miami Marlins

Owned in 28% of Yahoo leagues

The Marlins are going to be bad. Not only in 2019, but for probably the next decade. Miami welcomed in Derek Jeter and in my opinion, welcomed in a decade of disaster and futility. But, I like Richards as a late round flier or waiver wire claim. I project 165-175 strikeouts with less than Cy Young level ratios that, at worst, will work fine if he is streamed or started selectively in shallower leagues. The park and the benefits of pitching in the National League play to his favor and the projected jump from his 2018 rookie season to his sophomore campaign suggest he can reach my reasonable projections.

Freddy Peralta, SP, Milwaukee Brewers

Owned in 44% of Yahoo leagues

I like strikeouts and Peralta has the potential to contribute more of them than most waiver wire opportunities and the Brewers lack the alternatives to challenge for his rotation spot if he struggles. He struck out 92 batters in 63 innings pitched in 2018 and finished a limited year with an ERA of 3.14 and a WHIP of .88. He has always struck out batters and in recent seasons he has had pretty good ERA’s in limited innings. He is on most waiver wires for a reason, but he is one of the more attractive opportunities and makes for a good streaming option at the very least.

John Hicks, 1B/C/DH, Detroit Tigers

Owned in 3% of Yahoo leagues

The Tigers are bad and Hicks can’t really catch, but as long as he qualifies behind the dish do Fantasy owners really care how good, bad, or ugly he is with the glove? I don’t play in a single league that uses errors in any way.  I own Hicks everywhere because he is listed on the depth chart as the Tigers Designated Hitter and if he receives even 70% of their at-bats as a DH or first baseman then I love my chances at a top 10 catcher that cost me the 407th pick in drafts. That was his ADP.  If he falls flat then how is he any worse than the other 92% of catchers? He has to be owned in all leagues and currently, he is owned in 3%. Lacks sense in my view.

Reynaldo Lopez, SP, Chicago White Sox

Owned in 16% of Yahoo leagues

I am an un-apologizing strikeout lover and Lopez has the arm to contribute them. I don’t expect great ratios and I don’t plan to start Lopez every single week or even rely on him as a primary starter, but in the right matchups I like Lopez a lot. I plan to stream him in leagues I can’t carry him and will have him on my bench in the leagues where my roster is deep enough to allow it. I expect 165-180 strikeouts and that’s an appealing starter on the early season waiver wire in my view.

Manuel Margot, OF, San Diego Padres

Owned in 23% of leagues

I like dual-category contributors and Margot has the chance to be a positive in batting average and a deep-league contributor in home runs and stolen bases. He doesn’t gave 30/30 potential, but 15/15 with a .275 batting average isn’t bad for a player available in 77% of leagues. It looks like he will be the Padres primary center fielder in an improving offense. Owners do need to watch the playing time. It’s a crowded outfield and the Padres won’t be patient if he stumbles. Don’t get caught holding the bag.

Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies

Owned in 23% of Yahoo leagues

Franco was once a top prospect with a good hit tool and plus power. The knock was that he swung too much and missed too often. That has been true and like the fears, it has diminished his potential. That doesn’t change the fact that he bats in a powerful lineup in a tiny ballpark. He has hit 22 home runs or more in three straight seasons and he is on the best team he has ever been a part of. 30 home runs isn’t outside the realm of possibility even though he is batting eighth at the moment. At the very least he is an intriguing part of the waiver wire.

NoteWorthies From Opening Day

Opening day was technically last week, but I ignore the technicals and go right to the reality. Thursday, March 28 was opening day and one of the great things about having what should be a National holiday for all teams to play on is the excitement of it all. And, that excitement grows to a crescendo and results in exciting moments and performances. Sometimes those moments get players noticed and sometimes they just create memories. Either way, Opening Day is awesome and here are a few of the better days of it.

Tim Beckham, SS, Seattle Mariners

Opening Day: Two Home Runs off Chris Sale

Beckham qualifies at shortstop, has three home runs on the season and is only owned in 13% of Yahoo leagues. There is no reason to believe that he won’t be a waiver wire player eight weeks from now like he is in 87% of leagues now, but maybe he won’t. Players pop up every year and Beckham was a number one overall pick by the Tampa Bay Rays (And by me in my Amateur Draft). He has shown the pop and the bat flip early and often. Great day today with two bombs off the Red Sox ace and who knows. Maybe he needs to be claimed before it’s too late. I remember when a washed up second baseman from the Pittsburgh Pirates named Jose Bautista started to become a home run hitting wrecking ball in Toronto for the Blue Jays.

Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals

Opening Day: Two Home Runs – Three RBI’s

Wong was once a prospect that could possibly become what Jose Altuve has become, but didn’t. He has some pop, he has some speed, he is short and he plays second base. If you squint really hard you can almost mistake him for Jose Altuve if you don’t look on the back of his jersey or double-check his baseball card. He hasn’t done enough to be relevant in Fantasy and I am not suggesting he be claimed because he had a highlight reel opening day, but who knows. Maybe he is a late bloomer. NoteWorthy day Kolten. Congrats buddy. He is only owned in 3% of Yahoo leagues. Wong is something to Watch for on the Waiver Wire as the season goes on.

You can follow me on Twitter @CJMitch73 or on Facebook in the Fantasy Sports group “A Podcast To Be Named Later” and we will have a Podcast coming in the not-too-distant future, so keep an eye-out.

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