Know the Host of the Party (Part 1)

Ezra Shaw

Brian Creagh tries to quantify the differences between conducting drafts at different fantasy sport websites.

My first week of college was a bit of an eye-opener. Plenty of lessons were learned and a lot of innocence was lost. One of the most important lessons my friends and I learned is to always, always, always know the host of the party, or at the very least, know someone who knows the host very, very well. This same rule can be applied to your fantasy baseball draft (and luckily without the possible legal repercussions if you violate the rule). Jason recently wrote a piece advocating for as many mock drafts as possible and touched on an issue that sparked the following question: How much do the host website's player rankings affect the outcome of the draft?

Quantifying this answer would require having the same group of managers conduct a draft on two different sites with the same draft order and similar rule settings. Even still this wouldn't provide a perfect answer as decisions made in the first draft will undoubtedly affect a manager's decision in the second. This problem led me to pose the question in a different manner: Which players have the most variance in their rankings across websites? Understanding which players are over/under valued on certain sites could help in deciding whether to reach for a certain player, or hold off a round or two and hope they fall. Most fantasy advice is not site-specific so have to put all ranking/ADP information in context of the site you are drafting on.

My research centered on the top 300 or so players because the variance between sites on players ranked lower than 300 is almost too high to make any sense of. This first part will focus on the hitters, and I will unveil the pitchers later in the week. My findings below will list 8 players for each of site (Yahoo!, ESPN, CBS Sports), 4 of which are overrated by the site and 4 that are underrated. Keep in mind that by overrated and underrated I only mean within the context of the other site's rankings. My personal opinions on each player are located in the blurb beneath each section. The table below each player's name represents that player's ranking on each site. Rankings are for hitters only and pitchers are excluded from the rankings.

Yahoo's Underrated

Yadier Molina

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

57

40

38

32

Matt Wieters

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

62

45

42

47

Mark Trumbo

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

89

61

73

54

Emilio Bonifacio

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

163

117

151

144

Molina and Wieters give you even more of a reason to wait on catching when playing on Yahoo. The position appears to be incredibly balanced from spots 5-12, but if you feel the need to grab one of the top tier players, you can probably get them later than usual. Trumbo and Bonifacio appear to be excellent late sources of power and speed. Trumbo's brutal 2nd half could be causing his stock to sag a little bit and Yahoo owners should take advantage by grabbing him in the 10th or 11th Round. Bonifacio is a pure speed play, but if he sticks at 2B at the bottom of the Toronto lineup, he will have Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion batting behind him. That is big time upside.

Yahoo's Overrated

Pablo Sandoval

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

44

63

58

83

Carlos Beltran

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

67

97

84

80

Michael Cuddyer

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

108

133

135

127

Nick Markakis

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

90

102

136

114

These rankings are all pretty ugly in my opinion. Beltran entering his age 36 season, Sandoval's inability to stay healthy, and Cuddyer coming off a down year are all reasons to avoid reaching for these players. I really like Markakis' chances at a bounce back season and will have a post on him later this week, but leave the other three for the managers who rely too heavily on the site's rankings.

ESPN Underrated

Wilin Rosario

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

68

52

114

59

Paul Goldschmidt

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

36

41

52

19

Adam Dunn

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

104

120

150

104

Brian McCann

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

86

101

161

110

All 3 of these guys could be available for great value at ESPN leagues. Rosario coming off a huge rookie year would normally be a candidate for the overrated section, but if ESPN has him outside of the top 100 offensive players. I'm all aboard the Goldschmidt bandwagon and think he's going to put up great numbers for the next few season in Arizona. Dunn is another great source of power at around pick 150, and I like McCann for a rebound season after struggling in 2012. If you could get all 4 of these players at the spots listed above, you would be in great shape for 2013.

ESPN Overrated

Brandon Phillips

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

46

53

33

60

Michael Bourn

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

60

55

44

56

Austin Jackson

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

64

81

46

75

Alcides Escobar

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

118

130

91

138

A quick look at the results for "ESPN overrated" and the theme is obvious: Speed, speed, and more speed. Carlos Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Michael Bourn, Desmond Jennings, Carlos Gomez, Brett Gardner, Dexter Fowler, and the 4 players listed above, all are being ranked higher on ESPN than any other website. You're going to have to pay full value for speed, but that means power will come a bit cheaper and you can stand to wait an extra round or two on the guys like Dunn and Rosario mentioned above.

CBS Underrated

B.J. Upton

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

38

57

37

21

Brett Lawrie

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

42

69

43

53

Eric Hosmer

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

73

92

70

68

Adam LaRoche

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

94

135

96

82

More excellent value picks here. I really like LaRoche at 135th hitter off the board. If you don't have to worry about 1B and can fill up the rest of your infield with your earlier picks and still get 75/25/90/.270 production out of your first basemen slot, you're in great shape. I'm not entirely sold on Brett Lawrie yet, it could just be the over-the-top personality that turns me off, but getting the upside he provides as the 69th hitter off the board isn't a bad pick.

CBS Overrated

Joe Mauer

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

49

35

49

46

Jose Altuve

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

69

47

61

74

Rickie Weeks

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

82

67

94

103

Will Middlebrooks

Yahoo

CBS

ESPN

Mock Draft Central

103

73

116

105

I actually don't have too many issues with where CBS has these players slotted. Weeks is not as bad as his 2012 stats reflect and he should return break-even value at the 67th position. I'm also a big Will Middlebrooks believer and have a tendency to reach for him in most drafts anyways. Altuve will always be a favorite, if at the very least for nostalgic purposes as a tribute to the Up and In podcast.

These rankings are by no means a guarantee that you can get these players at the spot specified, however it is meant to be an additional input for your draft day decisions when debating whether to pull the trigger on a certain player or risk it that they fall to the next round.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Fake Teams

You must be a member of Fake Teams to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Fake Teams. You should read them.

Join Fake Teams

You must be a member of Fake Teams to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Fake Teams. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker