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Daulton Varsho 2021 Outlook


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Varsho came up last year (skipping AAA) and looked a bit overmatched, but he did provide 3 SB and 3 HR in only 115 plate appearances. In 2019 in AA, he hit .301/.378/.520 with 18 HR and 21 SB in 452 PA (playing majority at catcher). Coming into this season, Roster Resource has him in a strong side platoon in CF. Diamondbacks had Kelly and Vogt at catcher, but I would expect Varsho to get a few starts here and there if needed.

The key to his value will be position eligibility. Last year, he had 10 games appeared at catcher, 6 starts. 19 games appeared at OF, 18 starts (majority of which came in CF which matters if you play individual spots).

The projection systems are mostly aligned, expecting low double digits in HR and SB with ~400 ABs. At catcher, this probably leads to a top 10 finish. Drafters at NFBC have noticed this, as Varsho has an ADP of 160 and is going off the board as the 8th catcher.

I believe this is still undervaluing him, given that the upside could be much higher. There's no reason that he can't hit 20 HR with a juiced ball (remember the juiced ball wasn't in AA). Further, I believe his SB potential could be higher given he will likely rarely be playing catcher. He had 21 SB in 2019 when he played 76 of 108 games at catcher. Avoiding the wear and tear of catcher during the season should be very helpful. Lastly, he had a walk rate the past two seasons in the minors of 8.8% and 9.3%, then going to 10.4% in the MLB last year. If he continues getting on base via the walk, he will get opportunities to run (and this will boost his runs, value in OBP leagues, etc.).

Now I don't think the base line projection systems are wrong - I just think there is massive upside here if he outperforms just a little. If he hits his baseline, his ADP is still a fair deal.

Regarding last year, he hit .188 but he struck out at more than double the rate he did in AA. He also had a .246 BABIP. If you adjust both of these just half way to what he did in the minors, he should be in the .250 range. Again, slight overperformance here boosts his value greatly.

Last point I'll make is at bats. If he does stick to a strong side platoon at CF, he should be able to have similar number of ABs as most starting catchers who get a day off every 3 or 4 games too. The guys he will be competing with for ABs (Josh VanMeter, Andy Young, Tim Locastro) are all not very impressive themselves, so there is little risk he gets overtaken and loses more ABs. Also given the fact he can play al three OF positions and catcher, any injury at those positions opens another avenue to playing time. This also doesn't factor in the potential DH which adds another spot.

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He also will steal some bases.  Yahoo is projecting a dozen.  He ranks 170 over all in my OBP leagues.  That puts him as the 9th ranked catcher right behind Gary Sanchez.  Given the majority of batting stats are quantity ones, not quality ones, being an everyday player sitting in the catching slot could net real stat gains for his owners.

Edited by The Big Bat Theory
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Non zero chance he starts in the minors. I seen Vogt hit some incentive last year that guranteed his 2021 contract, if not for that it was more probable then not that Varsho was on the opening day roster as a OF and backup C but with the backup C spot no longer there we shall see. For the sane waiting to do their drafts it will play it self out, for the degenerates like me drafting at NFBC or doing best balls I would be cautious or if you are willing to risk it you could be rewarded with a ton of at bats at the C position.

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8 hours ago, turner46 said:

Non zero chance he starts in the minors. I seen Vogt hit some incentive last year that guranteed his 2021 contract, if not for that it was more probable then not that Varsho was on the opening day roster as a OF and backup C but with the backup C spot no longer there we shall see. For the sane waiting to do their drafts it will play it self out, for the degenerates like me drafting at NFBC or doing best balls I would be cautious or if you are willing to risk it you could be rewarded with a ton of at bats at the C position.

I really don't see this as a significant risk. Unless the Diamondbacks go out and sign someone, CF is all his. Peralta and Calhoun are the other starting OFs and both aren't quality CF types. His main backup to me is Tim Locastro. Are they really going to send Varsho down to make Locastro the every day CF? If he already didn't play last year I would be concerned about service time, but now that he did play it will take much longer to hold him down.

Regarding Vogt, again I don't see Varsho playing much catcher at all this year unless Vogt and/or Kelly go down. There were already concerns of whether or not Varsho would even stick at catcher before considering the depth anyway.

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14 hours ago, Sidearmer said:

I really don't see this as a significant risk. Unless the Diamondbacks go out and sign someone, CF is all his. Peralta and Calhoun are the other starting OFs and both aren't quality CF types. His main backup to me is Tim Locastro. Are they really going to send Varsho down to make Locastro the every day CF? If he already didn't play last year I would be concerned about service time, but now that he did play it will take much longer to hold him down.

