Continuing our series of looking at the Average Draft Position (ADP) of infielder in live NFBC drafts and finding players who have comparable peers at significantly different prices, we head over to third base where we’ll take a look at two third baseman who also have eligibility at another position. Here’s their 2019 numbers;
I feel like this time each of the last 3 years I write about Moustakas being undervalued in drafts and this year is no exception. After hitting 38 homers in 2017, his 2018 was a slight downer with just 28 home runs before a nice bounce-back in 2019 with 35 bombs. Now in Cincinnati, he’s got an even more hitter friendly home which is one of the best for left-handed power hitters.
Manny Machado on the other hand now plays home games in one of the most pitcher friendly ballparks after signing his huge free agent deal last offseason, which could go some way to explaining why his batting average saw a drop off from his career mark (.279). 2019 was the second time in three years Machado posted a sub-.260 batting average and his 32 homers was his lowest since 2014, albeit he averaged 35 home runs in the four seasons prior.
Steamer is projecting Moustakas to have a near identical 2020 to 2019 while Machado is expected to show signs of improvement with a .272 average, 37 homers, 93 runs and 102 RBIs. Double digit stolen bases aren’t looking like returning for Machado either so only a handful more than Moustakas are expected.
Given Machado set a career high in strikeout rate last year (19.4 K%) a correction back to his career mark of 16.8% should be enough to get that average back over .270. Machado actually hit the ball harder than he ever has last year setting a new career high in hard hit rate too (43.5%). Despite this, according to Statcast, Machado only ranked 172nd in average rate of plate appearances which resulted in a barrel (5.6 Brls/PA %). Moustakas ranked 66th (7.5 Brls/PA %). In simple terms a barrel is a ball hit with an exit velocity of 98 MPH or more and with a launch angel between 26 and 30 degrees.
All this leads me to believe that the 2020 Machado will be better than last year’s version, but not worth drafting 4-5 rounds earlier than Moustakas. Moustakas being eligible at second base is also much more valuable than Machado being shortstop eligible given the respective depths of those two positions.