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Taking a look at ADP is super important because you can really unveil value. Fantasy baseball positional ADP battles always form this time of the year. But first, please join me down this trip down memory lane.

Let’s take a journey back to the days of yore, aka my childhood. I’m sure this is a shared experience so feel free to join me in this nostalgia. First, allow me to set up the moment. I am in the car with my parents and we are heading home from my baseball game.

Me: “Mom…dad…can we stop and get food on the way home?”

Dad: “Up to your mother”

Mom: “We don’t need to stop, we have food at home.”

That is a phrase I heard plenty. We have, whatever I was asking about, at home. Young and disappointed Matty Kiwoom just didn’t understand. My parents didn’t want to spend the extra cash and as an adult I completely get it. 

Maybe what I ate when I got home wasn’t exactly what I was craving but it got the job done. This concept can also be applied to fantasy baseball. And more specifically, drafting a team in fantasy baseball.

Sometimes spending high-end draft capital is the right move. But other times, there is a perfectly suitable alternative that you can get much later. You don’t need player X, we have player Y at home. 

Jazz Chisholm Jr (77.4)  vs Kolten Wong (193)

We aren’t stopping for Jazz Chisholm, we have Kolten Wong at home.

Jazz Chisholm ’21 Stats
Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA xwOBA wRC+
2021 MIA MLB 23 124 507 18 70 53 23 6.7% 28.6% 0.177 0.319 0.248 0.303 0.425 0.312 0.307 98
Kolten Wong ’21 Stats
Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA xwOBA wRC+
2021 MIL MLB 30 116 492 14 70 50 12 6.3% 16.9% 0.175 0.305 0.272 0.335 0.447 0.337 0.308 109

 

Jazz Chisholm ’22 Projections
Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA xwOBA wRC+
2022 ZiPS DC PROJ 24 126 546 20 71 59 21 7.4% 31.5% 0.183 0.303 0.228 0.292 0.412 0.303 92
2022 THE BAT X PROJ 24 131 555 20 73 59 23 8.2% 29.5% 0.182 0.305 0.235 0.305 0.417 0.31 97
2022 THE BAT PROJ 24 131 555 22 76 62 22 7.9% 29.6% 0.192 0.31 0.24 0.307 0.433 0.318 102
2022 ATC PROJ 24 131 555 21 75 62 23 7.8% 28.9% 0.186 0.306 0.239 0.306 0.426 0.315 100
2022 FGDC PROJ 24 126 546 21 70 61 21 7.5% 28.8% 0.185 0.298 0.235 0.298 0.42 0.309 96
2022 Steamer PROJ 24 126 568 22 73 66 22 7.5% 26.1% 0.186 0.294 0.241 0.305 0.427 0.314 100
2022 ZiPS PROJ 24 127 511 19 66 55 20 7.4% 31.5% 0.183 0.303 0.228 0.292 0.412 0.303 92
Kolten Wong ’22 Projections
Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA xwOBA wRC+
2022 ZiPS DC PROJ 31 136 588 14 71 56 15 7.3% 16.7% 0.148 0.299 0.265 0.337 0.413 0.325 101
2022 THE BAT X PROJ 31 131 553 13 71 56 14 8.1% 15.9% 0.144 0.295 0.263 0.339 0.406 0.324 101
2022 THE BAT PROJ 31 131 553 14 73 58 15 8.0% 16.0% 0.154 0.302 0.269 0.345 0.423 0.333 106
2022 ATC PROJ 31 131 553 12 73 55 14 7.5% 16.1% 0.143 0.301 0.266 0.337 0.409 0.323 100
2022 FGDC PROJ 31 136 588 14 75 55 15 7.5% 16.6% 0.146 0.3 0.264 0.336 0.411 0.324 100
2022 Steamer PROJ 31 136 628 14 83 59 16 7.7% 16.6% 0.144 0.3 0.264 0.334 0.409 0.323 100
2022 ZiPS PROJ 31 131 504 12 61 48 13 7.3% 16.7% 0.148 0.299 0.265 0.337 0.413 0.325 101

Summary

It shouldn’t be understated that Jazz Chisholm has a higher ceiling. Some team builds call for selecting players with higher potential. But waiting to grab Wong more than 100 picks later is not a bad strategy.

