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Market Value: Draft Position in May

Posted By Michael Barr On May 2, 2012 @ 9:15 am In Stock Watch | 8 Comments

We’ve posted several articles hypothesizing whether certain players might be had on the cheap or if you might be able to sell high on others. Typically, comments are mixed inasmuch as actually believing you could buy low/sell high on Players X, Y, or Z. This is pretty standard fare for fantasy baseball in April. But the uncertainty of what opposing managers might think about particular players got me wondering what the actual value of players might be if the draft were held today.

Enter Yahoo! and their rather archaic in-season drafts. Drafting at the tail end of April always seemed like a pretty silly notion to me. But with their new pay leagues, I thought the results of a draft where other managers are actually competing for cash prizes might provide a bonafide pulse on whose stock has already risen and whose has dropped. You have to account for the fact that we’ve had some injuries not to mention relievers who have lost their jobs already, so the pool of players has changed a tad, but not significantly.

So yes, for you dear fantasy baseball enthusiast, I reluctantly joined a draft this past Sunday just so I could pass along the results. Note that there were no auto drafters up until the last three rounds. This was a standard 5×5 roto league with 12 teams and a snake draft format and the average draft positions I’ll reference are those found in Yahoo.

The first round went almost as expected. Guys like Albert Pujols and Jose Bautista still went #3 and #6, respectively, which is about where they were going in February and March. The biggest mover early on was Josh Hamilton, who was selected 11th overall while his ADP was 33. Hamilton is already nursing a sore back, so perhaps owners missed any opportunity they might have been looking for to peddle him at his highest value — but his hot start rather catapulted him up the draft list on this day.

Not far behind Hamilton was Pablo Sandoval, whose current .311/.361/.500 slash line had some manager all in a dither so as to draft him with the 16th overall pick whereas his ADP was 42. My guess was he’d go somewhere in the 3rd round, but holy cow — this was either a real reach or Sandoval’s mother is now playing fantasy baseball. I’m not saying he’s not worth an overall 16th pick at his current clip, so perhaps this manager has a more reliable crystal ball than I do.

The 3rd-6th rounds had Stephen Strasburg going 28th (ADP of 54), Jay Bruce 38th (56th ADP) and Yu Darvish 52nd (83 ADP). In the case of Strasburg and Bruce, it could be that their value might never be higher. At 70 overall was Kevin Youkilis, who had an ADP of 64, so while his stock has dropped some, it’s not quite as much as I assumed.

If you’re in a buy-low mood, some of the gentlemen selected well past their initial ADP include Ian Kennedy at 93 (79 ADP), Mat Latos at 126 (109 ADP), Ike Davis at 165 (137 ADP), Ubaldo Jimenez at 171 (150 ADP), Dustin Ackley at 169 (148 ADP), Carlos Marmol at 189 (145 ADP) and Justin Masterson way down at 264 (198 ADP). Of the group, I’d probably be most interested in Kennedy, Latos, and Marmol if you can find them at a significant discount. Masterson is already finding himself on waiver wires.

On the other hand, if you’ve got glaring needs and you’re thinking of trying to sell high, there were a good number of players that were drafted much higher than expected just a month ago. There was a real believer out there in Emilio Bonifacio and his nine steals as he was selected 88th despite an initial ADP of 142. David Freese went 108th (135 ADP), Jesus Montero went 112th (157 ADP), J.D. Martinez went 131st (242 ADP), Edwin Encarnacion went 140th (203 ADP), and Mark Trumbo went 171st (194 ADP).

In the case of Montero and Trumbo, it might have a lot to do with position eligibility as Montero now qualifies in most leagues at catcher and Trumbo at third base. But the hot starts by Freese, Martinez, and Encarnacion definitely impacted this draft — and if you own them, it’s your call as to whether or not they’ll be able to keep it up or if it’s time to strike while the proverbial iron is hot.


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