Transaction Scripts: Evan Gattis to Houston

Evan Gattis is presently the 7th catcher taken in NFBC ADP's but that number is sure to rise with the move to Houston.
Evan Gattis is presently the 7th catcher taken in NFBC ADP’s but that number is sure to rise with the move to Houston.

News broke in the afternoon about Evan Gattis being in Houston for a physical and by late in the evening it was confirmed that he indeed was being traded by Atlanta. The Braves will receive three more prospects as they continue an interesting offseason combined with stockpiling minor leaguers and signing veteran stopgaps for the upcoming season. As will be profiled, the big winner here in fantasy terms is Evan Gattis taking his powerful swing to the short left field fence in Minute Maid Park where he will take aim on the railroad tracks. On the other end of the spectrum is Freddie Freeman whose protection has been traded to San Diego (Justin Upton) and now Evan Gattis to Houston. It will be hard to project any improvement over last year’s stats for Freddie now that the Braves are in a complete rebuild and he will not be pitched to in any big situation this season.
But this is geared to look at how Evan Gattis can fare in Houston, so I will start by letting you know that the average distance of his fly balls hit last year traveled on average 300.63 feet which ranked him eleventh in the major leagues, two spots ahead of former teammate Justin Upton. Using ESPN’s home run tracker, I made the following overlay showing what his 2014 home runs would look like in Minute Maid Park here:
Evan Gattis Astro Overlay
Observing the overlay is nice but here is a picture of Minute Maid with the dimensions displayed with the distances of the fences along with the knowledge of how far an average fly ball by Gattis travels:
Minute Maid Park with Dimensions
It also helps to take note of where Evan Gattis hits the ball. According the chart courtesy of MLBFarm.com, it is pretty clear that Gattis is a pull hitter:
Gattis hit location chart
So we can see that if and when Gattis puts the ball into play, he will have a chance to hit home runs. While the move to Houston does help his fantasy prospects for 2015, what effect will it have upon his draft or auction status? In last week’s published money NFBC drafts, Gattis was the seventh catcher drafted with an average ADP of 124.31 going one pick after Salvador Perez and one before Yadier Molina. I can see a case being made to move Gattis up to the top five in catcher rankings and I would have a hard time taking Brian McCann ahead of him. Over the past two seasons Gattis has hit 43 home runs in 213 games played. That ties him with McCann for second for catchers over this time frame and the only player they trail is Carlos Santana who will not have catcher eligibility in leagues with a 20 game minimum.
Even if Gattis maintains his 16.8 HR/AB ratio his projections have to rise in Houston. However, this is a matter of health. Last year he only played in 108 games but if he can adjust to some left field and get some at bats at designated hitter, Gattis should eclipse that number. For projections, it will be all about the at bats. With simple extrapolation 400 at bats would equate to 24 home runs, 450 to 27 and 500 to 30, but this ignores the ballpark effects. According to Fangraphs.com’s ball park effects numbers Atlanta rates as a 99 for home runs and 97 for right handed hitters. But Houston jumps to 105 for home runs and 104 for right handed batters. The ballpark alone should account for about two more home runs per jump in at bats which could move Gattis projections to 26 for 400 at bats, 29 in 450 and 32 if he could get 500 in 2015. These may be on the aggressive side of projecting but if you are paying for 24 home runs and he hits 32 then profit is generated.
It will be interesting to see if his move has any real effect on his ADP in tonight’s FSTA draft which is the first one that gives insight to how experts value players. I venture to say he will jump into the top five drafted and with people worried about Devin Mesoraco’s regression this year, Gattis could be, dare I say a top three option at his position. Here are some of his early projections:
Gattis Projections
If you are in a league that uses on base percentage, then some of Evan Gattis’ value is taken away but at a time when power hitters are in high demand, this is a relative inexpensive chance today at one. With health he and Matt Wieters are relative sleepers at this point according to ADP’s. What is nice about his projections, they sort of represent the three scenarios that Gattis could provide. CBS shows a possible peak, Steamer is where I can see him getting realistically and ZiPS shows the worst case scenario. Personally I will buy Gattis for the Steamer projection but if he jumps his home run totals into the 30-32 range, it would not be a surprise.

