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“The Mad Professor” Starting Pitcher ADP Gems and Busts 2019, Part I

Hi Campers!

This week and next, MLFS holds its ADP busts and bargains chapter.  I always find that ADP is more useful for Monday morning quarterbacking than for analysis.  This is because ADP is just that—an AVERAGE draft position.  It conveys only relative value.  In contrast, auction values convey measurable real differences in value.  So, depending on where you are in a snake draft ADP analysis, two players at #13 and #14 might be separated by $10.  Farther down, $2 might differentiate players who are 10 spots apart.

ADP is useful if, as you scan the terrain of your draft and plot against your weak and lame opponents, you plan to stage a run on a particular position (admit it: every one of you has thought about staging a round 3 closer panic stampede…).  As well, it is useful to help give a sense of whether you should ride the stampede or veer of and zig while everyone else is zagging.  This, in turn, depends on projected performance and dollar value (as noted above).

OK—I digress a bit.  Today I’ll look at the latest (4 March) composite ADP from FantasyPros and connect it with the performance projections I’ve been using from Fangraphs throughout my pieces this year.  This will not be perfect, of course, because injuries are now shaking up those projections (see, e.g., Kershaw and Severino).  Nonetheless, I think my analysis will give you all at least a bit of helpful context as you get closer to your drafts this month.


ADP Rankings

Let’s take a look at the top 25 SP in terms of ADP alone.

Table 1: FantasyPros Top 25 SP in terms of ADP as of 4 March

This listing tells us not much in terms of draft strategy (again in a 12 team mixed 5×5 league).  Five SP go in the first two rounds (Nola is the first pick of round three).  The other 15 picks are big bats.

Rank Name ADP
1 Scherzer  Max 7.3
2 deGrom  Jacob 13.5
3 Sale  Chris 13.9
4 Kluber  Corey 22.2
5 Verlander  Justin 23.0
6 Nola  Aaron 25.2
7 Snell  Blake 27.8
8 Cole  Gerrit 28.1
9 Kershaw  Clayton 32.8
10 Severino  Luis 34.8
11 Bauer  Trevor 36.8
12 Syndergaard  Noah 39.7
13 Carrasco  Carlos 40.3
14 Buehler  Walker 41.6
15 Corbin  Patrick 49.6
16 Paxton  James 53.6
17 Clevinger  Mike 59.6
18 Strasburg  Stephen 62.3
19 Flaherty  Jack 62.6
20 Greinke  Zack 64.1
21 Taillon  Jameson 65.2
22 Bumgarner  Madison 70.4
23 Berríos  José 74.3
24 Foltynewicz  Mike 84.0
25 Márquez  German 84.5


So, FantasyPros shows us that we all want to grab a couple of bats before going for a stud SP.  When we do, it’s as if someone pulled a fire alarm.  Starting with Nola, NINE SP go in the next round and a half after the start of round 3.  These are all the cream of the crop (Severino’s injury acknowledged and notwithstanding).  After this, everyone takes a pill and only eight more SP are taken by the end of round six (pick 72).


So, based on ADP, 21 SP are taken in the first six rounds (72 picks).  For those of you keeping score at home, that’s about 29.1% of the picks.  All top 25 SP are taken by the end of round 7 and account for 29.8% of those 84 picks.


OK—in a 12 team snake league, after 7 rounds, on average, everyone now owns roughly two SP (25 SP/12 owners) and five bats. Is this good strategy?  In a snake draft, the answer is a nice, noncommittal “perhaps.”  It depends on a lot of stuff such as what your draft position is, are you on the turn, etc.  So, if you are #1, you might have grabbed Verlander and Nola at the end of round 2.  You are already sitting on Betts or Trout.  Based on these ADPs, this would be a tremendously effective strategy because the numbers do indicate that owners are skittish and will stampede on SP into round three.  By the time the run is over, you can afford to pass on Patrick Corbin at 49 in hopes that there are some good bats left.

According to FantasyPros, you’d be looking at Albies (48.6), Mondesi (48.8), Bogaerts (51.2) or Springer (53).  Not chopped liver by any stretch.  But, looking ahead, the next SP up are:


Rank Name ADP
15 Corbin  Patrick 49.6
16 Paxton  James 53.6
17 Clevinger  Mike 59.6
18 Strasburg  Stephen 62.3
19 Flaherty  Jack 62.6
20 Greinke  Zack 64.1
21 Taillon  Jameson 65.2
22 Bumgarner  Madison 70.4
23 Berríos  José 74.3
24 Foltynewicz  Mike 84.0
25 Márquez  German 84.5

Hmmm… Is it just me or are you, gentle reader, having second thoughts about the Manager who had the #1 snake draft spot?  He passed on Stanton’s power (23.7), all-around performance in Benintendi, Soto, Bryant, Merrifield and Marte (29, 30 and 31, 37 and 40 respectively).  It’s just me.  But, looking at SP #15-25, I would have snapped up more bats and happily waited to pick up any of these SP.

To get a sense of my reasoning and advice, let’s look at projections, ADP and dollar values.

