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Consensus Rankings Analysis (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

Consensus Rankings Analysis (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

There will always be discrepancies when it comes to asking two groups of people about the value of fantasy baseball players. These discrepancies aren’t problematic, though. They simply highlight the collective view of different sources, and these sources have their own interests in mind.

ECR is the “Expert Consensus Ranking,” and it is defined by exactly how it sounds — the consensus ranking of players by the experts. These rankings are given to sort players in order, but they simply cannot account for all factors. Leagues have different settings, rosters have different needs, and, most importantly, a player in a ranking is not subjected to being added by a team and having its number move dramatically.

That’s exactly what the ADP, or Average Draft Position, tells us. Fantasy managers’ actions drive the value of a player in ADP, and that serves as a moving market for how to gauge where a player might get selected.

It is a worthwhile exercise to note the difference between how these groups operate and pay attention to the players who vary from one to the other. The goal here is to give a narrative as to why such variations occur and highlight which ones are particularly interesting.

Consensus Analysis Rankings 

Players ECR Likes More

Observations

The first name on the list has one of the easiest narratives to share. Mike Trout is clearly one of the best players in baseball, but the collective of drafting fantasy managers has too much concern over his recent injury history. When it comes time to make a selection, it looks like a few more people are passing on Trout and trying to mitigate risk. The experts don’t have that same concern and listing Trout as number 14 has no impact on the player who follows at 15 — whereas, in a draft, selecting Trout means that the next player on the list can’t be taken by the same manager unless there are back-to-back picks.

Spencer Strider jumps off the screen as an interesting name to see falling in drafts compared to his ECR. Starting pitching is almost always valued highly, but it appears as if fantasy managers are opting for other starting pitchers instead of Strider heading into his sophomore campaign. This is likely less about risk and more about the pitchers who have similar value, but it also means that there might be a slight discount for Strider on draft day.

I’m actually surprised to see Wander Franco on this list. Franco had been a top prospect name for years, and he was on everyone’s radar prior to his rookie season in 2021. He didn’t disappoint. He did, however, fail to deliver power, and it’s possible that’s why his draft stock has fallen a bit. Of course, an injured 2022 campaign has pushed him lower down the list, but it is interesting to see that experts are actually more willing to buy back in than fantasy managers. There’s a chance that changes in the coming weeks, but Franco has so much name value that this is an interesting revelation.

I actually had to go back to last year’s articles to make sure that I wasn’t missing something. I wrote a few of these “Consensus Ranking Articles” last offseason, and I noted that pitchers generally fell in the “Players ECR Likes Less.” That isn’t the case here. This year, there are plenty of pitchers who are dropping in ADP compared to the ECR. This trend extends to relief pitchers as well. Edwin Diaz, Josh Hader, and Jordan Romano are all valued more highly by the experts than the fantasy managers. Perhaps this is specific just for a handful of players, but the stark difference from last year is eye-opening.

If we are looking for one more commonality in the first group, it would be outfielders who are outside the top tier of talent. George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Bryan Reynolds, and Tyler O’Neill are a few examples of players who fantasy managers aren’t feeling the need to draft aggressively. This should help create some value later in the draft because, according to the experts, the outfield position is deeper than people realize.

Players the ECR Likes Less

Observations

Shohei Ohtani is one of the easiest players to name as someone the ECR likes less, and that’s simply because the format of the league in which people are playing will force Ohtani’s name to be higher in the draft. For the experts, there’s always the question of, “Am I ranking Ohtani as a hitter, a pitcher, or both?” Those who are drafting will ask the same, but there are deeper rules at play where some leagues allow for mid-week changes and others don’t. Ultimately, there is a premium to be paid to add Ohtani to a team. We can see that, even at his top-11 ranking in both categories.

Fernando Tatis, Jr. had to be listed in one of these two charts simply because his value is so polarizing. Even last year, Tatis was all over the map in terms of ECR and ADP because of his offseason injury, but now people are left trying to gauge how long they can wait for his return from a late-season suspension and exactly how he will perform when he does. The simple takeaway is that people are drafting him aggressively, so if you want Tatis, you will probably have to act quickly.

Another big name that isn’t necessarily surprising is Jacob deGrom. Everyone knows the narrative here, and it all boils down to risk. It appears that fantasy managers, on average, are more willing to take on the injury concern of deGrom for his extreme upside. Experts simply aren’t willing to make that same commitment when ranking him.

This happens all the time, but a few catchers are on this list simply because of position scarcity. The experts are probably right to be cautious with players like Adley Rutschman and Salvador Perez. Still, fantasy managers need to fill a starting lineup, and that drives the value higher. We will probably always see this trend with catchers.

It’s not just positions that determine how and when people select players. Sometimes, it’s a function of categories. For the past few years, speed has been scarce in its own right, and players who can contribute stolen bases consequently gain an edge over the rest of the field. If we look through this list and find names like Corbin Carroll, Andres Gimenez, Bryon Buxton — which is amazing considering how many people how soured on his draft stock — or even Trea Turner at the top, it is clear that the ADP values stolen bases more than the ECR. Once again, this means that it is likely necessary to pay a higher price for speed.


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Mario Mergola is a featured writer at FantasyPros and BettingPros and the creator and content editor of Sporfolio. For more from Mario, check out his archive and follow him @MarioMergola.

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