Tag Archives: Shane Victorino

Position Depth Scarcity

By nichols33

Any experienced fantasy baseball player will tell you that they take into account the depth at certain positions when drafting or placing an auction value on a player. Stephen Drew’s .291 avg. last season with 21 HRs was far more valuable than Derrek Lee’s .291 avg. with 20 HRs because Drew plays shortstop and Lee plays first base. Lee is an average 1B at best while Drew is arguably a Top 5 SS. How can that be you ask? It all comes down to the options available at each position and the difference between the top producers over the non producers who are forced to start due to lack of options.

My colleague tallkid1 wrote a great piece, Third Base, The New Second Base, where he asked the question which position has the least depth or most depth scarcity. This inspired me to try and put some analysis together and attempt to solve this question for the upcoming fantasy baseball season.

I based my analysis on a 12 team Head-to-Head Points league that starts 1 C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, U/DH, 3 OF, 5 SP, 2 RP. I took the average points scored for the season for the top “starters” at each position. So I averaged the top 12 scoring catchers, the top 36 scoring OFs, top 60 scoring SPs, etc. The data rolled up like this:

Pos Avg Starters Pts
C 321.7
1B 488.4
2B 418.0
SS 417.4
3B 412.0
OF 439.4
SP 411.5
RP 236.3

This analysis obviously assumes that the top 12 scorers at 1B are all on different teams and also does not factor in the U/DH spot but directionally this data proves very helpful.

As you might expect the top 12 scoring catchers are greatly outscored by the top scorers at other positions. MLB teams place great emphasis on defensive minded players at the catcher position and even the best catchers sit roughly every 5th game. What is rather telling is tallkid1 was onto something. 3B was actually lower scoring than SS and 2B.

Surprising no one, 1B is the deepest position but by how far ahead it was over OF was quite shocking to me. OF felt a little weaker than normal going into last season but some breakout seasons (Kemp, Quentin, Hamilton, Victorino, Ethier, McLouth, Ludwick) really added to the depth of that position.

When drafting or placing auction value on a player you must keep in mind the position depth scarcity. You can be sitting pretty after 5 rounds with Mark Teixeira, Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, Adam Dunn and Vladimir Guerrero but after round 15 you’ll feel nauseous looking at Bengie Molina, Alexi Casilla, Miguel Tejeda and Melvin Mora in your starting lineup.

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Filed under Position Analysis

Overrated and Underrated Part Deux.

by notebookguy

Here’s a look at some more guys that are going too early in drafts and guys that are hanging around too long in the draft.
As always Average Draft Position(ADP) courtesy of mockdraftcentral.com and all round estimates are based on a 5×5, 15 team league.

Overrated

Carl Crawford, OF, Rays, ADP 29.3
His 3 year averages of .300 BA, 12 HR, 71 RBI, 84 R, and 44 SB are nice numbers but he has been consistently declining since 2006 with his OPS going from .830 in 2006 to .719 in 2008. A one hundred plus point drop in OPS is alarming, even more so when the player was quoted last year as saying he felt like “the oldest 27 year old ever”. Not exactly an encouraging quote from a guy you are gonna’ be relying on for SB’s. He goes nearly a round before Brian Roberts, Matt Kemp, and Alex Rios and 2 rounds ahead of Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino I’d rather wait and take any one of these players. Use that 2nd or 3rd round pick on a big bat or a big time ace then grab a player that will be as good or better than Crawford a round or two later.

All Closers

I can not stress this enough.  They are one category players.  Papelbon, Lidge, K-Rod, and Nathan all are usually off the board in the draft in the 5th or 6th round, that is a wasted pick.  You can not pass on a player that helps you in 4 or 5 categories for a guy that is a one category specialist.  If you have a choice between Papelbon and Dan Haren, take Dan Haren.  Brad Lidge and Magglio Ordonez, take Magglio Ordonez.  There is a popular misconception out there that closers help you in WHIP and ERA as well, it’s a myth.  Most leagues require 900 IP as a minimum.  A closer pitches 60 innings, that is 7% of the MINIMUM IP, most teams exceed that number so it’s even less a percentage than that.  This will have a very minimal affect on a teams WHIP and ERA.  Another mark against closers is that a third of the closers that start the year as their teams closers don’t end the year as their teams closers.  That’s an awful lot of volatility for one category.  Now I’m not saying punt the category, you never want to punt a category, I’m saying be patient, you’ll be able to get saves late in the draft and off the waiver wire once closers start imploding.

Derrek Lee, 1B, Cubs, ADP 73.63

.301 BA, 17 HR, 67 RBI, 71 R, 7 SB is his 3 year average.  Now I really shouldn’t need to say more, but just in case you don’t understand why that’s not worth a 5th or 6th round pick, I’ll expound.  Those numbers look eerily similar to players like James Loney(ADP 96.45), Conor Jackson(205.72), and Carlos Guillen(226.31) who all go MUCH later than D. Lee.  That 2005 MVP caliber season is a distant memory, do not trick yourself into thinking he may rebound into that type of player again, not going to happen.  He is 33 years old this season, an age when a player starts exiting his prime, it could get worse from here.  Let someone else pay for the name.

