NFBC ADP vs. Player Rater: Finding Overrated Hitters
by Mac Squibb
March 15, 2019
The last couple of weeks, I’ve been talking about ESPN’s Player Rater, how it’s calculated, and why it’s a valuable tool for fantasy baseball. Yesterday, I wrote about 11 hitters who were being undervalued based on their projections. Today, I’ll be using the same methodology, but with hitters who are being overrated. I’ve previously shown that every catcher is overrated and have decided to omit the position from this article. I encourage you to check out my other article if you’re interested.
In order to determine if a player is being overrated, I’ve compared their NFBC ADP after 2/1 with their Player Rater rank. A player will be considered overrated any time that their ADP is lower than their Player Rater rank as we will have to draft them earlier than what their projections dictate. I will be listing the players who have the largest gaps between ADP and rank within the top 50, 100, 250, and 400 overall players. The entire list of players will be available at the end of the article.
Carlos Correa | Player Rater Rank: 68 | NFBC ADP: 50.51 | Difference: -17.49
Many viewed Carlos Correa as a perennial MVP candidate before his injuries which he still could be. However, his fantasy value has taken a hit the past couple of seasons due to his lack of stolen bases. He also struggled after returning from his back injury last year, setting what would have been career lows in exit velocity and exit velocity on fly balls and line drives. Fantasy owners are still paying for the player that he used to be and not who he is today.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. | Player Rater Rank: 58 | NFBC ADP: 40.87 | Difference: -17.13
You read that correctly and honestly shouldn’t be surprised. Vlad Jr. is an incredible talent that has a chance to be one of the best hitters in baseball this year, however, owners are overlooking some of his shortcomings. For one, he will be missing several weeks worth of plate appearances until he gets called up in late April. Vlad Jr. also lacks the ability to steal more than a handful of bases which puts a cap on his overall fantasy value. He could easily be a generational talent, however, he is overrated based on his projections.
Rhys Hoskins | Player Rater Rank: 57 | NFBC ADP: 40.09 | Difference: -16.91
Rhys Hoskins will be hitting in the middle of a stacked Phillies lineup that now includes two former MVP’s. He has the potential to pile up runs, home runs, and RBIs, but will be league average at best in batting average and below league average in stolen bases. Rhys’ lack of batting average and stolen bases are being overlooked by owners despite the fact that they are 40% of the a hitter's categories in a standard 5x5 league.
Matt Carpenter | Player Rater Rank: 112 | NFBC ADP: 71.57 | Difference: -40.43
Matt Carpenter is another player who excels in runs, home runs, and RBIs, but is league average or worse in batting average and stolen bases. He had a terrific season in 2018, hitting 36 home runs and finishing third in the NL in runs scored. The projection systems are hesitant to fully credit Carpenter for his 2018 production and see a slight downtick in both home runs and runs scored. These factors, along with his lower batting average and minimal stolen base total, explain why he’s overrated. Read more about him here.
Jesus Aguilar | Player Rater Rank: 108 | NFBC ADP: 80.36 | Difference: -27.64
Players of Aguilar’s mold are becoming a mainstay of this article. The run, home run, and RBI production is absolutely present with Aguilar, but he provides even less stolen base help than Hoskins and Carpenter with just a league average batting average. Owner’s are consistently ignoring a player’s batting average and stolen base total which explains why these types of players are being overrated.
Josh Donaldson | Player Rater Rank: 114 | NFBC ADP: 99.41 | Difference: -14.59
Gleyber Torres | Player Rater Rank: 78 | NFBC ADP: 64.18 | Difference: -13.82
Garrett Hampson | Player Rater Rank: 354 | NFBC ADP: 201.91 | Difference: -152.09
Garrett Hampson’s draft stock is helium-filled due to his MiLB performance in 2018 where he stole 36 bases in 504 plate appearances. His ADP could be justifiable if he were to have guaranteed playing time, however, the Rockies have a tendency to block their prospects. Hampson faces an uphill battle for playing time as left-handed hitting Ryan McMahon could platoon with him to start the season. Owner's are chasing his potential despite the projection systems seeing minimal playing time.
