Third Base ADP: Know Your System

We rely on mock drafts to help guide us on trends without necessarily acting as the definitive voice. They’re somewhat like exit polls in politics — we’re just trying to get a pulse on public opinion before we see the actual results, with the exception that in mock baseball drafts, we can’t be entirely assured that a human being actually made the pick.

The problem being of course, is that mock drafts across formats is a lot like exit polls in Wyoming versus New York. So much depends on context. For instance – if you’re targeting Ian Stewart for any particular reason, Yahoo would suggest that you should expect to see him taken in the 20th round. If you trust Mock Draft Central, he is drafted at roughly 442, should anyone ever get to that round awake.

Stewart is an extreme case but it’s worth pointing out the differences in systems. As you well know, how a player is ranked in the draft room almost inevitably impacts where they are ultimately drafted — and some of the differences are so big that it could dramatically alter your draft approach.

Focusing solely on third base — here are some of the players that have a pretty major difference between Mock Draft Central and Yahoo’s current ADP. For the heck of it, I threw in any notable percentage changes in trend at MDC in case recent news has them moving up or down, and I tossed in the rankings of Eric Karabell over at ESPN (those that made his top 100 anyway).

Aramis Ramirez 80 69 NA 99
Alex Rodriguez 46 60 NA 63
Michael Young 58 71 NA 88
Pablo Sandoval 42 70 -2.60% 39
Kevin Youkilis 64 84 NA 37
Edwin Encarnacion 197 231 NA NA
Chone Figgins NA 299 9.30% NA
Ian Stewart 225 442 NA NA

The ESPN numbers are only his rankings, so I can’t speak to what their actual draft room is going to look like, but there are some pretty wild fluctuations with a few guys across these three “systems.” Aramis Ramirez goes anywhere from the 6th round to the 9th, with fully 30 picks separating Karabell’s ranking with where he’s going in MDC. He’s also no fan of Michael Young‘s services with his ranking putting him 30 picks behind Yahoo’s ADP of 58.

I think perhaps the most interesting ESPN ranking is Kevin Youkilis at 37 overall – higher than Pablo Sandoval (first place I’ve seen that in 2012) and almost 50 picks higher than where he’s going in MDC. So while you might be sitting back, comfortably thinking you could pluck Youkilis out of the 6th or 7th round, there’s a pretty high-traffic site that’s suggesting he’s just on the periphery of the 3rd round. So if you really want Kevin Youkilis on your squad, you’re probably going to need to prepare to pay a little more for him than you expected.

Looking at just Yahoo vs. MDC, the range between the two on Pablo Sandoval is notable. He moves from 42 to 70 between the two systems, and he’s actually on the decline in terms of trends at MDC, for what reason I have no idea. And while we’re on trends, the news of late that Chone Figgins will likely man the lead-off spot in the lineup has brought his trend up over nine percent into the range where he might actually get drafted. Yahoo doesn’t seem to be as optimistic.

I highlighted Edwin Encarnacion earlier as a pretty nice source of pop very late in drafts and while he is going late in both formats, he’s moving around the 17th round in Yahoo as opposed to the 19th in MDC. So if your corner infield strategy hinges on E5, be sure to target him a round or two earlier than you might have expected.

Lastly, I’ll point out that it’s worth looking between systems, but it’s also important to look within a system. As a noob in CBS one season long ago, I relied heavily on their ADP “data” and used it exclusively to build my strategy. When I arrived in the draft room, I came to find out that their actual player rankings were nowhere near what they were reporting as ADP and my strategy was a disaster as soon as the 2nd round.

Do your due diligence, and you can avoid being caught with your pants down on draft day.

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Michael was born in Massachusetts and grew up in the Seattle area but had nothing to do with the Heathcliff Slocumb trade although Boston fans are welcome to thank him. You can find him on twitter at @michaelcbarr.

20 Responses to “Third Base ADP: Know Your System”

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  1. jrogers says:

    A factor in the Michael Young rankings is that he qualifies at 2B in Yahoo but not ESPN.

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  2. MustBunique says:

    Thanks for the heads up on the four letter rankings. I never would have considered their rankings and felt confident rolling in having compared and contrasted Yahoo! and MDC. It is a good point that a lot of people still get their draft-prep info from ESPN (and other sources, too).

    With regards to the Hot Corner, I have recently participated in a couple of mocks on MDC. After looking at the position, I came to the conclusion that the position is deeper than in years past and I could wait and get a guy like Aramis or Youk later on. Come to find out, these guys go earlier than I anticipated and I am left staring at David Freese, Ryan Roberts and E5 himself. For some reason people look to shore up 3B early, even when 6 or 7 teams have already taken their starter (and this is a league with no CI). I know much of this is due to predraft rankings on MDC, but I will take this new info into consideration and target a 3B earlier than I was planning to.

