For better or worse, MockDraftCentral is the fantasy baseball industry standard for average draft position data. If you read my Twitter, you may have seen me recently rant a bit about how the data is very skewed there and doesn’t really tell us much of anything. The reason I say that is because their ADP data almost exactly mirrors their default site rankings which are presented to mock drafters. Since their site presents rankings to the drafters, their own bias influences the results as I touched upon last year.
In looking at the Top 150 players in their ADP at the moment, there is a 0.99 correlation to their site’s default rankings. What that means is that if a player’s default ranking on MockDraftCentral (MDC) were to increase by one standard deviation (about 44 spots here), it’s expected that their ADP on their site would increase by 0.99 standard deviations (43.7 spots on the ADP here). Which is why it’s not a surprise to see Jered Weaver have a ranking of 32 at MDC (which is ranked one standard deviation away from the average ranking of 76 in our sample) and also have an ADP of 33.9. The link is extremely strong between the site rankings and the ADP data.
It’s hard to really learn anything when you look at Chase Utley’s ADP of 77.12 versus their ranking of 76 for him. It gets especially confusing when you look at another mock draft site, CouchManagers, and see his ADP is 49.8 there (where he is ranked at 47 coincidentally). Looking at MockDraftCentral’s data, you don’t learn what the public thinks of a player like Utley — you learn what MockDraftCentral thinks of him.
To go back to the statistics, the r-squared value is 0.98 when comparing the rank and ADP which means that a player’s ranking at MDC is 98% of what goes into their resulting ADP. That does leave open a small 2% window that isn’t explained by their rankings and could be explained by the actual preferences of the mock drafters. So, yes, there is a sliver of valuable information to be found.
For instance, there are some players whose ADP varies quite a bit from their ranking which makes them quite interesting. If we’re really trying to gauge how the public perceives a player then this is the information we can gain from looking at MockDraftCentral. When you see that MDC has Brett Lawrie ranked at 63 but his ADP is 54.04 (17% increase from rank) then this shows that the public is reaching for Lawrie in their drafts. On the flipside, Jayson Werth is ranked at 90 by MDC but has an ADP of 99.42 (9% decrease from rank) which shows that the public is choosing to pass on him at that spot because they think it’s too high.
So, let’s take a gander at the guys that public has seemingly strong opinions on. When looking at the players that the public is drafting ahead of their expected spot, there are quite a few pitchers on the list. It could mean that MDC ranked pitchers a bit too high or it could mean that the general public would rather pass on pitching in the early rounds this year. Regardless, here are some of the top names that the public is choosing to pass on:
If you’re at the end of the first round and are hoping for Justin Upton, there’s still hope for you as the public isn’t buying into MDC’s #6 ranking for him. Also, some other names like Drew Stubbs may not need to be reached for because it seems that the public would rather pass on him at his current ranking.
Now, let’s look at some of those that the public is choosing to reach for ahead of their rankings:
Despite their ranking of 96 for Mike Morse, the public is grabbing him nearly two rounds ahead of that. If you want Morse, he will likely go earlier than expected because the public seems to be hot for him. There are a number of names here that you will likely want to reach for if you are hoping to get them on your roster for this year.
It’s quite valuable to have an idea on what the general public may be thinking as you head into drafts. By being able to predict the moves of your leaguemates, you can better plan your own moves in the chess match that is draft day. ADP data is certainly one part of that puzzle. And, while MockDraftCentral doesn’t really warrant being considered the industry standard for ADP data, there is still a bit of valuable information to be found if you dig deep enough.