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Last Minute ADP Risers and Fallers

As we start to wrap up spring training and head into the gloriousness that is the 2013 MLB season, fantasy baseball drafts are nearly finished. Sure, there are a few that may trickle into the first few days of next week, but for the most part, draft season will be completed by Sunday. So what we’re going to do for these last couple of articles is just take a look at some of the recent risers and fallers in ADP. We’re going to use the ADP Trend Report on Mock Draft Central as there have now been more than enough drafts done to provide usable data for this exercise. In truth, we could have gone with this trend report weeks ago, but the NFBC data was so specific – 15-team, two-catcher leagues with set rosters – it seemed to be best at the time. Here at the end, we’re just looking for trends. The accuracy, believe it or not, is secondary as the sample size now gives enough of a general idea as to where the players are going. We just want to see who is rising and falling and then learn why.

Risers

Chase Utley, 2B PHI (ADP: 159.74; +23.8% over past two weeks) – The injuries have piled up on Utley over the last few years and fantasy owners are obviously concerned. He went from being one of the best second basemen around to a cautionary tale after hip and knee issues. But apparently he’s ready to endure an entire season and is playing with strength and confidence this spring. He may only be batting .270 here in the preseason, but with three doubles, four home runs and 14 RBI, it looks like he’s got his old power stroke back. His ADP puts him somewhere in the 13th round of a 12-team league, so if he stays healthy all year, you could be looking at a sweet, little bargain.

Aroldis Chapman, RP CIN (ADP: 120.80; +12.4%) – Now that things have been firmly established and Chapman has been officially designated the closer, things are a bit easier for the fantasy world. The role is defined and there won’t be any waffling about whether or not he should be a starter or a reliever. He’s a closer and that’s that. Draft as you would a top ninth inning specialist such as Craig Kimbrel or Fernando Rodney. You’ll get killer strikeouts, a strong number of saves and some tasty ratios to boot.

Justin Morneau, 1B MIN (ADP: 105.09; +71.9%) – The rise we’ve seen over the last two weeks has been meteoric as more and more people are reaching for Morneau, thinking that the concussion is so far in the past that he’s ready to return to his former RBI machine-like ways. A shame, really, as he used to be a real bargain and was a great target in the 18th or 19th round as a corner infielder. Now, people are drafting him as a solid first baseman about 10-12 rounds earlier. I think he can put forth a solid season, but the value just isn’t what it was.

Andrelton Simmons, SS ATL (ADP: 218.47; +14.7%) -- Perhaps it's the fact that he missed so much time in the Braves camp due to playing shortstop for the Netherlands in the WBC but you'd think there would be a bit more buzz over Simmons that his ADP would be a bit higher. But that's ok, because hopefully, if he pans out as the Braves starting shortstop and leadoff hitter, then he'll be an outstanding bargain to be had. His bat has been relatively quthis spring, but his glove is so good that he's not being benched for any slumps at the plate. Should he catch fire, he could end up being a killer source for runs scored and stolen bases.

Fallers

Pablo Sandoval, 3B SF (ADP: 142.80; -11.7%) – We all thought that without any hamate bones left to break, this would be a big year for the Kung Fu Panda. Unfortunately, he began to experience pain in his elbow and tests revealed that a bone spur was pressing up against a nerve in the elbow and causing the discomfort. It sounds like something only corrected by surgery, but the Giants are letting him play through it right now and taking days off when necessary. Fantasy owners should be wary of this as it doesn’t really sound like rest os going to solve the problem long-term. The third base position is rough enough right now, so this could just be another guest to the party.

Brett Lawrie, 3B TOR (ADP: 101.57; -31.8%) – Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Once a player taken in the fourth or fifth round, Lawrie has seen his ADP take a significant drop since news came out that he would be starting the season on the disabled list. In truth though, the drop seems more like panic than anything else. It’s a rib cage injury and you can’t do anything to fix it but rest, so the DL stint is good for him, but it’s better for the team as they can now keep another player up on the 25-man roster. It doesn’t seem like he’ll be out for very long, so if you’ve yet to draft, then take this ADP drop as a good sign. Draft him at a bargain price and stash him until he’s ready. You won’t be sorry.

Carl Crawford, OF LAD (ADP: 187.89; -21.5%) – Is the presence of Yasiel Puig weighing so heavily on the minds of potential Crawford owners that he continues to drop in drafts or is it the lack of confidence in an aging ballplayer who has been dealing with an elbow issue for a substantial part off the spring? Maybe a little from column A and a little from column B. Whichever the case may be, he has gone from rebound hopeful to cautionary tale. You can try taking a flier on him as it apparently won’t cost much right now, but be careful to have a contingency plan in place. He shouldn’t be drafted without a viable back-up whom you would be happy to have sitting in your active lineup.

Grant Balfour , RP OAK (ADP: 168.32; -13.4%) -- Considering how well the rehab is going after knee surgery, Balfour trending downwards in the ADP ranks is a bit surprising. He just made his Cactus League debut and looks to be ready for Opening Day which is a far cry from where we thought he'd be just one month ago. He's had his ups and downs as the A's closer in the past, and Ryan Cook is there lurking behind him, but given the role Balfour played in Oakland's late-season surge last year, it's going to take a pretty significant meltdown to lose the job again.

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com.

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