Early mock drafts are fun to look at, and I am very interested to see how the “experts” are evaluating players – especially after the crazy 2020 season. As you might expect, I was surprised at how high some players were ranked and how low other ones were ranked in a couple of recent mock drafts.
Take New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso as an example. As a rookie, he led the majors with 52 home runs. I drafted him 28th in a Yahoo league last year. Although I traded him, it’s worth noting that he finished tied for 7th last year with 16 home runs in 57 games. Not bad, in my opinion.
In a recent 2021 mock draft, Alonso went 84th. That’s the end of the 7th round in a 12-team draft. I would think that would be a good value for an elite power hitter who should only get better on an improving team and more experience. Alonso is not the only position player I found undervalued.
J.D. Martinez had a terrible year last year, batting .213 with seven home runs and a dismal .680 OPS in 54 games. But the 33-year-old Martinez has a ten-year career .290 average and a .883 career OPS. Before 2020, he hit 30 plus home runs four straight years. But he was drafted 86th in that mock draft.
Keep your eye on Martinez this year because he seems to be one of a number of good players that are being overly penalized for a bad season last year. Keep in mind that this was 2020, and a high percentage of players had bad years. With Martinez, you have a large sample size to fall back on.
Charlie Blackmon is just a year older than Martinez, and he has a ten-year career .304 average and .865 OPS. Since his rookie year, he’s never hit below .283. During the four seasons between 2016 and 2019, he never scored less than 111 runs. He also had at least 29 home runs in those four seasons.
In spite of those impressive numbers, and that he had a good 2020, he was taken with the 109th pick in the mock draft. In 2020, he was taken 68th in the Yahoo league draft I mentioned earlier. I feel confident Blackmon was way undervalued, and I hope he’s available that late when I draft for real.
Now, here’s another six-pack of position players I like at their anticipated average draft position (ADP) heading into 2021. You should monitor there health – especially those with an injury history. But all of these players could be a draft day value if they are overlooked as I think they will be.
Michael Brantley – The 33-year-old slashed .300/.364/.476 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 24 runs scored and two stolen bases over 187 plate appearances for the Astros in 2020. Brantley is one of the top hitters in the free agent market and will produce for fantasy managers in 2021.
David Fletcher – Fletcher has been a steady presence at the top of the lineup for the Angels the past two seasons and is a fantasy contributor in runs and batting average with multi-positional eligibility. He has a career .292 batting average and has gotten better in each of his three seasons.
Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. – Another player who has gotten better in each of three seasons is Gurriel. While Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr carry more weight due to being 2nd generation stars with higher prospect pedigrees, Gurriel has had the best offensive career to date.
Nick Madrigal – The 23-year-old rookie hit .340 last season, with two stolen bases in 29 games. He doesn’t have power, but he’s the best contact hitter in baseball. I predict the infielder will lead the league in fewest strikeouts and possibly batting average, while stealing at least 15 bases.
J.D. Martinez – He struggled in 2020, slashing .213/.291/.389 with seven home runs, 27 RBI and 22 runs scored and one stolen base over 237 plate appearances. But as noted above, Martinez has a solid track record and is expected to be the Red Sox everyday DH in 2021.
Anthony Rendon – Still in Los Angeles, and batting behind Mike Trout will provide the Angels third baseman another opportunity to lead MLB in runs batted in. As expected, Rendon regressed in 2020, but he had a .286 average and .915 OPS. And he may be available in the fourth round.