Braves Prospects

It would appear that the Braves were dead set upon restocking the farm system this off-season. By moving Gattis, this cements the plan and the Braves did receive three more prospects acquiring Mike Foltynewicz, Rio Ruiz and Andrew Thurman. According to MiLB.com Foltynewicz moves into the second slot for Braves prospects and Rio Ruiz to number six so netting two top ten minor leaguers for a power hitter may be enough in return. Houston does have third baseman prospects still in the system so Ruiz was a player they could afford to part ways with. For fantasy purposes, Mike Foltynewicz is the most likely to appear in 2015 so I will focus on his move to Atlanta.
Moving to a better pitcher’s ballpark and the National League has to improve Foltynewicz’s fantasy stock going forward. He has a blazing fastball along with a curve and changeup as can be seen in the chart below thanks to BrooksBaseball.net:
Foltynewecz Pitch Speeds
My concern about him is can he throw enough strikes to remain a starting pitcher? The talent is there, but his career WHIP of 1.4 in the minor leagues is concerning and frustrating. Foltynewicz was able to strike out ten hitters in a game but his 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio in AAA last year is cause for concern. I can see two outcomes with Folty moving forward: a viable number four starting pitcher for the Braves or their eventual replacement for Craig Kimbrel at closer if they trade him. But the latest tweet by their beat writer Mark Bowman is a head scratcher to me:

I do not see how this Braves team as presently built can compete in 2015. As much as I like Freddie Freeman, Alex Wood, Julio Teheran and Craig Kimbrel, that is not enough to make the Braves a playoff contender. Jim Callis likes how the Braves have rebuilt their farm system:

So why not continue doing that and build for 2016. Signing Nick Markakis and A.J. Pierzynski is not enough to replace the losses of Justin Upton, Jason Heyward and Evan Gattis. I think the A’s last year showed that pitching is not enough to win a playoff series or one game play in. A team needs balance and not only does the Braves lack it, there is room for much improvement.
Statistical Credits:
Baseball-Reference.com, ESPN.go.com Hit Tracker, Fangraphs.com, Steamer Projections, CBSsports.com, BrooksBaseball.net
Picture Credit:
Evan Gattis pic: http://www.foxsports.com/content/dam/fsdigital/RSN/South/2014/2/14/PI-MLB-Atlanta-Braves-Evan-Gattis-021414.jpg
Greg Jewett is the senior fantasy writer for the Sports Script and you can follow him on Twitter @gjewett9

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Draft Scripts: Using NFBC ADP’s to evaluate Catcher & DH

Buster Posey is a world champion & reigning #1 catcher on the Player Rater but he is not worth his ADP
Buster Posey is great but is not worth taking at his current ADP

Draft season is approaching and it seems that we still overthink how to handle catchers. While the production from the position and their ADP’s seem to be coming closer together, there are still owners out there who think that acquiring a top catcher is of the utmost importance. In that, a player like Buster Posey gets drafted too soon. He was the only catcher to crack the top 50 via ESPN’s Player Rater (he finished 49th). He and Jonathan Lucroy were the only two to finish in the top 100 (Lucroy broke out, finishing at 97). Even in two-catcher leagues, I think you can get by owning a top-12 option at the position and waiting until later on in your draft to gamble on a flier type. Devin Mesoraco circa 2014 comes to mind on the flier front.

Due to the declining power numbers in baseball, designated hitters are in transition as well. The top player at the position will be 39 this year and though there seems to be a player who can match Ortiz’s thump, Chris Carter’s batting average leaves something to be desired. 30-homers out of a single player will be rare in 2015, making Carter more valuable than he would have been otherwise. Whether it is the new age of pitching dominance or the emergence of shifts and specialty pitchers, run production will be in demand in fantasy next season. Power is such a scarce commodity that batting averages will likely be ignored if a player can produce 30 home runs. The stigma about a player that hits below .240 and launches 30 bombs is all but gone.

