Dec 23, 2011

2011's Biggest Fantasy Surprises (Hitters)


You might describe the path to a fantasy baseball title as avoiding the disappointing players and finding the surprise players. In 2011, there were certainly surprises all over the board and even some from the middle rounds of the draft like David Ortiz and Carlos Beltran. However, this particular post is about the players that were left for dead to start the year but managed to surprise us all. They're like the hand-me-down sweaters that nobody in the world wanted so they sat in a Goodwill for two years before somebody gave them a chance and then we found out that the sweaters were knitted from pure gold. Right? Just like that. Let's take a look at these big surprises and see if their success will continue or maybe how we could have seen this coming.

Alex Avila (C), Undrafted, 2011 Roto Value 0.1: Avila went from undrafted fantasy catcher to a beast who hit 19 HR's with a .295 batting average to boot. His power numbers seem to be legit and where they should be (1 HR per 33.8 PA in first two years versus 1 HR per 29 PA in 2011) but his spike in average is what came out of the blue. If anything, he was expected to be a .260 hitter with 15 HR. But, unfortunately, that batting average seems to be aided by good fortune. His expected AVG (based on BABIP and xBABIP) shows that he should have hit .267 last year instead of .295 which gave him a boost in value and an additional boost in his RBI and Run totals. Be wary of that next season.


Mark Trumbo (1B), Undrafted, 2011 Roto Value 0.1: Without a past MLB history to draw upon and uncertainty about the 1B position for the Angels, Trumbo was left undrafted. He showed power in the minors that came out in the majors right away as he hit 29 HR's in his first full season. His xAVG indicates that he should have actually had a much higher AVG last year than his paltry .254. Aside from Pujols taking his natural position, we have to wonder if his tiny walk rate (4.4%) will be cause for concern in his development. If his average rises closer to .285 that he should be at then he could be quite the fantasy player next season.


Matt Joyce (OF), Undrafted, 2011 Roto Value: 0.1: Prior to 2011, Joyce had shown the ability to hit for power by hitting 25 HR in 575 PA. However, those plate appearances were broken up over three years of MLB duty since he was never given a starting role for a ballclub. Initially, the Rays didn't give him a green light in 2011 either but once they did he ran with it by continuing to show some power with some speed and a decent average. All of these skills seem to be sustainable based on past history. He's a player who can give you average fantasy production in all categories for deeper leagues and that should continue if he gets the chance to play.


Emilio Bonifacio (SS), Undrafted, 2011 Roto Value 0.4: When Emilio started for the Marlins in 2009, he hit for a poor average .252 but showed glimpses of good baserunning (21 SB, 72 R). However, it wasn't enough to make him a very good fantasy player. 2010 was a lost season mostly due to injury but, in 2011, Emilio must have changed his approach because he started to hit a ton more line drives and walked at a better rate (9.2% versus 6.7%). His batting average and OBP went up so he was on base 75 more times which meant he stole more bases and scored more runs. He had a .372 BABIP which sounds scary but his xBABIP was actually .364 because of his LD% and his ability to get infield hits. If the LD% is legit (which is certainly a big if) then he can maintain his OBP and get SB opportunities in 2012. However, the big question is whether Ozzie Guillen will find a place for him in the field with Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez taking up his former positions in the infield.


Eric Hosmer (1B), Undrafted, 2011 Roto Value: 0.7: Hosmer started the year in the minors and thus went undrafted. When he got called up early in the season, he became a gift from the waiver wire gods. He literally did it all for roto fantasy owners as he hit for great average while contributing a bit in all other categories. His batting profile indicates that the batting average is here to stay next year, while his power numbers seem repeatable based on his minor league numbers. The only questionable part of his game is whether he'll get above 10 SB again. Even if he doesn't, he should be a great 1B next year as he should hit around .300 with 25 HR and good RBI and Run totals. This should just be the beginning for Hosmer.


Jeff Francouer (OF), Undrafted, 2011 Roto Value 2.4: Jeff freakin' Francouer! After three years of forgettable baseball, Francouer rises from the ashes with a 20/20 season. In his previous 6 MLB seasons, he stole 23 total bases then he came out of nowhere to steal 22 last year due to the Royals running like crazy. I'm not sure what to make of it. His SB% wasn't even that good as he was caught stealing 10 times. But those SB's really spiked his fantasy value. In regards to his other stats, the batting average seems legit at .285 while his homerun numbers were inflated a little bit by higher HR/FB numbers but he's shown the ability in his younger days to hit over 10% HR/FB. If I were a betting man, I'd say that his SB's drop and his HR's drop slightly which should make him turn back into a fairly forgettable fantasy player. But, we'll always have 2011, Jeff.


Michael Morse (1B), ADP 378, 2011 Roto Value 2.8: He showed us signs that he could do this in 2010. In about 300 PA's, he hit around 20% HR/FB with a .229 ISO which translated into 15 HR. In 2011, he got nearly twice as many PA's and hit twice as many HR's with similar HR/FB and ISO rates. His batting average was slightly inflated due to a higher BABIP but the power is certainly real. Though he should hit for a fairly high average, he most likely won't sustain a .300 average again in 2012. Still, there were warning signs that a big year was coming as discussed here in the preseason. The lesson is to keep an eye out for guys who did a lot with limited playing time in the previous season.


Lance Berkman (OF), ADP 321, 2011 Roto Value 3.5: At 35 years old, it seemed like Berkman's career was headed in the wrong direction. His HR totals had gone from 45 to 34 to 29 to 25 to 14 and all of his other numbers seemed to be following down each year. As observant folks, we've seen this before with countless players because players tend to get worse as they get in their late 30's. I don't know how this could have been predicted but Berkman suddenly turned into his younger self again for a full year with a .300 average and 30 HR's. While it certainly seemed like a legit year, it's hard to count on Berkman doing it again at 36 without the benefit of a DH position for an old guy like himself.


