ADP Analysis

Yahoo and MDC ADP Analysis & Draft Tiers: Catchers & Third Basemen

This week's ADP-related article will rank catchers and third basemen 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):


  1. Carlos Santana - 40.59 (44.8 Yahoo; 36.37 MDC) 1B
  2. Mike Napoli - 47.13 (47.4 Yahoo; 46.86 MDC) 1B
  3. Brian McCann - 52.91 (55.0 Yahoo; 50.81 MDC)
  4. Buster Posey - 65.15 (70.9 Yahoo; 59.40 MDC)
  5. Joe Mauer - 80.07 (80.9 Yahoo; 79.24 MDC) 1B
  6. Matt Wieters - 95.46 (94.1 Yahoo; 96.81 MDC)
  7. Miguel Montero - 105.5 (108.2 Yahoo; 102.80 MDC)
  8. Alex Avila - 107.2 (104.9 Yahoo; 109.50 MDC)
  9. Yadier Molina - 177.3 (178.8 Yahoo; 175.80 MDC)
  10. J.P. Arencibia - 177.89 (175.9 Yahoo; 179.88 MDC)
  11. Geovany Soto - 203.02 (175.7 Yahoo; 230.34 MDC)
  12. Wilson Ramos - 212.84 (214.4 Yahoo; 211.28 MDC)
  13. Russell Martin - 217.26 (193.4 Yahoo; 241.11 MDC)
  14. Nick Hundley - 226.95 (215.2 Yahoo; 238.69 MDC)
  15. Kurt Suzuki - 229.58 (212.1 Yahoo; 247.05 MDC)
  16. Carlos Ruiz - 229.74 (211.4 Yahoo; 248.07 MDC)
  17. A.J. Pierzynski - 231.16 (211.7 Yahoo; 250.61 MDC)
  18. Chris Iannetta - 231.37 (215.7 Yahoo; 247.04 MDC)
  19. Jarrod Saltalamacchia - 232.01 (224.0 Yahoo; 240.02 MDC)
  20. Ryan Doumit - 233.85 (225.1 Yahoo; 242.60 MDC)
  21. Jonathan Lucroy - 234.47 (222.3 Yahoo; 246.63 MDC)
  22. Ramon Hernandez - 235.14 (222.7 Yahoo; 247.57 MDC)
  23. Yorvit Torrealba - 235.75 (--- Yahoo; 235.75 MDC)
  24. Salvador Perez - 235.97 (232.0 Yahoo; 239.93 MDC)
  25. Devin Mesoraco - 236.01 (227.3 Yahoo; 244.71 MDC)
  26. John Buck - 236.23 (222.9 Yahoo; 249.55 MDC)
  27. Miguel Olivo - 240.87 (232.8 Yahoo; 248.94 MDC)
  28. Rod Barajas - 282.28 (--- Yahoo; 282.28 MDC)
  29. Ryan Hanigan - 283.32 (--- Yahoo; 283.32 MDC)
  • Tiers -
    • Tier #1: Ranks 1-4 (Santana; Napoli; McCann; Posey)
    • Tier #2: Ranks 5-7 (Mauer; Wieters; Montero)
    • Tier #3: Ranks 8-10 (Avila; Molina; Arencibia)
    • Tier #4: Ranks 11-20 (Soto; Ramos; Martin; Hundley; Suzuki; Ruiz; Pierzynski; Iannetta; Saltalamacchia; Doumit)
    • Tier #5: Ranks 21-29 (Lucroy; Hernandez; Torrealba; Perez; Mesoraco; Buck; Olivo; Barajas; Hanigan)
  • Draft Strategy (assuming standard 12-team mixed league with two active catchers) - In a two-catcher league, the top 15 or so catchers rarely fall to their ADPs. The catcher position is top heavy, and the Tier 4 and 5 catchers are a crapshoot of similarly situated players. For this reason, owners should target a Tier 1 or 2 catcher to pair with a Tier 4 catcher. Under this strategy, owners should target Santana, McCann, Wieters or Montero as their top catcher at or slightly above their ADPs, and then let the Tier 3 and 4 catcher runs play out before grabbing any Tier 4 catcher that slips compared to ADP. If owners avoid the first two Tiers then they should slightly reach for Molina or Arencibia compared to ADP, and target a stronger Tier 4 catcher such as Ramos. Tier 5 catchers to target as either second active catchers for those who punt the position due to its depth or third catchers to stream are Perez and Mesoraco. Those two have the most upside within Tier 5.
  • Draft Strategy (assuming standard 12-team mixed league with one active catcher) - In a one-catcher league, owners will have significantly better options for backup catchers on their bench to stream on off-days for their starting catcher. For this reason, owners should avoid the Tier 1 catchers and draft Wieters or Montero in the 90-115 range. If those catchers are missed, owners should wait until around the 170 range to draft Molina or Arencibia, and then pair either with a high-upside Tier 4 catcher such as Ramos, Iannetta, or Saltalamacchia. Since there will be safe catcher options on the waiver wire the backup catcher should be one with higher upside.
  • Draft Strategy (Yahoo ADPs) - Santana (Yahoo default ranking 45) is falling slightly more in Yahoo drafts compared to MDC, and is easier to draft if falling into the fourth round. Soto (Yahoo default ranking 178) and Martin (Yahoo default ranking 276) are overrated in Yahoo drafts compared to MDC. For Soto, his 175.7 Yahoo ADP is caused by his 178 default ranking. Martin's 193.4 Yahoo ADP is inexplicable.