So how do we treat the players and rankings for these positions going forward? I gave my thoughts above about catcher, I try to target a solid top 10-12 catcher and get him at a fair market price whether in auctions or drafts then target a bounce back candidate or younger catcher who could break out later on. If the gamble does not work, there is bound to be someone on the waiver wire I can move on to. If any position in fantasy baseball is related to the kicker in fantasy football, it’s the catcher. Find one with a good chance to get at bats on a solid team and you’re golden. These are your Yan Gomes, Salvador Perez, and Russell Martin types. After that, take a flier or get two of the types above and gamble on upside later in the draft. But to spend a second round pick on a Buster Posey, as good of a real baseball player as he is, just does not make much sense to me.

Following up on my article about the NFBC’s top 200 by ADP, I will list the catchers taken in the top 200 along with their average draft position in the chart:
Catchers ADP Chart
As much as I liked Devin Mesoraco last year, I am shying away from him at the present cost this year. There are too many other players I will be targeting at pick 80. Knowing a catcher rarely makes the top 100 in overall rankings makes it tough to grab one early. Bounce back candidates include Matt Wieters, Wilin Rosario and Brian McCann (if he can solve the shift). Stephen Vogt and Carlos Santana lose catcher status in leagues that use 20 games played for eligibility purposes, so that stinks. In an effort to gather statistics, I made a spreadsheet listing their projections by Steamer and CBS:

Catchers Projection Chart 1-6
Catchers Projection Chart 7-13

Two players catch my attention on the chart above; Evan Gattis and Travis d’Arnaud. One is limited by his defense and the other has durability questions. Rumor has it that Gattis will open 2015 as Atlanta’s left fielder now that Justin Upton has been traded to San Diego. This means good things for his value since he will not wear down physically due to the rigors of catching. This should allow him to get 500 at bats. That would be huge since he has hit 43 home runs in 723 career at bats in the majors. If he hits the magic 500 number, that would pace him for 29.74 homers if he maintains his career rates. 30-homer potential out of my catcher slot is something I will definitely be exploring at pick 125.

Travis d’Arnaud also has the ability to be a stealth starting catcher for fantasy owners in 2015, but he has to stay on the field. In the second half of 2014, d’Arnaud slashed .265/.313/.474 while hitting 7 home runs and showed us why he was a top catching prospect. He did appear in 108 games last year and had some bone chips removed in October, so if he is healthy and can stay healthy, then he represents a bargain in 2015.

Speaking of health, Yadier Molina is not even being drafted in the NFBC top 200 so if you like a low double-digit home run hitting catcher that will actually help your batting average then he is your guy. If a team has loaded up on power hitting early, then Molina is a perfect target to balance a team. Another player I like with spotty health issues but burgeoning power is Wilson Ramos. He may break my heart one more time but he can hit 18-20 home runs for Washington while batting .270. Speculate. One more target is Yasmani Grandal of the Dodgers. I think he can hit 15 or more home runs for Los Angeles and be a player that is the perfect flier type to pair up with an Evan Gattis. Every draft or auction is different but I think it will pay to wait at catcher.

Since only two designated hitters were taken in the Top 200 NFBC ADP’s it is not too hard to look at them. First here are their projections by Steamer and CBS:

DH Projection Chart

As much as David Ortiz can light up a room and hit home runs, power hitters do not age well. Ortiz has been defying the odds for years. I give him all the credit in the world, but with an ADP in the top 90, I think it is better to let him age on someone else’s team. It’s better to be a year early than a year too late.

Chris Carter does not always make contact, but he has hit 66 HR in 1013 AB's the last two seasons.
Chris Carter does not always make contact, but he has hit 66 HR in 1013 AB’s the last two seasons

Chris Carter will be a polarizing fantasy player since he is the prototypical three outcome kind of guy: a walk, a home run or a strike out. In fact, over his 572 plate appearances in 2014, 48% of his outcomes were one of the above. Carter hit 37 home runs, struck out 182 times and drew 56 walks. But over the second half he slashed a respectable .252/.338/.521. This was fueled by a line drive rate that he cannot maintain for a full season, but the seeds are in place for some growth. Both projections above account for a batting average in the Dunn range, but there is a chance he can hit .240 which increases his value. With the potential for 40 home runs at pick 140, I’ll gamble.

