Fantasy owners tend to chase categories or fall in love with rookies, pushing the average draft position of players to a level they should not be. This does not mean they are bad players or will have a terrible season. When evaluating overvalued players, I usually can find another player who will perform better with a similar draft position — or will be a better value and can be taken later in the draft.
We will discuss overvalued pitchers later, but for now, here are this year’s overvalued hitters.
Kansas City Royals Shortstop Adalberto Mondesi
There is only one reason Mondesi is being drafted where he is and that is his ability to rack up stolen bases. The shortstop currently has an average draft position of 27 overall as fantasy owners are chasing one category.
We have mentioned throughout the draft season that stolen bases will be tough to come by and there will be times we need to reach on a player in order to compete in this category. However, taking a player in the third round to accomplish this is not smart.
Throughout Mondesi’s last 161 games — which span the last two seasons — the infielder has stolen 67 bases. That’s an eye-popping number. Another eye-popping number is Mondesi has had an on-base percentage under .300 in each of those seasons. It’s extremely difficult for me to trust a player to come through when he’s not getting on base at least 30 percent of the time.
Mondesi has to at least steal more than 50 bases to come close to paying off third-round value since he won’t be elite in any other category. If you’re targeting a shortstop at that point in the draft, I would rather select Bo Bichette of the Toronto Blue Jays. Bichette has 20-stolen-base upside and will also help in the other four categories. Fantasy owners can also wait and draft Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox. Anderson has four seasons with double-digit steals and would have easily reached that number in 2020 if not for the shortened season.
Atlanta Braves Outfielder Marcell Ozuna
Ozuna is the perfect example of the fantasy community using the previous season’s stats to determine their future value. Ozuna finished 2019 with a .241 batting average, and despite still hitting 29 home runs with 80 RBIs, the outfielder was being drafted after the seventh round in 2020.
The 30-year-old bounced back last season by hitting 18 home runs and finishing with a .338 batting average. This was in only 60 games. It should be noted that outside of last year, Ozuna has had only one season in which he had a batting average better than .300.
Fantasy owners are projecting Ozuna’s 2020 season out to a 162-game schedule and believe he will hit more than 40 home runs, a milestone the outfielder has never done in his seven-year career. Ozuna has an average draft position of 44 overall.
If I’m chasing power, I would rather draft New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge a round later. However, targeting George Springer of the Toronto Blue Jays at a similar average draft position is the better option considering he has been more consistent in his career.
St. Louis Cardinals Third Baseman Nolan Arenado
Arenada was traded from a hitter’s paradise in Colorado to St. Louis this offseason, and fantasy owners are treating the slugger like he is still on the Rockies. Arenado has a career home batting average of .322 with a slugging percentage of .609 in 543 games. However, away from Coors Field, Arenado has a career batting average of .263 and a slugging percentage of .471. The games are almost identical, as the third baseman has played in 536 road games in his career.
Those are drastic differences. Most hitters enjoy their home ballpark more than hitting on the road, so I never lean too heavily on that. However, when we consider there is a huge difference in those numbers and Coors Field is known to inflate offensive production, we should take notice.
The veteran currently has an average draft position of 32 overall. Arenado is an extremely talented player so he will adjust. However, we can’t expect him to put up the offensive numbers he has before. If I’m targeting a third baseman in this range, I would rather draft Anthony Rendon of the Los Angeles Angels at his average draft position of 30. We can also wait another round and draft Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros or Rafael Devers of the Boston Red Sox.