With the fantasy sports world just about over football - for those of you that have already moved on the Superbowl is in a week - mock drafts for baseball are really starting to heat up. Today, in preparation for our discussion on the Fanball Fantasy Drive (you can hear the show every day, from 5-8 PM EDT, on Sirius 211 and XM 147 - you can call in with your questions on any fantasy sport), I thought I would point out some of the interesting ADP trends that stuck out for me when I was reviewing things over at MockDraftCentral this morning.
Third Base Going Early
Almost the first term out of everyone's mouth this draft season seems to be "position scarcity." There are a couple of positions that seem pretty top heavy with shortstop and third base being at the head of the list. When looking at the ADP information we find fourth third basemen going in the top-20 selections: Evan Longoria (ADP of 5 overall), David Wright (10), Alex Rodriguez (16) and Ryan Zimmerman (20). I completely agree that those are the top-4 third sackers on the board, but I really wonder if it's worth reaching on Longoria as a top-5 option. Just compare his numbers last season to Zimmerman.
Longoria: .294-22-104-96-15 Zimmerman: .307-25-85-85-4
Longoria certainly has a higher ceiling, but I'd lean toward Zimmerman in the second versus Longoria that early given the return on investment (ROI) opportunity.
The Top-5 Shortstops
Hanley Ramirez (2), Troy Tulowitzki (4), Jose Reyes (26), Jimmy Rollins (43), Derek Jeter (48) - that's your top-5. Only two other shortstops are in the top-100: Elvis Andrus (71) and Alex Ramirez (100).
Hanley Ramirez OPS dropped .101 points last year. He's also seen his homer total dip from 33 to 21 the last three years while his runs scored marked has gone from 125 to 92. Is he really the no-doubt #2 man overall?
Reyes 17 picks ahead of Rollins? I'm not buying that. You can read about my thoughts on those two in Top-10 SS for 2011. I also don't think that Jeter is a bad pickup this year (The Value of Jeter). At the same time, Ramirez hit .012 points higher than Jeter, with eight more homers, three more RBI and just five fewer steals last season - and he is available 52 picks later.
Only One SP in Top-20
Only one starting pitcher is going in the top-20, and that is the Phillies' Roy Halladay. Most people tend to eschew starting pitching early in drafts because there is more volatility with pitchers from year to year. At the same time, with hitting on the decline, perhaps pitchers should be taken a bit earlier? Nah. Only two other hurlers are going in the top-34: Tim Lincecum (21) and Felix Hernandez (27).
* Riddle me this - which one of these pitching lines would you want most?
12-9, 3.18 ERA, 185 Ks, 1.00 WHIP in 212.1 IP 13-10, 2.91 ERA, 212 Ks, 1.18 WHIP in 204.1 IP 11-6, 2.30 ERA, 186 Ks, 1.11 WHIP in 183.2 IP
Those numbers belong to Cliff Lee (37), Clayton Kershaw (51) and Josh Johnson (66). Are you sure you want to reach that early for Mr. Lee?
Hell, do you want Lincecum (21) over Kershaw (51) given what each will cost you?
Lincecum: 16-10, 3.43 ERA, 231 Ks, 1.27 WHIP in 212.1 IP Kershaw: 13-10, 2.91 ERA, 212 Ks, 1.18 WHIP in 204.1 IP
* When are most teams jumping in and taking their #1 starter? Look at picks 53-66 for that as eight of those 14 picks are being spent on starting pitchers.
People Waiting on RPs
Not surprisingly, the best closer in the history of baseball is being drafted first at the position as Mariano Rivera has an ADP of 61. Only four other relievers are going in the top-100 with a clear grouping of three others being taken ahead of everyone else: Carlos Marmol (71), Brian Wilson (77), Joakim Soria (78). After that, we have to wait until Heath Bell at 96.
People Waiting on Catchers
Five catchers are being taken in the top-100 as people seem acutely aware of the fact that injuries can bite backstops at any time. Moreover, only six catchers are going in the next 100 picks meaning that in standard 12 team, 1 catcher leagues, someone is waiting until after the 200th selection to take first catcher. Currently, the 12th and 13th catchers off the board are Yadier Molina (215) and Carlos Ruiz (221). Those are the two catchers I selected in Vegas Baby, and the FSTA (that league starts two catchers).
* Catchers going in the 300's that could be decent bargains in 2011: Chris Iannetta (337), Yorvit Torrealba (372) and J.P. Arencebia (374).
You can read more about Torrealba in Californian's on the Move, and if the dumba-- Rockies would just give Iannetta regular at-bats, he could be a fantasy beast. Per 541 at-bats in his career, Iannetta has produced an average of 25 homers and 91 RBI. Think Mike Napoli-lite.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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