NFBC Hitting Sleepers

We added the average draft positions for National Fantasy Baseball Championship leagues to our projections pages! Right now only Steamer is up and so you can click here and find the ADP in the last column on the right. Once I was told they were live I thought let’s take this info and use it with the Steamer 600 projection (their normal projection normalized to 600 PA for everyone) to find some potential gems. Essentially, it’s a playing time sleeper list. If these guys were to find 600 PA, Steamer is suggesting they’ve got the skills to shine. I’m looking at players currently being drafted outside the top 200 in NFBC leagues.

Here are 12 names that stood out to me:

David Dahl, COL, .284 AVG, 22 HR, 76 R, 83 RBI, 15 SB, 258 ADP

He lost the entire season to ribcage and back injuries, but there’s still excitement for the 24-year old and the Steamer projection highlights why. No, he probably won’t play enough for 600 PA, but a pick in the mid-200s isn’t a bad price to take the chance. Unsurprisingly, Rockies players do well in an exercise like this just because ~300 PA in that park will boost anyone’s projection. That said, I think Dahl and these next two are skilled enough to truly maximize their playing time if they get it.

Raimel Tapia, COL, .296 AVG, 10 HR, 67 R, 68 RBI, 19 SB, 392 ADP

Ryan McMahon, COL, .284 AVG, 17 HR, 72 R, 75 RBI, 10 SB, 402 ADP

The Rockies starting outfield is strong with Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, and Gerardo Parra, so you can see why the ADPs on all three of these guys are so low relative to their potential output over a full season, but I don’t want to cut someone off from consideration solely due to playing time worries when the talent is there. Pardon a shift to football, but I did this with Alvin Kamara this year and regretted it.

In fairness, I didn’t know the skill was there, but I like Gary Vaynerchuk and listen to some of his stuff and I remember that his sports agency was trying to ink Kamara. He was, of course, talking up his potential client which put him on my radar. But then the Saints got Adrian Peterson and I thought, how is this kid going to succeed with Peterson and Mark Ingram there? I stupidly thought the Saints would be stupid and force feed Peterson a bunch of carries, robbing Ingram and cutting off Kamara. Anyway, if you don’t follow football, Peterson was toast and traded after four weeks and Kamara ended up beasting.

None of the Rockies starting outfielders fit the Peterson role there, but underperformance isn’t the only avenue to garnering a role. That entire outfield is north of 30 years old and even if they all had spotless health records (they don’t), the risk jumps every year. Hunter Pence played 162 games in 2013 and 2014. He hasn’t reached 135 in the seasons since.

I wrote up Tapia here a couple months ago. McMahon has one minor league stop with a sub-.200 ISO (2016 at Double-A), but he repeated the level and jumped and added 53 points of ISO to .210 before a promotion to Triple-A. He’s penciled in as the first baseman at Roster Resource, but we’ve got him backing up with Desmond at first and Tapia starting in left.

Willie Calhoun, TEX, .278 AVG, 28 HR, 79 R, 87 RBI, 4 SB, 289 ADP

At the 2016 Arizona Fall League, Cody Bellinger definitely got the bulk of the hype in my section at the Fall Stars game, but Calhoun was a close second. Part of it was that Chris Welsh wouldn’t shut up about him because the Calhoun homer put Chris in position to win our annual Paul Stars game (our DFS-based game that I run each year). Interestingly enough, Bellinger, Calhoun, and McMahon went yard in that game.

I said this was essentially a playing time sleeper list, but Calhoun would be exempt from that distinction because he’s already slated for a full time role. Using Steamer 600 on Calhoun added 13 PA. But I still wanted to highlight him because he’s going 289th on average. I did a chintzy little formula weighting the HR, SB, R, RBI, and AVG (and I mean chintzy, I do not have the math skills of a Jeff Zimmerman or guys like that who are running regressions and stuff like that) and Calhoun was 32nd.

The dude just mashes and could be a middle of the order run producer if he clicks in 2018. He had 31 HR/93 RBI/80 R in Triple-A last year and 27 HR/88 RBI/75 R in Double-A two seasons ago. Don’t sleep on this Texas lineup. I know the rotation is… interesting… but the lineup could straight up destroy fools.

