I believe I’ve got a theory. Okay, perhaps it’s more of a conspiracy than a theory. Now that I think about it, it’s really just a topic for the next fifteen or so paragraphs I’m about to write. Is Trea Turner the primary subject of market manipulation? Say what! Seriously, what could that possibly even mean? Wikipedia defines market manipulation as “a deliberate attempt to interfere with the free and fair operation of the market and create artificial, false or misleading appearances with respect to the price of, or market for, a security, commodity or currency“. If we really consider the entire landscape it’s easy to come to the conclusion that “market manipulation” really doesn’t apply, or make sense in this context, but it got me thinking…
People are are flat out getting punch drunk on Trea Turner. Talk about drinking the kool aid. OH YEAAHH! In fact, while I haven’t yet confirmed it, rumor has it that even ESPN is high on Turner! Trea Turner, or Twin Turbo (TT) as I like to call him, is trending upwards on any platform that supports trending. Someone even told me that Bryce Harper picked Turner with the first pick of his league’s fantasy draft. That’s when I called bullsh!t, because we all know Harper would be drafting Harper. And right after he selected himself, Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Nolan Arenado all burst into laughter. Actually so did everyone else that was present.
I’m still fine tuning my 2017 projections, but when I enter the command-line equivalent of the “Go” or “Run” button, here’s what version 3.07 of my software says about Trea Turner.
Falling a few home runs short of the 20/40 club, these stats are still better than your average bear. But let’s take a look at the only number that matters, points. Based on these projections Turner would amass about 386.02 fantasy points. While that’s certainly a respectable amount of points, it doesn’t scream “draft me in the second round”. If we look at 2016 stats, 386 points would earn Trea a tie for 51st with Adam Eaton. And that’s just amongst hitters. Once we factor in pitchers to the equation, Turner’s spot in the rankings and overall value drops even lower.
While I still have a few iterations of projection fine tuning, Turner’s 386 points ranks him 30th among hitters. He lands between Corey Seager (387) and Matt Carpenter (377). Personally this sounds just about where he belongs. Carpenter’s ADP is approximately 56, while Seager is being drafted in the third round.
So why is his average draft position so high? It only takes one person per league to move the needle. That’s it, just one. People say it takes a village. I say a village is short an idiot, and I know exactly where said idiot is. He’s not missing, he’s not hiding, and he didn’t run away. He’s sitting right in front of his laptop drafting Trea Turner in the second round!
Let’s say there were only one thousand leagues. In every one of those leagues one person was anxious to draft Turner. In his mind Turner was/is the next big thing, the last being Brock Lesnar of course. The other eleven players in each league all have realistic expectations for Turner. Well when that one person in each league drafts him with their second round pick, do you know what his ADP is going to be. That’s right, somewhere in the second round. It doesn’t matter that 91 percent of the fantasy baseball league population thinks he deserves to be drafted in the fourth round. The village idiots are ensuring that Turner will be drafted in the second. And let’s face it every league has at least that one guy who has to have Turner.
Essentially what we have is manufactured hype, and what it boils down to is a supply and demand problem. Just about everyone wants to own him, and at least one person insists on owning him. But guess what, there is only one Trea Turner, and that is causing people to consider taking him a round (or two) early. This is driving up his ADP and making everyone else think to themselves “If I want him on my team I’m going to have to take him by a certain pick”. And that pick is now the second round. It’s a frenzy. It’s only a matter of time until he starts slipping into the end of the first round in some leagues. Just watch.
Trea Turner’s market value has been set and there’s no changing it now. The train has left the station and it’s not about to turn back. Every draft from this point on is doomed to repeat the mistakes of the one before. People aren’t selecting Turner in the second round because he offers second round value, they are drafting him in the second round because all the charts say his average draft position is the second round.
Blame the guy who in the first draft of 2017 grabbed Turner in the second round. Let’s call that guy Bob. Well guess what, Bob blew it. Coincidentally there was pitcher back in 1902 named Bob Blewett that pitched for the New York Giants. As his name would suggest, he was not a very good player. Considering he passed in 1958 we really cannot blame him for helping Turner shoot up the draft board, but it does make for a good story.
Let’s put on our aluminum foil helmets for a second and pretend that we believe Turner can not only repeat what he did last season, but also do so over the course of a full season. Based on his 73-game stint, he’d end the season with approximately 27 homers, 83 RBIs and 66 stolen bases. If he can do that, then he’d be worth every cent, but do you really think there’s a chance? Who does he think he is, Rickey Henderson?
While we’re playing make believe, and we have on our princess dresses, why not throw Gary Sanchez into the mix. Wait, am I the only one wearing a princess dress? It’s actually called a “dad costume”. Sanchez played 53 games last year. If we take his stats from those games and expand them over 137 games (the average number of games played last year by the top twelve catchers based on points), he would have ended the season with 51.7 home runs, 108.6 RBIs and 87.8 runs (assuming the same pace). This would have resulted in about 465 points which would have sandwiched Sanchez in between Freddie Freeman and Manny Machado.
So where is all the love for Gary Sanchez? While Turner has generally hit for average and stolen bases in the minor leagues, he has not really shown signs of power. Why are people willing to go all-in on Turner, but not for Sanchez who is currently being drafted in the fifth round (sixth for ten-team leagues).
The truth is, the fifth or sixth round sounds about right for Sanchez. The second does not for Turner. The only way I’m taking him in the second round is if I just spent two hours (fully clothed) in a van with Tim Lincecum and Ron Washington. Even then I might have better common sense. I’m not sure why I felt the need to point out that we’d be fully clothed.
This post really wasn’t intended to be an anti-Trea Turner piece. I do like the kid, but I can’t see myself owning him if it means drafting him in the second round. It doesn’t make sense to accept fourth round value with a second round pick. The goal is the opposite, try and draft second round value with your fourth round pick.
The purpose of this post was to remind you to make the most of your draft picks, especially the early rounds. After the first five (or so) rounds, it’s ok to reach a few rounds for the right player, but during those first five rounds, it’s crucial to maximize your potential. Play it safe. Play it smart. Don’t let ADP force you into selecting a player too soon. Let someone else in your league take the value hit and risk. Try and keep the odds in your favor.
My 2017 projections will be ready next week!
Follow me on Twitter at @malamoney as I plan to be much more active on social media going forward.