MLB Barometer: 2015 All-Value Team

MLB Barometer: 2015 All-Value Team

This article is part of our MLB Barometer series.

Bargain-hunting during fantasy draft season is innumerably more satisfying than battling fellow fantasy owners for the next big prospect in free-agent bidding. When we look upon championship fantasy rosters come October, many will have some combination of later-round afterthoughts who were either "last year's bums" or whose prior season's successes were not taken seriously. Despite several weeks left in the season, we are close enough to the end where it feels safe to present the 2015 All-Value team -- players who have contributed to strong fantasy seasons regardless of their performance the last six weeks -- all drafted after 150 ADP overall.

C:
Stephen Vogt, Yasmani Grandal
1B:Mark Teixeira
2B:DJ LeMahieu
3B:Alex Rodriguez
SS:Brandon Crawford
OF:Lorenzo Cain, Curtis Granderson, David Peralta
UT:Billy Burns, Kendrys Morales

Crawford, LeMahieu and Burns were bona fide breakouts, who were end-gamers in 15-team leagues and undrafted in 12s. Granderson, Teixeira and Rodriguez's performances remind us that there's no risk (only upside) in drafting former first-round fantasy picks well past their primes. Had they not panned out, at worst, you dropped an 18th-round pick. Morales was the perfect storm of recovery in health and a great situation (we knew he would be batting in the middle of the Royals' lineup). Cain was the perennially injured guy who finally broke out, but the consensus either found it fluky or his health unsustainable.

If you notice, there really are no surprises on this list outside of Brandon Crawford

Bargain-hunting during fantasy draft season is innumerably more satisfying than battling fellow fantasy owners for the next big prospect in free-agent bidding. When we look upon championship fantasy rosters come October, many will have some combination of later-round afterthoughts who were either "last year's bums" or whose prior season's successes were not taken seriously. Despite several weeks left in the season, we are close enough to the end where it feels safe to present the 2015 All-Value team -- players who have contributed to strong fantasy seasons regardless of their performance the last six weeks -- all drafted after 150 ADP overall.

C:
Stephen Vogt, Yasmani Grandal
1B:Mark Teixeira
2B:DJ LeMahieu
3B:Alex Rodriguez
SS:Brandon Crawford
OF:Lorenzo Cain, Curtis Granderson, David Peralta
UT:Billy Burns, Kendrys Morales

Crawford, LeMahieu and Burns were bona fide breakouts, who were end-gamers in 15-team leagues and undrafted in 12s. Granderson, Teixeira and Rodriguez's performances remind us that there's no risk (only upside) in drafting former first-round fantasy picks well past their primes. Had they not panned out, at worst, you dropped an 18th-round pick. Morales was the perfect storm of recovery in health and a great situation (we knew he would be batting in the middle of the Royals' lineup). Cain was the perennially injured guy who finally broke out, but the consensus either found it fluky or his health unsustainable.

If you notice, there really are no surprises on this list outside of Brandon Crawford. Every one of these hitters had at least one of these factors in common: pedigree, recovery (from injury or suspension) or a mini-breakout in 2014. When we look for similar values in 2016, keep in mind that no player can be overlooked. This isn't a 150,000-person DFS tournament where some of your picks have to be "contrarian." Sometimes the most obvious choice is the correct one.

Although the following list of names won't all be available in the middle or late part of your draft, all could be in a prime position to out-earn their deflated ADP next season:

Jonathan Lucroy (C, MLW)

2015 ADP: 66 (Projected 2016 ADP: 125)

Lucroy may see a steep drop in his ADP next year unless he turns the heat up considerably over the final stretch. He missed nearly six weeks in April and May and has yet to resemble the second overall fantasy catcher he was drafted as, hitting 40 points below his career average (.239). Lucroy turns 30 next year. Many will consider his age and 2015 regression when factoring his price next season. With so many catchers providing C1 value this year (including seven who've hit 15 or more home runs), the value of this contact-hitter in a great lineup spot will be underrated.

Matt Adams (1B, STL)

2015: 173 (2016: 265)

Despite his pedigree and solid offensive contributions through 2.5 seasons, Adams was a complete afterthought in March due to his lack of power at a position that required it. Adams has a shot at returning in September but likely won't have enough time to remind us of his potential and the .287 average he maintained the last two seasons -- he also hit 32 homers over that span of 250 games. Adams should be fully healed come spring training next year and could be that late-round CI, a la Morales, that will be on very few radars.

