MLBDepthCharts.com has been a favorite of mine for a while now, and if you haven't visited the site, it's a lot more than just depth charts. They also provide great information on prospects and provide great statistical analysis. 2013 is the first year they will be putting out a Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. The draft kit comes at two different price points. For a one-time download with no updates the cost is $9.99. For daily updates through mid-April the cost moves to $19.99. MLBDC is serious when they say it is updated daily. I have received an email EVERY day since I got the kit. Each email is a newsletter in itself and also leads you to the latest file download. I'm not sure I've ever seen a site keep on top of a draft kit like this. As someone with a lot of experience in this regard, I can tell you that keeping information like this up-to-date is a huge challenge. My review is below, but if you want a look inside the kit, here is a video MLBDepthCharts provides their users.
The first thing I like about this draft kit is the option to download in different formats. I like to tinker with things and believe sorting is a requirement, so the ability to download in an excel file was a great option. If you don't have Excel or just want to print the kit out they also provide the kit in a PDF file. The bulk of my review will deal with the Excel version as I find that most useful for its interactive features.
The Draft Kit has so many features it would be easy to get lost in all the information, but the first sheet of the workbook acts as a control center and helps to keep things together.
MLBDC provides rankings for Mixed and Mono leaguers. You can view the overall rankings or look at them by position. Also included are separate rankings of each format for keeper leagues. Regardless of which set of rankings you are viewing, there is a lot of useful information included. Even when viewing by position, each players ranking within the chosen player universe is displayed. Each player's age and righty/lefty information is provided. Another useful addition is the inclusion of park factors and projected place in batting order for every player. Project auction values are included, as well as ADP data for the last two weeks. As far as statistics go, MLBDC includes numbers from 2012 and projections for the coming season along with position eligibility information. Graphical icons are used to identify players who have changed teams, are facing injury questions, or have been suspended.
The rankings themselves were very reasonable. There were certain players I would disagree with, but it's obvious the rankings were put into place through a very thorough process. These rankings alone would make a very solid tool for fantasy players, but of course there is more.
An MLBDepthCharts original are their 2012 Efficiency Ratings. Basically these attempt to capture just how efficient a player was in the 5 X 5 categories when compared to others at their position. This is not only useful in deciding when to select a player in your draft, but also in deciding which position a player has more value at. MLBDC uses Ben Zobrist as one example. Their efficiency ratings show that he carries the most value to fantasy owners as a shortstop. They also include a section of their ratings that is adjusted for players who did not play the whole season at the Major League level. While certain players (yes you Brandon Moss) make the adjusted numbers look a little flaky, this is a useful tool when used correctly.
The MLBDC Draft Kit includes an incredible number of charts and tools. They have an ADP report that is updated every day. They have an incredible Spring Training Report that lists the schedule each day along with the expected lineups. Many fantasy players ignore Spring Training results, but MLBDC knows that there are important things going on. Their Position Battles charts are incredibly useful, especially for those of us who play in monoleagues or very deep mixed leagues. These are updated frequently and allow users to always have an idea of where a position battle is going. The Injury Report is also a section that I'll be watching closely. It includes all players of note who are dealing with fantasy relevant injuries. It's updated daily for player's with an update or change of status.
The player profiles in this draft kit are not what you've seen on other sites. There are no blurbs or written evaluations. Instead the player profiles are more a collection of all the data from throughout the kit for each player. The profiles are sorted by position and provide a very thorough statistical analysis for all relevant players. This is one area where some fantasy players might be a little disappointed. Veterans of fantasy baseball will be happy to use the very pertinent data to aid in their decision making, but less experienced players might like more opinions and guidance from the MLBDC staff.
THe final section of MLBDepthChart's 2013 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit I will mention is the section dedicated to cheat sheets. There is a huge selection of cheat sheets, meaning pretty much every fantasy owner will find something that will work for their league. The cheat sheets are formatted to print on 8.5 X 14 sheets, though I did encounter a sheet or two that didn't seem to fit on the single sheet. This may be one area where the PDF version has an advantage, as Excel sheets can be very flaky when trying to size for print. The cheat sheets do include pretty much any information you would want at your fingertips during a draft, including dollar values and latest ADP numbers.
In all this draft kit is an incredible compilation of very useful statistical based information. Experienced fantasy players will be happy to see that it lacks the long drawn out articles telling them things they already knew. If you like to read this might not be the draft kit for you. If, however, you love to digest statistics and use them to make your own fantasy decvisions, I'm not sure you're going to find a better resource.