Draft Scripts: Using NFBC ADP’s to evaluate Outfield

In anticipation of the FSTA draft this week, I continue my early look at NFBC ADP’s, concentrating on the top 200 in money drafts. While the names continue to shuffle others stay the same. Outfield will be about trust, mixing some power with guys who can steal some bases and catching that bargain that others either overlooked or were burned by last year. It is evident in the ADP information that it will take due diligence and maybe a little luck to hit on the breakouts this year. Due the fact there are forty nine names to digest I made one chart and took the liberty of splitting up their strengths by color:

Red – 20+ HR, 8 < SB (Power); Green – 10 < HR, 20+ SB (Speed); Blue – 10+ HR, 10+ SB (Blends)

Here is how the outfield stacks up. I listed their draft rank below and also inserted their average ADP’s in the NFBC drafts to give an early indicator of their value prior to Thursday’s FSTA draft.

OF NFBC Avg ADP Chart Update 2

Keeping with the format, I have processed each player drafted in the top 200 in charts with their respective Steamer Projections courtesy of Fangraphs.com. After each group I will give some thoughts about how the outfielders stack up and then move to the next one. The first two charts will be in groups of seventeen then the last group will round out to the 49 outfielders according to the ADP numbers.

Group One – 4 Power, 1 Speed and 12 Blends

OF NFBC Projection Chart 1-17

I mean the first seventeen at most positions should be rock solid and for the most part the outfielders are. I have sort of clumped some highlights into categories since the Golden Globes just happened, so here goes. By the way I am not scared of either Matt Kemp or Justin Upton in San Diego but I wrote about that already here.
Safety in numbers: Adam Jones, Baltimore
He is not flashy and is always a regression candidate and he just keeps producing. It is like you do not feel great drafting him at his ADP but he is consistent while not flashy, which in the first round is not so bad.
Bounce Back: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee
I was warning drafters last year to avoid Ryan, but I am back. Since his ADP is trending down, his health may be up and guys who produce 28 home runs and 12 steals are dwindling with a batting average near .300, so I am here with open arms.
Trust Issues: Michael Brantley, Cleveland; Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado
While I am intrigued by the price on Carlos Gonzalez, his checkered health past, last year makes him a very risky option this early. But he could deliver a season like Michael Brantley did last year. Let that marinate a minute. Brantley broke through for a strong 2014, are you feeling lucky paying for a repeat? If you are the cost may alarm you.
Wild Cards: Bryce Harper, Washington; George Springer, Houston
Two guys who could determine how teams finish. I mean there is a 25 home run and 15 steal season while hitting .290 just waiting for Harper who people seem to forget is only 22 years old. With batting averages dropping across baseball again, a guy who could hit 30 home runs and if his legs stay healthy, steal 20 is tolerable if he hits .240, but the .240 could be iffy. If Springer gets his average to .250, then he is a potential top 10 outfielder. There, I said it.
Upside Play: Starling Marte, Pittsburgh
At the same cost as Carlos Gonzalez who may strain a pinkie or Billy Hamilton I can get a poor man’s Jacoby Ellsbury who is younger with more upside? Twenty picks later? Absolutely.
Group Two – 6 Power, 2 Speed, 9 Blends

OF NFBC Projection Chart 18-34

Safety in numbers: Nelson Cruz, Seattle
It is clear that Nelson Cruz’s huge 2014 netted him the Mariners contract which is twofold, first he will protect Robinson Cano and second he adds a power right handed bat that they have craved. While I am not saying to invest heavily in a repeat, he can still hit 25 home runs and you know what you are getting with Cruz.
Bounce Back: Jay Bruce, Cincinnati
At a time when power hitters are craved a strong return by Jay Bruce at a deflated cost would be huge for his fantasy value. We know he can hit for power, or at least should, but will his batting average return to respectability? Or does the shift have another victim?
Trust Issues: Charlie Blackburn, Colorado; J.D. Martinez, Detroit
One had a career year in Coors field and the other was an outcast from the Astros and found success in Motown? If I had to pick from the two, I think a repeat in power by Martinez is possible with some losses in batting average but his Steamer projection supports a solid season. I think Blackburn is a nice story but to invest in him this early when there are other options available late is a tough pick to justify.
Wild Cards: Rusney Castillo, Boston; Jorge Soler, Chicaco Cubs
A Cuban theme here in the wild card section so all kidding aside, they both have immense ability. If Castillo can translate his winter season statistics to the major leagues then the Red Sox have an even deeper outfield and should be dealing Allen Craig sooner than later. Not to kill the theme, but a power hitting outfielder is becoming rarer and rarer, so Jorge Soler has to be on radars. Since he could hit more home runs without destroying a team’s batting average I may venture to gamble on him since he can develop over say a Jay Bruce….the shift….
Upside Play: Jason Heyward, St. Louis
On my tombstone it will read, he trusted in in Jason Heyward. He has not hit left-handed pitching, well, at all lately and even though I sang his praises from the rooftops last year Heyward was replaced in Atlanta by Nick Markakis? Yes, that Nick Markakis. I am not saying that 20/20 is a guarantee but would it surprise anyone that being a Cardinal unlocked his potential? Would not be the first guy to have that happen.
Group Three: 3 Power, 4 Speed, 7 Blends, Melky Cabrera