Third Basemen

  1. Jose Bautista - 4.92 (5.5 Yahoo; 4.34 MDC) OF
  2. Evan Longoria - 12.64 (13.4 Yahoo; 11.88 MDC)
  3. Adrian Beltre - 29.15 (26.7 Yahoo; 31.60 MDC)
  4. David Wright - 32.01 (31.2 Yahoo; 32.82 MDC)
  5. Ryan Zimmerman - 40.01 (37.4 Yahoo; 42.62 MDC)
  6. Alex Rodriguez - 53.6 (46.0 Yahoo; 61.20 MDC)
  7. Brett Lawrie - 55.08 (54.4 Yahoo; 55.75 MDC)
  8. Pablo Sandoval - 56.43 (42.7 Yahoo; 70.15 MDC) 1B
  9. Michael Young - 64.79 (58.0 Yahoo; 71.58 MDC) 1B, 2B
  10. Kevin Youkilis - 74.22 (63.9 Yahoo; 84.53 MDC) 1B
  11. Aramis Ramirez - 75.03 (80.7 Yahoo; 69.36 MDC)
  12. Mark Reynolds - 116.06 (114.0 Yahoo; 118.12 MDC) 1B
  13. David Freese - 149.98 (136.8 Yahoo; 163.16 MDC)
  14. Martin Prado - 168.59 (148.8 Yahoo; 188.38 MDC) OF
  15. Mike Moustakas - 198.84 (181.8 Yahoo; 215.88 MDC)
  16. Ryan Roberts - 209.43 (221.7 Yahoo; 197.15 MDC) 2B
  17. Edwin Encarnacion - 214.16 (197.2 Yahoo; 231.12 MDC) 1B
  18. Mat Gamel - 222.35 (---Yahoo; 222.35 MDC)
  • Notes - Emilio Bonafacio is not listed since owners will slot him at SS.
  • Tiers -
    • Tier #1: Ranks 1-2 (Bautista; Longoria)
    • Tier #2: Ranks 3-8 (Beltre; Wright; Zimmerman; Rodriguez; Lawrie; Sandoval)
    • Tier #3: Ranks 9-12 (Young; Youkilis; Ramirez; Reynolds)
    • Tier #4: Ranks 13-18 (Freese; Prado; Moustakas; Roberts; Encarnacion; Gamel)
  • Draft Strategy (assuming standard 12-team mixed league with active roster slots for 1B, 3B and CI) - Due to the lack of depth at third base, owners will want to fill their CI slot with a first baseman since first basemen in the 12-18 range are significantly better than the third basemen in this range. Owners are encouraged to select the Tier 1 third basemen in the first round (and pair with a Round 2 hitter with a good batting average). The Tier 2 third basemen offer similar value but should be targeted by any owner that needs a third baseman when there are only a few Tier 2 third basemen left. There is a significant drop in quality between the Tier 3 and 4 third basemen, so owners should not let all of the Tier 3 players get drafted before they have a third basemen. Within Tier 4, owners should target Moustakas, Encarnacion and Gamel compared to their ADPs as bench CIs with upside.
  • Draft Strategy (Yahoo ADPs) - The top third basemen are being taken earlier in Yahoo leagues, particularly A-Rod and Sandoval, so owners should not reach for Tier 2 third basemen since they offer similar value. Tier 4 players Freese and Prado are being drafted much too high in Yahoo leagues, most likely by owners that were left reaching for a third baseman since they missed out on Tiers 1-3. Avoid this mistake. Gamel makes a nice end-draft bench pick in Yahoo leagues since his Yahoo default ranking is 1177, so he will not even be on most owners' radar screens during Yahoo drafts.

