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Thursday night marked the beginning of 2017-2018 concussion football season. If your fantasy baseball league lacked waiver activity prior to kickoff, I can only imagine the subsequent days will be as lively as this fan falling asleep in the fourth inning of a Yankees-Red Sox game back in 2015. Those who stick around care; they flaunt their championship around friends, family, pets, significant others, potential significant others – just kidding, please don’t do that – while their league mates consult countless websites wondering whether this stupid kicker, or this other stupid kicker is the better play. Don’t be that friend asking about a kicker, put your time into something more valuable.

Remember in high school when teachers preached earlier time investment for projects leading to better results? This column is the child of benevolence you sat next to who saw the test, and filled your study-less void five minutes prior to the start of the exam. It’s tough to become that kid unless you are a baseball nut like myself, so in the spirit of all that is Razzball, I’ve taken it upon myself to spur some early interest in 2018.

Methodology 

Below you’ll see the following…

  • A Full Season Projection – Simple weighted average of that player’s stats as of September 9th, and his Razzball/Steamer rest-of-season projection (Pitchers, Hitters).
  • A Player Comparison – I chose a player from 2016 who produced comparable stats, and followed such player up with his 2017 Average Draft Position (ADP) per NFBC leagues (standard roto). Flaws? Compared player might be at a different stage of their career, possess different peripherals, positional eligibility, and much more. The comparison is there to simply show a similar season from the past they match the production of, and a very crude like to that production’s ADP.
  • 2018 ADP Guess – Subject to 100% Lance bias.

Anthony Rendon

Potential 2017 Line: 26 HR – 8 SB – 81 R – 101 RBI – .300 Average – 148 Games

2016’s Corey Seager, with better plate discipline (Drafted 22nd overall, mid-late 2nd round pick)

Rendon has the quietest case for the National League’s MVP honors. His season is a classic lesson in patience. Refer to the bottomless pit Dusty Baker’s third baseman posted in the month of April – save his three-homer outburst on the 30th – and sleeping like that Yankees fan I linked above is permissible. Hitters are fickle beasts, and if Rendon did anything in that month, we’d be looking at a .320 hitter with a .600+ slugging percentage Votto-esque discipline. Yeah, he’s that good.

All this makes me wildly intrigued for Rendon’s preliminary 2018 ADP. While some may scoff at the 2016 Corey Seager comparison, on pure statistics alone, it holds up. Rendon is in his prime – 2018 will be his age 28 season – in a fantastic offense for fantasy purposes, and very few knocks on his skillset. He was a fantastic late purchase at the end of the seventh round last year, but a bargain he will be no more. Rendon is shaping up to be a “safe” option with modest upside in the early rounds.

-Projected late 2nd, early 3rd round pick (22-32 overall)-

Luis Castillo

Potential – well, actual – 2017 line: 89.1 IP – 98 K – 1.07 WHIP – 3.12 ERA – 3.72 FIP

2016’s Drew Pomeranz, with immensely greater intrigue (Drafted 239th overall, 20th round flyer)

Castillo was notified the 6th of September would be the last start of his 2017 campaign, and he spun an eight-inning gem. “Remember, remember the 6th of September” doesn’t flow as well as V for Vendetta’s tagline, but it possesses the same effect. Does he remind me of a – *hot take alert* – more advanced Luis Severino? Yes. Does he also already feel like a 2017’s James Paxton? Absolutely. But even with all the hype I anticipate, there are numerous reasons to believe around this line might be the norm. I’m aiming to draft a column for my site BigThreeSports that highlights how much each of his three pitches stand out, and that will only make me more comfortable targeting him at inflated levels of ADP if my team needs upside.

A comparison case for Castillo was tough to find from a statistical standpoint, but Drew Pomeranz’s stats unfortunately fit the bill. Each possesses significantly different qualities as starters, but the overall result gives a reality check to those with extremely aggressive aspirations. Yes, I understand that sentence clashes with my disclosed comfort drafting Castillo above where his potential production might land him, but sometimes you have to pull the trigger on this level of talent.

