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Fantasy Baseball 2017: ADP Analysis

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Why use ADP? How much should it weigh into draft preparation? Who are some undervalued players entering 2017? We answer all these questions, and more.

Milwaukee Brewers v St Louis Cardinals
Domingo Santana is currently a massively undervalued player in 2017 fantasy baseball drafts.
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Check out:
ADP Pitching Targets
ADP Hitting Targets

The use of ADP (Average Draft Position) data has been debated for years in fantasy baseball circles. While it’s quite clear the information should be considered on some level, the exact importance or weight has been the main sticking point among people who tend to argue about rather unimportant (in the grand scheme of things) issues.

Personally, I’ve used ADP analysis in a wide variety of ways over my two decades playing rotisserie baseball. I’ve constructed entire draft plans based on late-march ADP information for draft and hold leagues (NFBC) and won the league. I’ve used ADP analysis more as a background tool to check and see if I could buy another player and snag the player I was considering at that point in the draft a round or two later.

The point being, you might not be a huge fan of ADP, or you might love it, but to enter a draft without knowing at least a little bit of information regarding how the general overall market views the available player pool seems silly and risky in my opinion. Just like when you invest or trade in a stock or currency market, the more information you have the better. To maximize profit (or win the league in the case of fantasy baseball), one must deal in a market they know best. Studying ADP is a part of fully understanding the player pool market we use for fantasy baseball.

For this post we will be referring to NFBC ADP. I prefer to use this data as some of the best fantasy baseball players participate in the NFBC (and put up a good chunk of change to do so). That said, like any one data pool, quirks can be found. In particular, NFBC drafters tend to like to draft pitchers earlier than some “home leagues”. Take this into consideration as we go forward.

I like to look at each position individually and attempt to find 1) potential value and 2) pools of similar players/talent/statistics to create a plan A, B, C at any particular point in a draft. Potential value in this context is defined by the gap between how I have a player valued/ranked (say 50th overall) and where the market is currently drafting that player on average (say 85th overall). I prefer to find groupings of players rather than lock onto one individual player simply for options.

Options in life is always a good thing and it’s no different in fantasy baseball. Say I really want Paul Goldschmidt in 2017 drafts. Well, he’s being drafted 7th overall and perhaps I’m towards the wheel with the 14th overall pick. Chances are I’m not getting him. But say I decide I want a first basemen capable of hitting 25-30 home runs with a .270+ batting average and plenty of run production. Well now I’ve brought in the likes of Anthony Rizzo (ADP 13th), Miguel Cabrera (ADP 14th), Joey Votto (ADP 22nd), Edwin Encarnacion (ADP 25th) and Freddie Freeman (ADP 26th). Suddenly I have options. Not only that, but I can rank these five first basemen and have my preference, but if three of the five are all drafted prior to my pick, I do not need to panic and can simply refer back to my pre-draft worksheet and see that my target/need/desire for a particular skill set at a particular position can still be met.

This process can be carried deep into the draft as well. Take catcher for example. No one likes drafting catchers. Most leagues still use a two catcher setup as well, which means after you bite the bullet on your first catcher, you have to dive even deeper into a gross pool in an attempt to find another backstop. Let’s say you decide to wait on both your catchers in a 15-team mixed league. Using ADP analysis we can see that catchers such as Matt Wieters (ADP 191), Stephen Vogt (ADP 202), Tom Murphy (ADP 219 - now hurt) and Cameron Rupp (ADP 243) are all available in the same general area (rounds 13 to 16 in a 15-team mixed league). For the second catcher, we can continue this exercise and find players such as: Austin Hedges (ADP 302), Yan Gomes (ADP 305), Francisco Cervelli (ADP 308) and James McCann (ADP 318), all going after pick 300 in the 20+ round range. Sure, some of them might be drafted slightly higher and you might miss them by waiting this long, but more than likely, at least one will be available and all will provide similar overall value/production at season’s end.

I’d like to finish out this post by highlighting some players at each position that I feel are being under drafted by comparing my personal 2017 fantasy baseball rankings to their current ADP/market price. Hopefully this will help steer you in your fantasy baseball drafts over the next few weeks.

