Welcome to the Rotoballer.com Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Series, ADP Arbitrage. Here RotoBaller takes a look at two players and compares them by both projected statistics and average draft position. Today we will look at outfielders; you can view the RotoBaller.com Outfielder Rankings with ADP Comparison here. If you want RotoBaller to compare two players you do not see listed in the ADP Arbitrage series, head over to the Ask Us section and request an ADP arbitrage for any two players at any position.
Jacoby Ellsbury (45 ADP): There are few players with more theoretical upside than Ellsbury, a player who averaged 60 SB per season in 2008-2009 and who posted an MVP-caliber 32-HR, 39-SB campaign in 2011. Finally in his contract year and batting atop one of baseball’s highest-scoring lineups, the Red Sox outfielder is viewed by many fantasy owners as a potential difference-maker of the highest order. The biggest concerns surrounding Ellsbury are injury- and performance-related, as he has missed 222 games in the past three seasons and simply wasn’t a very good player over 74 appearances last year. A first-round pick in many drafts in 2012, his price tag has certainly fallen; the question, however, is whether it has fallen far enough.
2013 Projection: .285 BA, 90 R, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 35 SB
Shane Victorino (121 ADP): Signed to a 3-year, $39M deal by Boston, Victorino is coming off a 2012 campaign that saw him post a .255/.321/.383 triple-slash, all career-lows. However, despite those subpar rate stats, the longtime Phillies outfielder still had a terrific 86.6% contact rate, poked 11 longballs, and maintained elite base-stealing efficiency with 39 SB in 45 attempts. Batting near the top of the same potent Boston lineup as Ellsbury, the “Flyin’ Hawaiian” is a very strong bounceback candidate.
2013 Projection: .275 BA, 85 R, 10 HR, 60 RBI, 30 SB
A combination of reputation and perceived potential is motivating Ellsbury's selection in the first four rounds of most drafts, while Victorino is falling as far as the eleventh round. Aside from a flukey 2011 power surge, there isn’t much on Ellsbury’s recent resume that validates such a disparity. Additionally, one can make the case that his best base-stealing days are behind him, as he has averaged 39 SB per 162 games over the past three seasons after registering 63 SB per 162 games in the three seasons prior to that. A 15-HR, 60-SB Ellsbury is a great fantasy producer, but a 15-HR, 35-SB version is an entirely different story, and this projection places him among the more overrated players in 2013 drafts. While a healthy Ellsbury is undoubtedly a fantasy asset, the more durable Victorino is a safe bet to approximate his production, at a drastically reduced draft-day price.
Think about perceived vs. expected value during your draft. That’s how ADP Arbitrage will help you win your league.