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Yahoo and MDC ADP Analysis & Draft Tiers - First Basemen

Yahoo has released their draft results so this week's ADP article will rank first basemen in order of their Yahoo and Mock Draft Central average draft positions, and then identify draft tiers and strategies. In the coming weeks I will look at other hitting positions and pitchers. Here we go with the first basemen (position qualifications referenced in this article are based on Yahoo position qualifications):

  1. Miguel Cabrera - 2.06 (2.52 MDC; 1.6 Yahoo)
  2. Albert Pujols - 3.13 (2.85 MDC; 3.4 Yahoo)
  3. Joey Votto - 8.51 (9.32 MDC; 7.7 Yahoo)
  4. Adrian Gonzalez - 9.14 (9.37 MDC; 8.9 Yahoo)
  5. Prince Fielder - 13.49 (14.07 MDC; 12.9 Yahoo)
  6. Mark Teixeira - 25.29 (27.17 MDC; 23.4 Yahoo)
  7. Paul Konerko - 52.22 (48.24 MDC; 56.2 Yahoo)
  8. Eric Hosmer - 63.65 (52.79 MDC; 74.5 Yahoo)
  9. Michael Morse - 74.49 (78.88 MDC; 70.1 Yahoo)
  10. Lance Berkman - 85.98 (92.15 MDC; 79.8 Yahoo) (OF eligibility)
  11. Ryan Howard - 115.38 (148.45 MDC; 82.3 Yahoo)
  12. Billy Butler - 126.48 (121.55 MDC; 131.4 Yahoo)
  13. Freddie Freeman - 133.51 (121.91 MDC; 145.1 Yahoo)
  14. Nick Swisher - 136.12 (122.93 MDC; 149.3 Yahoo)
  15. Paul Goldschmidt - 142.75 (146.7 MDC; 138.8 Yahoo)
  16. Ike Davis - 151.75 (174.00 MDC; 129.5 Yahoo)
  17. Adam Lind - 163.11 (150.82 MDC; 175.4 Yahoo)
  18. Mark Trumbo - 166.42 (141.94 MDC; 190.9 Yahoo)
  19. Justin Morneau - 196.35 (162.10 MDC; 230.6 Yahoo)
  20. Kendrys Morales - 207.81 (213.22 MDC; 202.4 Yahoo)
  21. Carlos Lee - 208.16 (190.11 MDC; 226.2 Yahoo) (OF)
  22. Gaby Sanchez - 214.41 (198.21 MDC; 230.6 Yahoo)
  23. Brandon Belt - 223.51 (206.12 MDC; 240.9 Yahoo) (OF)
  24. Lucas Duda - 224.76 (226.91 MDC; 222.6 Yahoo) (OF)
  25. Todd Helton - 226.05 (220.50 MDC; 231.6 Yahoo)
  26. John Mayberry - 228.17 (227.13 MDC; 229.2 Yahoo) (OF)
  27. Justin Smoak - 232.34 (222.97 MDC; 241.7 Yahoo)
  28. Derrek Lee - 235.36 (232.72 MDC; 238 Yahoo)
  29. Carlos Pena - 236.61 (221.81 MDC; 251.4 Yahoo)
  30. Adam Dunn - 237.57 (227.93 MDC; 247.2 Yahoo)
  31. Aubrey Huff - 238.17 (253.33 MDC; 223.0 Yahoo) (OF)
  32. Adam LaRoche - 242.99 (242.99 MDC; --- Yahoo)
  33. Mitch Moreland - 244.10 (237.09 MDC; 251.1 Yahoo) (OF)
  34. James Loney - 245.68 (225.35 MDC; 266 Yahoo)
  35. Mike Carp - 247.66 (231.62 MDC; 263.7 Yahoo) (OF)
  36. Jesus Guzman - 255.40 (255.40 MDC; --- Yahoo)
  37. Garrett Jones - 255.68 (281.25 MDC; 230.1 Yahoo)
  38. Casey Kotchman - 262.64 (262.64 MDC; --- Yahoo)
  39. Anthony Rizzo - 268.99 (309.17 MDC; 228.8 Yahoo)
  • Tiers -
    • Tier 1: Ranks 1-6 (Cabrera; Pujols; Votto; Gonzalez; Fielder; Teixeira)
    • Tier 2: Ranks 7-10 (Konerko; Hosmer; Morse; Berkman)
    • Tier 3: Ranks 11-17 (Howard; Butler; Freeman; Swisher; Goldschmidt; Davis; Lind)
    • Tier 4: Ranks 18-21 (Trumbo; Morneau; Morales; Lee)
    • Tier 5: Ranks 22-30 (Sanchez; Belt; Duda; Helton; Mayberry; Smoak; Lee; Pena; Dunn)
    • Tier 6: Ranks 31-39 (Huff; LaRoche; Moreland; Loney; Carp; Guzman; Jones; Kotchman; Rizzo)
  • Draft Strategy (assuming standard 12 team mixed league with active roster slots for 1B, 3B and CI) - 1B is significantly deeper this year than 3B so owners will want to draft their CI and their bench CI from the 1B position. If you were to draft a CI from the 3B position, you would be selecting from David Freese as the 13th 3B per Yahoo ADP compared to Freddie Freeman as the 13th 1B. The dropoff is even more significant the deeper you go with 3B as Scott Rolen is 18th, Ian Stewart is 19th and Placido Polanco is 20th (all per Yahoo) compared to the Tier 4 and 5 1Bs. Therefore, owners should target a Tier 1 or 2 1B for their 1B slot, a Tier 3 1B for their CI position, and a Tier 4 or 5 1B for their bench CI slot. Selecting Cabrera with a top 3 pick, and then selecting multiple Tier 2 and 3 1Bs to CI and bench is another strategy since Cabrera will likely have 3B eligibility by early April, at which time you can activate the 1B drafted to your bench into the 1B slot vacated by Cabrera.
  • Tier Values - The average draft slots for the first two tiers is consistent with their projected values. Within Tier 3, owners should target Freeman, Goldschmidt, Davis & Lind compared to their draft positions. Owners should then skip drafting the Tier 4 1Bs and use picks in the 160-210 range to fill out their rotations and back-end closers. Within the Tier 5 1Bs, Sanchez is an excellent value as a CI or to the bench. In addition, Belt, Duda, Pena & Dunn provide good value as bench CIs at their draft positions. The Tier 6 1Bs will likely be added and dropped throughout the season corresponding to hot and cold streaks - LaRoche, Moreland & Carp should be the players drafted within this tier as bench CIs.

