Early ADP Trends Using NFBC Mock Draft Data
For those who have been visiting us here for the last few seasons, you’ll know that this series that I am about to begin for the third consecutive year is all about Average Draft Position (ADP) and the trends you will witness over the next couple of months. For those who are new to the group, welcome. I’ve received a number of emails each season discussing the value of this series and how good of a tool it can be for your drafts.
Tracking ADP is going to help you see where virtually every player is potentially going in fantasy baseball drafts everywhere. We compile the data from every mock draft done on the site, from regular old mixed league drafts to single-league drafts to different web site’s experts league drafts to the always valuable National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) mocks. You’ll get a general understanding as to which players you may have to reach for if you truly covet them and which ones you may be able to wait a few rounds for while you build up the rest of your squad. With this ADP trend analysis, you’ll also be able to see which potential sleepers are being outed by the general public and which ones will remain hidden gems right up until the very last minute.
Obviously, ADP trend analysis is more useful in leagues with snake drafts than in auctions, but it’s not totally useless to you if you partake in the bidding process. Players who are trending upwards are likely to cost more than they normally would as they are gaining popularity with each passing day. If a player you like is trending downwards, then perhaps that it someone you would like to nominate early and get at a more bargain rate. Players who don’t seem to be moving up or down the ADP rankings should have a cost relatively close to their original dollar values and taking all of that information and putting it together should enable you to come up with a solid budget distribution and game plan for your auction.
Now one caveat we need to discuss here at this point in time is the data sample size you see on Mock Draft Central. With so few people doing full mocks, the current data is somewhat skewed right now. Maybe you’ve got a group of three or four people gearing up for a mock, but don’t have the full 12 to fill out a basic draft. There’s nothing wrong with giving it a go just to see, but the drafts are filled out with computer players and those picks go strictly according to the site’s rankings and then what positions the computer player needs to fill regardless of whether or not that player is, indeed, the best player available.
You also have to be concerned with the different roster requirements set for each draft. Is it a one or two catcher league? The current ADP numbers don’t differentiate and therefore the catcher ADP is slightly askew. The same goes for leagues that have three outfield spots versus six or the use of a middle/corner infielder versus one or two players at every starting position. Does the league use utility players? What about a league that differentiates between starters and relievers versus a league that doesn’t separate between the two? There are a number of factors to take into account and while the need to do so becomes less when you’re looking at the collective data from 500 different drafts in a week as opposed to now when you have just 30 or 40, these early weeks can cause a bit of confusion with such substantial swings in players’ trends.
To help you with that aspect here in the early stages of your mock draft prep work, we are going to hold off on the general public data for now and strictly look at ADP trends within the mocks taking place for NFBC purposes. Given the competitive nature of the NFBC and the caliber of knowledge and skill that these owners have, even the earliest of data can help provide you with an accurate base from which to get started. This is supposedly the cream of the crop in the fantasy baseball world and those that are gearing up for NFBC drafts are doing full 30-round mocks with almost no computer players involved. The data you are collecting from these drafts has remarkable accuracy and take into account the most current player information.
If you are new to the NFBC leagues, allow me to give you a basic rundown. You can click here for the full set of rules, but here’s the gist of it. The NFBC is made up of several satellite leagues in which each satellite is made up of 15 teams. The satellites are standard 5x5 rotisserie leagues that use the basic categories for hitters (AVG, HR, RBI, runs, SB) and pitchers (W, K, saves, ERA, WHIP). The roster requirements are 2 C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, MI, CI, 5 OF, 1 utility, 9 pitchers with seven available bench spots. Free agents can be acquired through a weekly bidding process and there is no trading allowed. With that knowledge, you can now look at the ADP data and its trends through very specific eyes.
For today, we’re just going to dip our toe in the pool right now and keep it reasonably introductory. We’re going to take a cursory glance at the trend report for NFBC mocks and some of the movement that has taken place over the past week; notable early risers and fallers, for example. Due to the size of the sheet, I have provided a link to it via Google Docs. Click on it below and you will see the full list of players with their current ADP in NFBC play, their ADP from a week ago and what kind of movement each player has seen within the span of just one week. Scroll past the chart and we’ll have a bit of commentary for you to keep in mind as you’re getting your feet wet. As we move forward in this series we will look at movement trends typically in two week increments and that should give you a strong idea as to how some of the best fantasy baseball minds in the game are viewing specific players.
Two players who are topping to trend recent trend movement are relievers Jose Veras (+68.59%) and Jason Grilli (+62.56). As you can see, both have started with relatively low ADP numbers, but with news coming out that each will be given the opportunity to open the 2013 as their team’s respective closers, Veras in Houston and Grilli in Pittsburgh, both are becoming more coveted pitching commodities.
It looks like there may be some doubters out there in Wilin Rosario’s status as the primary backstop in Colorado as Ramon Hernandez (+25.54%) seems to be trending upwards even as the back-up. Again, it’s a two-catcher league so even if Hernandez works his way into a platoon and plays even as much as twice a week, he’ll have some value.
Boston outfielder Ryan Kalish (+23.15%) has become a bit of a trendy pick early on as very few pundits believe that Jonny Gomes will be a full-time outfielder, given his struggles against right-handed pitching. Should Kalish work his way into a straight up platoon, his value will take a nice increase as he is likely to see a bit more playing time in the split.
With a recent signing by the Rangers and the word that Mike Olt will likely begin the season in the minors, Lance Berkman (+20.97) is on the rise here in the early goings of drafts. Personally, I’m not a believer regardless of how well Arlington plays to hitters, but hey, even experts can be wrong from time to time. I just hope they’re in my league!
Speaking of the Rangers, keep an eye on outfielder Leonys Martin (+16.94%). There has been no progress made on bringing speedster Michael Bourn to Texas, so if things stay as they are, Martin should be the team’s opening day center fielder and possible leadoff hitter as well. Some NFBC folks are already grabbing him as if he is locked in to the position and until you hear otherwise, you should consider him a strong candidate.
Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey (-55.19%) tops the list of fallers here as the Sox brass opted to bring in former Pittsburgh closer Joel Hanrahan to be their ninth-inning specialist. That’s not to say that Bailey will be completely devoid of value, but for fantasy purposes, you can probably find yourself a better set-up guy if you’re looking for help with your ratios.
A declining Jason Bay (-36.04%) trying to catch on with the Mariners as a possible fourth outfielder? No thanks say the folks at the NFBC and it’s hard to find fault with their way of thinking. You can definitely do better even needing five outfielders for your roster. Heck, he may not even make the team coming out of spring training.
Geovany Soto (-24.75%) still hasn’t found a new home yet and his options are running out very quickly. Even if he does sign somewhere soon, it is highly unlikely that it will be as a starting catcher, so right off the bat, his value takes a big hit even in a two-catcher league.
A disastrous Heath Bell (-21.75%) now in hitter-friendly Arizona? Again, we’d all like to politely decline.
And finally, it doesn’t appear that too many people are buying into Jeremy Guthrie’s (-18.59%) second half turnaround from last year and again, it’s tough to argue with the way they are thinking. While his numbers after going from Colorado to Kansa City looked amazing last year, he did start to come to come back to Earth towards the end of September. Perhaps maybe it was because everyone in the American League turned around and said, “Oh wait. It’s Guthrie. We know him.” (insert Ralph Kramden bang-zoom impression here)
I’ll be back looking at the ADP trends three times a week, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, right here until the season begins. So keep checking back. Trust me, it’s going to make your draft process and strategy sessions that much easier and you’ll be better prepped for you league than any one of your competitors.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy and for more detailed questions, thoughts or comments, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org