by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Over the past two years the Diamondbacks’ A.J. Pollock has missed significant time due to injury, and that has clearly had an impact on his perceived fantasy appeal. No one is going to argue the upside potential, but look at his games played over the past two years:
- 2016 – 12
- 2017 – 112
You could have all the talent in the world, but if you aren’t on the field it’s impossible to show it off. Should the injuries deter you from making the selection, though?
Speed is at a bit of a premium, with power growing across the game, and players who bring more than “empty” speed are that much more valuable. That’s the potential you get with Pollock, which he showed in his abbreviated time on the field last season as he hit .266 with 14 HR, 49 RBI, 73 R and 20 SB.
The power may be the biggest “surprise”, but it’s a carryover of what he produced during his breakout 2015 (20 HR over 673 PA) and he’s carried a consistent HR/FB whenever he’s been on the field the past three seasons:
- 2015 – 13.2%
- 2016 – 12.5%
- 2017 – 12.4%
No one is going to question the speed (he’s stolen as many as 39 bases in a season) and hitting atop Arizona’s order should afford him plenty of chances to score runs. There’s also more upside in his average, considering his plate discipline (15.2% strikeout rate), speed and potential to post an elevated BABIP (.291 in ’17, despite a 23.3% line drive rate). Maybe he’s not a .300+ hitter, but would .285 or better surprise anyone?
That all comes together for a .285/20/25 player who could easily top 90 R (and potentially 100). That type of player simply doesn’t grow on trees.
He currently has an ADP of 63.3 in NFBC formats, meaning he’s being selected early in the sixth round. That’s right along the lines of where we have him valued (he’s currently ranked #62 on our Top 400 in the Rotoprofessor Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide), making him a player we’d target at his current ADP. In fact, considering the upside potential we would be willing to “reach” for him in the fifth round to guarantee getting him.
Source – Fangraphs
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