BATTERS: 2018 Gambles

This column will help you identify batters who may be overvalued heading into draft day. We'll do so by looking at batters whose 2017 production was not backed up by strong underlying skill support.

Here are the batters with the worst skills in 2017 among those who earned at least $5 that season:

<25 BPV, 5x5 $5+, 2017*

Name                Lg  Position     bb%  ct%  Eye   PX   HctX  xPX  Spd  5x5 $  BPV
==================  ==  ===========  ===  ===  ====  ===  ====  ===  ===  =====  ===
Villar, Jonathan    NL           2B   7%  67%  0.23   89    90   83  106    $12  -11
Desmond, Ian        NL        LF/1B   6%  74%  0.28   61    82   60  116    $12   -3
Davis, Chris        AL           1B  12%  57%  0.31  149    96  152   76     $5   -3
Freese, David       NL           3B  12%  73%  0.50   68    94   80   89     $6   -2
Zimmer, Bradley     AL           CF   8%  67%  0.26   98    91   83  120     $9    0
Avila, Alex         NL            C  17%  61%  0.52  123   121  168   82     $6    4
Hernandez, Gorkys   NL           LF   9%  76%  0.42   56    78   66  113     $5    4
Spangenberg, Cory   NL        3B/LF   7%  71%  0.27   85    84   76  117    $12    4
Young Jr, Eric      AL           LF   4%  72%  0.16   96    67   45  101     $5    5
DeShields, Delino   AL           LF  10%  71%  0.40   65    69   68  168    $16    9
Broxton, Keon       NL           CF   9%  58%  0.23  143    82  131  151    $12   10
Anderson, Tim       AL           SS   2%  72%  0.08   89    83   69  143    $14   10
Smith, Mallex       AL           CF   8%  76%  0.37   50    65   29  173     $7   13
Trumbo, Mark        AL        DH/RF   7%  73%  0.28   96    90   87   89     $8   13
Jay, Jon            NL           CF   9%  79%  0.46   52    81   54  124    $11   14
Bonifacio, Jorge    AL           RF   8%  69%  0.30  109    90   98  102     $7   14
Carrera, Ezequiel   AL           LF   9%  74%  0.40   74    77   96  132     $8   15
Flowers, Tyler      NL            C   8%  74%  0.38   99   111   99   67     $8   15
Cron, C.J.          AL           1B   6%  72%  0.23  112   104  129   84     $7   15
Vazquez, Christian  AL            C   5%  80%  0.27   70    86   58   92     $9   16
Castillo, Welington AL            C   6%  72%  0.23  119   113  130   67    $10   16
Davis, Rajai        AL           CF   7%  75%  0.33   74    68   73  132    $11   17
Adams, Lane         NL           LF   8%  66%  0.27  121   105  104  128     $5   18
Pina, Manny         NL            C   6%  76%  0.25   92   105  131   90     $7   18
Beckham, Tim        AL           SS   6%  69%  0.22  106   109  111  146    $15   18
Bautista, Jose      AL        RF/DH  12%  71%  0.49  102    90  112   87     $5   18
Difo, Wilmer        NL        SS/2B   7%  78%  0.32   56    72   54  162     $7   19
Buxton, Byron       AL           CF   7%  68%  0.25   97    75   85  181    $18   19
Bradley, Jackie     AL           CF   9%  74%  0.39   91   100   89   98    $10   19
Joseph, Tommy       NL           1B   6%  74%  0.26  115   105  109   56     $7   19
Marte, Starling     NL           LF   6%  80%  0.32   55    84   77  147    $14   20
McCann, James       AL            C   7%  75%  0.29   93   116  101  104     $5   20
Gomez, Carlos       AL           CF   7%  65%  0.24  141   103  116   95    $12   20
Valencia, Danny     AL           1B   8%  73%  0.33   93    88   79  121     $8   20
Cabrera, Miguel     AL           1B  10%  77%  0.49   88   132  125   70     $6   20
Headley, Chase      NL        3B/1B  10%  74%  0.45   86    90   78  107    $15   20
Odor, Rougned       AL           2B   5%  73%  0.20  109   109  116   92    $10   20
Presley, Alex       AL           LF   6%  80%  0.31   59    78   35  136     $7   21
Garcia, Leury       AL           CF   4%  77%  0.19   91    84   67  107     $8   23
Williams, Nick      NL           RF   6%  69%  0.21  114    94   87  139     $9   23
Holliday, Matt      AL           DH  11%  69%  0.40  125    89   97   72     $6   23
Gamel, Ben          AL           LF   7%  76%  0.30   84    91   80  122    $12   23
Calhoun, Kole       AL           RF  11%  76%  0.53   85    98   91   84    $10   23
Healy, Ryon         AL     DH/1B/3B   4%  75%  0.16  106   104  115   91    $14   23
Peraza, Jose        NL        2B/SS   4%  86%  0.29   33    74   43  150    $13   24
Hamilton, Billy     NL           CF   7%  77%  0.33   49    50   24  200    $28   24
Pujols, Albert      AL           DH   6%  84%  0.40   72   120  105   52    $10   24
Sano, Miguel        AL        3B/DH  11%  59%  0.31  166   107  148  104    $14   25
*min 50 AB

