Average Draft Position, or ADP, is a tool that everyone in the fantasy game is using these days. For those of you who don't know what ADP is, here you go:

ADP takes into account a whole bunch of drafts. You add them all up and come up with the average draft position of a player. As an example. Let's say that in four drafts Matt Cain is taken 39th, 79th, 51st and 67th. You add up the four draft slots, which equal 236, divide by the number of drafts (in this case four), and come up with an ADP of 59 for Cain. Simply enough right?

One of the industry leaders in ADP data is Mock Draft Central. In what follows I will break down some of the early ADP numbers for 5x5 mixed leagues (there are 471 qualifying drafts under consideration here that took place from 1/12 to 1/26).

Today, I'll talk hitters. Tomorrow, pitchers.

Joe Mauer (82.4 ADP) seems like quite the bargain if Buster Posey is coming in at #60 don't you think? Both guys are coming back off injury plagued seasons, but last time I looked it was Posey who suffered the catastrophic injury, right?

Three of my favorites at the catcher's position: Ryan Doumit (238.2), Chris Iannetta (239.1) and Carlos Ruiz (241.9). I'd take all three of those over Wilson Ramos (210.3).

Albert Pujols (2.4) is ahead of Miguel Cabrera (3.1). With word that Cabrera will play third base this year for the Tigers after the addition of Prince Fielder (14.9), there has been a groundswell of support for Cabrera to go #1 overall, so he'll likely pass Pujols soon.

Mark Trumbo is #11 at first base right now. That's gonna have to change. Trumbo doesn't have a lock on a daily spot in the Angels lineup, and he's coming back of a lower-body injury. I'd be hard pressed to have him in my top-20 at first right now.

Three second baseman are going in the top-25: Robinson Cano (9.9), Dustin Pedroia (19) and Ian Kinsler (24.7). The next time a second sacker is being called out is at 54.1 – Dan Uggla.

Ben Zobrist (83.2) is being taken behind Rickie Weeks (78.9). Really? Why? The last three years Zobrist has produced an average 5x5 line of .267-19-86-89-20. Weeks is well behind at .269-19-52-72-7. That's not even close. Plus, Zobrist qualifies in the outfield as well.

Alex Rodriguez has an ADP of 60.6, rounds ahead of Mark Reynolds (119). I know it's Arod, but does his production the last three years warrant the ADP difference here? He has a sizable average advantage - .277 to .228 – but that's really it. Arod has hit 30 or less homers each of the past three years. Reynolds has had at least 32 HR each of the last three years. Given the health issues of Arod, he's also averaged 96 RBI, 73 runs and eight steals, behind the average numbers of Reynolds (91 RBI, 87 runs, 12 steals). I'm just saying.

Looking at ADP, I can say without question that there is no one outside the top-11 right now that I would want starting for me at the hot corner in a 12-team league. Here are guys in the 12-16 range, any of them excite you? Ryan Roberts (196.5), Mike Moustakas (209.3), Lonnie Chisenhall (216.4), Chipper Jones (219.4) and Chase Headley (224.2). OK maybe Headley interests me, but you know I have a crush on him (see his Player Profile).

I've made the argument elsewhere, so I'll say it again here. I know that Elvis Andrus (44.7) is a much safer bet than Dee Gordon (149.3), but I certainly wouldn't mind waiting on my shortstop for 100 picks to select the Dodgers' youngster.

Some early values at shortstop: Yunel Escobar (215), Ian Desmond (236.4), Alcides Escobar (240.1).

There are two guys in the top-10 that call the outfield home that I would be surprised if they returned first round value: Jose Bautista (4.2) and Jacoby Ellsbury (8.6).

You take Ellsbury at 8.6 and give me Andrew McCutchen at 26.3. Heck, I'll take the value play of B.J. Upton at 67.3 if I'm looking for return on investment.

Michael Bourn (58.1) gets no respect. He's the elite stolen base threat in the game, and because of his wheels he's been a top-50 overall performer the past three years. Still, his ADP is outside the top-50 and he is being taken behind guys like Jay Bruce (40.4) and Desmond Jennings (55.9). That's a mistake in my book. Speaking of Bruce, I know he is young and people love to think that he has another level to take his game, but why in the world is he being drafted ahead of guys like Shin-Soo Choo (65.3), B.J. Upton, Adam Jones (74.6) and Shane Victorino (74.8)? Hell, Lance Berkman (92.4) was better than Bruce last year and he also qualifies at first base.

Bruce: .256-32-97-84-8 Lance: .301-31-94-90-2

If all this ADP talk has you excited next week is going to be huge for you. I'll release my 2012 BaseballGuys Fantasy Baseball Guide in the coming days. That's when the real fun gets going.

By Ray Flowers


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About Ray Flowers

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.

Ray Flowers on Twitter

davis/yoenis, nearly same $ as Bautista. RT @toledobrad: Chris Davis $11 Cespedes $17 Bogaerts $6 K.Vargas $1 Bautista $25. Pick 2.

kudos to ya RT @BxKid85: I have earned the right to be called a Champion! 2nd one in 3 seasons! I tip my hat to you guys!