It's day two of the Most Undervalued series! 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. Also, I'm not going to be recommending guys like Conforto and Piscotty that everyone generally agrees are "sleepers". Don’t go crazy drafting these guys 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! Just three outfielders per 'Team' today, but I'll make it up to you with five pitchers per team tomorrow. The outfielders:
Team ESPN Team CBS Team Yahoo
OF1Yasiel PuigJustin UptonDelino Deshields
OF2Wil MyersBilly HamiltonChristian Yelich
OF3Gerardo ParraKevin PillarMark Trumbo
Yasiel Puig, 32nd BB, 95th ADP
Puig’s been discussed to death ever since his 2013 debut, but the buzz this year is that he’s getting his act together under new management and with one of his notable detractors (Greinke) gone. He has something to prove after a bad year in 2015, where a pair of bum hamstrings limited his playing time and hampered him when he did play. Look for his BABIP to rebound to its previously high levels, along with a handful of steals, now that he has his legs back under him. Everyone can see the talent, even the projections, and he’s still just 25. With as underrated as he is this year, you should target him in all leagues.
Wil Myers, 94th BB, 219th ADP
Remember when he was one of the most revered prospects? When he was in “THE Wil Myers Trade” that later became “The James Shields Trade” that later became “The Wade Davis Trade”? He teased us with 13 HR, 5 SB, and a .293 AVG over a half-season in 2013, and we still really have no reason to believe Myers is not that guy, as injuries have severely held him down. Petco Park is not the power-killer it once was, and the projections believe he can still put up 20 HR power there this year. Even at his default projection he’s a steal based on his 219 ADP at ESPN, and I think there could even be upside above that.
Gerardo Parra, 110th BB, 215th ADP
See parts of the Nick Hundley bio from yesterday, because the pitch is similar here. With his move to Colorado and Dickerson’s departure, the projections believe Parra’s poised to have a nice season. I’d prefer to be able to run the home-road platoon for him, as his stats will be much better across the board at home. A pairing with another non-everyday OF, like Reddick or Soler, could give you near-elite production in one of your OF slots for super cheap. Not for nothing, he also had a great age 28 season last year, fueled by a career-high ISO and a .325 BABIP. The regression in those areas is basically cancelled out by the Coors boost, so we end up with a projection that looks a lot like his 14 HR, 14 SB, .291 AVG from last year.
Justin Upton, 21st BB, 51st ADP
There’s no way to spin it, Upton is being underdrafted this year. It’s easy to forget he’s just 28 since he’s been around forever, but this is a guy still in his peak who just got signed to play for a much better offense than he’s played for the past few years. Upton has hit at least 26 HR each of the past three seasons, and surprised us with 19 SBs last year – he also posted his lowest AVG since 2008, but there’s reason to believe that was unlucky. Look no further than a .304 BABIP last year, his lowest BABIP since his rookie season and a far cry from his .329 career BABIP. I’m buying the bounceback there which means Upton is an elite OF being drafted like a middling one. I’ve tried not to recommend guys being drafted too early, but this is just too good to pass up.
Billy Hamilton, 44th BB, 170th ADP
Those steals. So many steals. Everyone and their mother has talked about how scarce steals were last season, and it’s true! If you draft Billy, you’ve put yourself in position to win the steals category in your league, and there is basically no similar player in all of fantasy baseball (except for maybe Dee Gordon). Better yet, he’s being drafted SO low. I like the value, and if you can get him that late it really doesn’t matter that he’s a bit of a playing time risk. Jose Peraza could threaten his spot in CF, and he might get demoted to 9th in the order if he refuses to get on base, but the upside is just too good.
Kevin Pillar, 82nd BB, 212th ADP
The Blue Jays recently announced that Pillar has won the leadoff spot in their lineup to start the 2016 season. I was excited before, but now the upside is even better. If he holds the spot, put Pillar down for something like 650-670 PA, with a semi-ridiculous Runs total. He may not steal as much with four of the best hitters in baseball trying to drive him in from the 2-5 spots, but double-digits in HR and SB, plus a .280 AVG, means Pillar is a great value.
Delino Deshields, 99th BB, 223rd ADP
I pitched Ketel Marte in the Infielders post yesterday, and Deshields is essentially the OF version. Good speed and OBP skills mean Deshields likely gets to hit at the top of the Rangers lineup and run wild this year. Unlike Marte though, there are guys behind him that could threaten his job – Mazara and Brinson are both getting hype as the next generation of Rangers stars, and the corners likely belong to some combo of Desmond/Choo/Gallo. His other spot, 2B, has both Odor and Profar sitting on it. Eesh, I hadn’t really typed it all out in one spot before, now even I’m a little worried! But the Rangers are playing to win this year and I think that means they stick with a more known quantity like Deshields. Grab him in the mid-late rounds and reap the benefits of his speediness.
Christian Yelich, 61st BB, 141st ADP
Some people keep trying to project Yelich for a big power breakout, which I just do not see happening until he stops hitting so many groundballs. But, I can buy this projection pretty easily – modest power, high AVG, and double-digit steals. I wish I had more interesting things to say here – he’s good! He’ll have a full season of Stanton driving him in! They moved in the walls in Marlins Park! Draft him.
Mark Trumbo, 108th BB, 224th ADP
Pure power and nothing else, Trumbo has the sort of projection that both looks believable, and yet nobody will want to pay for it. He joins teammate Pedro Alvarez in that same boat (someone who failed to make the list because I just don’t believe in him). 26 HR is hard to pass up on though, especially in late rounds. He had a rough 2014 with the D’Backs but appeared to bounce back last year, and I see no reason why he can’t post this line, maybe with even a better AVG.