35 Risk Versus Reward Players to Consider

  • As draft season is in bloom, let’s take a look at 35 players whose reward can outweigh risk due to risk perception dropping their ADP. These players may have some shortcomings but could “boom” at the cost of your gamble. In draft builds, I might take a swing or two on some expensive high risk/high reward players, but I also target some players with lower risk/higher reward that have discounted ADP due to potentially unwarranted drafter fear.

    It’s important to look at factors that are scaring people away from value. We can’t predict injuries, and if a man is healthy, I’m considering him healthy. Is there risk with Sale in the 14th, Swanson in the 8th, or Degrom early? Of course, there is, but the upside outweighs the downside for many at current ADP. All that being said- injury history does bring increased risk. Furthermore, players who were injured for long stretches in the previous season that also had down years (I.E Tyler O’Neill) are especially unique draft conundrums, but there can be sneaky value in these cases if they pan out. O’Neill could flop, but the 20 SB and 20 HR upside is fully there.

    In 2022 drafts, Clayton Kershaw was being selected past pick 100, but he ended up being top-50 in many formats, even while only throwing around 130 innings. His stat profile has always been there, and he smashed through his ADP in an injured season. In 2023, some increased health from Kershaw could lock down another top-50 finish, and he won’t cost a top-65 pick. There has been anxiety in shares of Kershaw in recent years, as he’s in his mid 30s and has an injury history- but he really has upper-tier upside. I believe Kershaw has owner fatigue at this point in his career. The quality 130-inning season Kershaw had in 2022 shows his floor isn’t entirely risky. This man started the NL All Star game last season. Imagine if we get 145-150+ quality innings from Kersh at cost!

    Let’s take a look at 35 players you can “boom” with on your gamble picks, at a reasonable risk:


    Adolis Garcia (OF, Texas Rangers), Yahoo ADP 73, ESPN ADP 146

    Adolis was a top-30 player in many formats in 2022 due to his speed and power blend. Adolis hit .250 with 27 home runs, 25 steals, 101 rbi and 88 runs in 2022. There’s definitely risk here, as his career xBA sits below .230. Garcia may not fit certain builds that target batting average, but the current ADP for a 25/25 guy is something for us all to look at. Adolis being this overlooked is an opportunity to gain value in all formats. Jazz Chisolm Jr. has a similar profile as Adolis. Jazz is going much higher due to him playing a premium position. If you’re looking for 25/25 upside a bit later, Adolis has already proven he can do it with health. Outfield isn’t particularly deep in 2023, which adds intrigue. Adolis hits the ball freaking hard- average exit velocity, max exit velocity, hard hit%, and barrel % were all in the top 15th percentile for 2022. Garcia does have legitimate issues with K%, BB%, Whiff%, and Chase Rate. He comes with major batting average risk, but the power/speed combo is undeniable and proven.


    Freddy Peralta (SP, Brewers), Yahoo ADP 138, ESPN ADP 161

    Peralta seems like he has upside value given draft placement. There’s some reasonable hesitancy this year for drafters due to Peralta’s durability in 2022, lack of a career 150-inning season, and high-cost ADP flop from 2022. Peralta is only 26 years old and has boom potential for a 11th-15th rounder. Peralta had a 2.81 era/0.97 whip/195ks/144 innings in 2021, before his injury-shortened 2022 campaign. Peralta had a solid 3.58 era in 2022, and his xERA on statcast was a stellar 2.70. His 2022 line ended at 4-4 in 17 starts with a great 1.04 whip and 86ks in 78 innings. He was expensive last draft, but he’s cheap at ADP this season. Brewer starters haven’t exactly blown up the win column in years of late, but Freddy has a solid 4-cat floor with health. If all goes well, there is a SP 2-3 profile here.


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    Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS/OF, San Diego Padres), Yahoo ADP 22, ESPN ADP 34

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