ADP Analysis

The Market Report: Outfielders

The Market Report is a weekly analysis of player valuations in the fantasy marketplace in an effort to find undervalued commodities.

Pitchers and catchers have officially reported, and the rest of the position players should return this week. Don't worry; Opening Day will be here soon enough. Let's take a look at outfielders this week. Once again, ADP values are provided in parentheses.

Tier One

1. Mike Trout (1)

2. Andrew McCutchen (5)

3. Carlos Gonzalez (7)

Tier Two

4. Adam Jones (10)

5. Bryce Harper (13)

6. Ryan Braun (15)

Tier Three

7. Giancarlo Stanton (22)

8. Jacoby Ellsbury (23)

9. Yasiel Puig (24)

10. Jay Bruce (27)

11. Carlos Gomez (29)

Tier Four

12. Justin Upton (34)

13. Matt Holliday (35)

14. Matt Kemp (35)

15. Jose Bautista (37)

16. Allen Craig (42)

17. Alex Rios (43)

18. Shin-Soo Choo (46)

Tier Five

19. Wil Myers (52)

20. Hunter Pence (56)

21. Yoenis Cespedes (60)

22. Starling Marte (62)

23. Mark Trumbo (62)

24. Jayson Werth (69)

25. Alex Gordon (71)


Shin-Soo Choo (ADP 46)

Prior to a draft I make an effort to identify targets for each round by comparing ADP values to my own player valuations. I've written previously that if I don't get a top-two pick this year, I'll be targeting a reliable hitter like Robinson Cano or Adam Jones in the middle of the first round. Then I hope to come back with a power-hitting corner infielder such as Adrian Beltre or Edwin Encarnacion in Round 2. In the third round I have my eyes set on grabbing an ace like Justin Verlander or Stephen Strasburg to anchor my staff. Then, to me Shin-Soo Choo is the ideal fourth-round pick.

I'm not exactly sure why Choo isn't viewed as a #1 outfielder in a 12-team league at this point. Rangers Ballpark doesn't boost HR quite like Great American Ball Park; however, the Ballpark in Arlington is still rather friendly to hitters. This OBP machine will be moving from an above-average offense to a potentially elite one. Other than Mike Trout, who's a better bet to lead the MLB in runs scored than the new Rangers leadoff hitter? In three of his past four full seasons, Choo has gone 20/20. Moreover, aside from an injury-shortened 2011 campaign, he's hit over .280 every year in the Bigs. In an era in which finding a reliable top-flight hitter has become a daunting task, here's a player who represents one of the safest options on the board in the early rounds. 

Carlos Beltran (ADP 83)

I'm already on record with this one. I think Beltran is criminally undervalued this year, and I'll just leave you to read 700 words as to why I think that is the case.

Norichika Aoki (ADP 195)

Aoki is one of those players who derives sneaky value from the categories that fantasy owners fail to fully appreicate. Hitting atop the Brewers lineup the past couple years, Aoki put together very similar seasons with significant contributions in runs, SB, and AVG. The move from Miller Park to Kauffman Stadium would be awful for a power hitter but shouldn't affect his value that much. It's also worth pointing out that he was rather unlucky in the batted ball department, posting a .295 BABIP compared to a .330 xBABIP. All told, this is a player who's a relatively safe bet to approach 10 HR and 20 SB while hitting around .290 with 80 runs scored. I like power as much as the next guy, but that line adds up to a top-30 outfielder for a player currently going dirt cheap in drafts.


Matt Kemp (ADP 35)

Oh, where should I begin with this one? Let's count the reasons why you shouldn't draft Kemp in the third round. First, he's probably going to start the season on the DL. Do you really want to select a player who may not be ready for Opening Day when there are so many other viable alternatives at such an early stage in a draft? Second, this is a player who landed on the DL three times last year. Even if he's ready for Opening Day, do you have much faith in his body holding up this season? Third, the speed is clearly in decline, as he has just 18 SB in more than a season's worth of games over the past two years. How many would you project for a player who's suffered so many injuries? Fourth, the power might not be all that great anymore either. Can we really count on 25 HR for someone who only hit six in roughly half a season in 2013? Last but not least, somehow Matt Kemp is currently going in the third round despite the fact that he might not play everyday. Are we sure that Manager Don Mattingly will continue to pencil in his name if he gets off to a slow start with such a crowded outfield?

Overall then, I'm a firm believer in drafting a highly skilled player with some injury risk if he's available at a significant discount. In Mixed Leagues there are plenty of options available on the waiver wire, and the combination of an elite player for most of the season and a replacement-level player for part of it can return a profit. The only problem is that Matt Kemp is no longer elite even when he's healthy. Save yourself the headache and let someone else draft this plummeting stock.

The Market Report: Shortstops

The Market Report is a weekly analysis of player valuations in the fantasy marketplace in an effort to find undervalued commodities.

Another week closer to Opening Day. Let's take a look at shortstops this week. As usual, ADP values are provided in parentheses.

Tier One

1. Troy Tulowitzki (8)

2. Hanley Ramirez (9)

Tier Two

3. Jose Reyes (28)

4. Ian Desmond (31)

5. Jean Segura (33)

Tier Three

6. Elvis Andrus (57)

7. Ben Zobrist (74)

8. Everth Cabrera (77)

9. J.J. Hardy (88)

Tier Four

10. Andrelton Simmons (104)

11. Starlin Castro (107)

12. Xander Bogaerts (109)

13. Jed Lowrie (114)

Tier Five

14. Alexei Ramirez (148)

15. Jhonny Peralta (154)

16. Asdrubal Cabrera (160)

17. Jimmy Rollins (166)

18. Brad Miller (180)


Alexei Ramirez (ADP 148)

From a fantasy perspective, Ramirez had a strange season last year, but he was valuable nonetheless. After never getting more than 20 SB in any of the first five years of his career, he somehow managed to swipe 30 bags. Meanwhile, his power continued to decline, as his ISO fell for a third consecutive season. Despite only hitting six HR, though, Alexei finished just outside the top five at the position. Even if we assume some regression in the SB category, it's still rather difficult to explain his current ADP. Ramirez is a durable player who consistently puts the ball in play at a high rate. The days of 20 HR are behind him, and the counting statistics may not be great in a poor White Sox lineup. Even so, Ramirez is still a good bet for 20-plus SB along with an AVG along the lines of .270. Those numbers may not jump off the page, but Alexei still holds plenty of value at the weak shortstop position.

Erick Aybar (ADP 220)

Here's another boring yet likely undervalued target at the position. In fact, upon closer examination this duo is quite similar. Like Ramirez, Aybar is apt at making contact at a high clip. In an environment in which the frequency of strikeouts continues to rise, this skill becomes even more valuable. While he lacks much pop, Aybar does come with some speed. On the surface, his measly total of just 12 SB last year may suggest that's no longer the case. Keep in mind, however, that the Angels shortstop suffered from a variety of leg injuries over the course of the season. If you're looking for a breakout campaign, speculate elsewhere. Having said that, this is a reliable option at middle infield currently available for mere pennies. 


