From The Fantasy Oracle 2016 MLB Draft Guide Is Here! 

ADP Talk: What Are You Missing?

The Oracle sees things in the ADP numbers that you may not. What are you missing?

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I don't get a lot of things in life. Where did we come from? Where are we going? How does electricity work so that when I flip the switch the lights go on? Why has the government been concealing the presence of aliens on Earth? I could go on, but I fear if I let out my inner conspiracy theorist that I might end up alienating a bunch of my loyal fan base (see what I did there with the play on words? I'm good like that). Something else I don't get in some respects is player valuation. Well I get it, but I think others may struggle with it a bit.

This piece is some of the standard fair you will find anywhere you look on the net, a review of Average Draft Position numbers (thanks to the National Fantasy Baseball Championship for providing the data). However, this report has The Oracle flare you're used to seeing. I'll pull out a handful of players and make the case for why they are being overdrafted. Truthfully, I could probably write an article like this daily until the season starts – the real Opening day not this jacked up March 22nd Australia crap – and not cover everything.

I don't get this one. Perhaps you can help me out. What are you honestly expecting from Michael Wacha (80 ADP) this year? If I said 15 wins, a 3.25 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 180 Ks what would you say? I bet only a few of you out there would say that wouldn't be enough. My guess is that 90 percent of you reading those numbers would be very pleased, if not ecstatic, if Wacha produced like that in 2014. What would you say if I told you there was a man with an ADP of 84 that has achieved that level of productivity the past three years, while there is another man who has been that guy the past three years with an ADP of 87? Take a look.

#84: 12 wins, 3.18 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 177 Ks
#87: 15 wins, 3.15 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 215 Ks

#84 is Matt Cain (Player Profile)
#87 is James Shields (Player Profile)

How anyone could take Wacha ahead of those two men is befuddling to me. Hell, why is Wacha's teammate (Shelby Miller) going off the board 38 picks later than Wacha? Jeez everyone, Miller just had a tired shoulder late last season. There's nothing wrong with his arm.

Michael Cuddyer (116) is being drafted before guys like Martin Prado (124), Shane Victorino (130), Alfonso Soriano (142), hell even Nelson Cruz (146) --- how does that make sense? Maybe you think so. I do not. I know Cuddyer hit .331 to lead the NL, but as I've mentioned before, Cuddyer had never hit .285 before. He's also failed to hit 21 homers in 4-straight seasons, been unable to record 75 runs scored the past three seasons and he's been held to less than 85 RBIs in six of the last seven seasons. Oh yeah, he's also averaged 123 games played the last three years. Not buying it.

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Danny Salazar (133) is a flat out dynamic talent. At the same time he was held to 145 innings last season by the Indians and they are still babying the crap out of him this spring, so much so that it's not clear if he will even pitch the first week of the season. Honestly, 180 innings seems like a lot to expect with him. As good as he is I simply cannot understand why he is being taken more than 50 selections before A.J. Burnett. Anyone notice that the last two years Burnett has a 2.30 GB/FB ratio, a 3.41 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 8.90 K/9 mark and 26 victories. Do you really think Salazar is going to be able to substantially surpass those numbers?

Brandon Moss (147), he's on the Athletics by the way, hit 30 homers last season. That's more homers than Prince Fielder (25), Joey Votto (24), Mike Napoli (23), Freddie Freeman (23) and Adrian Gonzalez (22). Moreover, Moss was the only player in baseball to hit 30 homers who had less than 450 at-bats (he had 446). Moreover Part II, Moss has hit 51 homers over his last 711 at-bats leading to a mark of 6.37 homers per 100 plate appearances. Among batters who have at least 750 plate appearances the last two seasons that rate is the third best in baseball behind only Chris Davis (6.96) and Miguel Cabrera (6.52). I'm not sold he can keep it up, but I don't have any issue with someone drafting him ahead of Matt Adams (138) who is hoping to be what Moss already is.

I must be dense, but why is Oscar Taveras (272) being taken ahead of a guy like Nick Markakis (282)? Actually I know exactly why. It's the problem with the human race if I can be quite frank with you. People want to take a chance on the unknown. It's why guys cheat on their significant others all the time. Everyone thinks the grass is always greener on the other side. Sometimes it is, but often times what you know you've got is better than the unknown. Is Markakis, the known, really that good to own in the fantasy game? For the sake of brevity I will answer no. Still, he's exceedingly consistent and extremely durable, two traits that to this point have completely eluded Taveras. Some thoughts. (1) Six of the past seven seasons Markakis has played at least 157 games. Has Taveras been healthy for 157 straight hours the past year? (2) Markakis is a career .292 batter who his hit at least .284 in seven of his eight seasons. (3) Per 162 games Markakis has produced an average fantasy line of .292-17-81-89-8. Read that again. Let me ask you, honestly, do you think Taveras can better that line this season? I'd put the odds at him doing that at under five percent. He's not even likely to open the year in the big leagues folks making the counting categories unattainable. Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Jose Fernandez... these rookies have poisoned your minds. Rookies simply aren't often elite players. Repeat – rarely do rookies perform like stars in year one. You can have Taveras, I'll always take Markakis, and if we let a computer simulate out the 2014 a hundred times I'm willing to bet you that Markakis would come out the leader at least 90 times.

Josh Willingham (289) is a year removed from a two year run in which he average 32 homers and 104 RBIs. You can have your Junior Lake (288).

Andre Ethier (299) is another boring outfield option. Think about this though. Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp might be the most dynamic option in any outfield in the game, but all three of them, especially the last two, are no lock to play 140 games meaning Ethier might end up with a lot more work than you think.

Dee Gordon (312) appears to at least secured a platoon spot at second with Alex Guerrero (305). In fact, it sounding more and more likely that Guerrero will begin the year at Triple-A. Gordon should be moving up draft boards for the playing time reason alone, but two other worthwhile points. (1) Gordon qualifies at shortstop, but as I noted it looks like he could be the Dodgers starter at second base giving him valuable positional flexibility. (2) Though he's hit only .256 with a .301 OBP in 621 at-bats it should be pointed out that he's also stolen 66 bases in that time. Let me compare that to Billy Hamilton who has an ADP of 61. Really folks? Not only does Gordon play a premium position for fantasy, soon to be two as I noted, but he's already produced at the big league level. I hear people all the time saying they are looking for a .250 average and 75 steals from Hamilton. Uh, that's basically what Gordon has already done. Just saying... that 251 spot ADP difference is a bit odd, ain't it?


  • 64x64

    Ray Flowers Not Smart 22 Mar 01:09 / Reply

    If you have to buy a fantasy guide, you are getting swindled. There are many great resources and sites that offer much better advice than this guy and its ALL FREE! Don't waste your money anymore.

  • 64x64

    Rick 10 Mar 14:38 / Reply

    Ray, I really love your work. I'm 26 and have been playing in the same league with the same guys since 2002. I bought the draft guide this year and it was by far the best fantasy guide I've ever purchased. That said, I'm in need of a little advice. Our league is a 12 team 5x5 keeper league. I have the second pick. I kept: Adam Jones, Jay Bruce Matt Wieters, Votto,Profar, Wil Myers, Mike Leake, Chris Archer, Sonny Gray, Drew Smyly. The best guys available are: Kershaw (I assume he's going first), Chris Davis, Hanley, Ian Desmond, Ellsbury, Bumgarner, Longoria, Kinsler, Scherzer, Cliff Lee, Choo, Price. Who do you think I should grab? Thanks for everything you do, Rick

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