Script Splits: Using Advanced Stats to Rank 3B

Arenado is quietly emerging in Tulo's shadow in Colorado
Nolan Arenado is quietly emerging behind Tulo’s shadow in Colorado

As this series continues, it is becoming apparent why some players have more value in the daily game as compared to seasonal leagues in fantasy. It is also showing how some players like David Wright are drastically overvalued in both formats. It also shows how important knowing the splits is especially when a star player is lost to injury. If a league has a deep enough bench with daily lineups, a savvy owner can take advantage of the split advantages and use a Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson replace a star third baseman lost to injury. If this piques your interest, then this article is for you. First I will list the five categories used to measure the third baseman’s value:

wOBA: Weighted On Base Average represents all the ways a player gets on base (HBP counts in this metric). It is used to measure a player’s overall offensive value.

ISO: Isolated Power  is simply a player’s slugging percentage minus his batting average.

OPS: On base plus Slugging is exactly what it’s surname suggests, adding together both statistics (OBP and SLG%). In the daily game being getting on base via the extra base hit is preferred.

AB/HR: A simple stat. How many homers does a player hit between each at bat? The fewer the better.

wRC+: Weighted Runs Created Plus A measure of how many runs a player creates. The “+” accounts for differing ballpark factors. So a player who’s home park is Coors is weighted to equal one in Citi Field, for example.

Using these advanced can help to identify what players hold the most value without relying on the basic five category statistics that most rotisserie leagues value. It is especially important the two of the categories are weighted statistics which represent a player’s true value. Below will be the lists for each category with the players ranked in order and then an aggregate list to show the top 12 using an average of all five advanced statistics.

3rd Baseman versus Left-Handed Pitchers (minimum 70 at bats):

wOBA:
1. Josh Donaldson .461
2. Chris Johnson .459
3. Aramis Ramirez .444
4. David Wright .439
5. Adrian Beltre .395
6. David Freese .387
7. Martin Prado .380
8. Danny Valencia .374
9. Evan Longoria .372
10. Lonnie Chisenhall .371
11. Nick Castellanos .366
12. Nolan Arenado .363

ISO:
1. Josh Donaldson .427
2. Aramis Ramirez .318
3. Nolan Arenado .220
4. Todd Frazier .196
5. David Wright .185
6. Matt Dominguez .179
7. Nick Castellanos .179
8. Chase Headley .176
9. Trevor Plouffe .172
10. David Freese .169
11. Evan Longoria .167
12. Chris Johnson .164

OPS:
1. Josh Donaldson 1.098
2. Chris Johnson 1.070
3. Aramis Ramirez 1.043
4. David Wright 1.027
5. Adrian Beltre .916
6. Martin Prado .881
7. David Freese .880
8. Evan Longoria .872
9. Nolan Arenado .858
10. Danny Valencia .853
11. Lonnie Chisenhall .836
12. Nick Castellanos .833

AB/HR:
1. Josh Donaldson 8.7
2. Aramis Ramirez 11
3. Chase Headley 18.5
4. Nolan Arenado 20.5
5. Todd Frazier 23
6. Matt Dominguez 23.4
7. Brett Lawrie 30.5
8. David Wright 30.7
9. Pablo Sandoval 31.5
10. Nick Castellanos 31.7
11. David Freese 32.5
12. Danny Valencia 33.5
13. Chris Johnson 33.5

wRC+:
1. Josh Donaldson 202
2. Chris Johnson 199
3. David Wright 188
4. Aramis Ramirez 185
5. David Freese 154
6. Adrian Beltre 148
7. Evan Longoria 144
8. Martin Prado 140
9. Lonnie Chisenhall 140
10. Danny Valencia 139
11. Nick Castellanos 131
12. Todd Frazier 124

Overall Ranks Based on Aggregate Averages Above (2014 Stats):
1. Josh Donaldson – 96 AB, 24 R, 11 HR, 24 RBI, 1 SB, 281/389/708
2. Aramis Ramirez – 66 AB, 12 R, 6 HR, 14 RBI, 3 SB, 333/392/652
3. David Wright – 92 AB, 11 R, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 2 SB, 402/440/587
4. Chris Johnson – 67 AB, 10 R, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 433/473/597
5. David Freese – 65 AB, 11 R, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 1 SB, 308/403/477
6. Nolan Arenado – 82 AB, 14 R, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 305/333/524
7. Adrian Beltre – 78 AB, 15 R, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 346/416/500
8. Todd Frazier – 92 AB, 14 R, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 1 SB, 272/346/467
9. Martin Prado – 74 AB, 11 R, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 338/381/500
10. Evan Longoria – 102 AB, 17 R, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 294/411/461
11. Chase Headley – 74 AB, 10 R, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 230/288/405
12. Nick Castellanos – 95 AB, 10 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 284/369/463

I was really surprised by how well Chris Johnson hits against left-handed pitchers. Not only is he in the top five against them, but he is ranked ahead of Adrian Beltre and Evan Longoria>. Huh? This is exactly what I am talking about. Perception and reality often do not meet in the world of splits and knowing what players excel in these splits helps owners take advantage of players like Johnson. While he only has two home runs versus southpaws, his .597 slugging percentage ranks him third on the list above. The splits also help by identifying a player like Nolan Arenado who gets lost in all the Tulowitzki love and how he is quietly emerging this year. Same goes for Nick Castellanos who does not have flashy stats, but is very productive against southpaws and should only improve in the second half. Now that we know who is at the top against lefties, here are the same categories but against right handed pitchers.

