With the real Opening Day…er….I mean….Night…..coming on Sunday, any leagues that haven’t drafted yet are cramming them in over the next three days. So this figures to be a big weekend for many of us in the fantasy baseball community. If you’re still waiting to draft, then the ADP trends that we have been witnessing over the last month are going to be important for you. Earlier in the week I went over some late-round options you may want to consider, so today we’re going to focus on those first few rounds.
Your first few picks are going to set the tone for your entire draft and how your opponents pick is going to obviously impact your decisions. I’ve done a slew of mock drafts over the last three months and Thursday was real draft #11 for me with one more still to go. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that anything can happen. Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera are the consensus picks for one and two, but while you’d like to think that Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew McCutchen are no-brainers for three and four, someone in your league is going to zig when you’re expecting him to zag. Thursday’s draft, case in point – McCutchen dropped to seventh. Crazy? Maybe not.
Without diving into some of the details and metrics we usually touch on, because you’ve heard it all before, I’ll just go over the top risers and fallers here in the top 50 picks and share some thoughts with respect to drafting or not drafting these guys. Hopefully you’ll get some insight out of it and it will help you make some of those tough decisions we get hit with in the first few rounds. Remember, the actual swings in number of picks aren’t too great here. Usually the movement is just a handful at a time. But it should help you when deciding between a couple of players as to whether or not this is the core upon which you build your team.
|Rank||Player||Team||Pos||Current ADP||1 Month Ago||Trend|
Before I discuss the individual players, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the fact that the top four risers in ADP over the last month are all outfielders. I spent a fair amount of time warning you that outfielders are coming off the board in a hurry this year. Thirty percent of the top 100 have been outfielders and as you can see here, 16 of the top 50 (32-percent) are all outfielders. If you’re league requires you to start five or six outfielders along with a utility/DH, you’re going to want to make your move early. I employed the strategy of heavy outfield early during Thursday’s draft and I couldn’t have been happier.
Ryan Braun, OF MIL (+27.52%) – People are finally starting to come around and Braun is coming off the board quicker and quicker. And it’s not because people are overvaluing his .387 with two home runs and six RBI stat line this spring; they just understand that he is an amazing talent and with or without the PEDs help, he’s still a force capable of hitting 30 home runs and stealing 20 bases in a given year. Don’t let him fall too far as you may regret it all season.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF COL (+21.41%) – The outfield trend is overshadowing the injury concerns and CarGo is also going higher and higher in drafts. His ADP says seventh or eighth, but I’ve seen him go consistently between five and seven. He’s having a strong spring and don’t be fooled that he’s had just one stolen base attempt in which he was caught stealing. The team knows he can run and there’s no reason to put him at risk during spring games. Draft with confidence.
Bryce Harper, OF WAS (+20.27%) – If you’ve seen the photos of Harper during the spring or have watched him play, there’s no denying that he’s added some serious muscle to his frame. Perhaps he’s done what Mike Trout did last year and added the weight in anticipation of some of it coming off during the season, but I’m wondering if it’s going to adversely affect him early on. Yes, it’s the spring, but just one double, two home runs, 2-for-4 in stolen base attempts and 11 strikeouts in 46 at-bats gives me pause here. Not a big pause, but some. Given that he’s going at the tail-end of the first round, I might bypass for more proven talent in re-draft leagues. Keeper leagues, I’m still grabbing him, as I don’t think this new physique is going to last if we don’t see the on-field results we expect.
Jose Bautista, OF TOR (+19.87%) – Just a fierce spring for Joey Bats with five doubles, five home runs and a .358 average. Fierce. He looks both comfortable and confident at the plate and it would appear that the wrist is no longer an issue. He’s on the rise, but still a late third/early fourth round pick so if he’s still on the board at that point and it’s your pick, you may not want to hesitate.
Prince Fielder, 1B TEX (+15.14%) – His ADP has actually been on the rise since the moment he was traded to Texas, and rightfully so. The change in ballpark is obviously a huge help and the overall lineup improvement is also going to be a boost. Rumors of some person problems affecting him in Detroit have seemingly been put behind him and he’s ready to mash. If I’m drafting in the latter half of the first round, I’m grabbing him. The warmth and comfort of his home runs and RBI will be one heck of a place to live this season.
Yasiel Puig, OF LAD (-17.93%) – Well, it looks like my anti-Puig grass roots campaign has worked and his ADP has officially fallen out of the second round in 12-team leagues. Of course, the back problems might have something to do with it too. I still think he’s going to disappoint a lot of people should they land him close to where his ADP is right now, but I can only warn you off him so many times. If you’re a member of the Puig Fan Club, maybe take a look through this series and find the numbers from his last 216 at-bats in 2013.
Jean Segura, SS MIL (-17.90%) – There have been serious shoulder concerns this spring and what with the news of Jurickson Profar, you can understand people’s hesitancy to invest. People are also not convinced of the power he showed last year and a bum shoulder will certainly seal that deal. But a recent MRI came back clean so there doesn’t appear to be anything to worry about too much. He may get off to a slow start given his recent time off, but he should be fine for the season. The fact that his ADP is dropping could be a good thing for you. Talk up the concerns at the start of your draft and look to get him at a bargain. He went in the sixth round of Thursday’s 12-teamer, just two picks before I grabbed Starlin Castro.
Yu Darvish, SP TEX (-13.69%) – The news of him missing Opening Day due to a stiff neck was a bummer, but Darvish saw a specialist on Thursday and test revealed that there is no structural damage. His issue is muscular and that is easily remedied. He’ll be more than just fine this season so expect his usual high-strikeout total and a push for the AL Cy Young award.
Robinson Cano, 2B SEA (-13.19%) – People were down on him with the move to Seattle, then they started to come around and now they’re down on him again. His ADP still has him as a first-rounder which I agree with , so if you’re in the back-end of your draft and he falls to you, draft with confidence. He may only hit 20-25 home runs, but his other numbers should be more than just fine.
Chris Davis, 1B BAL (-11.73%) – The crowd still loves him and I could easily see another 40 home runs. Fifty? Probably not. But that’s not the whole reason he’s falling towards the back end of the first round. Obviously the outfielders are garnering some added attention but there are also some interesting options available a bit later such as Jose Abreu, Mark Trumbo and Anthony Rizzo. Perhaps owners are bypassing him with a plan.