-Projected 11-12th round pick, SP3 (132-144 overall)-

Alex Bregman

Potential 2017 Line: 19 HR – 18 SB – 87 R – 67 RBI – .282 Average – 153 Games

2016’s Francisco Lindor (Drafted 29th overall, mid-3rd round pick)

Bregman has produced fairly similar lines when you conduct the classic “first-half to second-half” split observation. Then you realize 2017 isn’t over, and you probably shouldn’t have abandoned the 23-year-old after a skid that eerily resembled the start to his career in 2016. Bregman is a premier offensive talent playing third fiddle on an Astros team that stuffs the box score like few others. I love players who fall under the radar for reasons of having more elite players above them; Bregman took a presumed “sophomore slump” and strangled the life out of it. Insane bat-to-ball ability came to the surface with his out-of-zone contact rate jumping up 15 percentage points, while his swinging strike rate cut nearly in half compared to 2016. Worry that his value on the basepaths might deteriorate quicker than we may have expected is legitimate, but his bat is good enough to overcome any inherent negatives.

Hesitancy consumed me when considering this Lindor comp for fear of its faults, but the more I looked, it became substantially less brash. Positional eligibility aside, Bregman’s 2017 is very comparable to Lindor’s 2016, and because I’m about to project Bregman’s ADP lower than Lindor circa 2016, I’m guessing there is room for a nice return. My projection below may also just serve as a way to drive down his ADP, to my own benefit.

-Projected late 4th, early 5th round pick (54-64 overall)-

Josh Bell

Potential 2017 Line: 24 HR – 2 SB – 69 R – 83 RBI – .263 Average – 140 Games

2016’s Justin Turner, with more swing-and-miss (Drafted 125th overall, mid-10th round pick)

I wish I took a bolder stance on Bell when he was still a prospect; very few bats produced his discipline through the minors, with even fewer possessing the ability to switch-hit. He’s not as good from the right side, but I wouldn’t doubt for as pure a hitter he is, adjustments and implementing those come have come to mind. 2017 brought with it Bell’s ability to drive the ball, and with the present product, I’m not expecting reversion. Bell has some Willie Calhoun qualities to his game – or maybe vice-versa – but the Pirates youngster never came with exactly the same power potential or name value as Calhoun, and rightfully so. Time changes a lot of things, and in this situation, Bell’s value is the benefactor.

Another bullish comparison here with Justin Turner, and I do want to qualify this one by saying Turner’s peripherals at the time were different – in a good way. Do I have immense doubt that Bell can find a balance of his “drive the ball” phase of present, and his discipline of past? Not in the slightest, as a 25-year-old with the ability to adjust, hit for average and power, and still produce great value will always be desired. A recurrent storyline this season dealt with first base’s depth, but looking at 2018’s crop, I see the power potential, but how few I actually trust to repeat such displays is more potent. Trust isn’t a word commonly associated with Bell from my vantage point, but his ADP will be much more appealing than 36-homer Logan Morrisons, and the like.

-Projected 13-14th round pick (156-168 overall)-

Zack Godley 

Potential 2017 line: 130 IP – 136 K – 1.13 WHIP – 3.21 ERA – 3.45 FIP

2016’s Kenta Maeda, with a less command (Drafted 94th overall, SP2)

One more pitcher to close out our first looks at potential 2018 ADP, Godley – like Bregman – is playing third fiddle on a team, and has a chance to return substantial value if duplication of 2017 is in store. Most intriguing is the righty’s lack of a straight, fourseam fastball; his cutter and sinker create a four-pitch repertoire with movement in nearly every conceivable direction. Commanding everything has been the only real concern through the minors, and while he won’t ever be advanced with said skill, I’d rather appreciate how good his cutter-curve combo has been, than desire what may never come.

If you blend together 2016 and 2017 Maeda – 2016’s stuff, less some command, with 2017’s cutter – the comp to Godley from more than just a statistical standpoint holds some water. Signs of regression might prove legitimate come 2018, but the lack of name value surrounding a pitcher with a stellar 2017 might bake obscurity into his ADP just enough to make him a nice SP4 with room for improvement.

-Projected 14-15th round pick, SP3 (168-180 overall)-

More than happy to talk through and debate any of these thoughts in the comments below. Another version of this post – with more players – is a possibility, so suggestions are welcome as well.

