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!

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The Fantasy Forecaster: Baseball 9/3/14

Ricky and Tim are back with another episode of The Fantasy Forecaster: Baseball! In this episode, they discuss H2H playoff tips and tricks, James Paxton, Carlos Carrasco, Buster Posey, Mookie Betts and much more! Of course, the show includes a visit from Jeff of the Infirmary Report as he outlines all of the injury news around the league.

You can stream on-demand here.

You can also subscribe/download on iTunes here. Leave a rating, don’t be shy!

Make sure to follow Timothy (@TKing978), Ricky (@rickygangster) and Jeff (@InfirmaryReport) on Twitter!

The guys will be back next week (September 10) with their final show of the season, with a look-ahead to 2015 and beyond. Get your keeper questions in on Twitter using the #TSS tag.

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

Top DFS Plays for 08/25/14

*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:

Evan Longoria vs. Chris Tillman – hitting .433 (13/30) with 2 2Bs, 5 HRs, 7 RBIs & 3 BBs
Longo went yard this year against Tillman this year already, can he do it again? I sure think so.

Toronto Blue Jays stack vs. Clay Buchholz – They have destroyed Clay this season. In 4 starts he has given up 18 ERs, 3 bombs and 13 BBs. I would start Adam Lind, Joey Bats and wouldn’t be scared to toss in Navarro or Reyes either.

Allen Craig vs. J.A. Happ – hitting .600 (6/10) with a 2B, 2 HRs & 6 RBIs

Derek Norris vs. Scott Feldman – hitting .714 (5/7) with a HR, 2 RBIs & 2 BBs

Buster Posey vs. Tyler Matzek – Posey hits LHP really well and RHH are hitting .308 with 7 Bombs against Matzek, as easy as 1 + 1 folks.

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Evan Longoria

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

Boy these pitching matchups kind of suck today. 10 games today limits the matchup but here is who I am tossing out today.

John Lackey vs. Milwaukee Brewers – Back to back solid starts for Lackey after the beat down by the O’s. Not the best matchup but probably my favorite of the slate today.

Follow me on Twitter @Rickygangster!

Top DFS Plays for 08/01/14

*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:

Matt Carpenter vs. Wily Peralta – hitting .417 (5/12) with a 2B, a HR, RBI and 3 walks

Buster Posey vs. Jonathon Niese – hitting .400 (6/15) with 2 2B, a HR, 2 RBI and a walk
Posey is hitting .316 against LHP as well as .340 on the road this season.

Paul Goldschmidt vs. Edinson Volquez – hitting .500 (7/14) with 4 2B, a HR, 4 RBI and 3 walks

Andrew McCutchen vs. Vidal Nuno – hitting .500 (1/2) with a walk
Small sample size but right-handers are taking advantage of Nuno, hitting .281 with 16 HR. Love this matchup for Cutch.

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Andrew McCutchen

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

Chris Sale vs. Minnesota Twins – Sale vs. Twins in 2014: 15 1/3 innings, 10 hits, 3 runs, 20 K and 3 walks = START HIM TODAY!

Trailer of the Day: Gone Girl – This looks like a fantastic film, I can’t wait! I am a big Ben Affleck fan and really look forward to seeing him play this role.

Follow Ricky 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)

Top DFS Plays for 07/24/14

*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:

Adrian Beltre vs. Brandon McCarthy – hitting .424 (14/33) with 4 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI and a walk

Buster Posey vs. Cole Hamels – hitting .636 (7/11) with 4 2B, a HR and 5 RBI
Posey is hitting .318 vs. LHP this season.

Braves stack (Gattis, Freeman, Johnson, & Heyward) vs. Henderson Alvarez – All hitting above .400 against him this season
BJ might even be a sneaky play today as he hit a 3-run shot off Alvarez in their 1st matchup of the season.

Omar Infante vs. Corey Kluber – hitting .357 (5/14) with 2 2B, 1 RBI and a walk

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Evan Gattis

Top DFS pitcher for today:

Tim Hudson vs. Philadelphia Philies – Hudson is 3-1 with a 3.13 ERA and 17 K in 5 starts over the last 3 seasons at Citizen Bank Park.