Jean Segura (ADP 33)

As fantasy expert Ron Shandler has noted previously, "regression and gravity are the two strongest forces known to man." When comparing value accrued to Draft Day price, few players were more profitable than Segura last year. Hold on; let's stop right there. In general, simply knowing this about a player makes it a good bet that he regresses significantly the following season. Name any breakout player from last year: Chris Davis, Jose Fernandez, Yasiel Puig, whomever. If you forecast a disappointing season for any of them relative to their current market value, you're going to be right more often than you're wrong. Meanwhile, think of the most disappointing players from 2013 - Starlin Castro, C.C. Sabathia, B.J. Upton, whomever made you stick to your stomach each day. If you speculate on this group of players, you're going to profit more often than not.

But let's get back to Segura. As the top shortstop in all of fantasy baseball last year, he may look like a player on the verge of consistent fantasy superstardom. I see a player who has nowhere to go but down. Yes, the speed is certainly for real, but I'm not buying the power. Just one of his 12 HR was of the No Doubt variety, and I wouldn't count on double-digits again this year. Half-season statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, but it's tough to overlook how poorly Segura performed after the All-Star Break. Entering the break with a triple-slash line of .325 / .363 / .487, the young shortstop then struggled down the stretch, hitting just .241 / .268 / .315.  Maybe the hit tool really is that good here, but I'm not willing to pay such a steep price for a player currently going ahead of more proven commodities like Albert Pujols and Justin Verlander.

The Market Report: Third Basemen

The Market Report is a weekly analysis of player valuations in the fantasy marketplace in an effort to find undervalued commodities.

As we continue to look at the market for each position, let's analyze third basemen this week. Once again, ADP values are provided in parentheses.

Tier One

1. Miguel Cabrera (2)

Tier Two

2. Adrian Beltre (15)

3. David Wright (18)

4. Evan Longoria (19)

Tier Three

5. Matt Carpenter (41)

6. Manny Machado (44)

7. Josh Donaldson (51)

8. Ryan Zimmerman (52)

9. Pedro Alvarez (62)

Tier Four

10. Kyle Seager (80)

11. Martin Prado (100)

12. Xander Bogaerts (106)

13. Pablo Sandoval (118)

Tier Five

14. Aramis Ramirez (134)

15. Chase Headley (136)

16. Brett Lawrie (136)


Pablo Sandoval (ADP 118)

I try to be as agnostic as possible in playing this game,  but you'll have to excuse me here, as this is more of a hunch. As we all know by now, Sandoval reportedly lost the equivalent of a kindergartener in weight over the offseason. I'm not sure what that says about Kung Fu Panda: should we praise him for getting into shape or criticize him for being that overweight in the first place? At any rate, the incredibly talented Wendy Thurm has previously pointed out that there seems to be a link between Pablo's weight and his performance on the field. Sure, it may just be a coincidence, but some evidence is there. Again, this is far from scientific, but I still believe in this bat barring injury. Unfortunately, that's asking a lot of Sandoval, who's always a good bet to land on the DL, as Eno Sarris notes. Given that his ADP lies outside the top 100, however, I think the third baseman's risk of injury has been built into his market price and then some. My general approach for this position will be to target an elite option like Miggy or Beltre with one of my first couple picks, but I view Sandoval as a volatile stock capable of significantly outproducing his current pricetag.

Aramis Ramirez (ADP 134)

Another fallback option available in the middle rounds, Ramirez has long been a personal favorite of mine. After missing a large chunk of 2013, Aramis has witnessed a dramatic decline in market value this offseason. Yes, he's up there in age, but I still think there's another good year or two in that bat. Albeit in a limited sample size, Ramirez still had an average flyball distance within a few feet of elite options at the position like Longoria and Beltre. He's always displayed good contact rates for a power hitter, and he even boosted his walk rate last year. While the Brewers are likely to be .500 at best, their offense should be strong with fantasy stars all over the place, helping his counting categories. It really all comes down to health with Ramirez, but this is a risk worth embracing given the current ADP.


Manny Machado (ADP 44)

It seems like we've been comparing Machado to a young A-Rod forever now, but the Orioles third baseman will be just 21 on Opening Day this year. There's no denying that Machado is a future superstar. In fact, he's probably already reached that level in real baseball, which is plain scary given his age. From a fantasy perspective, though, this is far from a finished product. I think fantasy owners are getting ahead of themselves by taking him inside the top 50 overall already. Let's keep in mind he had just 14 HR and 6 SB last year. He also had significant offseason surgery, although he should be fine for Spring Training. I think it's safe to say that one of these years Machado will make the leap to fantasy superstar status and be a perennial first round pick. I just don't think 2014 is that year.

Fantasy Stars: Bottom of the Third (Round)

It's the final edition of Fantasy Stars, which I know brings tears to my eyes and yours. Dry 'em off, though, because we at RotoAuthority are kicking off our Player Rankings in just two days! 

After a whole week of waiting, here are the last of our fantasy stars. Check out the top half of the third round here, and last week's bonus column here. As always on Fantasy Stars, the Average Draft Position (ADP) numbers come from MockDraftCentral and come from 154 qualifying drafts. The stats shown with the position players are the Big 5:  AVG/HR/R/RBI/SB and IP/SV/K/ERA/WHIP for relief pitchers. (No starters this round.)

Bottom of the Third (Round)

31. Craig Kimbrel, RP         ADP 33.23

32. Hanley Ramirez, SS     ADP 34.44

33. Jason Heyward, OF     ADP 36.45

34. Allen Craig, 1B              ADP 37.51

35. Starlin Catro, SS           ADP 37.52

36. Ian Kinsler, 2B             ADP 37.88

31. Craig Kimbrel, RP  62.2/42/116/1.01/0.65 (Saves, in bold, replace wins here.)
Kimbrel is the only elite relief pitcher and he's the only one that you can justify taking anywhere near this early. He isn't a tier ahead of all other relievers, he's several tiers ahead. Between his otherworldly excellence, and the paucity of other dependable closers with the track records to keep their jobs through rough patches, Kimbrel really stands out. Just look at those ratios, let alone the whiffs. He gives you half of a great starter's K's in under a third of the innings. If you play in a standard league, the kind with an innings cap, he's a great choice here.

If you're in a weekly league...I'd actually pass. The low innings that are a strength with a cap are a weakness without one, just as they are for all mortal relievers. Yes, he's the best, but in head to head, you don't necessarily want the best. At least not in the third round.

A final note of caution comes in just two words: Eric Gagne. Remember how good he was? Yes, Kimbrel strikes more guys out, yes his ERA and WHIP make it look like 1968...but great relievers flame out in a way that other players don't; they're subject to a lot more luck than other players, plus the usual injury cautions that come with pitchers. Even the best reliever in the game carries a lot of downside.

