5 Players who deserve their ADP Hype

Consider these five players in drafts this spring.

Each spring come draft season there are always some players who see a significant rise in their ADP. Whether that’s via improvements or a breakout season that occurred during the previous year, a switch in teams, or perhaps an encouraging stretch of Spring Training performances, players’ respective ADPs can oftentimes climb further up draft boards the closer to Opening Day we get.

That can come early in the draft proceedings, or perhaps further down the draft, but there are always players with improved ADPs worth selecting. Just like any other draft pick, getting those selections right is key. However, it can sometimes be even more crucial if said player has a strong season and ends up significantly outperforming their ADP.

With that in mind, these are a handful of players who are well worth selecting at their current ADPs.


*All ADP data via NFBC.


Kyle Tucker (6.97 ADP) and Mookie Betts (4.80 ADP)


It’s hard to go wrong at the top of the draft some years. That’s particularly the case this time around if you land a pick anywhere in the top seven or eight with Betts, Tucker, Ronald Acuña Jr., Bobby Witt Jr., Julio Rodríguez, Corbin Carroll, Freddie Freeman, and Shohei Ohtani all on hand as elite options.

And while all are certainly worth taking in the first round, Tucker and Betts, in particular, have a chance to not just be strong selections at their high ADPs, but perhaps are players to take even higher in drafts.

First-round picks are, in most cases, the cornerstone players to build out a roster around. With that being the case, elite track record and elite upside in most all categories are both musts.

Really, the ideal first-round player (if said player is a hitter) is a player who makes quality contact at a high, hits in an elite lineup so that quality contact translates into strong counting stats like RBI and runs scored, and brings ideal power and speed production.

Remind you of anyone? A Houston outfielder perhaps?

Tucker enjoyed yet another strong season in 2023, batting .283 with a .369 on-base percentage in 674 plate appearances. His xwOBA (.386) topped the .380 mark for the second time in the last three seasons. The outfielder’s 112 RBI were the third-most in the sport and he finished just short of 100 runs scored, 100 RBI, 30 home runs, and 30 stolen bases. For context, since the start of the 2015 campaign, that’s happened just twice in a season, when Acuna Jr. did it in 2019 and Rodriguez accomplished the feat last season.

Kyle Tucker In 2023

With all that in mind, there’s a real argument for taking Tucker as high as second overall for fantasy managers with that first-round selection, especially considering his standing in another stacked Houston lineup.

The Astros finished last season with the fifth-most runs scored in the sport, benefiting not just from consistent impact players like Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman, but also from breakout campaigns from Chas McCormick and Yainer Diaz (more on him in a bit). McCormick and Diaz’s respective emergences, combined with a full season from Jose Altuve, should only boost Tucker’s fantasy upside even more so.

Altuve’s return in particular is key considering he didn’t debut until May 19 due to injury. And once he did return from injury, Tucker’s production benefitted significantly, especially in the power department.

Kyle Tucker’s 2023 Splits

And while there’s an argument for taking Tucker second in fantasy drafts this spring, there might be an argument for taking Mookie Betts even higher than that.

The 31-year-old was once again outstanding in 2023, hitting .307 with a .408 on-base percentage, 39 home runs, and 14 stolen bases in 693 plate appearances. What’s more, he also finished in the 92nd percentile or better in xwOBA, xBA, xSLG, chase rate, whiff rate, and walk rate.

What’s perhaps most notable about Betts’ elite metrics is that he either set a new personal best or logged the second-best metric of his career in all of the following categories: home runs, walk rate, barrel rate, hard-hit rate, chase rate, RBI, on-base percentage and wRC+.

However you want to look at it, Betts might be one of the two best players in the league both from a fantasy and real-life baseball standpoint, and he only seems to be getting better. Case in point, the veteran has topped 35 or more home runs in each of his last two seasons, something he hadn’t done prior to 2022.

Already eligible at both second base and in the outfield, Betts offered fantasy managers plenty of options, versatility, and flexibility when constructing lineups and rosters. Now, those options might be borderline limitless with the news that the 31-year-old is taking over as Los Angeles’ shortstop, thus adding positional eligibility there as well.

Entrenched in the top three of a Dodgers lineup that will also feature Freddie Freeman and Shohei Ohtani, Betts should have no trouble once again eclipsing 100 runs scored and 100 RBI.

Acuna Jr., who’s long been the first overall pick in NFBC’s ADP data, possesses his own elite fantasy upside, but the positional eligibility and flexibility Betts provides as the rest of the draft goes on might be difficult to pass up.


Bobby Miller – 80.07 ADP


Bobby Miller’s first full season in the majors was nothing short of a success. The words “breakout season” very much apply here for the 24-year-old, who logged a 3.76 ERA and a 3.51 FIP in 22 starts spanning 124.1 innings for the Dodgers, allowing just 2.32 walks and 0.87 home runs per nine frames while striking out 8.61 batters per nine innings. Furthermore, supported by the aforementioned Dodgers lineup, Miller logged a pitcher win in half of his starts.

