ADP Values in Center Field (Part 1?)

This was supposed to be a look at the ADP values in the tiers I created during my Check the Position series, but two pairs of players in the second center field tier caught my eye. These players lie right on fantasy fault lines: they are within a couple picks of each other, yet it seems that their value is disparate. I think you’ll be able to tell who I fancy (as the Brits say).

First up are two borderline second-rounders (though a bit less borderline if your league breaks out the outfield into three positions). Jacoby Ellsbury (20.36 ADP) goes earliest, and many fantasy managers may scoff at the number if they are accustomed to playing with plain “OF” positions, and they could be right. He is projected to retain his game-changing speed and put up a steals number north of 50. To put that in perspective, only three players crossed that threshold last year, and only one other player is projected to do so in most projection systems next year (Michael Bourn). There’s a good chance that Ellsbury finally nets triple-digit runs too, provided he remains atop the order and the Boston offense doesn’t take a step back with their renewed emphasis on defense. So Ellsbury will have some good qualities.

But what about Grady Sizemore (26.52 ADP), who is being picked almost a half-round later? If you were in the right draft spot, you could actually avoid Ellsbury and take Sizemore after the turn in the third round. I did it recently, and felt great about it. It’s not like Sizemore won’t steal any bases – although the amount is in question. He put up a career-low 6.0 speed score last year (5.0 is average) and the projections range from 20 steals to the Fans’ more optimistic 29 steals. He’s still young (27), and here’s a bet that he’ll touch the higher end of the steals projections. The power is no question – he should out-homer Ellsbury by at least a dozen home runs, and as many as 20. For whatever reason, his batting average won’t be as nice, either.

So how do you compare two different players like this? How much are Ellsbury’s extra singles and stolen bases worth? How much should you pay for Sizemore’s extra power? An excellent site,, attempts to answer this question by measuring a player’s impact in each of the 5×5 categories in terms of standard deviations above the mean in said category. Using Sizemore’s projections for 2009 (2010 is not up yet, and the .276, 32 HR, 38 SBs only need to be scaled back a little in the speed category to make sense), his across-the-board positive contributions gave him a ranking as the ninth-best hitter. How did Ellsbury finish last year? 14th. (I report, you decide.)

Next up is Curtis Granderson (53.64 ADP), who already seems like an ADP value at his draft position. In fact, in that mock where I scored Sizemore in the third, I took Granderson after the turn in the fifth and called it a double-victory. Granderson is going from a park that had a .974 park factor for home runs last year to one that sported a 1.261 factor this year. He’s going to have a nice bounce-back season according to his BABIP (.276 last year, .323 career). Yes, his speed factor was lower than his career average, but the speed factor counts stolen bases, and it’s hard to steal bases when you aren’t on base (and it’s hard to get on base when you’re getting unlucky with the bouncing ball). All systems go for Granderson, despite his unfavorable splits against lefties, which may not be as bad as they first appear.

And yet, Josh Hamilton (52.85 ADP), who has further to bounce back, is getting picked before Granderson. This is really a head-scratcher, in the end. Perhaps fantasy managers are being swayed by that gaudy 130 RBI total a couple of years back, because his career-high in home runs (32) is only two more than Granderson’s, and he doesn’t really steal bases (at all). Again, we are left to ponder the value of Hamilton’s batting average, because the RBI are so team-specific, and Granderson may out-produce Hamilton in that category depending on his position in the batting lineup in the Bronx. I think the home run totals will be close, and Granderson will get the final laugh.

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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.

21 Responses to “ADP Values in Center Field (Part 1?)”

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  1. R M says:

    Not saying I would take Hamilton over Granderson, but unless Yankee Stadium really inflates his numbers I don’t think he will touch 30 HR again. For me it is always a red flag when a player hits more homeruns than doubles and has no history of doing so. Unless that player is Ryan Howard, that is probably a sign of a homerun total that will drop off a good bit. Chris Young 2007 is a good example…he hit 32 homeruns and 29 doubles, and it’s no surprise that he didn’t maintain that in 2008. T

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    • Jimbo says:

      That was one year though. For his career he has many more doubles than HR…so based on one season you’ll write him off?

      I’m ready to drink the Kool-aid for his 2010. I don’t think he’ll match Soriano’s steals, but something close to his 02/03 NYY production seems attainable. 35/90/115/18 will do just fine. Could he approach Soriano’s 128 runs in 2002? Few teams, if any, offer that sort of potential.

      Seriously, how much does his team help??? How often will they knock the starter out early? How many more at bats will he get? And with runners in scoring position?

