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ADP Risers: The Injured and the Young

Over the last few days, there have been rumors circulating of a baseball season starting in early July. This is music to all our fantasy baseball ears. With news of the game we love returning, that also means it will be time to start drafting again. 

During draft season most people love looking at the average draft position (ADP) of players to get an idea of the player pool and where to take certain players. Drafts were going strong till mid-March and were basically put on hold once spring training was suspended. After a few weeks of waiting around, there were some plans of games being played in Arizona or Arizona and Florida. Once those plans were released, drafting picked up once again. 

For this article, we will take a look at NFBC online ADP from March and compare it to the ADP in April. This will help pick up on any new strategies being employed by players who are drafting with the new season proposals in mind. This will be the first of two articles that digs in on some of the major movers and shakers from March to April.  We'll start by checking out players returning from injuries, as well as some younger players that are also on the ADP move.

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The Injured

Players returning from injury are always some of the easiest ADP risers to find. With the delayed season, players that were likely to start the year on the injured list are now ready to roll, giving a major jump in ADP. This is a key area to take into account as the ADP for some of these players will continue to climb the longer you wait to draft. Let’s check out the main risers in the top-300 for players returning from injury.

Player March April Difference
Rich Hill 349 274 75
Miles Mikolas 320 284 36
James Paxton 149 118 31
Cole Hamels 326 296 30
Andrew McCutchen 255 225 30
Aaron Judge 77 57 20
Willie Calhoun 200 182 18
Giancarlo Stanton 84 70 14
Alex Verdugo 240 229 11
Lance McCullers Jr. 181 171 10
Mike Clevinger 33 27 6
Carlos Carrasco 130 140 -10

 

Rich Hill, Minnesota Twins

Old: 349 ADP, New: 274 ADP

The 40-year-old Hill is usually a massive pain for fantasy players year in and year out, as he's usually good for a stint or three on the IL, making it a challenge to ever rely on him. The problem is that, when healthy, Hill's outstanding performance on the mound is usually worth those challenges. Hill is great for the ratios, posting a 3.66 ERA  and 1.13 WHIP, or better,  in each season since 2015. Hill also has had a strikeout-rate between 27.4% and 34% in each season since 2016. There's little doubt that Hill is an upper-end starting pitcher whenever he's actually on the mound.

He signed with the Twins this offseason but was supposed to miss the first half of the season while he - wait for it - returned from another injury. With the season potentially not starting until July, Hill should be ready to start pitching right away for fantasy teams. He likely wouldn't have been drafted in most 12-team leagues during spring training but has now moved up 75 spots into the 22 or 23 round. Hill should continue to climb up draft boards and will be a steal in drafts until he moves into the Top-150 range. 

 

Willie Calhoun, Texas Rangers

Old: 200 ADP, New: 182 ADP

Calhoun had a nice first impression with the Rangers last season, putting up a .269 AVG and hitting 21 home runs in just 369 plate-appearances. He also posted a .256 ISO that put him in company with Freddie Freeman, Gleyber Torres, and Matt Chapman. There were always questions about regular playing time heading into 2020, due to his subpar defense, but he appeared to have a locked-in lineup spot this spring. That was until he was hit in the face with a Julio Urias fastball and was sidelined with a broken jaw.  Following surgery, it appeared Calhoun would be out of action till May or June and his ADP consequentially fell.

With the season now starting in July, we can all run back to drafting Calhoun. Some were concerned, and rightfully so, that getting hit in the face with a fastball can mess with a player’s psyche, but Calhoun seems ok. He has been using social media to let people know he is practicing and ready to go for Opening Day. With health no longer an issue, feel free to draft Calhoun in the 120-130 range as he can supply quality production in four categories.

 

Quick Hits

Miles Mikolas, STL - Mikolas will not strike many batters out but can eat up innings. He made some nice second-half adjustments in 2019, and if those carry over for 2020 he could be a steal late in drafts.

James Paxton, NYY - Paxton has ace side upside for the Yankees and appears to be 100% from his back injury. Enjoy Paxton as an SP3 on your fantasy rosters at his current price.