Values are likely to change as all of the sleeper lists and under the radar picks will be coming out, but having a grip on where to take a catcher helps. Don’t be that guy who grabs Posey in the second round to preserve your team’s batting average while other teams are collecting power. It is a precious commodity in fantasy baseball today.

Statistical credits: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com, CBSsports.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/29PPDZ (Posey), http://goo.gl/SwH7RT (Carter)

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!

Top DFS Plays for 08/27/14

*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:

Andrew McCutchen vs. Adam Wainwright – hitting .342 (13/38) with 5 2Bs, a 3B, a HR, 3 RBIs & 2 BBs
Cutch has 3 homers in last 5 games, make it 4 in his last 6 after tonight.

Brian McCann vs. David Price – hitting .417 (5/12) with 3 HRs, 5 RBIs & a BB
McCann went deep on Price in the last meeting between the two.

Ian Desmond vs. Kyle Kendrick – hitting .385 (15/39) with 2 2Bs, a 3B, 2 HRs & 8 RBIs
Kendrick’s ERA against the Nationals this year? 6.39…… $$$$$$

Bryce Harper vs. Kyle Kendrick – hitting .360 (9/25) with 3 2Bs, a 3B, a HR, 2 RBIs & 3 BBs
See above

Hunter Pence vs. Franklin Morales – hitting .455 (5/11) with a 2B, a HR, 3 RBIs & a BB

Freddie Freeman vs. Zack Wheeler – hitting .545 (6/11) with a 2B, a HR, 5 RBIs & 6 BBs

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Andrew McCutchen

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

Clayton Kershaw vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – You won’t believe Kershaw’s ERA against the D’Backs this year, 5.28. Yes you are reading that right, time for him to get this numbers down. Kershaw goes 8 strong tonight giving up 1 run with 11 Ks. BOOK IT!

Hector Santiago vs. Miami Marlins – Don’t want to pay the price for Kershaw? Give me a cheap play in Santiago today. Last 3 starts = 17 innings, 2 runs, 15 Ks and 6 BBs. I like him to do some work tonight which would let you stack some hitters as well.

Movie of the Day – Dirty Dancing – Smooth Swayze in this movie, Love it. Plus “Time of my Life” is one of the best songs ever in a movie.

Follow me on Twitter @Rickygangster!

Script Splits: Using Advanced Stats to Rank Catchers

Did you know this guy is the best daily catcher vs. LHP?
Did you know Norris is the best daily catcher vs. LHP?

As the daily fantasy game continues to evolve and gain popularity, the research and advantages to using advanced statistics have made year-long gamers better as well. It is hard to ignore the impact that the daily game has had within the fantasy sports industry. With that in mind I wanted to follow up my second half rankings series with a look at how players are stack by applying splits to the equation. Oakland has been a lead on the value of splits and platoons and their catchers this year are a prime example. Instead of using just one catcher they use John Jaso, Derek Norris and even Stephen Vogt (a catcher by trade because of his bat) which has been a very useful group in fantasy baseball. For example, in a league with daily transactions here is the Oakland platoon versus the highest drafted catcher Buster Posey:

Buster Posey 2014 Stats: 38 R, 11 HR, 53 RBI, 0 SB .278/.339/.427

Oakland catchers 2014: 54 R, 13 HR, 59 RBI, 4 SB .302/.380/.479

To be fair to Posey, it is hard for an individual to beat a team but the stats I am using are to prove a point. The Oakland stats are only from when their players are at catcher and not DH so it does not skew the overall counting numbers. But as more and more teams see this it will involve more clubs exploiting platoons and more importantly splits. So if you are a daily “degenerate” as many of the daily fantasy players refer to themselves as, here is what their knowledge of splits using advanced statistics can teach us. First here is a glossary of the stats I will be 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.

Below I will list the top ten catchers for each split, versus left-handed and right-handed pitching. These lists are important when formulating what players to target on a daily basis moving forward. After listing each top ten in the five categories above, I will average out their finishes for the top ten list against each split.

