With the 2023 fantasy baseball season here, it’s time we dive a little deeper into each position to see if there are certain players or fantasy baseball ADP tiers that can be targeted to help you better build your fantasy baseball draft strategy. Whether building your own fantasy baseball projections and MLB fantasy player rankings or participating in fantasy baseball mock drafts, understanding each position is a core component of a successful draft strategy. 

I participated in the first Fantasy Alarm staff mock draft, a 12-team league. In that draft, I had the seventh pick and after taking Juan Soto in the first round I was stunned to see who was still on the board when my turn came in round two and that player was Mike Trout. Now, this isn’t the first year that we’ve seen Trout with an ADP that bordered the second round as last season he was a swing pick for most leagues – but why? Why is it that the fantasy community is down on a player that has the potential to be one of the top-ranked players in fantasy come season's end? Let’s dive into Mike Trout, the reason for his current fantasy baseball ADP, and why I think that Trout is actually a value to find in the second round of your fantasy baseball drafts.


Fantasy Baseball ADP: Mike Trout Deserves Your Attention

Over the past month, Mike Trout has an ADP of 18.9 and depending on your platform his ADP ranges from 15-to-21. I know when we traditionally think of “values” the idea is a player going later in drafts that can outperform their ADP but I think Trout, going in the middle-to-end of the second round provides that same sort of upside for fantasy managers to target and benefit from. 

Let’s take a look at Trout’s performance from last season, shall we? In 119 games we saw Trout hit .283 with 85 runs, 40 home runs, 80 RBI, and an OPS of .999. Even though Trout missed 43 games he still finished tied for third in home runs and third in OPS if he qualified. His per 162 game pace had him on track for 116 runs, 54 home runs, and 109 RBI which would have been good enough to be top five in runs and RBI in the MLB while ranking second in home runs behind Aaron Judge.

His Statcast numbers for 2022 were as elite as ever as you can see from the chart below:

So, why is Trout falling? Well, I can only assume it’s the recent injury history.  So, let’s talk about this then shall we? Trout landed on the IL with a back injury following the team’s July 12th game against the Astros. He then missed the next month’s worth of games, returning on August 19th against the Tigers. The back injury was diagnosed as a “rare condition” called costovertebral dysfunction and while Trout was sidelined due to this issue, he remained confident that he would be able to play and was not as concerned as maybe the perception of the injury was being reported.  

As I mentioned, Trout returned from the IL against the Tigers on August 19th and he went on to hit .308 with 30 runs, 16 home runs, 29 RBI, and an OPS of 1.056 over the final 40 games of the year. That level of production had him on a 162-game pace of 122 runs, 65 home runs, and 117 RBI. Seems pretty good.

I get it, Trout has been tagged with the “injury prone” label and it’s hard to argue seeing as the man hasn’t played a full season since 2016 and he is only getting older, but these injuries aren’t consistently the same thing. He missed games in 2017 with a torn thumb ligament, he missed games in 2018 with wrist inflammation, he missed games in 2019 with foot surgery, he missed games in 2021 with a calf strain, and then missed games in 2022 with his back injury. None of those are related injuries and if the back is something the team is now aware of and able to manage, which Trout claims isn’t going to be an issue, then I’m not a fortune teller nor a doctor, I will go out there and trust that Trout can play 140-to-150 games and if that ends up being the case he has the upside to outproduce the likes of a Yordan Alvarez or Juan Soto who is going ahead of him in fantasy baseball drafts this season. 


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