Rank Name ADP  Dollars IP W ERA K WHIP WAR
1 Scherzer  Max 7.3  $   39.50 208 15.6 3.13 271 1.04 5.2
2 deGrom  Jacob 13.5  $   38.70 208 14.6 2.93 253 1.06 5.4
3 Sale  Chris 13.9  $   48.40 202 17.2 2.77 275 0.97 6.4
4 Kluber  Corey 22.2  $   27.50 209 14.6 3.46 220 1.12 4.6
5 Verlander  Justin 23.0  $   33.10 202 15.2 3.37 249 1.07 4.7
6 Nola  Aaron 25.2  $   19.30 194 12.6 3.57 210 1.19 4
7 Snell  Blake 27.8  $   24.70 189 13.2 3.24 232 1.2 4.6
8 Cole  Gerrit 28.1  $   26.60 196 14.7 3.48 234 1.13 4.6
9 Kershaw  Clayton 32.8  $   25.40 185 13.0 3.23 179 1.12 4.1
10 Severino  Luis 34.8  $   25.90 196 14.7 3.45 221 1.14 4.7
11 Bauer  Trevor 36.8  $   20.20 193 13.5 3.56 218 1.2 4.1
12 Syndergaard  Noah 39.7  $   18.30 176 11.4 3.5 182 1.17 4
13 Carrasco  Carlos 40.3  $   26.10 197 13.8 3.41 215 1.13 4.6
14 Buehler  Walker 41.6  $   20.60 163 11.4 3.27 187 1.18 4
15 Corbin  Patrick 49.6  $   18.90 182 12.7 3.44 188 1.21 4
16 Paxton  James 53.6  $   22.10 172 12.9 3.46 197 1.15 4.7
17 Clevinger  Mike 59.6  $     8.00 170 11.1 4 180 1.29 2.9
18 Strasburg  Stephen 62.3  $   16.90 177 12.4 3.66 191 1.19 3.7
19 Flaherty  Jack 62.6  $   13.20 164 11.5 3.69 180 1.24 3
20 Greinke  Zack 64.1  $   13.00 201 12.1 3.85 188 1.22 3.3
21 Taillon  Jameson 65.2  $     9.80 190 11.4 3.89 179 1.26 3.5
22 Bumgarner  Madison 70.4  $     9.90 203 11.2 3.93 183 1.24 2.3
23 Berríos  José 74.3  $     5.40 193 11.6 4.26 192 1.29 2.8
24 Foltynewicz  Mike 84.0  $     9.10 192 11.5 4.02 202 1.28 2.6
25 Márquez  German 84.5  $   13.60 190 13.3 3.89 207 1.24 4.1


From Kluber to Buehler, you’ve got an average price tag of $24.30 for an average of 13.5 W and 214 K.  (We already know that W is going to be a pretty unstable stat this year if RP use continues to expand).  Nothing to sniff at there.  But, by comparison, starting in round six with Strasburg, SP #18-25 offer you an average of 11.9 W and 190 K for an average price of $11.36.  That works out to less than a K per week.  If you held out and went for any of the guys from Strasburg to Marquez, you’d have added two solid every day bats at the expense of a strikeout per week.  (Of course, you’d have forked out some salary dollars for those two bats.  But, still…)


Preliminary ADP thoughts—Part I


Based on this, I’d say that at these prices and/or ADP slots, Berrios is a steal at #74 ($5.40)  Same goes for Marquez and Foltynewicz who both project to get you 200K for a lot less money or foregone offense as Thor, Nola, etc.  When you take into consideration the injury history of Sale, Syndergaard, Severino, Kershaw, etc. young Turks like Flaherty, Folty, Berrios, Marquez, etc. are solid ADP and auction league gems.


More to come next week.  Till then, the Prof. abides…

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore on Thursday March 7th, 2019 from 8pm – 9:30pm EST for the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. Call in number is 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. This week we will discuss Starting Pitching for fantasy purposes.

Be sure to check out our Sunday night show March 10th from 8pm to 9:30pm EST. They will cover the Outfield.


Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel live on Sunday March 10th, 2019 from 8-9:45pm EST for episode #144 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. Our topic this week is the Outfield for fantasy purposes.

Our guests this week are Joe Iannone and Bilal Chaudry. Joe is a writer for majorleaguefantasysports.com and his articles publish every Sunday. Bilal is the 2-time defending MLFBC champion and a frequent radio guest.

Unrepentant Red Sox fan and all things Boston. Deflategate was a joke. Boston Latin School is awesome. Harvard and Johns Hopkins alma maters... Besides that... Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee University. Wrote for Ron Shandler's Shandler Park for two summers and have been on board with MLFS since 2011. Been at Washington and Lee since 1990 with a brief hiatus (2010-2013) in the Middle East. Currently developing that last word in Fantasy Baseball analysis. Married to Flor, Dad to William and Alex, and adopted daughter Reem. Soon to be father and law to Meaghann. Alpha male to the world's super-pup, Humphrey. Life is not bad.

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