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    • Michael Barr says:

      I’ve found much the same thing. I think the reader mock is really useful to look at too:

      There are ten pretty good options (with arguments against several of them well documented) – but all go in the 6th round or earlier – and then things get interesting pretty fast. I think many are pouncing early.

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      • MustBunique says:

        Interesting that the trend is visible even in the reader mock. In fact the only player to be taken more than 3 spots later than their MDC ADP was Michael Young. Four players in the top 12 went at least 1 round earlier than their MDC ADP(assuming a 12 team league). Is this a remnant of people worrying about the depth of the position for years prior to this year?

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      • Michael Barr says:

        I think it’s recognition that there are big question marks for all but about five options at third base and the dearth of good fall back options in the teens.

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  3. TheGrandslamwich says:

    Rumor has it Pablo Sandoval showed up to spring training 30 pounds heavier than last year which would likely explain how his ADP has been dropping.

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  4. Bubble boy says:

    I think the emphasis has to be on what your league has done in the past, people don’t usually change habits very often. ADP’s mean nothing in my league, the emphasis is on arms and youth guys in the 25-30 yr old windows. You can pick up value guys in mid and later rounds. 1st year guys and rookies tend to go late. the top 5 at a position go early but the top 50 arms are generally gone by round 10. RP’s are less emphasized in our scoring though are becoming more as we have changed some scoring to add benefit. They don’t start going until round 12. Again no your enemy and you will get the jump on him. Also pay attention to who is around you and what they have drafted. People like the comfort of knowing they filled their positions before drafting depth.

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  5. OzzieGuillen says:

    The other ESPN analysts rank Youkilis a lot lower…around #100 overall.

    I think there are 11 good options at 3B (Bautista, Longoria, Beltre, Wright, Lawrie, Sandoval, Ramirez, Zimmerman, Youkilis, Rodriguez, Reynolds), and then a huge drop-off to the rest. Guys like Young and Roberts who also qualify at 2B might end up being more valuable at 3B because 2B runs deeper at the tail end than 3B does.

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  6. Wade8813 says:

    Obviously with Chone, it might be a matter of whether or not the rumor becomes confirmed, and then after that how long it takes for new draft data to be factored in.

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  7. SteveJobs says:

    I always draft with my pants down.

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  8. Randy says:

    I just googled to confirm what TheGrandslamwich posted, and everything I found contradicted his statement. It states that Sandoval showed up earlier than everyone else and was in good shape.

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    • TheGrandslamwich says:

      My mistake. I forget where I heard that and now I can’t find anything on it either.

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      • Brad Johnson says:

        It was on twitter. I guess we need to get somebody to confirm his size…

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      • Michael Barr says:

        There are a couple passive-aggressive comments from Bochy about him having “a couple of pounds to lose” but that he “looks good.” Panda, for his part, says he worked with the same trainer as last off season, has just come out of some six week two-a-day workout regimen and if he’s put on any weight, it’s in muscle. I haven’t seen him with the whites of my eyes — maybe I’ll see him on the 9th and 10th when I’m down there — and if so, I’ll certainly report. But I think the weight thing is a non-issue (unless you’re Sandoval and you just want to stop hearing about it).

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  9. Lefty Longfoot says:

    On a semi-related point…

    In a 6×6 roto league where Errors is the added category on offense, where does that put Miggy in the 3B rankings? His glove is a real liability with this scoring system, but how much of one?

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    • Michael Barr says:

      He was pretty bad at third and hasn’t played there regularly for four years. He’s bigger now, which obviously won’t help his range, and hasn’t made that throw across the diamond with any regularity in a long time. At first base, he’s been tied for second in baseball in errors for two seasons, and the majority are fielding errors.

      I still maintain that Miggy might not get eligibility as quickly as some might think, and perhaps not at all. If it’s clear this Spring that he’s over his head, they might do a slow roll-out of Cabrera at third instead of throwing him into the fire right away. I’m not drafting him as a third baseman.

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  10. AJ says:

    why did you use EK’s rankings instead of the ESPN composite rankings? For many players (e.g. Youkilis), his rankings differ significantly from the order that players will be listed in ESPN drafts

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    • Michael Barr says:

      I tried to use their ADP, but the page was simply blank so I defaulted to the EK rankings because they’re right there on the front page. I should have used the overall rankings, but I find their website to be so confusing that I honestly just now found them. Will do for future pieces to be sure. Thanks.

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