Alex Gordon (OF), ADP 391, 2011 Roto Value 4.4: Gordon had always shown some promise in his early years but injuries had plagued his career up until now. In 2011, Gordon's got the benefit of good health and good luck. Playing a full season showed him to be a player who could contribute across the board (23 HR, 17 SB, 101 R, 87 RBI, .303 AVG). On the other hand, good luck was able to boost his average up (xAVG was .283) which also likely gave at least a little boost to RBI, Run and SB totals. His numbers should dip a bit next year and health is a lingering concern so if he is being drafted in the range of elite players then I have my issues with him in 2012.


Melky Cabrera (OF), Undrafted, 2011 Roto Value 4.5: Melky goes from 4 HR and 42 RBI over 500 PA's in 2010 to becoming a fantasy god. His numbers were eerily similar to Gordon's above (18 HR, 20 SB, 102 R, 87 RBI, .305 AVG) and they don't show signs of being fluky either. His power stroke came back to his 2009 days and he finally benefited from decent luck in the AVG department. The Royals let him run (like they did with everyone, it seems) and the Runs and RBI's followed suit. Baseball is a crazy game. Even with the best analysis in the world, it's hard to predict this stuff. He'll be in San Fran next year and it will be interesting to see if he can benefit from high RBI and Run totals there to boost his roto value. They may not run him quite as much as the Royals did and the change in scenery will certainly be a factor in his 2012 value. As you could imagine, further analysis will be coming in the coming months.

Dec 21, 2011

2011's Biggest Fantasy Disappointments (Pitchers)


When you spend an early draft pick on a player, you expect good value in return. When you don't get it, the results are sometimes disastrous. We already took a look at the biggest disappointments from the guys who swing the bats so now let's take a look at the fellas who throw the baseballs. Hopefully, we can learn something from these epic failures.

Ricky Nolasco (SP), ADP 174, 2011 Roto Value -3.7: Nolasco continues to defy some of the core sabermetric stats. His xFIP over the past three seasons has been as high as 3.55 and as low as 3.23 which should mean his ERA should be around those ranges as well but his lowest ERA in the past three years was 4.51 (which is not very good, folks). He always seems to have a BABIP that would lead you to believe he's been unlucky but somehow it keeps happening to him. He seems to be a different pitcher each year with varying strikeout rates constantly (as well as changing groundball percentages and HR's/9). The only lesson to be learned here is that Ricky Nolasco is an enigma as his xFIP seems to be 1.00 below his actual ERA every year. I don't know what to make of him any longer.

Brett Myers (SP), ADP 170, 2011 Roto Value -3.0: For those who saw his 3.14 ERA in 2010, they were extremely disappointed to get a 4.46 ERA with only 7 wins in 2011. The red flag about his 2010 season was his very low HR/FB rate which gave him his lowest HR/9 rate of his career by far. The low HR totals had to influence his ERA even if his xFIP seemed to indicate it was legit. One of the weaknesses of xFIP is that it does not account for HR/FB rates that are out of the ordinary.

John Danks (SP), ADP 104, 2011 Roto Value -2.8: Danks has been nothing if not consistent with his ERA, K/9 and Wins being very similar from 2008-2010. Despite that apparent consistency, he had benefited from a lucky HR/FB rate in 2008, a lucky BABIP in 2009 and a little of both in 2010. In 2011, those both leveled off to more normal levels and resulted in a 4.33 ERA and he could only muster 8 wins on the season. Wins are tricky because even the best pitcher has little control over them. All in all, if anything, Danks showed more of his true colors in 2011.

Trevor Cahill (SP), ADP 94, 2011 Roto Value -2.8: Cahill jumped from a 4.63 ERA pitcher with a 1.44 WHIP in his rookie year to become a 2.97 ERA pitcher with a 1.11 WHIP in 2010. 2011 fantasy players drafted him with delight after that fine performance. Unfortunately, both of those numbers were greatly affected by Cahill's tiny .236 BABIP which meant that he allowed way less hits and thus less runs. In 2011, his core numbers (strikeouts, walks, HR's allowed) all stayed about the same as 2010 but his BABIP jumped back to league average range as expected and his ERA and WHIP jumped up too. Fantasy owners were sad.

Ryan Dempster (SP), ADP 92, 2011 Roto Value -3.5: Since becoming a full-time starter in 2008, here is how Dempster's xFIP has gone each year: 3.69, 3.76, 3.74, 3.70. Amazingly consistent and, yes, that includes 2011. So why was 2011 so bad for him? A slightly lower LOB% and a big leap in his BABIP meant bad luck struck down upon him and raised his ERA to 4.80 and his WHIP to 1.45. He got lots of K's as usual but the wins didn't come his way either. It was a season of bad luck for Dempster unfortunately and he should be undervalued next year.

Chad Billingsley (SP), ADP 86, 2011 Roto Value -3.0: Billingsley has slowly been changing into a different pitcher each year. His K/9 has continued to drop since 2008 and so has his Swinging Strike percentage which means it wasn't a fluke. In 2010, Billingsley still posted a 3.57 ERA despite the drop in K's. Owners had confidence that he'd continue to have a low ERA and the strikeouts may come back. But, astute owners should have looked at his HR/FB rate and seen that it was a tiny 4.5% which was about half of his career norm. That resulted in a fluky drop in ERA. In 2011, that rate returned to normal and his strikeouts continued to drop and walks rose up. Pay attention to pitcher trends if you have a few year's worth of data to analyze.

