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Early Third Base ADP Trends Using NFBC Data

Sometimes when I’m sitting there running a draft, I feel like one of those old-timers sitting on their porch, sipping on some lemonade, and talking about the old days when things were good. We lived in a much simpler time back then and when you wanted a third baseman for your fantasy team, well you just took a gander down a list, rich with names any man would be happy to have at the hot corner, and you took him. Didn’t matter how long you waited. Didn’t matter what round you took him. The position was filled to the brim with quality corner-men and we liked it.

But then something happened a few years ago.  One day we were talking about a position rich with talent and then before we knew it, the top six were off the board and those of us who were waiting were left with nothing. OK, maybe not nothing but having to choose between Ian Stewart and Danny Valencia is pretty damn close. Over a very short period of time, actually, the third base position thinned out dramatically and suddenly it became either a huge need that you would sell your sister to land a top guy or you were sitting idly by until the late rounds to claim your moderately ineffective prize.

This year doesn’t appear to be much different. You’ve got some nice options through the top eight or nine guys, but once they clear off the board, you could be in trouble. Sure, there may be a few sleepers here and there, or maybe a couple of rebound candidates, but overall, the position is a thin enough that waiting on a guy just might be your biggest mistake. Let’s take a look at some the NFBC ADP and you can see for yourself.

Rank Player Team Current ADP 1 Week Ago Trend
1 Miguel Cabrera Det 2.28 2.04 -0.24%
2 Adrian Beltre Tex 20.25 20.00 -0.25%
3 David Wright NYM 23.06 23.17 0.11%
4 Evan Longoria TB 28.97 20.46 -8.51%
5 Ryan Zimmerman Was 34.56 33.54 -1.02%
6 Chase Headley SD 35.31 37.25 1.94%
7 Aramis Ramirez Mil 40.97 41.63 0.66%
8 Brett Lawrie Tor 71.44 67.29 -4.15%
9 Pablo Sandoval SF 92.69 82.83 -9.86%
10 Will Middlebrooks Bos 126.90 122.63 -4.27%
11 David Freese StL 148.88 145.25 -3.63%
12 Kyle Seager Sea 162.94 161.79 -1.15%
13 Todd Frazier Cin 182.28 172.17 -10.11%
14 Manny Machado Bal 184.81 180.83 -3.98%
15 Pedro Alvarez Pit 185.94 177.78 -8.16%
16 Mike Moustakas KC 195.94 187.71 -8.23%
17 Michael Young Phi 225.47 218.75 -6.72%
18 Kevin Youkilis NYY 230.03 218.67 -11.36%
19 Trevor Plouffe Min 250.50 245.42 -5.08%
20 Chipper Jones Atl 264.00 ND N/A
21 Alex Rodriguez NYY 276.41 293.46 17.05%
22 Jeff Keppinger CWS 295.39 298.58 3.19%
23 Jedd Gyorko SD 300.68 294.71 -5.97%
24 Chris Johnson Atl 310.94 309.04 -1.90%
25 Chris Nelson Col 333.32 331.04 -2.28%
26 Jordan Pacheco Col 335.41 340.83 5.42%
27 Lonnie Chisenhall Cle 337.29 340.38 3.09%
28 Maicer Izturis Tor 366.89 369.88 2.99%
29 Josh Donaldson Oak 377.36 379.42 2.06%
30 Luis Cruz LAD 393.19 389.42 -3.77%
31 Ryan Roberts TB 400.15 405.65 5.50%
32 Alberto Callaspo LAA 421.85 421.00 -0.85%
33 Juan Francisco Atl 428.42 421.48 -6.94%
34 Matt Dominguez Hou 447.15 444.38 -2.77%
35 Pedro Ciriaco Bos 472.26 460.17 -12.09%
36 Adeiny Hechavarria Mia 481.62 483.22 1.60%
37 Ian Stewart ChC 491.69 487.78 -3.91%
38 Nolan Arenado Col 493.19 482.79 -10.40%
39 Wilson Betemit Bal 515.88 522.43 6.55%
40 Eric Chavez Ari 520.46 518.52 -1.94%
41 Anthony Rendon Was 534.65 520.65 -14.00%
42 Nick Castellanos Det 538.04 535.87 -2.17%
43 Greg Dobbs Mia 553.12 550.87 -2.25%
44 Placido Polanco Mia 574.96 581.86 6.90%
45 Ryan Wheeler Col 608.67 610.00 1.33%
46 Josh Vitters ChC 619.77 613.13 -6.64%
47 Alex Liddi Sea 628.04 619.38 -8.66%
48 Danny Valencia Bal 652.14 648.33 -3.81%
49 Yan Gomes Cle 652.63 658.00 5.37%
50 Miguel Sano Min 654.05 652.72 -1.33%

Just a quick glance at the ADP numbers gives you most of what you need to know. The current ADP of the top seven show them coming off the board within the first 40 picks. Your next two come off somewhere over the next 50 picks while the remaining third sackers start getting taken another 30 picks after that. That’s a pretty wide distribution pattern. The position just isn’t what it was and if you somehow miss out on the first half dozen or so, you really have no rush to make a move. Build up elsewhere and bide your time.

