Big Board's Most Undervalued 2016: Infielders

As we enter Draft Week, it's time to really get our stuff together and figure out draft plans. To that end, I've put together a list of the most undervalued players according to the Big Board in each of of the major sites. I've done my best to avoid top-end players that are tough to specifically target in drafts, so these should all be guys that you could reasonably plan to draft. Don't go crazy drafting them way earlier than their ADP, but a good approach would be to split the difference between their Big Board rank and their ADP, and aim to draft them around there. That said, let's get on with it! The infielders:

Team ESPN Team CBS Team Yahoo

CNick HundleySalvador PerezBrian McCann

1BChris CarterEric HosmerVictor Martinez

2BAnthony RendonRougned OdorJosh Harrison

SSMarcus SemienJose IglesiasKetel Marte

3BMaikel FrancoEvan LongoriaKyle Seager

Team ESPN

C - Nick Hundley, 248th BB, ADP>260

PAHRRRBISBAVG

4291243525.275

I tend to find that mid-to-low end Colorado players are undervalued - this is a little less true in weekly leagues where you have to worry about the feast and famine that comes with the home-road splits. That said, Hundley was solid last year and is projected as the 10th best C in 5x5 format. Injury is always a bit of a worry for a 32 year old catcher, but if you’re taking your C this late, anything you get from Hundley is just gravy. Tom Murphy’s demotion reduces a bit of the playing time concern I may have had here as well. Low risk, potentially nice reward, especially if you end up finding another C on the waiver wire so that you can run a home/road platoon for Hundley.

1B - Chris Carter, 126th BB, ADP>260

PAHRRRBISBAVG

5353065792.227

This one will probably not be super popular (hint: that’s when you know you’ve found an undervalued guy) – most fantasy players will remember last year, when Carter flamed out in spectacular fashion for the Astros only to be replaced by Jon Singleton who was even worse. Now with Milwaukee, we have to think he could do the same this year… but the great news is, Milwaukee has nothing to play for this year. Between their awful rotation and rookie-studded lineup, guys like Villar and Carter are going to get some run this year as they hold on to their control years/option years on the members of the Brewers farm system. The 535 PA seem reasonable as Lucroy will get some time at 1B, and if you give Carter that many PA, he’s going to run into a bunch of homeruns. He’s way harder to tolerate in H2H but in Roto I’m looking for him late. Just remember the lessons learned in previous years: do NOT drop him during the cold stretches, because you will instantly regret it when he goes on one of his week-to-month long homer binges.

2B - Anthony Rendon, 75th BB, 133rd ADP

PAHRRRBISBAVG

5811777686.277

Rendon’s 2014 (21HR, 17SB, .287 AVG) had us all dreaming heading into his age 25 season last year, and then he reminded us why he wasn’t a hyped prospect as he limped through an injury-disrupted season. Even despite his rough 2015 numbers, his projection says he should be drafted much higher than his current 133 ADP this year. Some are worried he’s just going to be an injury guy from here on out, but I personally would not be surprised if he follows a similar trajectory to his teammate, Bryce Harper, and puts together an elite, healthy season this year. Plus, you’ll want to take advantage of what might be his last year of 2B eligibility.

SS - Marcus Semien, 191st BB, ADP>260

PAHRRRBISBAVG

58816686210.249

You might ask, “What does Semien do well?”, but my question is “What does he do poorly?” Semien is going very late, or undrafted in many drafts, and it doesn’t make sense to me for a guy that looks like he’ll be a solid contributor across four categories this year, and not too harmful in the fifth, AVG. Especially for a SS, 16HR and 10SB is nothing to sneeze at. And, if you believe Jeff Sullivan (usually a good idea), Semien was damn good last year when he wasn’t getting the Ron Washington “It’s incredibly hard” treatment. If his 2016 looks like his early and late 2015, this is a late-round MI that could turn into a top-10 SS by the end of the season.

3B - Maikel Franco, 66th BB, 108th ADP

PAHRRRBISBAVG

5952371823.271

After the top four 3B’s are gone this year, the value drops off. But if you don’t get one of the next handful, things get really rough. Personally I don’t have any real interest in Frazier/Seager/Beltre (overrated/boring/old) at their current ESPN ADP’s, and then we get to Franco. Owner of a mere 16% K-rate last year, along with 14 HR in half a season, we have every reason to believe that Franco will follow up with a solid power-average combo this year. The team is bad, but that’s okay. Among the breakout players of 2015, Franco seems like the most solid bet to repeat in 2016.

 

Team CBS

C - Salvador Perez, 51st BB, 127th ADP

PAHRRRBISBAVG

5311754661.272

I’m not sure what I’m missing on Salvie Perez this year. Sure, the Royals run him into the ground every year, and his production drops off a bit in the 2nd half, but hey, that also means we’re projecting him for 531 PA. That is elite at catcher, and despite showing signs of in-season wear, Perez has more or less proved to me that he can take it. He’s undervalued in all three formats, but he’s going extra late over at CBS considering their default format is two-catcher.

1B - Eric Hosmer, 67th BB, 95th ADP

PAHRRRBISBAVG

6441777827.286

Hosmer is underrated because he does everything well, but is not really excellent in any one category. If you miss out on the top tier of 1B, I like Hosmer as a cheaper alternative who will still keep you competitive at 1B. At age 26, he has room for growth remaining, though I’m not sure we’ll ever see a 25 or 30 HR season from him. I don’t love the “Player A/Player B” game, but if you had to compare him against another 1B’s statline, it’s this one:

6372185737.284

Guess who? Joey Votto. Between his power dropping off with age and his team being terrible, Votto is basically a more expensive version of Hosmer this year. Anytime someone gets a comp to one of my favorite players like that, I’m paying attention. A good average and non-zero contribution in steals means Hosmer will be a nice consistent contributor in your lineup.

