Mock season is underway, which means you'll be seeing a lot of Average Draft Position (ADP) articles in the coming weeks. ADP is an important pre-draft tool, but it's not a perfect measure by any means. ADP is flawed -- it's skewed toward the default rankings of the website you're using. Yesterday, new Fake Teams' writer Brian Creagh had an in-depth look at the variance of player rankings across different sites, which helps illustrate my point.
I check ADP regularly, mostly at MockDraftCentral.com, which updates its ADP daily. If you already know what site you're drafting on, it's probably a good idea to check out that site's ADP, too. Most can be found at FantasyPros.com by clicking here. But, please, don't take ADP as gospel, and certainly don't take it as a set of rankings. It's merely a way to project a player's value so you can get the most bang for your buck.
Leading up to the regular season, I'll post a weekly ADP article highlighting three players I believe are being drafted too high or too low. I didn't intend to, but this week just happens to feature three National League first basemen -- all of whom I believe are being taken too high.
All ADP data is from Mock Draft Central.
Paul Goldschmidt (ADP: 22.68)
It's no secret -- I love me some Paul Goldschmidt. Back in November, I picked the 6-foot-3, 245-pounder from the desert as my first baseman to target in 2013 drafts, and had this to say:
You're not going to find many first basemen capable of putting up 30 home runs and 10-plus steals annually, and that's what I think Goldschmidt is going to become. It might not come this year, but would you be upset with 25 homers and 15 steals? That's my baseline for his 2013. Ranked ninth by the Fake Teams writing staff, Goldschmidt is a smart buy. Power baby, power.
Between the power and the speed, I'm much more comfortable with my prediction of 25 home runs than 15 steals, but whether or not you believe that's his ceiling or his floor for 2013, it's clear the Goldschmidt love has reached an all-time high. His 22.68 ADP is fourth highest among first basemen (fifth if you include Buster Posey), as only Albert Pujols (6.53), Joey Votto (10.65) and Prince Fielder (13.82) are higher. Even last year's #1 first baseman, Edwin Encarnacion (25.08), is going after Goldschmidt.
If my prediction of 25 home runs and 15 steals comes true, then Goldschmidt probably is worthy of top 35-40 pick. But if you take him as an early second rounder, as his current ADP suggests, you run the risk of completely blowing an early selection on a 25-year old with only one full year under his belt. Considering the guys going after Goldschmidt -- David Wright (28.12), Adrian Gonzalez (30.81) and Evan Longoria (30.92) -- you're better off passing and taking a safer route. I expect his ADP to drop as the season gets closer.
Allen Craig (ADP: 36.58)
In my head-to-head points league top 100 hitters, I ranked Craig #52 in what I thought was a favorable ranking for a 28-year old who has yet to play 120 games in a season. Ray ranked Craig #44 overall in his top 200 rankings (5X5), and he was #6 in our consensus first base rankings released last December.
I understand the fascination with Craig -- he's potentially another Matt Holliday, a guy capable of hitting 25 home runs with 90 runs and 90 RBI, and maybe even a little more. While the Cardinals hope playing Craig at first base will keep him on the field more, he's going ahead of two players -- Starlin Castro and Jose Reyes -- with a legit shot of being #1 at their position. Unless you plan on taking Troy Tulowitzki early (he's currently being drafted as an early- to mid-second rounder), I can't see a scenario where I pass on a potential #1 at a premium position for a first baseman who can't stay on the field.
Anthony Rizzo (ADP: 50.88)
I believe Rizzo, in his prime, is going to be an annual 30-home run threat. I even think he'll hit 35 once or twice. But, at 23, Rizzo is a few years away from becoming that player. Between Goldschmidt, Craig and Rizzo, Rizzo's 50.88 ADP is the most ridiculous, and I don't have to search far to prove it. Going three spots after Rizzo is Holliday, who has averaged 25 home runs, 91 runs and 97 RBI over the past four years. I shouldn't have to tell you that you're absolutely taking Holliday rounds before you're even considering taking Rizzo.
While Rizzo is getting drafted early, there's another first baseman with a similar skill set going 34 picks later -- Ike Davis, who already has a 32-homer season to his credit. Again, while I do have Rizzo ahead of Davis in my head-to-head points league rankings, they are much closer in standard roto leagues. Eric Hosmer is going four picks after Davis after being a 2012 preseason favorite of many, including experts. Sound familiar? At Rizzo's current ADP, there's no value to be had.
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