Catchers versus Left-Handed Pitchers (minimum of 50 plate appearances):

wOBA:
1. Derek Norris .447
2. Carlos Ruiz .427
3. Chris Iannetta .420
4. Brian McCann .400
5. Jonathan Lucroy .399
6. Yan Gomes .397
7. Wilin Rosario .396
8. Devin Mesoraco .377
9. Buster Posey .369
10. Rene Rivera.363

ISO:
1. Wilin Rosario .338
2. Rene Rivera .304
3. David Ross .288
4. Chris Iannetta .253
5. Derek Norris .233
6. Brian McCann .213
7. Mike Zunino .208
8. Jonathan Lucroy .202
9. Devin Mesoraco .196
10. Yan Gomes .194

OPS:
1. Derek Norris 1.039
2. Chris Iannetta .968
3. Carlos Ruiz .964
4. Wilin Rosario .931
5. Jonathan Lucroy .928
6. Yan Gomes .924
7. Brian McCann .914
8. Devin Mesoraco .884
9. Rene Rivera .842
10. Buster Posey .840

AB/HR:
1. Wilin Rosario 11.8
2. David Ross 13
3. Rene Rivera 14
4. Chris Iannetta 16.6
5. Derek Norris 17.2
6. Robinson Chirinos 19
7. Brian McCann 22.3
8. Tyler Flowers 24
9. Mike Zunino 24
10. Yan Gomes 24.5

wRC+: (100 is league average)
1. Derek Norris 193
2. Carlos Ruiz 176
3. Chris Iannetta 176
4. Yan Gomes 158
5. Jonathan Lucroy 155
6. Brian McCann 154
7. Buster Posey 143
8. Wilin Rosario 139
9. Devin Mesoraco 138
10. Rene Rivera 137

Overall Rankings Based on Aggregate Averages Above:
1. Derek Norris – 86 AB, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 360/446/593
2. Chris Iannetta – 83 AB, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 313/402/566
3. Wilin Rosario – 71 AB, 6 HR, 13 RBI, 282/311/620
4. Carlos Ruiz – 48 AB, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 313/484/479
5. Brian McCann – 89 AB, 4 HR, 18 RBI, 326/375/539
6. Jonathan Lucroy – 94 AB, 1 HR, 13 RBI, 330/396/532
7. Rene Rivera – 56 AB, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 250/288/554
8. Yan Gomes – 98 AB, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 347/383/541
9. David Ross – 52 AB, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 231/317/519
10. Devin Mesoraco – 51 AB, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 294/393/490

The top three players in the rankings make great targets against left-handed starters in daily play. While their prices vary, each is solid across the board. I am shocked by how well Brian McCann is doing against lefties. Is there less of a shift or does he stay in longer? Definitely a shock but his numbers suggest it is not a fluke this year. Yan Gomes has been hot and will see his price rise but he is worth the gamble. In the lower price range, David Ross is a boom or bust proposition and I only suggest using him against a weak lefty, but Rene Rivera is an interesting and inexpensive option in San Diego. With another home run today off Mike Minor he is worth a look when in the lineup against southpaws.

Catchers versus Right Handed Pitchers (minimum 100 plate appearances):

wOBA:
1. Stephen Vogt .411
2. Devin Mesoraco .409
3. Russell Martin .393
4. Jonathan Lucroy .384
5. John Jaso .379
6. Carlos Santana .359
7. Evan Gattis .358
8. Miguel Montero .355
9. Salvador Perez .355
10. Derek Norris .346

ISO:
1. Devin Mesoraco .310
2. Carlos Santana .235
3. Evan Gattis .231
4. Yasmani Grandal .210
5. John Jaso .201
6. Mike Zunino .199
7. Jonathan Lucroy .192
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia .188
9. Yan Gomes .176
10. Robinson Chirinos .175

OPS:
1. Devin Mesoraco .948
2. Stephen Vogt .942
3. Jonathan Lucroy .879
4. Russell Martin .875
5. John Jaso .868
6. Evan Gattis .829
7. Miguel Montero .817
8. Salvador Perez .809
9. Carlos Santana .802
10. Jarrod Saltalamacchia .774