32. Hanley Ramirez, SS .257/24/79/92/21
Remember the days when Hanley used to arm-wrestle Albert Pujols for the number-one overall pick? I do, and maybe Hanley does too. After a horrific and injury-marred 2011, he bounced back pretty well in 2012. Not all the way back to the top--leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of all who drafted him with such hopes, I'm sure. Considering his numbers in line with those of other shortstops, not to mention the fact that a whole year in Los Angeles' lineup instead of Miami's, and I could see Ramirez inching up closer to his glory days. Not all the way there, but closer.

He won't be 30 until after the season and he made it up to the Majors nice and young, which gives him a better-than average shot of staying productive longer. I like him a lot as the number-two shortstop in the game, but if you draft him and he's better than he was last year, don't thank me--thank my wife, because it was she who first looked at Hanley's numbers with an objective eye and suggested a rebound to me. I was gonna take Starlin Castro....

33. Jason Heyward, OF .269/27/93/82/21
Heyward isn't 24 yet and he's already one of the best outfielders in baseball. He's got the track record and the prospect-pedrigree to get better, and he makes a very nice upside play here in the bottom of the third round. He's the third Braves outfielder being drafted, but he's got a great chance to be the best next year. If he inches the average up just a little, he becomes a 5-category player, since he added a bit of speed to his game last year. (I'm telling you, all the cool kids steal bases these days.) 

That same average represents his risk factor, but it isn't a huge risk. If he plays exactly as he did last year, this will be only a small overpay. How many already-good, former top-prospects don't get even better at age 23? Not enough to make me think twice about drafting Heyward here, or even higher.

34. Allen Craig, 1B/OF .307/22/76/92/2
Allen Craig is 28. He's not elderly, by baseball's standards or those of the real world, but he is too old to have been a prospect last year. He burst onto the scene like one, with 22 homers and a great average in just 514 PA. He'll go into next year as the Cardinals' first baseman, and he'll have some good hitters around him. But he's 28, and he turns 29 in the middle of the season.

I'm not ready to relegate him to the Quad-A status of a half-year wonder--he really does seem better than that--but he's being drafted closer to where the elite first basemen are than those with serious question marks, and he has those question marks. His position isn't as deep as it once was, and drafters are reaching for production there, but this is a reach too much. At this point in the draft, you're better off skipping by first base, taking from another position, and grabbing a similarly risky player a few rounds later. Or, you could just take the much safer and still excellent Billy Butler. Could Craig be better than Butler next year? Sure. But Craig could be terrible next year, and Butler almost certainly won't be. 

35. Starlin Catro, SS  .283/14/78/78/25
Right here you can read what I thought of Castro two weeks ago, in spot 30. My feelings haven't changed. He's a great player, an elite shortstop, and he isn't as good as Jose Reyes. He's a good enough choice here, but only if Reyes and Ramirez are off the board. 

36. Ian Kinsler, 2B .256/19/105/72/21
Our own Mark Polishuk discusses the relative merits of Kinsler and Dustin Pedroia here, but I'll just look at Kinsler for the moment. First of all, look at his stats from year to year: is he a power hitter or isn't he? Is he a speed guy, or isn't he? I guess he's both, but with all the time he misses it's hard to be sure.

He's now had two full seasons in a row, which is weird enough, but this time his performance slipped badly, especially in homers and steals. If he's a 20/20 guy with a lousy average and a ton of runs scored, there are a lot of better second basemen. If he's a 30/30 guy with a lousy average and a ton of runs there's only one better second baseman. So who is he? I honestly don't know, but at 31 the former looks more likely than it ever has before. There's a lot of risk here, and there are several second sackers who have lower risk factors and lower price tags. No, Pedroia, Ben Zobrist, Jason Kipnis, and Aaron Hill don't have the upside that Kinsler has, but they won't cost you as much either.

Here's a re-ranked third round, for tradition's sake: Strasburg, Longoria, Ramirez, Gonzalez, Wright, Heyward, Upton, Kimbrel, Bruce, Castro, Kinsler, Craig.

Finally, several players fell out of the Fantasy Stars rankings altogether: Yadier Molina, Cliff Lee, David Price, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jose Reyes. I would definitely take Reyes in the third round (right ahead of Wright), but all the others look a lot more sensible in their new landing spots.

These rankings will change and change again before draft day, so keep mocking, and keep checking the rankings. Remember, though, that ADP won't let you read the minds of the other owners in your league. If he's your guy, and you're getting value, grab him now, even if ADP says he should still be around by your next turn. You never know who's having the same thought as you.

Fantasy Stars: Top of the Second (Round)

After covering the top and bottom of the first round of a standard fantasy draft, we're charging ahead into the second. In a standard draft, picks 13-18 represent the second choice of the last six teams to draft. Thanks to the quick turnaround here, the differences in the value of the picks starts out pretty low. Actually, it starts out at nil, since the twelfth team in draft order gets to take pick number 13 as well.

As always on Fantasy Stars, the Average Draft Position (ADP) numbers come from MockDraftCentral and come from 110 qualifying drafts. The stats shown with the players are the Big 5:  AVG/HR/R/RBI/SB for position players and IP/W/K/ERA/WHIP for starting pitchers. 

13. Jose Bautista OF             ADP 13.97
14. Justin Upton OF             ADP 14.65
15. Justin Verlander SP       ADP 15.27
16. Adrian Beltre 3B             ADP 15.99
17. Troy Tulowitzki SS        ADP 17.01
18. Bryce Harper OF            ADP 19.85

Technically speaking, Bautista is getting drafted 12th and Prince Fielder is going 13th, but since they'd both be going to the same team, there isn't a valuation change to analyze for Fielder. So, let's just call Bautista number 13.

13. Jose Bautista OF.241/27/64/65/5
So far, the news coming out about Bautista is that he's healing well and is performing baseball activities, and he looks to be ready for the start of the season, after last season's catastrophic wrist injury. Watch him and the news about him in Spring Training of course, but for the moment let's assume that everything knowable is fine. If that changes, so will this valuation.

Even a healthy Bautista isn't a perfect player. Not only is he not a five-category player, he's not even a four-category guy: last year's low batting average can be traced to an awful .215 BABIP, which should recover plenty. However, the best BABIP of his career was just .309 (in 2011), and that netted him just a .302 average. Something in the .270-ish range seems most likely for him, but I'd probably take the low on that.

But I'd still take Bautista with this pick. (I might not pair him with Prince, but that isn't the point.) The three categories in which he produces, he excels. He's got a ton of power, in a way that's more reminiscent of the late 90's and early 2000's than it is this age of pitchers and speedsters. He doesn't just have heavy power, but so few other players have even medium power these days that his homers are a lot more valuable than they once were. On top of that, Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, and maybe even Melky Cabrera and Brett Lowrie should give him plenty of runners to hit in, and give him plenty of pitches to hit. Expect to see him among the league's leaders in RBI's and Runs. Too bad he doesn't retain his 3B eligiblity.