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ADP Analysis: Underrated Hitters

Every Friday during the pre-season I will be analyzing ADP-related issues using the most recent information courtesy of Mock Draft Central and other sources. This week we are looking at hitters that are underrated in relation to their ADPs (unless stated otherwise, all stat references are for the 2011 season):

  • Catchers: Matt Wieters (ADP 98.90; 6th C), Salvador Perez (ADP 236.01; 17th C) and Devin Mesoraco (ADP 242.05; 24th C) - Wieters is a nice post-hype sleeper.  His home runs jumped from 11 in 502 plate-appearances in 2010 to 22 in 551 PAs in 2011. His HR/FB jumped from 8% in 2010 to 13.6% in 2011, and his ISO also jumped from .128 in 2010 to .188 in 2011. Wieters is a player developing and entering his prime. Ron Shandler writes in his 2012 Baseball Forecaster that the switch-hitter has 30-homer upside. Wieters also has AVG upside, as his BABIP was just .276 last season after being .356 in 385 PAs in 2009 and .287 in 2010.  Look to Wieters' 2011 second half xBA of .285 as the potential upside. Wieters also projects to hit 5th in Baltimore's lineup. ...  Perez is a nice C2 target as he projects to hit seventh in a big-upside lineup in Kansas City, and should see a substantial amount of the catcher at-bats without a viable backup. His .331 average in 2011 is not sustainable, as he had a .362 BABIP, but he hit in the .280-.290 range in the minors with good counting stats (2011 - 9 HRs and 43 RBIs in 309 Double-A PAs; 2010 - 7 HRs and 53 RBIs in 396 PAs in high class A). ... Mesoraco hits in a great home ballpark and has the most upside of any C2 relative to his ADP. If he gets the Dusty Baker treatment and sits the bench, he can easily be dropped since he's a late pick, or he can be streamed as your C3 to maximize at-bats from your catcher position.
  • First Basemen: Adam Lind (ADP 151.70; 14th 1B) and Gaby Sanchez (ADP 198.37; 17th 1B) - Lind is projected to hit cleanup -- behind walk machine Jose Bautista -- and plays in the hitter-friendly AL East.  His BABIP dropped to .265 in 2011, which resulted in an average of just .251.  However, his first-half xBA of .312 in 2011 and .311 xBA/.305 AVG in 2009 shows his AVG ceiling. Consistent power throughout his career -- and a bump from his 17% HR/FB in 2011 to the 20% he had in 2009 -- may bring stats close to his 2009 season (35 HRs/114 RBIs). The 22% HR/FB in first half of 2011 shows this is possible. I like Lind more than the three first basemen being drafted immediately before him: Paul Goldschmidt at ADP 147.60; Ryan Howard at ADP 145.73; and Mark Trumbo at ADP 142.61. ... Sanchez will be hitting in an improved Miami lineup with the addition of Jose Reyes, likely rebound of Hanley Ramirez, and further development of Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison. Sanchez's line drive rate (16.7% in 2009, 17.1% in 2010 and 20% in 2011) and BB/K ratio (.56% in 2010, .76% in 2011) have continued to improve, which shows his development as a hitter. This may be the year he avoids the second-half fade. First base is not deep this year, and after Mike Morse is taken in the range of the 5th-7th rounds, I like targeting Lind or Sanchez relative to their ADPs.
  • Second Basemen: Aaron Hill (232.96 ADP; 17th 2B) - Hill projects to hit second in the Arizona lineup, in front of stud Justin Upton, and should have a good chance to repeat the 103 runs he scored in 2009.  He also has massive upside, as evidenced by his 2009 (36 HRs/108 RBIs) and 2010 (26 HRs) seasons. In 2011, he also added a speed element, with 21 swipes after his previous career high had been six in 2009. If he can put it all together and avoid nagging leg injuries, he will easily outproduce his draft position. Hill is a strong middle-infield target after you fill your second-base slot, since shortstop is not as deep this year as 2B.
