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Drafting Smart



Drafting Smart – written by Brian Handzel

Rougned Odor (2nd Base, Texas Rangers)

Drafting smart this time of year is important, but where can you save yourself headaches and still get a value? My value pick of the day is Rougned Odor. With an average draft position of around 128, in season-long leagues, according to RotoBaller, Odor should be a steal for a daily pickup. Since 2014 Odors walk rates have been on the rise;

2014: 4.1%

2015: 4.9%

2016: 3%

2017: 4.9%

2018: 8%

2019: Spring Training, 11.4% (as of 3/20/19)

What does this mean for Odor this season? According to Fangraphs, Odor is projected to keep a walk rate of 8%, while producing a slash line of .249/.307/.445 and a WRC+ of 97. So a league average player with a high walk rate. In a daily prospective Odor should be cheap on a daily basis. You’ll be able to fill your lineup with big hitters without having to scrape the bottom of the barrel for no upside.

At 25 years old, if Odor is on base, which by his projections he will be over 30% of the time, he is a threat to steal. This is no longer the 80’s where everyone is running all over, but Odor should be able to amass some steals. Any player you can pick up who will give you the on-base percentage and steals is definitely a good pickup, especially if you don’t have to spend a lot to obtain them.

So keep an eye out for Rougned Odor this season, especially if he is a cheap option to fill the 2nd base slot so you can load your lineup with big hitters to maximize your daily lineup.

Jung Ho Kang (3rd Base/ShortStop, Pittsburgh Pirates)

Kang is projected to hit .266/.340/.464 in 104 games this season with 17 home runs and 59 runs batted in. Good average, great on base percentage, Kang is going to produce for you, without the giant price tag. With the low price tag, just like Odor, you can maximize other positons while still getting production from your lower paid slots.

Kang, at least in the beginning of the season is going to be relatively forgotten about since he has only played in three Major League games since 2016. Don’t let that deter you from taking the value on Kang though because in 2016 when he played in 103 games he slashed .255/.354/.513 with 21 home runs and 62 runs batted in.

Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves)

Will last year’s National League Rookie of the Year come back for another great sophomore season or will there be a classic case of the sophomore slump? According to Fangraphs, Acuna is going to dominate again. Last season Acuna slashed .293/.366/.552 with 26 home runs and 64 runs batted in. This season he is projected to slash .276/.344/.511 with 30 home runs and 81 runs batted in. Acuna is going to be a costly player, but he is going to be one that you should be willing to spend on.

Not only is Acuna going to get on base and hit the ball hard, but he is also going to grab you some ever-elusive steals. Projected to swipe 25 bags this year, Acuna’s speed is a big difference maker when it comes to spending because he can fill up more categories than just your average power hitter.

Teoscar Hernandez (Outfield, Toronto Blue Jays)

Last season Hernandez came on the scene and played in a career-high 134 games for the Blue Jays.

Hernandez ensured that if he was going to get the playing time, he was going to make the best of it.

Hernandez produced a slash line of .239/.302/.468 which were all career highs. To add to the list of career highs, he also hit 22 home runs, drove in 57 and on top of all that, stole seven bags. With regular playing time, Hernandez could be a key piece to an outfield. But with Toronto’s outfield of Billy McKinney, Kevin Pillar, and Randal Grichuk, it doesn’t look like Hernandez will get the chance to be an everyday player in Toronto.

Even without regular playing time, I feel like Hernandez can be a great cheap option for you. Steamer projects Hernandez to play in 99 games and l to produce a slash line of .236/.301/.435 while amassing 14 home runs and seven stolen bases.

Steamer is also projecting a .320 BABIP and a .316 wOBA. All of these stats equate to essentially a league average player, and the 99 WRC+ shows that. Fangraphs also projects Hernandez to produce a slightly above average WAR, at 0.3.

Don’t sleep on Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3rd Base, Toronto Blue Jays

There is no doubt that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is going to be taken in the first round in every draft this season. If he makes it to you, take him. Last year Vlad Guerrero Jr. slashed .381/.437/.636 with 20 Home runs and posted a WRC+ of 201 over 4 levels. With a steamer projection of .306/.368/.511 with 22 home runs and a WRC+ of 138, Guerrero will be a slam dunk first round pick. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a

redraft league or dynasty, Vlad Guerrero Jr should be taken in your first round, as long as you pick picking up Mike Trout or Mookie Betts.


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