      I’m just too intrigued to let him pass me by in the 4th (I’m 7 of 12). ;-)

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      • DL80 says:

        I think RM’s point was that Granderson was very unlikely to keep hitting more home runs than doubles when he has never shown a propensity to do that before. And as RM pointed out, most players don’t do that, especially not of Granderson’s build and skill-set.

        So if you expect Granderson to hit 35 home runs next year, you’re either expecting him to continue hitting more homers than doubles (not likely) or you expect him to hit 40+ doubles (even less likely).

        Plus, Granderson’s passable work against lefties in 2008 now looks like a fluke rather than any real development.

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  2. Nelbowski says:

    Does this look like a guy who won’t greatly benefit from Yankee Stadium?

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  3. Jimbo says:

    I wonder how much the standard deviation approach weighs batting average. Certainly 650 at bats from Ichiro (@.300+) is more benefit than 500 at bats from Adam Dunn (@.250+) is a detriment. And does it agree at all with the 5×5 Player Rater on ESPN, or elsewhere? Be interesting if different sources claim different contribution values for the same exact stats.

    I just weighted player stats according to what will win in my league. Let’s say 300 HR, 1200 rbi and runs, 200 sb…so I multiply HR by a factor of 4 and SB by a factor of 6 to make everything on a 1200 count par. It’s simplistic, but 2009 results parallel ESPN Player Rater and it helps me understand general value–I’m purposefully staying away from projection obsession this year!

    My calc does tend to put speed guys higher than I prefer…but that doesn’t mean their value isn’t that high. I’m shocked Sizemore ranks higher than Ellsbury. Can understand why people would prefer power early, but if there was an equivalent version of WAR for fantasy? Ellsbury crushes him imo (depends what “replacement” is I suppose).

    I’m bullish on Grandy, so I’d “rank” him behind Ellsbury and Sizemore, but would rather draft him in the 5th than any of the others mentioned above.

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    • kerry says:

      Use this:

      AB: -2
      Hits, HRs, SBs: +7
      Runs, RBIs: +3

      points will produce similar standard deviations by hitting category in a 15 person league.

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  4. Jay says:

    I think this has been mentioned before in another post, but will you be doing a post for all outfielders? I’ve never played in a league that separated them out by position…

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  5. jim says:

    BJ Upton? Saw him go in the 6th rd in a draft

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  6. Mays says:

    I’m thinking Sizemore’s #9 overall ranking on Baseball Monster just means they haven’t updated for 2010. Their projections make a lot more sense if they are for 2009.

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  7. hamandcheese says:

    Yeah, those projections are for 2009.

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  8. Joey says:

    Eno, what are you’re projections for Granderson?

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  9. William says:

    CHONE projects Sizemore’s BA at .004 lower, but more importantly — and I have to agree with this — Ellsbury’s at a full .021 higher. That is HUGE when it comes to value. I guess it comes down to whom you feel projects more accurately…

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  10. rotofan says:

    It’s hard to justify taking Ellsbury so high when a center fielder who didn’t even make your list stands a good chance of providing most of Ellsbury’s production — Julio Borbon.

    Borbon has average 50 steals the past two years, is projected by everyone to bat about .300 and will be batting leadoff in what seems likely to be an improved lineup, with Kinsler moved down to an RBI spot. The one key risk is playing time, at least compared to Ellsbury, but the Rangers don’t really have any ready alternatives for center.

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    • Jimbo says:

      Have to agree with you there. How early does Borbon need targeted to not miss out?? Seems he’s on a lot of radars already…

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      • rotofan says:

        I’m not sure because I’m in a roto league with an auction, not a draft, and I have him on my keeper list at $5 in a $260 league. In an auction, I would guess he would go for $15 to $25, as steals are a premium. I haven’t been in a draft league because I prefer auctions but I would guess Borbon would be a bit all over the map because his track record is more limited and he’s more of a 2-dimensional player now, three if runs are included, and different players will have different needs in those areas. But I would guess he’s going well below Ellsbury regardless.

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      • Nate Marcum says:

        I target him around the 13th round on….It really seems that Andrus is going around the 11th+ and it kind of triggers an “oooh….Rangers player…oh wait, Borbon should be available as well” and a few rounds later Borbon is snagged up while you have him queued up and ready to go. His ADP is 188, but I will guarantee that he goes well before that, barring some unforseen injury or it’s revealed that he is actually 38. *I would still draft him*

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  11. Nick J says:

    Even better than BaseballMoster is Last Player Picked for looking at how to value Ellsbury vs. Sizemore, etc.

    Mays has got 2010 projections up too, by the way. Along with the ability to customize according to your league settings, and many other great things.

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  12. MDS says:

    the Yanks stadium will be nice for the LH Granderson
    also, Tigers hitters had issues with the hitting coach there…
    Grandy would be a nice, semi-cheap OF1

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