Regarding Vogt, again I don't see Varsho playing much catcher at all this year unless Vogt and/or Kelly go down. There were already concerns of whether or not Varsho would even stick at catcher before considering the depth anyway.

He had 6 starts at catcher and 10 appearances at that position in his 37 games last year.  That's 16% and 27% of his games.  If he could maintain that over a "normal" (aka 162 game) season that would be appox 25 starts and 43 appearances.  Enough to re-qualify in any league.

Yeah I know this is all "fantasy" based on yesterday's paper but it does show that they are using him some.  And as you say injuries.  But also note the 4 extra appearances over the 6 starts shows they may use him as a way to get a pinch hitter in for their other catchers by moving him in to catch and sending in a back-up outfielder.  I don't care how much he catches as long as he catches some as in 5 starts or 10 appearances (Yahoo).  Him hitting both marks in just 37 games is a good sign for me.

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overdrafted due to being a non-catching catcher with speed. Could be a top 5 catcher or could be a complete dud... but you have to pay up to find out. 

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Dbacks sound like they're considering a Marte/Locastro platoon in center.  Vogt and Kelly will be at catcher.  Where does Varsho go?  He's got intriguing upside but as of this moment there are legit playing time concerns.  

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15 hours ago, The Big Bat Theory said:

When he was called up and once started he basically played every day.  Don't see him going back to the minors ever.

Means less than normal in a short season.  With Marte projected to get ABs in center and the criminally underrated Locastro pressing for a full time role, he absolutely could start in the minors.  It's not like he set the world on fire when he came up...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Buchanon was just on Fantasy Baseball in 15 (The Athletic podcast) this morning echoing his view that Varsho will be starting the year in the minors. Vogt looks to be the main blocker at this point.

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3 hours ago, kidtwentytwo said:

Asdrubal signs with the DBacks to play 2b and pushes Marte to CF.  Pretty much seals Varsho starting in the minors barring an injury or great spring.  

So what would be the expectation for Varsho then? Stay in the minors most of the season aside from injury call-ups? That signing blows lol. 

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Asdrubal signing really puts a damper on Varsho. Can't draft him as a starting C at this point. Might be worth a stash in deep bench leagues, or pre emptive pickup before he his called up if he does start in the minors.

Tough situation to read now and probably warrants staying away.

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38 minutes ago, Flyman75 said:

So what would be the expectation for Varsho then? Stay in the minors most of the season aside from injury call-ups? That signing blows lol. 

what @Sidearmersaid.  can take a late flier and see how the spring pans out.  be ready to cut bait if he doesn't make the team.  

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Well most players recover fine but Eduardo Rodriguez didn't last year so though I wish Vogt well, Varsho owners should monitor this situation:

Quote

Stephen Vogt has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

So too has minor league pitcher Luis Frias. Vogt won't be allowed at Diamondbacks camp until he is symptom-free, but there should still be enough time for him to make the Opening Day roster. The veteran projects to begin this year as the primary backup to starting catcher Carson Kelly. Daulton Varsho may also be in that mix.

Source: Zach Buchanan on TwitterFe                  b 17, 2021, 2:04 PM ET

 

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Not a redraft player at all and probably overrated in dynasty. Is he gonna keep c with time even? Kelly will be starter this year at C. Varsho is gonna struggle to regular ABs, may start year in AAA.

Edited by fawkes_mulder
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4 hours ago, fawkes_mulder said:

Not a redraft player at all and probably overrated in dynasty. Is he gonna keep c with time even? Kelly will be starter this year at C. Varsho is gonna struggle to regular ABs, may start year in AAA.

Although this is indeed the likely scenario, it’s not an absolute certainty.   He will likely be rostered in most standard leagues and certainly in 2 Catcher ones or NL only.  Someone in mixed will have him as their starter.  4Th OFers (i know he might not even be that) average close to 500 ABs a year I saw somewhere on here.  Even if he gets 300, you’re probably not that far behind in roto, maybe even ahead of the curve because Of the steals.   It’s not as if AZ has an inpenetrable offense to sneak at bats from.   Personally, in my mixed, if I had him, I wouldn’t be thrilled, I’d have a backup, which would unfortunately suck up a roster spot, but I wouldn’t ignore him, even he starts in the minors. I’d rather take my chance with him than a guy hitting .240 with 14 hrs.  He has an opportunity to affect his position more than any player in league and he you won’t have pay a lot for him.

 

 

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1 hour ago, South Jersey Bombers said:

He is going past pick #200 in most NFBC drafts... don't really need to pay up. 

Will just need deep benches or an empty NA slot to carry him while he's in AAA, and who knows how long that will be. 

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