  • Shortstops: Alexei Ramirez (167.37 ADP; 13th SS) - Ramirez projects to hit second, so he should have good run opportunities, and with his health and consistenty over the course of his career, he has a chance to blow past his career high of 83 runs in 2010. The right-handed hitter has a good power/speed combo that should put him in the teens in both homers and steals. He may be a boring pick for those who do not want to reach for a shortstop, but helps win championships. I prefer targeting Ramirez as an underrated SS compared to the two shortstops off the board immediately after: Emilio Bonifacio (172.25 ADP; 14th SS) has playing-time concerns and no power, and Jhonny Peralta (175.79 ADP; 15th SS) has no speed and a lower batting average floor (.245 xBA in 2009, .260 xBA in 2010 and .262 xBA in 2011).   
  • Third Basemen: In an incredibly weak year for third basemen, I like targeting Evan Longoria (ADP 11.49) in the middle of the first round or Kevin Youkilis (ADP 84.66, 9th 3B) later on.  Longoria's unlucky .239 BABIP kept his average down, but his .286 xBA showed what his average should have been. His development as a hitter was demonstrated by his BB/K average spiking from .58% in 2010 to .86% in 2011. Also, his HR/FB returned to 18% after dropping to 11% in 2010. His upside is stated in Shandler's Forecaster as 40 HR/.290 AVG.  Given the position scarcity of 3B this season, Longoria is underrated at ADP 11.49. ... After Youkilis on the third-base depth chart, there is a huge dropoff, so don't let him slip past you in the draft. Youkilis' BABIP dipped to its lowest level since 2004 at .296, and his AVG tanked due to hitting only .234 versus right-handed pitchers. Since he has never had a problem with righties before despite a negative pattern emerging (.318 in 2008, .304 in 2009, .275 in 2010), let's hope it was a one-year blip. Also, a return to health should yield one more season approaching 2008 and 2009 levels despite Youkilis likely being on the downside of his career at age 33.
  • Outfielders: Jason Heyward (ADP 107.03, 31st OF), Bryce Harper (ADP 210.33, 55th OF) and Alex Rios (ADP 221.02, 60th OF). Heyward's BABIP was .260 in 2011, which resulted in a .227 average. But, his .251 xBA showed he's not a .220s hitter (in 2010, his xBA was .278 and his BA was .277). Also, he has dropped 20 pounds and was doing hitting drills at Turner Field in January 2012. I'll take the chance his eye returns that yielded 51 walks to 51 strikeouts in 422 PAs in the minors in 2009, and he can reverse the drop in line drive rate from 18% in 2010 at age 20 to 13% in 2011 at age 21. ... Harper is the classic high-upside fifth outfielder, both since his value will skyrocket if he makes the team out of Spring Training, and because if that happens -- like Yu Darvish discussed here -- you can take advantage of the owner in your league that makes trades based on name recognition over stats by selling very high early in the season. ... Rios' alternating years of good and bad seasons says this should be a good one. He is being drafted so low (Eric Thames and Nyjer Morgan are the OFs directly above him in ADP rank) that he is worth the chance to see if he can reverse a .237 BABIP (2009 was the only other year in his career his BABIP was below .300) and provide upside HR/SB numbers as your fifth or sixth outfielder. Remember: he had 21 HRs, 88 RBIs, 34 SBs and a .284 AVG as recently as 2010.

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ADP Analysis: Overrated Hitters

Every Friday during the pre-season I will be analyzing ADP-related issues using the most recent information courtesy of Mock Draft Central and other sources. This week we are looking at hitters that are overrated in relation to their ADPs. The upcoming schedule will be:

  • Friday, February 10 - Underrated hitters.
  • Friday, February 17 - Comparing ADP variances from different sources, reviewing ADP movers or other requests from the comments.