Anthony Rendon (3B, WAS)

2015: 24 (2016: 54)

Many will be scared off of Rendon next season, particularly those who drafted him in the first round in early March before his injury. Some daggers draw deep, and it's easy to simply pass without second thought on someone who's burned us. Rendon just turned 25 and we can't forget one of the best fantasy seasons of 2014 that quickly (111-21-87-17-.287). Hitting .207 since returning to the lineup, Rendon's ongoing struggles this season can only help his price continue to fall next season. Which is exactly what some of us want to make his price a true no-brainer, provided Rendon is near 100 percent healthy next spring.

Marcell Ozuna (OF, MIA)

2015: 129 (2016: 285)

Ozuna was recalled this week when Christian Yelich hit the disabled list. If Ozuna can pull an Odor-from-the-Triple-A-grave the next few weeks, we can easily see a rise of 100 ADP slots next spring. Many think last season was a complete fluke for Ozuna and that "you told me so," but neither you nor I can predict the future. Perhaps you can tell me "I told you so" this time next year, but until then, I have nothing to lose drafting Ozuna as a fifth or sixth outfielder in the 24th round. Same goes with Avisail Garcia. Some talent never fully blooms, while other talent blooms later. Given they are both in their mid-20s, the jury is still out.

Corey Dickerson (OF, COL)

2015: 45 (2016: 88)

Dickerson is in the midst of the season from hell. What a shame for those who spent an early pick on him. He truly felt like a slam dunk value even at his relatively high ADP, and I maintain it would have been so if not for the injuries. The Rockies would be wise to shut him down for the season and let him heal. The contused rib is insult to the plantar fasciitis injury, but the latter is a chronic one that could always resurface. Next season's ADP projection can fall just about anywhere when March rolls around, but if most signs are positive then, I'm definitely an interested buyer at a depressed price.

Jorge Soler is my honorable mention.

Identifying bounce-back candidates and last year's bums is a fun, challenging and sometimes profitable exercise. Every season, some of the best non-breakout player values are pedigreed talents whose health fully rebounds. It may not be the most vital part of your draft research, but it's certainly an important one, especially if you're doing so with a fully open mind.

RISERS

"Kike" Enrique Hernandez (2B, LAD) - Kike has quickly become a fan favorite at Dodger Stadium because of his hustle, personality and recent on-field production. He has stepped in for the injured Howie Kendrick and not missed a beat, both at the plate and on defense. Kike hit .333 (9-for-27) last week with a couple of runs and three-run bomb Saturday off Reds' lefty gascan David Holmberg. A 2009 sixth-round pick of the Astros who came over from the Marlins in the Dee Gordon trade, Kike does not have any particularly strong skillset, but is a well-rounded hitter with decent plate discipline and a bit of speed. He plays all around the field and has SS, 2B and OF eligibility in most formats. With Kendrick likely out for at least two more weeks, Kike has an opportunity to build upon his momentum and gain more confidence with consistent at-bats. Hopefully, Kike will continue to bat second ahead of Adrian Gonzalez and draw more walks. He is an upgrade at MI for 15-teamers who are streaming players like Scooter Gennett and Jedd Gyorko (who will drain your batting average now that he has left Coors Field).

Delino DeShields Jr. (OF, TEX) -
With fantasy bust Leonys Martin tucked away in Triple-A, DeShields has settled in comfortably as the Rangers' leadoff hitter and center fielder. In 312 PA this year, DeShields has 39 walks (12.4 percent walk rate) and 54 runs scored. He has been shy on the basepaths this year after stealing at least 50 in the minors the last two years (and 83 in Single-A in 2012), but has stolen a base in three consecutive games. He hit his first homer of the year last week, but isn't totally devoid of power. He hit 11 home runs in just over 500 PA in Double-A. DeShields is not available in most competitive leagues, but for those who have him, the decision to play DeShields over other comparable weekly options could be a tough call. Don't let it be. DeShields is really coming into his own as a full-time major leaguer and fantasy owners need to find an active roster spot for him and just leave him active.