TV Show of the Day: Suits – This show is not watched by enough people. It’s been one of the best shows for years now. If you haven’t watched it yet, start from the beginning.

Follow Ricky on Twitter @Rickygangster!

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

5 Questions Surrounding Fantasy Baseball 1st Baseman

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 me (Ricky Valero), Matt Wincherauk, Matt Bell and special guest Ricky Sanders (@RsandersFR) from Fakeroundball.com ( @FakeRoundball) as we are going to take a look at the 1st base.

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy 1st Baseman

1 – Which player or players are you targeting?

R. Sanders – Early in the draft, I love Cabrera and Goldschmidt, but think Encarnacion comes at a much better value with an ADP of 14 picks later. I rank Encarnacion in my top 8 overall. However, the player I’m targeting the most at the first base position is Matt Adams. With a full-time gig locked up, I expect huge numbers in his second season. Others I like at their ADP: Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Trumbo, Jose Abreu and Napoli.

Ricky – Of course if you have the likes of Paul Goldschmidt (my 3rd overall player) or Chris Davis, you’d be set at the position. But one guy I am targeting is Prince Fielder. He moves to hitter friendly park in Texas and he will have Beltre hitting behind him as well. Fielder will have a monster season.

Matt Wincherauk – I want Prince Fielder. The power hitting big man should benefit greatly from moving to Arlington, a place that he probably should’ve gone to in the first place. The Rangers offense looks to poised to rip through the entire AL and Prince will be one of the big catalysts.

Matt Bell – I think you have to say everyone is going to be looking at Paul Goldschmidt as their top 1B this year in fantasy, but for me if I can’t snag him early it’s going to be Prince Fielder. I think his value has dropped a little after a down year for him. He’s going to be playing in Arlington now and that is a hitter’s park, so I expect his homerun numbers to go up this year. If I can get Fielder a couple of rounds after Goldy goes I’ll be a very happy fantasy player.

2 – Which player are you staying away from?

R. Sanders – Pujols’ bad foot has me worried about his prospects once again this season. He’s no longer the .300/30/100 guarantee he was at the beginning of his career. I’d rather take Allen Craig and Adrian Gonzalez who are going later.

Ricky – Joey Votto – While the runs and hits were nice he had a huge dip in his ISO, BABIP, OBP and SLG which all are cause for concern. While he has potential to be a solid Fantasy contributor I for one am staying away this season.

Matt Wincherauk – Adrian Gonzalez is who I’m going to be avoiding for the most part. He’s experienced big time drop offs in his power in the past few years, ironically ever since he left Petco Park and went to Fenway. He’ll give a good average, but I want more out of a higher pick.

Matt Bell – I don’t care where the value is in Albert Pujols, but I’m staying as far away from him as possibly this year. He’s been awful for the most part since leaving St. Louis and I’m just not willing to take a chance on him this year. He’s going to have to stay healthy before I’ll consider him in future fantasy drafts.

3 – Who is the biggest sleeper heading into 2014?

R. Sanders – The biggest sleeper, like I mentioned in the opening, is Matt Adams. If you already drafted Adams and wanted another shot in the dark, I’d recommend Brandon Belt. This year, he should surpass his career high 509 AB from last year which could result in a .285+ BA/20+ HR/10+ STL type season. His current ADP is 137.

Ricky – Jose Abreu – While a ton of people won’t know who he is entering draft day, they really should. This guy can hit the ball and will do so this season. During the 2010-11 Cuban National Series He hit .453 with 79 runs, 93 RBI and 33 home runs in only 66 games. I like him to have a 20-25 HR season and finish among the top 1st baseman in 2014.

Matt Wincherauk – Jose Abreu is a popular choice, and for good reason. He may be unproven, but he’s got all the tools that made a guy like Yasiel Puig a megastar in an instant.

Matt Bell – The biggest sleeper this year is going to be Matt Adams as we saw some small flashes of what he could do last year when given playing time. The Cardinals have made room for him to be an everyday player now which makes him someone I will be very high on this year at the 1B position.