Taking a look at their 2021 numbers, the only leg up the Miami Marlin has is his stolen base total. But Wong was nearly identical to Chisholm’s scoring statistics.

Heading into the 2022 season, the projection systems suggest that Jazz Chisholm will hit more homers and steal more bags than Kolten Wong. However, I am still willing to wait and draft Wong. If Chisholm has any kind of nagging injury that could lower his stolen base total. And if his K rate hovers around the projected 30% then prolonged slumps will certainly occur. Gimme the player with the higher projected wRC+ in this fantasy baseball positional ADP battle.

Framer Valdez (141.5) vs Jordan Montgomery (215.6)

Are you looking for a left-handed starter? Come with me I got a much cheaper alternative.

Framber Valdez ’21 Stats
Season Team Level Age W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB vFA ERA FIP
2021 HOU MLB 27 11 6 0 22 22 134.2 8.35 3.88 0.8 0.268 78.30% 70.3% 21.4% 92.3 3.14 4.01
Jordan Montgomery ’21 Stats
Season Team Level Age W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB vFA ERA FIP
2021 NYY MLB 28 6 7 0 30 30 157.1 9.27 2.92 1.09 0.307 73.70% 42.7% 11.8% 92.7 3.83 3.69

 

Framber Valdez ’22 Projections
Season Team Level Age W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB vFA ERA FIP
2022 ZiPS DC PROJ 28 14 10 0 31 31 186 8.48 3.87 0.95 0.3 72.6% 4.00 4.15
2022 THE BAT PROJ 28 12 9 0 29 28 173 8.02 3.61 0.9 0.304 73.7% 3.79 4.08
2022 ATC PROJ 28 12 8 0 29 28 173 8.34 3.56 0.83 0.302 73.2% 3.68 3.77
2022 FGDC PROJ 28 13 10 0 31 31 188 8.41 3.76 0.84 0.307 73.1% 3.79 3.96
2022 Steamer PROJ 28 13 9 0 31 31 191 8.34 3.65 0.74 0.311 73.5% 60.4% 3.58 3.77
2022 ZiPS PROJ 28 10 7 0 24 22 132.7 8.48 3.87 0.95 0.3 72.6% 4.00 4.15
Jordan Montgomery ’22 Projections
Season Team Level Age W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB vFA ERA FIP
2022 ZiPS DC PROJ 29 8 5 0 29 29 152 9.49 2.5 1.28 0.313 75.0% 3.85 3.79
2022 THE BAT PROJ 29 11 10 0 29 29 154 8.92 2.9 1.33 0.307 72.7% 4.15 4.15
2022 ATC PROJ 29 9 7 0 29 29 154 9.02 2.76 1.3 0.309 72.6% 4.08 4.08
2022 FGDC PROJ 29 9 7 0 29 29 158 9.22 2.7 1.3 0.31 74.2% 3.97 3.97
2022 Steamer PROJ 29 11 9 0 29 29 164 8.96 2.89 1.31 0.296 73.4% 42.4% 4.09 4.14
2022 ZiPS PROJ 29 7 5 0 27 27 140.3 9.49 2.5 1.28 0.313 75.0% 3.85 3.79

Summary

In many cases, the “we have it at home” scenario leads to a subpar alternative. But in this case, I wouldn’t say either is distinguishably better than the other. The fact that one starting pitcher is going nearly 75 picks later is bonkers. 

Both left-handed starting pitchers have nearly identical career SIERA (4.18 for Montgomery/3.97 for Valdez) and CSW% (28.6% for Montgomery/28.3% for Valdez). Jordan Montgomery supports a better O-Swing% (34.5%/27.3%) and SwStr% (12.7%/10.0%) than Framber Valdez over their careers.

Even the projection systems heading into 2022 are very comparable. Montgomery is expected to pitch fewer innings and achieve fewer wins. It is not a well-kept secret that wins are a tough category to predict. Especially when both pitchers are part of very good teams. 

Valdez is projected to pitch 20 or so more innings, but if you look at their 2021 campaign, it was actually the opposite. Montgomery threw just about 23 more innings than the Astros’ lefty. It pains me to say this (I’m a Red Sox fan) but if the main difference between the left-handed pitchers is IP, I don’t mind betting on the Yankees guy. Not to mention the 75 pick discount. In my eyes, Jordan Montgomery wins this fantasy baseball positional ADP battle.

