If only MVP voting was as straight forward as fantasy baseball drafts and projections. That way, we could all chuckle at seeing a guy that was the 12th highest dollar earner in 15-team 5×5 leagues get a 1st place vote from a writer. As we saw yesterday with the AL MVP vote, and could likely see in the NL vote later today, some agendas can come into play in putting together your top ten players because the voting process is terribly subjective and allows people to do things such as put Michael Young 1st or leave Justin Verlander off a ballot, but fantasy baseball is much more objective. The goal in compiling draft lists is to rank people in order of their projected output totals and who will earn the most money. It may be easy to pencil in Young 1st on a ballot, but the case to draft him over Mike Napoli or Adrian Beltre is much tougher to make.

In any draft, you can find agendas where owners start going after their pet players and overdraft or overpay for them, but rarely do you see this happen in the first 50 picks of any kind of draft because the risk is too high to start reaching at that point, and the pecking order on player value is pretty straight forward in those first three rounds. There can be some wiggle room between who goes 25 and who goes 40, but you will rarely see someone projected in the mid 20s go in the first round in a competitive league.

In looking over the latest report from, 48 different drafts have been run over the past two weeks, giving us enough a glimpse at what some of the more serious fantasy baseball players are thinking as they pass the time staring out the window waiting for spring.  We can look at the average Average Draft Position for each position and see where some of last year’s busts and surprises are going so far in this mock-draft season as we start looking for trends and into reasons why some of these players are perceived to be over or under-drafted.







First Base



Second Base






Third Base






Designated Hitter



Starting Pitcher



Relief Pitcher



By average 2011 dollar value according to our Player Forecast Manager, the three top positions are outfield, second base, and first base. This is not surprising because the five-category studs are mostly found in the outfield and more so at second base these days than shortstop. After all, four different second baseman—Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, and Ben Zobrist—were all in the top 16 spots on the MVP balloting yesterday for the American League. First base always draws money because it is a power position, and with the problems at third base the last two seasons related to player injuries and disappointing performances, first base is getting more attention from owners as they fill the corner position on their roster.

Taking the 15-team 5×5 format that proliferates most high-stakes competitions that many of us play outside of our own local leagues, we can use these ADP reports to see which positions are being addressed early in the draft and see where the depth comes in later. Using the latest ADP report, here is how each position is being drafted in the first eight rounds of the draft.

Catcher: Eight catchers currently have an ADP of 120 or lower, led by Brian McCann at 44 with Alex Avila the lowest at 116. Avila has the lowest ADP of the eight catchers that qualify yet had the fourth-highest dollar value for the 2011 season. So far, drafters are taking Brian McCann 76 spots in front of Avila and are still comfortable taking Joe Mauer two full rounds ahead of Avila. Despite the fantastic season Mike Napoli had, he is still going off the board fourth behind McCann, Victor Martinez, and Carlos Santana. Perhaps people are picking up on the fact that Santana’s OPS improved each month of the 2011 season as he bounced back from that gruesome leg injury in 2010.

First Base: 11 first basemen are taken in the first eight rounds, led by Albert Pujols and his ADP of 3 with Justin Morneau going 117th. Six first baseman are going in the first two rounds: Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, and Mark Teixeira. After that, Paul Konerko is going at the end of the third round, Eric Hosmer at the end of the fifth round, and then Mike Morse, Freddie Freeman, and Morneau come into play during the eighth round. 2011 dollar value wise, the ADP and dollar values nearly matchup.

Second Base: Ten second baseman are going by the end of the 8th round with Robinson Cano leading the pack at 12 and Dustin Ackley rounding out the group at 113. Only Cano and Dustin Pedroia are going in the top two rounds, but they, Ian Kinsler, Dan Uggla, and Rickie Weeks are all going in the top five rounds. Somehow, Ben Zobrist is falling into the 7th round which is nearly as surprising as seeing Chase Utley falling into the end of the 5th round.

Shortstop: Just eight shortstops are going in the first eight rounds with Troy Tulowitzki’s ADP of 8 leading and Stephen Drew’s ADP of 96 closing out the group. Tulowitzki, Jose Reyes, and Hanley Ramirez are all going in the first two rounds, and Elvis Andrus and Starlin Castro are going before the end of the fifth. Asdrubal Cabrera and Jimmy Rollins are 6th round material so far, and the fact that Stephen Drew has a top 100 ADP despite last year’s struggles and injury speaks to the lack of depth at this position.

Third Base: Ten third basemen make the cut with Evan Longoria leading the pack with an ADP of 11 and Brett Lawrie rounding it off at 111. Nine of the ten third baseman are all being taken before the end of the fifth round, but only Longoria is going in the first two rounds. David Wright and Adrian Beltre are being taken 11 spots in front of Alex Rodriguez while there is a two-round gap between when Pablo Sandoval is being taken and where Lawrie is going.