14. Justin Upton OF .280/17/107/67/18
Pass. Upton's stock hasn't taken much of a hit after his dismal 2012, and I'm pretty surprised. All right, I know he was going in the second half of the first round in a lot of drafts last year, but let's face it, the second half of the first round is basically the same as the first half of the second. I don't know if it's denial, wishful thinking, or what, but it seems like if you're gonna draft someone who was this disappointing last year, you should only do so at a discount. What if he repeats and the power doesn't return? This is two seasons out of the last three in which he's hit fewer than 20 homers, so I don't think that possibility is all that shocking. Using an early second-round pick on a pick with as high a downside as Upton just isn't worth it.

It isn't just Upton's downside that makes me want to pass, though. It's that I'm not that thrilled with his upside. As a Mariner fan, I was downright grateful he turned down a trade to Seattle, actually. Upton possesses that mythical "power/speed" combo in theory, but he didn't exactly do either last year. In fact, his career high in steals is just 21. In the old days, that was big news. Not so much anymore. He's less like Mike Trout and more like Mike Cameron (but without jumping over outfield walls). He strikes out a ton (at least 121 every year since 2008) and it takes a BABIP miracle to give him a quality batting average. He hits homers (some years), but not as many as potentially comparable outfielders being drafted behind him like Josh Hamilton, Adam Jones, Giancarlo Stanton, and Curtis Granderson.

I suppose the argument to be made in his favor is his age: he's still just 25. Adam Jones took the Big Step this past year, and Upton himself seemed to do so in 2011. But what if he didn't? What if disappointing expectations runs in the family? That doesn't make him a useless fantasy player, but the risk of it is enough to make him a bad fantasy pick as long as their are lower-risk options with similar upside available. If he lights the world on fire next year, that will be exactly what his owners pay for. Anything less than greatness and this pick could have been better spent.

15. Justin Verlander SP 238.1/17/239/2.64/1.06
It isn't relevant, but is it weird to draft consecutive Justins? Either way, I don't like either pick. For different reasons, though. Verlander is among the least risky pitchers I can think of (but that's what I thought about Roy Halladay, so...) and he's very clearly at the top of his game. He's even consistent with the wins, which is hard for any great pitcher.

No, my disagreement with taking Verlander here is simply one of opportunity-cost. As long as Stephen Strasburg is out there, I think other starters are second-best. He just generates so many more whiffs than the next-greatest. On the flip side of things, I do agree that Verlander (with Clayton Kershaw) represents the clear next best ace pitchers. But the difference between him and other aces isn't so large that I want to get Verlander an entire round earlier than I can get, say, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, or David Price. The differences between Verlander and those types of pitchers are real, but small. Much smaller than the differences that still exist between position players at this point in the draft.

16. Adrian Beltre 3B .321/36/95/102/1
I admitted above to being a Mariners fan, and I honestly have had to overcome some anti-Beltre bias. But I'm over now, and I guess he can be as excellent as he wants with Texas and leave me to ponder just how much a player's home park can matter. Interestingly enough, he hit 16 of his 36 homers away from the Ballpark in Arlington and he batted just under .300 on the road, so you won't need to bench him during away games to enjoy his home greatness.

Beltre has become a beast, and there's little reason not to draft him like one. He's a four-category star, he hits in a dangerous lineup and he fields a thin position. He was significantly better than the next 3B getting drafted--David Wright--and significantly healthier than the one after that--Evan Longoria. Beltre is a safe choice in the second round, but a good one, a quality anchor at a position that will be a black hole on many fantasy teams.

17. Troy Tulowitzki SS .287/8/33/27/2
I always imagine myself as having this rule about never drafting anyone remotely fragile in the early rounds. The trouble is, that rule comes in direct conflict with my other rule about getting the best value I can. Since 2007, when Tulo powered the Rockies into the World Series, he's had one totally lost season (last year), one mostly lost season (2008, when his injuries presumptively hit his productivity and his playing time), and three All Star seasons (in two of which he still hit the DL). So he's all about risk and reward.

Few players even could be worth this kind of risk, but before the season I took him first overall in the RotoAuthority mock draft because he is so much more valuable in the power categories than any of his peers. He's basically a mashing first baseman with a slick glove for shortstop. For a player like that, this kind of discount is understandable. Assuming he looks healthy in Spring Training, I wouldn't have anything to say against someone who took Tulo here. It's a risk, even big one, but it has enormous upside. For what it's worth, I'd understand anyone who preferred to stay away.

18. Bryce Harper OF .270/22/98/59/18
This is a pick that puzzles me a little. Harper was the best prospect in baseball before last year, and he had a great year for any rookie (except, of course, Mike Trout) at just 19 years old. He showed a little bit of everything, and there's all the reason in the world to think that he'll improve into a truly great player of any age. I think he's likely to be a great fantasy player for 2013.

But I don't think that's certain. His line wasn't overwhelmingly good and he is still just 20 years old. Picking him in the second round is, to me, basically assuming the best-case scenario--that he'll develop in a linear way and make big improvements. He might. You could say he probably will, but he also might not. Plenty of other great prospects have taken steps other than directly into greatness in their second season. Harper could improve just a little, he could slip a bit, he could stay basically the same player, and in all cases he'll be a good player next year. In none of those cases, though, would Harper be worth a second round pick. Like Upton, there are several players who carry lower risk than he does. Unlike Upton, however, his upside doesn't seem to be limited by much at all. I'd pick Harper, but I'd wait another round and I wouldn't worry if he wasn't still there.

Here's how I'd reorder these picks: Jose Bautista, Adrian Beltre, Troy Tulowitzki, Verlander, Harper, Upton. The only three that I'd consider taking in the top of the second round are Bautista, Beltre, and Tulo.



RotoAuthority Draft & ADP Analysis

The RotoAuthority draft was recently held, and you can find the draft results and reader votes for best draft here (my team is Men With Wood). My final pre-season ADP article will look at the RotoAuthority draft results and compare to ADP (courtesy of

Round One

  • Miguel Cabrera - His status was up in the air due to facial injuries when the draft was held, so he slipped to the third pick compared to his place at the top of the ADP board at 2.1. All indications are that he will be ready for Opening Day and is safe to draft with the top pick. "Ill Tempered SeaBass" had a nice third pick in the draft.
  • Carlos Gonzalez - The player with the lowest ADP at 16.8 (No. 19 highest ADP) taken in the first round at No. 10 overall. "Up" selected Gonzalez over Justin Upton, who went two slots later at No. 12 overall.  Although ADP favors Justin Upton (ADP of 14.5, which is the No. 14 highest ADP), Carlos Gonzalez has a higher batting average ceiling and may have more RBI opportunities hitting in Coors Field; Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster lists Upton at $27 and Gonzalez at $35.

