Player A .258 BA 29 HR 91 RBI 82 R 7 SB
Player B .307 BA 26 HR 101 RBI 97 R 9 SB
Take a look at those 2 players stat lines.
I think we would all agree that we would much rather have player B on our fantasy team. He hits for a clearly better average and his counting stats are also a bit more elevated. I say a bit, because player A does have an advantage in HR.
As you can imagine, there is one catch here. Player A has an ADP of 191 and Player B has an ADP of 37 according to mockdraftcentral.com. That comes out to a difference of 154 picks or 12 full rounds for those of you in 12 team leagues. You might now be thinking, why the heck would a player like Player A be going that far down the draft?? Hereís the answer:
You see, not all players past years are created equal. Fantasy baseball only focuses on stats and sometimes can miss out on the on-the-field aspect of the game. Player A has not really been given a full season (not until last year at least) to show off his stuff. Going into 2012 he will be the clear starter in likely the best line-up heís seen to this date. You might have guessed it by now, his name is Josh Willingham. Those stats I pulled are his 3-year averages adjusted to 550 AB for each season. If he would have had 550 AB, that would have been his production the last 3 years. Thatís important, because he will be hitting in the middle of the Twins line-up this year with Mauer and Revere hitting ahead of him.
Who is player B then? Matt Holliday. He has been a perennial All-Star and isnít being over-drafted at the 37th pick. But he has hit in the middle of a line-up that has included Albert Pujols for the last 3 years and added Lance Berkman just last year. Willingham hasnít enjoyed that luxury in Washington or Oakland. That doesnít change the fact that Willingham is likely a better value at 191 than Holliday is at 37.
When drafting, keep players like Willingham in mind. There will always be players whose playing time is likely to be increased. Conversely, there will be aging veterans whose playing time is likely to be decreased. If you take a little time to do some research on these type of players, it can be the difference in 4th place and 1st place in your league.
Stay thirsty my friends