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Projecting the Top 101 ADP for the 2023 Fantasy Baseball Season

Aaron Judge - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Injury News

Although the end of the 2022 season is nearly upon us, it's never too early to begin off-season prep for the 2023 season.

This article provides an early look at the redraft field in 2023, projecting the top 101 by ADP.

We'll have you covered all offseason long as soon as the final pitch of the World Series takes place in order to prepare you for next draft season!

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Projecting redraft ADP rank in 2023

To project 2023 ADP, I first build a projection for 2022 ADP, then use that model to project 2023 ADP. I use The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational (TGFBI) data, as I have historical data on it and it's a common format. The format is redraft, 15 teams, two catchers, standard 5x5 roto, with in-season free agency.

My model of 2022 ADP rank captures only two variables: ADP rank from the previous season (so 2021 ADP rank for 2022), and projected value rank using the FanGraphs auction calculator Depth Charts projections (so preseason projections for 2022). The correlation between preseason 2022 projected auction calculator value rank and 2022 ADP rank is .76, while the correlation between 2021 ADP rank and 2022 ADP rank is .54 (the sample is the top 250 hitters by 2021 ADP rank). If you capture both variables together to project ADP rank, the correlation jumps to .84. Further, ADP rank and projected auction calculator value rank each have a similar magnitude of effect on projected ADP, with a one-unit rank increase in each associated with about a .5 unit increase in projected ADP rank.

Given the similar effect size and direction of each variable, I project 2023 ADP rank by taking the average of 2022 ADP rank and projected auction calculator value rank using current Depth Charts projections. I also add a third variable given current Depth Charts projections are a bit wonky for certain players this late in the season in terms of projecting plate appearances and innings pitched. The third variable is my own projected auction calculator value rank using current Steamer600 projections, which correct for the wonkiness of Depth Charts projections for plate appearances and innings pitched.

The final projected 2023 ADP rank below is a straight average of 2022 ADP rank, projected auction calculator value rank using current Depth Charts projections, and my projected auction calculator value rank using current Steamer600 projections. I also include a dummy variable to give relievers a small ADP improvement, as they tend to have an earlier ADP rank than the other variables would suggest. Finally, I make certain subjective adjustments, for instance, for injured players, or for players who have incomplete projections, or for players who are otherwise underrated by the model (I try to do the latter adjustment as rarely as possible, but there are some outlier vaues where it is reasonable, e.g., Sandy Alcantara is underrated by my modeling approach, weighed down by his Depth Charts projection, as is Aaron Judge, weighed down by his 2022 ADP rank).

The following projected ADP should be seen as an imperfect approximation, a simple model that does not attempt to account for every important variable, and one that is, like all models, shaped by its author. Nonetheless, even though it'll be off on some guys and feature some weird idiosyncracies, the model can be expected to be broadly accurate given its strong predictive accuracy in projecting 2022 ADP.

 

Projected Top 101 ADP for 2023, with Commentary

Aaron Judge 1
Jose Ramirez 2
Ronald Acuna Jr. 3
Shohei Ohtani 4
Trea Turner 5
Julio Rodriguez 6
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 7
Juan Soto 8
Kyle Tucker 9
Jacob deGrom 10
Gerrit Cole 11
Bryce Harper 12
Yordan Alvarez 13
Max Scherzer 14
Corbin Burnes 15
Freddie Freeman 16
Mookie Betts 17
Rafael Devers 18
Bo Bichette 19
Mike Trout 20
Sandy Alcantara 21
Manny Machado 22
Shane McClanahan 23
Justin Verlander 24
Dylan Cease 25
Fernando Tatis Jr. 25.5

The top 25 looks pretty reasonable. Jacob deGrom is likely going to be the #1 projected player by an auction calculator approach by a wide margin, offering managers a tantalizing enough reward to offset higher than typical risk in the first round. Judge was the #1 projected bat by both auction calculator projections, and it seems to me unlikely that his 34 ADP rank in 2022 has any validity at this point.

I do wonder if Trout's injury concerns bump him down into the mid-20s. If I were to do this exercise more in-depth, I'd want to better account for the premium on stolen bases--I think this premium could push Rodriguez into the top three in some drafts. There is a bit of a projections-versus-market divide on Cease and Alcantara, as projections alone would have their ADPs later on, but the market might push them up into the top 20 given their incredible performances this year.