I can be found on Twitter; feed is filled with entertainment and writing for you to consume

@LanceBrozdow

   
  1. Herr Drumpf says:
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    How about Pollock, Benintendi and JD Martinez?? Throw in Darvish as well.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Herr Drumpf:
      Going to put these in the queue if another edition of this becomes my next column so I can go a little deeper, but for now, completely off the top of my head…

      Pollock – 7th round

      Benintendi – 7th round

      JD – Late 2nd round

      Darvish – 5-6th round (fringe SP1 for me, this was a tough one)

      Thanks for the read!

      • Herr Drumpf says:
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        @Lance:

        Concur, except for Benintendi. With a 20/20/80/80 floor, and the potential for much, much more, I can’t see him going outside the top 50.

        I smell a top 30 (20?!) preseason Grey ranking.

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @Herr Drumpf:
          The more I look at that, the more I go, “Yeah that’s too low on Benintendi.”

          I think right around 55 is reasonable, so I’ll edit the 7th round to the ~5th. Top 20-30 is stretching it a bit for me, you gotta be VERY confident in some playing up well above average for that to happen in my mind.

          I can see a lot of the excess boost coming from average actually. He can get to .300 and be 20/20/80/80, but I think that power upside in Fenway as a lefty is going to be a little tough. I hate bringing park into it, but LHB at Fenway hasn’t been too pleasant the last few years for LHB HR.

          Of course though, I’ll say that and then he’ll pull a Mookie-in-Camden kind of season hahahaha

  2. Curt says:
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    Great read, since we’re throwing out names, what about Schoop?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Curt:
      Thanks man, per above, I’ll keep Schoop in mind if my next column is another edition of this. Off the top of my head…

      Schoop – 4th rd (another tough one here, feels like a speed deprived Odor circa 2017)

      • LenFuego says:
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        @Lance: Hmmm … Schoop this year is not that dissimilar to Rendon except with just about all his 8 SBs turned into HRs instead, and with quite a few more runs and RBIs (14 and 12 more right now). At age 25. Playing second base.

        I would not be at all surprised if Schoop has an earlier 2018 ADP than Rendon (who you have as late 2nd-early 3rd round) – I certainly do not see him going 15-25 picks behind him.

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @LenFuego:
          If we’re talking pure counting stats, not dissimilar is correct, but it’s deceptive to say coming into next season that they’re similar players outside of 2017 production alone.

          Bring in peripherals and they’re different hitters. Rendon is walking even with his Ks, Schoop is k’ing 4-5x as much as he walks. Doesn’t directly matter in roto, but that’s more of an signal to prime some volatility to me.

          Is Schoop a .300+ hitter next season? I say no, more like .270-.275. Is Rendon a .300 hitter next season? More than likely yes. Do you want 30 points of average and 5-10 more steals at the price of 5ish HRs and some counting stat appreciation? I do.

          There is the 12-15 spots on draft day.

          I wouldn’t be shocked per say, if Schoop has a higher ADP, but I would believe that to be a miscalculation by the public if it turns out as such.

          …Heck, I kind of want it that way so I can get Rendon after Schoop hahaha

          • LenFuego says:
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            @Lance: Yeah, I come more from a roto perspective where the Ks and BBs do not matter. I can see how factoring those in for a points league will make a big difference in value. I still wouldn’t be surprised if Schoop is highly ranked though – everyone loves dingers and he is in serious MVP consideration.

            • Lance

              Lance says:
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              @LenFuego:
              I come from a roto background too, this post was tailored to that (NFBC ADP).

              Ks and BBs still matter in projecting a player out, to me.

              I thought 4th round was pretty reasonable honestly now that I’m getting a chance to look at the stats a little more.

  3. LenFuego says:
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    Not sure why you would characterize Pomeranz’s 2016 stats fitting the bill for 2017 Castillo as “unfortunate”. Pomeranz followed that up this year so far by going 15-5 with a 3.32 ERA and 161 Ks in 153 1/3 innings despite pitching in Fenway in the most homerific season in baseball history. I would think that at the spot where people draft Castillo next year, they will be pretty darn pleased if they get a Pomeranz-type 2017 season.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @LenFuego:
      I meant unfortunate as in, I was hoping for an SP with a similar hype level to what Castillo will possess to get a better idea of what his ADP appreciates to. So the comp was unfortunte in the level of fulfillment when I saw it, rather than in performance.

