Draft Scripts: Using NFBC ADP’s to evaluate Middle Infield

Jose Altuve finished the year atop the ESPN Player Rater & now being taken at pick 11 on average. Is that too steep?
Jose Altuve finished the year atop the ESPN Player Rater

In the midst of thinking that middle infield would be a tough position to forecast in 2014, three middle infielders made the top 20 on ESPN’s Player Rater. However, it did not include top-twelve selections Robinson Cano, Troy Tulowitzki or Hanley Ramirez. This seems to be carrying over to early ADP’s as people are reacting to the strong performances by Jose Altuve and Anthony Rendon who finished 1st and 17th respectively last season. Early on, each player is being taken in the top 15 in NFBC money drafts. The third player to finish in this company was Dee Gordon, who is not enjoying the early love as his other brethren due to questions of regression. But is Gordon really that much more of a question mark than the other two? That remains to be seen. At first glance, second base seems much deeper than in the past.

Troy Tulowitzki is still the top drafted SS but his home/road splits in 2014 bear watching. Home SLG - .748, Road - .447 along with averaging just over 100 Games the past five seasons.
Tulo is still the top drafted SS but his home/road splits from 2014 bear watching

As for shortstop, rankings always begin with Troy Tulowitzki. This is not a knock on Tulo (or maybe it is), but he has averaged just 105.8 games played over the last five seasons. If you select him with eyes wide open, that is fine, but even with less than 100 games in 2014, Tulowitzki still finished 8th on the Player Rater at his position. It seems like Hanley Ramirez falls under the same category, but he will be learning a new position in Boston. HanRam has averaged 121 games over the last five years, but should see a bump in production playing in Boston if he can handle playing the outfield. Add in Jose Reyes and you have an instance in which three of the top four ranked shortstops are a risk for injury. While everyone is an injury risk, the checkered health of this talented trio makes it difficult to draft them since it comes at a cost that is rarely returned. Dee Gordon finished 2014 as the top fantasy shortstop but will not retain eligibility this year. Let’s transition to the average draft positions at second base for 2015 in NFBC money drafts:

2B ADP's

I was a proponent of Jose Altuve last year and enjoyed the returns of owning him in my home AL-only league. While I think he can repeat some of his numbers, it stands to reason that he will regress a little in 2015. Batting average is the hardest statistic to predict so when it is one of the main reasons driving a player’s value, that makes taking him in the first round risky. With the dearth of power in the league, I find it hard to justify taking a base-stealing second baseman in the top 10. I also loved Anthony Rendon as my editor will be happy to tell you (Editor’s note: It’s true, he did). But with Rendon being taken at pick number 14 that again neutralizes his value. I think he is very talented and capable of repeating his numbers in 2015 but his home run tracker lists 12 of his 21 home runs last year as “just enough”. What if half of those do not go over the wall this year? That drops him home runs from 21 to 15 which is worth making note of. Meanwhile, Seattle signed Nelson Cruz for Robinson Cano. This is very important since Cano has had little protection since moving to the Mariners. I think he is due for a big bounce back season and with his ADP slipping into the twenties, now is the time to pounce. Two other players I like this year are Jason Kipnis and Kolten Wong at their present draft spots. Kipnis’ power numbers are limited by an inability to hit fly balls, but all he needs is health to rebound. Wong had a strong finish to 2014 and looks to build upon that this year. Like the blind profile with projections, here are some interesting ones courtesy of Steamer:

Player A: 72 R, 13 HR, 62 RBI, 20 SB, .254/.331/.387
Player B: 56 R, 13 HR, 52 RBI, 19 SB, .245/.295/.392

It is easy to see that player B has a noticeable drop in runs scored and just 9 points in batting average, but he is going to be an interesting player to watch develop. While I prefer player A in drafts, if he is taken ahead of where I want him, player B is an intriguing fallback option. Here is one more comparison:

Player C: 59 R, 10 HR, 59 RBI, 9 SB, .279/.316/.398
Player D: 71 R, 11 HR, 57 RBI, 8 SB, .262/.349/.400
Player E: 66 R, 15 HR, 61 RBI, 10 SB, .241/.319/.395

While two of the players above are now teammates, it will be interesting to see how their at bats work out. The third player in the comparison really came on in 2014 and looks to build upon that this year in anonymity since he is not going in the top 200 thus far. Here are the their identities:

Player A: Jason Kipnis
Player B: Arismendy Alcantara
Player C: Scooter Gennett
Player D: Ben Zobrist
Player E: Marcus Semien

Projections do not tell the whole story but when the names are taken out of the process, it allows us to look at them objectively. Other players of note are Chase Utley, Jedd Gyorko, Nick Franklin and Rougned Odor. Second base is not a fantasy gold mine, but it is definitely as deep as it has been in recent memory. Here are the steamer projections of the players taken in the top 200:

2B Steamer Projection Chart

Due to the ADP’s in clear tiers, drafting shortstop will depend on an owner’s preference. Those who want a premium player at a volatile position will be taking Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez or Ian Desmond in the top 30. After that though it is sort of spread out. Only two shortstops are being taken between picks 50-100 but then five go off the board between picks 105 – 138. Almost a whole round lapses then four more shortstops are being selected between picks 150-180 in the NFBC top 200. Here are the players with their ADP’s included:

SS NFBC ADP's

As much as shortstop will be in transition, especially with the move of Hanley Ramirez to the outfield in Boston, there is hope. Continuing the blind profile exercise, here are some interesting ones I found using the Steamer projections:

Player A: 63 R, 12 HR, 60 RBI, 8 SB, .274/.320/.409
Player B: 66 R, 15 HR, 61 RBI, 8 SB, .251/.316/.397
Player C: 63 R, 13 HR, 57 RBI, 9 SB, .252/.314/.395

Only one of the above players is being taken inside of the NFBC’s top 200 in money drafts. Showing that while there is depth at shortstop, it seems as though there are many at the same statistical level. Continuing on that theme, here are three more in the same exact circumstance:

Player D: 50 R, 14 HR, 57 RBI, 3 SB, .255/.296/.401
Player E: 64 R, 17 HR, 65 RBI, 2 SB, .253/.298/.392
Player F: 59 R, 15 HR, 64 RBI, 3 SB, .256/.323/.402

There aren’t many discernible differences in either group. Player A does have a big advantage in batting average which enhances his value but that is also the one statistic with the largest variance. In the second group any one of the three players listed could out-produce the other with a bump in one category. Curious?

Player A: Starlin Castro
Player B: Asdrubel Cabrera
Player C: Brad Miller
Player D: Wilmer Flores
Player E: J.J. Hardy
Player F: Jhonny Peralta

Only Starlin Castro and Jhonny Peralta are being drafted inside the top 200 but I think those picks are better spent on pitchers or players with more upside than guys like Peralta. There are plenty of similar options available. Before I forget, here are the Steamer projections for the shortstops inside the top 200:

SS Steamer Projection Chart

Intriguing undrafted shortstops include Erick Aybar, Chris Owings and Alcides Escobar. I can see a bounce back by Jean Segura who endured a very tough season not only in his adjustments, but personally as well. Danny Santana is due to regress but how much? If he can steal 20 bases and score 80 runs then he still has value. Yes his average will drop to the .270 range but it depends on need. Javier Baez will be a very tough player to own since he will be streaky and may not break out until the second half. I think he is talented but to reach for him at pick 106 would be unwise. There are options if you do your research, just do not wait too long or you will find yourself with Jed Lowrie.

Middle infield will have depth and some value to share this year. I think you can be successful without reaching or paying for career years. It will take patience but early knowledge of how players are being valued helps determine where to get them. Tomorrow I will take a look at the outfield.

If you think there is variance in the middle infield, just wait.

Statistical credits: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com, ESPN.go.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/ONnSIi (Altuve), http://goo.gl/6cSfy1 (Tulowitzki)

Check out FantasyRundown.com for all of our latest articles and other great fantasy content.

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

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Top DFS Plays for 08/30/14

*Top hitters and pitchers highlight exceptional matchups that may include stars, lesser-known players and those on your waiver wires.

When I put together my top hitters and pitchers I factor in several things. First, prior matchup history, whether the hitter is hot and the pitcher’s history against that type of batter. Also, these matchups are normally released in the morning so make sure that you double-check the weather leading up to games in case they were postponed or the player got the day off.

New to Daily Fantasy? Head over to FanDuel.com and use Promo Code SCRIPT and get 100% match on your first deposit!

Top DFS hitters for today:

Victor Martinez vs. Chris Sale – hitting .520 (13/25) with 3 2Bs, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs & a BB
You don’t have great numbers against an Ace like this for no reason. V-Mart is a beast, don’t be afraid of the matchup.

Garrett Jones vs. Aaron Harang – hitting .417 (10/24) with 3 2Bs, a HR, 6 RBIs & 2 BBs

Albert Pujols vs. Jeff Samardzija – hitting .462 (6/13) with a 2B, 3 HRs, 9 RBIS & 5 BBs

Marlon Byrd vs. Bartolo Colon – hitting .455 (5/11) with a HR, a RBI & 2 BBs

Ben Zobrist vs. Allen Webster – hitting 1.000 (1/1) with 2 BBs
Just trust me

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Albert Pujols

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

Michael Pineda vs. Toronto Blue Jays – Pineda has been money since coming off the DL, going 17 1/3 innings and only allowing 4 runs over the 2 starts.

TV Show Trailer of the Day – Gotham – I have yet to see the 22 minute preview for the show but from the trailers alone this looks to be a good one. I hope it hits good and continues the comic book takeover.

Follow me on Twitter @Rickygangster!

Top DFS Plays for 08/26/14

*Top hitters and pitchers highlight exceptional matchups that may include stars, lesser-known players and those on your waiver wires.

When I put together my top hitters and pitchers I factor in several things. First, prior matchup history, whether the hitter is hot and the pitcher’s history against that type of batter. Also, these matchups are normally released in the morning so make sure that you double-check the weather leading up to games in case they were postponed or the player got the day off.

New to Daily Fantasy? Head over to FanDuel.com and use Promo Code SCRIPT and get 100% match on your first deposit!

Top DFS hitters for today:

Ben Zobrist vs. Wei-Yin Chen – hitting .367 (11/30) with a 2B, a HR, 3 RBIs & 2 BBs

Matt Carpenter vs. Gerrit Cole – hitting .429 (3/7) with a HR, 2 RBIs & a BB
Carp took Cole yard in the last matchup between the two, he may not go yard but I expect a fantasy worthy game.

Jacoby Ellsbury vs. Rick Porcello – hitting .615 (8/13) with a 2B, 2 HRs, 2 RBIs & a BB

Michael Brantley vs. Jose Quintana – hitting .467 (7/15) with 2 2Bs, a HR, 4 RBIs & 2 BBs

Adrian Gonzalez vs. Trevor Cahill – hitting .458 (11/24) with 3 2Bs, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs & 3 BBs

Maybe??? Josh Rutledge vs. Madison Bumgarner – hitting .471 (8/17) with a 2B, a 3B, a HR, 3 RBIs & 2 BBs
Super sleeper start today and very cheap.

