Is Positional Scarcity Worth the Cost?

People generally lean between two different methods when drafting. One crowd will put a high emphasis on positional scarcity and target players such as Buster Posey or Carlos Correa in the early rounds because they feel the drop off in the next best player is so significant that it is worth it to fill those positions early. The other side is the people that will take the best player available no matter the position. These people will take players based on their value in the draft. Of course, these two sides can blur, most fantasy players will do a combination of both to fill their teams. The question is, what positions are actually shallow?

The biggest example of positional scarcity is catcher. Buster Posey is in a tier of his own at the position. He normally falls off the board in the later part of round 2 to the early part of round 3. After him, things fall off a cliff quickly. The next catcher off the board is Kyle Schwarber, and for the early part of the offseason, he looked like a good alternative. With the Cubs signing Dexter Fowler, things got a little murkier. Schwarber will most likely be sharing time with Jorge Soler in the outfield. Lucroy is next off the board according to Fantasy Pros, coming off an injured 2015. Posey is definitely not the best player by stats in the 2nd round, but his great hitting at a weak position makes him one of the best reaches of the draft.

The next position that is scarce may surprise you. First base has always been one of those positions that always seems deep. This year you will be way behind on the position if you don't get one of the top seven. That means taking a first baseman in either the first or second round. After Joey Votto is off the board, the talent falls off dramatically. Some people may include guys like Freddie Freeman in the above tier. However, if you look at Freeman's stats the last 3 years, they have been pretty unspectacular. Add in the fact the Braves have completely dismantled their lineup, and there seems to be no reason for opposing pitchers to have to face him. He will see an increase in walks, but besides that I predict there will be lower production across the board for him. Go past the top eleven first basemen and it gets even uglier. In this range you have guys like Brandon Belt, Mark Trumbo, and Mark Teixeira. Having these players are your main first baseman will put you way behind the Rizzo's and Abreu's of the world.

The normal positions people think of when they hear the term “positional scarcity" is the middle infield. Surprisingly, this year it is not as shallow as it used to be. The shortstop position benefitted greatly from young rookies making their debut last year. Corey Seager and Francisco Lindor burst onto the scene, adding in an already high end position with Bogaerts taking a step forward and Machado gaining shortstop eligibility in some leagues. This trend seems to be going nowhere anytime soon with the eventual debut of top prospects like Orlando Arcia and JP Crawford. Second base looks very similar with the emergence of players like Rougned Odor and Jonathan Schoop.

Positional scarcity is an important component to consider when entering a draft. It's important to know what positions are scarce however, as you can see above, it can change dramatically year to year.