Round Two

  • Carlos Santana - "Jeter's Gift Baskets" selected Santana at No. 20 compared to his ADP of 39.8. Although this may appear to be a massive reach, in two-catcher leagues catchers are drafted significantly higher than their ADP positions. Even in a deep catcher year, punting the position in two-catcher leagues is not a viable strategy. The run of starting pitchers began right after Santana was selected, but "Jeter's Gift Baskets" was able to round out his rotation late with Brandon McCarthy at No. 260 overall and Jeremy Hellickson at No. 197 overall.

Round Three

  • Felix Hernandez - As I discussed here, drafting an elite starter in the top rounds is an excellent idea because a 200-inning starter will have about 13% of your total innings (assuming 1500 inning limit) and a 600 at-bat hitter will have about 7% of your at-bats. I want to lock in 13% of my innings with quality stats since I have flexibility to find cumulative hitting statistics elsewhere, including by streaming at-bats. "Brewsterville Bruins" was in a perfect slot at No. 35 overall to grab whatever top-tier starting pitcher fell to the end of the third round.  In this case, that starter was King Felix (ADP of 28.6).

Round Four

  • David Wright - "Up" selected Wright at No. 39 overall compared to his 32.6 ADP, and this selection may pay significant dividends now that Wright has played in a Spring game and appears ready for Opening Day.
  • Ryan Zimmerman - "Francisco Scaramanga" drafted Zimmerman at No. 43 overall, a slight value compared to his 39.9 ADP. Given the sudden drop-off in quality at third base after the first few tiers, grabbing any third baseman at value in the first six rounds is advisable.
  • Michael Young - Although Young's selection by "Gramma Nutt Crushers" at No. 48 overall compared to 61.0 ADP may appear to be a reach, Young qualifies in Yahoo at first base, second base and third base, and he meets the multi-position eligibility target discussed here for streaming hitters in daily leagues with short benches.

Round Five

  • Zack Greinke - Although taking a second starter in Round 5 was not my plan entering the draft, when Greinke was available at No. 50 overall (46.9 ADP) after starters such as Jered Weaver and David Price had already been selected, I could not pass him up. He had the lowest SIERA in MLB among qualifying starters last year and, as I discussed here, is my pick to end up as a top-five starter.  He is also blowing away hitters in the Spring with an insane 28/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
  • Shin-Soo Choo - Tim Dierkes' "RobertCop" was concerned Choo would not fall to him in the sixth round and selected Choo No. 56 overall compared to 82.2 ADP. Choo is falling under many radar screens with owners forgetting he had back to back 20/20 with .300 batting average seasons in 2009 and 2010. Hopefully you are able to snag him a round or two later in drafts with owners that have forgotten how good a healthy Choo may be this year in his age-29 season.

Other Selections

  • Craig Kimbrel - The first closer -- Kimbrel -- was not selected until the first pick of the eighth round to "Depressed Fan" at No. 85 overall compared to 57.2 ADP. As I discussed here, do not start a closer run in your draft even if a closer is ranked as the highest remaining player on your draft sheet. Closers taken in Rounds 12 and 13 are just as likely to match Krimbrel's saves total given the random nature of the stat (Jason Motte at No. 144 overall; Brian Wilson at No. 149 overall; Jordan Walden at No. 151 overall; Sergio Santos at No. 152 overall). Having said that, if you are going to select Kimbrel, then No. 85 overall is the place to do it.
  • Sean Marshall - Tim Dierkes' "RobertCop" had one of the best picks of the draft with Marshall at No. 248 (compared to 247.0 ADP) after Ryan Madson was lost for the season. Taken in the 21st round, Marshall is a good example of the late-round flyer with big upside that owners should target. Rather than selecting a boring hitter in rounds 20+, take a high-upside hitter or starter or a setup man that is an injury away from shooting up in value but can still be easily released for a hot hitter during the season or kept to provide strong strikeout rates, and/or healthy ratio contributions.

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Online Draft Sleepers in Yahoo & ESPN Leagues - Hitters

Everyone that has done a live online draft knows the panic-inducing moments when you realize your time is down to 30 seconds ... 20 seconds ... 10 seconds to make your pick and you are frantically searching for a player to draft before you get stuck with the dreaded autopick. Often, that panic-induced owner ends up taking one of the players default ranked by the website near the top of the remaining players. Or, after the first 15 rounds many owners get lazy and take one of the top default ranked remaining players rather than searching for diamonds buried throughout the website's default rankings.

For these reasons, the website's default rankings oftentimes result in the ADP of a player tracking the default rankings, particularly after the first 150 picks in a draft when some owners are on auto-pilot mode taking the top default ranked remaining players. So, a good strategy is to identify players that are buried in the default rankings that may slip through the cracks of online drafts because of the website's default rankings. You can also place these players in your "queue" during the draft to avoid forgetting about them. This week we will look at hitters from free fantasy baseball providers Yahoo & ESPN that are default ranked by these websites too low and could provide draft bargains since they will not appear near the top of the list of available players sorted by default ranking (position eligibility is based on Yahoo and ESPN eligibility):


  • Yahoo: Ryan Doumit (331) should see regular ABs as the primary DH and A.J. Pierzynski (338) gets a boost in value hitting second in the White Sox lineup. Both of these players are ranked extremely low and make nice second-catcher targets at the end of the draft.
  • ESPN: All catchers are ranked lower on ESPN than other websites, so catchers will fall in ESPN drafts. In two-catcher leagues, excellent value can be found in Buster Posey (127; compared to 75 on Yahoo) and J.P. Arencibia (274; compared to 184 on Yahoo).

First Basemen

  • Yahoo: Adam Dunn (251) has looked excellent in the spring and will be off the radar of owners following Yahoo default rankings. Gaby Sanchez (196) also makes a good target. Mat Gamel (1177) only qualifies at CI and for unknown reasons is ranked so low. Put Gamel in your "queue" for the last rounds of your draft and hope everyone forgets about him.
  • ESPN: Paul Goldschmidt (182; compared to 98 on Yahoo) and Kendrys Morales (249).

Second Basemen


  • Yahoo: Alexei Ramirez (149; compared to 86 on ESPN), and stash to DL immediately after draft Stephen Drew (221).
  • ESPN: Troy Tulowitzki (6; compared to 4 on Yahoo) went first in the RotoAuthority Mock Draft and I would be very happy taking him at 6. Otherwise, ESPN has its shortstops ranked high, but Zack Cozart (319) is an excellent end draft target.

