Normalizing ADP: Look Who's Falling

It’s as if the sun is shining just a bit brighter now in the mornings, isn’t it? The dark cloud of winter has finally lifted and you can now fill all of your downtime with team reports and player updates that have more baseball substance than they do tales of Scott Boras and Biogenesis. Pitchers and catchers have reported to camp and the 2013 MLB season…well not regular season, but you know what I mean…has officially begun.

And with that, the mock draft season has gotten into full swing as well. You’ve got to hand it to those that are dedicated enough in January to start their process of fantasy baseball preparation. Without them, we’d have no base line for our ADP values and the accuracy of the data would be much less. Now though, we’ve got a fair amount of data to kick things off and the fluctuations and trends that we are analyzing are going to make much more sense.

For example, let’s talk about some of the movement we are seeing right now. Take a look at the ADP Trend Report at Mock Draft Central. That “Overall Trend” column looks like a Christmas tree there’s so much red and green. The fluctuations you are seeing appear massive in some areas and if you haven’t been following over the last few weeks, they could be a bit misleading. While there are plenty of risers and fallers in the trend report, you have to understand that all that is happening right now is that the ADP is normalizing as more mock drafts are being done. For the most part, those that have been mocking up to now have given you a general idea right now as to who is likely to be taken where, but considering the small sample size, many different variables come through a lot stronger, i.e. trendy favorites and sleepers going a lot higher than maybe they should because people are still trying to determine their actual value.

Even in the NFBC, we’re starting to see a lot of player movement up and down the ADP lists as more and more people are participating in mock drafts the closer it gets to the national draft dates. If you had 100 people mocking regularly in January, prepping for the big event, you now have three and four times that number now which is causing, what appears to be significant movement. The list below should give you a better idea of what you’re seeing right now. I’ve taken the ADP data from this past Sunday and put it up against that of just last week’s. I went through the top 50 players at each position, the top 100 outfielders, 100 starting pitchers and top 50 closers and relievers.

From there, I have organized the list by the amount of data fluctuation or overall trends we are seeing to see where the most movement is happening. You would think that most of the movement would be coming from the middle to later rounds as people are drafting deeper into the mocks (remember, in many cases, people will just mock up to a certain point to get a feel for how the first ten or so rounds go and then allow the computer to finish the job thus making the site’s default rankings more prevalent in the data), but take a look here at the Top 20 fallers right now in the NFBC. You might find it surprising.

Player Team Pos Current ADP 1 Week Ago Trend
Miguel Cabrera Det 3B 2.73 2.07 -24.18%
Josh Hamilton LAA OF 15.41 12.16 -21.09%
Joey Votto Cin 1B 9.78 7.98 -18.40%
Prince Fielder Det 1B 12.96 10.81 -16.59%
Corey Hart Mil 1B 110.82 93.26 -15.85%
Albert Pujols LAA 1B 8.55 7.28 -14.85%
Matt Kemp LAD OF 7.10 6.21 -12.54%
Adrian Beltre Tex 3B 22.59 19.91 -11.86%
Jose Bautista Tor OF 21.67 19.16 -11.58%
Adrian Gonzalez LAD 1B 35.86 31.84 -11.21%
Hanley Ramirez LAD SS 21.14 18.93 -10.45%
Robinson Cano NYY 2B 5.04 4.53 -10.12%
Drew Storen Was RP 215.67 194.95 -9.61%
Ian Kinsler Tex 2B 33.20 30.86 -7.05%
Ryan Zimmerman Was 3B 36.37 33.86 -6.90%
Joe Mauer Min C 62.53 58.47 -6.49%
Mark Teixeira NYY 1B 66.92 62.88 -6.04%
Matt Holliday StL OF 48.43 45.70 -5.64%
Curtis Granderson NYY OF 42.25 39.88 -5.61%
Jimmy Rollins Phi SS 57.24 54.44 -4.89%

While there is a tremendous amount of movement happening right now, it’s more like players are jockeying for position than anything else. Those that have been mocking early and set the ADP values as they are have actually done a fantastic job. Either that or the RotoWire rankings that are used here in the default are pretty damn accurate (wink, wink; nudge nudge). Much of the movement in the middle and lower rounds is obviously less than five percent, as evidenced by the fact that, save for two players on this list, the most “significant” movement you are seeing is found in players ranked in the top 100.

However, one thing to also keep in mind is that even the large trend movement percentages found higher up in the rankings can be a bit misleading as well. We talk about the fact that movement of less than 10-percent amounts to just a handful of picks down in the lower rounds, but as you can see in this table, even movement by almost 20-percent, the higher you are in the ADP, also doesn’t amount to a whole lot of movement. I mean, it’s simple mathematics really as 20-percent of two is less than 10-percent of 20, but when you’re organizing the data as we are here, just glancing at the trends doesn’t even come close to telling you the whole story.

And again, that story is that even with all of these fluctuations in the trend report, we still aren’t deep enough into the spring to get truly massive shifts in ADP. The biggest movement we really have here is found with Corey Hart and Drew Storen. With Hart’s knee surgery and the fact that he is still likely to miss the first two months of the season, his drop has been steady over the last several weeks and Storen’s value has been taking a hit ever since the Nationals signed Rafael Soriano and announced that he would be taking over the closer’s role. But other than those two, the movement is all but a handful of picks, and in some cases, even less than that.

The further we get into the spring and the more position battles, rotation changes and, sadly, injuries we see, that is when you’ll start seeing truly significant changes in ADP. When some of these rookies who have ADP values far beyond what they should be get knocked down the popularity ladder a few rungs, you’ll see some movement worth noting. But for now, consider the data to simply be normalizing as players slot in to the spots where they should regularly be found closer to the start off the season.


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


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