Ubaldo Jiminez (SP), ADP 43, 2011 Roto Value -2.9: In 2010, Ubaldo had an 8.69 K/9 rate and 3.74 BB/9 rate. In 2011, it was 8.60 and 3.73 respectively. So, why did drop from 2.88 to 4.68 while his WHIP jumped up 25 points too? It was a mix of good luck in 2010 and bad luck in 2011. There were warning signs that 2010 was a fluke such as his HR/FB rate dropped to a career low but also his LOB% rose to a career high meaning even when he let people on base they weren't scoring. Also, his roto value was spiked by a high Win total which we know is unpredictable. In 2011, his HR/FB rose and LOB% dropped big time which caused the opposite effect of him having an unlucky year. While the factors that showed he was lucky in 2010 should have warned you about him, it was hard to predict that he would be so unlucky in 2011.

So, what did these fantasy busts teach us about how to draft in 2011? Here's a rundown:
  • While FIP and xFIP are great tools to show if a pitcher was lucky or unlucky, HR/FB rates should be taken into account as well (lower than career norm means pitcher was lucky and higher means pitcher was unlucky). xFIP does not account for it which can cause you to value someone incorrectly. 
  • If a player had a seemingly lucky year, don't forget to check his LOB% as well to see what happened when he let guys on base. If it's higher than normal (around 70% is generally normal each year) then you should realize that a correction is upcoming.
  • Swinging strike rate can be a good indicator on whether a pitcher's K/9 rate is normal. A normal swinging strike rate is 8.5% but each pitcher has their own "normal" so look at their past history.
  • Even if you make the right call on a who to draft, bad luck can fall upon your pitchers. It's tough but there's really nothing you can do about it. Sometimes it corrects itself and sometimes it doesn't. It's the great hidden variable in fantasy sports.

Dec 19, 2011

2011's Biggest Fantasy Disappointments (Hitters)


Each year, fantasy baseball has some horribly disappointing players. Drafting these players is kind of like when you pay a ton of money for a diamond ring, give it to your wife and then realize that it's cubic zirconia yet the store owner refuses to let you return it and then your wife leaves you for that stupid jock from the gym.

This problem is compounded if your disappointing player stays healthy all year. If your play is disappointing from injury then at least you can bench him and move on. But, if your high draft pick is healthy and playing like poop then, well, you're in a crappy situation because you usually keep him in the lineup and keep hurting yourself each week as you wait for him to improve.

In this post, let's take a look at the 10 worst offenders of being high draft picks who stayed healthy but played poorly for you. Perhaps we can learn something about why we should have avoided each of them.

Alex Gonzalez (SS), ADP 154, 2011 Roto Value -4.4: Gonzalez was drafted as a starting SS for most fantasy teams after a 23 HR and 88 RBI season but he played so poorly throughout 2011 that you had to either bench or cut him. One red flag was a GB/FB rate in 2010 that was unlike any previous year of his long career (.66 versus .80 over previous 4 years) which may have spiked his HR total in 2010 because more fly balls mean more home run chances. Gonzalez had been in the majors since 1998 and had shown that he's not a shortstop who you can rely on for 20+ HR each year. You knew you were getting a low batting average and if you put stock in his high RBI and Run totals from 2010 then that was a lesson in the fact that RBI and Runs are often out of a hitter's control and not reliable predictors.

Ryan Ludwick (OF), ADP 136, 2011 Roto Value -3.8: Why was Ludwick drafted so high in 2011 drafts? It was in 2008 that he had an incredible breakout year with a .299 average, 37 HR, 104 R and 113 RBI. In 2009, he took it down a notch in all categories (.265/22/63/97) and then he dropped even more in 2010 (.251/17/63/69). It had become more clear each year that 2008 was a fluke but, in 2011, he was still drafted in the range of starting fantasy outfielders. Don't put stock into one lucky year a player had three years ago.

Delmon Young (OF), ADP 116, 2011 Roto Value -3.2: Young tricked quite a few people in his fifth full MLB season last year. After four years, it seemed he took a big step in 2010 with a high batting average, decent HR totals and big RBI numbers. However, there were red flags about his 2010 season including a GB/FB rate that was much lower than any other year for him (resulting in higher HR numbers) and a batting average with RISP that was 50 points higher than his season average (resulting in inflated RBI numbers). The only other positive element to owning Young is usually a good average but a lower than expected BABIP sunk that down and made him even less valuable.

Vernon Wells (OF), ADP 100, 2011 Roto Value -3.1: The Angels and fantasy owners paid a hefty price in order to own Wells last year. After cracking 31 HR in 2010 with decent numbers all around, owners expected to get more of the same in 2011. While his power wasn't a total fluke since he hit 25 in 2010, his average crashed down to painful levels (.218) that caused havoc to your team. In 9 MLB seasons, he never had a year like it and unfortunately it was mostly a case of horrible luck due to a .214 BABIP versus a .254 expected BABIP (resulting in a lower batting average). In draft plans, you can't really account for bad luck but it does happen.

Colby Rasmus (OF), ADP 93, 2011 Roto Value: -4.0: In his second MLB season, Rasmus posted a .276 AVG with 23 HR and 12 SB. His draft stock was high in 2011 since there was hope that he would continue to grow in his third year. The warning signs were there to show that 2010 was a fluke though. His .354 BABIP was unsustainable (inflating his AVG) and his 15% HR/FB was much higher than his expected HR/FB rate (resulting in more HR). It painted a picture of him being incredibly lucky in 2010 which is why his batting average (.225) and HR's (14) both crashed in 2011. Don't buy into numbers inflated by fluky BABIP or HR/FB numbers.

