2020 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Changes in ADP since MLB shut down for coronavirus

You may have noticed things have changed. In the world. In your life. In baseball.

But drafts are still going on, for some crazy reason, which means we can see how these changes are being interpreted in the Fantasy Baseball world. That’s specifically true over at the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) website, where you can isolate average draft position (ADP) to a certain period of time.

The league shut down for coronavirus on March 13, but at the time, many hoped it would be for only two weeks. We have to go a little further to see draft behaviors changing due to the lockdown. I’m using April 1 as the starting point.

Between April 1 and June 3, 149 drafts took place on the site, which are enough to tell us something. Comparing ADP during that stretch to overall ADP, here are some of the biggest risers and fallers.

Possible explanation: Yordan Alvarez had a nagging knee issue back in spring training that looked like it might impact his availability for the start of the season.
Yeah, but … He has had plenty of time to rest in the months since, which should make it a relative afterthought.
Agree with the move? No

Possible explanation: A cortisone shot in Blake Snell’s surgically repaired elbow raised concerns that the issue may not totally be resolved, and any missed time would be particularly disastrous in a shortened season.
Yeah, but … The soreness was on the back of the elbow, not where the UCL is, and he still has Cy Young upside, of course.
Agree with the move? Yes  

Possible explanation: Workload expectations were mainly what set Zack Wheeler apart in the rankings, but half a season gives him less time to distance himself from the pack.
Yeah, but … He’ll still have more starts of seven-plus innings, in all likelihood.
Agree with the move? Yes 

Possible explanation: The workload limitations will be virtually nonexistent now, giving Jesus Luzardo a better chance of hanging with the aces as a rookie.
Yeah, but … He has only twice gone six innings as a professional, so early hooks will still be a thing even if he’s starting every fifth day.
Agree with the move? Yes

Possible explanation: Madison Bumgarner’s biggest advantage was volume, but it’s mostly neutralized when it plays out over half as many starts and in an environment where fewer pitchers are being shut down.
Yeah, but … If any pitcher has shown the ability to bounce back on short rest and get stretched in ways that could become commonplace with a condensed schedule, it’s this one.
Agree with the move? Yes

Possible explanation: It’s an ace profile that just doesn’t seem to hold up over a full season, never lasting beyond 160 innings, but guess what? It won’t need to this year.
Yeah, but … James Paxton is still coming off back surgery, which presents the possibility for a setback, and any missed time this year will have a greater impact on the Fantasy standings.
Agree with the move? Yes

Possible explanation: Julio Urias‘ long-awaited return to the starting rotation figured to play out unconventionally with the Dodgers being the Dodgers and the season being so darn long, but the season isn’t so long now.
Yeah, but … The season may no longer be long, but the Dodgers are still the Dodgers and can afford an abundance of caution with pitchers like Dustin May, Ross Stripling and Tony Gonsolin on the outside looking in.
Agree with the move? Yes 

Possible explanation: The hope was that Will Smith, being the superior reliever, would eventually overtake Mark Melancon for the closer role, but “eventually” needs to come even sooner now for it to pay off.
Yeah, but … What kind of job security does Melancon have, really? It could happen in the first two weeks still, potentially.
Agree with the move? Yes

Possible explanation: The hope of Garrett Hampson carving out an everyday role takes on more urgency in a season that will last only three months.
Yeah, but … The Rockies will presumably have a DH spot at their disposal now, which means his role will be greater from the get-go.
Agree with the move? No  

Possible explanation: Despite grabbing headlines with an August power surge, Aristides Aquino seemed destined to begin the year in the minors due to an outfield surplus, and a miserable start to spring training didn’t help.
Yeah, but … You’ve heard about the universal DH, right? And expanded rosters? A role for him seems more assured than ever.
Agree with the move? No  

Possible explanation: We knew Jo Adell wouldn’t make the opening day roster, but he still seemed like a prime candidate for a midseason call-up back when “midseason” still meant plenty of season left.
Yeah, but … I suppose it’s possible he finds his way onto the expanded rosters even after poor showings in Triple-A and the Arizona Fall League.
Agree with the move? Yes  

Possible explanation: The top prospect had already forced his way into the outfield conversation and is an obvious beneficiary of the universal DH. 
Yeah, but … Matt Carpenter could become the full-time DH and Tommy Edman the full-time third baseman, in which case Tyler O’Neill could still theoretically block Dylan Carlson in left field.
Agree with the move? Yes  

Possible explanation: It wasn’t long before the shutdown that the Dodgers confirmed Alex Wood would be in their starting rotation, and the enthusiasm hasn’t died down since.
Yeah, but … Of course, this was the plan back when the Dodgers still thought they had a 162-game schedule to navigate, and they may be anxious to see younger hurlers like Dustin May if it’s only half that.
Agree with the move? No  

Possible explanation: Maybe people were late to realize A.J. Pollock wouldn’t have a starting job if Gavin Lux indeed made the major-league roster, and they only began to act on it during the lockdown. That’s all I can figure.
Yeah, but … He would have a starting job now, thanks to the universal DH. it would likely go to Joc Pederson most days, freeing up left field Pollock.
Agree with the move? No  

Possible explanation: Ian Happ got off to a hot start in spring training with two homers, three doubles and just four strikeouts in 30 plate appearances, bettering his chances of winning the starting center field job. It may be a moot point with the universal DH.
Yeah, but … The jury’s still out as to whether the 25-year-old is actually good, given his past strikeout issues and return trip to the minors last year.
Agree with the move? Yes

Possible explanation: It’s the opposite of Will Smith. We all suspect Wade Davis will lose his job to Scott Oberg at some point, but however long he retains it now will be a larger percentage of the season.
Yeah, but … Dude had an 8.65 ERA last year, so who’s to say he’ll even retain it for a day?
Agree with the move? Yes

Possible explanation: The most scintillating prospect from early in spring training now seems a reasonable bet to crack the starting five since he won’t need his innings carefully managed in the minors.
Yeah, but … Would the Blue Jays be so nutty as to hold Nate Pearson back for service time reasons?
Agree with the move? Yes

Possible explanation: Michael Pineda has 39 games remaining on a PED suspension, which originally would have put him coming back about a quarter of the way into the season. Now, it’ll be about halfway.
Yeah, but … I got nothing. You don’t want him hogging a bench spot for that long.
Agree with the move? Yes

Possible explanation: Offseason elbow surgery initially had Rich Hill missing at least the first two months of the season, but with the start of the season pushed back, he says he’ll be ready to go now. That’s especially notable given his 3.30 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 10.7 K/9 the past three years.
Yeah, but … He’s 40 years old, and the procedure he had probably would have been Tommy John if he was younger. We shouldn’t be so sanguine about his recovery.
Agree with the move? Yes  

Possible explanation: GM Matt Klentak said back in February that he could foresee the top prospect joining the starting rotation by midseason, and hey, midseason will be the start of the season now. 
Yeah, but … Of course, Klentak said so presuming some development along the way. Is it reasonable to expect someone with only six starts at Double-A to make that sort of leap?
Agree with the move? Yes

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