AB/HR:
1. Carlos Santana 15.8
2. Jarrod Saltalamacchia 22.6
3. Yan Gomes 24.6
4. Jonathan Lucroy 25.1
5. Miguel Montero 25.2
6. Robinson Chirinos 25.7
7. Salvador Perez 27.6
8. Jason Castro 27.8
9. John Jaso 28.6
10. Alex Avila 30

wRC+:
1. Stephen Vogt 168
2. Devin Mesoraco 162
3. Russell Martin 155
4. John Jaso 146
5. Jonathan Lucroy 144
6. Carlos Santana 132
7. Evan Gattis 129
8. Salvador Perez 126
9. Miguel Montero 123
10. Derek Norris 123

Overall Rankings Based on Aggregate Averages Above:
1. Devin Mesoraco
2. Jonathan Lucroy
3. Carlos Santana
4. Stephen Vogt
5. John Jaso
6. Russell Martin
7. Evan Gattis
8. Miguel Montero
9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
10. Salvador Perez

Carlos is not number 1 against righties yet, but he is closing fast after a huge weekend in KC
Carlos is not #1 against right-handers yet, but he is closing in fast after a huge weekend in Kansas City

It is apparent that the Oakland theme is not a mistake. With Derek Norris placing first overall in regards to facing left-handed pitching and both Stephen Vogt and John Jaso in the top five versus righties, they are on to something here. It is imperative to see who the A’s are facing and to use one of their catchers in both DFS leagues and year-long ones. The values of Jaso and Vogt are on the rise as Coco Crisp is likely headed for another DL stint as they batted in the top two spots of the lineup today. Carlos Santana had a weekend for the ages but no longer has catcher eligibility on Fan Duel. He does maintain it on other sites, however. He is on a meteoric tear right now and his prices will be adjusted. I had him as a target last week in my second half preview and if you got him this week, great job. Jonathan Lucroy is a model of consistency but his being ranked higher against right-handed pitching than left-handed surprised me. Speaking of Lucroy, only he and Devin Mesoraco made both lists pointing to their values going forward. This is only a piece of the puzzle but if you play daily or have been interested, I hope these lists help you identify players to target in that landscape.

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

Statistical credits: BrooksBaseball.net, Fangraphs.com, Yahoo.com, MiLB.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/Ql5pGi (Norris), http://goo.gl/bygAKS (Santana)

Post Break Preview: Catcher

Cool Hand Luke tops Fantasy Catchers going foward
Cool-hand Luke tops fantasy catchers moving forward

It used to be a catcher preview started with Buster Posey and ending with Joe Mauer. However, entering 2014 there were enough intriguing options emerging that the “depth” word started to surface. I have never been a proponent of drafting a Buster Posey type at the point in drafts that it would take to get him. So far so good this year, but with the injuries to Yadier Molina and Matt Wieters the margin for error is closing quickly. In order to rank the catchers for the second half I will look at how this season is going while taking into account what the catchers have done over the last statistical year (last 365). Not only that, I will also list how ZiPS feels about the second half by projecting how the catchers are projected to finish the year. But first, some fun with numbers:

• Player A – 148 G, 63 R, 20 HR, 77 RBI, 1 SB 288/331/450
• Player B – 145 G, 60 R, 12 HR, 62 RBI, 1 SB 267/335/382
• Player C – 104 G, 60 R, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 1 SB 256/332/415

One of my favorite parts of Matthew Berry’s fantasy baseball work was his blind test for players. If you take the names out of the equation you cannot make a decision about a player based on perceptions (or name value). Of course all of us would want player A in this scenario and it is a player I was very high on entering the season. He was on the All-Star team for the American League and on his way to being an elite fantasy baseball catcher. Players B and C are both in the National League but were drafted nowhere near each other. The aforementioned Buster Posey’s last 365 days are represented above but Player C is Wellington Castillo. Yes, of the Cubs. Even though our mind says that player A is Buster Posey, it doesn’t always happen that way. As the season enters the second half, here is how the catchers stack up via ESPN’s player rater:

1. Jonathan Lucroy
2. Devin Mesoraco
3. Evan Gattis
4. Salvador Perez
5. Buster Posey
6. Miguel Montero
7. Yan Gomes
8. Derek Norris
9. Yadier Molina (DL)
10. Kurt Suzuki
11. John Jaso
12. Carlos Santana
13. Joe Mauer (DL)
14. Russell Martin
15. Brian McCann

