Average Draft Position (ADP) should never be the end-all, be-all when it comes to mapping out your draft. Still, it serves as a top signifier of 'the way the wind is blowing,' as we get closer to Opening Day. Let's be honest, that magazine you bought on the way to the draft room was put together back in late-December. It's missing free agents who signed late. It's missing rookies who've emerged in camp. It's missing all the injuries that have piled up over three months. In other words, it's missing a load of the most important things!
My goal over the next eight weeks is to follow the trends and movements, to tell you why a certain player is going up or down, and to give you my take on whether or not it's warranted. Our numbers will come from the National Fantasy Baseball Championship, courtesy of their director, Greg Ambrosious.
If there are specific players or positions you would like me to discuss over the coming weeks, just let me know in the 'Comments' section at the end of each column.
Enough stalling ... here's the latest ADP news!
· Aroldis Chapman has moved ahead of KKKKKKimbrel
You would think that when you've been a historically great closer for four seasons, respect would come in waves. Well, Craig Kimbrel, gets plenty of respect (185 saves in four seasons will do that for ya!), but with two months to go until the start of the season, the Braves' fireman is currently the 2nd closer off the board. Just a six spots ahead of him (43rd overall) is Aroldis Chapman. Most point to the dearth of offensive options in the Atlanta lineup and, thus, there is the fear of fewer save opportunities for Kimbrel than what Chapman is likely due.
These pair of fire-ballers are neck-and-neck anyway, so perhaps splitting the 'win probability' hair is a fair hair to split. Chapman whiffed more than half the guys he faced a season ago. He still has some control issues (4.0 BB/9), but his hit rate (3.5/9) is so incredibly low that many of those free passes fail to come back and bite him.
Kimbrel is an amazing option as, well, a fallback. Even with a hitting cast of 'Freddie Freeman and a Buncha Guys,' Atlanta can touch 80 victories. Sewing up 35-40 of those with massive K-rates, alongside a sub-2 ERA and sub-1 WHIP, is absolutely in reach for Kimbrel. Personally, I'm never involved with a closer in the first 5-6 rounds, but if you angle your strategy that way, this is the year where you won't have to debate when to be the first man to grab a reliever. You can be the second guy ... and, feel just as good about the pick and the player.
· Doolittle's injury doo's-a-lot for Clippard
On January 12th, Oakland's Sean Doolittle was standing with an ADP inside the top 100, at #93. Seventeen days later, the closer has a slightly torn rotator cuff and an ADP in freefall. With no definitive timetable for Doolittle to get back on the hump, owners have understandably passed on selecting him. Originally, a top 10 closer on many boards, Doolittle is now little more than a wild card final pick in a deep league where you can slot him on a DL slot.
The early assumption is that Tyler Clippard is due to get the 9th inning shot for the A's. That probably makes the most sense and Clippard's outstanding work (5 consecutive years with at least 70 appearances, plus a cumulative 2.63 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in that span) and experience in the role paint him as a classic slide-in option. As such, his ADP has leaped 30 spots in two weeks ... from #412 to #382.
I agree with the assumption here, but do understand that we are dealing with an A's organization that loves to play match-ups. They believe in all things sabermetric and they may make the argument that Clippard is more valuable if he's getting key outs in the 7th or 8th innings, instead. In very deep leagues (where over 400 players are being selected) you might consider taking a bench round flier on the other Oakland options, like Ryan Cook and Eric O'Flaherty.
· No Longer 'Miggy ... and Everybody Else'
For the past few seasons, we entered play knowing that Miguel Cabrera was the top dog at first base. And, for the past few seasons, we've looked smart by the time October rolls around. But, suddenly, Miggy has some company for the top slot at 1B.
Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Abreu, and Anthony Rizzo are three players looking to unseat the king at the top. In fact, during last month's FSTA Experts Draft, Abreu (3rd), Goldy (4th), and Rizzo (7th) were all selected ahead of Cabrera (9th). This rides on a few things. First off, the trio of guys moving up are younger and coming off impressive seasons. Secondly, Miggy showed some regression and is now nearing his mid-30s. And, finally, and most importantly, Cabrera has lingering issues about the full-health healing of his foot/ankle. He's still iffy for the first week of Spring Training.
The NFBC numbers play out this way. Cabrera's average selection has slip from 4.09 to 4.36. Goldschmidt has also seen a slight slide (4.86 to 5.06), while both Abreu (7.23 to 7.14) and Rizzo (a big jump of 17.59 to 17.4) are crawling closer. Expect those number to continue trending in that direction up until we see Cabrera taking part in Spring action. And, honestly, my opinion is Cabrera is behind Goldschmidt coming into '15. And, I think he's a toss-up with the other 2.
· Why Do You Want to Live in the 'Big City'?
A year ago at this time, there were loads of prognosticators calling for a large leap in numbers for St. Louis first baseman, Matt Adams. Well, they were right. At least in one column. Adams went from 296 at-bats in 2013 and up to 527 at-bats in 2014. Unfortunately, the other numbers did not follow. Adams had two fewer HRs with all those extra chances. His on-base percentage tumbled, his slugging crashed, and, thus, he posted a very ordinary .779 OPS. For a guy who weighs 260 and stands 6'3", it was shocking to see him become a singles hitter.
Outside of a postseason bomb off of Clayton Kershaw, Adams never had a chance against southpaws. He's hit under the Mendoza line versus them in his career, while carrying a 'light-in-the-loafers' OPS of .553! Thus, the Cardinals made a move in the offseason to add an option against LHPs. Mark Reynolds isn't an impressive overall hitter, but he is an impressive power hitter (7 straight years of at least 20 HRs) and he can sting lefties (.809 OPS). This is shaping up as a 65/35 split and could get closer to 50/50 as we go through the season.
Yet, Adams is still standing with an ADP of 144. This is stunning to me. In a typical 12-round league, Adams is sneaking into the end of round 12. Other hitters in that area - Adam LaRoche, Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer, and Ben Zobrist. For me, all of those guys, and many others, profile as much better fantasy options than Adams. He's not a terrible player, but he is a player who has playing time concerns and bat concerns. That puts him into the low 200s on my board. Near other first baggers, like Justin Morneau and Brandon Belt.
You can hear Kyle each weeknight on 'The SiriusXM Fantasy Drive' from 7-10 ET, Sirius 210, XM 87.
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