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Five Players To Strike From The Draft Board

Paul Shapiro Staff Writer February 27, 2017 5:17PM EDT

Five Players To Strike From The Draft Board

Entering every Fantasy baseball season, I start by creating a draft board that lays out the players I’m targeting in each round from one through 25. If a player isn’t on my big board, I won’t draft him.  The players that make my board are the hitters and pitchers that I deem to have the optimal value in each round.

As players are drafted, my board gets smaller and smaller, but which player I should draft also gets clearer and clearer. When all the players in Round 1 are gone, then I move on the Round 2, and so on and so forth.

My goal with each pick is to obtain value and fill needs. The following players don’t provide that where they’re currently being drafted. These aren’t players I don’t like as ball players; they just provide no value to a Fantasy owner with their current Average Draft Position (ADP). And the key to any draft is attaining as much value at as low a cost as possible.

That’s why you should strike these five players from the draft board.

Jean Segura: ADP 59

Don't pay for Jean Segura's career year. Photo by Kevin French/Icon Sportswire)

Don’t pay for Jean Segura’s career year. Photo by Kevin French/Icon Sportswire

When a player is coming off a career year and then immediately gets traded, I stay as far away as I possibly can in Fantasy drafts. Especially when that player is being drafted in the first 60 picks, after being shipped off to a pitcher-friendly ballpark like Safeco Field in Seattle. The number one player that I wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole in drafts this year is Jean Segura.

Segura set career highs in home runs (20), runs (102), RBIs (64) and batting average (.319) to go along with 33 stolen bases last season. There is almost no way he matches any of those numbers this season. Yes, the stolen bases should be there – he averages 30 over the past four seasons — but expect more like 10-15 homers, 50-75 runs and RBIs, and a .280 batting average. Those numbers are more in line with players being drafted outside the Top 100.

I’ll take my chances nearly 100 picks later with Javier Baez or Brad Miller. Or how about after pick 200 with Tim Anderson or Brandon Crawford? Let another manager buy into the hype from Segura’s career year in Arizona, with an obvious regression coming for the shortstop in Seattle.

Daniel Murphy: ADP 38

Another player coming off a career year is the Nationals’ Daniel Murphy. He batted .347 with 25 homers and 104 RBIs, while leading the NL with a .985 OPS. All of those numbers are career bests for Murphy, slating him in as a late third or early fourth-round pick this year.

I think that’s just too early for the Nats second baseman when similar players like Jason Kipnis and Dustin Pedroia are being drafted 50 or 100 picks later, respectively. Murph is a really nice player, he was even an MVP candidate, but it’s obvious to me that he topped out last season. Even if he matches his 2016 output in 2017, he provides no value and no upside where he’s being drafted.

With the likelihood being that Murphy will take a step back, rather than another giant leap forward, I’ll avoid him in drafts this coming season.

Billy Hamilton: ADP 70

How is a player that helps your Fantasy team in one category a Top 100 player? Even worse, how is he being drafted on average by the 70th pick? I just don’t get it. For that reason, this is the second year in a row that Billy Hamilton makes this list.

Sure, Hamilton will steal at least 55 bases, but he’s a career .248 hitter who hasn’t scored more than 72 runs in any of his three-plus MLB seasons. There are 100 other players that I would draft before adding Hamilton as he will help your team in exactly one category. That’s not how to win a Fantasy league.

Instead of drafting Hamilton with a premium pick, take a late-round flier on Rajai Davis, Travis Jankowski, or Jarrod Dyson. You’ll get the same amount of output at a fraction of the price.

Jonathan Lucroy: ADP 65

Jonathan Lucroy looked great once he landed in Texas last season, but let someone else take him with a Top 75 pick. The other top catchers – Buster Posey, Gary Sanchez, and Kyle Schwarber — have the upside to be drafted that early. I just don’t see that in Lucroy.

Even though he batted .276 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs in just 47 games with the Rangers, I wouldn’t expect more than 20 jacks and 80 RBIs from the backstop this season. Yes, those are nice numbers for a catcher, but he’s being over-drafted with what my expectations are for him this season.

Let another owner grab Lucroy early and take a comparable player like my late-round favorite Welington Castillo, being drafted around pick 180. Castillo is in a new, very hitter-friendly home in Camden Yards, and he should end up a Top 5 catcher at a very discounted price in 2017 snake drafts.

Aroldis Chapman: ADP 50

This one plays off a draft strategy that I live by each and every season — don’t pay for saves. Aroldis Chapman is the first closer off the board in most Fantasy drafts at or around pick number 50, meaning that many owners may not agree with that strategy.

Chapman will strike out nearly two batters an inning and his career ERA and WHIP of 2.09 and 1.00, respectively, make him arguably the best stopper in the game. But he wasn’t in the Top 10 in saves last season and is costing you a fourth- or fifth-round pick. I just don’t see the value in drafting Chapman, or any closer for that matter, that early when you can find saves much later in the draft, or even on the waiver wire once the season starts.

These players are all Fantasy assets but where they’re being drafted makes them far less appetizing, meaning you won’t see them on my draft board for the 2017 season.


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