ADP is a beautiful, terrible thing. We as humans love to rank things and it can cloud our judgement to see an arbitrary list. ADP is an incredibly useful tool, as it pools and averages where others are taking players you might be thinking of taking. You know and I know that just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t make it right. ADP is a barometer, not law. You know this, I know this… but that doesn’t mean every jabroney in your league knows that. There’s at least one in every draft. Someone who takes Chone Figgins in the 4th round. Who asks if Martin Russell is still available. Who tries to draft a retired player. Even the smartest fantasy owners fall victim to ADP (Hand raised. That sentence makes it sound like a virus). Between the bimbos and the braniacs drafting with you, you’re all going to at one point rely on ADP as some kind of deciding/tie-breaking factor. So here are some players not to forget about in 2012. It’s crazy to think everyone can get a superstud to start at first,it’s a matter of numbers- everyone can’t have Pujols or Votto – just as it’s crazy chasing Amy– it’s just a matter of statistics (and gender preference, but I mean, just watch the movie. C’mon.). We don’t all get what we want, just ask the Rolling Stones, but sometimes, just sometimes, we get what we need. And what you need is good value.
There are 3 Shortstops worth actively seeking in a draft, and one of them is going to play Third Base (whoops, didn’t really mention Hanley “Wah-Wah’ Ramirez in my 3B post…). After that, there are a series of relatively boring guys who fill a position you need (Starlin Castro, Asdrubal Cabrera, Alexi Ramirez all fit the ‘usable-but-unspectacular’ mold in declining amounts of value), aging players not worth the draft position based on the past (Rollins, Jeter), and a bunch of one-trick ponies (Elvis Andrus, Dee Gordon come to mind). For most people’s teams, shortstop is going to be a drain, plain and simple, compared to other positions. I’m no Nostradamus, but I’m betting Asdrubal Cabrera doesn’t hit above 20 homers (there is no reason in his past to expect that). Nor do I think Jhonny Peralta will sniff batting .300 again. Shortstop is the best exercise in finding value. In larger leagues, you’d consider yourself lucky to wind up with J.J. Hardy or Stephen Drew. But really, do either of those players excite you? And they’re already going pretty late in drafts. When it gets down to the rinds, why take Jason Bartlett when you could roll the dice? Shortstop’s your chance to take a, well… chance. It’s not like most of the guys you’d draft are going to wow you anyway- you won’t be overwhelmed, you might not even be underwhelmed. Maybe you’ll just be whelmed.
Bam. Streak alive. You know you hate how much you love this movie.
As always, much love to Mock Draft Central, where you can get all kinds of ADP reports by signing up.
Shortstop is a funny position. Since Cal Ripken Jr., there has been a revolution of middle-of-the-order hitters playing the position. In fantasy terms, there are shortstops now who provide just as much value as, say, a top outfielder. There was Nomar-Jeter-A-Rod. Now there’s Tulo-Reyes- and, until recently, Hanley Ramirez. But shortstop is also one of the most important defensive positions on the field (the other two being Catcher and Centerfield, in my opinion), so a guy like Omar Vizquel can be equally valuable to a team in terms of the runs they save. Sadly, most leagues don’t have a ‘Web Gems’ category, otherwise Rey Ordonez would have been an absolute stud. So we have a mix in fantasy. At the top, there are the studs, in the middle some very solid all-around players and towards the bottom? Defensive specialists and young, unproven talent. When is that next trio of top-tier talent arriving? Again, I’m no Nostradamus. So while we wait for the next big thing, here are some stopgaps. Who knows? Maybe someone will surprise you. LIKE HEATH LEDGER DID IN THE MOVIE!!! It all comes full circle, folks!
P.S. I’m perfectly comfortable admitting that scene is my favorite.