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Michael Brantley

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

Brandon McCarthy vs. Detroit Tigers – McCarthy threw a complete game in his last outing and went 5 2/3 with 0 earned runs and 8 Ks in his last outing against the Tigers.

TV Show of the Day – Sons of Anarchy – Season 6 hits Blu-ray on Tuesday, I would pick that and the rest of the seasons up. Easily one of my all-time favorite shows

Follow me on Twitter @Rickygangster!

Script Splits: Using Advanced Stats to Rank 2B

Altuve is stealing his owners fantasy titles this year
Jose Altuve is stealing his owners’ fantasy titles this year

While there was surprising depth at catcher and first base, my research of second basemen shows much more of a chasm between the players to target against pitching splits in daily fantasy. This will also reflect in rankings for next year as players like Dustin Pedroia continue to lose traction in the ranks. It also underscores just how good Scooter Gennett has been this year as both he and Neil Walker rank ahead of Robinson Cano based upon the advanced statistics used to rank performance in this article. For instance, would you think that Steve Tolleson has been better against left-handed pitching than Dustin Pedroia?

Before I get into the splits rankings, here are the five categories I am using:

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.

2B versus Left-Handed Pitchers (minimum of 70 plate appearances):

wOBA:
1. Jose Altuve .433
2. Steve Tolleson .428
3. Ben Zobrist .410
4. Anthony Rendon .394
5. Howie Kendrick .372
6. Daniel Murphy .363
7. Gordon Beckham .357
8. Brian Dozier .339
9. Rickie Weeks .338
10. Dustin Pedroia .334
11. Robinson Cano .320
12. Dee Gordon .319
13. Aaron Hill .319

ISO:
1. Steve Tolleson .224
2. Brian Dozier .219
3. Danny Espinosa .192
4. Anthony Rendon .188
5. Rickie Weeks .185
6. Gordon Beckham .159
7. Ben Zobrist .149
8. Dustin Pedroia .149
9. Logan Forsythe .138
10. Aaron Hill .125
11. Howie Kendrick .124
12. Daniel Murphy .124

OPS:
1. Steve Tolleson .991
2. Jose Altuve .989
3. Ben Zobrist .941
4. Anthony Rendon .907
5. Howie Kendrick .850
6. Gordon Beckham .831
7. Daniel Murphy .827
8. Danny Espinosa .827
9. Brian Dozier .774
10. Rickie Weeks .757
11. Dustin Pedroia .753
12. Robinson Cano .735

AB/HR:
1. Brian Dozier 19
2. Steve Tolleson 25.3
3. Rickie Weeks 30.7
4. Danny Espinosa 36.5
5. Aaron Hill 40
6. Gordon Beckham 41
7. Ben Zobrist 47
8. Logan Forsythe 47
9. Daniel Murphy 48.5
10. Howie Kendrick 56.5
11. Chase Utley 57
12. Jose Altuve 57

wRC+:
1. Jose Altuve 181
2. Steve Tolleson 174
3. Ben Zobrist 170
4. Anthony Rendon 154
5. Howie Kendrick 143
6. Daniel Murphy 136
7. Danny Espinosa 126
8. Gordon Beckham 125
9. Brian Dozier 115
10. Rickie Weeks 113
11. Dustin Pedroia 109
12. Dee Gordon 106

Overall Rankings Based on Aggregate Averages:
1. Steve Tolleson – 76 AB, 8 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 355/412/579
2. Ben Zobrist – 95 AB, 13 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 SB, 358/426/505
3. Anthony Rendon – 102 AB, 22 R, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 4 SB, 333/378/520
4. Brian Dozier – 114 AB, 17 R, 6 HR, 13 RBI, 2 SB, 246/310/465
5. Jose Altuve – 114 AB, 16 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 11 SB, 421/445/544
6. Danny Espinosa – 74 AB, 11 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 SB, 284/369/473
7. Gordon Beckham – 92 AB, 13 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB, 317/356/476
8. Howie Kendrick – 113 AB, 16 R, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 2 SB, 336/390/460
9. Daniel Murphy – 98 AB, 5 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 3 SB, 327/370/449
10. Rickie Weeks – 92 AB, 13 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 239/333/424
11. Dustin Pedroia – 121 AB, 22 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB, 256/348/405
12. Aaron Hill – 80 AB, 9 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 275/318/400

Count me among those daily fantasy players who did not realize how good Steve Tolleson is against left-handed pitchers. It will be interesting to see if he can still get at bats against lefties once Brett Lawrie returns from the disabled list. The acquisition of Danny Valencia suggests a platoon with he and Juan Francisco at 3B may be in order. This would push Lawrie to a 2B role, which would limit Tolleson’s reps moving forward. On a positive note, Ben Zobrist and Anthony Rendon are two options to target against southpaws moving forward. If you subscribe to the notion that “speed never slumps”, Jose Altuve is another great 2B to have in lineups against lefties with his 11 stolen bases and .421 batting average. Seeing Aaron Hill and Dustin Pedroia at the bottom of this list just exacerbates how they have struggled in 2014. By the way, where is Robinson Cano? Daniel Murphy made the top ten against lefties.