Hunter Renfroe | Player Rater Rank: 311 | NFBC ADP: 189.33 | Difference: -121.67
Hunter Renfroe has several major shortcomings that contribute to him being overrated. The first of which is his uncertain playing time. Renfroe will be competing with Franchy Cordero, Manuel Margot, Wil Myers, and Franmil Reyes for just three spots in the Padres lineup. It seems inevitable that the Padres trade at least one of these players, but there will be a logjam in the outfield until that point. Renfroe also lacks the ability to hit for a high average and steal a base with just a .245 average and five stolen bases in 956 MLB plate appearances.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. | Player Rater Rank: 333 | NFBC ADP: 248.68 | Difference: -84.32
Only one of the three projection systems have Lourdes Gurriel Jr. getting more than 350 plate appearances in 2019. To start the season, Gurriel Jr. should have near everyday playing time, however, that could quickly evaporate as soon as Vlad Jr. makes his debut. The Blue Jays also have top prospect Bo Bichette waiting in the wings which further clouds Gurriel’s situation with the team. According to Baseball Savant, Gurriel Jr. had a strong 2018 with a .273 xBA, .448 xSLG, and .321 xwOBA. Ultimately, his projections dictate that he’s being overrated due to a lack of playing time not a lack of ability.
Max Muncy | Player Rater Rank: 180 | NFBC ADP: 111.45 | Difference: -68.55
Brandon Nimmo | Player Rater Rank: 225 | NFBC ADP: 170.58 | Difference: -54.42
Jurickson Profar | Player Rater Rank: 168 | NFBC ADP: 119.64 | Difference: -48.36
Luke Voit | Player Rater Rank: 227 | NFBC ADP: 180.67 | Difference: -46.33
Kyle Tucker | Player Rater Rank: 608 | NFBC ADP: 279.47 | Difference: -328.53
Kyle Tucker is another player who is being overrated due to a roster crunch. Tucker has been ranked as a top 10 prospect in baseball each of the last three seasons and is absolutely capable of being an impactful fantasy hitter. However, the Michael Brantley signing likely pushes his ETA to later this summer at the earliest, which explains why he’s being overrated based on his projections. Read more about him here.
Tyler O'Neill | Player Rater Rank: 685 | NFBC ADP: 392.14 | Difference: -292.86
Tyler O’Neill might be in a slightly more favorable situation than Kyle Tucker because he's competing with Dexter Fowler, but only marginally so. Despite Fowler’s documented struggles, the team will likely give him every opportunity to play due to his contract so O’Neill faces an uphill battle in 2019. O’Neill’s elite power will make him a viable fantasy option as soon as there is playing time for him. That just doesn’t appear to be this year.
Matt Kemp | Player Rater Rank: 541 | NFBC ADP: 305.78 | Difference: -235.22
The Reds decided to bolster their outfield this offseason, which now includes Yasiel Puig, Jesse Winker, Scott Schebler, Matt Kemp, and potentially Nick Senzel. Matt Kemp’s situation is nearly identical to Hunter Renfroe’s which explains why they’re both in this article. Kemp and Renfroe both possess the necessary skills to produce given enough at-bats, but lack the guaranteed playing time.
Fernando Tatis Jr. | Player Rater Rank: 521 | NFBC ADP: 314.08 | Difference: -206.92
The Padres franchise is looking up and just a few pieces away from contention. Their top prospect, Fernando Tatis Jr, has shown the potential to be one of the best fantasy players for the foreseeable future. What he lacks this year is playing time, which the Padres aren’t currently incentivized to give him. All three projections systems have him getting approximately 325 plate appearances in 2019 which would correspond to a second half call up. Owners are paying for his potential while passing up on other players that have a more clear path to production in 2019.
Jay Bruce | Player Rater Rank: 356 | NFBC ADP: 286.88 | Difference: -69.12
Jeff McNeil | Player Rater Rank: 414 | NFBC ADP: 354.43 | Difference: -59.57
Peter Alonso | Player Rater Rank: 312 | NFBC ADP: 255.51 | Difference: -56.49
The point of this article was not only to point out the specific players that are being overrated, but also the type of player. What I’ve found is that a lot fall into one of two groups; power hitters with an average or worse batting average and stolen base total or players with above average skills but no clear path to playing time. Players like, Vlad Jr, Rhys Hoskins, and Matt Carpenter are valued as elite players despite being average or worse in two of the five main offensive categories.
The second category of players is comprised of top prospects that are on the cusp of the MLB and MLB players with an uncertain playing time situation. Owners that are drafting this class of player are passing up more secure production for potential. The projections represent the 50th percentile of all outcomes and thus this strategy isn’t profitable in the the long run as owners will be leaving value on the table more often than not. Being aware of both of these trends can not only make you aware of your own biases but also help you exploit the biases of others.
The Player Rater rankings are calculated based on the projections provided by ATC, THE BAT, and Depth Charts. The rankings should by no means be the sole resource for determining a players value, but merely a tool to help illuminate some of our shortcomings and biases. It’s important to still do your own research and determine to what extent you believe the numbers that the projection systems produce. The systems will never be perfect and thus the projections alone shouldn’t be enough to deter or incentivize you to draft a certain player.
Google Doc with NFBC ADP vs. Player Rater rank comparisons.
Check out other articles