Martin Prado (OF), ADP 73, 2011 Roto Value: -3.1: Prado had two straight seasons with a .307 average and had come off a year with 100 Runs and 15 HR. There weren't any indicators that his average or power were a fluke. Much like Wells, this was a case where bad luck struck as his power numbers didn't dip much but his average dropped down to .260 due to a lower BABIP than expected. Being on base less meant less Runs too which should be a lesson to not put as much stock into Runs and RBI's as they are products of opportunity.

Jayson Werth (OF), ADP 50, 2011 Roto Value: -2.3: In 2009, Werth smashed 36 HR which were inflated by a fluky HR/FB rate. In 2010, his HR's (27) returned to a more sustainable rate but his batting average was inflated to .296 by a high BABIP. While he was lucky in two different ways in the previous two seasons, those both dropped to unlucky levels in 2011 which dropped his HR's and AVG tremendously. Not only that, he was in a weaker run-producing lineup which dropped his RBI and Runs totals. A change in scenery should be noted when evaluating players each season.

Andre Ethier (OF), ADP 38, 2011 Roto Value: -1.9: Ethier typically delivers high batting average but owners also saw power too in 2009 when he hit 31 HR. Despite only 23 HR in 2010, owners still thought they might get a .300 hitter with 30 HR power in 2011. However, other than that one 31 HR year, he had never shown to be a strong HR hitter. In 2011, he had horrible luck which led to only 11 HR. A weird GB/FB rate meant less FB and a weird HR/FB rate meant less HR for each FB which was a perfect storm for Ethier resulting in tiny HR totals. The low HR totals created lower Runs and RBI totals in addition to sad fantasy owners. A bounceback year is upcoming.

Brian McCann (C), ADP 30, 2011 Roto Value: -1.6: McCann was drafted to deliver solid production from a weak position. Oddly, McCann did everything that he normally does (20+ HR, .270 AVG) but his Runs (51) and RBI (71) totals were career lows and greatly affected his value. The Braves produced less runs than expected overall but this was something that's almost impossible to predict. Unfortunately for McCann owners, it was simply a case of poor luck since McCann did what he normally does otherwise.

Carl Crawford (OF), ADP 15, 2011 Roto Value: -2.4: Crawford normally delivers premier SB numbers with good batting average and fair power. In 2011, he was in a new lineup and his power numbers continued to be fair but his BABIP was much lower than his expected BABIP and that bad luck sunk his AVG to .255. The biggest pain for owners was that his SB numbers plummeted from his usual 50+ to 18. His walk rate dropped and he was on base 80 times less than in 2010 which may have hurt his SB opportunities as well as his usual high Run totals. If speedsters can't get on base due to bad luck, it effects their two best assets (runs and SB's). Drafting Crawford or players like him early is a major risk due to his lack of HR power, which you can only get in early rounds, so the results are catastrophic when he doesn't even deliver in his speed skills. Be wary of paying too much for speed early.

Interesting side note: Crawford's 2010 Rays had the second most SB attempts and the 2010 Red Sox had the least attempts in the MLB. In 2011, the Sox did improve to just the 18th most SB attempts while the Rays had the most attempts in the MLB. Differing managerial styles between old teams and new teams can have a great effect on player value.

So, what are the biggest lessons we learned from these horrible performances last year? Well, here's a recap:
  • Pay attention to GB/FB and HR/FB rates for players who had higher HR totals than normal last season. If they don't match previous career norms, don't expect the high HR's to continue.
  • Compare BABIP to xBABIP when a player had a higher AVG than normal last season. If the BABIP is higher than expected then temper your expectations on that AVG continuing.
  • If a player had high RBI totals, look at his AVG with RISP to see if he got lucky in that area.
  • If a player's best assets are RBI's and Runs then don't get too excited since those are products of opportunities and HR and AVG are more in the player's control.
  • When a player moves to a new team, look at how SB's or Runs and RBI's might be altered. The team or manager have a direct effect on those numbers.
  • Look at recent history of a player instead of putting stock into what they did many years ago.
  • If the player has a long career history then you can use past history to show that a sudden career year is simply a fluke. Rely on a full player history rather than one year.

Dec 15, 2011

The Search for Narco | 2012 Sleeper Hitters

My non-scientific method for coming up with fantasy baseball's possible deep sleepers has yielded a crop of great surprise players each year. Last year, it told us to reach for Mike Stanton and dig around for Mike Morse. Both of those players would have likely provided you a huge fantasy boost on your roster at their preseason price tags. Two years ago, we got huge production from Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Gardner and Angel Pagan for pennies on the dollar. If we go back further, you would have gotten surprise success from Nelson Cruz, Ben Zobrist and Shin-Soo Choo in '09 and Josh Hamilton, Jacoby Ellsbury and Nate McClouth in '08. This system has proved to be successful time and time again. Here's how I introduced the system a couple of years ago: 
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.
I then went on to explain that I'm looking at the guys who only had 100 to 350 AB's generally and weeding out usual fantasy stars who were injured. Lessons I've learned over the years is to not expect great things from catchers who show up in this system and to not overvalue those who are already older in age. Ideally, we want to find young guys who are about to get a chance at a full year of being a starter while showing good success in limited appearances previously. The hard part at this point is figuring our who will actually get to start for their team in 2012. But, without further ado, here is the list of potential narco candidates for 2012 in alphabetical order:

Alonso, Yonder OF CIN (24)
Bourgeois, Jason OF HOU (29)
Campana, Tony OF CHC (25)
Constanza, Jose OF ATL (28)
Craig, Allen OF STL (27)
De Aza, Alejandro OF CHW (27)
Downs, Matt 2B HOU (28)
Duda, Lucas OF NYM (26)
Gentry, Craig OF TEX (28)
Goldschmidt, Paul 1B ARI (24)
Guzman, Jesus 1B SD  (27)
Heisey, Chris OF CIN (27)
Jennings, Desmond OF TB (25)
Kipnis, Jason 2B CLE (24)
Lawrie, Brett 3B TOR (22)
Lillibridge, Brent OF CHW (28)
Mayberry, John OF PHI (28)
Parmelee, Chris 1B MIN (24)
Presley, Alex OF PIT (26)
Reimold, Nolan OF BAL (28)
Young, Eric OF COL (26)

It's a long list of names and many of these will not get a chance to start in 2012 but some of these players will get a green light and become great fantasy starters (I'm looking at you, Desmond Jennings). The preseason is still young so some investigating has yet to be done but many of these names will certainly pop up during the draft preparation here. As the readers, if you think any of these names on the list are particularly worthy of excitement based on your inside knowledge, feel free to blurt it out in the comments below. A couple of people within this list will become fantasy stars next season but we'll just have to wait to see who it is. 

More analysis to come.

Dec 13, 2011

Revisited: The Search for Narco (2011)


Prior to the season each year, I come out with a list of potential sleeper candidates that are hidden beyond your normal "sleepers". I dub these players to be "narcos". While it would be nice to ignore some of the duds on the list, it's only fair to everyone that we come back and check in on how those predictions panned out. This is a list that is compiled by looking at the average fantasy points per AB for players and finding the gems who are producing at an elite level but haven't been given many AB's yet. So it's an arbitrary list that we poke at with sticks to see which names are most narco-worthy. Let's see how that stick poking turned out from last year:

The Studs: Mike Morse, Mike Stanton, Matt Joyce

These three fine gentlemen all ended up giving owners above-average fantasy production on the year. Between the three of them, they went from averaging 280 AB in 2010 to 500 AB in 2011. So, their managers gave them the green light and a vote of confidence that allowed them to flourish. While Joyce and Stanton were quite young and their boost in AB's wasn't shocking, Morse was 29 years old but finally came into fantasy stardom out of the blue. Why the sudden trust from his manager at that late age? I'm not sure but it resulted in a huge fantasy boon for those who hopped on the Morse train early on.

The Mehs: Mitch Moreland, Logan Morrison, Ryan Raburn

Raburn was one of the sleepers that was agreed upon on a national level but he never quite found fantasy success as we had hoped. Moreland and Morrison found a relatively good amount of AB's but just weren't productive enough to propel you to fantasy stardom. For this group of characters, they averaged 438 AB's among the three of them in 2011. As you can see, the studs get the opportunities for AB's and that is part of why they have great years (or they are getting more AB's because of their great years; chicken or egg scenario here).

The Oh-God-What-Have-I-Dones: Jed Lowrie, Tyler Colvin, Dan Johnson

You might give Lowrie a pass for the injuries he had to fight through but he didn't produce well regardless. He gave us glimmers of hope which only prompted us to put him in our lineup and watch him fail. Meanwhile, Colvin never got much a shot with the Cubs and Dan Johnson spent more of the year in the minors than producing any fantasy value. All in all, what you have is a mess of players that were at least easily droppable in fantasy leagues.

So, there you have it: a hodgepodge of good, bad and fugly players. The fact that none of these players (with the exception of Stanton and maybe Raburn) had high price tags in your drafts meant that there was little risk to go with the potential for high reward here. The biggest predictor for who will make the jump into stardom from this list each year is the number of AB's that they get the next year. Of course, that's something controlled by managers which we have no way of accurately predicting. In the next post, we'll get a chance to see who is on the list of 2012 narcos. Stay tuned, fantasy statheads. 

Dec 9, 2011

2011 Final Roto Values - From 101 to 200


In the second part of my look at last year's performers, we'll continue to look at the top fantasy players from last year as sorted out by WERTH value (estimated number of points gained in the standings for owning that player instead of a league average player). After glancing at the Top 100, this post will take a look at the, well, next 100.

In the Top 100, we saw 14 players who made it into those ranks despite having an Average Draft Position of 300 or more in the preseason. In this group of the Next 100, you'll see that over half of the players here had an ADP of over 300 (53 players). So within the top 200 fantasy performers from 2010, the sobering reality is that one-third of them were basically off your draft radars last year. So, you can have the best draft in the world but you ain't gonna win your league without being active on the waiver wire. Active owners are winning owners.

In addition the nice surprises within this list here like Emilio Bonifacio or even Cory Luebke, we see some projected superstars who disappointed us this year such as Alexei Ramirez and Ichiro Suzuki. Are there any big surprises that you see as you glance over this list?

