The calendar is about to flip to March, and that will signal that the fantasy baseball season is in full effect. Mock drafts will heat up to the point where you’ll start dreaming about passing up on Andrew McCutchen in the 8th round and you’ll wonder why you didn’t pull the trigger on that second closer at the end of the 15th round.
To help you as you prepare for fantasy baseball’s version of March Madness, I’ll look at Average Draft Position data from time to time. If you need a refresher course in what ADP is and why it matters, make sure you read ADP Talk – What is it?
A caveat. Make sure that whichever ADP information you are looking at is geared toward your specific league. It does you no good to look at National Fantasy Baseball Championship data if you are in a league that has only 10 teams (the NFBC has 15 team leagues. You can win over $100,000 playing in it by the way, so you might wan to check it out). To read some pertinent NFBC ADP data make sure you give a look at Jason Collette’s Talking ADP piece.
As for what follows here, I will be reviewing ADP data from 13 leagues. Each league contains 15 teams with 14 hitters and nine pitchers starting (just like the NFBC starting lineup) with standard 5×5 scoring categories. Here are some things that I noticed in the data (thanks to Geoffrey Stein for sending it along).
(1) Here is the top-10.
Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Chase Utley, Ryan Braun
Matt Kemp, Mark Teixeira, Joe Mauer, Prince Fielder and Evan Longoria.
To me, Mauer at #8 is awful. Too much growth last year for him to sustain it. Plus, catcher is such a brutal position physically.
I also question the wisdom of Teixeira at #7. I’d much rather have Miguel Cabrera at #13.
Last three years: Teixeira (.302-34-116-97-1) and Cabrera (.312-35-116-91-3).
(2) You’re going to need to get your corner infielders quickly. Of the top 33 selections, eight were first basemen and six were third sackers meaning fully 42 percent of the top-33 picks played first or third.
(3) Pitching isn’t a priority early. Tim Lincecum (#17) is the only hurler in the top-30. Here are the others in the top-50: Roy Halladay (31), CC Sabathia (34), Felix Hernandez (38), Zack Greinke (41), Dan Haren (48) and Justin Verlander (49).
(4) Catchers aren’t going early after the big-3. Mauer (#8), Victor Martinez (24) and Brian McCann (39) are the only catchers in the top-75. Next comes Matt Wieters at 78, and after that you have to go all the way down to #126 to find the next backstop – Miguel Montero.
(5) How are people evaluating players that were hurt last year? Here’s a look.
22nd overall – Jose Reyes
He’s currently the fourth SS off the board after Hanley Ramirez (2), Troy Tulowitzki (14) and Jimmy Rollins (20). I think all three should be taken before Reyes because of the reliability factor, but Tulowitzki as a first round pick? I have a real problem with that.
23rd – Grady Sizemore
Mr. 20/20 (each year from 2005-08), clearly has the faithful convinced that last year was just one of those seasons. If healthy, there is little reason to doubt that consensus, but it’s still a bit risky to spend a second round pick on Sizemore at this point.
125th – Brandon Webb
All reports are really positive that Webb looks and feels strong so far. Given his extreme consistency before last years shoulder issues someone is certainly going to be tempted to draft Webb at this point of a draft, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he ends up sneaking into the top-100 if he has no setbacks in spring. Personally, I’ll pass. Scott Baker (137) or James Shields (144) certainly seem like much safer bets to me.
So there you go. As I said, this won’t be the last time I address this issue of ADP.
And finally, with Fanball.com going completely free with our baseball coverage for the next three weeks, here are a few links to some of my recent work. Enjoy.
By Ray Flowers