Jared Walsh (115.8) vs Frank Schwindel (230.1)

You want the lefty? Have you ever thought about trying out a righty?

Jared Walsh ’21 Stats
Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA xwOBA wRC+
2021 LAA MLB 27 144 585 29 70 98 2 8.20% 26.0% 0.232 0.335 0.277 0.34 0.509 0.357 0.325 127
Frank Schwindel ’21 Stats
Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA xwOBA wRC+
2021 2 Tms MLB 29 64 259 14 44 43 2 6.20% 15.8% 0.264 0.348 0.326 0.371 0.591 0.403 0.329 152

 

Jared Walsh ’22 Projections
Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA xwOBA wRC+
2022 ZiPS DC PROJ 28 151 651 35 84 117 2 8.1% 26.1% 0.243 0.313 0.266 0.33 0.51 0.353 124
2022 THE BAT X PROJ 28 141 583 28 74 82 2 8.7% 25.9% 0.218 0.3 0.252 0.324 0.47 0.337 113
2022 THE BAT PROJ 28 141 583 30 78 86 2 8.6% 26.0% 0.234 0.308 0.26 0.33 0.494 0.348 121
2022 ATC PROJ 28 141 583 29 77 91 2 8.3% 25.3% 0.231 0.306 0.262 0.328 0.493 0.347 120
2022 FGDC PROJ 28 151 651 34 86 108 2 8.5% 25.9% 0.237 0.31 0.263 0.331 0.5 0.35 122
2022 Steamer PROJ 28 150 643 33 86 98 3 9.0% 25.8% 0.231 0.307 0.26 0.333 0.491 0.348 121
2022 ZiPS PROJ 28 146 579 31 75 104 2 8.1% 26.1% 0.243 0.313 0.266 0.33 0.51 0.353 124
Frank Schwindel ’22 Projections
Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA xwOBA wRC+
2022 ZiPS DC PROJ 30 128 553 25 69 83 2 4.8% 17.1% 0.207 0.282 0.267 0.305 0.474 0.33 104
2022 THE BAT X PROJ 30 132 553 20 59 68 2 5.1% 18.8% 0.172 0.272 0.247 0.291 0.419 0.303 87
2022 THE BAT PROJ 30 132 553 21 59 69 2 5.2% 18.8% 0.177 0.27 0.247 0.292 0.424 0.306 89
2022 ATC PROJ 30 132 553 21 69 73 2 5.5% 17.7% 0.177 0.291 0.265 0.31 0.442 0.322 102
2022 FGDC PROJ 30 128 553 25 72 79 3 5.3% 17.5% 0.208 0.284 0.268 0.311 0.475 0.333 106
2022 Steamer PROJ 30 128 576 26 78 78 3 5.9% 17.9% 0.208 0.287 0.268 0.316 0.476 0.336 108
2022 ZiPS PROJ 30 116 480 22 60 72 2 4.8% 17.1% 0.207 0.282 0.267 0.305 0.474 0.33 104

Summary

Comparing the two first basemen based on their 2021 performances is a tough task. Jared Walsh saw more than double the amount of plate appearances than Frank Schwindel. If you extrapolate Schwindel’s production to match Walsh’s plate appearances it sure looks similar. The under the hood metrics are also tough to compare due to the difference in sample size, but it is tough to say that Walsh is worth a selection more than 100 picks earlier than the Cubs’ first baseman. 

The projection systems certainly suggest there is a noticeable difference between the players. It is not smart business to completely ignore the projections, but I still believe that Schwindel will outperform a few of these marks.

Frank Schwindel swiped 2 bags in only 64 games, so in a full season with Chicago it is not a stretch to see him finish ‘22 with 4-5. Schwindel’s ISO projection is coming in at least 40 points lower than his career mark and his wRC+ projection seems light. (I understand his career averages reflect his long Minor League career). I am not stating that I do not believe in Jared Walsh’s ability. I’m choosing Schwindel because I can wait 115 picks and get similar production. Or at least that is my belief.

Lance McCullers (166.4) vs Jon Gray (260.5)

You want Lance McCullers? Allow me to interest you in some Jon Gray.