Coming up next week, I'll be going over the big sleepers for 2012 fantasy baseball (perhaps this new Albert Pujols fella who plays for the Angels) and revisiting some of my predictions from 2011.
Wins ERA WHIP K S
Rank Player Pos Team ADP Total Avg HR Runs RBI SB
101 Alexi Ogando SP TEX 500 0.6 1 0 1 0 -1
102 Corey Hart OF MIL 106 0.6 0 1 0 0 -1
103 Matt Garza SP CHC 109 0.6 0 0 0 1 -1
104 Kyle Farnsworth RP TB 500 0.6 -1 1 1 -2 2
105 Nelson Cruz OF TEX 33 0.6 -1 1 0 1 0
106 Kyle Lohse SP STL 500 0.6 1 0 1 0 -1
107 Jordan Walden RP LAA 500 0.6 -1 0 0 -1 2
108 Chris Carpenter SP STL 96 0.5 0 0 0 1 -1
109 Brandon League RP SEA 376 0.4 -2 0 1 -2 3
110 J.J. Hardy SS BAL 369 0.4 0 1 0 1 -1
111 Emilio Bonifacio SS MIA 500 0.4 1 -1 0 -2 2
112 Coco Crisp OF OAK 317 0.4 -1 -1 0 -1 3
113 Ted Lilly SP LAD 215 0.3 0 -1 1 0 -1
114 Justin Masterson SP CLE 386 0.3 0 1 0 0 -1
115 Cory Luebke SP SD 500 0.3 -1 0 1 0 -1
116 Brian Wilson RP SF 74 0.3 -1 0 -1 -1 3
117 Chris Perez RP CLE 162 0.2 -1 0 0 -2 3
118 Josh Willingham OF OAK 363 0.2 -1 1 0 1 -1
119 Michael Cuddyer OF MIN 271 0.2 0 0 0 0 0
120 Tyler Clippard RP WAS 397 0.2 -1 1 2 -1 -1
121 Mark Melancon RP HOU 500 0.2 0 0 0 -1 1
122 Josh Collmenter SP ARI 500 0.2 0 0 1 -1 -1
123 Mike Adams RP TEX 393 0.1 -1 1 2 -1 -1
124 Matt Joyce OF TB 500 0.1 0 0 0 0 0
125 Mark Trumbo 1B LAA 500 0.1 -1 1 0 1 0
126 Francisco Rodriguez RP MIL 140 0.1 -1 1 0 -1 2
127 Alex Avila C DET 500 0.1 1 0 0 1 -1
128 Neftali Feliz RP TEX 110 0.1 -2 0 0 -1 2
129 Pablo Sandoval 3B SF 136 0.1 1 1 -1 0 -1
130 Brandon McCarthy SP OAK 500 0.1 0 0 1 0 -1
131 Brett Gardner OF NYY 192 0.1 -1 -1 1 -2 3
132 Nick Markakis OF BAL 108 0.1 0 0 0 0 0
133 Derek Jeter SS NYY 48 0.1 1 -1 1 0 0
134 Alfredo Aceves RP BOS 500 0.1 0 1 1 -1 -1
135 Jonny Venters RP ATL 363 0.1 -1 1 1 -1 0
136 Mark Reynolds 3B BAL 135 0.0 -3 2 1 1 -1
137 Tommy Hanson SP ATL 77 0.0 0 0 1 0 -1
138 Erick Aybar SS LAA 345 0.0 0 -1 0 -1 1
139 Torii Hunter OF LAA 96 0.0 -1 1 0 1 -1
140 Carlos Lee OF HOU 133 0.0 0 0 0 1 -1
141 Nick Swisher OF NYY 124 0.0 -1 1 0 1 -1
142 Johnny Damon DH TB 252 -0.1 -1 0 0 0 0
143 Jair Jurrjens SP ATL 188 -0.1 1 1 0 -1 -1
144 Jordan Zimmermann SP WAS 191 -0.1 0 0 1 0 -1
145 Dan Uggla 2B ATL 52 -0.1 -2 2 1 1 -1
146 Matt Harrison SP TEX 500 -0.1 1 0 0 0 -1
147 Drew Stubbs OF CIN 161 -0.1 -2 0 1 -1 2
148 Vance Worley SP PHI 500 -0.2 0 1 0 0 -1
149 Ichiro Suzuki OF SEA 32 -0.2 0 -1 0 -1 2
150 Chris Young OF ARI 97 -0.2 -2 0 1 0 1
151 Freddie Freeman 1B ATL 341 -0.2 0 0 0 0 -1
152 Carlos Marmol RP CHC 93 -0.3 -2 0 0 -1 3
153 Colby Lewis SP TEX 115 -0.3 1 -1 0 1 -1
154 Ryan Roberts 3B ARI 500 -0.3 -1 0 1 0 0
155 Cameron Maybin OF SD 500 -0.3 -1 -1 0 -1 2
156 Neil Walker 2B PIT 338 -0.3 0 -1 0 1 0
157 Miguel Montero C ARI 122 -0.4 0 0 0 1 -1
158 Anibal Sanchez SP MIA 300 -0.4 0 0 0 1 -1
159 Gavin Floyd SP CHW 154 -0.4 0 -1 1 0 -1
160 Mike Leake SP CIN 500 -0.4 0 0 1 0 -1
161 Jaime Garcia SP STL 246 -0.4 1 0 -1 0 -1
162 Scott Baker SP MIN 254 -0.5 0 0 1 0 -1
163 Leo Nunez RP MIA 364 -0.5 -2 0 0 -1 3
164 Jason Motte RP STL 500 -0.5 -1 1 1 -1 0
165 Wandy Rodriguez SP HOU 123 -0.5 0 0 -1 1 -1
166 Joakim Soria RP KC 70 -0.5 -1 0 0 -1 2
167 R.A. Dickey SP NYM 388 -0.5 0 0 0 0 -1
168 Brandon Beachy SP ATL 500 -0.6 -1 0 0 1 -1
169 Antonio Bastardo RP PHI 500 -0.6 -1 0 1 -1 0
170 Carlos Santana C CLE 132 -0.6 -2 1 1 0 -1
171 Derek Holland SP TEX 279 -0.6 1 -1 -1 0 -1
172 Josh Tomlin SP CLE 500 -0.6 0 -1 1 -1 -1
173 Greg Holland RP KC 500 -0.7 -1 1 1 -1 0
174 Sean Marshall RP CHC 500 -0.7 -1 1 1 -1 0
175 Jim Johnson RP BAL 500 -0.8 -1 1 1 -1 0
176 David Robertson RP NYY 500 -0.8 -1 1 0 -1 -1
177 Alexei Ramirez SS CHW 99 -0.9 0 0 0 0 -1
178 Gaby Sanchez 1B MIA 207 -1.0 -1 0 0 0 -1
179 Philip Humber SP CHW 500 -1.0 0 0 1 0 -1
180 Jhoulys Chacin SP COL 272 -1.0 0 0 -1 0 -1
181 Koji Uehara RP TEX 385 -1.0 -2 1 2 -1 -1
182 Juan Pierre OF CHW 133 -1.0 0 -2 0 -1 1
183 Ivan Nova SP NYY 500 -1.0 1 0 -1 -1 -1
184 Edward Mujica RP MIA 500 -1.1 0 0 1 -1 -1
185 Huston Street RP COL 151 -1.1 -2 0 0 -1 2
186 Randy Wolf SP MIL 382 -1.1 1 0 -1 0 -1
187 Guillermo Moscoso SP OAK 500 -1.1 0 0 1 -1 -1
188 Jeff Karstens SP PIT 500 -1.1 0 0 0 -1 -1
189 Angel Pagan OF NYM 273 -1.1 -1 -1 0 -1 2
190 Yadier Molina C STL 208 -1.1 1 0 -1 0 -1
191 Mark Buehrle SP CHW 393 -1.1 1 0 0 0 -1
192 Seth Smith OF COL 357 -1.1 0 0 0 -1 0
193 Rafael Betancourt RP COL 500 -1.2 -2 0 1 -1 0
194 Aaron Harang SP SD 395 -1.2 1 0 -1 0 -1
195 David Hernandez RP ARI 500 -1.2 -1 0 0 -1 0
196 Sergio Romo RP SF 500 -1.2 -1 1 1 -1 -1
197 Brandon Morrow SP TOR 127 -1.2 0 -2 0 1 -1
198 Max Scherzer SP DET 108 -1.2 1 -1 -1 1 -1
199 Rickie Weeks 2B MIL 40 -1.3 0 0 0 -1 0
200 Todd Helton 1B COL 500 -1.3 1 0 -1 0 -1

