What Can ADP Results Really Tell Us About 2014 Player Value?

One of the most popular pieces of data for draft preparation is a player’s Average Draft Position which is based on the mock drafts done throughout the internets. However, if you’ve looked at ADP from one site and then done your actual draft on another site, you may have been surprised to see that your leaguemates didn’t really draft in the way that you may have expected. That’s because the problem with ADP data is that it is site-specific as it is very much driven by the site rankings presented during the mock drafts. Thankfully, there is a bit of good information that we can derive from ADP data with a little bit of digging.

By taking the site rankings and comparing them to the ADP, we can see if the public is passing or reaching for certain players on average. For this particular post, I took the data available from ESPN, MockDraftCentral and Yahoo to compare their ADP to the rankings presented in their mock draft rooms. The results showed players who fell into one of three groups: big changes across all sites from ranking to ADP, big change at only one site (usually because of a weird ranking by that site) or no change across the board.

Big Changes & The Public Is Passing

Avg Rank Avg ADP Change
Chris Davis 5.7 6.5 15%
Carlos Gonzalez 5.7 6.9 22%
Adam Jones 10.7 12.7 19%
Edwin Encarnacion 10.0 13.4 34%
Jacoby Ellsbury 12.3 14.2 15%
Jason Kipnis 20.0 25.0 25%
Carlos Gomez 23.7 27.5 16%
Ian Desmond 30.3 37.1 22%
Alex Rios 33.3 40.4 21%
David Ortiz 48.0 55.4 15%
Eric Hosmer 50.0 56.4 13%
Alex Gordon 70.7 79.3 12%
Kyle Seager 92.3 102.2 11%
Desmond Jennings 94.7 106.5 12%
Billy Butler 96.3 109.7 14%
Brandon Belt 116.7 137.6 18%
Chase Headley 122.3 144.4 18%

These players above represent a group that the public is passing on even when the players show up at the top of their draft queues no matter what site you’re at. At every site, these players were being drafted later than the site ranking and usually significantly later. I can understand the hesitation for many of these players based on where they’re ranked and I agree with passing on most of the players listed. However, I do like some things about Kipnis and the three Royals on the list (Hosmer, Gordon and Butler) so I might use this as opportunity to try to grab them while everyone else may be passing.

Big Changes & The Public Is Reaching

Avg Rank Avg ADP Change
Yu Darvish 24.7 20.9 -15%
Max Scherzer 42.7 38.8 -9%
Buster Posey 67.7 49.5 -27%
Justin Verlander 72.0 55.5 -23%
Yadier Molina 105.3 88.5 -16%
Masahiro Tanaka 119.7 96.1 -20%
Brian McCann 143.0 122.1 -15%
Xander Bogaerts 231.7 193.9 -16%
Evan Gattis 228.3 198.6 -13%

If any of these players are on your watch list, you’re going to have to work harder than you think to get them. The players are being drafted earlier than the site rankings at every site and thus are in higher demand. As you can see, the takeaway here is that catchers are going earlier than rankings may indicate and the public isn’t waiting on pitchers as long as the site rankings suggest they should. Also, Tanaka remains a mystery as far as where he should rank in the public’s eye though the public seems to moving his stock up and up. Adjust your pre-draft expectations accordingly for these players.

Major Corrections with ESPN Rankings

Rank ADP Change
Clayton Kershaw 10 6.1 -39%
Craig Kimbrel 48 38.8 -19%
Joe Nathan 123 99.7 -19%
Billy Hamilton 164 136.6 -17%
Rafael Soriano 176 147.0 -16%
Jim Johnson 154 129.4 -16%
Nelson Cruz 156 134.3 -14%
Josh Hamilton 109 95.3 -13%
Ian Kinsler 32 39.1 22%
Will Venable 111 137.3 24%
Elvis Andrus 42 52.9 26%
David Wright 19 24.2 27%
Jacoby Ellsbury 7 10.4 49%
Carlos Gomez 17 25.6 51%

If you’re drafting in an ESPN league, these are players where it seems like the ranking presented in the ESPN rooms is being scoffed at by the public. If you have an interest in these players, you definitely want to be aware that they might be going earlier or later than you expect in your ESPN drafts so know to change your approach in order to draft them.

Major Corrections with Yahoo Rankings

Rank ADP Change
Masahiro Tanaka 134 91.4 -32%
Cole Hamels 76 61.0 -20%
Rick Porcello 297 239.7 -19%
Chris Tillman 265 217.5 -18%
Jonathon Niese 293 241.5 -18%
Craig Kimbrel 49 40.6 -17%
Hisashi Iwakuma 107 89.9 -16%
Manny Machado 81 92.7 14%
Pablo Sandoval 88 101.0 15%
Giancarlo Stanton 23 26.6 16%
Adrian Gonzalez 59 69.2 17%
Homer Bailey 72 86.7 20%
Danny Salazar 114 138.8 22%
Matt Adams 126 157.2 25%
Jonathan Villar 189 236.2 25%
Nolan Arenado 146 201.6 38%
Hanley Ramirez 8 11.7 46%

Echoing the above statement, if you’re drafting in a Yahoo league, there are a bunch of odd rankings that the public is wise to as well. You want Craig Kimbrel? Don’t wait until he is towards the top of the queue on the site and make a move earlier.

Look For Yourself

If you’d like to dive further in and see all the data for yourself then check out this Google Doc that lists all of this data for you to use.

Knowing how your draft site ranks players in the draft room and how the public treats those rankings is the true power of having ADP data at our disposal prior to draft days. Advanced fantasy baseball players know to use ADP but expert fantasy baseball players (like you) should be looking beyond ADP to find the real truth about whether a player is in high demand or not.

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