Outfield: 32 different outfielders make the top 120. Matt Kemp has the highest ADP of any player and is first off the board, while Nick Markakis is the last guy in at 109. Ten outfielders are going in the first two rounds: Kemp, Ryan Braun, Jose Bautista, Justin Upton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson, Andrew McCutchen, Josh Hamilton, and Mike Stanton. Derek Carty addressed some concerns he had about Stanton in the comments to the article he and I did together on Nolasco next week, which you should go read. The next outfielder taken after Stanton is Carl Crawford, whose ADP of 33 is 20 spots lower than where it was last season, but he is a guy that could easily bounce back to become a top 20 producer when it is all said and done. Personally, I cannot take Stanton over Crawford in 2012. By the middle of the sixth round, the top 20 outfielders are off the draft board so far this off-season, but that list does not include the likes of Desmond Jennings, B.J. Upton, Brett Gardner, or Lance Berkman.

DH: Only David Ortiz and Billy Butler qualify, and both are going in the 8th round with ADPs of 105 and 113 respectively.

Starting Pitchers: 29 starters make the top 120 with Justin Verlander leading the pack with an ADP of 8 and Shaun Marcum making the final cut at 120 on the nose. Verlander, Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez, and Jered Weaver are all going in the first two rounds. Additionally, 15 of the first 60 players (25 percent) taken in the drafts so far are starting pitchers, and yet that group does not include Ian Kennedy (69) or James Shields (71).

Relief Pitchers: Just eight relievers make the cut with Craig Kimbrel leading the pack at 70 and Jose Valverde right at 120 in a tie with Marcum. The fact that not a single closer has an ADP that places them in the first five rounds of a draft makes me beam with pride as someone who has spent the better part of the last five seasons discouraging that action, but the fact that only five closers are going in the first seven rounds so far is a bit of a surprise.jaso

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ESPN has Kimbrel at 46 and Storen in the early 70's. Madness. Also can anyone tell me why Nick Markakis is so high? He doesn't seem to add anything that waiver wire pickups don't.
Jason, Regarding Stanton and the Marlins new ballpark dimensions, I think you better go back and have a look for comparison sake. Stanton a pull-heavy righthanded hitter dealt with the following in Pro Player Stadium (versus the new dimensions in brackets). Left Field Line - 330 feet (now 340 feet) Left Centre Power Alley - 385 (now 384 feet) Deep Centre Alley - 434 (now "Bermuda Triangle" 420 feet) Centre - 404 (now 416 feet) It strikes me as being only marginally different down the far left field line. If anything it 's more advantageous to Left Centre and into the Bermuda Triangle. What am I missing?
Let's assume that the roof is going to be closed from Mid-May on the rest of the season thus reducing any affect the weather would have as well. I'm more concerned about hitting indoors more than the overall dimensions of the park.
But I think saying that the roof will be closed for mid-May to the end of the season is being pretty presumptuous. Houston, Toronto and Milwaukee, all domed, were ranked 6, 7 and 11 respectively in terms of hitting friendly parks. Besides, Miami ranked #18, in terms of park factors, last season and was 'open' all year. It didn't seem to affect Stanton. Even if it's closed from mid-May onwards, is there any empirical evidence to suggest that his HR total will decline in the domed enviroment? All I'm saying is I'm not sure it's fair to lower his draft position, much if at all, based on that assumption.
Forgot to include Arizona (Chase), #10 hitter friendly park, which is a similarily hot and sunny climate.
Phoenix is also 1,117 feet above sea level and it's indoor temperatures with the roof closed is still 77 degrees. Miami is at sea level and will be at 72 degrees like Tropicana Field is. Using the info & worksheet in this article, shows that Dolphins Stadium had the following base park factors in 2007 with the average game temperature of 83 degrees. LF 119 LCF 106 CF 59 RCF 101 RF 107 Overall 97 Change it to 90, which is about where it is at first pitch most summer days 121 108 61 102 109 99 Change it to 72, which is where it will be when the roof is closed 116 103 56 98 104 94 That's an overall drop from 99 to 94 going to a climate controlled environment. Rogers Centre has very average fence distances while Houston has the short port to skew data. I'm just not comfortable taking Stanton in the top 30; he was the 26th most valuable player at his position according to our PFM last season. I'm looking at what he did last year and don't see the case to see him making the jump from the 26th outfielder to the 26th best player in the league.
Thanks Jason. Points taken. Enjoy the series, keep up the great work.
We should get larger sample sizes of drafts in the coming months which will show us stronger trends but for now, what we are seeing is rather interesting.
First base is going to be an interesting position this year, I think. Morneau in the first 8 rounds seems nuts, with his concussive symptoms, but there are question marks with almost everyone after the top 10 or so (and Konerko at #44 still seems a bit risky, despite his putting together two great years in a row). Trumbo at 134, when he might become a bench player? Ugh. Guzman at 214 when he's fighting Petco, the Padres anemic offense, and a job threat from Rizzo? Personally, I'd feel better signing Pena ( #213) or D-Lee (not in top 250) even though they are free agents and not young... at least when they sign, they'll be playing. And both have done well in the past at times. Is Kotchman really worse than Huff and LaRoche? And where is Morales? Anyway, lots of questions at this position. I haven't had to codify my picks for a draft or an article yet, so I don't have ready answers, but some of these ADPs smell bad already.
I definitely want to track the ADP #'s for the position as we move through the off-season to see how these trends are working. My early thought are people are drafting purely based on 2011 numbers without looking into trends or having done any off-season research just yet.