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 24 shortstops in 2017 based on ADPs in March from the NFBC:
The shortstop position has a rainbow of opportunities in 2017. Carlos Correa and Manny Machado appear to be the edges. Both players need to prove their worth in steals. Many Fantasy owners feel the shortstop position has plenty of depth this year. If you pass on Correa, you could be missing out on the next Alex Rodriguez. I do like the upside of Corey Seager as well, but he’s been battling a back/oblique issue in March. I expect him to be discounted in the upcoming drafts. Last year he had a spring injury issue as well.
Jonathan Villar will offer plus speed and some power, but his resume is too short for me. This season there are plenty of speed outs at short: Jean Segura, Eduardo Nunez, Elvis Andrews, Tim Anderson, and Orlando Arcia. Batting order opportunity and power will be the key to each player’s value.
There’s just something about Francisco Lindor that make him an undervalued player in the Fantasy market. He almost has a Jimmy Rollins type skill set with more upside in batting average. He’ll help in all areas while offering upside across the board. I’m a Boston fan, but I’m not attracted to Xander Bogaerts in many drafts. I guess I can trust his speed or his upside in power. I know he has talent with age on his side. When building a team, a Lindor type of player just works better for my style of play (balanced).
Trevor Story won’t hit in an ideal part of the batting order, but 30+ HRs with a chance at 20+ steals seems like a viable conclusion. Javier Baez has a similar skill set with a much lower ADP (121) due to him not having a starting job. I can’t overpay for Javier at this point of his career.
Troy Tulowitzki has lost all his luster as he could be had by any owner in the 11th round in most 15 team drafts.
Of all the year options in 2017 at short, Dansby Swanson has the best breakout opportunity. He should hit in a favorable part of the batting order while playing every day.
I do like Addison Russell a lot this year, and I’m not afraid of his downside risk in batting average. I expect him to hit 5th in the Cubs lineup with a chance at .270 with 25+ HRs, 100+ RBI, and double digit steals. Marcus Semien has more upside in speed as well, and his power should be strong enough to reach 20+ home runs. Many may feel Brad Miller’s power was a fluke in 2016. I like his swing, and his batting average offered much more upside in the minors (.332). With the right team structure, he’s a great value where he’s being drafted (ADP of 165).
There is value in power with Brandon Crawford and Aledmys Diaz as well.
This season a Fantasy owner will be able to count on multiple shortstops to be building blocks for their franchise. There is depth, and many different skill sets to help finish off your roster in power and speed. I’d like to own a stud option at short, but I can see the value in waiting at the position as well. I don’t want to get beat at short this season.