Third Basemen


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Yahoo and MDC ADP Analysis & Draft Tiers: Second Basemen and Shortstops

This week's ADP-related article will rank second basemen and shortstops in order of their Yahoo and Mock Draft Central average draft positions, and then identify draft tiers and strategies (position qualifications referenced in this article are based on Yahoo position qualifications). Based on popular commentary requests, next week's ADP article will compare default player rankings from Yahoo, ESPN & CBS Sportsline to identify players whose ADP may slip in drafts on these websites as a result of undervalued default rankings:

Second Basemen

  1. Robinson Cano - 9.43 (7.9 Yahoo; 10.95 MDC)
  2. Dustin Pedroia - 18.91 (18.2 Yahoo; 19.61 MDC)
  3. Ian Kinsler - 22.67 (21.3 Yahoo; 24.04 MDC)
  4. Dan Uggla - 51.68 (48.3 Yahoo; 55.06 MDC)
  5. Brandon Phillips - 60.05 (59.7 Yahoo; 60.40 MDC)
  6. Michael Young - 64.3 (56.9 Yahoo; 71.70 MDC) - 1B, 3B
  7. Ben Zobrist - 66.40 (54.1 Yahoo; 78.69 MDC) - OF
  8. Chase Utley - 72.60 (66.8 Yahoo; 78.39 MDC)
  9. Rickie Weeks - 84.16 (89.4 Yahoo; 78.92 MDC)
  10. Michael Cuddyer - 87.61 (80.3 Yahoo; 94.92 MDC) - 1B, OF
  11. Howie Kendrick - 91.84 (79.3 Yahoo; 104.37 MDC) - 1B, OF
  12. Dustin Ackley - 139.41 (141.8 Yahoo; 137.01 MDC)
  13. Jemile Weeks - 154.60 (158.4 Yahoo; 150.79 MDC)
  14. Neil Walker - 154.68 (168.3 Yahoo; 141.06 MDC)
  15. Danny Espinosa - 170.28 (193.4 Yahoo; 147.15 MDC)
  16. Jason Kipnis - 192.96 (221.1 Yahoo; 164.82 MDC)
  17. Ryan Roberts - 205.98 (216. 3 Yahoo; 195.65 MDC)
  18. Kelly Johnson - 227.17 (214.8 Yahoo; 239.54 MDC)
  • Tiers:
    • Tier 1: Ranks 1-3 (Cano, Pedroia, Kinsler)
    • Tier 2: Ranks 4-11 (Uggla, Phillips, Young, Zobrist, Utley, Weeks, Cuddyer, Kendrick)
    • Tier 3: Ranks 12-18 (Ackley, Weeks, Walker, Espinosa, Kipnis, Roberts, Johnson)
  • Draft Strategy: Second base provides deep production with large tiers of players worth comparable value, so don't reach when the beginning of a tier starts to get drafted. ... Preferably, owners will take one of the last players from either Tier 1 or 2 as their second baseman. ... Since shortstop is not as deep, owners are likely to draft a second baseman to fill the MI roster spot. Owners that draft from Tier 1 should continue to target a low Tier 2 second baseman for MI rather than ignore second basemen following the early draft pick. ... Within Tier 2, Young, Cuddyer and Kendrick provide good value compared to ADP in Yahoo leagues, as the second base qualification provides additional roster flexibility for each player. ... Within Tier 3, Johnson provides excellent value compared to ADP and is a good MI target. ... Hill and Murphy are sneaky-upside MI selections outside the top 18 and provide depth at the position, so an owner does not need to reach within Tier 3.


  1. Troy Tulowitzki - 5.18 (5.0 Yahoo; 5.36 MDC)
  2. Jose Reyes - 20.04 (19.5 Yahoo; 20.58 MDC)
  3. Hanley Ramirez - 21.1 (21.9 Yahoo; 20.30 MDC)
  4. Starlin Castro - 41.14 (39.9 Yahoo; 42.38 MDC)
  5. Elvis Andrus - 45.76 (47.3 Yahoo; 44.22 MDC)
  6. Asdrubal Cabrera - 73.06 (70.5 Yahoo; 75.62 MDC)
  7. Jimmy Rollins - 83.47 (78.1 Yahoo; 88.84 MDC)
  8. Derek Jeter - 117.24 (112.7 Yahoo; 121.77 MDC)
  9. J.J. Hardy - 134.27 (134.9 Yahoo; 133.64 MDC)
  10. Dee Gordon - 142.35 (140. 9 Yahoo; 143.79 MDC)
  11. Alexei Ramirez - 150.36 (140.6 Yahoo; 160.11 MDC)
  12. Erick Aybar - 153.98 (163.3 Yahoo; 144.65 MDC)
  13. Emilio Bonifacio - 165.25 (156.6 Yahoo; 173.89 MDC) - 3B, OF
  14. Jhonny Peralta - 168.51 (162.7 Yahoo; 174.31 MDC)
  15. Stephen Drew - 190.86 (232.1 Yahoo; 149.61 MDC)
  16. Yunel Escobar - 206.29 (198.7 Yahoo; 213.87 MDC)
  17. Mike Aviles - 239.31 (234.6 Yahoo; 244.02 MDC) - 2B, 3B
  18. Ian Desmond - 242.71 (237.3 Yahoo; 248.12 MDC)
  • Tiers:
    • Tier 1: Rank 1 (Tulowitzki)
    • Tier 2: Ranks 2-3 (Reyes, Ramirez)
    • Tier 3: Ranks 4-5 (Castro, Andrus)
    • Tier 4: Ranks 6-8 (Cabrera, Rollins, Jeter)
    • Tier 5: Ranks 9-14 (Hardy, Gordon, Ramirez, Aybar, Bonifacio)
    • Tier 6: Ranks 15-18 (Drew, Escobar, Aviles, Desmond)
  • Draft Strategy: The drop in value as the draft progresses is much steeper and swifter at shortstop than at second base, and as a result, the draft tiers are smaller at shortstop. ... Outside of Tulowitzki (a legitimate top 3 pick), the shortstop position is being drafted too early compared to the production from players at other positions drafted with similar ADPs, so owners are encouraged to avoid reaching to fill the shortstop position from Tiers 2-4. ... Reyes (injury risk/BA floor similar to his xBAs from 2009 (.259), 2010 (.274) and 2011 (.290)/dropoff in SBs after getting paid) and Ramirez (lost 2011/position change affecting hitting) have too many concerns for me to draft in the second round. ... Andrus has been widely publicized as overrated and could make a nice selection if he falls to the 5th or sixth round; Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster notes Andrus has .300 BA and 50 SB upside, and with a few more HRs in his home ballpark he could provide Reyes-like value three or four rounds later. ... Each of the Tier 5 shortstops provide good value compared to ADP and will be my targeted shortstop picks. ... Owners only need to select one shortstop in the draft and then avoid the position by filling out the MI roster spot from the deeper and more talented second-base pool.