2B versus Right Handed Pitching (minimum 100 at bats):

wOBa:
1. Robinson Cano .393
2. Scooter Gennett .381
3. Neil Walker .372
4. Chase Utley .357
5. Ian Kinsler .342
6. Jose Altuve .341
7. Anthony Rendon .335
8. Dee Gordon .334
9. Jason Kipnis .332
10. Roughned Odor .330
11. Brian Dozier .326
12. Daniel Murphy .322

ISO:
1. Neil Walker .211
2. Scooter Gennett .195
3. Anthony Rendon .185
4. Brian Dozier .175
5. Ian Kinsler .169
6. Roughned Odor .159
7. Chase Utley .149
8. Jonathan Schoop .147
9. Robinson Cano .140
10. Kolten Wong .140
11. Ben Zobrist .138
12. Brian Roberts .136
13. Aaron Hill .136

OPS:
1. Robinson Cano .909
2. Scooter Gennett .889
3. Neil Walker .847
4. Chase Utley .877
5. Ian Kinsler .786
6. Jose Altuve .773
7. Anthony Rendon .767
8. Roughned Odor .764
9. Dee Gordon .755
10. Jason Kipnis .742
11. Daniel Murphy .730
12. Brian Dozier .729

AB/HR:
1. Neil Walker 19
2. Brian Dozier 22
3. Jonathan Schoop 26.4
4. Scooter Gennett 32.8
5. Jedd Gyorko 32.8
6. Ian Kinsler 34.1
7. Kolten Wong 35.6
8. Ben Zobrist 42.2
9. Chase Utley 46.8
10. Gordon Beckham 47.6
11. Danny Espinosa 48.3
12. Robinson Cano 48.4

wRC+:
1. Robinson Cano 155
2. Scooter Gennett 142
3. Neil Walker 141
4. Chase Utley 128
5. Jose Altuve 117
6. Dee Gordon 116
7. Ian Kinsler 115
8. Anthony Rendon 113
9. Jason Kipnis 113
10. Daniel Murphy 108
11. Brian Dozier 107
12. Ben Zobrist 104

Overall Rankings Based on Aggregate Averages:
1. Neil Walker – 268 AB, 40 R, 14 HR, 45 RBI, 2 SB, 280/352/489
2. Scooter Gennett – 265 AB, 41 R, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 5 SB, 325/363/517
3. Robinson Cano – 242 AB, 34 R, 5 HR, 36 RBI, 6 SB, 351/417/492
4. Ian Kinsler – 307 AB, 51 R, 9 HR, 41 RBI, 8 SB, 290/326/459
5. Chase Utley – 281 AB, 41 R, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 3 SB, 310/368/459
6. Anthony Rendon – 301 AB, 52 R, 10 HR, 41 RBI, 6 SB, 262/324/445
7. Brian Dozier – 286 AB, 55 R, 13 HR, 34 RBI, 14 SB, 224/330/399
8. Jose Altuve – 320 AB, 40 R, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 31 SB, 316/354/416
9. Dee Gordon – 316 AB, 47 R, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 41 SB 297/316/446
10. Roughned Odor – 141 AB, 14 R, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 2 SB, 291/316/446
11. Jonathan Schoop – 211 AB, 23 R, 8 HR, 23 RBI, 218/250/365
12. Jason Kipnis – 200 AB, 30 R, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 12 SB, 260/352/390

Scooter is asserting himself in 2014 as a 2B to be targeted going foward
Scooter is asserting himself this season as a 2B option to keep an eye on moving forward

In daily and year-long fantasy, the seasons by Neil Walker and Scooter Gennett have gone under the radar but by these guidelines they are the highest ranked second baseman against right-handed pitching this year. Robinson Cano’s slash lines are nothing to look down upon, but the surrounding lineup has more to do with his suppressed counting stats than the ballpark. In fantasy where a player bats is also vastly underrated, look at players like Jonathan Schoop and Roughned Odor. Their slash lines are not far off from Brian Dozier and Jason Kipnis but they bat 8th and 9th respectively in their team’s lineups. This matters for DFS as well, since more at bats mean more chances to score valuable points. As noted earlier, Dee Gordon and Jose Altuve have stolen a combined 72 bags  so if the power hitting 2B do not have good matchups, target the speedsters instead. A base hit, stolen base and run scored are equal to a home run in daily play and are easier to predict. Like Pedroia above, this list underscores how much Jason Kipnis has struggled in 2014. Kipnis will either be a steal if his value is suppressed in drafts, or this is who he might be looking ahead. The remainder of the second half (Kipnis has struggled in second halves before) will help fantasy gamers better gauge his value. Last note: only Jose Altuve, Brian Dozer and Anthony Rendon qualified in the top 12 splits against both righties and lefties.

