NFBC Main Event ADP - First Weekend Breakdown
NFBC Main Event ADP First Weekend Breakdown
Merry Christmas Ladies and Gentlemen! The first weekend of NFBC Main Event drafts is officially in the books and now the industry's premiere average draft position data is ready to be analyzed. While keeping your knowledge of the player pool up-to-date and paying attention to trends in the ADP data is a necessity throughout the draft season, it's not until we get to this milestone that we really experience a true shakeup.
Every year in the Main Event, we see fantasy managers throw the previous ADP data to the wind – making sure that they go up and get their guys wherever possible. These are generally the teams that these managers care the most about, so they want to do everything in their power to ensure that all of their favorite sleepers and breakout candidates wind up on their rosters. It's because of this, that we wind up seeing massive spikes and declines in ADP – even from recent data – once the Main Event drafts start.
Where do those changes typically come from? Historically, the biggest change as a position group comes in starting pitching. Regardless of what type of premium that you may have paid for starting pitching in the months leading up to the Main Event, you can usually tack on an additional round or two of inflation to all of the top arms. Another major group that experiences an annual bump in price at this time of year – hotshot top prospects. You think that you're going to slide Jordan Walker, Corbin Carroll, Oneil Cruz or Gunnar Henderson by anybody on draft day? Think again.
Average draft position is a zero sum game though. If players are rising, that also means that there's an equal number of players that are falling down draft boards to make up for it. Usually, those declines tend to reside in the “old and boring” type of hitters that deliver stable yearly production, but don't really flash the type of game-changing upside that fantasy managers are trying to uncover in these drafts.
So let's dive in and take a look at who's moving up and consequently who is moving down draft boards. For this exercise, I'm looking at the differences between ADP in Draft Champions drafts from the month of March vs. the eight Main Event drafts that happened on Saturday (3/18) and Sunday (3/19).
Rather than simply working with the entire list, I'm going to attempt to break it out into a few sections to make it easier to see the patterns.
Yikes. As expected, the Main Event inflation on starting pitching is absolutely real and it's spectacular. The list above shows the top 60 starting pitchers by average draft position (excluding Ohtani). Of those 60, 52 of them (86.7%) saw their draft price increase over the weekend, with the group as a whole averaging a 10.7-pick increase. The biggest risers in the group? Reid Detmers saw his ADP go up by 47 (!) picks in Main Event drafts. Chris Sale surged by 29 picks. Jesús Luzardo, Jeffrey Springs, Charlie Morton and Dustin May each jumped by more than 20 picks. Spencer Strider, Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Shane McClanahan each jumped by more than 10 picks – which is difficult to do since they were each in the top-45 overall already. Cristian Javier surged more than a full round in 15-team drafts, from pick 55 to pick 39.
Only eight hurlers in that group saw their price decline. Most of those drops were negligible, and Carlos Rodón is still somewhat injury-related. The one head-scratcher is Logan Webb who is in free-fall without an injury concern. The prevailing wisdom there is that his underlying metrics don't support the results that we have seen over the past two years and he's a pitcher who could be hit hard by the decrease in defensive shifts. Personally, I was already a buyer on Webb before the decline in price, and I'll be happy to take him at a discount now.
If you're in one of these drafts – or in any similar type of draft with a bunch of solid fantasy managers – expect starting pitching to go at a premium once again. If a player is critical to your draft strategy and you planned on taking him in a certain round, you want to go ahead and add at least a round – maybe two – to his cost.
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Alright, so if starting pitching flew up the draft boards, maybe it was their counterparts in the bullpen that moved down over the weekend? That doesn't look to be the case necessarily. On average, the prices remained static.
Of the top-23 relievers – 12 of them saw increases to their recent prices. If you remove Robertson from the list – as his price surged on the news that Edwin Diaz would miss the entire season with his knee injury – the average change among the remaining 22 hurlers was down 0.5 picks. Five of the top eight did see their prices increase slightly though, as with Diaz being removed from an already shallow pool of secure, elite options in appears to have increased urgency to lock up those studs.
Alright, so if all starting pitching is moving up, and closers are remaining about the same, that would have to mean that hitters as a whole are moving down the board slightly. Looking at the top 40 hitters overall, that seems to bear out. Of that group, 30 out of 40 (75%) saw their prices decline slightly – with the average drop among the group of 40 hitters being just two picks.
A few interesting notes when looking at this list. Ronald Acuña Jr. had been one of a clear-cut group of five players at the top of drafts throughout the draft season, but he has created some separation so far in Main Event drafts, becoming the clear choice for the top overall pick. Bo Bichette has been gaining traction in the first round – even with starting pitchers rising around him. He has moved up more than four picks overall from 12.8 to 8.75 on average. Yordan Alvarez is the biggest faller in the top two rounds, and that's simply due to the uncertainty surrounding his hand injury and the fact that we haven't seen him play in any Cactus League games yet. Mike Trout, Rafael Devers, Paul Goldschmidt, J.T. Realmuto, Nolan Arenado, Francisco Lindor and Kyle Schwarber kind of fall into that box of boring veteran types that tend to fall a bit at this time of year. The drop on Daulton Varsho is actually a bit surprising, as he had been gaining steam since the trade to the Blue Jays.