OF NFBC Projection Chart 35-49

Safety in numbers: There is not really safety out here….

Bounce Back: Shin-Soo Choo, Texas
With health, it is hard to imagine a prohibitive top twenty outfielder in 2014 draft preps has fallen so precipitously, but Choo has. How many owners did he upset? In NFBC formats this means he is a tenth round pick and chance well worth taking. Unless the curse of Kinsler is real.
Trust Issues: Same as the safety problem, there are going to be trust issues here as well. Just look at the ADP’s of Alex Rios and the aforementioned Choo.
Wild Cards: Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox; Yasmany Tomas, Arizona
It takes some stones to invest in players out here in drafts and when you see the pitching options you will see why I am going to get power and hitters early and try to target pitching later. But I will take a chance on Avisail Garcia here since he could have a ceiling of 20 home runs with ten steals at an ADP of 172 on average. All day every day. The White Sox are going to score some runs. Yasmany Tomas will come with some hype especially with the breakout that Jose Abreu had last year but I fear that Tomas will resemble a different White Sox teammate, Dayan Viciedo. Tread lightly here….
Upside: Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh
There are all kinds of terms, post-hype sleeper for example, whatever you want to say I think Polanco had a tough go after his promotion last year but he is talented. After watching him in person I was a fan and he has presence. Though his ceiling in 2015 is probably 13 home runs and 25 stolen bases that is a bargain where he is going.
It is getting late so I am going to offer up one more chart with player that are beyond the top 200 in each category for outfield with their projections included. When you speak of me, please speak nicely.

OF NFBC Undrafted Chart with Projections Updated

Statistical credits: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com, ESPN.go.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/DKf0LS

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!

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10 Predictions & Questions Heading Into The All-Star Break

We’ve had a great 1st half of baseball this year! The Sports Script asked Ricky and me 10 questions regarding the 1st half of the season. We’ll be talking about what’s happened so far this year, as well as predict how the season will finish.

1. Who is the biggest surprise team? The Pittsburgh Pirates.

After finishing the last 20 years on the wrong side of .500, the Pittsburgh Pirates have seemed to amass a winning formula. Known for draft picks that didn’t pan out and veteran signings that fell through, this season the pieces appear to be falling into place. With acquisitions such as Francisco Liriano and Jeff Locke, joining A. J. Burnett and Gerrit Cole in the rotation and a talented bullpen, the pitching has been the heart and soul of the Pirates’ success. Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte’s outfield performances have been electrifying. With the fourth lowest payroll in the majors, GM Neal Huntington’s bargain shopping appears to be paying off.

2. Who is the biggest disappointment? The Toronto Blue Jays

The splashiest moves in the off-season don’t always translate into regular season success. The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays are a prime example. After the trade for shortstop Jose Reyes, left-handed pitcher Mark Buehrle, right-handed pitcher Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck, the acquisition of free agent Melky Cabrera and knuckleballer R. A. Dickey from the New York Mets, the Jays were an early favorite to win the division. With a division-worst 45-48 record, they are falling miserably flat. Following a poor start to the season, the Jays recovered slightly but in the midst of a strong A.L. East, there is no room for mediocrity. With a sorely under-producing rotation, in order to contend with the Boston Red Sox, the Baltimore Orioles, the New York Yankees, and surging Tampa Bay Rays, their acquisitions will have to produce.

