With the Opening Day of the 2024 MLB season rapidly approaching, fantasy baseball drafts are kicking into high gear. If you haven’t already had your draft, it’s right around the corner and you need to make sure you are current on things like MLB injuries and spring training position battles. 

But having the knowledge isn’t enough. What is important is knowing how to take all of that knowledge and implement it into your draft plan. That’s where tracking the fantasy baseball ADP comes into play. 




You’ve been given articles on Understanding and How to Use ADP in your drafts, different ADP primers for the various positions and we even started analyzing draft ADP for rookies. It’s time now to take a look at more ADP trends and figure out who is rising or falling down draft boards and how to use that information to your advantage during your draft.

Fantasy Baseball ADP Risers:

Cole Ragans, SP Kansas City Royals (ADP: 84.77; Trend: +22.71)

There was always plenty of buzz surrounding Ragans as he was coming up through the Rangers organization, but when he got moved to Kansas City last year and posted a 2.64 ERA with a 34.2-percent K-rate over 71.2 second-half innings, the buzz git even louder. He’s having a solid spring and is really starting to look the part of a No. 1 starter. If the sider he started to incorporate last year continues to improve, he’s going to generate a ton of whiffs this season.

Esteury Ruiz, OF Oakland Athletics (116.58; +11.57)

Ruiz is still just a one-trick pony you draft for stolen bases, but he’s gaining in popularity even more as teams who are drafting from the back-end look to add steals after they landed players like Aaron Judge, Juan Soto or Yordan Alvarez. Same with people who are drafting pitching early. The rise of stolen bases we witnessed last season is likely to continue its trajectory, so adding Ruiz is going to help those teams dramatically. Expect him to, at the least, maintain this current ADP level. 

Jackson Merrill, SS San Diego Padres (365.49; +203.78)

Everyone’s got rookie fever, amirite? Rightfully so here as Padres GM A.J. Preller announced that Merrill “has earned the right” to be on the plane to Korea for that opening series against the Dodgers and that “he has also earned what happens when he gets there.” Conversations between my man Jim Bowden and Preller have been abundant lately and from everything I’m being told, Merrill will be the Padres starting center fielder to open the season. What he does on this side is up to hm, but it sounds like the team is pushing to have him out there every day. For drafts, he only qualifies at shortstop, but check your league’s in-season eligibility requirements. If it’s 10 games, he’ll have that outfield eligibility before we’re through the month of April.

Wyatt Langford, OF Texas Rangers (112.83; +39.13)

If you’ve listened to the Fantasy Alarm Show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, then you know just how big a fan Bowden is of Langford. He talks about the hit tool all the time and hasn’t been this excited about a prospect since he was banging the drum for Juan Soto. He’s jumped 40 spots in the ADP over the past three weeks and the upward trajectory isn’t really slowing down. Always a risk with rookies, but if you want him, you’re probably going to have to reach by a round or two to land him.

Chris Sale, SP Atlanta Braves (116.70; +28.80)

After a rash of injuries and some ERA bloat, Sale is back in everyone’s good graces this season. The initial boost he got came from being healthy in camp and establishing himself as a member of the Braves rotation. The bump was understandable, for sure, but now that he’s been throwing gas and striking out spring hitters, people are getting even more bullish on him. Getting a share of Sale is fine, but you have to be very careful not to overestimate here. He’s 34-years-old, he’s emotionally volatile and there’s a ton of mileage on that arm. Grab him if you like, but don’t reach. Let him come to you and if he doesn’t, don’t sweat the FOMO.

A.J. Puk, SP Miami Marlins (315.61; +134.66)

This is another ADP riser you need to be very cautious with. Puk can have great stuff at times, but after years of injuries and only working out of the bullpen, I am incredibly skeptical of his move into the Marlins rotation. I don’t think his arm is going to hold up. Maybe he looks good for a few early outings, but this is a prime case of the saber-community loving on a guy and not be able to let go.