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Yahoo and MDC ADP Analysis & Draft Tiers: Starting Pitchers

This week's ADP-related article will rank starting pitchers in order of their Yahoo and Mock Draft Central (MDC) average draft positions, and then identify draft tiers and strategies (position qualifications referenced in this article are based on Yahoo position qualifications). Using the standard 12-team mixed league format and six starting pitchers per team, the first 72 starting pitchers will be ranked. The draft tiers will have 12 starters per tier so that the tiers represent Starters Nos. 1-6 in a standard format with 12 teams each carrying six starters.

  1. Justin Verlander - 10.44 (12.6 Yahoo; 8.27 MDC)
  2. Clayton Kershaw - 14.6 (13.9 Yahoo; 15.3 MDC)
  3. Roy Halladay - 15.17 (15.6 Yahoo; 14.74 MDC)
  4. Cliff Lee - 21.15 (22.5 Yahoo; 19.80 MDC)
  5. Tim Lincecum - 25.88 (27.3 Yahoo; 24.46 MDC)
  6. Felix Hernandez - 28.01 (29.6 Yahoo; 26.42 MDC)
  7. CC Sabathia - 30.62 (30.6 Yahoo; 30.64 MDC)
  8. Cole Hamels - 32.13 (33.4 Yahoo; 30.85 MDC)
  9. Jered Weaver - 34.34 (35.3 Yahoo; 33.38 MDC)
  10. Dan Haren - 45.08 (47.8 Yahoo; 42.35 MDC)
  11. David Price - 45.89 (53.7 Yahoo; 38.07 MDC)
  12. Zack Greinke - 47.19 (45.0 Yahoo; 49.38 MDC)
  13. Yovani Gallardo - 55.14 (61.3 Yahoo; 48.98 MDC)
  14. Jon Lester - 56.73 (62.0 Yahoo; 51.45 MDC)
  15. Stephen Strasburg - 60.61 (57.1 Yahoo; 64.12 MDC)
  16. Matt Cain - 61.66 (62.6 Yahoo; 60.71 MDC)
  17. James Shields - 73.30 (79.8 Yahoo; 66.79 MDC)
  18. Ian Kennedy - 75.00 (79.9 Yahoo; 70.10 MDC)
  19. C.J. Wilson - 85.04 (84.6 Yahoo; 85.48 MDC)
  20. Madison Bumgarner - 85.48 (94.6 Yahoo; 76.35 MDC)
  21. Mat Latos - 91.78 (112.9 Yahoo; 70.66 MDC)
  22. Daniel Hudson - 93.33 (101.0 Yahoo; 85.66 MDC)
  23. Josh Johnson - 99.03 (97.5 Yahoo; 100.55 MDC)
  24. Tommy Hanson - 99.48 (104.9 Yahoo; 94.06 MDC)
  25. Matt Moore - 99.86 (97.4 Yahoo; 102.32 MDC) - RP Only in Yahoo
  26. Josh Beckett - 99.88 (108.5 Yahoo; 91.25 MDC)
  27. Michael Pineda - 100.29 (102.8 Yahoo; 97.78 MDC)
  28. Ricky Romero - 101.36 (115.3 Yahoo; 87.41 MDC)
  29. Yu Darvish - 102.48 (82.3 Yahoo; 122.66 MDC)
  30. Adam Wainwright - 108.94 (112.3 Yahoo; 105.58 MDC)
  31. Matt Garza - 109.57 (109.5 Yahoo; 109.63 MDC)
  32. Gio Gonzalez - 111.87 (117.8 Yahoo; 105.93 MDC)
  33. Brandon Beachy - 118.38 (121.7 Yahoo; 115.06 MDC)
  34. Chris Carpenter - 127.57 (128.5 Yahoo; 126.64 MDC)
  35. Jordan Zimmermann - 128.16 (136.8 Yahoo; 119.52 MDC)
  36. Johnny Cueto - 133.57 (153.8 Yahoo; 113.34 MDC)
  37. Cory Luebke - 134.26 (131.4 Yahoo; 137.12 MDC)
  38. Anibal Sanchez - 136.49 (142.8 Yahoo; 130.17 MDC)
  39. Tim Hudson - 146.97 (156.6 Yahoo; 137.34 MDC)
  40. Shaun Marcum - 148.32 (150.3 Yahoo; 146.33 MDC)
  41. Jeremy Hellickson - 152.25 (175.6 Yahoo; 128.89 MDC)
  42. Ubaldo Jimenez - 153.49 (151.8 Yahoo; 155.18 MDC)
  43. Max Scherzer - 158.88 (168.1 Yahoo; 149.65 MDC)
  44. Neftali Feliz - 162.60 (165.0 Yahoo; 160.19 MDC) RP Only in Yahoo
  45. Ervin Santana - 163.56 (176.6 Yahoo; 150.52 MDC)
  46. Brandon Morrow - 167.53 (152.1 Yahoo; 182.96 MDC)
  47. Hiroki Kuroda - 168.36 (164.9 Yahoo; 171.82 MDC)
  48. Jaime Garcia - 174.14 (170.9 Yahoo; 177.38 MDC)
  49. Derek Holland - 177.00 (185.1 Yahoo; 168.89 MDC)
  50. Doug Fister - 183.44 (181.8 Yahoo; 185.08 MDC)
  51. Wandy Rodriguez - 183.91 (195.0 Yahoo; 172.81 MDC)
  52. Jhoulys Chacin - 192.72 (192.2 Yahoo; 193.24 MDC)
  53. Clay Buchholz - 200.11 (190.8 Yahoo; 209.42 MDC)
  54. Justin Masterson - 201.66 (202.7 Yahoo; 200.62 MDC)
  55. Ryan Dempster - 208.06 (180.5 Yahoo; 235.61 MDC)
  56. Alexi Ogando - 208.76 (207.9 Yahoo; 209.61 MDC)
  57. Jair Jurrjens - 212.04 (209.4 Yahoo; 214.68 MDC)
  58. John Danks - 213.02 (235.1 Yahoo; 190.94 MDC)
  59. Trevor Cahill - 213.09 (247.6 Yahoo; 178.58 MDC)
  60. Chris Sale - 214.14 (195.5 Yahoo; 232.78 MDC) RP Only in Yahoo
  61. Bud Norris - 217.75 (205.0 Yahoo; 230.49 MDC)
  62. Colby Lewis - 217.93 (232.3 Yahoo; 203.56 MDC)
  63. Ivan Nova - 219.82 (201.2 Yahoo; 238.43 MDC)
  64. Ted Lilly - 221.97 (212.9 Yahoo; 231.03 MDC)
  65. Brandon McCarthy - 222.73 (240.4 Yahoo; 205.06 MDC)
  66. Edwin Jackson - 227.65 (218.1 Yahoo; 237.19 MDC)
  67. Johan Santana - 228.90 (228.7 Yahoo; 229.09 MDC)
  68. Scott Baker - 229.44 (247.4 Yahoo; 211.47 MDC)
  69. Edinson Volquez - 229.48 (229.9 Yahoo; 229.05 MDC)
  70. Ryan Vogelsong - 230.33 (240.8 Yahoo; 219.85 MDC)
  71. Aroldis Chapman - 230.47 (220.3 Yahoo; 240.63 MDC) RP Only in Yahoo
  72. Roy Oswalt - 231.4 (232.0 Yahoo; 230.80 MDC)
  • Notes: Javier Vazquez - 228.17 (241.7 Yahoo; 214.64 MDC) was not included since he appears to be retired and is unlikely to be drafted in the top 72 starters.
  • Tiers:
    • Starting Pitcher No. 1 in 12-team mixed leagues (Ranks 1-12): Verlander, Kershaw, Halladay, Lee, Lincecum, Hernandez, Sabathia, Hamels, Weaver, Haren, Price, Greinke.
    • Starting Pitcher No. 2 in 12-team mixed leagues (Ranks 13-24): Gallardo, Lester, Strasburg, Cain, Shields, Kennedy, Wilson, Bumgarner, Latos, Hudson, Johnson, Hanson.
    • Starting Pitcher No. 3 in 12 team mixed leagues (Ranks 25-36): Moore, Beckett, Pineda, Romero, Darvish, Wainwright, Garza, Gonzalez, Beachy, Carpenter, Zimmerman, Cueto.
    • Starting Pitcher No. 4 in 12-team mixed leagues (Ranks 37-48): Luebke, Sanchez, Hudson, Marcum, Hellickson, Jimenez, Scherzer, Feliz, Santana, Morrow, Kuroda, Garcia.
    • Starting Pitcher No. 5 in 12-team mixed leagues (Ranks 49-60): Holland, Fister, Rodriguez, Chacin, Buchholz, Masterson, Dempster, Ogando, Jurrjens, Danks, Cahill, Sale.
    • Starting Pitcher No. 6 in 12-team mixed leagues (Ranks 61-72): Norris, Lewis, Nova, Lilly, McCarthy, Jackson, Santana, Baker, Volquez, Vogelsong, Chapman, Oswalt.
  • Draft Strategy: Starting pitching is top heavy within the first three tiers and then levels out into deep but interchangeable quality.  An owner should make sure to have at least three starters from the first three tiers since the quality of starting pitching is so top heavy. ...  Tiers 4, 5, 6 and other draftable starters are deep, and owners can feel comfortable waiting on drafting within these tiers. ... When drafting, the starters in Tiers 1-3 should be used as guideposts to make sure that you are drafting a starter from each tier. If you realize that only a few starters from Tier 1 remain and you have not drafted a starter, you should be alerted that you need to draft a No. 1 starter (same with Tiers 2 and 3). Similarly, if all of the Tier 1 and 2 starters have been drafted and you only have one starter, then you should be alerted that you need to draft multiple Tier 3 starters. ... Within Tier 1, Haren, Price and Greinke provide excellent value compared to their ADP, and an owner can feel comfortable waiting on those three to draft their No. 1 starter.  However, if any of the top six ranked starters fall too far below their ADPs, then an owner should jump at the chance to draft any of those six. ... Within Tier 2, Bumgarner and Hudson provide solid value at the end of the tier. ... Tier 3 is still loaded with top-heavy talent compared to ADP such as Moore, Garza, Beachy & Zimmermann. Within Tier 4, Luebke, Sanchez & Feliz stick out as excellent value picks.  Tiers 5, 6 and other draftable starters provide deep value, so owners should avoid reaching for any starter within these tiers since the first six starters listed as "other draftable starters" make excellent fallback plans as No. 6 starters. Lilly, McCarthy & Baker in Tier 6 have more value than most of the Tier 5 starters and provide excellent targets compared to their ADP.
  • Draft Strategy (Yahoo ADPs): Owners should keep in mind the starters listed as "RP Only in Yahoo" means that they will not appear within the list of starting pitchers in the draft tool. For this reason, owners searching for starting pitchers may overlook them. Do not make this mistake. Within Yahoo's ADP, Darvish (Yahoo Default Ranking 85 compared to 82.3 Yahoo ADP), Dempster (Yahoo Default Ranking 180 compared to 180.5 Yahoo ADP), Sale (Yahoo Default Ranking 199 compared to 195.5 Yahoo ADP), & Nova (Yahoo Default Ranking 381 compared to 201.2 Yahoo ADP) are being drafted too early in Yahoo drafts (even though Darvish, Dempster & Sale are nice targets at their MDC ADP). Baker (Yahoo Default Ranking 230 compared to 247.4 Yahoo ADP), McCarthy (Yahoo Default Ranking 225 compared to 240.4 Yahoo ADP) & Cahill (Yahoo Default Ranking 255 compared to 247.6 Yahoo ADP) are being drafted too low in Yahoo drafts.