I feel like I am bashing Buster a bit and he is still in the top five on the first half player rater. That is not a slight on him but at his pre-season ADP, it is a disappointment. After his All-Star game performance, Jonathan Lucroy may finally get some attention for being the top fantasy catcher not only in the first half, but moving forward. If people do not rank players the way they are accustomed it is frowned upon but I promised myself a year ago to trust my gut. I hyped Salvador Perez, Devin Mesoraco and saw Evan Gattis as a bargain compared to Brian McCann. If you had Kurt Suzuki on your radar entering 2014, my hat is off and I tip it to you. So how did this happen? Are there predictors? Not always, but as much as I was right about Perez and Gattis, I have been way off on Carlos Santana. Although, Santana can definitely salvage his season in the 2nd half. Are you listening Wilson Ramos? Please fantasy gods, allow him to stay healthy and not hit eighth in the second half for about ¾ of my teams, thanks. Using WAR (wins above replacement) to rank the Catchers over the last 365 days here is how they stack up, with statistics included (I excluded Yadier Molina who was fourth on this list):

1. Jonathan Lucroy – 78 R, 15 HR, 76 RBI, 10 SB 304/376/474
2. Salvador Perez – 63 R, 20 HR, 77 RBI, 1 SB 288/331/450
3. Yan Gomes – 62 R, 17 HR, 54 RBI, 0 SB 280/333/449
4. Russell Martin – 43 R, 12 HR, 53 RBI, 6 SB 244/357/375
5. Devin Mesoraco – 47 R, 21 HR, 67 RBI, 1 SB 279/331/511
6. Chris Iannetta – 40 R, 10 HR, 37 RBI, 3 SB 262/376/419
7. Carlos Santana – 74 R, 23 HR, 69 RBI, 4 SB 235/363/416
8. Jason Castro – 50 R, 14 HR, 61 RBI, 0 SB 254/334/427
9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia – 56 R, 15 HR, 55 RBI, 4 SB 246/326/430
10. Wellington Castillo – 33 R, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 1 SB 256/332/415
11. Buster Posey – 60 R, 12 HR, 62 RBI, 1 SB 267/335/382
12. Carlos Ruiz – 47 R, 7 HR, 45 RBI, 3 SB 261/344/382
13. Miguel Montero – 47 R, 16 HR, 63 RBI, 0 SB 262/346/417
14. Evan Gattis – 49 R, 23 HR, 67 RBI, 0 SB 265/308/484
15. Wilson Ramos – 37 R, 15 HR, 59 RBI, 0 SB 269/307/429

Using a ranking system like this is far from perfect, but being able to see the numbers from the last year does provide some clarity. To sort this list out I also had 350 at bats as the minimum so there may be a couple of emerging players who were omitted from this list but it is a nice start to try and rank the catcher going forward. Of the players in the player rater top 15 not listed above, Brian McCann was 18th, Joe Mauer 19th, Matt Wieters 20th and Kurt Suzuki 21st as you go down the list provided above. These are a nice baseline, so now here are ZiPS projected leaders for standard categories for the rest of the season (ROS):

ZiPS Runs leaders:
1. Carlos Santana: 31
2. Joe Mauer: 29 (DL)
3. Buster Posey: 27
4. Mike Zunino: 26
5. Jonathan Lucroy: 24
6. Salvador Perez: 23

ZiPS HR leaders:
1. Carlos Santana: 9
2. Evan Gattis: 9
3. Brian McCann: 9
4. Wilin Rosario: 8
5. Posey, Mesoraco and Zunino: tied at 7

ZiPS RBI leaders:
1. Buster Posey: 33
2. Carlos Santana: 32
3. Jonathan Lucroy: 30
4. Miguel Montero: 30
5. Brian McCann 29

ZiPS batting average leaders:
1. Jonathan Lucroy: .291
2. Buster Posey: .287
3. Salvador Perez: .286
4. Joe Mauer: .285
5. Kurt Suzuki: .272
6. Wilson Ramos: .271

Being projections, these are not completely going to fit the script. But, it does give a glimpse into what the computer projects for the remaining games of the season. While his average is not great, it does suggest a bounce back is in the offing for Carlos Santana and Jason Castro, two disappointments thus far. Evan Gattis in on rehab assignment now and if he gets back soon, should not see a huge drop in his first half numbers. The wild cards are players like Devin Mesoraco and Wilson Ramos. One is emerging and the other just needs to stay on the field. Below are my rankings for catchers for the second half of the season. I will be wrong, Wilin Rosario will not be hitting 30 home runs this year or ever, but I think there are emerging players who are worth a shot. As always these are up for debate.