Matt Garza (SP, MLW) -
Garza cautiously gets "riser" status with full disclosure that he can make me eat my words this week with starts against the Marlins and the Nationals. Garza has long been a key "avoid" for me, as I have let him stew for months on waiver wires with nary a speck of interest. Earlier in the season, he was a starter worth stacking DFS lineups against, but has quietly settled down the last month. His last two starts have arguably been his best of the season -- 7 IP each against the Cubs in Wrigley (2 ER, 4 K) and the Padres at home (1 ER, 5 K). Garza is 31 now, with average stuff and slightly decreased velocity from his prime. Although he has maintained a fairly consistent WHIP over the years (career 1.29) finishing just one season above his career average the last eight seasons. He still has a propensity for serving up the long ball, allowing at least one home run in two of his last 10 starts, including three games in a row. The Marlins rank dead last in OPS against RHP (.654) and the Nationals are 17th (.708), but are fielding a team at nearly full-health and could be dangerous. For fantasy owners looking for a shot at two wins in a week of weak SP options on the waiver wire, Garza may provide some good fortune.

Justin Verlander (SP, DET) -
Fantasy owners generally bet against the return of vintage Verlander this spring after an atrocious 2014 season when he posted a 4.54 ERA in 206 innings. Built into Verlander's price -- about pick 200 in NFBC leagues -- was a drop in velocity as well as a triceps injury. Verlander returned June 13 and has made 11 starts the last two months. Four of those starts hurt owners (25 earned runs over 22.1 innings), but in the other seven starts, Verlander allowed two earned runs or less. His last two outings were of the scoreless variety -- 14 strikeouts and just seven hits allowed over 13 innings against the Red Sox and Astros. Verlander's velocity is hovering around last year's numbers (93.1 mph fastball matches his 2014 version), and he has since dropped the two-seam fastball from his arsenal. As Verlander continues to work on his control and regain a grain of his old dominance, he is quickly becoming a reliable option in fantasy circles again. Verlander lines up against the Rangers and Angels at home the next two weeks.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Jackie Bradley Jr (OF, BOS) - Nobody is hotter than Bradley Jr., who has made the most of the ninth slot for the Red Sox. He has a six-game hitting streak, including a monster day in the 22-10 football-like rout of the Mariners on Saturday -- 5-for-6, 5 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI -- though we've learned often that last week's studs are often this week's duds. Don't overpay in FAAB.

David Peralta (OF, ARI) -
Peralta's tied for seventh in baseball in RBI since the All-Star break, and second most since Aug. 1. With a crowded Diamondbacks' outfield, he plays mostly against RHP, but his bat has been hard to take out of the middle of that lineup regardless of opposing pitchers' handedness (.286 vs lefties).

Jorge Soler (OF, CHC) -
He's finally back on the map (.326, 12 RBI this month) after struggling with injury and at the plate in the first half of the season. Those of us who missed drafting him because of the hype (and 102.26 ADP) hope to see the power return the last few weeks and that he stays under the radar for 2016 fantasy drafts.

Chris Bassitt (SP, OAK) -
He might still be sleeping on your waiver wire. He has lovely ratios (2.60 ERA, 1.01 WHIP) over 62 innings pitched, with 52 coming over eight starts since June 30. He struck out a career-high 10 Astros on Aug. 9 and followed it up with his longest outing (8 IP) against the Orioles in Camden last week. Nice home starts against the Rays this week.

OTHER RISERS

Odubel Herrera (IF, PHI)
Gregor Blanco (OF, SF)
Carlos Beltran (OF, NYY)
Khris Davis (OF, MLW)
Jonathon Niese (SP, NYM)
R.A. Dickey (SP, TOR)

FALLERS

Russell Martin (C, TOR) - Martin was fairly priced (167.9 ADP) as the 10th catcher off NFBC draft boards this year, with much of the allure stemming from a .290 BA last year and a move to hitter-friendly Rogers Centre. Martin has strung together strong power numbers for a C1 (15 HR, 51 RBI), but it was clear that last year's batting average was an outlier. Martin has been resting more often since the All-Star break and has struggled mightily in 34 August at-bats, collecting just four hits, no homers and two runs batted in. Catchers' typically slow down the stretch and find themselves on the pine more often. Martin still has a good shot to reach 20 homers for just the second time in his career, but the runs and batting average will continue to be a drag. Remember, he hit .216 over 260 games in 2012 and 2013. On my fantasy team with Yasmani Grandal, and the recently eligible Kyle Schwarber, Martin will deservedly spend even more time on the pine than he does with his real-life team.