2B - Rougned Odor, 60th BB, 95th ADP

PAHRRRBISBAVG

60018737413.273

Maybe one of the least sleepy sleepers this season, Odor is still going fairly low over at CBS. There is some risk – consider how bad he was to start off 2015, and remember that one of the (former?) best prospects in the game, Jurickson Profar, is sitting behind him in AAA. That said, here’s a young guy who may still be growing into his power in his age 22 season, who put up elite numbers over the 2nd half last year. As projected, he looks ready to give you above-average production in all five categories. In some ways he could be one of the least surprising guys to take a leap into the upper eschelon of fantasy players this season, so if Odor passes the sniff test for you, pony up and take him before his ADP.

SS - Jose Iglesias, 273rd BB, ADP>300

PAHRRRBISBAVG

5815594814.278

Here’s a late round/waiver wire SS, one of my favorite types of players to draft (given that people generally overvalue the positional scarcity at SS). Iglesias will put up solid AVG and SBs, and while the power will leave something to be desired, and R/RBI are hard to come by from the 8th or 9th spot in the order, I do think he’ll play all year. JaCoby Jones is pegged as a mid-2017 arrival over at RosterResource, and the only MLB SS’s on the team are Andrew Romine and potentially Mike Aviles. Woof! Watch your shins, Iglesias, the Tigers are counting on you.

3B - Evan Longoria, 105th BB, 132nd ADP

PAHRRRBISBAVG

6442375813.257

Remember when Longoria was really good? It seems like we’ve all decided that he’s bad now, based on a meh 2014/2015, but the projections don’t agree. If I miss out on the top 3B’s, Longo is one of the guys I’d be willing to take a shot on in the middle rounds at 3B. 20 HR’s seems like the new normal for Longo, but I’m also willing to believe there is some upside above that .257 AVG given his .270 AVG just a year ago. He’s not exciting any more, but he’ll get the job done (if that job is making sure you don’t have to start the corpse of David Wright, or something similarly terrible, at 3B this year).

 

Team Yahoo

C - Brian McCann, 85th BB, 132nd ADP

PAHRRRBISBAVG

5122360741.242

Yahoo hates Brian McCann for some mysterious reason. But that’s good news for you if you’re playing over there, as his projection has him pegged as the 85th best player (similar to his ADP at the other two sites). He hasn’t quite capitalized on his move to New York the way I’d hoped, but it’s still possible he runs into some cheapo HRs this year on the short porch and beats the 23 HR projection. He’s another playing time guy – as-is, he will get some starts at 1B, but following the Greg Bird injury he may also be the primary backup to Teixeira. For those familiar with Teixeira’s work, you’ll realize that likely means McCann becomes the everyday 1B for at least some stretch this year, which would be good for his health as well as his playing time.

1B - Victor Martinez, 106th BB, 214th ADP

PAHRRRBISBAVG

5951967831.286

My excitement for this is mellowing after he went down with a bum leg this week in spring training, but the reasons for optimism with VMart are still the same. Last year he was bad, but it seems like that was almost entirely injury dependent. He’s definitely becoming more injury prone with age, but we don’t want to repeat the mistake we made in 2014. Coming off a meh 2013, when his ISO dropped all the way to .129, it seemed like his better days were behind him. Then he went and put up a career high .230 ISO in 2014 at age 35. The true talent likely lies somewhere in between, and I’m buying his chances at a return to near-20 HR power and .300 AVG this year. The fact that he’s 1B eligible in Yahoo is just a bonus.

2B - Josh Harrison, 173rd BB, 228th ADP

PAHRRRBISBAVG

57410695316.282

Josh Harrison gave us 13 HR, 18 SB, and a .315 AVG off the waiver wire in 2014, and the Pirates responded by giving him a nice four-year contract extension before 2015. The Pirates believe in him, so why don’t we? He missed time last year with a torn UCL in his thumb, and seemed to return and play injured from August onward. With Neil Walker gone, he’ll be the everyday 2B. There is a non-zero risk that he plays his way to getting replaced by prospect Alen Hanson, but I could also see a 2B/SS/3B combo of Harrison/Hanson/Kang working out if the Pirates are willing to sit defensive ace Jordy Mercer. The multi-position eligibility (2B/3B/OF) Harrison brings is a nice bonus that the Big Board value doesn’t even capture, so taking him above his ADP to be your starting 2B or MI seems like an easy call.

SS - Ketel Marte, 212th BB, 250th ADP

PAHRRRBISBAVG

6005634924.269

Anyone whose team flamed out in July last year has no idea who Ketel Marte is. But that’s okay, you won your league last year so of course you’ve heard of him. With the departure of Brad Miller and the bad-ness of Chris Taylor, things have opened up for Marte, who showed us a rare combo of skills in his short audition last year – high OBP with speed. Roster resource has him pegged for the #2 spot in the Mariner’s lineup, so the R projection may be very light. I (and the projections) have a feeling that the .283 AVG/.350 OBP was a bit of an overperformance, but the .269 AVG with 24 SBs seems easily attainable – and is coming super cheap in Yahoo drafts.

3B - Kyle Seager, 72nd BB, 107th ADP

PAHRRRBISBAVG

6302277807.264

Another Mariner, the boring-est Mariner, Kyle Seager makes this list because of just how predictable he is. For four straight years now, he has had between 20-26 HR, 6-13 SB, and a .259-.266 AVG. Boring, but boring-good, and if he can be had as late as 107th in Yahoo drafts that is a great deal. If you miss on the exciting 3B’s early (the top-4 and Franco), then Seager’s your guy on Yahoo.