In the future, it could also make sense to capture current year performance in the ADP projection, in addition to current projections. Fernando Tatis Jr. projects to be easily among the top-five on a per-game basis, but he will miss the first month of the season. His outlook is therefore similar to Acuna Jr.'s entering 2022, whose 2022 ADP fell in the early to mid-20s.

Pete Alonso 26
Randy Arozarena 27
Luis Robert 28
Bobby Witt Jr. 29
Austin Riley 30
Brandon Woodruff 31
Carlos Rodon 32
Luis Castillo 33
Paul Goldschmidt 34
Alejandro Kirk 35
Will Smith 36
J.T. Realmuto 37
Clayton Kershaw 38
Salvador Perez 39
Shane Bieber 40
Aaron Nola 41
Max Fried 42
Zac Gallen 43
Teoscar Hernandez 44
Starling Marte 45
Matt Olson 46
Spencer Strider 47
Corey Seager 48
Adolis Garcia 49
George Kirby 50

Kirk joins last year's big three catchers, Realmuto, Perez, and Smith, in the top 50. Rutschman checks in at 59 projected ADP rank, but I don't see why he would fall out of this top tier. Look for Garcia to be one of the more controversial early selections in 2023 drafts, with the big divide between his fantasy skills (he's at 25 homers and 25 stolen bases in 2022 at the time of writing) and pure hitting skills (Steamer projects him for a 98 wRC+,  a slightly below average bat).  This tier features a bunch of reliable, exciting arms, from consistently dominant vets like Kershaw, to rising stars like Strider. I was surprised at how high Arozarena ranked, but he has a super fantasy-friendly game, with tons of speed and good power.

Michael Harris II 51
Cedric Mullins 52
Edwin Diaz 53
Tyler O'Neill 54
Kevin Gausman 55
Framber Valdez 56
Giancarlo Stanton 57
Jose Altuve 58
Adley Rutschman 59
Robbie Ray 60
Liam Hendriks 61
Zack Wheeler 62
Nolan Arenado 63
George Springer 64
Eloy Jimenez 65
Xander Bogaerts 66
Francisco Lindor 67
Wander Franco 68
Marcus Semien 69
Trevor Story 70
Andres Gimenez 71
Tim Anderson 72
Oneil Cruz 73
Emmanuel Clase 74
Blake Snell 75
Josh Hader 76
J.D. Martinez 77
Kyle Schwarber 78
Carlos Correa 79
Cristian Javier 80
Jordan Romano 81
Devin Williams 82
Vinnie Pasquantino 83
Alex Bregman 84
Willson Contreras 85
Willy Adames 86
Lance Lynn 87
Brandon Lowe 88
Sean Murphy 89
Bryan Reynolds 90
Julio Urias 91
Gleyber Torres 92
Tommy Edman 93
Rhys Hoskins 94
Jose Abreu 95
Seiya Suzuki 96
Alek Manoah 97
Logan Gilbert 98
Josh Bell 99
Ryan Pressly 100
Kenley Jansen 101

As a class, my modeling approach underrates relievers, even after including an adjustment to give them a bump. I don't know that any will crack the top 30 in ADP in 2023 as they did in 2022, but I'd expect Clase, Hendriks, and Diaz to each crack the top 45, with Hader, Romano, and Williams not far behind. This tier features a bunch of speedsters, including Mullins, Harris, Story, Gimenez, Semien, and Cruz, and all offer power to boot. I think Semien, Gimenez, and Cruz will approach top 50 by the time draft season comes around.

Reliable veteran bats also comprise a good chunk of this tier, including Stanton, Altuve, Arenado, Bogaerts, and Springer. Each would make a safe selection at these ADPs. O'Neill regressed after his breakout 2021, but the projections still like him, and he was even more aggressive on the base paths this year. He has more playing time risk than last year, though, so his projected ADP should be viewed as a higher risk proposition.

 

Summary

A simple 2023 ADP projection, featuring only a few key variables, does a pretty good job of forecasting the future. While complicating the model further, for instance, by adding in a variable for 2022 performance, and individual variables capturing projections for specific categories, would no doubt improve predictive accuracy, there is something to be said for simplicity. After all, soon enough, readers will have real 2023 ADP data on their hands and will have no need for a projection. In the meantime, this projected top 101 will hopefully serve to hold you over and get you thinking about the 2023 fantasy baseball season.



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