When we talk about "average draft position" in Fantasy Baseball, we're not talking about a static number. A player's ADP is constantly changing as a result of thousands of drafts, stretching back to October. Obviously, a lot can happen between October and April, and ADP helps capture that, but it's always going to be a lagging indicator of where a player is being drafted.
Thankfully, the NFC ADP site allows you to filter draft data by time ranges, giving us a much better idea of who is moving up and down in draft cost as the season draws near. It's still imperfect, and you don't want to marry your draft approach to ADP, because each draft is its own thing, but there's a lot of value in being able to compare who has moved up over the past week's worth of drafts, as well as comparing the past month to earlier periods.
I did both Monday, including five notable players being drafted inside of the top 200 in ADP who have fallen the most in ADP over the past week compared to the previous two weeks. Later on, I'll have the 15 biggest ADP risers from February to March.
Here's who's got the helium:
Victor Robles -- Last week: 126.15
Robles has been hitting in the leadoff spot this spring, and the rise in ADP is all about the hope that's where he stays. He's hitting .286/.375/.629 with four homers and four steals, though he also has 14 strikeouts in 13 games, which is less than ideal. Ultimately, much of Robles' appeal is tied up into what could be 35-steal potential, and if he stays at the top of the lineup, his chances of surpassing that total go up by quite a bit.
Andres Gimenez -- Last week: 138.94
Early on in spring, there was some concern that Gimenez may not even break camp with cash-conscious Cleveland. Now, however, it looks like he might just hit at the top of the lineup to start the season. That part isn't guaranteed, but it seems all but assured that he will be in the opening day lineup at shortstop, and his speed alone makes him worth targeting for Fantasy. He swiped eight bases in just 49 games last season, and had 28 in 117 games at Double-A in 2019. I have questions about whether Gimenez will hit enough to force his way to the top of the lineup -- and his 62.4% success rate on steals in the minors is a little worrisome -- but it makes sense to see if the upside he showed in 2020 was real.
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Shohei Ohtani -- Last week: 159.09
Maybe this is too low? Ohtani had a first Sunday, starting as the leadoff hitter for the Angels the same day he made a spring start. And he was excellent in both parts, going 2 for 2 with a walk as a hitter and striking out five with two walks in four innings on the mound. He's crushing the ball, and his stuff is all the way back to where it was before Tommy John surgery. If the Angels are actually willing to let him hit something like everyday while pitching every sixth turn through the rotation, he could be a must-start option no matter which way you have to choose to start him. And, if you can use him as both a hitter and a pitcher in a daily lineup league, you could get, say, Austin Meadows and Dinelson Lamet's production from one roster spot. He could be a top-50 hitter and top-50 pitcher.
Eduardo Rodriguez -- Last week: 189.4
Already one of the best stories of the spring after overcoming complications caused by his bout with COVID-19 last summer, Rodriguez has been stellar in his return to the mound, too. The lefty has 15 strikeouts to zero walks in his 11.2 innings of work, and the Red Sox are confident enough in him to have named him the opening day starter this week. His velocity isn't quite where you want it to be yet and there's no guarantee he will get it all the way back, but he had a 3.81 ERA over the previous two seasons with more than a strikeout per inning, and is certainly worth this kind of investment.
Jordan Hicks -- Last week: 197.6
Hicks is definitely still shaking the rust off, as he has three walks and a hit batter in 1.2 innings across his first three spring outings, though it's worth acknowledging that his first appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery featured a 22-pitch battle with Luis Guillorme, a pretty weird situation to come back to. The good news is, the stuff has been every bit as impressive as it was before the surgery, and that's what we really want to see. The Cardinals have no shortage of potential closer options, but Hicks is the best fit for that role given his overpowering stuff. Maybe they work him in slowly over the first few weeks of the season, but I'm expecting Hicks to get the majority of the opportunities in the long run, making him one of the best late-round closer picks.
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Biggest risers from February to March
Bobby Witt Jr.
- Bobby Witt Jr. -- Witt was just sent down to Class A camp this week, so we know he won't be up to start the season. The question now is whether he'll need much time in the minors. Remember, the minor-league season has been delayed until early May, as teams will be running depth camps for the first month of the regular season, so it's really hard to say how willing they will be to call guys up cold without playing in real games. In Witt's case, he has never played above Rookie ball, but the fact that he was even considered as a possibility to crack the opening day roster suggests it shouldn't be long, but I wouldn't expect him before May. Witt is worth stashing after pick 200, but doing so will limit your ability to hang on to early injured players if you have short benches or limited IL spots.
- Josh Rojas -- Rojas has hit just .206/.295/.271 in 58 major-league games over the last two seasons, so the early lack of enthusiasm makes sense. However, he's a career .288/.370/.496 hitter in the minors with a 20-homer, 30-steal pace per 150 games, so there's a fascinating profile here if he figures it out. He's older than your typical prospect, but Rojas has also played both middle infield and both corner outfield spots in the majors, so there's flexibility to get him into the lineup if the Diamondbacks want to. It looks like he's got a chance to start at second early on, at least against right-handers, and if he hits, he has the tools to stick.