Andrew McCutchen, PHI - McCutchen has been rehabbing from an ACL injury that occurred last season. He has been making nice strides in rehab and appears on track to be ready by July or early August. If he continues to improve in a positive way it will be hard to pass up on the Phillies potential lead-off hitter at his current 225 ADP.

Aaron Judge, NYY - Judge has shown slow signs of healing from his recent rib injury. Even with the slow results, drafters are buying into Judge being healthy to start the season and his ADP has risen to near the top-50. I am still very skeptical he will be fully healthy or can stay healthy. For that, Judge is on my do not draft list.

 

The Young

During the heart of the draft season, there were many opposing thoughts on prospects and players coming into their first full season of baseball. Some players love drafting young players and are willing to pay a premium, while others will let them slide, not wanting to take the risk. With the shortened season plans being discussed it appears more drafters are taking a liking to some younger players, feeling they will have more of a lockdown on a job or that the risks are now worth it in a sprint of a season. Let’s check out some of the main movers when it comes to young players.

Player March April Difference
Spencer Howard 345 292 53
Mauricio Dubon 345 318 27
Nate Pearson 301 279 22
A.J. Puk 251 230 21
Dylan Carlson 257 240 17
Jesus Luzardo 101 88 13
Bo Bichette 55 46 9
Kyle Tucker 174 167 7
Luis Robert 71 76 -5
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 54 61 -7
Gavin Lux 169 177 -8
Jo Adell 236 253 -17
Garrett Hampson 187 205 -18

 

Spencer Howard, Philadelphia Phillies

Old: 345 ADP, New: 292 ADP

Howard was a popular name during spring training with rumors that the Phillies young starting pitcher was a candidate to make the starting rotation. But many prospect analysts felt Howard would start the season in the minors and spend the last half of the season with the Phillies, making him a risky draft pick. However, following the cancellation of spring training, there were more reports that Howard would have a spot in the Phillies starting rotation, skyrocketing his draft price. 

If Howard starts the shortened season with the Phillies he would completely skip Triple-A. The jump may be valid, though, as Howard has dominated the minors with outstanding ratios and strikeout-rates over 30% while allowing less than a home run per 9. He would carry a lot of boom-or-bust as sometimes the transition for a pitcher in their first big league stint can be rocky. At Howard’s current price he is worth a chance, but that may not be the case if his price keeps rising.

 

Mauricio Dubon, San Francisco Giants

Old: 345 ADP, New: 318 ADP

A former top prospect in the Brewers system, Dubon showcased some new power last season to go along with the speed and solid batting average that he already came with. After being traded to the Giants mid-season, he played his first 30 games in the bigs, with a .274 AVG over 111 PA, adding four home runs and three steals.

Dubon is a versatile player, spending spring training playing all over the infield, as well as in the outfield. The multi-position eligibility was already a big plus when it came to Dubon, but adding the outfield makes him even nicer. He brings double-digit upside in home runs and stolen bases, to go with a really solid batting average. With Dubon playing all over the diamond and being likely to gain outfield eligibility, his value improves even more. Grab Dubon while you can as his price is sure to keep rising. 

 

Quick Hits

Nate Pearson, TOR- Similar to Howard, Pearson is rumored to now start the shortened season with the Jays. The 6-foot-6 right-hander brings triple-digit heat and has massive strikeout upside, making for a nice later round pick.

A.J. Puk, OAK- Puk was battling a shoulder injury in spring which was dropping him down draft boards. Now Puk is healthy and should be starting with the A’s alongside his teammate Jesus Luzardo. Given that Luzardo has a price around 130 picks higher, I would rather take Puk.

Dylan Carlson, STL- Carlson was battling for a starting job in the Cardinals outfield this spring, but there was no guarantee he would have an everyday job. However, with the near-certain addition of a universal DH, there now appears to be a spot for the Cardinals top prospect. Recent reports have circulated stating Carlson will be starting for the Cardinals making his power and speed combo very intriguing given his 240 ADP.

Jo Adell, LAA- Adell was a very volatile draft choice before the shortened season, with reports surfacing that the Angels were going to start him in the minors, citing his need for more seasoning. In a shortened season his value drops even more, as there's no guarantee he'll see the big leagues at all in 2020.

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