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/MNUckp (Gennett), http://goo.gl/VbjFON (Altuve)

Post Break Preview: 2B

Altuve steals his way into fantasy owner's hearts
Jose Altuve has stolen his way into the hearts of gamers

While there seemed to be safety in getting one of the “big three” in pre-season drafts (Cano, Kipnis, Pedroia), there has been upheaval thus far at the position with none of the top-tier appearing in the top five on the player rater. As of this writing, not only is Jose Altuve the top option at the position, but he is the top rated player in fantasy. This is a precipitous climb for someone who is listed at 5’ 5”. Because of his hot first half and the stolen base accomplishments of Dee Gordon, they not only lead the majors in stolen bases, but assume the top two spots at second base. In an effort to streamline the data, I have listed the top 20 second basemen on the player rater below along with their stats from the last 365 days to underscore what they have done. The results may surprise you:

1. Jose Altuve – 159 G, 77 R, 4 HR, 51 RBI, 55 SB 315/349/410
2. Dee Gordon – 110 G, 55 R, 2 HR, 26 RBI, 48 SB 297/348/397
3. Ian Kinsler – 160 G, 110 R, 15 HR, 87 RBI, 21 SB 287/330/432
4. Brian Dozier – 160 G, 104 R, 28 HR, 77 RBI, 22 SB 246/327/439
5. Anthony Rendon – 145 G, 85 R, 16 HR, 75 RBI, 8 SB 270/332/442
6. Robinson Cano – 158 G, 77 R, 13 HR, 101 RBI, 8 SB 333/388/474
7. Daniel Murphy –164 G, 97 R, 14 HR, 77 RBI, 25 SB 298/340/492
8. Howie Kendrick – 124 G, 67 R, 6 HR, 57 RBI, 11 SB 287/336/385
9. Chase Utley – 158 G, 85 R, 15 HR, 85 RBI, 6 SB 293/354/447
10. Scooter Gennett –136 G, 65 R, 12 HR, 49 RBI, 7 SB 325/359/492
11. Neil Walker –142 G, 72 R, 23 HR, 70 RBI, 2 SB 266/33/449
12. Josh Harrison – 125 G, 46 R, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 13 SB 291/330/448
13. Dustin Pedroia-159 G, 83 R, 7 HR, 49 RBI, 6 SB 280/343/382
14. DJ LeMahieu –148 G, 66 R, 4 HR, 41 RBI, 15 SB 282/321/354
15. Omar Infante –114 G, 47 R, 9 HR, 70 RBI, 5 SB 297/330/408
16. Brandon Phillips – 152 G, 68 R, 13 HR, 72 RBI, 5 SB 264/303/384
17. Jason Kipnis – 135 G, 69 R, 7 HR, 54 RBI, 23 SB 265/344/368
18. Ben Zobrist – 150 G, 72 R, 12 HR, 47 RBI, 10 SB 275/354/407
19. Martin Prado –158 G, 70 R, 10 HR, 82 RBI, 4 SB 291/328/412
20. Kolten Wong – 85 G, 28 R, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 15 SB 220/274/339

It appears the concern over Dustin Pedroia’s power numbers in decline are more than people bargained for. With only seven home runs since last July it looks like this is who he is moving forward. It will be hard to list him in the top five next year. If you laughed at guys riding a Scooter, the one in Milwaukee has proven to be a fantasy factor off the waiver wire displacing Rickie Weeks and hitting in the top two of the Brewers lineup. A player in the midst of breakout is Anthony Rendon but he seems to be overshadowed in Washington due to the angst and attention that Bryce Harper commands. But his numbers from the last year have been rock solid and he is only getting better. One of the biggest questions has been where Robinson Cano’s power has gone. With only 13 home runs over the last year, this may be who he is going forward but like a struggling Chris Davis, Cano can hit them in bunches if he gets hot. Injuries have limited Jason Kipnis in the first half and his second half struggles have been well documented. Feeling lucky? Like Cano, his power numbers have been in a steep decline with only seven in his last 135 games. With all this in mind, here are the ZiPS ROS projections according to Fangraphs to see how player are thought to finish the season:

ZiPS ROS Projections:

Runs:
1. Ian Kinsler 38
2. Brian Dozier 35
3. Robinson Cano 32
4. Jason Kipnis
5. Dustin Pedroia 31
6. Jose Altuve 31
7. Daniel Murphy 31
8. Anthony Rendon 30
9. Ben Zobrist 30
10. Neil Walker/Howie Kendrick 29

Home Runs:
1. Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, Neil Walker, Brian Dozier, Dan Uggla 7
2. Anthony Rendon, Chase Utley, Jason Kipnis, Kelly Johnson, Jonathan Schoop 6

RBI:
1. Robinson Cano 35
2. Ian Kinsler 31
3. Neil Walker 29
4. Jason Kipnis 29
5. Dustin Pedroia 28
6. Anthony Rendon 27
7. Howie Kendrick 27
8. Daniel Murphy 27
9. Aaron Hill 26
10. Brian Dozier 26

Stolen Bases:
1. Dee Gordon 19
2. Jose Altuve 17
3. Emilio Bonifacio 11
4. Jason Kipnis 9
5. Leury Garcia 9
6. Arismendy Alcanatara 8
7. Ian Kinsler 7
8. Brian Dozier 7
9. Josh Harrison, Howie Kendrick, Daniel Murphy, Roughned Odor 6

Batting Average:
1. Jose Altuve .301
2. Robinson Cano .300
3. Daniel Murphy .284
4. Scooter Gennett .284
5. DJ LeMahieu .284
6. Dustin Pedroia .281
7. Marco Scutero .281
8. Tommy LaStella .281
9. Ian Kinsler .279

Mark it down Rendon is a top 5 second baseman in the second half and going forward
Book it: Anthony Rendon is a top five option at 2B

While these projections are far from perfect, it does give fantasy owners an idea of how players could finish out the season. It also helps to predict how they will finish the year in the rankings. Going forward, here are my top 20 fantasy second baseman for the season’s second half:

1. Jose Altuve – Never thought I would type this but why can’t he keep the top spot all year? He is going to hit for average, will steal bases and the Astros can score runs
2. Ian Kinsler – I underestimated him in the preseason and his motivation to show the Rangers they made a mistake has definitely made a difference. The surrounding offense doesn’t hurt, either
3. Robinson Cano – He is still a top option but the first round is a reach next year
4. Anthony Rendon – I am all in with him and next year he may bust out even further
5. Dee Gordon – Stolen bases provide huge value and he is still providing them, the average will regress but the speed is here to stay
6. Brian Dozier – His average can be a drain but the power and speed combo are too hard to ignore
7. Daniel Murphy – Unlike David Wright, he is undervalued at his position
8. Jason Kipnis – The talent is there but his plate discipline and lack of power in the last calender year are concerning
9. Chase Utley – Could a trade really boost his value in the second half? Absolutely
10. Ben Zobrist – See Utley above, he is warming up
11. Scooter Gennett – Hits at the top of the lineup against righties and helps in all five categories
12. Neil Walker – Still has power and will be in play as the Pirates push for the playoffs
13. Howie Kendrick – Has been healthy and solid
14. Dustin Pedroia – As I am typing this he is 0 for 4 in a game that Boston has scored 14 runs. I love his heart and hustle, but his name buoyed his draft position. Look at his last 365 stats above
15. Kolten Wong – Upside late and he could leapfrog a couple of the names above him if he can stay healthy. Has stolen base and runs upside
16. Arismendy Alcanatara – Why not? He has been solid in his debut and if the Cubs leave him in the second spot in the lineup he can provide double digit steals in the second half
17. Aaron Hill – He has to get better this year. Just in case though, I am leaving him here
18. Martin Prado – Does a little bit of everything but like Aaron Hill, he’s been a disappointment
19. Rougned Odor – Again, upside play and this kid plays older than his age but the Rangers are burying him by hitting him last. Move him up please, Ron
20. Josh Harrison – Has eligibility in leagues and he is a spark plug in this offense

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

Statistical credits: Fangraphs.com, Baseball-Reference.com, ZiPS Projections
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/nnHCNt (Altuve), http://goo.gl/90NPMB (Rendon)

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 04/14

Who is excited baseball is back????? I know I am which also means that Daily Fantasy Baseball is back as well. I really enjoy DFS Baseball as it keeps you even more involved and keeps you up to date with guys you normally wouldn’t care about.

Sorry about not having any lineups this weekend. My laptop decided it would stop working on me.

Well everything I am going to bring you my lineup in which I am playing over at FanDuel.com – Which if you haven’t joined just click this link here: http://partners.fanduel.com/processing/clickthrgh.asp?btag=a_3360b_2

I am going to bring you the lineup I feel is the best for you to bring home some $$$ for the day. Early on we are fighting the guessing game but riding some of the guys hot bats to start the season.

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 04/14

This is the lineup I am throwing down right now. Check back throughout the days as I will edit or add more lineups

20140414-144755.jpg

These are some of the reasons why I like this lineup

Josh Collmenter vs. The Mets – I like this matchup for two reasons, you can stack the hitters with the cheap price on JC and the Mets aren’t very good at baseball. He averaged between 6-7 strikeouts a game as a starter in 2011-12, for the price you won’t be able to do much better.

Byrce Harper is hitting .348 on the road as well to go along with hitting .476 over the past week. Ride the bat while it is hot.

 

Don’t forget to tune into the Fantasy Forecaster each and every Wednesday at 9 PM EST here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration or download the show on iTunes by clicking the link here. https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-sports-script/id850876078?mt=2

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 04/07

Who is excited baseball is back????? I know I am which also means that Daily Fantasy Baseball is back as well. I really enjoy DFS Baseball as it keeps you even more involved and keeps you up to date with guys you normally wouldn’t care about.

Well everything I am going to bring you my lineup in which I am playing over at FanDuel.com – Which if you haven’t joined just click this link here: http://partners.fanduel.com/processing/clickthrgh.asp?btag=a_3360b_2

I am going to bring you the lineup I feel is the best for you to bring home some $$$ for the day. Early on we are fighting the guessing game but riding some of the guys hot bats to start the season.

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 04/07

UPDATED!!!!!

lineup

Digging into this lineup and really loving it. Here are some of the reasons I like the players I have in.

CJ Wilson vs. Houston – Wilson is 2-1 with a 1.77 ERA at Minute Maid Park. Even though he struggled in his 1st outing I like Wilson to snap back into shape today against the Astros.

Nick Markakis vs. Hiroki Kuroda – hitting .368 (7/19) with a 2B, a HR & a RBI

Brian McCann vs. Ubaldo Jimenez – hitting .320 (8/25) with a HR, 3 RBIs & 3 BBs

Don’t forget to tune into the Fantasy Forecaster each and every Wednesday at 9 PM EST here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration or download the show on iTunes by clicking the link here. https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-sports-script/id850876078?mt=2

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 04/02

Who is excited baseball is back????? I know I am which also means that Daily Fantasy Baseball is back as well. I really enjoy DFS Baseball as it keeps you even more involved and keeps you up to date with guys you normally wouldn’t care about.

Yesterday we had a tough day, CJ Wilson decided he wasn’t going to pitch like he has over the past 3 seasons against the Mariners and really messed up any remotely good chance at a good DFS day. Well today I am back to bring us some good luck!