The rise on Corbin Carroll doesn't surprise me one bit, as hotshot top prospects always seem to gain traction and rise up draft boards in late March as fantasy managers don't want to miss out on the next big thing. In fact, let's take a look at the top prospects around the league and see their movement from these weekend drafts.
Overall, it's pretty much as I anticipated. Holy price increases Batman. Jordan Walker, Anthony Volpe and Oscar Colas continue to climb as their paths to everyday at-bats on their respective Opening Day rosters keep getting clearer. Once any of those moves are made official though, they're going to really jump up the board. The one real surprise here is Gunnar Henderson, but that could just be a byproduct of him being too high up on the board initially, combined with his slow start in Grapefruit League play.
Now that those sections are out of the way, let's take a quick glance at some of the other relevant big movers – up or down on the board – over the weekend of Main Event drafts.
Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd are the two remaining contestants in the battle to open the season as the Braves' fifth starter and both are getting attention from fantasy managers. Ben Joyce is pumping 104 mph fastballs in Cactus League action and some are speculating he could wind up in the closer's role there sooner rather than later. Speaking of closers, Michael Fulmer and Brad Boxberger are the two names being mentioned as possible ninth-inning options for the Cubs, which has caused their ADP to shoot up. Clarke Schmidt has been a hot commodity with the expectation that he may land a spot in the Opening Day rotation for the Yankees. Jurickson Profar and Mike Moustakas are moving up after signing with the Rockies. Matthew Boyd has been striking out hitters in the Grapefruit League like it's going out of style. David Peterson and Tylor Megill have a shot at a rotation spot with José Quintana sidelined. Hayden Wesneski is simply awesome, and likely to land the fifth starter's gig for the Cubs. Brandon Pfaadt was rising up the board with the expectation he'd crack the Opening Day rotation, but even now that he's been sent down it's only a matter of time before he gets his chance. Jarred Kelenic finds himself on the climb once again after another stellar Cactus League season.
1B, 2B, 3B
Brandon Hughes falls on the news that he's no longer likely to close for the Cubs. For Luis Rengifo it's simply playing time concerns, as there are doubts the Angels want to use him as their starting shortstop. Mitch Haniger is dealing with a left oblique strain, and while it's likely not a long-term issue, it's enough for him to fall several rounds. For Jorge Lopez, it's simply the fear that Jhoan Duran will take over as the team's closer – despite no word from manager Rocco Baldelli that he's going to do so. C.J. Cron has been dealing with a back issue this spring and it seems like fantasy managers are expecting it to linger into the season. Daniel Bard looked abysmal in the World Baseball Classic, but it's not clear where else the Rockies could really turn to in the ninth inning. There are very real rising concerns that the Braves are afraid to play Vaughn Grissom at shortstop to begin the season and there's actually a possibility that Braden Shewmake makes the team instead of him.
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MLB Quick Hits: Jose Altuve is expected to be sidelined for 8-10 weeks after suffering a fractured right thumb after he was hit by a pitch from Daniel Bard during the Quarterfinal of the World Baseball Classic on Saturday... The Rockies signed Jurickson Profar to a one-year $7.75 million contract on Sunday. The expectation is that he'll function as their everyday left fielder and will possibly hit leadoff... Ronald Acuña Jr. is expected to return to Braves' spring training camp on Thursday... Michael Soroka (hamstring) is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday against the Tigers... Matt Vierling (knee) returned to the Tigers' lineup on Monday... Garrett Whitlock (hip) is set to make three additional Grapefruit League starts after Monday before making his regular season debut... Justin Turner (face) returned to the Red Sox lineup on Monday... Juan Soto is considered day-to-day with a mild left oblique strain... Joe Musgrove (toe) threw a successful bullpen session on Sunday... Yoan Moncada suffered a concussion and a bruised rib in a collision with a teammate during Sunday's World Baseball Classic Semifinal matchup against the United States... Nolan Arenado was pulled from that same game after being hit by a pitch on his right hand, fortunately his X-rays came back negative... Austin Nola had to be carted off from Sunday's Cactus League contest after he was hit in the head by a pitch... Glenn Otto is set to undergo an MRI exam on his injured right lat muscle... The Diamondbacks reassigned right-hander Brandon Pfaadt to minor league camp on Sunday... Jorge Polanco continues to battle soreness in his left knee and may not be ready for the start of the regular season... Brandon Nimmo (knee, ankle) believes that he'll be ready for Opening Day... Yordan Alvarez (hand) is tentatively expected to make his Cactus League debut before the end of the week... Brendan Rodgers will undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder and is expected to miss most of -- if not all -- of the 2023 season.