Ian Desmond (WAS) -ADP 253
I guess I have a man-crush on Ian Desmond, for fantasy purposes. I snagged him in countless mock drafts and several of my leagues. On the face of it, he is not really worthy of such fascination. However, consider the rising Nationals and the power of good vibes. Over the past two years, Desmond has demonstrated that he is very capable of hitting double digit homers and 20+ steals. What kills Desmond’s value is the holes in his swing. His poor OBP, high K rates, and overall lack of discipline hurt what appears to be an untapped fantasy talent. He hits doubles, with speed for triples. His minor league numbers suggest his untrained eye is a function of his adjustment to major league pitching (very high OBP in AA and AAA). There is a seriously good feeling going into the 2012 Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman will be back healthy. Jayson Werth has to be better, it’s a borderline statistical fact. And, of course, the inevitable coming of Bryce Harper, prospect extraordinaire. It is not unreasonable to think the Nats offense is bound to improve, and I think Desmond is going to be part of that. At base level, without any improvement, Desmond gives similar production to Stephen Drew (who is going over 100 spots earlier) without the injury risk. Given an improvement, Desmond could jump up a level in fantasy shortstop value. Part hatred for the Drew clan, part unabashed drinking of the Washington Nationals Kool-Aid, but Ian Desmond has my Fantasy Spidey senses tingling this year. Wait around folks, don’t sell yourself short and draft J.J. Hardy. There are more valuable players to snag while you wait for shortstop. Either you get one early or you don’t. Wait for Desmond, and enjoy his breakout 2012 campaign. Mistress Cleo told me so.
Mike Aviles (BOS) – ADP 244
I’m going to keep this one brief because I don’t want to waste space when Bobby Valentine inevitably pushes Jose Iglesias into the shortstop void in Boston. That’s an entirely different story, and my personal feelings are that Jose should get one more (partial, maybe) year to refine his offense before being unleashed on the big-league diamond. The kid was imitating MLB players’ swings for chrissake!
Anyhoo… Mike Aviles was impressive in limited time with the Sox in 2011. Defensively, he doesn’t hold a candle to Iglesias. Offensively, he strikes me as a good line-drive pull hitter who could benefit ENORMOUSLY from batting towards the bottom of a potent Boston lineup. Will he hit .325 as he did in his rookie year, 2008? No. But given the time (with utility-wunderkid Nick Punto) in a good lineup, it seems like Aviles could be a sneaky source of a .280-ish average with 80 runs (and double digit steals). Saltalamacchia scored 53 runs in 386 PA last year and he hit .235! Aviles, as is the case with the following players, will be on a sliding scale of value in 2012 based on playing time. His versatility adds value, the opportunity adds numbers. He’s definitely one to track through spring training to see if Valentine loves or sours on him.
Forgive the ADP disparity but these two are in very similar situations…
Both of the men mentioned above have value in versatility. The could get time at second, short and third (in addition to the outfield), depending on team needs. But they’re elligible at SS and that’s what matters for our purposes. Where they play for their ‘real’ team is not nearly as important as where you can plug them into your virtual lineup. Well, that’s not entirely true. Where they play on their real team does matter, and here’s why; the Yankees are old and the Rays’ alternatives are underwhelming (what a useful word).
Nunez gets to play the ‘super-utility’ role on a New York team that has A-Rod and Derek Jeter. Both need rest. On top of that, at their age, and with A-Rod’s history, it is highly likely that either one or both is shut down for a period of time due to injury. Enter Mr. Nunez. Now you may be saying, ‘that already sort of happened last year, why’s he of value?’ The man stole 22 bases in only 338 plate appearances and only got caught 6 times. That’s nice. In the dwindling rounds of a draft, Nunez could be an absolute steal (pun intended), especially if due to circumstance he gets 400+ at bats.
Sean Rodriguez is a favorite of Dave’s, which makes me dislike him as a player. But I am putting my bias aside for your benefit. Rodriguez demonstrated excellent power as a prospect for the Angels but has not seen the same production in the bigs. I’d blame a lot of that on his inconsistent playing time, as he has had strings of games where he has contributed as a useful power/speed combo. So what’s holding back Rodriguez this year? Defense, I guess. Who is he competing for playing time with in 2012? Reid Brignac and Elliot Johnson? Rodriguez might be the perfect storm of sleeper for 2012 (unlike, say, the premature sleeper in past years…). He’s turning the magical age of 27, has crappy competition at the position for now, plays all over the field and is in his 3rd year of any semblance of regular playing time. It makes a lot of sense that things could click for him in 2012. And at his ADP and with multiple elligibilty, a guy who could hit 15 homers with 15 steals sounds like a good grab for your hole at short (WORDPLAY!)
Yup. That’s all I’ve got. Shortstop can be a very frustrating position folks. That’s an understatement. But I think I’ve laid out several players above who could greatly outperform their ADP at the position, if not break out. And honestly, unless you have Reyes or Tulo, you may be forced with that kind of compromise. Or there’s always Willie Bloomquist…
Always, awlays, beware the Bloomquist.