3. Who is the MVP? AL: Miguel Cabrera. NL: Yadier Molina

Although still early in the debate, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers is a runaway favorite for MVP consideration. Aside from Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles, there is no other major league player whose numbers even come close to touching Cabrera’s. With an impressive 95 RBI’s, 30 HR’s and batting an average of .365, his production in the Tigers’ line up is extraordinary. In the NL, Catcher Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals isn’t a “typical” MVP candidate. With only 7 HR’s in 2013, he isn’t your power-hitter, however, his real strength comes in his batting average at .341 (with 49 RBI’s) on the year. He has thrown out 45% of attempted base-stealers. With a 4.0 WAR rating, Molina ranks second only to Cabrera and has started behind the plate in nearly every game, proving his durability. Perhaps most importantly, Molina is the backbone of the division-leading Cardinals.

4. Who is the CY Young? American League: Max Scherzer National League: Adam Wainwright

Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers finally lost his first game of the season this past weekend but still leads the majors with only 1 loss. While wins-losses can be overrated, they are not meaningless. With an ERA of 3.19, Scherzer leads the league in strikeouts with 152. Adam Wainright of the St. Louis Cardinals has 12 wins and 5 losses, an ERA of 2.30, and is second in the National League with 126 strikeouts. Wainwright has had 2 shutouts on the year and an impressive 14 walks in 19 games.

5. Who is the Least Valuable Player? B.J. Upton

This past off-season the Atlanta Braves signed B.J. Upton to a 5-year, $75.25 million deal, the biggest contract in franchise history. Hitting a dismal .177/.266/.300 on the year, Upton is looking like a poor investment. He is struggling at the plate with 102 strikeouts half way through the season. His timing is poor, he shows too much movement in his swing, and any adjustments he has tried to make haven’t proven effective. In fact, Upton appears to be regressing as a hitter. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez admitted he considered asking Upton to work out his struggles in a minor league assignment. Currently Upton has been placed on the 15-day DL with a right adductor muscle strain.

6. Which team needs to make a move at the deadline? Philadelphia Phillies

Throughout the season many have speculated whether the Phillies would be sellers before the deadline with the likes of Chase Utley, Michael Young, and Carlos Ruiz. However following a strong July outing, General Manager Ruben Amaro reportedly announced the Phillies could be buyers, not sellers. With the Atlanta Braves, who started the 2013 season red-hot, slightly slowing down their pace and the Washington Nationals falling short of expectations, a strong addition to the roster could give the Phillies a push for the post-season, if any is to be had. If the Phillies go the selling route, there could be great value for Utley, Young, or Ruiz in the trade market.

7. Which team is most likely to bounce back in the 2nd half? Los Angeles Angels

With a record of 44-49 the Angels are heading into the All-Star break below .500 and 12 games out of first place in the NL West. However, they have the ability to recover. If they are going to gain ground in the second half of the season they need a boost from their pitching staff (particularly ace Jered Weaver); the offense needs to live up to its potential and they need to win the games they are supposed to win. This season against the less than stellar Astros, the Angels have gone just 6-7 included being swept by Houston in a 4 game series. Their big off-season acquisition, Josh Hamilton, had a bleak start to the season but heading into the weekend has hit .346 in his last 14 games with 12 runs and 4 HR’s. Hamilton needs to break out in the second half. Injury-riddled Albert Pujols has also had a weak first half of the season but if last season is any indication (slugging jumped from .460 to .581 in the second half), he should start to improve. His bat returning to previous form will provide a much-needed bolster to the Angels’ line-up.

AL 8. Will Miguel Cabrera win the Triple Crown for a 2nd year in a row? No.

While Cabrera is certainly making a case for a repeat Triple Crown the one category that will hinder him is power-hitting. Cabrera has 30 HR’s heading into the All-Star break, second to Chris Davis’ 37. While either hitter could slow down in the 2nd half, it will be difficult to top Davis’ power. With Davis finishing out the 1st half with 93 RBI’s, 37 HR’s, and a batting average of .315, he may also be a Triple Crown contender. At the very least, his numbers will threaten Cabrera’s.

NL 8. Who will finish with the most HRs in the NL? Carlos Gonzalez

The National League does not boast the same power-hitting numbers as the American League. Currently Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies leads the NL with 25 HR’s, Pedro Alvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates has 24, and Domonic Brown of the Philadelphia Phillies has 23. While the HR leader at the close of the season is a toss-up, Coors Field, the home of the Colorado Rockies is known for being a home-run friendly ballpark due to the high altitude, which could give Gonzalez an advantage.

