ADP watch: Opportunity knocks for Ryan Weathers, plus biggest past month risers at a glance

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The closer we get to opening day, the faster the news moves, throwing everything we thought we knew for the previous five months into a blender. It’s so important to keep our heads on a swivel this time of year — not only to avoid drafting Dr. ElAttrache’s newest patient, but to be first on the next man up.

Anticipating how the immediate voids created by breaking news will get filled can make a huge difference in outcomes. Understanding and acting on a new, undetermined value separates the wheat from the chaff in the draft room.

We’ll be attacking the topic from multiple vectors to get you fully briefed on all of the market’s major movers and shakers. Adam Ronis focused on four specific players requiring a closer look, while I took a different path, scrutinizing the past month’s worth of drafts for disparities by section. Good luck leaving us today without sparking a late-round fantasy brush fire somewhere.

(All ADP per NFBC, comparing all drafts between February 15-29 and March 1-19)

Jarred Kelenic, OF, ATL

  • NFBC ADP from 2/15-2/29: 202
  • NFBC ADP from 3/1-3/19: 228

Any excitement for Kelenic moving to the Braves has been shrinking like Tom Hanks in “Cast Away.” Usually, we don’t care much for the spring stats, but when it costs a player a job, or playing time, it’s a problem. Kelenic appeared to have the every-day job in a great lineup. However, the Braves recently signed Adam Duvall, and he will likely platoon with Kelenic. Even with the strong side of the platoon, Kelenic now has slim margin for error.

This spring, Kelenic is 3-for-42 with no extra base hits and a 12:4 K:BB ratio. The sixth overall pick in 2018 by the Mets hasn’t lived up to lofty expectations. In 372 at-bats with the Mariners last season, Kelenic slashed .253/.327/.419 with 44 runs, 11 home runs, 49 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and a 31.7% strikeout rate. There’s a lot of swing and miss with Kelenic, although he improved his hard-hit rate to 45.5% last season.

There are reports Kelenic is very hard on himself and his frustration is often visible on the field. He kicked a water cooler after a strikeout last season and suffered a fractured foot. The change of scenery, especially moving to a great team, often helps, but Kelenic has big risk. I’ll draft other players in his range, unless he falls even further. — Adam Ronis

Ryan Weathers, P, MIA

  • NFBC ADP from 2/15-2/29: 600
  • NFBC ADP from 3/1-3/19: 433

Weathers was going very late in drafts a few weeks ago because the path to a starting rotation spot looked bleak with several starters in front of him. Injuries are piling up for the Marlins, and Weathers is likely going to begin the season as a starter. Eury Perez has an elbow injury, Edward Cabrera has a shoulder impingement, and Braxton Garrett is behind with a shoulder injury.

Weathers, the seventh overall pick in 2018 by the Padres, has looked great in the spring. Over 18 innings, the left-hander has a 21:4 K:BB ratio with a 3.00 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. The fastball has been in the high-90s. Weathers was a top prospect a few years ago and is only 24. He’s worth taking in the final rounds of the draft to see if it carries over into the regular season. — Ronis

Jackson Merrill , SS, SD

  • NFBC ADP from 2/15-2/29: 377
  • NFBC ADP from 3/1-3/19: 306

The rise for Merrill is obvious since he will be on the opening day roster. He will play center field for the Padres and will gain outfield eligibility soon. Merrill turns 21 in April and didn’t play in Triple-A. He spent last season between High-A and Double-A. In 187 at-bats at Double-A, Merrill slashed .273/.338/.444 with 26 runs, five home runs, 31 RBIs and five stolen bases. He’s a good contact hitter with a 11.8% strikeout rate at Double-A and an 8.5% walk rate. He also started to hit the ball in the air more when he got to Double-A. Merrill is slated to hit at the bottom of the lineup, but could get 15 home runs and 10 stolen bases. At the current ADP, he’s worth taking. — Ronis

Henry Davis, OF, PIT

  • NFBC ADP from 2/15-2/29: 233
  • NFBC ADP from 3/1-3/19: 204

Davis is rising for a few reasons. Having a great spring tends to move players up now more than ever. More attention is paid to spring results and the highlights are all over social media. Davis is slashing .306/.381/.694 with seven runs, four home runs and 11 RBIs in 36 at-bats. Davis was the first overall pick in the 2021 draft, as a catcher. In his rookie season last year, he mostly played outfield. Of his 62 games played, he spent just two at catcher. In most leagues, he’s only eligible at catcher. The plan is for Davis to catch, especially with Yasmani Grandal dealing with plantar fasciitis. Davis could get catcher eligibility quickly, and in two catcher leagues, he becomes more appealing. When Davis doesn’t catch, he will likely play the outfield, giving him more at-bats than a typical catcher. — Ronis

John Laghezza’s ADP study

Of course, I turned what started out as a simple scan for the largest ADP movers into a whole ordeal (imagine my editors’ bewilderment). I felt that simply looking at the greatest shift by raw ADP would capture the biggest overreactions, but also lacks context. My thinking is simple (another complete shocker) — segment the consensus Top 300 into quarters, because a Top 50 player moving 10 spots is more meaningful than one in the later rounds moving 30. Then gauge players by their max pick to better incorporate general demand while eliminating the rogue-drafting, FOMO outliers.

