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Drafting Catchers: Tracking ADP

Tracking average draft position (ADP) can be an incredibly useful tool in preparing for your upcoming fantasy drafts.  It’s most helpful in standard snake-style drafts as you’re able to see, on average, where a particular player is taken; whether you can wait a few rounds to grab him or if you have to act quicker than you thought to pick him up.  Obviously it’s less helpful if you’re in an auction, but it does help you see which players are, for the most part, off people’s radars and can be stolen late in your auction for a cheaper price tag.

We’re going to be using ADP throughout the offseason here to track the catchers and see what trends begin to develop the closer we get to peak draft season in March.  So when 12 FanGraphers got together over the weekend to do a Mixed 5×5 keeper league mock draft, I thought this was a good time to start.  Sadly, due to outside commitments, I was unable to participate this time around, but if you remember, a few weeks ago Eno Sarris wrote up a 15 team mixed 5×5 keeper league mock draft from Rotowire, I was part of that and we’ll refer to those results as well.

First off, here are the full results of each draft:

FanGraphs 12-team Mock Draft

Rotowire 15-team Mock Draft

Now let’s look at the top 5 catchers and where they came off the board…

1.  Carlos Santana (ADP: 29)

He was the number one catcher off the board in each draft and was the 29th overall pick both times, coming off in the 2nd round of the FanGraphs draft and 3rd round in Rotowire’s.  No real surprise here as Santana hits for tremendous power and is an OBP monster.  The obvious hope is that he brings that batting average up from that category draining .239 mark.

2.  Brian McCann (ADP: 44)

Steady as they come and has been for the last six years.  He hits for a solid average, quality on-base numbers and knocks you 20-plus home runs each year.  Battled some injuries last season but still ended up with 527 plate appearances.  Only 28 years old in 2012.  Went in the 4th round of both drafts and almost nearly the same pick number as well, but was actually the third catcher taken in the FanGraphs draft while coming off the board second in the other.

3.  Buster Posey (ADP:  50)

With such glowing reports on his rehab progress during the offseason, there is little fear of any lingering effects from the broken leg Posey suffered last season.  He was the third backstop selected in each draft.  The expectation is that he will produce just as he did in his rookie season and there seems to be little reason to doubt it at this point.

4.  Mike Napoli (ADP:  53)

He was the second catcher off the board in the FanGraphs draft (4th round, 38th pick), but surprisingly, the love wasn’t as strong in the Rotowire draft as he was the 6th catcher taken at the 68th pick (5th round).  Curious especially since the Rotowire draft was a two-catcher league.  Perhaps there is doubt in the number of plate appearances he will receive as his second half playing time in 2011 was increased due to team injuries.  Still, you can’t deny that power and Ron Washington is no Mike Scioscia.

5.  Joe Mauer (ADP:  58.5)

Do you believe in the rebound?  Obviously some of these guys do.  Mauer was the 4th backstop taken in the Rotowire draft and 5th by our very own Brandon Warne, both 5th round selections.  We all know the guys resume and what he is capable of doing when he’s healthy.  Now the question is…can he stay healthy?  If he does, then it’s AL Comeback Player of the Year.  If he doesn’t, well then get ready to stick that fork in him, cuz he’s done like dinner.

Other notes:

Falling just out of the top 5 with an ADP of 60.5 was actually Matt Wieters.  He went 5th overall in the Rotowire draft (5th round) and 6th overall in the FanGraphs draft (5th round).  It appears as though his late season power surge has made believers out of some and a breakout season is expected.  It could be now or never for him.

While Victor Martinez was the third catcher off the board in the Rotowire draft, being left until the 10th round dropped his ADP like a stone.  Surprised?  I am.  Mike Podhorzer got a huge steal there.  I can understand Chris Cwik passing him up for Miguel Montero a few picks before, but Bradley Woodrum took Chris Iannetta with the third pick of the 9th round.  That, I just don’t get.

In the FanGraphs draft, after Wieters came off the board, over two full rounds went by before the next catcher, Alex Avila, was taken and there was never any sort of a catcher run after that — obviously because it was just a 12-team, one-catcher league.  For the Rotowire draft, about a round and a half went by before Avila was taken in the middle of the 7th round and there was a strong catcher run, but not until Rounds 14 and 15.

Obviously, the ADP numbers above should be taken with the whole damn salt shaker as we’re just talking about two drafts.  However, the round selection is pretty spot on.  If you’re looking for a top 5 catcher, then you simply can’t wait past the middle of the 5th round.  Simple as that.  The position is considered thin, particularly in two-catcher leagues, and people are acting fast.

Not to go plugging another site, but if you are looking for a bigger sample size for ADP, then head over here to Mock Draft Central and sign up (don’t cost nothin’).  They’ve got dats from 81 different drafts already and the numbers will be more than helpful moving forward.

Again, we’ll be re-visiting this over the next few months and hopefully you’ll be able to use the information to your advantage.  Only about two months before pitchers and catcher report, so get ready!!