Michael Cuddyer (OF, NYM) -
Baseball is a young man's game. Although some of baseball's elder statesmen (Aramis Ramirez, Torii Hunter, Carlos Beltran) have had solid offensive spurts this season, their production has predictably faltered overall. Cuddyer has struggled with injuries most of the last two seasons and was never got back into the groove that won him a National League batting title in 2013. On the outside looking in with a Mets outfield that recently added Yoenis Cespedes and promoted Michael Conforto, Cuddyer likely won't get a fair opportunity to get back into said groove. Hitting .249 with a paltry .300 OBP, Cuddyer does not appear to be part of the full-time plans of the Mets in their run for the playoffs. Although he may still have a little magic left in his bat, Cuddyer's aching knee is a chronic condition that won't allow for him to play every day even if he wanted to. It's sad to see him sitting on 15-team free-agent lists, but such is case with aging, injured vets.

Jeff Samardzija (SP, CHW) -
The Shark has been bitten repeatedly over his latest three-game stretch, allowing 22 earned runs in 15.1 innings this August. Samardzija's ERA is 4.78 as he is allowing long balls at the highest rate of his career, including five in his last three outings. Fourteen of the 20 homers he has allowed this season have come against left-handed batters. His ground-ball rate has decreased drastically from last year (50 percent to 40 percent) and most shockingly, the usually dominant Samardzija (career strikeout per inning) is striking out just 6.6 per nine innings. The Shark hasn't lost much velocity-wise, but he simply isn't fooling batters like he has the last few seasons. It is difficult to bench an SP2, but it feels like the right move this week against the Angels on the road. Scout this outing carefully because the following week's home two-step against the Red Sox and Mariners might be tough to automatically roll with.

Mat Latos (SP, LAD) -
Dodgers fans generally trust President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. The deals to get Latos and Alex Wood looked good on paper, but so far, not on the mound. Even worse so when you consider Latos and Wood were consolation prizes for missing out on David Price, Cole Hamels and Johnny Cueto. Here's hoping that Latos' 2015 season won't be overshadowed by the seven-ER effort in his first start of the season and that his last few weeks with the Dodgers won't resemble his latest two efforts. Latos couldn't make past the fifth inning in either outing, serving up six runs to the Pirates, followed by four runs to the Reds at home last Thursday. His 20-percent strikeout rate is right around league average, and he has nine quality starts in 19 outings, but has been very unpredictable from start to start and tough to time based on matchups. Latos was never on the brink of stardom, but the elbow injuries the last calendar year have definitely taken a bite out of his fastball and his confidence. Latos gets a nice matchup (on paper) against the Athletics on the road this week and continues to be a borderline start in 12-teamers despite pitching in the NL West and for the Dodgers.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

Logan Morrison (1B, SEA) - Don't let a hot upcoming week fool you. LoMo is more Twitter personality than fantasy contributor. He's batting .153/.254/.485 in the second half and has lost the majority of at-bats to Jesus Montero.

Carlos Gomez (OF, HOU) -
He's having a tough time adjusting to the American League (.194, 1 HR), but also is just having a wretched season altogether, especially for a first-round fantasy pick. He's walking and striking out at around the same rate as the last few seasons and may be more fairly priced come next March. Don't forget, he averaged 22 HR and 37 SB last three seasons.

Jesse Chavez (SP, OAK) -
He struck out nine Blue Jays' in his last outing but served up four earned runs. The start prior: four walks. The start before that: six earned runs and nine hits allowed in less than four innings. Not enough reason to panic, but he's not as effective down the stretch again, similar to last season (3.14 ERA pre-ASB, 4.60 post-ASB).

Robbie Ray (SP, ARI) -
Watched wise fantasy owners in my leagues continue to pass on Ray in FAAB after each quality start in June. He has a 13:7 K:BB with 10 ER in 15 IP this month. A flyball pitcher in Arizona with a high minor league walk rate -- that is a bad combination.

OTHER FALLERS

Torii Hunter (OF, MIN)
Evan Gattis (DH, HOU)
Chris Carter (DH, HOU)
Felix Hernandez (SP, SEA)
Chris Archer (SP, TB)
Kendall Graveman (SP, OAK)
Mike Montgomery (SP, SEA)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vlad Sedler
Vlad Sedler covers baseball and football for RotoWire. He is a veteran NFBC player and CDM Hall of Famer, winning the Football Super Challenge in 2013. A native Angeleno, Vlad loves the Dodgers and Kings and is quite possibly the world's only Packers/Raiders fan. You can follow him @RotoGut.
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