Obvious Fantasy Baseball ADP Fallers:

Gerrit Cole, SP New York Yankees (27.51; -12.50)

This drop is only going to get worse and, rightfully so. The Yankees have been cagey regarding Cole’s MRI and from everything we are hearing, you have to interpret it as a (very likely) partially torn UCL. If it was something else, we would have heard about it. I watched him drop to the eighth round of a draft back on Tuesday, March 12 and heard he fell to the 21st round of an FSGA draft on the 14th. My suggestion is to just leave him alone. Let it be someone else’s headache.

Devin Williams, RP Milwaukee Brewers (62.52; -12.92)

Like Cole, Williams is now on my “do not draft” list. Two fractures in his back? Sorry. No interest as any point in any draft. If you want saves in Milwaukee, look at either Joel Payamps or Abner Uribe.

Kodai Senga, SP New York Mets (207.72; -116.59)

Senga started to tumble down the ADP boards a few weeks ago and he continues to drop with word that this shoulder issue is likely to keep him out until at least early-May. It might even be longer. The problem here is that shoulder issues usually mean major problems with command and control on the return. Maybe you can make him a mid-season trade target if someone rosters him on Draft Day, but you’re going to need to see him pitch before you can even entertain the idea.

More Fantasy Baseball ADP Fallers:

Josh Lowe, OF Tampa Bay Rays (80.18; -6.99)

A recent hip issue has sidelined Lowe, but he is steadily working his way back and is targeting spring games sometime around St. Patrick’s Day. Buy the dip. He’s easily got 20-20 potential and could even be a 30-20 guy if he gets his swing back early. If you don’t draft him, then look for him to be a decent buy-low candidate in April. Usually, guys who miss a lot of the spring get off to a slow start to the season and we all know how panicky fantasy baseball GMs can be. 

Josh Jung, 3B Texas Rangers (129.90; -15.52)

He’s been sidelined with a calf injury throughout most of the spring which has caused his ADP to take a little tumble. I wouldn’t be overly concerned. Just like with Lowe, he is gradually working his way back and is expected to take part in spring games about a week before Rangers Opening Day. It might take him some time to get his swing right, but he is expected to be on the field for the first game. Don’t sweat a slow start. I’m enjoying the discount and will continue to draft him.

Sonny Gray, SP St. Louis Cardinals (136.15; -12.31)

One more guy I continue to draft despite the ADP drop as Gray continues to work himself back into game-shape following a hamstring injury. He’s progressed nicely over the past couple of weeks and just might have a shot at making his first start of the season. We won’t get ahead of ourselves, but if Gray misses a start or two, I’m fine with that. It means the Cardinals are being cautious and are looking at the long haul. Gray continues to produce at a high level and is definitely capable of reprising last season’s totals.



Fantasy Baseball ADP Sleepers to Watch:

Dylan Cease, SP San Diego Padres (110.89)

No longer with the White Sox, and now in pitcher-friendly Petco Park, Cease is likely to start soaring up draft boards. You may want to watch the ADP trends leading up to your draft and maybe even taking part in a mock draft or two just to see what is happening. I expect him to jump at least a round or two in the next couple of weeks.

Blake Snell/Jordan Montgomery, SP Free Agents (76.93/172.30)

Now that Cease has been traded to San Diego, the dominos should start to fall and both of these unsigned free agents should find a new home. I would be surprised to see Snell climb much higher (unless he lands with the Yankees), but if Montgomery lands with a contender, he’s going to start jumping up draft boards quickly.

Jonathan India, 2B Cincinnati Reds (300.09)

You can probably also add Christian Encarnacion-Strand to this list as well now that Noelvi Marte is suspended for 80 games. The Reds had one too many infielders and were planning on just rotating someone out each day to get some routine rest, but now that Marte is gone, Indian and CES both fell into full-time duty. CES will command more attention, but don’t sleep on India who is a solid power/speed combo at one of the thinnest positions.

James Wood, OF Washington Nationals (457.56)

If you have a deep bench, then make that final pick of you’re an upside play. We know the Nationals are going to start Wood in the minors so they can retain that extra year of control, but according to GM Mike Rizzo (via Jim Bowden), the plan is to bring his bat up in early May. Stash if you can. If not, keep him on your watch list and jump a week early when you’re making waiver wire claims.

Date Ranges for ADP Comparison:

1/1/24 – 2/26/24 vs 2/26/24 – 3/14/24 (courtesy of the NFBC)

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