Below is a list of the 16 players with the highest average draft position (ADP) in CBS, Yahoo, ESPN, and the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) that went unprotected in our league.
It’s important to understand that the ADP’s listed below (in parentheses) were compiled from thousands of fantasy baseball drafts on the major providers. They are not specifically tied to our league settings. They are essentially crowdsourced rankings. They illustrated the value placed on them by fantasy league GMs across the country.
Most of the GMs who are drafting right now to build their teams, feel the players below will reach keeper status in their leagues. Only time will tell if they reach elite status in ours.
1B/2B – Daniel Murphy, Washington (32.3) – In 2016, Murphy was protected by Marin Menehunes General Manager Elizabeth Gravely. Murphy was extremely valuable because of his eligibility at 1B/2B/3B. While he loses eligibility at 3B this year, he’s coming of a season where he scored 91 runs, knocked in 110, and finished with a .982 OPS. He ended 2016 as the league’s 17th-ranked player.
SP – Yu Darvish, Texas (40.8) – Darvish was sensational in 2013, finishing fourth overall in the final player rankings. He tossed 209.2 innings with 21 quality starts, 2.83 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. In 2014, he was shutdown early with an elbow injury that required surgery. He missed all of 2015 and didn’t pitch again until late May of 2016. He ended last season ranked 130th, throwing 105.1 innings with a 3.67 ERA and 1.11 WHIP.
OF – Yoenis Cespedes, NY Mets (50.3) – Gravely chose Cespedes with her first pick in last year’s draft (82nd overall) and he finished the season ranked 114th. Cespedes scored 72 runs with 86 RBI, and a .884 OPS. He had just 547 plate appearances because of a trip to the disabled list with an injured quad.
SP – Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland (58.8) – Warning Track GM Mark Peterson drafted Carrasco with the 92nd overall selection in last year’s draft. Carrasco fractured a hand in September and finished with just 146.1 innings pitched with 14 quality starts, a 3.32 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.
OF – Ian Desmond, Colorado (61.3) – Desmond was a bargain for High Cheese GM Matt Patchell last year. He had position eligibility at both shortstop and outfield and scored 107 runs, knocked in 88, and finished with a .775 OPS on 691 plate appearances. Desmond ended the season ranked 64th overall.
OF – Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh (62.0) – Bacon at Mile 11 General Manager Eric Brown drafted Polanco with the 98th selection in last year’s draft and he finished the season ranked 103rd overall. Brown essentially got his money’s worth when Polanco scored 79 runs, drove in 86, and had a .785 OPS on 587 plate appearances.
OF – Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati (67.5) – The Eephus Monkeys (now the Midtown Marsupials) drafted Hamilton with the 154th pick in last year’s draft and the speedy outfielder finished the season ranked 120th. Hamilton is essentially a one-trick pony, and that pony can steal bases. He ended last season with 50 net stolen bases. In 2015 he had 51. He doesn’t score enough runs and his OPS is pathetic so tread carefully.
2B – Ian Kinsler, Detroit (68.3) – Kinlser was a bargain for last year’s champions. He was drafted 111th and finished 2016 ranked 38th. He scored 117 runs for the Menehunes and had a .831 OPS. In five of the last six seasons, Kinsler has 675+ plate appearances. He’s not a big base stealer at this point in his career but he’s a good source of runs and RBIs for a middle infielder.
1B – Hanley Ramirez, Boston (76.0) – Ramirez was a bargain for Los Coches Bomba in 2016. The Boston first baseman was drafted in the ninth round with the 142nd pick. He went on to score 81 runs, drive in 113, and post a .861 OPS in 632 plate appearances. Ramirez ended 2016 ranked 58th in the final player rankings.
1B – Chris Davis, Baltimore (76.3) – Few players represent baseball’s three true outcomes in today’s game like Davis. For the uninitiated, the three outcomes when a batter comes to the plate are a walk, a strikeout, or a home run. Davis led the league in strikeouts last year with 219 but he also belted 38 homers and walked 88 times. High Cheese protected Davis last year but he finished the season ranked 239th after failing to repeat 2015’s 47 homers and 117 RBI.
OF – Mark Trumbo, Baltimore (76.3) – A-Rod’s Mirrors General Manager Sean McKenna found one of the league’s best bargains in last year’s draft with Trumbo. He selected Baltimore’s big first baseman in the 16th round with the 256th overall pick. Trumbo hit a career-high, and league-high, 47 homers. He also had a career-high 108 RBI and ended the season ranked 71st in the player rankings.
RP – Mark Melancon, San Francisco (79.8) – If you want a good argument, buy a group of SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League general managers beers and then begin debating the pros and cons of keeping relief pitchers. Last season, The Bulls General Manager Carolyn Greene gambled and won. She kept Melancon and he finished the season with 47 net saves/holds and ranked 43rd in the final player rankings. Let the arguments begin!
SP – Masahiro Tanaka, NY Yankees (81.8) – Tanaka set a career high with 19 quality starts last year and but his percentage of starts that ended in quality was a career low 61 percent. Compare that to 2014 when he started 20 games and posted quality starts 16 times. The Lower Haighters chose Tanaka in the eighth round last year with the 126th pick and he finished the season ranked 105th. Tanaka was valuable, but he wasn’t a keeper.
RP – Seung-hwan Oh, St. Louis (82.8) – The first big free-agent acquisition of 2016 was made by Land Shark General Manager Meredith James. On April 14, just two weeks into the season, she dropped Chris Colabello to add Oh. He collected 14 holds and 19 saves while posting a 1.92 ERA and 0.916 WHIP. That was good enough to propel Oh to a 40th place finish in the final player rankings and strengthen the argument that good relievers can be found for a song.
SP – Cole Hamels, Texas (83.3) – High Cheese drafted veteran hurler Hamels in the seventh round last season with the 105th overall pick. He started 32 games and pitched 200.2 innings while posting 22 quality starts. Hamels struck out 200 batters but he struggled with his command. He walked a career-high 77 batters and posted a career-high 1.306 WHIP. Hamels ended 2016 ranked 223rd in the final player rankings.
2B – D.J. LeMahieu, Colorado (86.3) – JetSetters General Manager David Kahn discovered a bargain in LeMahieu during last year’s draft. He took the Colorado shortstop in the 12th round with the 189th pick overall. LeMahieu was fantastic. He finished with a career-high .348 batting average and .911 OPS. He scored 104 runs and knocked in 66 and finished 15th in National League MVP voting. More importantly, LeMahieu ended the season ranked 42nd in the final player rankings.