MARKET PULSE: 2020 All-Avoid Team

NOTE: Our preseason Market Pulse column is an exercise in identifying the gaps between the valuation of the "popular" market (as reflected in Average Draft Position, or "ADP") and that of BaseballHQ.com. If a player is not listed here, it's likely that he qualifies at a scarcer position, or he's not in the ADP Top 500-600 (it's a bit fluid). Remember that this is an exercise in relative valuation, not absolute.

Each hitter is being considered at his scarcest qualified position (in order: C/DH, SS, 2B, 3B, 1B, OF), as it is the scarcest eligible position that typically drives fantasy value. The rankings are a position-adjusted estimate using current BaseballHQ.com projections. It is a purely quantitative ranking, with no specific consideration of "upside" (aside from reliability scores). The dollar values are position adjusted, but do not incorporate risk. Average auction values are approximate. These are not the "official" BaseballHQ.com straight draft rankings, but they should be close.

The article assumes a standard 15-team, mixed, 5x5 league, though the recommendations here will generally apply in most formats. A positive number in the "Diff" column indicates a player that BaseballHQ.com ranks higher than the "market," and a negative number indicates we have the player ranked lower, based on ADP. The list is split into tiers, based on the ADP. The ADP itself is based on recent NFBC drafts.

Previous columns: C/DH | SS | 2B | 3B | 1B | OF | SP | RP | All-Value

(NFBC ADP Report) | Official Rankings

We recognize (as should you) that the delayed start to the MLB season may affect fantasy valuations, and that this team might look different in a month or two. But we have one week left in our pre-season Market Pulse series and dammit, we're going to finish. Plus, most of these guys will probably still be overvalued when the season commences.

Last week, we generated about $80 in excess value; this week, we'll show you how to finish last. Most of the players on this list are good players to some extent, but all are overvalued. You'll note, too, that several of them have very high risk as well. 

2020 All-Avoid Team

Hitters

POS  Hitter                TM  REL  HQ$  AAV  Diff  HQ Rank  ADP  Diff
===  ==================   ===  ===  ===  ===  ====  =======  ===  ====
 C   Grandal,Yasmani      CHW  ABA    9   14   -5      144    96   -48
 C   Murphy,Tom           SEA  BFD   -1    5   -6      410   242  -168

 1B  Walker,Christian     ARI  CCD    0    7   -7      352   199  -153
 3B  Shaw,Travis          TOR  ABD   -5    1   -6      569   344  -225
 CI  Moncada,Yoan         CHW  BBC   13   18   -5      114    64   -50

 2B  Hampson,Garrett      COL  AFD   -9    8  -17      803   179  -624
 SS  Villar,Jonathan      MIA  AAB   13   22   -9      102    42   -60
 MI  Chavis,Michael       BOS  BDB   -8    5  -13      712   239  -473

 OF  Aquino,Aristides     CIN  ACD  -11    4  -15      934   248  -686
 OF  Hilliard,Sam         COL  AFF  -10    3  -13      825   282  -543
 OF  Senzel,Nick          CIN  DDF   -2    6   -8      414   220  -194
 OF  Judge,Aaron          NYY  DBC   16   23   -7      120    39   -81
 OF  Stanton,Giancarlo    NYY  FBC   13   18   -5      145    63   -82

 UT  Tatis Jr.,Fernando    SD  CDD   22   31   -9       63    17   -46
                                    ---  ---  ---
     Totals                          34  157 -125

Pitchers

POS  Pitcher               TM  REL  HQ$  AAV  Diff  HQ Rank  ADP  Diff
===  ==================   ===  ===  ===  ===  ====  =======  ===  ====
 SP  Montas,Frankie       OAK  DDC    3   12   -9      300   115  -185
 SP  Sale,Chris           BOS  DAB   12   19   -7      156    54  -102
 SP  Lamet,Dinelson        SD  FDA    5   11   -6      266   124  -142
 SP  Wheeler,Zack         PHI  DAB    6   12   -6      243   117  -126
 SP  Houser,Adrian        MIL  ADF   -2    4   -6      443   250  -193
 SP  Alcantara,Sandy      MIA  BBC   -1    4   -5      398   259  -139

 RP  Yates,Kirby           SD  BBA   12   16   -4      123    78   -45
 RP  Melancon,Mark        ATL  FCB    2    5   -3      317   229   -88
 RP  Hendriks,Liam        OAK  DCB   10   13   -3      187   105   -82
                                    ---  ---  ---
     Totals                          64  115  -49
 
     Grand totals                    98  272 -174

The AAV of this group is slightly over the $260 mark, so you probably couldn't acquire this exact team, not that you would want to. There's a solld mix here of reasons why.

We didn't find catchers to be overvalued as a group, but Yasmani Grandal (C, CHW) and Tom Murphy (C, SEA) sure are. For Grandal, it feels like some GMs like taking catchers early and since he's generally the third catcher off the board, that's where he goes. We'd rather go by value relative to the field, and Grandal should be going about three rounds later.

Christian Walker (1B, ARI) may have to fight for playing time again in 2020, but GMs are more or less paying full price. Yoan Moncada (3B, CHW) took a step forward in 2019, but growth isn't linear, and you don't want to pay for growth, anyway. Without more growth, his value is limited, with mediocre ct% and league-average power.

Garrett Hampson (2B, COL) has a lot of upside, but he needs to find a path to PT. We don't blame GMs for taking a flyer on him, but his 12th-round price tag is very... pricey... for a flyer. Jonathan Villar (SS, MIA) had a career-high 24 HR in 2019, and with 40 SB, it was his second-best season, speed-wise. His new ballpark and lineup are challenges to overcome, and his 70 xPX from 2019 says that maybe the power was a fluke. A strong regression candidate, he's going at full price based on his 2019.

Our outfield here consists of three wünderkinds (Aristides AquinoSam Hilliard, and Nick Senzel) and two guys with very shaky reliability (Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton). There's a good chance two or three of these guys puts up strong seasons, but none should be going for anything close to full price.

Fernando Tatis (SS, SD) is a tremendous talent and a fun guy to watch, but his price is just far too high. First, we have injury concerns, with a C health score and the potential for lingering back issues. Then there are the warts: a 67% ct% in 2019, accompanied by an xBA that was 52 points lower than BA and a 32% hr/f that is unsustainable. There could be some growth to fill in those gaps, but there absolutely must be significant growth if he's to earn his current price. Don't pay for the breakout.

Chris Sale (LHP, BOS) got some good news about his elbow, but he remains a huge risk. [Risk that was realized upon the TJS announcement between deadline and publication of this article.—Ed.] Dinelson Lamet's (RHP, SD) value is all based on a perceived skillset that's never really been tested in the major leagues. With a 10-round difference between projection and ADP, he's a sleeper whose value has been eaten up by the market. Between Zach Wheeler's (RHP, PHI) risk and the move away from the best pitcher's park in the game, there's are obvious reasons for the mismatch between projection and market value.

Is Kirby Yates (RHP, SD) the best reliever in the game? Yes. Does that mean he'll finish the year as the Padres closer? No. Both his age and the Padres penchant for dealing bullpen arms both put his saves at risk. Mark Melancon (RHP, ATL) is a capable closer, but there's an equally capable guy (Will Smith) waiting behind him, making Melancon's rope rather short.


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