Lance McCullers ’21 Stats
Season Team Level Age W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB vFA ERA FIP
2021 HOU MLB 27 13 5 0 28 28 162.1 10.26 4.21 0.72 0.273 78.5% 56.4% 11.7% 93.4 3.16 3.52
Jon Gray ’21 Stats
Season Team Level Age W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB vFA ERA FIP
2021 COL MLB 29 8 12 0 29 29 149 9.48 3.5 1.27 0.298 69.6% 48.4% 15.1% 95 4.59 4.22

 

Lance McCullers ’22 Projections
Season Team Level Age W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB vFA ERA FIP
2022 ZiPS DC PROJ 28 10 6 0 26 26 145 10.07 4.02 0.86 0.298 74.2% 3.58 3.71
2022 THE BAT PROJ 28 11 8 0 27 27 159 9.13 4.03 0.95 0.305 73.4% 3.87 4.03
2022 ATC PROJ 28 11 7 0 27 27 153 9.64 3.78 0.9 0.295 73.3% 3.62 3.7
2022 FGDC PROJ 28 10 7 0 26 26 146 9.9 3.82 0.91 0.304 74.0% 3.63 3.73
2022 Steamer PROJ 28 10 8 0 26 26 147 9.73 3.62 0.96 0.302 73.9% 51.9% 3.68 3.76
2022 ZiPS PROJ 28 10 6 0 26 26 145.7 10.07 4.02 0.86 0.298 74.2% 3.58 3.71
Jon Gray ’22 Projections
Season Team Level Age W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB vFA ERA FIP
2022 ZiPS DC PROJ 30 11 10 0 31 31 159 9.56 3.6 1.18 0.313 72.7% 4.16 4.07
2022 THE BAT PROJ 30 11 12 0 30 30 167 8.84 3.29 1.39 0.304 71.6% 4.42 4.44
2022 ATC PROJ 30 10 10 0 30 30 167 8.71 3.08 1.27 0.303 72.3% 4.14 4.19
2022 FGDC PROJ 30 11 10 0 31 31 169 9.2 3.33 1.24 0.312 72.4% 4.22 4.16
2022 Steamer PROJ 30 10 11 0 31 31 178 8.88 3.09 1.3 0.298 72.2% 43.6% 4.27 4.23
2022 ZiPS PROJ 30 10 9 0 28 28 145 9.56 3.6 1.18 0.313 72.7% 4.16 4.07

Summary

These two starting pitchers are more alike than most would suspect. Both are right-handed pitchers, both have fastball velocities around 92 mph, both guys now pitch in Texas, and both had SIERAs in the low fours in 2021. That is not enough to pass on a pitcher like McCullers because he does have talent. He has been a better fantasy pitcher, but one thing has changed. As I mentioned, both pitchers are in Texas – Jon Gray will no longer call Coors home. 

There are a couple of metrics that stick out in their ‘22 projections. Jon Gray is expected to post a K/9 anywhere from the high eights to the mid-nines. Lance McCullers low nines to low tens. After factoring in their career CSW% which are only one percentage point different, and that Gray is projected to pitch more innings this season (20-30 IP by some projection estimates). It is easy to see that Gray may finish with more total strikeouts despite the lower rate.

Right off the bat (pun absolutely intended) most would assume the Astros starter will have more wins. Due to the IP expectations, the win totals project to be very similar. It’s plausible that Gray finishes with similar win totals, k totals but a slightly higher ERA than McCullers. Gray just costs about 100 picks cheaper. Who do you think won this fantasy baseball positional ADP battle?

Francisco Lindor (49.2) vs Willy Adames (134.6)

Skeptical about it? I can’t blame you. Just keep reading.

