10/04/2020

Usspavolley

The Sport Effect

Consider snagging vet Mike Moustakas

When something is undervalued, it is considered to be less important than it truly is.

There are many players scattered throughout fantasy baseball drafts whose true value is being underestimated. They could be players who have seen their star fade after a down year or guys who have been consistent fantasy entities over the years.

With an average draft position of 100.25 ($19 in auction), according to Fantasy Alarm, it may not seem like Cincinnati’s Mike Moustakas is being undervalued. But, what if you were told that his more than reasonable price also meant he was the 16th third baseman going off the boards (he also has second base eligibility in some leagues, a position in which he is the fifth off the board)? It would seem as if “Moose” is being undervalued, especially with his past production and his new home.

Moustakas had the seventh-most homers (34) among third basemen in the majors last season while playing in just 143 games for the Brewers. He drove in 87 runs, scored a career-high 80, had his highest on-base percentage (.329) since his 2015 All-Star campaign and his highest slugging percentage (.516) since his second All-Star season in 2017. His walk rate (9.1 percent) increased for the third straight season, and his strikeouts are always in check with a 15.8 percent career whiff rate.

Moustakas has hit 30 or more home runs in two of the past three seasons and has driven in 80 or more runs every year since 2015 (minus his injury-shortened 2016 campaign).

The 2017 Comeback Player of the Year also goes from one great hitting ballpark (Miller Ballpark) to another (Great American Ballpark). His left-handed bat, career 44.5 percent flyball rate and 43.6 percent pull rate should play well with the homer haven’s short porch in right field.

Also in Moustakas’ favor: hitting in the middle of an upgraded lineup that includes Japanese import Shogo Akiyama, Roto Rage favorite Nick Castellanos, Eugenio Suarez (when healthy), Jesse Winker and the declining Joey Votto.

Mike Moustakas
Mike MoustakasAP

Sure, you can point to the fact Moose is a career .252 hitter or the fact he has played more than 150 games in a season only once in his career, but this is a consistent fantasy performer with 30-plus homer potential who isn’t being drafted in the top 10 of either of the two positions he’s eligible to play.

Here’s a look at some other undervalued corner infielders who should bring a solid return to your investment:

Starlin Castro (250.18, $2), who is eligible at second and third, will not be as productive as Anthony Rendon was for the Nationals, but the career .280 hitter is coming off a season in which he hit 22 homers and drove in 86 runs, both career highs, and had his lowest strikeout rate since 2015. The soon-to-be 30-year-old has played in 150 games or more in seven of the past nine seasons, will have a steady role and will be hitting in the middle of a potent Nationals lineup. This is a late-round no-brainer.

We already know the Orioles are going to be a bad team, but that doesn’t mean a player like Renato Nunez (264.35, $2) can’t help your squad. The 25-year-old slugger blasted 31 homers and drove in 90 runs in 2019, and will likely be Baltimore’s cleanup hitter this year. He’s a cheap source of power in the later rounds.

Travis Shaw (351.16, $2) finds himself in Toronto after a disastrous season with Milwaukee — in which he hit .157 with seven homers, 16 RBIs and .551 OPS in 86 games. Just remember, he had back-to-back 30-plus homer seasons in 2017-18 and is now part of a stacked Blue Jays lineup. It won’t cost you much to give him a shot.

Jesus Aguilar (406.91, $3) is one year removed from his 2018 All-Star campaign — in which he hit .274 with 35 homers, 108 RBIs and a .890 OPS. Coming off a down year, the 29-year-old Marlin is all but being forgotten about in drafts despite the fact he should be their everyday cleanup hitter.

Roto Rage will never give up on Maikel Franco (476.52, $1). Going from Philadelphia to Kansas City, where he will be their starting third baseman, may be exactly what the doctor ordered to help the powerful 27-year-old live up to his potential.

Corner infielder rankings

First base

1. Cody Bellinger, LAD
2. Freddie Freeman, Atl
3. Pete Alonso, NYM
4. Matt Olson, Oak
5. Anthony Rizzo, ChC
6. Jose Abreu, CWS
7. Josh Bell, Pit
8. Paul Goldschmidt, StL
9. Rhys Hoskins, Phi

DJ LeMahieu
DJ LeMahieuGetty Images

10. DJ LeMahieu, NYY
11. Trey Mancini, Bal
12. Max Muncy, LAD
13. Yuli Gurriel, Hou
14. Carlos Santana, Cle
15. Edwin Encarnacion, CWS
16. Joc Pederson, LAD
17. Eric Hosmer, SD
18. Christian Walker, Ari
19. C.J. Cron, Det
20. Danny Santana, Tex
21. Daniel Murphy, Col
22. Joey Votto, Cin
23. Luke Voit, NYY
24. Renato Nunez, Bal
25. Yandy Diaz, TB
26. Michael Chavis, Bos
27. Evan White, Sea
28. Brandon Belt, SF
29. Evan White, Sea
30. Jesus Aguilar, Mia
31. Howie Kendrick, Was
32. Nate Lowe, TB
33. Justin Smoak, Mil
34. Daniel Vogelbach, Sea
35. Eric Thames, Was
36. Garrett Cooper, Mia
37. Dominic Smith, NYM
38. Miguel Cabrera, Det
39. Ji-Man Choi, TB
40. Albert Pujols, LAA
41. Ryan Mountcastle, Bal
42. Mitch Moreland, Bos

Third base

1. Nolan Arenado=Col
2. Alex Bregman=Hou
3. Rafael Devers=Bos
4. Anthony Rendon=LAA
5. Manny Machado=SD
6. Jose Ramirez=Cle
7. Matt Chapman=Oak
8. Kris Bryant=ChC
9. Josh Donaldson=Min

Jeff McNeil
Jeff McNeilAnthony J. Causi

10. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.=Tor
11. Yoan Moncada=CWS
12. DJ LeMahieu=NYY
13. Mike Moustakas=Cin
14. Jeff McNeil=NYM
15. Eugenio Suarez=Cin
16. Miguel Sano=Min
17. Justin Turner=LAD
18. Yuli Gurriel=Hou
19. Max Muncy=LAD
20. Eduardo Escobar=Ari
21. Scott Kingery=Phi
22. Tommy Edman=StL
23. Brian Anderson=Mia
24. Hunter Dozier=KC
25. Starlin Castro=Was
26. J.D. Davis=NYM
27. Matt Carpenter=StL
28. Gio Urshela=NYY
29. Ryan McMahon=Col
30. Kyle Seager=Sea
31. Maikel Franco=KC
32. Yandy Diaz=TB
33. Miguel Andujar=NYY
34. Travis Shaw=Tor
35. Tommy La Stella=LAA
36. Evan Longoria=SF
37. Marwin Gonzalez=Min
38. Todd Frazier=Tex
39. Asdrubal Cabrera=Was
40. David Fletcher=LAA
41. Jon Berti=Mia

Team Name of the Week

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