While everyone else has been counting down the days until pitchers and catchers report, many fantasy baseball players have been participating in mock drafts. After all, it is how the serious fantasy player gets through the doldrums of the baseball offseason. According to the ADP report at MockDraftCentral.com, there have been 98 different mixed league 5x5 drafts conducted over the previous four days.
The "experts" have also been doing their own drafts in a variety of places. I participated in an industry mock draft for one of the draft magazines two weeks ago, the FSTA had their annual draft Monday night, and a few of us here are currently in a slow-paced email draft being hosted by the Fantasy 411 crew at MLB.com. I thought it would be helpful for you to see how the "experts" are drafting players in their auctions compared to the current ADP's from MockDraftCentral.
Since the Fantasy 411 draft is only through the first 12 rounds, we will focus on the top 180 players from MDC and compare their current ADP's to see how differently the experts are viewing the players compared to everyone else participating in mock drafts. None of the three expert drafts were conducted on MockDraftCentral so the results have not influenced the ratings.
First, let's take a top-level view by position. The table below shows each player position, its ADP, it's ADP in each of the three expert drafts, the ADP from those three drafts, and finally, the difference between the expert ADP and the MockDraftCentral ADP:
|POS||MDC||F411||FSTA||MAG||AVG ADP||MDC EXP|
The corner positions as well as the outfield played out nearly the same in both the "average" and the expert drafts, but there was a lot of volatility up the middle on the infield as second basemen, shortstops, and catchers were drafted earlier by experts. On the pitching side of the ledger, starting pitching was drafted later by the experts while the experts took relievers a bit earlier than the Average Joe's.
The following list shows the 10 players who had the greatest negative gap between where the Average Joe's took them and where the experts took them:
|PITCHER||ADP @ MDC||EXPERT ADP||DIFFERENCE|
The list is dominated by pitching, with Vogelsong having the largest gap of any kind of the 180 players on the list. He has had two consistent seasons in terms of skills and fantasy dollars earned, but the experts are treading lightly with him while the Average Joe's are very aggressive. The Average Joe's apparently love Michael Young as much as Evan Grant does as they're drafting him as if his ugly 2012 never happened while the experts are running away from him as quickly as they are Justin Ruggiano. While Young looks old and slow, Ruggiano is a classic case of sophomore slump, as I outlined a few weeks ago.
Conversely, here are the guys that the experts are drafting well ahead of the Average Joe's:
It should be noted that only one pitcher makes this list, and it is a reliever at that. Simply put, Joe Nathan is criminally underrated as a closer and presents a fantastic bargain right now if his ADP holds up. Rickie Weeks can be a frustrating player to own, but he has demonstrated the great skills in the past and his second half of 2012 teased at a return to that level of performance. Rollins has been a fantasy money maker nearly every season outside of the ugly 2010 season, but Average Joes are taking him as the seventh shortstop after Tulowitzki, Reyes, Castro, Ramirez, Desmond, and Andrus.
There are several players who are listed in the Top 180 at MockDraftCentral who went undrafted in at least one of the three expert drafts. That group includes: Josh Reddick, Adam LaRoche, Mike Minor, John Axford, A.J. Burnett, Homer Bailey, Alexi Ogando, Juan Pierre, Lance Lynn, Alejandro De Aza, Torii Hunter, Ryan Doumit, Jarrod Parker, Tim Hudson, Wade Miley, Kyle Lohse, Michael Young, and Ryan Vogelsong.
If you are looking for any consensus in these mock drafts, it is nearly impossible to find. Ryan Braun was the top pick in two of the three drafts and the top five spots in all three drafts were unique. Only one player was drafted in the same spot in all three expert mock drafts – Brett Lawrie. Somehow, he went 62nd in all three.
The gaps in ADP between the Average Joe's and the experts tend to level out the closer we get to the month of March, but they do remain interesting to watch until then. It allows you to see where the marketplace is going with certain players so if you are heading into drafts or auctions, you can get a good idea to see where players may go allowing you to decide if you want to reach for the guy you want.
If you are interested in the complete data set, you can view it in this google doc.