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Third Base ADP: Know Your System

Posted By Michael Barr On February 21, 2012 @ 12:15 pm In Third Base | 20 Comments

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).

Yahoo MDC MDC Trend EK ESPN
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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