Aaron Hicks, NYY, .253 AVG, 20 HR, 78 R, 71 RBI, 13 SB, 238 ADP

I know it’s shocking that I’d rep for Hicks… lol. His top five articles on the profile page include that one I just linked, three podcast eps where I probably forced Eno to talk about Hicks, and then Trey Baughn’s Black Friday Bargain piece. I’d still love to see a full season of Hicks as I think he could even best this line for sure.

Maikel Franco, PHI, .265 AVG, 28 HR, 73 R, 88 RBI, 1 SB, 244 ADP

I’m willing to buy in for another year. I still think the power/contact combo could yield a big season… perhaps his 2015 doubled in a best-case scenario (14 HR, 50 RBI, .280 AVG in 80 games). He’s still just 25 years old and with the price drop, he’ll be a nice upside CI option in leagues this year.

Marcus Semien, OAK, .251 AVG, 22 HR, 76 R, 70 RBI, 12 SB, 229 ADP

He’s never had a big season, but instead always treads around average (96 career wRC+) as a power/speed combo at shortstop. His 12 SB were a career-high last year (in 13 tries), but they came in just 85 games. He hit a career-high 27 HR in 2016. Imagine if we could combine 2016’s HR total with 2017’s SB pace! That’s aggressive, but a 25/15 season seems legit if plays another 150+ as he did in 2015-16.

Austin Hays, BAL, .277 AVG, 22 HR, 74 R, 77 RBI, 8 SB, 371 ADP

This one was especially interesting to me because Hays is penciled in as a starter for next year after a big 2017 that saw him beast out at High-A and Double-A before a 20-game cup of coffee. Will the Orioles keep him up and insert him into the lineup or give him some burn at Triple-A? His ADP allows you to take a shot on the former.

Teoscar Hernandez, TOR, .240 AVG, 21 HR, 72 R, 70 RBI, 18 SB, 307 ADP

*wipes off virtual tears* I was really psyched about Hernandez a couple months ago, I had to update this one to point out that Randal Grichuk’s trade to the Jays today clouds Hernandez’s future, especially after Curtis Granderson was added earlier this week. Kevin Pillar has center locked down, Granderson/Steve Pearce for left, and then Grichuk for right. Of course, that leftfield platoon is hardly impenetrable so I’m not writing off Hernandez for the season. I may be looking for that ADP to meander downward on the heels of the two additions this week, though.

Andrew Toles, LAD, .277 AVG, 18 HR, 71 R, 71 RBI, 15 SB, 505 ADP

He was off to a decent start last year (104 wRC+ in 102 PA) before tearing his ACL and helping clear the path for the NL Rookie of the Year, Cody Bellinger. Now Toles finds himself in Belly’s situation of seemingly being blocked off for playing time headed into the season. He is expected to be ready for Opening Day, but we’ll see if he wins a bench spot over Trayce Thompson or has to start the season in Triple-A.

Nick Senzel, CIN, .275 AVG, 20 HR, 68 R, 73 RBI, 13 SB, 393 ADP

Cincy’s uber-prospect probably won’t break camp, but the 23-year old had a fantastic two-level season at High- and Double-A (14 HR & SB, .905 OPS) and shouldn’t need too much time at Triple-A before getting the call, even if the Reds don’t contend. In case you aren’t familiar with him, Senzel was the #2 overall pick of the 2016 draft out of the University of Tennessee so his quick ascent is in line with expectations. He’ll be a popular reserve round gamble in leagues with a bundle of bench spots (5+). I can’t see waiting him out in a 10-team league with 3 reserve spots, but keep a close eye on him so you can pounce when he seems primed for the call-up.

Zack Granite, MIN, .279 AVG, 8 HR, 67 R, 60 RBI, 26 SB, 641 ADP

We’re so starved for SB these days that I figured I’d include Granite. He isn’t even projected to make the team as a bench bat, but that could change in Spring Training. Just keep an eye on him if and when the Twins call him up, especially if you need speed!

OK, y’all deserve more. Here are 10 intriguing ones to keep an eye on (AVG, HR, R, RBI, SB, ADP):

Yes, I will have something similar for pitchers out next week!



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Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. He is the purveyor of the SP Guide (on hiatus for '17). Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer, on Snapchat at psporer, and on Twitch at psporer24.

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John W.
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John W.

Thanks!