Over Draft Potential – Three Third Baseman Being Drafted Too Early (Alvarez & More)

We all like to look for the sleepers that we can target on draft day, but how often do we really consider the players we could fall victim of over drafting?  The players who may look appealing and should produce, but where you need to draft them actually becomes a negative.

Let’s take a look at three possible over draft candidates among third basemen:

Pedro Alvarez – Pittsburgh Pirates
Mock Draft Central ADP – 149.93 (12th among 3B)
Rotoprofessor Ranking – 224 (18th among 3B)

Alvarez is being drafted for one thing and one thing only, his potential to hit for power. That said, while he did hit 30 HR last season, and has the ability to do it again, is it really a guarantee?

There are two numbers that we need to take into consideration. First, his 25.0% HR/FB, which placed him fourth in the league. It isn’t an impossible number, but we have to be realistic in that there is little room for an increase and a lot of potential for regression.

The second number is his fly ball rate, which was 34.5%. That’s not a number that is truly indicative of a power hitter and, before we call it an aberration, in 1,107 Major Lague AB he has a career mark of 34.2%.

Last season there were 26 players who hit 30 HR or more. Only six of them posted a fly ball rate lower then Alvarez’ and 12 of them were over 40%. In other words, it is not impossible that he continues to ht for significant power (and he does have the potential), but we would be much more comfortable if he didn’t put quite so many balls on the ground (46.8% was third highest among players with 30+ HR).

Of course, we also have the extra risk of a pathetic average, as he hit .244 last season and is a .237 career hitter. He simply strikes out too much, at 30.7% in 2012. That’s Adam Dunn territory, but with the risk of a power reduction and without the 40 HR track record.

While he’s being drafted more as a corner infielder, there is still too much risk.

Brett Lawrie – Toronto Blue Jays
Mock Draft Central ADP – 64.42 (8th among 3B)
Rotoprofessor Ranking – 103 (11th among 3B)

It’s not that Lawrie isn’t a good option, considering his overall solid line (.273, 11 HR, 13 SB). The numbers look even better if you look at his first/second half splits, as an oblique issue likely had a significant effect on his regression:

  • First Half – .291, 8 HR, 11 SB in 327 AB
  • Second Half – .240, 3 HR, 2 SB in 167 AB

It’s encouraging, but is it really borderline fifth round encouraging? Part of the inflation may have to do with the improved lineup around him, thus giving him more opportunities. Is there a chance he goes 20/20? Absolutely, but it’s not like it is a given.

The fact is, you can get Pablo Sandoval about 50 picks (or four rounds) later. Kyle Seager is going nearly 80 picks after Lawrie. Either of those players bring just as much potential production at a fraction of the cost.

Trevor Plouffe – Minnesota Twins
Mock Draft Central ADP – 248.22 (19th among 3B)
Rotoprofessor Ranking – Unranked (25th among 3B)

Can we really call a player with such a late ADP an over draft? It’s a fair argument, but those selecting him are doing so because of one big month (11 HR in June). That’s just not the player he is, so don’t get caught up in it.

Sure if you want to take an end game flier it’s not going to hurt, but you can probably get someone with significantly more upside.

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