Preseason Overdraft Risk Review (Part 1): Have Brian Dozier, Ryan Braun & More Lived Up To Expectations?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As part of our preseason draft guide we listed 15 players who had the potential to be over-drafted entering the season.  As the second half is just starting to get going, let’s take a look back at the first half those and see who it appears we got right and who we were a bit misguided about (we will finish off this look back early next week).  While you read these keep in mind that there’s still time for things to change, and even if it’s a “miss” the player you selected could easily be performing as well if not better:

 

Javier Baez – Chicago Cubs
At the time we said he shouldn’t be a Top 100 pick due to the risk in his average.  He is hitting .256, which is respectable, though his plate discipline has actually regressed (18.4% SwStr%, 44.8% O-Swing%) and any speed you thought you’d get to offset that hasn’t been there (3 SB).  Sure there’s been power, but it’s hard to say he was a good selection.
Mid-Season Verdict – Hit

 

Jackie Bradley Jr. – Boston Red Sox
Many were considering him a Top 30 OF, but we cited his second half average regression (.233 in the second half of ’16) and poor showing against southpaws as a reason to avoid him.  This season he’s hitting .280, as he’s producing big numbers against lefties (.364).  Considering his .415 BABIP against them and the risk for a rise in strikeouts, there’s a good chance for another regression.  For now this looks like a miss, but the outlook could change a month or two down the line so don’t lock this one in quite yet.
Mid-Season Verdict – Miss

 

Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
The warning here was not to pay for a strong second half, given the risk in his power having regressed.  That hasn’t been the case (10 HR), as he’s lowered his groundball rate (45.9%) and continued to carry an elevated HR/FB (25.6%).  On the flip side he continues to miss time due to injury and it’s likely that he under-performs overall.  It’s hard to say this is a hit, but it’s also not quite a miss.  For now it’s a push.
Mid-Season Verdict – Push

 

Brian Dozier – Minnesota Twins
He was declared a potential overdraft because you were going to pay for a monster second half power surge (28 HR) which helped to keep his average look good (.291).  It shouldn’t be a surprise that the power has shrunk again (13 HR) and with it has gone his average (.242).
Mid-Season Verdict – Hit

 

Adam Duvall – Cincinnati Reds
The concern was whether or not he could adjust to the league and maintain a usable average, something that he has proven capable of (he’s cut his SwStr%, O-Swing% and overall strikeout rate thus far).  Maintaining last season’s power, this one is an obvious miss.
Mid-Season Verdict – Miss

 

Eric Hosmer – Kansas City Royals
After showing power in ’16 the fear was that someone was going to pay for his “breakout”.  Thus far it would appear that paying that price was worth it, as he’s hitting .318 with 12 HR.  While this is currently a miss, he has benefited from a .352 BABIP and continues to carry an elevated groundball rate (54.0%) so he could regress significantly in the second half.
Mid-Season Verdict – Miss

 

Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
The warning here wasn’t in regards to his power, but the fact that he simply wasn’t the player he once was in terms of his speed and the average upside.  He continues to not steal bases and the plate discipline still brings a lot of risk (13.5% SwStr%, 43.8% O-Swing%).  Again this is a miss to date, but the same risks remain and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the numbers regress in the second half (currently a .267 average).  Selling high may be prudent.
Mid-Season Verdict – Miss

 

Drew Pomeranz – Boston Red Sox
People were still looking at his numbers from San Diego and were thinking he could get back to them, despite pitching in Boston, so our thought was that there were higher upside pitchers at a similar cost.  We’d still stand by that, even with his solid ERA and strikeout rate.  The fact is he currently holds a 1.36 WHIP, and with a 3.20 BB/9 and 23.3% line drive rate there’s little reason to believe in an improvement.
Mid-Season Verdict – Hit

 

Current Scoreboard

  • Hit – 3
  • Miss – 4 (keep in mind, two of the misses carry similar risks in the second half and could be considered ideal sell high candidates)
  • Push – 1

With at least two misses (and a push) potentially turning into hits it’s not a bad showing.  It will be interesting to see how the second half of the list, as well as the second half of the season, brings.

Source – Fangraphs

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