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Saturday 24th Feb 2018

For the past week and a half, I’ve maintained a strict nightly schedule, going to sleep no later than midnight and waking up no later than 7:30. Why? Because we’re allowed eight hours to make each pick in the NFBC Draft Champions league that I discussed in last week’s column. I know, checking that “Auto – One Round” box is an option, but I’ve only used it a few times. Call me crazy but there’s something about manually assembling my squad that makes me feel at ease. What if I change my mind at the last minute? What if news breaks overnight that the guy I had ranked #1 in my queue will miss the first few months of the season due to a spring training injury? Well, that’s an extreme example, but you get the idea. On this note, I’m proud to say that only two of my first 28 picks were chosen off my queue by the computer, and I’ve yet to annoy my league mates by allowing more than roughly an hour pass before each of my selections. This week, I’ll continue on the Draft Champions league theme while adding a twist.

In his APE series, Todd Zola introduced the “times three” rule, which is based on the idea that multiplying Player X’s round value by three gives you the amount of guys ranked above and below Player X who carry the same overall value. So let’s keep this in mind while comparing the results of my draft to the NFBC ADPs. Here are two hitters and two pitchers whose actual draft position differed significantly from their ADP.

Ike Davis

ADP: 121

Drafted at 7.6 (96th overall)

The Mets’ first baseman is a prime example of someone who might have been a “sleeper” two months ago but is now so highly coveted in drafts that he could actually end up being a bit overrated. Don’t get me wrong, if Ike was still around at 7.11, I probably would’ve taken him. But a strong spring showing could hike up his price even more, to the point where investing in him might be a losing proposition.

Brian McCann

ADP: 161

Drafted at 13.12 (192nd overall)

Talk about a value pick. Even at 161, there’s room for profit. 192? That’s a steal. Yeah, it remains to be seen if McCann’s shoulder surgery will have any adverse affect on his power production, at least in the short-term. But this is a guy who not too long ago was arguably the #1 fantasy backstop. Odds are his days of being a truly elite option are over, but is top-5 really out of the question? The latest reports on McCann’s rehab progress are very positive, and he’s expected back by mid-April. So all you really need to do is draft a decent catcher to hold down the fort before reaping the rewards.

Tim Lincecum

ADP: 132

Drafted at 8.2 (107th overall)

One of the more intriguing dilemmas in drafts this year centers around this guy. What should we expect from him in 2013? Who knows, but lost in his tumultuous 2012 campaign was a pretty solid second half (7-5, 3.83 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 86 K’s in 89 1/3 IP). On the other hand, I know spring training results don’t matter, but Lincecum did get roughed up in Tuesday’s Cactus League debut, not exactly encouraging news for a pitcher who has a lot to prove this season. I’m a buyer as long as the price is reasonable, but eighth round? Eh. I’d feel comfortable with him as my No. 3 mixed league starter, and since there’s no way that I’ll be drafting three starting pitchers in the first eight rounds, the chances that I’ll be a Lincecum owner this year are slim to none. And if this draft is any indication, it appears that his price tag is only going up.

Brandon League

ADP: 213

Drafted at 12.12 (177th overall)

Surely, drafting League this early was simply a case of him being the only closer still left on the board, right? Nope. Rafael Betancourt, Jonathan Broxton, Ryan Madson (health uncertainty notwithstanding), Glen Perkins, Carlos Marmol, Grant Balfour and Steve Cishek were all there for the taking, and while each of these ninth inning men come with varying degrees of risk, I’d gladly draft any of them ahead of League. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong. League does have closing experience and did pitch extremely well following his mid-season trade to the Dodgers last year. But his lack of overpowering stuff combined with the presence of a pretty good pitcher named Kenley Jansen is a major red flag. The bottom line is that this particular draft spot discrepancy can be written off as an anomaly. 213th is early enough!

Now it’s time for some math. Using Todd’s “times three” rule but altering the angle, do any of these examples fall outside the range where two players can be valued the same? In other words, is the ADP version of Brandon League  all that different from the real draft version? The answer is no, but it’s as close as it gets, as 12 (the round value) x 3 = 36, which happens to be the exact difference in values (213-177). By following the same formula for the other three players, we can figure out that the Brian McCann differential also falls within the range while Ike Davis and Tim Lincecum do not. But even with Davis and Lincecum, it’s very close (Davis misses by 4 and Lincecum by 1).

So what’s the point of all this, other than it being a fun little exercise? Well, I think Todd is onto something here. At first, I considered these differences to be huge. Now? Not so much. I’ll have to re-think my whole concept of what is and what is not a “reach.”

But still, Brandon League at 177? C’mon!

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