Biding your time is clearly what most of the gang from the NFBC is doing as you can see by the trends over the past week. Top seven movement notwithstanding, the majority of third basemen have dropped in ADP and it might be a safe assumption to believe that, unless there is a clear position battle happening or significant injury occurring, we’re not going to see too many risers between now and Opening Day.

But since it’s still early enough to want to understand specific movement, let’s look at some of the more relevant risers and fallers right now.

OK, wait. Before we get to the risers and fallers, there’s one thing worth pointing out that just may give some people pause. If you look down the list you’ll notice that Chipper Jones is there. Yes, Chipper is retired. No, Chipper is not listed on the NFBC site’s rankings. That means someone actually took him intentionally. Now maybe this person is a complete moron or maybe he just made a mistake, but in light of the recent Justin Upton trade, would it be so far-fetched to see the organization reach out to him for one more season rather than go with the Chris Johnson/Juan Francisco? Give him one last shot to win another title? Hmmm? Maybe it’s a longshot, but we’ve all heard crazier, I’m sure.

Going Up

Alex Rodriguez, NYY (+17.05%) – Well, obviously this data was tabulated prior to Friday’s announcement from Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman that there is a very distinct possibility that A-Rod could miss the entire 2013 season while he recovers from another hip surgery. There is a certain degree of uncertainty here, but the fact that no one is thinking mid-season return now should tell you that this is the last time you’ll see him in the risers section.

Placido Polanco, MIA (+6.90%) – Though the days of Polanco really being a helpful commodity in the fantasy world are long behind us, he could make for a serviceable plug-and-play option if he does win the job outright from Greg Dobbs.  Those in leagues with daily roster moves would benefit the most.

Jordan Pacheco, COL (+5.42%) – On the Rockies official depth chart, Chris Nelson is listed as the 2013 starting third baseman. He and Pacheco, and Josh Rutledge as well, were used all over the infield last season and the three of them became fairly interchangeable. It just so happened that Nelson got hot in the final two months and now everyone is assuming that he will get the first opportunity. But the battle will be fought in Spring Training and there are a number of people who feel that Pacheco will comne out ahead. Keep an eye on this over the next few months and make sure you keep updating your depth charts.

Jeff Keppinger, CHW (+3.19%) – This could be one of the first times that Kepppinger actually has a starting gig lined up for him on Opening Day. It doesn’t mean that he’s suddenly got this tremendous value, but he definitely gets a bigger bump than usual as he will be out there every day for the White Sox. He’s definitely someone that is nice to own and keep around on your bench, but for real stats, you’re going to want to go with someone else…someone with even a drop of power more.

 Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE (+3.09%) – Penciled in as the starter for the Tribe this year, Chisenhall finally gets the opportunity he’s been waiting for. What he does with it is anyone’s guess right now, but with the Indians bringing in Mike Aviles for insurance, it doesn’t look like he’ll have a very long leash.

Going Down

Pedro Ciriaco, BOS (-12.09%) – Last season’s waiver darling doesn’t seem to be commanding the same respect these days. The Red Sox brought in Stephen Drew to play short and already had Will Middlebrooks and Dustin Pedroia locked into their infield. Ciriaco looks like he’s headed back to the waiver wire, but obviously keep him in mind should injuries wear down the starters.

Kevin Youkilis, NYY (-11.36%) – Just like with A-Rod, this is the wrong section for Youk right now. He’ll be manning the hot corner for the Yankees come Opening Day and if A-Rod does, in fact, miss the entire season, then the job should be Youk’s all year. Of course, he’s had injuries of his own, so there’s a little “buyer beware” here also.

Todd Frazier, CIN (-10.11%) --- This one is actually a surprise as Frazier is not only supposed to be the Reds Opening Day third baseman, but after last year’s performance, he was everyone’s darling. This could just be a case of some people taking him too high early in the mock season and the data is now normalizing with more and more mock drafts being done.

Pablo Sandoval, SF (-9.86%) – Panda is right on the cusp of being joining the second tier of third basemen, but injuries have certainly hampered his performance. Now most people should know that he has no more hamate bones in his hands to break, but he did just get out of the hospital in Venezuela for a stomach ailment, so perhaps people are erring on the side of caution.

Evan Longoria, TB (-8.51%) – This is clearly just data normalizing right now. Longoria is still a second round pick who could, with a strong spring start pushing closer to the back-end of the first in a 15-team NFBC league. Injuries have been a concern, but this is pure 30-home run power.

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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 rotobuzzguy@gmail.com.

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