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Sleepers & Busts: Rapid Fire

It's getting late into draft season, and there are still so, so many ADP situations that confound me. As we're nearing the end of draft season, I'm shortening my "analysis" (known to most as uninformed rambling) and spouting off some brief and hopefully impossibly compelling rationales for why I love or hate some players based on their draft slots:

Ike Davis, 1B, NYM -- ADP 87 (Y! rank also 87)

Davis may well hit 30 home runs in 2013, but he'll do so with an average in the Adam Dunn range... which begs the question: Why exactly is he being drafted 80 spots ahead of Dunn, who also has 1B eligibility? Davis hit .174/.225/.335 against lefties last year and has had about as much success in his career against southpaws as Charlie Brown has in kicking footballs. Taking him over Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Brett Lawrie, or Chris Sale is just plain silly. Skip Davis and wait for Dunn if you're looking for power and a woeful batting average. Or if you're looking for a corner/utility guy, take Pedro Alvarez sixty picks later and enjoy the same output.

Chris Davis, 1B/3B/OF, BAL -- ADP 95 (Y! rank 122)

Quick! Name everyone who had a higher homer-to-flyball percentage than Chris Davis! If you said Adam Dunn and Josh Hamilton, you're correct. If you said anyone else, you're not. Davis somehow managed a ludicrous 25.2 percent HR/FB last season and paired it with a monstrous 23.2 percent line-drive rate. With numbers like that he should've hit higher than .270, but he also whiffed in more than 30 percent of his plate appearances. Davis also swung and missed more than any non-Hamilton player in baseball last season. The line-drive rate is repeatable, but I'm expecting some healthy HR/FB regression and possibly even more strikeouts given his whiff rate and the fact that he swung at 55 percent of pitches thrown to him last year. Hey, I still like him better than Ike.

A.J. Burnett, SP, PIT -- ADP 174 (Y! rank 207)

Can someone explain to me why a pitcher who fired 202.1 innings with an 8.0 K/9, 3.51 ERA and 1.24 WHIP is buried this far in the draft? Burnett's 2.9 K/BB ratio was his best since 2006 -- his first year with the Blue Jays -- and his FIP (3.52), xFIP (3.40) and SIERA (3.41) all back last season's success. I'd be fine taking Burnett a full two or three rounds ahead of this slot. I'm definitely buying him over Ryan Vogelsong, Homer Bailey and C.J. Wilson, to name a few.

Mike Morse, OF, SEA -- ADP 173 (Y! rank 175)

Morse doesn't come with a particularly lengthy track record, and he's injury prone to boot. However over his past two and a half seasons with the Nats, Morse batted .296/.345/.516 and went deep at a 30-homer pace (per 162 games). He's moving to the dreaded Safeco Field, and while the ball isn't going to carry as well up in the Pacific Northwest, the Mariners are drastically altering their dimensions. The power alley in left-center field is coming in by as much as seventeen feet! And, a lot of Morse's power is to the opposite field anyhow, which isn't as problematic at Safeco for righties. His lack of walks in 2012 is troubling, but can be partially attributed to becoming more aggressive in the zone and improving his contact rate on strikes within the zone. He actually chased fewer out of one pitches than in 2011, and his whiff rate was nearly the same.

Neil Walker, 2B, PIT -- ADP 189 (Y! rank 139)

Walker should be going a lot closer to that Yahoo ranking than to where he's being selected on Mock Draft Central. Walker's HR/FB took a positive jump forward to a perfectly repeatable 11.2 percent last year in his age-26 season. That led to a career-best 14 homers in just 530 plate appearances. Walker also improved his walk rate for the second consecutive season. Those are nice trends for a player entering his age-27 season. Walker was on pace for 17-18 homers if he'd stayed healthy last season, so his first 20-homer campaign isn't a stretch, and he should throw in double-digit steals too.

Brandon Moss, OF/1B, OAK -- ADP 190 (Y! rank 538)

I hate to keep agreeing with Yahoo's rankings here (because some of them really are nuts), but is anyone buying Moss' sudden 25.9 percent HR/FB, 21.5 percent line-drive rate and 46 percent fly-ball rate? His .359 BABIP isn't going to happen again, but the 30.4 percent K-rate very well could, given that 16.5 percent of swings made a "whoosh" sound that was closely followed by the ball hitting the catcher's mitt. No thanks.

Domonic Brown, OF, PHI -- ADP 224 (Y! rank 272)

Brown is the classic post-hype sleeper -- a former top prospect who's fallen off just about everyone's radar. The signing of Delmon Young put Brown's starting role into question, but it looks like Brown is forcing himself into playing time with a monster Spring Training. He's hitting .397/.465/.714 with six homers. I don't put a lot of stock into Spring Training numbers, but I do in the sense that those should ensure him ample playing time early on. Brown recently topped Keith Law's list of players who are in line for breakout seasons, as Law noted that new hitting coach Wally Joyner has repositioned Brown's hands and it seems to be for the better.

Julio Teheran, SP, ATL -- ADP 237 (Y! rank 658)

I'm on board the Teheran train to open this season, as his dominant Spring has all but ensured him the fifth spot in Atlanta's rotation (manager Fredi Gonzalez said as much recently). I'll use the Spring Training preface again as I point out Teheran's 25-to-6 K:BB ratio. He's allowed just three runs on seven hits and six walks in 20 innings this spring. This time last year, Teheran's name was consistently found in Top 10 prospects list across the country. He's going after guys like Wandy Rodriguez, Chris Capuano (who may not have a rotation spot), Kyle Lohse (doesn't have a team!), Scott Baker (doesn't have an elbow!) and many, many more starters that don't carry his upside. By the time you're in the 19th or 20th round -- this is the type of upside pick that helps people win leagues.


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