2024 Fantasy Baseball ADP Battle: Riley vs Devers

Austin Riley vs Rafael Devers

by Corey Pieper
2024 Fantasy Baseball ADP Battle: Riley vs Devers

The Fantasy Six Pack 2024 Spring Training Fantasy Baseball coverage continues. In this article, we continue the ADP Battle series with a look at third basemen Austin Riley vs Rafael Devers for the 2024 Fantasy Baseball season.

The latest 2024  Fantasy Baseball ADP battle is at the third base position.

The best starting point is to read the third base preview on Fantasy Six Pack. That article has information on many of the third basemen you'll need to know to dominate your fantasy baseball draft.

Today's first base ADP position battle is between two of the best third base options. On one side we have the Atlanta Braves' Austin Riley. The other side is the Boston Red Sox Rafael Devers. By FantasyProsADP, you'll have to use a top-20 pick on either player to secure their services. They certainly could return that value though. Both players play for excellent offensive teams. They each are among the most likely players in the game to contribute in the power categories without hampering your batting average.

While deciding among fantasy baseball third basemen can be difficult, one decision that isn't difficult is where to play fantasy baseball. The clear choice is Fantrax. No matter how you want to set up your league, Fantrax can do it.

You have to make sure that you are hitting on your early selections in fantasy baseball drafts. A good way to begin is to read the 2024 fantasy baseball ADP battle between Austin Riley and Rafael Devers?

2024 Fantasy Baseball ADP Battle: Riley vs Devers

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Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves @ConnorThomure

FantasyPros ADP 20.6 overall 2nd among third basemen
2023 Stats: 117 R, 37 HR, 97 RBI, 3 SB, 281 average
ATC Projection: 100 R, 38 HR, 103 RBI, 2 SB, 279 average

There are a handful of third basemen with massive power, but they aren’t consistent. Then there is Austin Riley. No other third baseman has the pop that Riley has and can do it consistently for 162 games. Seven of his 37 home runs in 2023 traveled at least 440 feet. One is a 473-foot blast against the St. Louis Cardinals, the longest recorded home run in Busch Stadium thus far in the Statcast era (2015-present).

>Over the last two seasons, Riley has led the position in games played (two more than Alex Bregman), home runs (13 more than Manny Machado), and runs (11 more than Bregman).

The one category that Riley doesn’t help with is stolen bases. Stolen bases are the main reason Jose Ramirez is the only third baseman with a higher ADP. Ramirez, however, isn’t going to smash 38 homers and score 100 runs.

Riley is elite in all other categories besides stolen bases; his strikeout rate consistently hovers around a solid 24%, and he is a massive part of the best offense in baseball. Riley is a player who can lead a Fantasy Baseball team to the championship.

Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox @copieps

FantasyPros ADP 20.8 overall 3rd among third basemen
2023 Stats: 90 R, 33 HR, 100 RBI, 5 SB, 271 average
ATC Projection: 93 R, 35 HR, 99 RBI, 4 SB, 282 average

 

There may not be a more stable performer in all of baseball than Rafael Devers. While you'll need to use a second-round selection to have him on your fantasy team, it is worth it especially if you already have a player who contributes steals with your first-round selection.

Over the last five seasons, Devers is 7th in all of baseball in plate appearances. All that volume has helped him be top five in runs scored, home runs, and RBI during that timeframe. Any player can be injured at any time, but he has never been placed on the injured list to this point in his career.

Devers will be back in his traditional position in the Red Sox lineup. He typically bounces between batting 2nd and 4th in the lineup. The Red Sox have finished in the top 11 of runs scored every year that Rafael Devers has played in the major leagues.

This season, a top-five finish in runs scored is well within the range of possibilities with the players they now have. A full season of production from outfielder Jarren Duran, first basemen Triston Casas, and shortstop Trevor Story would be a good starting point. Plus, seasons of health from new additions Tyler O'Neill and Vaughn Grissom (already dealing with a groin injury). If that happens, this could be a season where we see Rafael Devers score 100 runs, hit 35 home runs, drive in 110, with a 290 average, and make a run at his first MVP award.

Devers vs Riley

Choosing between Devers and Riley is similar to choosing between steak or lobster. Is there a bad choice? Not really. No matter which way you go it is likely to be a good selection for your taste buds, or your fantasy team.

If having to choose, I'm going to go with Devers. Both players have elite power metrics which fully support their production. Riley's sprint speed would indicate that he could steal more bases if the Braves wanted to let him run more. But with sluggers like Matt Olson and Marcell Ozuna behind him in the lineup, there is no reason to risk making an out on the bases paths.

My reasoning for going with Devers is slightly fewer strikeouts than Riley. It is a slim differential, but fewer strikeouts could lead to more RBI for Devers throughout the season. Riley has a career average of 253 with runners in scoring position, and only batted 199 in that situation last season. Conversely, Devers has a career 290 average with runners in scoring position and hit 290 exactly last season.

These two are very close. Riley's batting average with runners in scoring position is at least partially explained by BABIP luck. Last season, his BABIP in that situation was just 189. A correction to the mean is possible. But for me, it's enough to prioritize Devers at the draft table.


Check out our 2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!

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