My top 20 post-ASB catcher:
1. Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee – I believe as should you
2. Salvador Perez – Kansas City – Any uptick in power is a plus
3. Devin Mesoraco – Cincinnati – No Dusty to screw him up, watch him emerge
4. Carlos Santana – Cleveland – Still think he is a buy low, real low
5. Buster Posey – San Francisco – Solid, but not number one anymore
6. Wilson Ramos – Washington – Hit 16 HR in 287 AB in 2013, health risk though
7. Evan Gattis – Atlanta – Power is legit, hope back holds up
8. Yan Gomes – Cleveland – Very underrated but helps across the board
9. Miguel Montero – Arizona – Could be a trade target for St. Louis
10. Wilin Rosario – Colorado – Better days should be ahead, but not elite
11. Russell Martin – Pittsburgh – A poor man’s Lucroy as he adds steals but an average risk
12. Brian McCann – New York Yankees – Still has power but the shift is killing him
13. Jason Castro – Houston – Bounce back candidate in second half
14. Stephen Vogt – Oakland – Has hit his way into the lineup a 2H sleeper
15. Travis d’Arnaud – New York Mets – Has mashed since his demotion/promotion, sleeper
16. Mike Zunino – Seattle – Power is real but his batting average weighs it down
17. Kurt Suzuki – Minnesota – Just the opposite, has the average but little power
18. Derek Norris – Oakland – Great first half but wrong side of platoon and back worries
19. John Jaso – Oakland – Solid but Vogt is pushing his way ahead of Jaso
20. Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Miami – Solid #2 catcher but that is his upside

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

Statistical credits: Fangraphs.com (including the ZiPS Projections), Baseball-reference.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/z8UxPA

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 04/01

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: https://www.fanduel.com/?invitedby=rickygangster&cnl=da – 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

Here are my thoughts on a few of the starts.

C.J. Wilson is my go to Starting Pitcher today. Over the last 3 years he is 8-2 with a 2.14 ERA with 77 Ks against the Mariners. The success and the volume is there and is an easy start today.

Aaron Hill vs. Matt Cain – Hill is hitting .333 (9/27) with a HR and 3 RBIs in his career against Cain.

André Ethier vs. Ian Kennedy – hitting .357 (10/28) with 2 HRs and 5 RBIs. Nice sample size here and the $3200 price tag is rather cheap.

Mark Trumbo – He has started the 2014 season red-hot with 6 RBIs in his 1st 3 games. I like him a ton today.

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

2014 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings

MLB season is upon us and Fantasy Baseball is back and better than ever! I am here to unveil my 2014 Fantasy Baseball rankings. Over the course of the next few weeks I will be providing my rankings, sleepers and answering 5 questions about each position. All in hopes of getting you ready for any of the upcoming Fantasy drafts you have. Today we start with Catchers.

2014 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings (as of 2/17/14)

Rank Player Team
1 Buster Posey SF
2 Yadier Molina STL
3 Carlos Santana CLE
4 Joe Mauer MIN
5 Jonathan Lucroy MIL
6 Brian McCann NYY
7 Salvador Perez KC
8 Wilin Rosario COL
9 Wilson Ramos WAS
10 Evan Gattis ATL
11 Matt Wieters BAL
12 Jason Castro HOU
13 Miguel Montero ARI
14 Carlos Ruiz PHI
15 A.J. Pierzynski  BOS
16 Yan Gomes CLE
17 Russell Martin PIT
18 Devin Mesoraco CIN
19 Jarrod Saltalamacchia MIA
20 Alex Avila DET
21 Travis d’Arnaud NYM
22 Dioner Navarro TOR
23 Mike Zunino  SEA
24 Welington Castillo CHC
25 A.J. Ellis LAD

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 and I will answer any and all questions.

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