Well everything I am going to bring you my lineup in which I am playing over at FanDuel.com – Which if you haven’t joined just click this link here: http://partners.fanduel.com/processing/clickthrgh.asp?btag=a_3360b_2 

But I am going to give you the lineup I think is going to give you the best chance to win. Early on in the season you are really playing a guessing game but you can look at each player’s previous history against these pitchers and the bigger the sample size and the history of success rate, will help you decide who you should start. Now throughout the day up until the 1st pitch of the first game I may change or alter my lineup depending on weather and possible late scratches, so make sure to check back throughout the day.

lineup

As it sits right now, I LOVE THIS LINEUP!!!!!! Here are a few reasons why I selected a few guys.

Gio Gonzalez in 8 starts against the Mets (over last 3 seasons) is 5-1 with a 2.57 ERA and 43 Ks. He is also 4-0 with a 1.58 ERA with 44 Ks

Alex Gordon vs. Max Scherzer – hitting .393 (11/28) with 3 2Bs, 2 HRs, 3 RBIs & 7 BBs

Aramis Ramirez vs. Aaron Harang – hitting .333 (21/63) with a 2B, a 3B, 5 HRs, 11 RBIs & 3 BBs

Nick Markakis vs. John Lackey – hitting .333 (18/54) with 4 2Bs, a 3B, 4 RBIs & 5 BBs

Don’t forget to tune into the Fantasy Forecaster each and every Wednesday at 9 PM EST here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration

 

 

 

5 Questions Surrounding Fantasy Baseball Outfielders

The MLB season is upon us which means it is time for the Fantasy Baseball season. We here at the Sports Script want to do everything possible in setting you up for draft day and helping you throughout the season to win a Fantasy Baseball Championship. We are gathering a team of Sports Script writers as well as some special guest to answer 5 key questions about each position for the upcoming 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season. Today we have gathered myself (Ricky Valero), Matt Bell, Matt Wincherauk and special guest Jonathan (@Jonathan_TTF) from Top Team Fantasy (@TopTeamFantasy) as we are going to take a look at the Outfield.

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy Baseball Outfielders

1 – Which player or players are you targeting?

Jonathan – Carlos Beltran: Everyone always looks for the sexy guys like Yasiel Puig (more on him later) and Billy Hamilton, but you win your leagues by grabbing those value players like Beltran. He’s 36 years old, but based on his 10th round ADP; I love the 8-time all-star who is moving from a tough ballpark to a launching pad in New York (check this out for a great read on the subject). He’s been more durable than you may thing in his last three seasons and will be almost a lock for a 25 HR season. I’d be shocked if he finishes outside the top 20 OFs.

Ricky – Unlike my buddy Jonathan and many others that I have had some nice chats about in the past, Yasiel Puig is a guy I not only want on my team, I am willing to reach in the middle of the 1st round for the guy. If you are drafting around the 5th or 6th spot in this year’s draft there is a bunch of uncertainty. After Cabrera and Trout, the field is wide open. Now I think Goldschmidt is a shoe-in at #3 but after him you have McCutchen, Cano and Davis lined up right after all of whom have some serious questions. If you are drafting 4th-6th you are more than likely not going to have a chance at Puig in round 2. I present the following things to you.

He ranked 6th in batting average (Min. 400 PA)
He scored 66 runs in only 104 games
His 19 HRs/382 PA (20.1% AB/HR) ranked 25th in baseball
12th in OBP (.391) higher than Cano/Davis/Beltre/Ramirez
His 160 wRC+ was 4th in baseball and was 60 points higher than the league average
Of the 56 players with over a 20% K% only 5 players hit .300 or better last year. Only Chris Johnson had a higher batting average than Puig did.

That’s all from a guy in his first season in the MLB. While there is talks questioning is work ethic (he’s “30” pounds heavier) or questioning his “character” but I am taking him based on his talent. End of story.

Matt Bell – If I have one of the top picks in any of my drafts I’ll be targeting Mike Trout who I think is primed for another huge year. That pick is obvious, so the other outfielders that I’ll be looking to target include Bryce Harper and Josh Hamilton. Harper is no secret to any fantasy player as he’s burst onto the scene pretty quickly in the past two years. He spent some time on the DL last year which really hurt his numbers. I see Harper if healthy hitting for an average of .275 with 30 home runs and over 20 stolen bases. Josh Hamilton probably makes some people throw up in their mouth hearing his name, but I really think he’s primed for a bounce back year.  Hamilton is going to have a ton of value at the spot he will fall to in most drafts. He’s coming off his worst year hitting for an average of .250 with only 21 home runs. Hamilton will improve over last year and being ranked 32nd in the ESPN rankings leads me to believe he can be had in the later rounds of most fantasy drafts.

Matt Wincherauk – Mike Trout. Not adventurous enough? Fine. I’ll go with Bryce Harper here. I feel like he’s about to really break out, like many thought he would last year before injuries got to him. More on him in a later question.

2 – Which player are you staying away from?

Jonathan – Curtis Granderson: We just spoke about the impact of Beltran moving to Yankee stadium, well Granderson leaving Yankee stadium will have an opposite effect. Here’s his home/away splits since joining the Yankees (given in per 100 AB numbers):

Home: 19.75 R, 7.03 HR, 17.41 RBI, 2.9 SB, 0.254 AVG
Away: 18.75 R, 5.8 HR, 16.85 RBI, 3.24 SB, 0.236 AVG

As you would expect, his power was significantly down on the road, and moving to a more neutral park (Citi Field) will only make matters worse for the aging (former) star, not to mention the stark difference in lineup around him. He’s already 33 years old and is coming off a year in which he was limited to only 61 games, so you’d have a hard time convincing me a comeback year is in the works. Don’t let his name value trick you into overpaying for Granderson on draft day.