3rd Baseman versus Right Handed Pitchers (minimum 100 plate appearances):

wOBA:
1. Conor Gillaspie .409
2. Juan Francisco .396
3. Kyle Seager .383
4. Adrian Beltre .379
5. Lonnie Chisenhall .376
6. Pablo Sandoval .368
7. Todd Frazier .357
8. Manny Machado .351
9. Juan Uribe .350
10. Yangervis Solarte .347
11. Matt Carpenter .346
12. Pedro Alvarez .343

ISO:
1. Juan Francisco .313
2. Kyle Seager .251
3. Adrian Beltre .201
4. Todd Frazier .192
5. Pedro Alvarez .190
6. Mike Moustakas .188
7. Luis Valbuena .188
8. Lonnie Chisenhall .181
9. Brett Lawrie .178
10. Nolan Arenado .175
11. Manny Machado .173
12. Conor Gillaspie .162

OPS:
1. Conor Gillaspie .939
2. Juan Francisco .920
3. Kyle Seager .883
4. Adrian Beltre .873
5. Lonnie Chisenhall .856
6. Pablo Sandoval .850
7. Todd Frazier .811
8. Manny Machado .803
9. Juan Uribe .800
10. Pedro Alvarez .787
11. Yangervis Solarte .779
12. Matt Carpenter .770

AB/HR:
1. Juan Francisco 13.2
2. Kyle Seager 16.7
3. Brett Lawrie 19.7
4. Todd Frazier 19.8
5. Pedro Alvarez 21
6. Adrian Beltre 21.8
7. Manny Machado 22.4
8. Mike Moustakas 23.4
9. Yangervis Solarte 25.9
10. Josh Donaldson 26.1
11. Lonnie Chisenhall 29.8
12. Pablo Sandoval 32.5

wRC+:
1. Conor Gillsapie 161
2. Juan Francisco 151
3. Kyle Seager 148
4. Lonnie Chisenhall 143
5. Pablo Sandoval 143
6. Adrian Beltre 137
7. Juan Uribe 127
8. Todd Frazier 126
9. Matt Carpenter 122
10. Manny Machado 122
11. Pedro Alvarez 121
12. Yangervis Solarte

Overall Rankings Based on Aggregate Averages Above (2014 Stats):
1. Juan Francisco – 198 AB, 33 R, 15 HR, 38 RBI, 268/339/581
2. Kyle Seager – 251 AB, 27 R, 15 HR, 51 RBI, 3 SB, 275/357/526
3. Adrian Beltre – 284 AB, 42 R, 13 HR, 42 RBI, 1 SB, 317/355/518
4. Conor Gillaspie – 228 AB, 38 R, 4 HR, 31 RBI, 360/417/522
5. Todd Frazier – 317 AB, 46 R, 16 HR, 43 RBI, 15 SB, 281/338/473
6. Lonnie Chisenhall – 238 AB, 30 R, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 2 SB, 303/373/483
7. Pablo Sandoval – 260 AB, 35 R, 8 HR, 33 RBI, 323/370/481
8. Pedro Alvarez – 273 AB, 34 R, 13 HR, 37 RBI, 6 SB, 253/344/443
9. Manny Machado – 202 AB, 26 R, 9 HR, 22 RBI, 2 SB, 292/338/465
10. Brett Lawrie – 197 AB, 20 R, 10 HR, 31 RBI, 259/318/437
11. Juan Uribe – 207 AB, 19 R, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 319/346/454
12. Mike Moustakas – 234 AB, 26 R, 10 HR, 35 RBI, 205/267/393

Juan Francisco is averaging a HR every 13.2 AB vs RHP, Boom!
Juan Francisco is averaging a homer every 13.2 AB vs RHP. Boom!

If you were not convinced that third base was experiencing a down year in fantasy just look at this top twelve. Players like Pedro Alvarez were drafted in the middle rounds for power but a waiver wire pickup like Juan Francisco has not only hit more home runs against right-handed pitching, but is ahead of him in every category except runs scored. Anyone who had Conor Gillaspie as a top five target in this split please raise your hand and leave it there because you deserve a high five. While he is not a sexy target in daily games, his high floor represents great value on days when you need salary relief. He may not score double digits but should be able to get a solid three points versus a right handed pitcher. Sometimes a lineup just needs that. Manny Machado has been breaking out since his return from the disabled list and this exemplifies that. Both he and Brett Lawrie may be deciding factors in the AL East race going forward. While the statistics are not perfect, they do provide very informative glimpses into each positional split advantage. It also provides a more thorough understanding of what each player is capable of on a daily basis. It is not just a “Moneyball’ theory, but one that daily gamers can use to their advantage.

Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!

Statistical credits: Fangraphs.com, ESPN.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/9UGPZn (Arenado), http://goo.gl/ckVEOA (Fransisco)

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