Dec 7, 2011

2011 Final Roto Values - The Top 100


As fantasy football playoffs start up throughout the country, it introduces the start of months of fantasy baseball preparation season for many folks out there. In order to accurately look forward at the year ahead, I'm going to start by doing a few posts that will allow us to look backwards at the year that just concluded so we can maybe... perhaps... possibly learn something. Today's post will take you for a stroll down memory lane into the year that we just witnessed as we take a gander at the top 100 players from last year according to roto WERTH values (these are an estimated number of points gained in the standings if you owned that player instead of a league-average player).

If you played fantasy baseball in 2010,  your jaw probably doesn't drop at the fact that Matt Kemp, Justin Verlander and Ryan Braun would be at the top of the list of the top 100 players from yesteryear. It's amazing to see just how great the seasons were for some players who were found on the waiver wire to start the year (Melky Cabrera with more value than Carlos Gonzalez for instance).

In the chart below, you can see where the players ranked, where their preseason ADP was and what their roto points contributed were. Anybody with an ADP of 500 listed was generally not drafted and found on the waiver wire. It's still amazing to see folks like Jeff Francoeur and Doug Fister climb the ranks into fantasy relevance and I'm sure I'll be digging deeper into the strange success of players like that if you stay tuned around here.

In taking a look at the list below, what are some of your reactions, my fine-feathered readers?
Wins ERA WHIP K S
Rank Player Pos Team ADP Total Avg HR Runs RBI SB
1 Matt Kemp OF LAD 23 11.7 2 2 2 3 2
2 Justin Verlander SP DET 66 10.1 3 2 4 2 -1
3 Jacoby Ellsbury OF BOS 64 10.1 2 1 2 2 2
4 Ryan Braun OF MIL 9 9.7 3 2 2 2 2
5 Clayton Kershaw SP LAD 47 8.6 2 2 3 2 -1
6 Curtis Granderson OF NYY 73 8.1 -1 2 3 2 1
7 Adrian Gonzalez 1B BOS 9 7.3 3 1 2 2 -1
8 Miguel Cabrera 1B DET 4 7.3 3 1 2 2 -1
9 Roy Halladay SP PHI 14 6.9 2 2 2 1 -1
10 Cliff Lee SP PHI 37 6.9 1 2 2 2 -1
11 Jered Weaver SP LAA 52 6.6 2 2 3 1 -1
12 Jose Bautista OF TOR 48 6.5 1 3 2 2 0
13 Robinson Cano 2B NYY 10 5.8 1 1 2 2 0
14 James Shields SP TB 177 5.8 1 1 2 2 -1
15 Albert Pujols 1B STL 1 5.7 1 2 2 1 0
16 Prince Fielder 1B MIL 21 5.7 1 2 1 3 -1
17 Dustin Pedroia 2B BOS 32 5.5 2 0 1 1 1
18 Ian Kennedy SP ARI 255 5.4 2 1 2 1 -1
19 Joey Votto 1B CIN 7 5.4 2 1 1 2 0
20 Justin Upton OF ARI 41 5.1 1 1 2 1 1
21 Cole Hamels SP PHI 62 5.0 1 1 3 1 -1
22 Dan Haren SP LAA 50 4.7 1 1 3 1 -1
23 Michael Young 3B TEX 79 4.5 3 -1 1 2 -1
24 Melky Cabrera OF SF 500 4.5 2 0 1 1 1
25 Alex Gordon OF KC 391 4.4 1 1 1 1 0
26 Ian Kinsler 2B TEX 51 4.4 -1 1 2 0 1
27 Carlos Gonzalez OF COL 6 4.2 1 1 1 1 1
28 Troy Tulowitzki SS COL 5 4.2 1 1 0 2 0
29 Craig Kimbrel RP ATL 277 4.1 -1 1 1 0 4
30 Jose Reyes SS NYM 29 4.0 3 -1 1 -1 2
