The Most Undervalued at Every Position

Last Wednesday, I look at the most overvalued hitters at every position (sans catcher), comparing the positional rankings inferred from the ADPs at Mock Draft Central to my dollar values. Avoiding the players that are unlikely to earn their draft slot or auction price is important, but winners also usually end up with a chock full of players that were undervalued as well. Last time, I looked at the top 10 at each infield position and the top 24 outfielders. This time I will look at every starter expected to generate positive value in a standard, 12-team league.

C: Ryan Doumit
ADP Rank- 17
My Rank- 10

This is understandable as he has never garnered more than 431 at-bats in a season and a broken ankle limited him to just 218 at-bats last year. However, the oft-injured catcher is set to be the everyday DH for the Twins, so an opportunity to set a new career high in plate appearances is there for the taking. Besides designated hitter, he will also still catch every so often. His BABIP, and resulting batting average, has really jumped around, making him a tough one to make a projection for in the category. But he has good power for a catcher, though Target Field will certainly dampen his home run potential.

1B: Ike Davis
ADP Rank- 20
My Rank- 13

Well, this undervaluation might not remain this way for long after reports have come out suggesting Davis has Valley Fever. Several years ago, Conor Jackson was diagnosed with the malady and he hasn’t been the same since. I love Davis’ power potential and was even more excited after the Mets decided to move the Citi Field fences in. He isn’t going to be much of an asset in batting average, but he won’t hurt you there. It is easy to see why he was undervalued, as an ankle injury limited him to just 129 at-bats last season. This Valley Fever throws a wrench into his sleeperness though, so hopefully we find out more in the days to come.

2B: Jose Altuve
ADP Rank- 17
My Rank- 9

I was as surprised to see his name so high in my values as you are. My projection seems pretty reasonable to me: 575-.291-8-55-70-24. The batting average is a real positive and a nice contribution in steals, while only being barely negative in home runs, mixes together to generate this ranking. He makes solid contact and has shown good power for a little guy in the minors, while stealing 31 bases combined last year and 42 in 2010. Being part of the Astros crappy lineup won’t do his RBI and run numbers any favors though.

SS: Marco Scutaro
ADP Rank- 19
My Rank- 15

Not a whole lot of undervalued shortstops, which means that this is a position worth trying to get one of the top guys. Scutaro moves from a good home park for right-handed batting average to an even better one, which also boosts power. He is expected to hit second, sandwiched between Dexter Fowler and his strong OBP and Carlos Gonzalez. That is an excellent spot to hit in terms of RBI and run potential. Remember what Placido Polanco used to do, contributing a little in homers and steals, while posting a strong batting average and solid RBI and run totals? He was typically undervalued since most of his value came from his batting average. That pretty much describes Scutaro’s potential this season. Nothing flashy, but will likely outearn his draft cost.

3B: Pablo Sandoval
ADP Rank- 9
My Rank- 4

This surprises me because I had no idea he would be undervalued. Maybe it has something to do with him accumulating just 426 at-bats after a hand injury led to some missed time and suppressed his counting stats. He has now had HR/FB ratios of 16%, 7%, and 14%. Which was the fluke? His 2010 7% mark looks like the clear outlier. I projected the slightest of regressions this year to a 15% HR/FB ratio, but a home run or two wouldn’t change his ranking. It’s the .307 projected batting average that really boosts his value. I don’t even project any other third baseman to hit .300 at all. So that’s a big advantage for Sandoval.

OF: Delmon Young
ADP Rank- 65
My Rank- 39

A couple of weeks ago, I detailed exactly how I projected Young. After comparing my projection to the rest of the systems on FanGraphs, it was clear that I was slightly more bullish than the consensus. Of course, these systems don’t know that he is slated to hit fifth, behind Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, and have no knowledge of his Hit Tracker data. It is hard to remember that he is still just 26 years old, so he should just be hitting his prime years now. A repeat of his 2010 breakout wouldn’t be a surprise.

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Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. He also sells beautiful photos through his online gallery, Pod's Pics. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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I’m also a fan of Doumit and Altuve for late sleepers. I had not heard about Davis’s Valley Fever, but he wasn’t exactly my top 1b sleeper in the first place. How do you feel about Goldschmidt or a healthy Kendrys Morales?

Also, panda bear (or a nickname I hadn’t heard before a few weeks ago – the round mound of pound) reportedly gained 25 pounds in the offseason. That may have dropped his ADP. He’s also reportedly in the process of losing that weight, so who knows. Either way, his speed is just as much a vice as Mark Reynolds’s batting average, and Reynolds has more pop, so he’s my choice.