Here we go with the overrated hitters (unless stated otherwise, all stat references are for the 2011 season):

  • CatchersMike Napoli (ADP 46.37, #2 catcher) is going way too early! Napoli's .344 BABIP inflated his batting average to .320. A .279 BABIP in 2010 yielded a .230 batting average. In 2011, his 25.4% HR per flyball led all hitters with at least 300 at-bats. In 2010 it was 19.3%, and in 2009 it was 16.5%. The ballpark switch certainly helped, but luck also was a factor. Only 5 of his HRs were no-doubters, per Hit Tracker. Also, his H% jumped from 28% in 2010 to 35% in 2011 (a career high). Alex Avila (ADP 109.50) and his .366 BABIP is also overrated. I prefer waiting on the deep catcher position to drafting Napoli in the 3rd or 4th rounds, or Avila in the 8th or 9th rounds, Wait on guys like Matt Wieters (ADP 99.34) or Miguel Montero (ADP 103.34) rather than Napoli, and J.P. Arencibia (ADP 180.00) or Wilson Ramos (ADP 208.22) rather than Avila. In one-catcher leagues, if you drafted Napoli you made a mistake. If you are going to reach for a catcher early in a draft, then reach for Carlos Santana (ADP 36.81), who is going to be so good this year they will make not one but two tourism videos honoring Cleveland.
  • First BasemenMark Teixeira (ADP 27.33, 6th 1B) and Mark Trumbo (ADP 142.71, 11th 1B). As I discussed here, I don't like taking a low-batting-average hitter in the first four or so rounds of a draft. Teixeira's BABIP last year was low at .239 and his xBA was .281, so there is hope for a batting-average rebound. But, his xBA was also .281 in 2010 when he hit .256. At age 32, he may be on the downswing of his career. I would rather take a top-five first baseman in the first two rounds (warning: first base is not very deep this year) and let someone else have the batting average risk of Teixeira in the late-second or third round. As for Trumbo, I worry about him getting squeezed out of ABs in the Angels' lineup, and now he may have a lingering injury that will delay or slow him in Spring Training.
  • Second Basemen: Wow, second base is stacked this year with impact top-tier players and depth. Dustin Ackley (ADP 135.95, 10th 2B) is going too soon for my liking. 6 HRs and 6 SBs in 376 PAs - I'll pass. If I still need to fill my 2B slot near the 135th pick, I'll wait and grab Kelly Johnson (ADP 235.30), Jason Kipnis (ADP 164.07), or Aaron Hill (ADP 231.41).
  • ShortstopsDerek Jeter (ADP 125.80, 8th SS) and Asdrubal Cabrera (ADP 71.61, 6th SS). Jeter's .297 batting average was lucky given his .279 xBA and he is in a steady decline (18 HRs in '09, 10 in '10 and 6 in '11). Don't draft on name alone. 15 of Cabrera's 25 homers were just-enoughs, per Hit Tracker. Also, his second-half numbers were worrisome (.238 xBA and 5 SBs). Ron Shandler writes that a .260-10-60-10 downside exists.
  • Third BasemenDavid Freese (ADP 160.37, 11th 3B). Freese's .356 BABIP resulted in a .297 batting average. His .273 xBA was closer to what he will have in 2012. He is also being drafted too high based on postseason heroics and given his injury history. In a league with 0-2 DL slots, you are likely to drop him the first time he hits the DL. I like the upside of young Mike Moustakas (ADP 211.79) or Lonnie Chisenhall (ADP 217.15) a few rounds after Freese.
  • OutfieldersMichael Bourn (ADP 57.33(!), 17th OF). For my money, Bourn is the most overrated player being drafted this season. His .369 BABIP resulted in a .294 batting average despite a .277 xBA. Beware that his batting average floor when he is not lucky looks like his 2008: .229 batting average with a .290 BABIP. He is also a power drain for such a high draft slot. If you need SBs, find them elsewhere such as by waiting for Dexter Fowler at ADP 222.86 or Jose Tabata at ADP 224.73. Or, take a chance on burners with huge SB upside if they get enough playing time such as Rajai Davis (ADP 224.01), Jason Bourgeois (ADP 225.62), and Ben Revere (ADP 228.99). Other overrated players are Yoenis Cespedes (ADP 194.93) and Mike Trout (ADP 208.55). Both players have bright futures, but will not start the season in the Majors and are highly unlikely to have an impact this season that comes anywhere close to justifying their draft slots.

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ADP Analysis: Underrated Pitchers

Every Friday during the pre-season I will be analyzing ADP-related issues using the most recent information courtesy of Mock Draft Central and other sources. This week we are looking at pitchers that are underrated in relation to their ADP positions - don't reach too far on the underrated players, the idea is to draft them as near to their ADP spot as possible and get excellent value at that slot. The upcoming schedule will be:

  • Friday, February 3 - Overrated hitters.
  • Friday, February 10 - Underrated hitters.
  • Friday, February 17 - Comparing ADP variances from different sources, reviewing ADP movers or other requests from the comments.

