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.
|1||Christian Yelich||OF||1.3||1.3||202 AB, 39 R, 13 HR, 37 RBI, 9 SB, .316 AVG|
|2||Ronald Acuna Jr.||OF||1.9||-0.4||213 AB, 40 R, 13 HR, 34 RBI, 12 SB, .286 AVG|
|3||Cody Bellinger||1B, OF||4.0||0.4||197 AB, 39 R, 15 HR, 41 RBI, 5 SB, .294 AVG|
|4||Mookie Betts||OF||4.7||1.4||208 AB, 44 R, 11 HR, 31 RBI, 7 SB, .297 AVG|
|5||Mike Trout||OF||6.1||-4.0||171 AB, 40 R, 15 HR, 36 RBI, 5 SB, .309 AVG|
|6||Gerrit Cole||P||6.1||-0.4||75.3 IP, 102 K, 6 W, 3.13 ERA, 1.05 WHIP|
|7||Francisco Lindor||SS||7.1||1.3||219 AB, 39 R, 12 HR, 31 RBI, 8 SB, .290 AVG|
|8||Trea Turner||SS||7.9||1.8||215 AB, 36 R, 7 HR, 26 RBI, 14 SB, .289 AVG|
|9||Jacob deGrom||P||8.2||-0.6||74.7 IP, 89 K, 5 W, 3.02 ERA, 1.07 WHIP|
|10||Juan Soto||OF||11.1||-1.0||194 AB, 38 R, 12 HR, 40 RBI, 4 SB, .298 AVG|
|11||Jose Ramirez||3B||12.6||3.4||196 AB, 33 R, 11 HR, 35 RBI, 9 SB, .281 AVG|
|12||Trevor Story||SS||12.9||-3.1||212 AB, 37 R, 13 HR, 35 RBI, 7 SB, .284 AVG|
|13||Walker Buehler||P||13.0||1.1||68.4 IP, 77 K, 5 W, 3.48 ERA, 1.12 WHIP|
|14||Nolan Arenado||3B||13.8||-0.5||210 AB, 36 R, 14 HR, 43 RBI, 1 SB, .303 AVG|
|15||Max Scherzer||P||15.0||1.0||71.0 IP, 92 K, 5 W, 3.15 ERA, 1.04 WHIP|
|16||Justin Verlander||P||15.8||3.7||68.5 IP, 88 K, 6 W, 3.28 ERA, 1.10 WHIP|
|17||Fernando Tatis Jr.||SS||17.5||0.6||205 AB, 35 R, 11 HR, 28 RBI, 8 SB, .280 AVG|
|18||Alex Bregman||3B, SS||17.8||-1.5||197 AB, 39 R, 12 HR, 38 RBI, 2 SB, .296 AVG|
|19||Mike Clevinger||P||18.9||13.6||65.7 IP, 79 K, 5 W, 3.51 ERA, 1.19 WHIP|
|20||Bryce Harper||OF||19.5||1.3||192 AB, 36 R, 13 HR, 39 RBI, 4 SB, .269 AVG|
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.
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.
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.