Maximizing every drop of value in every pick is hugely important. Taking a player in the fifth round that you could just as easily have taken in the sixth round is a major mistake. To avoid this, you need to know all about Average Draft Position (ADP).
While no two drafts are identical, knowing where a player typically goes gives you a general idea of where he will go in your draft. That said, be sure to do homework on your league mates subjective tendencies. For example, if there are Red Sox fans, be sure to snag guys like Lester and Youkilis a bit earlier than you normally would. In addition, you should talk up your sleepers before the draft (discreetly of course) to see if anyone is on to them. If you don’t, an opponent with an itchy trigger finger who hasn’t done his ADP homework might snag one of your sleepers a round before anyone else is typically taking him.
Now that you know WHY ADP is important, I want to show you HOW to exploit it by highlighting those players who are going too low compared to players with similar ADPs. You can grab an ADP report at Mock Draft Central.
Kyle Blanks – Current ADP 316 – Blanks played in 54 games last year and did about what we expected (low average (.250), but decent power (10 HRs)). In 451 minor league games, Blanks batted .304 with a .393 OBP. He also added 73 HRs. Blanks will not be 24 until September, yet has the ability to be a 30-HR masher this year. So why is he going after ne’er-do-wells like Clint Barmes, Daniel Murphy, Felipe Lopez, Jack Cust, Mark Teahen, Magglio Ordonez, Jason Heyward, Josh Willingham, Scott Hairston, Mark DeRosa, etc.? I’d be happy drafting Blanks with a pick around the 210 range, but certainly don’t mind waiting on the big fella.
Nick Johnson – Current ADP 289 – Last year, Johnny Damon scored 107 runs, hit 24 HRs and posted 82 RBIs. For the Nationals and Marlins, Nick Johnson scored 71 runs, hit eight HRs and knocked in 62. Johnson posted a delicious .426 OBP and .291 AVE. Clearly Johnson doesn’t stay as healthy as Damon and isn’t as fast. However, Damon only played 10 more games than Johnson last year. This is all by way of saying that Johnson could have a very similar year to Damon, and should definitely improve his runs, HRs and RBIs hitting in that Yankee lineup and stadium. So, why he is going undrafted in some leagues is somewhat confusing, especially when JD Drew, John Baker, Jason Heyward, Josh Willingham, Garrett Atkins, Chase Headley, Martin Prado, and others are going before him. Johnson can be a great utility or corner infielder for you (depending on your configuration).
Colby Rasmus – Current ADP 201 – Apparently, I like guys named Colby, as I also drafted him in my Survivor fantasy league (then he got owned by Coach – lame). Rasmus got into 147 games last year and did a ton of damage against right handers (.277 AVE, .332 OBP, and .451 SLG). While he was anemic against southpaws (.160 AVE, .219 OBP, .255 SLG), the majority of pitchers are righty’s and you can simply sit him when the Cards are facing lefty starters. As a whole, last year, Rasmus put up useful stats: 72 runs and 16 HRs. He is only 23, so an improvement will come. Furthermore, he has killed the minor leagues, so it is possible a big step forward is coming this year. I like Rasmus a good deal this year, certainly over the likes of Rickie Weeks, Marco Scutaro, Jhonny Peralta, Jermaine Dye, Corey Hart, and Vernon Wells. He’ll be a solid late outfield type with good HR upside.
Julio Borbon – Current ADP 175 – We know Julio Borbon will be given every chance to remain at lead-off for the Rangers – even if he struggles – as just last year the Rangers showed the patience to stick with a young, talented and promising player. So it is unlikely that Borbon’s playing time will be in much danger. What can Julio Borbon do for you? Steal bases, and plenty of them. In only 46 games in the majors last year, Borbon stole 19 bases, which averages out to 67 over a full season. Sure he can’t hit lefties, yet, but he only had 16 major league ABs against south paws. He has posted healthy OBPs throughout his career (.360 in the minors, .376 in the majors). While that number will likely drop a bit in 2010 as he faces more lefties and gets more ABs, even a .340 OBP will lead to a ton of SBs and runs scored. I like Borbon over guys like Garrett Jones, Jorge Cantu, Rajai Davis, Vlad Guerrero, Ryan Ludwick, Juan Rivera, Vernon Wells, Corey Hart and others. Speed never slumps.