Using the magic of computers and math, we at numberFire have but a simple goal: to help you make smarter decisions. We're not experts in the traditional sense; we're experts in that we've built a bunch of mathematical prediction algorithms to be the expert. Yes, the hard work is now over for us -- we just kick back and push some buttons while the bits and bytes do the work. Progress!
In this column, we'll be looking at players who are undervalued and overvalued, relative to their draft position but also public consensus. Everyone knows how important the draft is, so it's our goal to help you find strong value beyond perception and deliver to you the most accurate projections around.
Jemile Weeks (2B, Oakland Athletics)
Second base is a tough position this year for drafting, per usual. Outside of Cano, Pedroia and Kinsler, there are no elite-level fantasy players. While Weeks may be just outside of that fringe, he's a solid player and will get you some great value in the right round.
In just 406 at-bats last season, Weeks batted .303 with 50 runs scored and 22 stolen bases. While his .350 BABIP indicates his average will not be quite as high moving forward, we expect close to 40 steals from Weeks, which is great value at 2B. Weeks is going near the 17th round in most drafts, however, and would be a steal taken a few rounds earlier. In fact, we believe he may outperform is older brother, Rickie. What he lacks in power, he makes up for in speed and batting average.
Emilio Bonifacio (SS, Miami Marlins)
In leagues where you can get him as a SS, Bonifacio delivers some great value in an underrated package. Erick Aybar can deliver the same kind of speed that Elvis Andrus delivers at a much cheaper price and with more power.
Elvis Andrus (SS, Texas Rangers)
The good news is that Andrus is a speed demon, good for north of 30 steals and runs due to his prowess on the base paths. The bad news is that he's average to below average everywhere else. While Andrus will collect a few statistics for you, his upside simply does not go much higher than last season. He has never had more than 60 RBIs or 6 HRs in a single season, so do not expect a sudden power surge. It's only worth going after him if you are in dire need of speed, and that is a little questionable as speed is one of the most overrated traits in the game.
Unfortunately, Andrus is going in the early sixth round ahead of Chase Utley, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jimmy Rollins. We don't think you should pay that much for someone who is so one-dimensional and yet not in the top 10 for steals-if he is still around in the eighth round then snag him, though.
Howie Kendrick (2B, L.A. Angels)
Poor plate discipline and speed tend to make Kendrick a bit overrated as far as his draft position in our eyes; the same goes for Ryan Roberts. And I'm sorry to break this to you, Yankees fans, Derek Jeter simply isn't a draftable commodity anymore -- a projected OPS of .693 isn't going to cut it.
Nik Bonaddio is the CEO of numberFire, a sports analytics platform that provides algorithmic modeling for sports. You can follow him @numberFire. Keith Goldner is the Chief Analyst at numberFire. You can follow him @drivebyfootball. Visit numberFire on Facebook by clicking numberFire.