Fantasy Baseball: First Round ADP Analysis

With MLB scheduled to return in less than two weeks, season-long drafts are back in full force for what will no doubt be a unique and tricky fantasy campaign -- the likes of which we've never seen before.

But if you have a draft coming up this week, how should you handle the first round? As of this writing, the NFBC has 21 drafts in the books for their 12-team Sprint - Rotowire Online Championship offering, which should give us a good barometer of the present market.

Let's take a look at the top 20 players in terms of average draft position (ADP) and see which players have moved up or down the most since March. All 20 have a minimum pick of 13 or better, making everyone listed at least a borderline first-rounder in terms of recent ADP.

For reference, I've included consensus projections from FantasyPros, which includes numberFire's own model.

1Christian YelichOF1.31.3202 AB, 39 R, 13 HR, 37 RBI, 9 SB, .316 AVG
2Ronald Acuna Jr.OF1.9-0.4213 AB, 40 R, 13 HR, 34 RBI, 12 SB, .286 AVG
3Cody Bellinger1B, OF4.00.4197 AB, 39 R, 15 HR, 41 RBI, 5 SB, .294 AVG
4Mookie BettsOF4.71.4208 AB, 44 R, 11 HR, 31 RBI, 7 SB, .297 AVG
5Mike TroutOF6.1-4.0171 AB, 40 R, 15 HR, 36 RBI, 5 SB, .309 AVG
6Gerrit ColeP6.1-0.475.3 IP, 102 K, 6 W, 3.13 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
7Francisco LindorSS7.11.3219 AB, 39 R, 12 HR, 31 RBI, 8 SB, .290 AVG
8Trea TurnerSS7.91.8215 AB, 36 R, 7 HR, 26 RBI, 14 SB, .289 AVG
9Jacob deGromP8.2-0.674.7 IP, 89 K, 5 W, 3.02 ERA, 1.07 WHIP
10Juan SotoOF11.1-1.0194 AB, 38 R, 12 HR, 40 RBI, 4 SB, .298 AVG
11Jose Ramirez3B12.63.4196 AB, 33 R, 11 HR, 35 RBI, 9 SB, .281 AVG
12Trevor StorySS12.9-3.1212 AB, 37 R, 13 HR, 35 RBI, 7 SB, .284 AVG
13Walker BuehlerP13.01.168.4 IP, 77 K, 5 W, 3.48 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
14Nolan Arenado3B13.8-0.5210 AB, 36 R, 14 HR, 43 RBI, 1 SB, .303 AVG
15Max ScherzerP15.01.071.0 IP, 92 K, 5 W, 3.15 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
16Justin VerlanderP15.83.768.5 IP, 88 K, 6 W, 3.28 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
17Fernando Tatis Jr.SS17.50.6205 AB, 35 R, 11 HR, 28 RBI, 8 SB, .280 AVG
18Alex Bregman3B, SS17.8-1.5197 AB, 39 R, 12 HR, 38 RBI, 2 SB, .296 AVG
19Mike ClevingerP18.913.665.7 IP, 79 K, 5 W, 3.51 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
20Bryce HarperOF19.51.3192 AB, 36 R, 13 HR, 39 RBI, 4 SB, .269 AVG

Mike Trout

The first change that stands out is Mike Trout going from being a potential first overall pick to an ADP right around sixth. His max pick is 15th, too, meaning he's dropped entirely out of the first round at least once.

Of course, this revolves entirely around Trout and his wife expecting their first child in August, which not only means he'll already miss at least a few days -- and possibly more -- but he's made it no secret that he has reservations about playing the season at all.

Considering how close we are to opening day, it's looking more promising that Trout doesn't opt out, but this is still a dicey proposition for a first-round pick. Particularly if you're in a big money league, it may be wise to only select Trout as a late first-rounder.

Dodger teammates Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts are the main beneficiaries, hopping Trout as top-four selections. They're both easy to like as potential five-category contributors.

Trea Turner

Trea Turner moves up a couple of spots, but I more bring him up because he's a worthwhile top-five pick and possibly even top-three.

The reason? Only Adalberto Mondesi and Mallex Smith are projected for more stolen bases. Normally, we can piecemeal stolen bases together with a stable of guys who swipe bags here and there, but in a 60-game season, that could be more difficult to rely on. A guy like Turner could very well single-handedly win you the category in roto leagues, and he isn't a detriment to other categories like most elite speedsters.

Once you get past Christian Yelich and Ronald Acuna, it's pretty wide open, and Turner arguably deserves to be in the conversation with Bellinger and Bets.

Jose Ramirez

Jose Ramirez gets a bump, which could either have to do with Cleveland now playing half their schedule in a weaker division, or perhaps Ramirez's horrific first half in 2019 has further faded from memory. Whatever the case, Ramirez was probably a bit undervalued in March anyway, as his projections aren't so different from teammate Francisco Lindor or Colorado's Trevor Story. All three are strong choices in the mid-to-late first round, and I would probably draft all three over Juan Soto due to the potential difference in stolen bases.

The only concern with Ramirez is another lengthy slump -- he also had a poor second half in 2018 -- would spell doom in this shortened format.

And speaking of Story, his slight dip is likely for the opposite reason of Ramirez, with the Rockies now having a much tougher schedule and also spending a lot of time in pitcher-friendly venues. That drops him below the two Cleveland bats, but we probably shouldn't overthink this -- he'll still be taking plenty of hacks at Coors Field.

Justin Verlander and Mike Clevinger

Lastly, Justin Verlander and Mike Clevinger get predictable boosts now that they're healthy and past their injury concerns in March. Both are excellent anchors for your staff and are priced appropriately. In deep formats where pitching tends to go early (like some high stakes leagues), there's merit to moving them up towards the late first round.