Top 12 ADP Risers Overall

  • A.J. Puk, P, MIA
  • Gavin Stone, P, LAD
  • Tylor Megill, P, NYM
  • Wyatt Langford, OF, TEX
  • Jackson Merrill, SS, SD
  • Victor Scott, OF, STL
  • James Wood, OF, WAS
  • Ceddanne Rafaela, OF, BOS
  • Aroldis Chapman, P, PIT
  • Garrett Whitlock, P, BOS
  • Will Smith, P, KC

It’s an interesting bunch of mostly young players who are simple enough to bin — high-ceiling SPs locking down rotation spots, prospect hitters trending toward a starting job, and impact relievers. I can almost guarantee you that at least one from each group falls way past closing ADP in home leagues. I’m particularly fond of Boston’s Ceddanne Rafaela, who I recently covered in more detail here.

Top Max Pick Risers, ADP 1-75

  • Tyler Glasnow, P, LAD
  • Tarik Skubal, P, DET
  • Grayson Rodriguez, P, BAL
  • Cody Bellinger 1B, OF, CHC
  • Manny Machado, 3B, SD
  • Jazz Chisholm Jr., OF, MIA
  • Josh Hader, P, HOU
  • Raisel Iglesias, P, ATL

Surprise, surprise… there’s enough starting pitcher helium in the room to have every GM sounding like the Bee Gees by draft’s end. There’s no turning back now, people! You’ll have to decide early on whether or not to pay the premium for pitchers who, despite insane arm talent, have never finished as a fantasy ace. I’ve gone back and forth myself, depending on the room, but my gut is telling me that come the Main Event, I’ll be prioritizing hitters up front in that spot. In fact, a couple of those exact players popped up here in Manny Machado and Jazz Chisholm — two hitters with tremendous upside who I project to greatly outperform draft cost. Finally, a pair of elite closers on great ball clubs pulling up the rear. Considering the rash of RP injuries already in 2024, prepare for sticker shock on the few remaining lock-down options.

Top Max Pick Risers, ADP 76-150

  • Cole Ragans, P, KC
  • Justin Steele, P, CHC
  • Dylan Cease, P, SD
  • Chris Sale, P, ATL
  • Bailey Ober, P, MIN
  • Esteury Ruiz, OF, OAK
  • Zack Gelof, 2B, OAK
  • Wyatt Langford, OF, TEX

More front-line starters lead the list through pick 150. I can’t help but wonder if I’m at least partly responsible for some of the inflation on Cole Ragans, Chris Sale, and Bailey Ober — three of my most rostered hurlers heading into 2024. If I hadn’t already tipped my hand, I’m waiting as long as possible to take my stabs at potential SP1 breakouts. If Chris Sale can get to +150IP — I’m not expecting workload limitations at his age — he should be every bit as good as Tarik Skubal, who is going several rounds earlier. Also worth noting is the first sign of demand for speed around pick 150. Roto players know to stay aware of the stolen base environment and not take ADP for granted when it comes to +30 SB potential.

Top Max Pick Risers, ADP 151-225

  • Byron Buxton, UT, MIN
  • Jackson Holliday, SS, BAL
  • James Outman, OF, LAD
  • Mitch Keller, P, PIT
  • Cristian Javier, P, HOU
  • Bryan Woo, P, SEA
  • Walker Buehler, P, LAD
  • Ryan Pepiot, P, TB
  • Triston McKenzie, P, CLE
  • Mason Miller, P, OAK

These particular price spikes are not my doing, so don’t blame me. Outside of James Outman, who I think has been criminally undervalued in 5×5 formats, this looks more like my fade list than anything. The pitchers getting boosted in this third quadrant reek a little to me of desperation, a nefariously stinky cologne. There’s a conglomeration of poor control, injuries, and workload concerns — I’m just fine passing on them. I will admit it’s been harder and harder to resist the temptation of Jackson Holliday breaking camp with an every-day role on tap in Baltimore, but that said, if he’s the one risk you’re taking while waiting for pick ~150 to do so, I can dig it.

Top Max Pick Risers, ADP 226-300

  • Kyle Harrison, P, SF
  • Kutter Crawford, P, BOS
  • MacKenzie Gore, P, WAS
  • Griffin Canning, P, LAA
  • A.J. Puk, P, MIA
  • Gavin Stone, P, LAD
  • Joe Boyle, P, OAK
  • Tylor Megill, P, NYM
  • Ceddanne Rafaela, OF, BOS
  • James Wood, OF, WAS
  • Victor Scott, OF, STL
  • Jackson Merrill, SS, SD

Part of me really wishes I had the literary skill necessary to describe the stupid look on my face right now reading through these names. This list, especially the pitchers, quite literally reads like a “my guy” piece. It’s uncanny, almost to the name — it’s my personal sleeper list. I hope it’s because my brilliant analysis affected an increasingly sharp market to the point of impact — and not that I’m some highly suggestible rube caving into the instant gratification of drafting a shiny new toy. I’m sticking to my guns — there’s a chance I wind up with at least three of these young arms on each of my Champion League teams.

Players to first appear with a Top 300 minimum pick

  • Abner Uribe, P, MLW, P
  • Andrew Nardi, P, MIA, P
  • Bowden Francis, P, TOR, P
  • Griffin Jax, P, MIN
  • Jackson Jobe, P, DET
  • Joel Payamps, P, MLW
  • Ryan Weathers, P, MIA
  • Ryne Nelson, P, ARZ
  • Trevor Megill, P, MLW
  • Tyler Kinley, P, COL
  • Enrique Hernandez, 2B, SS, OF, LAD
  • Jason Heyward, OF, LAD

While comparing and contrasting our two time frames, I happened to stumble upon a dozen players who first entered the Top 300 conversation within the past two weeks. Most have had opportunities arise via injuries but could be helpful to know — their ADPs are still buried, and having late save targets never hurt anyone.

(Top photo of Ryan Weathers: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports)

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