AJ Burnett, SP, Yankees, ADP 99.33

This is a man who loves to get paid, not play baseball.  Burnett’s two best seasons have just so happened to be the years he could hit the free agent market 2005 and 2008.  In Burnett’s six other full seasons since 2001 he has averaged just under 21 starts a season.  So outside of the 2 years he was looking at a big pay day he’s missed a third of his starts in those 6 seasons.  The Yankees were foolish to give him a 5 year 83 million dollar deal and you’d be foolish to take him as your ace or 2nd starter in the 7th round.  He is going to sit back, get out there when he feels like it, collect his checks, and be Carl Pavano: The Sequel.  He goes ahead of solid starting pitchers that will get you 30 starts with real good numbers like Jon Lester, C. Zambrano, M. Cain, Dice K, D. Lowe, and Javier Vazquez; inury/bounce back candidates Justin Verlander, Yovani Gallardo, Adam Wainwright, Br. Myers, A. Harang, and C. Young(Pads); and youngsters that may take another step up Edinson Volquez, R. Nolaso, and Greinke.  I recommend all these starters over AJ Burnett.

Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels, ADP 124.41

Now a 9th round pick may not sound like much but this part of the draft is crucial, you can’t afford to give away a pick like this.  Anyone can pick pick productive players early in a draft, it’s getting impact players in the 9th-17th rounds that make a draft.  Howie Kendrick is the furthest thing from an impact player.  A 3 year average of .306 BA, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 41 R, and 7 SB, averaging 315 AB’s per season.  Do you really want to take a 2B that plays half of a season with unimpressive numbers in the 9th round?  Wait 100+ plus picks and take Polanco(ADP 229.96), Weeks(ADP 233.36), M. Ellis(ADP 256.36), O. Hudson(ADP 275.91), or Akinori Iwamura(ADP 284.31).  These players will give you more than Kendrick and are more likely to stay healthy, though Ellis and Weeks have had their health troubles, you can afford that risk in the 15th or 16th round, not the 9th.

Underrated

Cameron Maybin, OF, Marlins, ADP 264.2

This speedy prospect is set to be the Marlins CF and leadoff hitter on opening day this year, with the clear #1 pick in this years drafts Hanley Ramirez moving to 3rd in the lineup.  While I agree the move in the lineup is clearly due to Hanley’s RBI potential in the 3 spot, it also shows the Marlins confidence that Maybin can handle the leadoff duties at the major league level.  He will struggle, as most rookies do, with batting average as well as overall consistency, but Maybin can be a great SB and R source and can be had in the 18th round.  30+ SB’s that late is a steal on it’s own, combine that with Maybins overall offensive upside and you will have yourself a gem for one of your last picks.

Rick Ankiel, OF, Cardinals, ADP 221.12

Ankiel does come with injury risks, but the 15th round is a great time to be taking those types of risks.  Ankiel is the starting pitcher turned OF that slugged 25 HR’s in just 413 AB’s last year.  He is smack in the middle of the prime of his career and if he can reach the 500 AB plateau he will hit 30+ HR’s.  Finding a 30 HR bat at this point of the draft is grand theft, snag Ankiel around the 14th or 15th round and possibly get top 25 OF production.

Conor Jackson, 1b/OF, Diamondbacks, ADP 205.72

The Diamondbacks number 3 hitter this year will be Conor Jackson.  A line of .300 BA, 15-20 HR’s, 100 R’s, 100 RBI’s, and 10 SB’s is very atainable hitting in the middle of that lineup in a hitter friendly park.  Jackson will be 26 this season, just entering his prime, is ready to take his game to another level, don’t miss the boat.  He can be had for a 13th or 14th round pick and will far outproduce that spot.

Ted Lilly, SP, Cubs, ADP 199.79

This lefthander is as steady a SP as you’re going to find, how does he go in the 14th round on a regular basis?  He has averaged 16 W, 173 K, 4.07 ERA, and a 1.29 WHIP, that is solid 4 category production.  Injuries are not a concern either as he has averaged 33 starts a season for the last 3 years.  He is 33 years old so don’t expect him to exceed these numbers, but you can expect more of the same steady production for the next few years.  Grab him in the 12th or 13th round as your 4th starter and get borderline 2nd starter stats.

Aaron Harang, SP, Reds, ADP 158.91

Bounce back special on the big right hander this year.  From 2005-2007 Harang was one of the top pichers in the game averaging  14 W, 199 K, 3.78 ERA, and a 1.23 WHIP, great 4 category production.  I give him a mulligan for last year due to injury, he’s 30 years old in his prime, he will bounce back fine.  Grab him in the 9th or 10th round and get borderline ace production.

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Big time players with question marks.

By notebookguy

The first 5 rounds of any draft is key to building the core of your offense and pitching staff.  Teams that lose one of their top 5 picks have a hole to dig themselves out of and though it can be accomplished, it’s easier to do your best to avoid being in that situation.  Here are some players that will go in the first 5 rounds of your draft that may dissapoint.  Average Draft Position(ADP) courtesy of mockdraftcentral.com.

Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees, ADP 2.85

I have Arod ranked 5th overall right now behind Hanely, Pujols, Wright, and Reyes.  I did have him 2nd overall behind Hanley until the steroids story broke and now there is word that he’s having trouble with his hip.  The pressure of the steroid story and the hip injury make me shy away from him slightly and go with a surer bets in the top 4.  I’m not saying avoid Arod, I would take him if he slipped to 5, but be wary of his situation with steroids and keep a close eye on the hip news.

Manny Ramirez, OF, Dodgers, ADP 22.85

The idiot savant of hitting turns 37 in May and plays in cavernous Dodger Stadium.  Without the luxury of DH’ing to give his old legs a break you can expect Manny to miss time at various points in the season with a strained hamstring or sore knee as he did in Boston.  Don’t expect a full season like his final 2 months for the Dodgers, you will be dissapointed.  Take players like Prince Fielder, Carlos Beltran, Justin Morneau, Jason Bay, and Carlos Lee before Manny, you’ll get more production and less headaches.  I’d wait till the 3rd round on Manny but he probably won’t make it out of the 2nd round.

Cole Hamels, SP, Phillies, ADP 40.58

The World Series Champion’s ace thew 265 innings last year including the postseason, an astounding 80 innings more than he pitched in any other season in his career.  This is an extremely large jump in innings for such a young hurler and history tells us that players with this big a jump don’t fair as well the following season.  He is only 25 years old and he is one of the best pitchers in the game, but don’t be surprised if that work load catches up with him a bit this year and the numbers are a little down or he misses some time.  I think he’ll be one of the best pitchers in the game for many years, but this year I’d proceed with caution.  Alternatives could be Brandon Webb, Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, or Dan Haren safer bets with consistent innings over the last 3 years.

Jake Peavy, SP, Padres, ADP 45.21

Peavy was limited to 27 starts in 2008 due to elbow inflammation, 2 words you never want to hear in connection with your ace.  Combine the recent elbow woes with a terrible offensive team behind him and you can see why I think Peavy will dissapoint those that take him as their ace.  Webb, Halladay, CC, and/or Haren are better alternatives then the Pads ace.

Vlad Guerrero, OF, Angels, ADP 42.28

It’s tough to put him on this list.  He guts it out almost every year with knee, shoulder, and back problems getting 520+ AB’s every year he’s been an Angel but eventually the injuries pile up too high and the player succumbs.  I’m afraid that’s where we are at with Vlad the Impaler.  Offseason knee surgery has him taking it slow this spring training and he lost his protection in the lineup with Mark Teixeira cashing his checks in the Bronx.  So a weaker lineup, offseason surgery, and another year off the calender make Vlad riskier than ever.  Great alternatives to Vlad are Nick Markakis, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rios, Corey Hart, Carlos Quentin, and Shane Victorino.  All are younger and in or entering their primes, Vlad is well past his.

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Who’s Playing in the WBC?

By tallkid1

The WBC is now scheduled to take place every four years and it’s good to know what notable fantasy players will be taking.  Here’s a quick list:

USA:

  • B. McCann
  • C. Iannetta
  • D. Jeter
  • C. Jones
  • D. Pedroia
  • J. Rollins
  • D. Wright
  • K. Youkilis
  • R. Braun
  • A. Dunn
  • C. Granderson
  • S. Victorino
  • T. Lilly
  • R. Oswalt
  • J. Peavy
  • J. Guthrie
  • B. Fuentes
  • J. Broxton
  • (G. Sizemore withdrew)

Canada

  • J. Morneau
  • J. Votto
  • J. Bay

Dominican Republic

  • A. Beltre
  • R. Cano
  • H. Ramirez
  • D. Ortiz
  • A. Rodriguez
  • M. Tejada
  • J. Reyes
  • J. Guillen
  • N. Cruz
  • W. Tavares
  • J. Cueto
  • E. Volquez
  • U. Jiminez

Japan

  • D. Matzuzaka
  • Ichiro
  • K. Johjima

Mexico

  • Ol. Perez
  • J. Soria
  • J. Cantu
  • A. Gonzalez

Puerto Rico

  • J. Sanchez
  • J. Vazquez
  • G. Soto
  • M. Aviles
  • F. Lopez
  • C. Beltran
  • A. Rios

Venezuela

  • A. Galarraga
  • F. Hernandez
  • F. Rodriguez
  • R. Hernandez
  • M. Ramirez
  • M. Cabrera
  • C. Guillen
  • J. Lopez
  • M. Mora
  • B. Abreu
  • M. Ordonez

Panama

  • C. Lee
  • M. Corpas

FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE:  Don’t worry too much about the WBC, they only play a 8 games max over a 17 day period so the workload isn’t too much different than spring training – though the competition levels will be much higher.  The biggest concern is with starting pitchers but keep in mind they will be on strict pitch counts through all rounds of the tournament.  If it comes down to a scenario where you’re picking between Jake Peavy, Cole Hamels and Dan Haren then the extra work Peavy will get in the WBC (mixed in with his injury history) might help you lean toward the other guys but it shouldn’t be too much of a factor in your drafting strategy.

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