With the National Fantasy Baseball Championship coming up, I thought I would take some time to look at the current draft flow in March. I’ve put together the top 400 or so players drafted in 168 drafts in the NFBC to get help get a feel for each player’s value. Completed drafts are a great tool for Fantasy owners to get a feel for a player’s average draft position or ADP. By knowing the potential round a targeted player may go in, a Fantasy owner may be able to add a few more pieces to the puzzle with a good feel for drafts flow and timing.
The key is finding the drop-offs at each position plus knowing when there is a huge step down at a position if you miss a targeted player. Each owner at the draft table will have a different start to their roster leading to different paths to their team development.
To help get a feel for the player pool, I’ve highlighted some players at each position to show their possible value in 2017. Here is the table that shows what each color means:
Here is a list of the top 25 catchers in 2017 based on ADPs in March from the NFBC:
Buster Posey has a nice resume for a catcher, but he’s failed to make an impact over the last couple of seasons leading to him losing some luster. He gets draft high, but I’m not sure he offers enough of an edge. His ADP range is 20 to 60, so there is a wide opinion of his value. I would much rather own him late in the fourth round.
Both Gary Sanchez and Jonathan Lucroy both finished with upside in 2016. Lucroy has a longer resume, but he’ll have his highest price point of his career. I like what he does, and he should play well in Texas. Sanchez made Fantasy owners a ton of money in 2017 as he was one of the better waiver wire picks on the year. His power will finish in a favorable area, but will it match his success in August and September?
Willson Contreras should be a fun player to own this year. I expect growth, but he will have some competition for at bats at catcher with Miguel Montero still on the Cubs the roster. I would much rather roster him in the 8th or 9th round in 15 team leagues. A target for sure, but I won’t overpay with too many important pieces getting drafted between round four and round eight.
The Astros have a different team structure, which will lead to Evan Gattis getting fewer at bats. His 32 HRs from 2016 will look attractive, but that number can’t be repeated with his expected playing time this year. Solid source of power at catcher with a possible injury leading to a better than expected opportunity.
J.T. Realmuto will offer some speed at catcher with double digit power. I don’t view him as an edge, but he will be an asset as C1 if drafted at the right price point.
With an uptick in batting average, Yasmani Grandal could be the best value of the top 10 catchers based on his ADP. He takes a ton of walks while flashing impact power in 2016 (27 HRs over 390 at bats).
Salvador Perez has steady power with a low K rate, but he did suffer what is expected to be a minor knee injury in early March in the World Baseball Championship. Matt Wieters will hit lower in the batting order in Washington, but his ADP is much too low based on him being a free agent until February. His ADP in March is 184 (up ten spots). I view Wieters as a value play in 2017.
In the live events in Vegas, I’ll wait on my second catcher. Fantasy owners seem to be overlooking Yan Gomes, and Travis d’Arnaud has plenty of upside if he can stay healthy. Austin Hedges makes sense as well after hitter 21 home runs over 313 at bats at AAA in 2016.
The Nationals dumped Derek Norris in mid-March. He may land in a spot where he gets a bump in at bats.
Overall, I think most Fantasy owners would be happy with 30 HRs and 120 RBI from their two catchers in 2017. I'd like to own one strong catcher and one with upside.