31 CC Sabathia SP NYY 47 4.0 2 1 0 2 -1
32 Hunter Pence OF PHI 80 3.8 2 0 1 1 0
33 Josh Beckett SP BOS 182 3.5 1 1 2 1 -1
34 Lance Berkman OF STL 321 3.5 1 1 1 1 -1
35 Michael Bourn OF ATL 119 3.4 1 -2 1 -1 4
36 Adrian Beltre 3B TEX 52 3.4 1 1 0 2 -1
37 David Ortiz DH BOS 191 3.4 1 1 1 1 -1
38 C.J. Wilson SP TEX 196 3.4 1 1 1 1 -1
39 Matt Cain SP SF 89 3.3 0 1 2 1 -1
40 Ricky Romero SP TOR 140 3.2 1 1 1 1 -1
41 Tim Lincecum SP SF 21 3.1 1 1 0 1 -1
42 Drew Storen RP WAS 198 3.0 -1 0 1 -1 4
43 Paul Konerko 1B CHW 71 2.9 1 1 0 2 -1
44 Brandon Phillips 2B CIN 35 2.9 1 0 1 1 0
45 Michael Morse 1B WAS 378 2.8 1 1 0 1 -1
46 Mark Teixeira 1B NYY 13 2.7 -2 2 1 2 -1
47 Aramis Ramirez 3B CHC 101 2.7 1 1 0 1 -1
48 Josh Hamilton OF TEX 14 2.7 1 1 0 1 0
49 Doug Fister SP DET 500 2.7 0 1 2 0 -1
50 John Axford RP MIL 166 2.7 -2 1 0 -1 4
51 Victor Martinez C DET 30 2.7 2 -1 0 2 -1
52 Asdrubal Cabrera SS CLE 170 2.6 0 1 1 1 0
53 Ben Zobrist 2B TB 124 2.6 0 0 1 1 0
54 Tim Hudson SP ATL 154 2.5 1 0 1 0 -1
55 David Price SP TB 60 2.4 0 0 1 1 -1
56 J.J. Putz RP ARI 148 2.4 -2 1 1 -1 4
57 Jeff Francoeur OF KC 500 2.4 0 0 0 1 1
58 Starlin Castro SS CHC 154 2.4 2 -1 1 0 1
59 Mariano Rivera RP NYY 61 2.3 -2 1 1 -1 4
60 Jose Valverde RP DET 141 2.3 -2 1 0 -1 4
61 Yovani Gallardo SP MIL 64 2.3 1 0 0 1 -1
62 Andrew McCutchen OF PIT 44 2.1 -1 1 1 1 1
63 Mike Napoli C TEX 118 2.1 1 1 0 0 -1
64 Felix Hernandez SP SEA 29 2.1 1 0 0 2 -1
65 Ryan Howard 1B PHI 17 2.0 -1 2 0 2 -1
66 Jay Bruce OF CIN 79 1.8 -1 1 1 1 0
67 B.J. Upton OF TB 68 1.7 -2 1 0 1 2
68 Madison Bumgarner SP SF 154 1.7 1 0 0 1 -1
69 Joel Hanrahan RP PIT 269 1.7 -2 1 1 -1 3
70 Zack Greinke SP MIL 50 1.7 1 0 0 1 -1
71 Francisco Cordero RP CIN 217 1.7 -1 1 1 -2 3
72 Daniel Hudson SP ARI 134 1.6 1 0 1 1 -1
73 Carlos Beltran OF SF 274 1.6 1 0 0 1 -1
74 Jonathan Papelbon RP PHI 124 1.6 -1 0 1 -1 2
75 Gio Gonzalez SP OAK 176 1.5 1 1 -1 1 -1
76 Heath Bell RP SD 79 1.5 -1 1 0 -2 4
77 Elvis Andrus SS TEX 72 1.5 0 -1 1 0 2
78 Fernando Salas RP STL 500 1.4 -1 1 1 -1 2
79 Mike Stanton OF MIA 155 1.4 -1 2 0 1 -1
80 Hiroki Kuroda SP LAD 184 1.4 1 1 0 0 -1
81 Jeremy Hellickson SP TB 159 1.2 1 1 1 0 -1
82 Billy Butler DH KC 84 1.2 1 0 0 1 -1
83 Adam Jones OF BAL 195 1.2 0 1 0 1 0
84 Shaun Marcum SP MIL 106 1.2 1 0 1 0 -1
85 Shane Victorino OF PHI 156 1.1 0 0 1 0 0
86 Jon Lester SP BOS 40 1.1 1 0 0 1 -1
87 Johnny Cueto SP CIN 336 1.1 0 1 1 -1 -1
88 Jimmy Rollins SS PHI 42 1.1 0 0 1 0 1
89 Ryan Vogelsong SP SF 500 1.0 1 1 0 0 -1
90 Matt Holliday OF STL 22 1.0 1 0 1 0 -1
91 Ervin Santana SP LAA 248 0.8 0 0 0 1 -1
92 Ryan Madson RP PHI 500 0.8 -1 1 0 -1 2
93 Evan Longoria 3B TB 5 0.8 -1 1 0 1 -1
94 Jhonny Peralta SS DET 312 0.8 1 0 0 1 -1
95 Sergio Santos RP CHW 500 0.8 -1 0 0 -1 2
96 Howard Kendrick 2B LAA 212 0.7 0 0 1 0 0
97 Javier Vazquez SP MIA 195 0.7 1 0 1 0 -1
98 Michael Pineda SP SEA 382 0.7 0 0 1 1 -1
99 Eric Hosmer 1B KC 500 0.7 1 0 0 0 0
100 Mat Latos SP SD 71 0.7 0 0 1 1 -1