Let's take a closer look at five guys in each league who are likely to be overvalued in 2017.
 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Tim Anderson (SS, CHW) is being drafted as a lead SS in many leagues (197 ADP). After all, he delivered 17 HR and 15 SB during his sophomore season in 2017. However, Anderson posted the worst batting eye in the game (0.08 Eye), and the power that he showed (89 PX) was not backed by his underlying power skills (69 xPX), as he has little loft in his swing (52/19/28 G/L/F). He does own elite speed (143 Spd), but with terrible on-base ability (.277 OBP), we can't expect steady steals. Anderson is a big regression risk in 2018.

Tim Beckham (SS, BAL) finally turned his prospect upside into results in 2017, pounding 22 HR in 533 AB. Unfortunately, those gains might mask his continued struggles to make contact (69% ct%). He was helped by a career-best 37% h%. On the plus side, he did post above-average underlying power skills (111 xPX) for the first time in his career, and he has put up a 140+ Spd in each of the last two years. But the big holes in his swing remain, so don't expect him to stay a consistent multi-category producer.

Jackie Bradley (CF, BOS) still owns the breakout he posted in 2016, but it's a level you don't want to speculate on him reaching again, at least in the short-term. His groundball stroke remains fully intact (49/18/33 G/L/F), and his expected power trend over the last three seasons paints an even more ominous picture of his power: 133, 109, 89 xPX. There's only profit here if you can get him for single digits.

Ryon Healy (DH/1B/3B, SEA) is being drafted pretty high (214 ADP) in deep leagues. His multi-position eligibility certainly helps, as does the 25 HR he produced over his first full season in 2017. Owners speculating on further growth form him should note his bad plate skills though: 4% bb%, 75% ct%, 0.16 Eye. And the fact that he was a negligible producer against same-sided arms (.717 OPS, 101 PX). Add the fact that he's dealing with a bone spur in his hand into the mix, and you've got someone who will be overvalued in many drafts.

Bradley Zimmer (CF, CLE) is being drafted as a top-200 player now (198 ADP). Given his first-round pedigree, the taste of power (8 HR) and speed (18 SB) he showed in a limited sample in 2017 (299 AB), and his age (25), Zimmer remains an attractive stash in keeper leagues. But he's another young bats whose warts at the plate (67% ct%, 0.26 Eye) and marginal underlying power skills (83 xPX) suggest his emergence won't come as quickly as many are hoping.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Ian Happ (CF/2B, CHC) has watched his draft stock soar (134 ADP) with the hope that he will get regular AB in the CHC lineup after the 24 HR he posted in 364 AB during his rookie season. While Happ's upside is worth speculating on in keeper leagues, note that his underlying power metrics (122 xPX) did not support the elite power (167 PX) he showed in 2017. And his plate discipline left a lot to be desired: 9% bb%, 65% ct%, 0.30 Eye. Don't be surprised if Happ shows some regression in his sophomore campaign.

Eric Hosmer (1B, SD) is being drafted as a top-100 player in most leagues (77 ADP). However, Hosmer is another bat whose 2017 power (25 HR) was not supported by his underlying skills (65 xPX). He still hits way too many groundballs (56/22/22 G/L/F) to be a consistent power producer, and that approach will expose him even more in his new pitcher-friendly home park.

Cory Spangenberg (3B/LF, SD) had a mini-breakout in 2017, delivering $12 of value in 5x5 leagues. It's unlikely his decent pop will stick though, as he had a low rate of hard contact (84 HctX) and well below-average expected power (76 xPX). He also had trouble making contact consistently (71% ct%). While his positional versatility does give him added value, don't expect him to match his 2017 pace in 2018.

Michael Taylor (CF, WAS) finally turned his multi-category tools into results in 2017 (19 HR, 17 SB in 399 AB). That said, the warts that have held Taylor back in the past remain evident (66% ct%, 0.21 Eye). He was helped by a 37% h%, a mark that was well above his prior norms. Taylor's speed gives him value, but he's at risk for significant regression in 2018 given his chronically poor plate skills.

Nick Williams (RF, PHI) is another toolsy outfielder who delivered some good value last season (.288 BA, 12 HR, 55 RBI in 313 AB). He also was helped a lot by a friendly hit rate (38% h%), which helped to hide his very shaky plate discipline (6% bb%, 69% ct%, 0.21 Eye). As a groundball hitter (50/23/27 G/L/F), we can't expected him to repeat his 2017 HR pace in 2018. And the big holes in his swing will make it hard for him to put his good wheels (139 Spd) to use.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.