Here we go with the underrated pitchers (unless stated otherwise, all stat references are for the 2011 season):

  • Gameshow time ("Call the American Embassy!") - What qualifying pitcher led all MLB starters in SIERA last year at 2.66? Answer - Zack Greinke with a current ADP of 51.54. Last year his counting stats were deflated by an early season injury and his hr/flyball rate shot up compared to previous seasons (last five years were 7%, 9%, 5%, 8% and then 14% in 2011). He has 2009 upside (2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts) and pitches in the pathetic NL Central. Bold prediction - Greinke finishes in the top five ranked pitchers this season, and is currently being drafted as the 13th starter.
  • Want credentials that would make Pat Anderson proud? How about a 10.74 k/bb and 2.94 SIERA for Brandon Beachy (ADP 116.95). But something's missing? Only seven wins last year and missed time due to an oblique injury drives down his price. Bold prediction - Beachy has the most value of any Atlanta starter this season.
  • As I discussed here, I use my three bench spots in the RotoAuthority League for back-up hitters to stream at-bats. But, that does not mean you need to draft the back-up hitters. Take a chance in the later rounds of your draft on relievers that may win a closing job in the spring and then drop them for a waiver wire hitter when the season begins if the reliever does not pan out. Players I like to potentially win a closer job in the spring that are going late are Wilton Lopez (ADP 262.64), Brian Fuentes (ADP 336.05), Joel Peralta (ADP 257.47), and Jim Johnson (233.61). Also, as further discussed here and here, we are only chasing one category with closers. So, target late closers such as Matt Capps (ADP 234.12), Frank Francisco (ADP 232.26) and Javy Guerra (ADP 230.78, almost fifty spots behind Kenley Jansen) - each of these three relievers are likely to go far earlier in your draft than these ADP slots. Bold prediction - Wilton Lopez finishes the season with 20+ saves and leads the Astros. Matthew Berry was one season too early. Be sure to keep up with our Closer Depth Chart so you can keep tabs on each team's pecking order.
  • Madison Bumgarner (ADP 75.58) - he finished eighth among qualifying starters last season with a 3.18 SIERA, had a high .322 BABIP, turned his season around after a slow start and pitches in San Francisco. Who let the dogs out? This is a rock solid #2 and elite #3. Bold prediction - Bumgarner has more value this year than Matt Cain. Last year, Bumgarner's xERA was 3.19 compared to a xERA of 3.63 for Cain.
  • Jonathon Niese (ADP 218.76) - see Dan Mennella's excellent write-up here. (Not quite a) bold prediction - Niese has the most value of any NY Met starter this season.
  • Brandon Morrow (ADP 185.07) - Morrow had the largest differential for qualifying starters last season between ERA (4.72) and SIERA (3.31). He had a 10.19 k/9, and this season has an improved Toronto bullpen. Bold prediction - Morrow finishes the season as a solid #3 fantasy starter despite currently being drafted as the 51st starting pitcher.
  • Ryan Dempster (ADP 231.11) and Chris Capuano (ADP 272.98) - Here are a couple of guys you can finish out your rotation with that should be improved this season. Dempster has a hopefully improved defense behind him this season with David DeJesus added and Aramis Ramirez removed, and his SIERA (3.79) and xERA (3.72) were much better than his ERA (4.80). Capuano pitches in LA, and his SIERA (3.60) and xERA (3.64) were also much better than his ERA (4.55). Other end draft starters I would target are Tim Stauffer (ADP 246.09; I prefer him to Dempster and believe that he will be drafted ahead of Dempster in most leagues outside of Wrigleyville), Jake Peavy (ADP 232.65, you can stash during his DL stints) and James McDonald (ADP 305.03; Ron Shandler writes that his upside this season is a 3.50 ERA and 15 wins).
  • Yu Darvish (ADP 126.80) - Darvish has all the makings of a popular guy everyone will want to own if he starts strong, and you can take advantage of the owner in your league that makes trades based on name recognition over stats by selling very high early in the season. If you don't know who that owner is in your league, then it is you. Draft Darvish at 126 and then trade him for Yovani Gallardo (ADP 50.92), Daniel Hudson (ADP 87.33) or Bumgarner early in the season.
  • Sadly, this is the last entry of the week: Stephen Strasburg (ADP 61.95) - this is probably the last season the former USA Olympic pitcher (no, not in the year 3022) is drafted outside of the top 7 starters (he is currently being drafted as the 16th starter). Take the 160 innings he will pitch this year, and fill in another 30-40 with an elite reliever from the waiver wire and you have a top 7 starter's numbers.

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ADP Analysis: Overrated Starting Pitchers

Every Friday during the pre-season I will be analyzing ADP-related issues using the most recent ADP information courtesy of Mock Draft Central and other sources. We start this week by looking at pitchers that are overrated in relation to their ADP positions (don't trade an "overrated" top tier starter appearing on this list for Chris Volstad, unless it is because you have a fanboy mancrush on Theo Epstein), and the upcoming schedule will be:

  • Friday, January 27 - Underrated starting pitchers.
  • Friday, February 3 - Overrated hitters.
  • Friday, February 10 - Underrated hitters.
  • Friday, February 17 - Comparing ADP variances from different sources or other requests from the comments.