However, a deeper dive into the metrics below just the surface level metrics shows a pitcher who was perhaps even better with more to come during the 2024 campaign.

Miller was one of just five starters in the league to rank in the 80th percentile or better in xwOBA, barrel rate, and walk rate. The other four? Brandon Woodruff, who is currently on the 60-day injured list, Max Fried, Tarik Skubal, and Zack Wheeler. Add an 80th percentile or better ranking in ground ball rate and that list shrinks to just Miller, Fried, and Skubal.

Elsewhere, with a 123 Stuff+ metric and a 110 Pitching+ number, Miller was the only pitcher, with a minimum of 120 innings pitched, to finish in the top five in the league in both categories, per FanGraphs.

If anything, the ADP should probably be on the higher side of things, especially when you pair all that with a Dodgers lineup that scored 906 runs and added both Ohtani and Teoscar Hernández in the offseason. In short, somewhere near 20 pitcher wins can’t be counted.

Similar to Shane McClanahan and Framber Valdez in years past, the Dodgers’ hurler is an ideal fantasy ace to build a staff around for those who prefer going batter-heavy in the first handful of rounds in the draft.


Yainer Diaz – 103.83 ADP


Currently being selected just outside the top 100 overall and as the fifth catcher off the board after (in order) Adley Rutschman, J.T. Realmuto, William Contreras, and Will Smith, Diaz more than earned the distinction of being one of the top five catchers selected in drafts after a quality rookie season.

The 25-year-old logged 377 plate appearances in 2023, hitting .282 with a .308 on-base percentage, 23 home runs, and a .256 ISO for the Houston Astros.

He doesn’t walk all that much, with just a 2.9% walk rate last season, however, he made up for it in a sense by logging a 19.6% strikeout rate.

But really, the lack of walks is the only real cause of any concern at the moment for the catcher, and a non-starter at that in leagues where on-base percentage is part of the scoring.

Because otherwise, Diaz was making plenty of quality contact when he did put the ball in play.

Yainer Diaz In 2023

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the xSLG and barrel rate metrics, Diaz’s 23 home runs were tied for the third-most among all catchers last year, despite a significant gap in plate appearances.

2023 Catcher Home Run Leaders

After splitting time with Martín Maldonado at times last year, Diaz should see a considerable bump in plate appearances heading into 2024 now that the veteran has joined the Chicago White Sox. Similar to Tucker, Houston’s lineup presents Diaz with an opportunity to log strong counting stats, and there’s a very real chance he could pace all catchers in home runs with more playing time. The fact that it could come in one of the league’s very best lineups makes Diaz a slam dunk pick in drafts.


Seiya Suzuki – 106.20 ADP


Finally breaking free of the inadvertently Dodgers and Astros-themed monotony of the column, we wrap things up with Suzuki, who might be the best fantasy option on the Chicago Cubs.

Sure, Cody Bellinger will draw the headlines after a bounce-back year. Nico Hoerner will steal plenty of bases. Justin Steele will provide quality innings. Dansby Swanson will make plenty of quality contact.

However, it’s Suzuki who has arguably both the highest floor and the highest ceiling.

The 29-year-old enjoyed a solid rookie season in 2022 and only got better last year.

Seiya Suzuki In 2022 vs 2023, Part 1

What was perhaps most encouraging and ideal about Suzuki’s improvements is that he did so while improving some already quality plate discipline metrics and making better overall contact at the plate.

For context, the 29-year-old finished in the 90th percentile in chase rate (21.3%) in 2022 and logged whiff rate and walk rate numbers in the 60th and 68th percentiles respectively.

Seiya Suzuki In 2022 vs 2023, Part 2

In fact, Suzuki’s 19.8% chase rate finished in the 91st percentile among all hitters last year. Only 27 batters ranked in the 90th percentile or better in that metric. Of those 27, just nine had an xwOBA north of .350.

Suzuki was one of those hitters. The other eight? Betts, Arron Judge, Mike Trout, Juan Soto, Lars Nootbaar, Brandon Nimmo, LaMonte Wade Jr. and Mitch Garver. Suzuki, Betts, Judge, and Soto were the only four of that group with an xBA over .280 as well.

If the Cubs slugger can take something of a step forward again in 2024, he could very well be a league-winning pick around the eighth round of drafts, but also a batter who could finish the year in the top 40 players overall – particularly if he can get his stolen base total closer to double digits after stealing six bases last season.


Photos Courtesy of Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Asbury

Ben Rosener

Ben Rosener is baseball and fantasy baseball writer whose work has previously appeared on the digital pages of Motor City Bengals, Bleacher Report, USA Today, FanSided.com and World Soccer Talk among others. He also writes about fantasy baseball for RotoBaller and the Detroit Tigers for his own Patreon page, Getting You Through the Tigers Rebuild (@Tigers_Rebuild on Twitter). He only refers to himself in the third person for bios.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login