How many times have you looked at the average draft position of a select number of players and thought to yourself, “How the hell are they getting drafted that high?!” Or, maybe you don’t think it to yourself but yell it in the middle of your college’s student center, causing a lot of strangers to look at you like you’re some kind of maniac.
Either way, an ADP that’s too early leaves you with angry feelings toward the player, but it’s really your co-fantasy owners’ faults. Well, in our first installment of our new series, we at Baseball Professor want to tell you not to hate the player but to hate the ADP, and draft him accordingly.
The first player we are going to take a look at is the ageless superstar, Ichiro Suzuki.
Last season, Ichiro stole fewer than 30 bases for the first time since moving to the MLB from Japan, and it’s reasonable to think age and injuries are finally catching up with the speedster. He is going into his age-36 season, and to think he can continue to produce at such a high level might be a bit foolish since his performance depends so much on his speed (runs, steals, batting average).
Ichiro is a very hard player to project because of his great ability to get on base (four seasons with .369+ BABIP), but as players get older it only makes sense that their BABIP decreases. At some point Ichiro will start regressing, but he is not being drafted like there is any risk. Currently he is being drafted 28th overall in ESPN leagues, which is at the end of the third round in 10-team leagues. He is being taken ahead of players like Jimmy Rollins, Grady Sizemore and Jose Reyes — all players who either have similar or better steal potential with much better power upside.
Ichiro’s big advantage is his batting average, but if that falls to around .310, which it has three times in his career, his value greatly decreases. Without a .350 batting average he is basically Denard Span, a hitter who barely has double-digit HR power and can steal 30 bases, and he’s being drafted 121st overall.
Now, Ichiro has the potential to hit for a very high average and score 100+ runs so he should still be one of the first 10 outfielders off the board come draft day, which is why his mockdraftcentral.com ADP of 40 is more around the area I would consider taking him this season.