9. Which 5 teams are making the playoffs?

AL East: Boston Red Sox

AL Central: Detroit Tigers

AL West: Oakland A’s

Wild Card: Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles

NL East: Atlanta Braves

NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals

NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks

Wild Card: Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals

10. Who is representing the AL & NL in the World Series? Detroit Tigers & St. Louis Cardinals

Twitter: MissMaria_88

10 Predictions & Questions Heading Into The All-Star Break

We’ve had a great 1st half of baseball this year! The Sports Script asked Maria and me 10 questions regarding what took place during the 1st half of the year and predictions for the rest of the season.

1. Who is the biggest surprise team?

The Pittsburgh Pirates – They have had one impressive 1st half of the season. Their pitching has been unbelievable; they have the #1 ERA in all of baseball right now. What’s even more surprising is the fact they are winning so many games in spite of how badly they’re hitting this year.

2. Who is the biggest disappointment?

At the beginning of June this would’ve easily been the Dodgers, but now it has to be the Nationals. They are only 1 game above .500 and just haven’t been playing the best baseball. They just aren’t hitting at all and they’re ranked in the bottom half of every major hitting category.

3. Who is the MVP?

Miguel Cabrera – Chris Davis gets an honorable mention in this but nobody is playing as well as Miggy. He is hitting .365 with 30 HRs & 95 RBIs. He could be on his way to winning his 2nd Triple Crown and MVP in a row.

4. Who is the CY Young?

I would say there are 4 or 5 names that could be tossed into conversation, but I am going with Patrick Corbin. He is 11-1 with a 2.35 ERA, 109 SO, and a 1.00 WHIP. He has only given up more than 3 runs twice in 19 starts, and has held teams to 2 runs or less in 15 of those. While others can still stake their claim, give me Corbin right now.

Max Scherzer – This guy is 13-1 with a 3.19 ERA, 152 SO & a 0.98 WHIP. There really is no other choice here to be made.

5. Who is the Least Valuable Player?

The Upton Brothers –

After starting the season hot, Justin has hit a cold streak, while his brother B.J., has just been terrible all season long. They have struck out a combined 202 times. The Braves have invested a lot of money in the pair and they haven’t produced the way they should’ve.

6. Which team needs to make a move at the deadline?

The Tigers –

They need a closer and they need one right now. If they do not trade for a dominant closer, this team will not go to the World Series this year.

7. Which team is most likely to bounce back in the 2nd half?

The Nationals –

They aren’t playing anywhere near what they are capable of. I think they are poised for a good 2nd half where they will overtake the Braves and win the NL East.

8a. Will Miguel Cabrera win the Triple Crown for a 2nd year in a row?

I believe he will. I think Chris Davis is going to hit a wall in the 2nd half (Like Jose Bautista did in 2010). This will give Cabrera the opportunity to overtake him in the HR race.

8b.Who will finish with the most HRs in the NL?

This is a race to keep an eye on. Gonzalez, Brown, Alvarez, and Goldschmidt are all within 4 HRs of each other. Beltran and Bruce aren’t far off either. If he is healthy, Cargo will end the season with 42 HRs, which will lead the NL.

9. Which 5 teams are making the playoffs?

NL –

East: Nationals

Central: Cardinals,

West: Diamondbacks,

Wild Cards: Dodgers & Braves.

AL –

East: Rays

Central: Tigers

West: A’s

Wild Cards: Yankees & Angels.

10. Who is representing the NL & AL in the World Series?

I originally picked the Braves to not only represent the NL in the World Series but to win it as well. Well, time for me to take my comment back. The Braves have too many questions surrounding them, the D’Backs aren’t there yet, the Dodgers aren’t unless they trade for Lee, and the Nationals aren’t ready for it yet. So, with the experience and talent, the Cardinals will be in the World Series for the 4th time since 2010.

At the beginning of the season I had the Tigers representing the AL. I will stand by that pick now as well. The Rays I think have the right amount of pitching to make it, but not sure they have the hitting together. The A’s always seem to get there but can never make that final push. Yankees aren’t good enough, and the Angels could go, but aren’t deep enough in the rotation to make it. So that leaves me with the Tigers, and I think that is by default as well. They have been really solid with their Starting Pitchers, but their bullpen has been atrocious this year. As I said, they will fix this issue and trade for one at the deadline, to take home the Crown in the AL.