      Pomeranz has been very good this year, no doubt about it, bargain at his ADP. The biggest difference is – and I’m sure you’ll agree – Pomeranz did that and then was drafted as a throw in, flyer SP. Castillo isn’t going to get that treatment.

      I’ll actually be interested to see where Pom falls in ADP come next season.

      • LenFuego says:
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        @Lance: Yep, from a hype perspective, Pomeranz this year was the anti-Castillo of next year. I tried to understand in the preseason why every “expert” was so down on a guy who had had three straight seasons of an excellent K/9 and very good ERA and WHIP, who had pitched 170 innings the year before, and who would have the Red Sox lineup bashing for him. None of them could seem to get past that he was pitching in Fenway and had had a couple of bad starts (and when I say a couple, I mean exactly 2) there at the very end of the season.

        I suspect the standard deviation of where Pom goes next year will be extremely high in comparison to other players.

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @LenFuego:
          You make a lot of good points here, he seems like one of those perpetually undervalued guys honestly.

          I’m sure the southpaw in Fenway scare played into a bit, as well as the division, but clearly too much.

  4. Skillz says:
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    Speaking of 2018, In my keeper league, I will have Jimmy Nelson as a 20th rounder next year. However, I’m in H2H semifinals, and my season could depend on needing a spot start. Any knowledge if or when the Brewers will put him on the DL so I can free up a roster spot?
    Thanks for all the regular wonderful work you guys do.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Skillz:
      No problem man!

      Actually pretty funny, when you mentioned this, I immediately jumped to see if he was on the DL cause I really don’t know why he isn’t. I wonder if it has to do with a 60 day DL vs 10 day DL situation, but I can’t say I’m a expert of roster moves to know why he isn’t there yet.

      I like Nelson, but shoulder injuries are honestly sometimes worse than elbows. There is just so much more going on tissue and muscle wise with a shoulder, that from what I understand it leads to a much wider range of outcomes.

      With that said, it’s all gonna come down to who you’re dropping him for and how much you think the move will budge you chances of winning. Win that title before caring about Nelson, even though I do like him a lot.

      Good luck!

  5. slimbo says:
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    how about smoak? is he someone i can drop from my dynasty team?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @slimbo:
      Who are you dropping him for?

      Need context. I like what Smoak has done approach-wise, not a throw away, but depends a bit on keeper situations, etc.

      • slimbo says:
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        @Lance:

        was thinking Walker Buehler? he was just dropped and is pretty high on prospect lists

        we keep everybody

        current team is
        Perez, Hoskins, Rendon, Lindor, Betts, Buxton, Bogaerts, Smoak, Marte, Benintendi, Gallo, Devers, S Gennett, W Calhoun

        Devenski, Bradley, Osuna, Giles, Diaz, Davis, Stroman, Rodon, Castillo, Syndergard, Reyes

        have 4 na slots and currently have Acuna, Sensel, B Rodgers and T Mckenzie

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @slimbo:
          Ehh, you team is really solid, Buehler is a longer term play for me. I don’t know how much he is going to start, and while I do like him a lot, if you’re gonna contend next year and hopefully the year after, which it looks like you might, Buehler doesn’t make too much sense.

          On top of that, I’m personally not dropping Smoak with Gennett and Perez (Hernan I’m assuming) on my bench. Might be tough to tolerate Smoak right now but he’s got ~40 HR and not insanely regressive peripherals.

  6. Evan says:
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    What about Hoskins? Has to be Top-40 right?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Evan:
      I think that’s a bit over aggressive personally, but it’s close, I’m thinking more 60-70 overall window, and I’d probably rank him higher. I was initially lower in a previous post of mine, but I guess I’m starting to drink the Kool Aid.

      I get the hype, and I LOVE the skillset (bat speed particularly), but he’s on an 80 HR pace with a 40% HR/FB rate.

      I think the swinging strikes come up a little bit (crazy low 6% right now, and he settles into a .280/30 HR bat if he doesn’t hit a Judge slump (which I don’t really think he’s prone to with his discipline).

      He’s a top 12 1B for me most likely, which means he can fall anywhere from 60-100 depending on if he’s 12 or 8/9 when looking at prior year ADP.

      Top 4 means he’s a top 4-5 1B, and I can’t do that with a 36 game sample, even with great minor league stats.

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