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Tumbling ADPs

Today in the New York Times, RotoWire's Derek VanRiper posed an interesting question:

Would you be much worse off drafting with 2011 cheat sheets instead of 2012 ones?

VanRiper's point is that "there is a reason that 'last year’s bums' often return a profit the following season."  One simple way of determining last year's biggest bums is by finding the difference between 2012 and 2011 average draft position numbers.  Fortunately I have records of last year's ADPs, so here's the list minus certain players who are unsigned or out for all of 2012:

  1. Ian Stewart: 278.7 difference
  2. Scott Rolen: 266.04
  3. Chone Figgins: 192.04
  4. Adam Dunn: 186.69
  5. Ryan Ludwick: 167.43
  6. Francisco Liriano: 162.5
  7. Pedro Alvarez: 162.01
  8. Alex Rios: 157.66
  9. Aubrey Huff: 156.01
  10. Chad Billingsley: 151.07
  11. Ryan Dempster: 148.07
  12. Alfonso Soriano: 139.44
  13. Casey McGehee: 138.86
  14. Grady Sizemore: 138.38
  15. Randy Wells: 137.64
  16. Mike Aviles: 134.73
  17. Geovany Soto: 132.84
  18. Kelly Johnson: 125.89
  19. Bobby Abreu: 124.84
  20. Juan Uribe: 124.78

Many of the starting pitchers are intriguing, as well as Dunn, Alvarez, Rios, Aviles, Soto, and Johnson.  Other interesting names who have taken an ADP tumble include Colby Rasmus, Ubaldo Jimenez, Clay Buchholz, Joakim Soria, Jason Kubel, Andre Ethier, Gavin Floyd, Colby Lewis, John Danks, Torii Hunter, Derek Jeter, Kurt Suzuki, Aaron Hill, Alexei Ramirez, Joe Mauer, Chase Utley, Edwin Jackson, Brandon Morrow, and Jason Heyward.

I know it seems disgusting to draft Dunn right now, but a year ago he was considered a fourth-round player.  Rios went the following round.  Liriano and Billingsley, seventh or eighth round starters.  Ubaldo was a fourth-round rotation anchor, and Ethier the same for your outfield.  Fight the instinct to avoid all of last year's bums, and you'll surely find bargains.

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