Sunday, February 23, 2014


Bryce Harper is over his sophomore slump
and the third time will be a charm.
Here is Part II of my look at early ADP (Average Draft Position). This time we are looking at points league formats. Understanding the ADP trends allows you to map out a clear draft strategy. It will tell you how long you can wait on certain players and who is being under/overrated. Remember its not only about getting the best talent. It's also about getting that talent for the proper value. The biggest change you will see is the value of pitching in this format as opposed to roto leagues and with good reason. Two start weeks and big game bonuses are a huge advantage in this format. As I laid out in this year's FANTASY BASEBALL BLACK BOOK '14, the RPV (Relative Position Value) advantage of having multiple front line starters can be enormous.

Here is a look at some early trends in points league ADP worth noting that can influence your draft strategy a great deal. (ADP based on CBS Fantasy Sports)


(Picks 1-30)

The usual pitching suspects show up in the early going (Kershaw #2, Wainwright #5, Darvish #7, Verlander #9, Scherzer #10, Felix Hernandez #11). It's nice to see Verlander getting a pass for a down year since he has earned it. As you can see, if you want an elite starter you have to be willing to draft one in the first round. The one starter that I think is trending a little too high is Cliff Lee at #13 overall. He certainly performed like and ace last year, but at 35 on a team with question marks I think that is a little high. This is especially true when you consider Strasburg (#16), Jose Fernandez (#19), Sale (#23) and Bumgarner (#26) are all still on the board at that point. In a snake draft, I would definitely take the big bat over Lee and grab one of these other arms in the later second round. David Price at #17 is the most overrated pitcher based off the fact his strikeout rate is declining and he did have an injury plagued 2013. He is far from done, but not worth this high of a pick heading into this season.
At #15 Troy Tulowitzki is trending upward in a terrible shortstop market. Chris Davis at #24 is much more reasonable than his roto league ADP. His strikeouts are a burden in points leagues and I am more apt to take Edwin Encarnacion (#28) a few picks later. He may have a lower ceiling than Davis, but he has two consecutive consistent power seasons to his name. Basically, you know what you are getting with Encarnacion; Davis' value on the other hand is far more unknown. Ryan Braun is a steal at #18, as is Carlos Gonzalez at #22. When you talk about value per draft pick here is a prime example. Braun's PED suspension has brought his value down from a top 3 pick to the 15-20 range. Cargo had his best overall season when you consider his new found away game production. Constant injuries weigh down his ranking. Both guys come with risk, but when the rewards are this high you shouldn't be gun shy.
Yasiel Puig (#29) is edging out Bryce Harper (#30) and that is just bananas in my world. Puig is a talented player, but he is in for a big adjustment in year two. I am not ready to anoint him after a partial season of good production. Plus, he comes with a fair amount of personal liability as well. If you don't think that matters you are wrong. Harper is poised in his third season to really take a step forward in his development and I believe could even reach first round level production if everything breaks right. He has more experience than Puig and is clearly more mature despite being younger.

(Picks 31-60)
David Wright is still worth
a big investment.
The infield market begins to fly off the board with Pedroia (#32), Matt Carpenter (#34), David Wright (#35) and Jose Reyes (#40). The estimated 3rd round value is about right considering: Pedroia's declining power, Carpenter has done it only once and Wright and Reyes have had trouble staying on the field. Craig Kimbrel (#36) is the first and only closer selected within these 30 picks. Again, points leagues are a different animal. Depending on what saves are worth in your specific league and how many you are allowed to play, this trend can vary. Elite closers can be an alternative to starters in the right situation when they have high strikeout rates.
Rounds 4-6 in this ADP are really about filling your infield and rotation. There are really no glaring values out of balance. Perhaps you can argue than Anibal Sanchez at #59 should be higher than Julio Teheran (#49) who has had one big year, and Jered Weaver (#50) who is aging and trending in the wrong direction; but that is splitting hairs. For my money, the secondary pitching market yields great value with middle tier starters and young up and comers like Michael Wacha, Tony Cingrani, Shelby Miller, Sonny Gray, Taijuan Walker etc. It would be smarter to invest in offense at this stage in the draft and go with the "strength in numbers" philosophy in your rotation once you have one or two top guys. Conversely, the offensive market is not what it used to be and there is greater value to be had at this stage in the draft than any other. Basically, it's better to be drafting Jason Kipnis (#52) than Matt Cain (#47) is the main idea.

(Picks 61-100)
The draft now shifts to the aforementioned young starters and elite closers like Chapman (#61), Jensen (#64), Holland (#66) and Rosenthal (#81). If you can only play one reliever, I suggest letting this market come to you. If your league has 16 teams, you are still going to be putting out a closer in the top half of league market and saves are easy to find. I would rather be drafting Ian Desmond (#80) or Ben Zobrist (#82). Matt Kemp at #74 is intriguing, though I believe that ADP will rise as he begins to play in spring games. Early drafts will benefit from players like Kemp who come with risk off down years.
Josh Donaldson at 76 could be a steal. Yes, he has had one big year, but it was a consistent one and he has minor league track record to back it up. Similar situation to Matt Carpenter, yet Carpenter is going 40 picks ahead of him. That is a bit crazy. Carlos Gomez (#87) is also a steal considering his skill set. Allen Craig's versatility and run production is another sleeper at #98. Many first baseman and outfielders have already gone and Craig has the ability to put up similar stats. He drops this far because he has had trouble staying on the field. Players with talent are worth risk, and Craig can be a steal. His position flexibility is also a huge plus.
Now for the overvalued...Justin Upton at #63 is way too high. He has never reached the "potential" scouts have suggested and despite being relatively young there are simply other outfield bats out there that can put up similar power numbers. Patrick Corbin (#69) is another guy I would avoid at this value.Way too many options out there and Corbin was dreadful after the break. Mark Trumbo (#75) has power, but the change in leagues and his big strikeout rates should not have him in above Jayson Werth (#86) and even Josh Hamilton (#91).

Again, its about getting the right player at the right price.

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