We’ve almost made it... baseball is right around the corner.

Ranking VS ADP By Position

Player POS Rank ADP Var
Player POS Rank ADP Var
Buster Posey 2 16 41 -25
Gary Sanchez 2 22 48 -26
Jonathan Lucroy 2 41 56 -15
Willson Contreras 2 61 90 -29
Russell Martin 2 113 167 -54
Stephen Vogt 2 132 202 -70
Wil Myers 3 46 57 -11
Jose Abreu 3 44 62 -18
Albert Pujols 3 86 137 -51
Tommy Joseph 3 137 209 -72
Dee Gordon 4 27 46 -19
Ian Kinsler 4 64 74 -10
DJ LeMahieu 4 79 85 -6
Neil Walker 4 202 247 -45
Josh Harrison 4 208 273 -65
Cesar Hernandez 4 249 285 -36
Todd Frazier 5 54 74 -20
Adrian Beltre 5 72 84 -12
Alex Bregman 5 77 91 -14
Jose Ramirez 5 66 94 -28
Elvis Andrus 6 115 153 -38
Didi Gregorius 6 233 252 -19
Asdrubal Cabrera 6 244 269 -25
Nelson Cruz 7 24 40 -16
Ryan Braun 7 35 47 -12
Carlos Gonzalez 7 38 64 -26
Andrew McCutchen 7 50 69 -19
Kyle Schwarber 7 47 77 -30
Justin Upton 7 57 82 -25
Jose Bautista 7 75 114 -39
Adam Jones 7 93 116 -23
Odubel Herrera 7 100 119 -19
Adam Eaton 7 107 126 -19
Lorenzo Cain 7 76 130 -54
Andrew Benintendi 7 98 132 -34
Carlos Gomez 7 136 152 -16
Adam Duvall 7 127 154 -27
Keon Broxton 7 95 175 -80
Eric Thames 7 62 178 -116
Kole Calhoun 7 148 186 -38
Ender Inciarte 7 151 193 -42
Rajai Davis 7 147 194 -47
Joc Pederson 7 167 197 -30
Hunter Pence 7 143 208 -65
Randal Grichuk 7 177 210 -33
Max Kepler 7 200 233 -33
Manuel Margot 7 207 244 -37
Jacoby Ellsbury 7 189 248 -59
Domingo Santana 7 149 255 -106
Melky Cabrera 7 172 260 -88
Curtis Granderson 7 197 276 -79
Travis Jankowski 7 176 287 -111
Corey Dickerson 7 232 288 -56
Tyler Naquin 7 194 314 -120
Note: All outfielders are shown as position 7 ADP Data courtesy of the NFBC

Ranking VS ADP - Starting Pitchers

Player POS Rank ADP Var
Player POS Rank ADP Var
Madison Bumgarner SP 8 15 -7
Chris Sale SP 10 21 -11
Corey Kluber SP 15 24 -9
Jake Arrieta SP 23 31 -8
Jon Lester SP 20 35 -15
Johnny Cueto SP 26 42 -16
Kyle Hendricks SP 52 65 -13
Jose Quintana SP 82 106 -24
Rick Porcello SP 83 109 -26
Gerrit Cole SP 80 112 -32
Felix Hernandez SP 101 135 -34
Dallas Keuchel SP 53 144 -91
Jameson Taillon SP 105 151 -46
John Lackey SP 117 160 -43
Lance McCullers SP 110 169 -59
Jeff Samardzija SP 126 195 -69
Aaron Nola SP 150 200 -50
Matt Shoemaker SP 157 221 -64
Garrett Richards SP 181 239 -58
Collin McHugh SP 163 280 -117
Gio Gonzalez SP 211 292 -81
Ervin Santana SP 234 329 -95
Wei-Yin Chen SP 175 339 -164
Note: RP’s not included as the value vs ADP are close to par across the board ADP Data courtesy of the NFBC

We will be back next week to discuss some of the larger variance players listed above. Following that discussion we will dive into the players that I feel are being over drafted based on their current ADP.

Join the discussion and leave a comment below with any player you feel is being undervalued in the current fantasy baseball draft market.