Leave any other ADP-related requests in the comments, and I will try to add as many as possible to the pre-season schedule. Here we go with the overrated pitchers (unless stated otherwise, all stat references are for the 2011 season):

  • Any starter in the top 15 overall (Justin Verlander is at ADP 8, Clayton Kershaw at ADP 13 and Roy Halladay at ADP 15) - As I discussed here, I am in favor of drafting a starter in rounds 2 or 3 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. However, taking a pitcher in the top 15 is too early in this newfound era of the pitcher. I am taking Joey Votto (ADP 10), Evan Longoria (ADP 12), or Prince Fielder (ADP 16) before a starter.
  • The First Five Closers Off The Board - Also as I discussed here, do not be the owner starting closer runs in your draft, you are only chasing one category (an elite set-up reliver can get you similar non-saves stats 50-150 picks later, or off the waiver wire). I do not care if the first five are Craig Kimbrel, Jonathan Papelbon, Ricky Vaughn (where can I buy the Dorn jersey shown in that link?), or the late great Rod Beck's Des Moines center field RV, resist the urge to take a top closer! This urge will grow if top closers begin falling in your draft, but since we are only chasing one category (saves totals, which are about as predicable as throwing darts against a spinning dart board while blindfolded) the value of closers is relative to where others are being drafted. Craig Kimbrel (current ADP 54) does not increase in value falling to the eighth or ninth round if no other closers are being drafted. Ignore ADP slots or draft sheets, and just try to target getting three out of the thirty closers wherever they are being drafted. I do not believe that any owner should punt saves, just saying getting any three is fine. We will see next week that the bottom tier closers are underrated - wait on drafting closers and then pounce in rounds 11 through 18 to make sure you get three.
  • Jeremy Hellickson (ADP 131) - Among qualified starters, he had the lowest BABIP in MLB last year (.223) and had the highest differential (1.83) between SIERA on the high end (4.78) and ERA on the low end (2.95). He also has a measly 1.63 K/BB rate. And he pitches in the AL East. I'd rather have Anibal Sanchez (ADP 132, 3.29 SIERA), Max Scherzer (ADP 147, 3.63 SIERA with a 3.11 K/BB), or Shaun Marcum (ADP 154, NL Central starter, 3.91 SIERA) or Brandon Morrow (185 ADP, 3.31 SIERA, 10.19 K/9 (!)).
  • Jered Weaver (ADP 31) - 2.41 ERA masked 3.67 SIERA and 3.80 xFIP. His hr/f dropped from 8% each year from 2008 through 2010 to 6% in 2011, and was carried by an insane 3% in the first half of 2011 (10% second half of 2011). Expect regression. Give me instead Zack Greinke (ADP 51, more on this stud sleeper to follow in later posts) or teammate Dan Haren (ADP 39, 3.34 SIERA). Does this mean that if Weaver and Zack Greinke are sitting on the board at 31 that you should take Zack Greinke? The answer is, as George Lucas would have Darth Vader say (or as George Lucas would stupidly remix years later over the audio of your draft), NOOOOOOOOOOOO! It means that you take a hitter, wait a round, and still get a superior pitcher in Zack Greinke to the one you were going to take at 31 in Jared Weaver.
  • Mark Buehrle (ADP 275) - 4.38 SIERA and 4.78 k/9. I prefer the upside of Jon Niese (ADP 279, 7.89 k/9, 3.42 SIERA) or Mike Minor (ADP 296, 3.76 SIERA) instead.
  • Ian Kennedy (ADP 70) - 3.44 SIERA, and the 21 wins will cause owners to overreach. Not saying just yet I would take Madison Bumgarner (ADP 74, 3.18 SIERA) or Daniel Hudson (ADP 78) over Kennedy, but I would rather wait on my No. 2 or a high-end No. 3 starter to get one of these two a round later.

As a bonus, like seeing the Avengers teaser at the end of the Captain America credits (yes, I was one of the five or so nerds in the theater opening weekend that knew it was coming and forced my girlfriend to sit through five minutes of credits), here is a guy that seems like he would be overrated but is being drafted at about his correct slot:

  • Stephen Strasburg (ADP 58) - He will put up sick numbers for 160 innings, and then you can round out the other forty innings or so with bantha fodder set-up men from the waiver wire. I love taking him before the next two starters on the ADP list (Matt Cain at 65 and James Shields at 66). Nab him in the fifth round if he is available, particularly if you have not drafted a starter yet.

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