- Odubel Herrera -- Herrera was suspended in 2019 following a domestic violence incident, and the Phillies never gave him a chance in 2020, so he was pretty much forgotten coming into spring training. But it looks like he may end up the starter in center field for the Phillies, so he's climbing up draft boards. However, he hasn't been a particularly good Fantasy player since 2016, so it's hard to justify reaching much for him.
- Tejay Antone -- Antone has been very impressive in spring training so far, and looked like he had a chance to lock up the Reds' fifth starter job with a strong performance. Unfortunately, he hasn't pitched in a week due to a groin strain, and had a hip issue shut down his bullpen session Saturday. Antone has really impressive stuff and could be a useful Fantasy option in a season where inning totals figure to be lower than ever, but with this injury, he's no sure thing to break camp in the rotation. I'm still targeting him in the late rounds.
- Tanner Scott -- Scott looks like he could be the Orioles closer after Hunter Harvey's injury, and he pitched well enough in 2020 to think he could handle the role. However, he does have a 4.50 ERA for his career, including a ton of walk issues, so he's not necessarily someone to reach for -- the Orioles won't provide a ton of save opportunities anyways. Scott is a fine late-round pick, especially if you're just speculating for saves, but don't make him someone you're counting on.
- Myles Straw -- Straw is either going to bat leadoff for the Astros or he's going to hit near the bottom of the lineup. However, as long as he's penciled in, he should get you a decent amount of stolen bases, so he's worth targeting late for that alone.
- Jake McGee -- McGee seems to be getting the benefit of the doubt from Fantasy players in the Giants closer battle, and as long as he remains just a late-round flier, there's no harm in making that bet. It seems more likely than not it will be him at this point.
- C.J. Cron -- Cron has always hit the ball hard and been a solid source of power, and with Coors Field backing him, it's not out of the question he could be a .280 hitter this season. In fact, something like Josh Bell's 2019 -- .277 average, 37 HR -- isn't totally out of the question. That being said, he still isn't guaranteed to be on the opening day roster or to start every day, so don't push him too far up.
- Jonathan India -- The Reds seem to be trying to find room for the 24-year-old former No. 5 overall pick, recently trying out Eugenio Suarez back at shortstop to see if he can still hack it. India hasn't lived up to expectations since being a top pick, but he'll draw a walk and steal a few bases, and if he hits for even average power, he could be a viable starting second baseman. I've spent a speculative pick on him in 15-team leagues.
- Andrew Vaughn -- Vaughn has never played above High-A, but he's being seriously considered for an Opening Day spot as the White Sox DH, and he's worth a pick inside the top-200 in all leagues. Even if he doesn't make the first 26, he shouldn't need long in the minors, and he could be a plus hitter from the word "go."
- Taylor Trammell -- Trammell is battling for the starting left field job with Jake Fraley, and while Fraley may have some AL-only appeal -- he had 19 homers and 22 steals in 99 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019 -- Trammell is the more exciting of the two by dint of his former top prospect status. He could be a significant SB contributor and he's always had a great eye at the plate, so the question is whether the power took a step forward at the alternate site. At the very least, Trammell should be drafted in 15-team Roto leagues.
- Domingo German -- German was a bit of a forgotten man coming into the spring, and his return to the Yankees following his suspension for a domestic violence incident wasn't welcomed by all of his teammates, but it looks like he has the inside track to a rotation spot at this point. He's pitched well in the spring and was a decent Fantasy option in 2019, though don't overreact to his 18 wins -- his 4.03 ERA was actually worse than his 4.72 FIP. He's a decent late-round pick, but don't start reaching for him.
- Madison Bumgarner -- Bumgarner has pitched well in the spring so far, striking out nine in six innings, and his velocity has been up, so a pick outside the top 300 is perfectly reasonable for the former ace. However, there are other post-300 pitchers I prefer taking a chance on -- Freddy Peralta, Framber Valdez, Justus Sheffield, Mitch Keller, Noah Syndergaard, Luis Severino and Trevor Rogers chief among them.
- Ty France -- If you're looking at France's 2019, when he hit 27 homers in 76 games at Triple-A and thinking he's got 30-homer potential, you might be disappointed. But as a pick in the 300 range, he's a pretty fun player, entering 2020 with eligibility at multiple positions and with the potential to gain eligibility at each infield position. He could hit .280 with 20-plus homers, and the ability to slide him in pretty much anywhere you need him could have a lot of value.
- Gregory Polanco -- hitting .304/.360/.739 through eight spring games, Polanco is seemingly reminding everyone that he still exists. You could be forgiven for wanting to forget his 2020, when he hit .154 with a .232 wOBA, the lowest in baseball. However, Polanco was in the 95th percentile in average exit velocity (92.9 mph) and 93rd percentile in hard-hit rate (51.6%), so there's still potential here. He had 23 homers and 12 steals in 2018, and we're always looking for power/speed threats.