Overrated and underrated second basemen for 2022
And we return to the series of expected draft values, where we look at historical data to identify overvalued and undervalued players of all types. Whether you’re targeting power, speed, power + speed, batting average + power, and more, we’ve got you covered. We now head to second base as we circle the diamond for 2022.
Today we’re going to be looking at three second basemen and comparing their projected statline via my Cutting protrusions against the expected return on their ADP. Due to various factors such as name recognition, your fantasy rig’s default ranking in the draft room, or social media buzz, ADPs can be swayed to misrepresent the stats you write up. Stay tuned over the next two weeks as we bring you a deeper look at underrated and overrated players in each position using expected draft values.
Typically what we’re going to do in this series is identify which players will return a positive or negative value, depending on their NFBC ADP in Draft Champions Contests from February to March (~90 drafts)their expected draft value (i.e. the average stat line typically produced at that ADP) and the player’s projection.
Editor’s note: The RotoBaller Challenge is back for 2022, powered by our friends at Fantrax! Join a free fantasy baseball league today and compete against RotoBaller writers and readers for a grand prize of $500 cash to the top winner. All new Fantrax users are also automatically entered to win an official Wander Franco signed MLB jersey!
How Expected Draft Values Help You Win Your League
It may already be clear at this point, but if you know the expected profitability stat line of each draft slot, you can identify which of your draft picks are expected to return a positive or negative value. Below, we take a look at five power bats that are overrated or underrated based on their recent ADP NFBC DC, our RotoBaller projections, and expected draw values.
Without further ado, here are some players who stand out at their current cost in the 2022 draft.
NFBC DC ADP: 77
Expected return for a Power Hitter drafted 77th: .258 BA, 33 HR, 83 runs, 95 RBI, 3 SB
Screening RotoBaller 2022: .273-26-102-79-6
To analyse: Altuve started going in the wrong direction, going from a balanced hitter who attacked all pitches with a bit of pop but more speed and average to a guy who sold himself for more power instead of the other tools. If baseballs are indeed less jittery in 2022, this approach could paint a lackluster picture.
In the meantime, we’ll cut back on the drama and just describe what happened. Altuve used to consistently top an average of .300 with over 30 steals in his early to mid-twenties, and then 2016 saw his HR/FB rate jump into double digits. Power appeared but his fly-ball rates remained around the usual 30-33% band alongside a pull-rate around 40-45%. He clubbed the ball, but not at the expense of his average. He still flirted with .300 even with a whopping 31 home runs in just 548 AP in 2019 (I know, I know).
This 2019 season has been significant, but for us it has seen Altuve go from 2018’s 41.4% attraction rate to 50%. His fly-ball rate was up one touch to 32.5% (from 30%) and he still hit .298 on the year. Costs. Then he battled injury to a horrible .219/.286/.344 line in 2020 before increasing a 38.7% fly-ball rate and 54.4% pull-up rate in 2021.
The resulting 31 homers in 678 AP are great on their own, but the .278 average creeps to the top of the results for this batted ball profile. Then you mix together an appalling drop in thefts and attempted thefts:
I don’t buy at this price, especially when I can get a guy who tends up around the same pick.
Verdict: Pass, Altuve is overvalued at its current draft slot
NFBC DC ADP: 78
Expected return for a Power Hitter drafted 78th: .257-33-82-95-3
RotoBaller 2022 Screening: .258-31-92-87-7
To analyse: Speaking of the devil (Ray), Lowe enters his season at 27 after a 39 home run campaign and his third straight year to eclipse the 21% HR/FB mark. We hadn’t seen a full season from Lowe, although the abbreviated 2020 sprint yielded 14 home runs in just 56 games (224 AP) in preview. As of 2019, Lowe has 70 home runs in 1,166 APs.
Combined stats can be hard to orient, so let me rephrase: There have been 159 hitters with at least 1,000 AP since 2019. Of those 159, Lowe’s rate of a home run for 16.67 AP is the 14th best rate. On top of that, Lowe is one of the few bats with such power that can also contribute to steals. He swept seven sacks last year, giving him 46 HR+SB. Our projections have him at 38 HR+SB, two of the 36 required by EDV. He also has three runs over the R+RBI tally and a few runs over batting average.
In short, Lowe’s is slightly at or above the mark in every department when it comes to the EDV report card. He couldn’t get much worse against southpaws after hitting .198 against LHP in 2021, and even a 35.7% career strikeout rate against them comes with 22 HR for a 104 wRC+ (145 wRC+ against right-handers). There is room in its earnings ranges for some declines and growth. This is a solid mid-range buy if you need to carve a path with power and a bit of speed for someone who tends to climb rather than descend.
Verdict: Target, Lowe is undervalued at his current draft spot
NFBC DC ADP: 118
Expected return for an average hitter drafted 118th: .300-14-72-70-11
Screening RotoBaller 2022: .290-18-98-72-5
To analyse: LeMahieu is a career .300 hitter who carried his Coors success to Yankee Stadium, hitting .327 in 2019 and .364 in ’20. The pendulum swung back in 21 as LeMahieu only hit 0.268 with 10 home runs in 679 AP, the same number of HRs he clubbed in just 216 AP in 20. There are plenty of reasons to believe the first Yankees hitter and buy the dip.
On the one hand, LeMahieu’s work has been well established for more than five years now. He has consistently posted a 22% line drive rate with a 25-40-35 pull-center-oppo spray rate, similar to recent campaigns. Its max output speed of 110.6 mph stacks with 109.5 mph in 20 and 111.1 mph in 19, so the top end remains, but I’ll be watching its performance against fastballs. I don’t want to lean on a season-ending hernia as the reason for his overall performance, but it should be noted that he is healthy now after the operation.
DJ LeMahieu- Abdomen- LeMahieu said last week that he was in perfect health after surgery in October to repair a sports hernia, reports Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. #Yankees
— Fantasy Baseball Injury Guru (@mlbinjuryguru) February 21, 2022
After posting an SLG/xSLG of 0.483/0.508 in his big ratings in 2019 and 0.622/0.461 in 20, the power has dropped to 0.367/0.385 in 21. Given the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, I’m confident someone one with LeMahieu’s penchant for contact finds better results. Consider his 30 XBHs out of 311 APs at home in 2019 and compare that to just 11 XBHs at home out of 329 APs last season. I don’t expect a rebound to the hilarious .448 home batting average of 2020, but a bad .257 average in the Bronx certainly looks like a similar outlier, just on the other side of the variance. CUTTER agrees with me. Add to that that he’s the best tri-eligible player through diamond you can draft and he’s a great start to the middle rounds.
I first drafted this before the Yankees clogged the infield a bit, but I trust DJL’s versatility to prevail as a daily play through the diamond. His bat is badly needed at the top of the order and neither Josh Donaldson nor Anthony Rizzo is at the top of corner health.
Verdict: Target, LeMahieu is overvalued at his current draft spot
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