Recently, I published the first installment of the h2h Average Draft Position (ADP) value grab bag. For more information on ADP and how to use it, scroll to the bottom.
This series identifies the players that, for whatever reason, you can get later in drafts, but will provide you with better returns than their ADP would indicate.
Jason Bay – ADP = 39.9 – Jason Bay as a stolen base aficionado is clearly a one-hit wonder (where have you gone 2005?). However, last year, in only 184 at bats with the Red Sox, Bay hit 9 HRs and had 37 RBIs (only 27 fewer RBIs than he had the bulk of his season with the woeful Pirates). With nearly 69 percent of his at bats occurring in Pittsburgh in 2008, Bay managed to total 111 runs, 31 HRs and 101 RBIs. I’m going to predict a plausible line of 120 runs, 35 homers, 125 RBIs and a .295 average. Those are Manny numbers. I also think it is more realistic that Bay reaches those numbers than Manny does. Bay is good, especially since he’s out of Pittsburgh. There is no reason he is a borderline fourth rounder.
I think you can take Bay as high as the late-second round and not worry about it. Knowing his ADP, however, you can snag another player you are high on and wait for the draft, and Bay, to come back to you.
Adrian Gonzalez – ADP = 58.6 – This is the true gem of the series. I think Adrian Gonzalez will be a top 15 player this year, yet he is taken as late as the 58th selection in most drafts. That is a traveshamockery. Let’s look at two players:
Yin: 102 Runs, 33 HRs, 121 RBIs, .308 BA, .410 OBP.
Yang: 103 Runs, 36 HRs, 119 RBIs, .279 BA, .361 OBP.
Pretty similar, eh? You obviously prefer Yin, because his ratios are better. Ratios only matter in this context (typically I throw out ratio categories when working in an h2h league) because the counting stats are so close. Yin is Mark Teixeira, a borderline first round selection. Yang (you guessed it) is Gonzalez, who is going 48 picks later. This isn’t a perfect one-to-one comparison, however. Tex could improve with the Yankees and we’ve probably already seen the best from Gonzalez.
Still, that doesn’t explain the 48 pick difference. I’m not saying Tex is overvalued, I think he is properly valued, but Gonzalez is, by way of comparison, vastly underrated. Knowing where AGON (I coined that, I think) goes, you can safely wait five rounds to grab your topflight first basemen while your leaguemates gobble up Teixeira, Howard, Fielder, Berkman, and Morneau. You will be better off because you didn’t sacrifice any stats at the position, while at the same time selecting top round talent at other positions.
Randy Johnson – ADP = 173 – In a hitters park (according to Baseball Reference, Chase Field has a 107 multi-year batting park factor) and his 21st season, Randy Johnson had 11 wins, 173 strikeouts, a 3.91 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. He gave up 24 home runs, which should come down in the pitcher friendly confines of AT&T Park.
In 2009, Johnson will probably get 10-15 wins, but there is room for improvement in ERA and WHIP. Still, his 173 strikeouts were the 22nd best in 2008. The fact that you can get a pitcher with that many strikeouts so late is incredible. However, according to ADP, people are taking Kevin Slowey, Matt Garza, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, David Price, Chien-Ming Wang and, yes even, Mike Mussina before RJ. Let your leaguemates grabs those guys and wait patiently on RJ.
Gil Meche – ADP = 182.8 – Gil Meche is a lot like Randy Johnson, except he plays in the big-boys league. In 2008, he had 14 wins, 183 strikeouts, a 3.98 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. His strikeouts were the most he has ever posted in a season, but they are in line with his 156 strikeouts in 186 innings in 2006. I feel like, in making my argument for Johnson, I’ve made my argument for why Gil is more valuable than those above him. I’ll add that I think it is ridiculous to take Ben Sheets over Meche.
As an aside, when looking at guys like Vazquez, Johnson and Meche, it really shows the depth of pitching. You can get guys who were in the top 20 in strikeouts for 2008 as late as the 18th round and these pitchers are, sometimes, barely among the first 50 starting pitchers selected.
This draws an important distinction between ROTO and h2h. These guys are ranked so low because they can kill your ERA/WHIP in a ROTO league, which would prohibit you from winning. In h2h leagues, you have no such concern over the ratio categories since they widely oscillate from week to week. This makes strikeout pitchers more valuable because the Ks are less likely to vary on a weekly basis. Any kind of starting pitcher consistency is welcome.
Overview on ADP:
A player’s Average Draft Position (ADP) is determined by examining mock fantasy drafts and averaging the position where he was selected in each. ADP is a useful tool for gauging the typical interest in a player so that you can target/value him accordingly. Knowing where a player typical goes allows the drafter to figure out not only how early he has to reach for sleepers, but also how long he can wait on said sleepers. Just a tip: your draft sheet should have the ADP of every player next to them.
To clarify, by example: say Carlos Beltran is your ninth ranked player. According to his ADP, he is typically taken in the third round. Knowing this, you can, with reasonable certainty, pick Jimmy Rollins in the late first round (even though you ranked him 16) and grab Beltran when the draft comes back to you. Or you can get even friskier and grab Ryan Howard (who you ranked 10th) in the early second and hope Beltran falls to you in the third, thus providing a high ranked player windfall.
So ADP is a quick an easy tool to gauge every player’s draft value.