Early Outfielder ADP
Whether your needs are power, speed or batting average, the outfield is always flush with quality players. Thirty teams, three outfield spots for each, plus maybe a handful of American League designated hitters and you’ve got at least 100 names from which to choose. Next to starting pitching, which we’ll get to in the next installment of this ADP series, it is the deepest position out there, right? Well slow your roll a little there, because there’s a lot going on which could sap that vast pool of outfielder from which you fish.
Obviously, the depth at a particular position hinges on a number of things with respect to your particular league. Some leagues require that you only start three outfielder, so unless you’re playing in a 30-team league, the outfielders available are abundant, to say the least. Even in a 12-team league where you start five, it tends to be fairly plentiful. However, once you start creeping up in the number of teams and start needing five or six outfielder coupled with a utility guy, and suddenly, things start looking a little light. Now throw in the number of potential platoon situations, guys who are just keeping the spot warm for a hot, up-and-coming prospect, and guys who are perpetually replaced late in games due to defensive shortcomings, and suddenly the position is looking like some decrepit, old gypsy touched it on the cheek and creepily said, “Thinner!”
These are things that everyone has taken into account over the years and if you’ve tracked ADP before in the past, you’ll see how a major percentage of the players taken in the first five rounds are outfielders. By mid-March of last season, 26 of the first 100 picks were outfielders, including 17 of the first 45 (37.8-percent). It may not seem like much at first, but it was the highest percentage of any other position. Those who failed to secure at least a pair of outfielders over the first six or seven rounds were left with some pretty bland choices once they got around to filling the position.
So how about this year? Are we looking at the same? Are there enough guys to go around or do we need to act fast like last year and the few years prior? Well, here’s a look at the latest ADP numbers for outfielders, courtesy of our friends over at the NFBC.
|Rank||Player||Team||Pos||Avg Pick||Min Pick||Max Pick|
|40||Alejandro De Aza||CWS||CF||179.11||126||255|
|74||Jackie Bradley Jr.||Bos||LF||316.62||270||383|
Forgive me for not going deeper than the top 75, but how much scrolling down the page do you really need to do? We’ll get to the rest of the list soon enough, but for now, let’s look to see how fast you need to act.
Just a quick glance at player rank and ADP gives you that same number as last year. Twenty-six of the first 100 picks, on average, belong to outfielders. Break it down even further and you’ve got four of the top 10, seven of the top 20, 12 of the top 40 and 16 of the top 50. From there it’s roughly two outfielders per 10 picks until you reach the top 100. After that you see a few runs where outfielders will go in clusters, but overall, the meat of the position – the guys you want on that wall, you need on that wall – come off the board fairly quickly.
We’ll continue to look at some of the trends like this and see how much change occurs throughout the spring. There are still numerous position battles to watch and roster adjustments to me made. And we haven’t even gotten to the trendy picks where rookies like George Springer see their ADPs spike in drafts before having played even one game at the major league level.
In the meantime, here are a few thoughts on some players and their current ADP numbers.
Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS – Mark it down right here, right now. This is me telling you to not take Ellsbury this early in your draft. He is a base-stealer with some pop, but not as much as many seem to say. I get it, there’s a short porch in right field so he may hit a few extra dingers, but that year of 30 home runs is such a faint and distant memory, you need to get it out of your mind. No one is throwing him an inside fastball for him to turn on and pull and if they do, it won’t be that frequently. And while many people want to dismiss the talk of him being injury prone and cite “fluke” injuries as the issue, keep in mind that his style of play invites those supposed fluke injuries. He’s not going to stop crashing into walls. He’s not going to stop sliding head-first. He’s not going to stop diving for fly-balls. He’s not going to change the style of game he plays and that’s just fact. If he does, then he’s not giving the Yankees what they paid for. He’s a notoriously slow healer and should he get hurt again, which he will, he’s costing you a major player in your draft. Rant over, but I’ll happily be back for an “I told you so.”
Yasiel Puig, LAD – He put together a great first season last year, but that’s what it was – one season. His 22.5-percent strikeout rate doesn’t make you the least bit nervous? And the fact that his walk rate was about league-average, that plus the strikeout rate doesn’t hint towards a drop in average once the BABIP comes out of the stratosphere? And how about the attitude? The off-field issue? None of that gives you pause enough to not draft him inside the second round? I’m not saying that he can’t be a solid fantasy player, but I’m not ready to throw a second-round pick at a guy with a minimal track record and trouble written all over him.
Billy Hamilton, CIN – Say it with me, people…you can’t steal first base. While Hamilton’s speed is insane, there’s a little issue called a .308 OBP in Triple-A last year and if he continues to whiff at a rate close to 20-percent while posting an average walk rate, well he better be hitting the snot out of the ball in order to be productive. People are completely enamored (read: blinded) by his stolen base potential, but remember that he isn’t promised anything and if he doesn’t hit/get on-base like he is supposed to, then Bryan Price is going to do his best Dusty Baker impression and send that kid down to the minors to learn how to do it. A sixth-round pick for a guy who could start in the minors for more than just the arbitration-saving month like normal rookies? Not on my watch.
Jason Heyward, ATL – Last year at this time we were all gung ho about Heyward and all that potential he has. OK, maybe not everyone, but I sure was. Unfortunately, the injury bug bit him hard…again…and the season became a lost one for both Heyward and his fantasy owners. He went from a third round (sometimes second) pick last season to a sixth or seventh-rounder this season. A better spot for him? Well, based on last year’s totals, yes. But I’m still a huge fan and just might consider reaching a round for him still just to ensure that I don’t miss the breakout. Watch his ADP over the spring though. If he hits well, then those Heyward-lovers hiding in the woodwork right now will start to come out in droves and shoot his ADP way up.
Dexter Fowler, HOU – Here’s my answer to all the Ellsbury lovers out there and I will happily place a bet as to who posts the better value by the end of the year. Ellsbury in the late first versus Fowler in the 17th? I’ll take Fowler thank you. He may not steal as many bases as Ellsbury will, but the power and on-base percentage will be equal, if not maybe even a little bit better. The key here is cost. His first year in Houston should be a solid one as he bats leadoff regularly and gets to stay in a hitter’s park. We watched his power start to develop and now here in his age-27 season, he has a great opportunity to take his game to the next level. He’ll need to learn to steal bases properly as it’s not just about speed, but perhaps a spring with Craig Biggio hanging around camp can be of some assistance. Hopefully he won’t do too much this spring to jack up his ADP numbers because where he is now is a HUGE bargain.