by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
For those who purchased Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide you had the benefit of our list of 20 potential overdrafted players. Obviously there’s still ample time, but let’s start taking a look back at the players who appeared on that least and see where they stand today:
Cody Bellinger – Los Angeles Dodgers
After making quite a splash in his rookie year, things haven’t gone quite as expected this season. While he’s shown signs of picking things up recently (home runs in two of his past three games), he’s still hitting just .269 with 6 HR and 19 RBI over his first 156 AB (1 HR every 26 AB). That’s a far cry from the player who slugged 39 HR with 97 RBI over 480 AB a year ago (1 HR every 12.3 AB) and while we expected a regression this is bigger than anyone could’ve imagined. Prior to the season we said:
“Including Bellinger on this list is blasphemy, I know, and it’s not to say that he isn’t going to be a productive option. There was a regression in the second half, and those numbers (14 HR based on a 19.4% HR/FB) are likely closer to the truth. That makes him more of a 30-34 HR threat, as opposed to 40 HR, and there is a big difference in that value. Be willing to pay, but not the price of an elite.”
That second half regression saw him hit 14 HR over 223 AB, and we’d ultimately expect him to get back to that pace. At the same time that doesn’t mean that a few more home runs would solve all of his issues.
He struck out again on Tuesday, bringing him to 41 K over 156 AB. He entered Tuesday with a 15.3% SwStr%, though only a 23.8% strikeout rate. Considering his 17.57% Whiff% against “Hard” pitches, which was his worst mark, there’s reason to believe an improvement is coming. He also struggled with popups in April, something he’s already taken the steps to improve upon:
- April – 21.2%
- May – 7.7%
In other words the power should improve, the strikeouts should improve and the popups should improve… While he’s been disappointing, now isn’t the time to lose hope. It’s easy to call him an overdraft today, but there’s still the potential for him to at least recover some of that value.
Chase Anderson – Milwaukee Brewers
Another surprise inclusion on our potential overdraft list, Anderson is currently on the DL due to a bout of food poisoning though that doesn’t change the season long outlook. Prior to the season we said
“Anderson broke out in ’17 (2.74 ERA, 1.09 WHIP), but there’s a long list of reasons to expect a regression that drafters may want to overlook. He’s going to allow more home runs, especially pitching in Milwaukee (0.89 HR/9 despite a 39.2% groundball rate)… He’s going to see a regression in his luck (80.6% strand rate, .265 BABIP)… He could see a drop in his 8.47 K/9… That’s not a formula we generally recommend investing in, especially if someone is going to pay for the breakout.”
As expected home runs have been an issue (1.99 HR/9, as he’s allowed 10 HR over 45.1 IP this season). That, along with a significant drop in strikeouts (5.96 K/9), has helped him to a 3.97 ERA. The strikeouts should bounce back a little bit, but they may not rise significantly considering his 8.0% SwStr%, and the luck also has the potential to regress to offset any gains the strikeouts would bring:
- BABIP – .210
- Strand Rate – 85.7%
In other words things could actually get worse, not better.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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