Ricky – Bryce Harper – He is being over drafted in so many leagues this year and it’s insane. He started off with a Monster April last season and boom just died for months on end. He struggles really badly against lefties as seen below.

Vs. LHP – 131 AB – 12 R – 25 H – 2 HR – 16 RBI – .214 BA – .327 OBP

I think this is a make or break season for Harper if he is going to be among the élite Fantasy outfielders or not. With a current ADP of 12, I am staying as far away from Harper as I can.

Matt Bell – The player I’m staying away from is Carlos Gomez as he was much in the spot light for the Brewers last year with Braun hurt. I think Gomez is going to struggle to hit anywhere close to the .280 mark he hit for last year. The previous years he hadn’t hit anywhere close to that mark with .260 being his highest average. He has some power, but I don’t expect him to hit over 20 home runs next year and he just won’t be able to justify his early draft pick status.

Matt Wincherauk – I’m avoiding Ellsbury like I talked about in the first question. His power numbers might benefit from being in New York, but he is the biggest injury risk in baseball, and I can’t trust him. That and he’s a little traitor.

3 – Who is the biggest sleeper heading into 2014?

Jonathan – Melky Cabrera: How much of Melky’s excellent 2011 and 2012 seasons were due to steroids? We’ll probably never know. But the hate has gone too far. Melky was drafted as a top 25 OF last year, and although he’s coming off a terrible year that was largely due to injuries. He’s still going to be starting in left and looks likely to be starting in the #2 hole. There is absolutely no reason not to gamble on him considering his 281.7 ADP (79th OF).

Ricky – Khris Davis is someone I really have an eye on in all my upcoming drafts. He is coming off the board in the 15th-17th round right now and I think he has a much higher ceiling than that. He hit a pretty solid .279 and hit 11 homers in 136 ABs which equated to 1 in every 12 at bats. While it’ll be tough for him to match those types of numbers in 2014 but even if he balloons to 1 in 20, he will still hit 20+ HRs, hit for a decent average and may even steal you a few bags. I would take him in the 12th or 13th round ahead of guys like Michael Bourn and Torii Hunter.

Matt Bell – The biggest sleeper in the outfield is tough as there are just so many players to choose from, but the player that I think could have a big year that no one is talking about is Mark Trumbo. He’s coming off a year where he only hit for an average of .234, but he still hit for over 30 home runs and now he finds himself in a hitter’s park in Arizona. He’s got the potential to smash 40 home runs there and if he gets his average back up to around .270 you’ve got one heck of a steal in the outfield.

Matt Wincherauk – I’m going to go with Shin-Soo Choo here, just because he’s such a consistent player. Yes please I’ll take a player with a .300+ average, and a 20/20 guy, who should also benefit from playing in the Rangers ballpark.

4 – Which player will be a bust for Fantasy owners?

Jonathan – Yasiel Puig: We all know how talented Puig is, but a top 10 OF this year? You gotta be kidding me! In 2013, he hit .319 with 19 HRs, 66 R, 42 RBI and 11 SB in only 104 games. That means in 2014 with a full season he’s a good bet to go 30-20 with a .300 average right? Wrong!

If you look deeper, you will see regression coming up the wazoo. 0.383 BABIP, a contact rate of just 67%, a ground ball rate of over 50%, HR/FB% of 22%, the average will drop significantly this year and the power numbers should suffer as well. We saw that regression already coming when he only batted .214 in September and October.  As a top 10 OF, there is no benefit to grabbing Puig; he can’t possibly outperform his draft position. I’m letting someone else overdraft him and grabbing safer players at a value instead.

Ricky – Can I put Matt Kemp? Anyone that drafts him is in line for a huge disappointing season again. He is hurt again, may or may not start the season and could be on a short leash with the Dodgers having some depth in the OF. Another guy I won’t be drafting is Ryan Braun, while I believe he will be a nice fantasy option this year, I just don’t think he will match up to his ADP.

Matt Bell – The biggest bust that I see looking at the top of the OF rankings is Joey Bautista. He’s going to hit his home runs, but other than he doesn’t give you much value. He’s also missed games in every season but two that he has played in as a professional baseball player. Bautista just scares me as a player that can be taken way too high and spend more of the season on the DL than on the field.

Matt Wincherauk – Jose Bautista is my pick for being a bust this year. I think this is the year that we finally see Bautista fall off a bit from his usual gaudy power numbers. He’s constantly hurt, and his attitude doesn’t help him much either. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a name being floated around in trade numbers.

5 – Give a bold prediction for one player.

Jonathan – Ryan Braun has his third 30/30 season in four years and finishes the year as a top 3 OF.

Ricky – Mike Trout finally wins the MVP? Okay that’s not bold. Matt Kemp won’t play more than 120 games, not bold really either. Give me Yoenis Cespedes to hit .265 with 32 HRs and 98 RBIS.

Matt Bell – The Bold predictions that I’ll make for the outfield position involves Giancarlo Stanton. He’s missed some time over the last couple of seasons with injuries, but this year he stays healthy. The prediction for me is that he will hit for 45 home runs and be one of the top 5 fantasy players at the outfield position

Matt Wincherauk – My prediction will be that Bryce Harper tops 30 home runs, and solidifies his spot as a top 5 outfielder, in that group of Trout, McCutchen and Gonzalez.

If you have any questions about the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season make sure to hope on over to twitter and ask. You can follow me @rickygangster @mattbell211 & @TheMattyWin and we will answer any and all questions.

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