Jan 31, 2010

Roto Value Trend: Catchers in 2010

The first installment in our series discussing the value at each position in the draft looks at the always boring Catcher position.  The chart above displays how valuable the players being chosen at various points in the draft are.  The value is tied to the statistics from various projection systems using our WERTH points system based on a standard 12 team roto league.  The draft rounds are based on ADP data from MockDraftCentral and are rounds based on 12 team leagues.  These charts are meant to show the value of various positions throughout the draft in order for you to determine when to target a starter or backup.

There are three catchers who might be drafted early in drafts and then all falls silent until roughly Round 10.  From Round 10 to 16, catchers will fall off the board and most of them will provide roughly the same value. In that area there are some more volatile picks such as Russell Martin getting some positive projections in Round 13 and Bengie Molina getting a surprisingly wide variety of projections in Round 14.  In Round 16, Marcel seems to like Mike Napoli but then things return to yawnfully boring after that as the final draftable catchers go off the board in Ryan Doumit, Yadier Molina, Miguel Olivo and A.J. Pierzynski.  From that point on, it's a pathetic group of guys who do next to nothing offensively.

Conclusion: If you're not targeting a catcher within the first five rounds then feel free to ignore catchers until the final rounds.  The value of grabbing a catcher in Round 10 is not much different than waiting until Round 21 or 22.  So, use that 10th Round pick for more vital starting positions in your lineup or even high quality backups to your other starters.

One Spreadsheet to Rule Them All

Well, you may have wondered what exactly happened to Mr. Cheatsheet over the past couple of days.  You probably thought "I stumbled upon this site and then he just disappears on me? Double you tea eff, mate?".  Calm down, little soldier boy.  I actually had an epiphany for how to completely rework the logic behind these spreadsheets for a variety of reasons and have finally finished up the updates.  Here are what are improved from previous versions of the cheatsheets:

  • No longer have separate sheets for different sized leagues. Now, it's completely customizable from within the cheatsheet and can be updated at any time... for the rare instance where you suddenly change from a 12 team league to a 14 team league mid-draft!
  • No longer restricted to the standard 5 roto categories. I currently have 8 hitting and 8 pitching categories to choose from but would love suggestions on additional categories that you may need.
  • Better logic behind WERTH points system. This was where the rewrite started. The previous logic was fine but it was cumbersome and led to a lot of additional work to customize the sheet. I looked deep inside the logic and found a much more efficient calculation for more accurate roto points predictions.
So, there you have it.  Now, go on and test out the first of our new cheatsheets: the 2010 Fantasy Baseball Mixed Roto cheatsheet.

Jan 25, 2010

The Search for Narco (2010)

When diving into the draft pool for fantasy baseball sleepers each year, one can certainly find a lot of names floating around.  But, when going deep-sea diving for off-the-chart sleepers, it gets a little trickier.  My friend and I coined the term 'narcos' for these deep sleepers and I'll give you a glimpse into my method for finding narco hitters.

My method is not entirely scientific but it does yield fairly successful results.  One of the leagues I play in is a point-based head-to-head league and the first thing I do in the offseason is export the results from this league into a spreadsheet (the scoring system is fairly standard).  Using these results, I divide the players' total fantasy points by the number of at-bats and sort those results accordingly.  Not surprisingly, at the top, you'll find the cream of the crop from the fantasy universe.  But, you'll also find some guys who did quite well with the few plate appearances they had.

The next step is to remove all players who had over 350 ABs or under 100 ABs, as well as guys who were simply injured the previous season but fall into the group.  Now, we have a group of guys who didn't get a ton of time to prove themselves but proved they are capable of success in that time.  Now, the key is to find out which of these guys will get a starting opportunity in the upcoming season.  In the past, I've found an interesting group of relatively unheard of names.  Here are those past results, only including those who got over 300 ABs the following season 

2007 potential sleepers (2006 ABs): 
Josh Bard (249)
 Ryan Church (196)
Chris Duncan (280)
Ryan Garko (185)
James Loney (102)
Luke Scott (214)
Ryan Theoriot (134)

With the exception of Josh Bard, all of these players finished within the top 200 hitters the following year.  That's not the greatest feat in the world but they all gave some value as possible last-round picks, with Ryan Theriot and James Loney providing the most value in 2007.  This was, by far, the least successful season for the method. 

2008 potential sleepers (2007 ABs): 
Rick Ankiel (172)
Michael Bourn (119)

Jacoby Ellsbury (116)
Josh Hamilton (298)
Fred Lewis (157)
James Loney (344)
David Murphy (105) 
Nate McLouth (329)
Cody Ross (173)
Jayson Werth (255)

Every single one of these players finished within the top 150 hitters in 2008 with six in the top 100 and three in the top 25.  Josh Hamilton and Jacoby Ellsbury provided great value from their draft position (10th-12th rounds) and Nate McLouth came from off the radar to give huge returns, the true definition of narco. 

2009 potential sleepers (2008 ABs): 
Russell Branyan (132)
 Shin-Soo Choo (317)
 Nelson Cruz (115)
Elijah Dukes (276)
 Mike Fontenot (243)
Jerry Hairston (261)
Nick Johnson (109)
Mike Napoli (227)
Denard Span (347)
Ryan Spilborghs (233)
 Ben Zobrist (198) 

This was a true hit-or-miss type group.  Four of the guys didn't even finish in the top 200 despite getting over 300 ABs in 2009.  However, if we filter further and just take the guys who had over 450 ABs, you have four guys remaining and they were all top 50 hitters (Cruz, Zobrist, Choo and Span). So, the greater the opportunity, the greater the returns.  That brings us to the present day... 

2010 potential sleepers (2009 ABs): 
Kyle Blanks (148) 
Julio Borbon (157)
Jake Fox (216) 
Brett Gardner (248)
Jonny Gomes (281) 
Carlos Gonzalez (278)  
Chris Iannetta (289) 
Garrett Jones (314)
Angel Pagan (343) 
Ryan Raburn (261) 
David Ross (128) 
Randy Ruiz (115)
Seth Smith (335) 
Andres Torres (152) 
Rickie Weeks (147) 

This is our group of names that we'll want to keep an eye and target later in drafts.  Obviously, prospect status and hype has already bumped up names like Carlos Gonzalez but other names are more hidden in the fantasy world and could provide great value in 2010.  So, we'll keep an eye on which of these guys will be given starting jobs in 2010 and target them as best we can. 

Ryan Raburn has already been given a starting job in Detroit and Brett Gardner might have one as well.  Could they be the McClouths or Choos of this year?  Maybe and maybe not.  It's worth a shot once you get to the later rounds.  Or, you could just take Coco Crisp or Jed Lowrie instead.  Your choice.  Though, the beauty of this system is that some of these guys might go undrafted too.  In that case, just keep an eye on them early in the season and pick them up immediately at any signs of success.