Francisco Lindor ’21 Stats
Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA xwOBA wRC+
2021 NYM MLB 27 125 524 20 73 63 10 11.1% 18.3% 0.181 0.248 0.23 0.322 0.412 0.317 0.344 103
Willy Adames ’21 Stats
Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA xwOBA wRC+
2021 2 Tms MLB 25 140 555 25 77 73 5 10.3% 28.1% 0.219 0.331 0.262 0.337 0.481 0.349 0.326 119

 

Francisco Lindor ’22 Projections
Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA xwOBA wRC+
2022 ZiPS DC PROJ 28 152 658 28 98 83 18 9.4% 17.4% 0.205 0.281 0.263 0.337 0.467 0.341 119
2022 THE BAT X PROJ 28 147 646 24 85 81 15 9.8% 17.0% 0.185 0.279 0.258 0.336 0.443 0.333 114
2022 THE BAT PROJ 28 147 646 27 87 85 15 9.7% 16.9% 0.199 0.273 0.258 0.335 0.457 0.338 117
2022 ATC PROJ 28 147 646 26 91 82 14 9.9% 16.9% 0.198 0.272 0.256 0.335 0.454 0.337 112
2022 FGDC PROJ 28 152 658 29 93 87 15 9.5% 17.4% 0.208 0.273 0.257 0.333 0.465 0.339 117
2022 Steamer PROJ 28 150 667 30 89 93 13 9.6% 17.3% 0.211 0.264 0.252 0.329 0.463 0.337 116
2022 ZiPS PROJ 28 132 586 25 87 74 16 9.4% 17.4% 0.205 0.281 0.263 0.337 0.467 0.341 119
Willy Adames ’22 Projections
Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA xwOBA wRC+
2022 ZiPS DC PROJ 26 143 616 25 80 73 6 9.6% 28.8% 0.197 0.329 0.256 0.328 0.452 0.335 107
2022 THE BAT X PROJ 26 144 592 26 79 79 6 9.6% 27.2% 0.206 0.315 0.255 0.329 0.461 0.337 109
2022 THE BAT PROJ 26 144 592 26 79 79 6 9.6% 27.3% 0.206 0.317 0.256 0.329 0.462 0.338 110
2022 ATC PROJ 26 144 592 26 77 73 6 9.7% 28.1% 0.204 0.323 0.255 0.33 0.459 0.339 110
2022 FGDC PROJ 26 143 616 24 80 74 7 9.8% 27.8% 0.191 0.324 0.254 0.329 0.445 0.333 106
2022 Steamer PROJ 26 143 628 23 81 76 7 10.0% 26.9% 0.185 0.318 0.252 0.33 0.437 0.331 105
2022 ZiPS PROJ 26 149 584 24 76 69 6 9.6% 28.8% 0.197 0.329 0.256 0.328 0.452 0.335 107

Summary

I can’t lie to you fine readers, I am a fan of Francisco Lindor. But facts are facts and he has been an average player since 2019. Even when you pace out the shortened 2020 campaign, Lindor’s scoring stats are not elite. He has averaged 21 home runs, 145 runs+RBIs, a .244 batting average, and 13 stolen bases. All that gave him a 103 wRC+ over the past two seasons. Cue the sad sound bit.

Willy Adames became a better fantasy player after being dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers. The shortstop batted .285, swatted 20 dingers, contributed 119 runs+RBIs, and four bags. Good for a 135 wRC+. This all came in just over 400 plate appearances. Willy Adames loves Miller Park. Even I know that and I haven’t talked to him a single time.  

It would be fair to say that I am cherry-picking sample sizes so let’s look at their ‘22 projections. Allow me to state off the top that Lindor is the better player. Could very well be the better fantasy player in ‘22. But is he worth drafting inside the top 50 when Adames is available after pick 125? I’m not so sure. Both shortstops are projected to bat around .250 and hit around 25 homers. 

Where the difference seems to be is the scoring totals (runs+RBIs) and steals. Lindor also has better projected K metrics which certainly helps Lindor’s prospects, but it didn’t help much last year. Will Lindor swipe 5 to 8 more bags this year? Adames can very well rank similarly if Lindor doesn’t. Given their similar projected wRC+ as well as everything else…gimme Adames almost 100 picks later.

Conclusion

Sometimes it is best to take the top talent. Use the high-end draft capital and get the stud. Sometimes patience will prove to be the right game plan. Are all these alternatives highlighted going to perform as expected? No. Some will over perform, some will underwhelm and others will “be who we thought they were.” I am confident in the process because the numbers don’t lie. So there’s that. *insert shrug emoji*

What do you think about these fantasy baseball positional ADP battles?

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Matty Kiwoom

Matty Kiwoom

My name is Matt and I'm a sports-a-holic. *pauses for warm welcome*

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