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

R Sanders – Besides Pujols, I think taking Chris Davis inside the top 10 could result in a big fantasy bust. 53 HR could very easily end up being a career high for Davis. I don’t like taking a player who most likely won’t produce élite batting average, steals or runs scored numbers that early. If his HR/RBI numbers drop to around 35/100, he wasn’t worth the price. I feel more comfortable taking him in the second round.

Ricky – Chris Davis – People will draft him off what he did last year and rightfully so but I think he sees a decline in the numbers but still has a solid season. But he just doesn’t match his number to justify a 1st round selection.

Matt Wincherauk – Mark Trumbo is my choice here. He’s been on the decline for a few years here in terms of his plate discipline and his average as well. He’s not someone who I’m going to trust, and looks prime to be a bust.

Matt Bell – The player I’m fully expecting to be a bust this year will be Chris Davis. He will still have a good year I believe, but nowhere near the type of season he had last year. I’ve saw him going in the 1st round of some mock drafts and he will not live up to that position. I won’t be surprised to see him struggle to hit 40 home runs next year.

5 – Give a bold prediction for one player.

R Sanders – My bold prediction is for Matt Adams. With a full season of playing time, I think he could go .285, 30, 100 RBI with around 85 runs. I rank him inside my top 10 at first base even though 14 are being drafted before him at the position.

Ricky – Albert Pujols will hit 34 HRs this season. I think he still has a few good seasons left in him and coming off an injury/disappointing season, he should bounce back well.

Matt Wincherauk – Paul Goldschmidt will lead the NL in both homeruns, and RBIs and will fall short of the triple crown only in the average area. That is arguably the next best all-around hitter besides Miguel Cabrera.

Matt Bell – The bold prediction for the 1B position is that Anthony Rizzo will bounce back in a huge way this year hitting over 30 home runs and have an average of around .290 on the year.

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.

Want to help support the Sports Script? You ever buy anything from Amazon? Just use our link and we get a little kick back to support the site! Sports Script Amazon Link

2014 Fantasy Baseball 1st Base Rankings

MLB season is upon us and Fantasy Baseball is back and better than ever! Over the next few weeks we are planning on getting you ready for any of the upcoming Fantasy drafts that you have. This week we are sending out our initial 2014 rankings that we will updated as Spring Training progresses. The week after we are going to answer 5 questions about each position as well as giving you some insight into some players that we like as well. Matt Bell joins me today as we unveil our 1st base rankings as well as take a look at one guy we like higher than his ADP and one we have lower than his ADP.

2014 Fantasy Baseball 1st Base rankings (as of 02/18/14)

Ricky Valero Matt Bell
Rank Player  Player
1 Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt
2 Chris Davis  Prince Fielder
3 Prince Fielder Joey Votto
4 Edwin Encarnacion Freddie Freeman
5 Joey Votto Allen Craig
6 Freddie Freeman Chris Davis
7 Adrian Gonzalez Edwin Encarnacion 
8 Eric Hosmer Eric Hosmer
9 Albert Pujols Adrian Gonzalez
10 Buster Posey Buster Posey
11 Allen Craig Mark Trumbo
12 Brandon Belt Anthony Rizzo
13 Carlos Santana Brandon Belt
14 Mark Trumbo Carlos Santana
15 Jose Abreau Ryan Howard
16 Mark Teixeira Albert Pujols
17 Anthony Rizzo Matt Adams
18 Brandon Moss Mark Teixeira
19 Matt Adams Mike Napoli
20 Kendrys Morales Brandon Moss
21 James Loney James Loney
22 Mike Napoli Jose Abreu
23 Adam Lind Justin Morneau
24 Justin Morneau Kendry Morales
25 Ryan Howard Adam Lind
26 Yonder Alonso Yonder Alonso
27 Corey Hart Chris Carter
28 Adam LaRoche Adam LaRoche
29 Ike Davis Cory Hart
30 Chris Carter Ike Davis

Why I ranked (blank) higher than his Current ADP (ADP average comes from the rankings at Fantasypros.com)

Ricky – Adrian Gonzalez – He has an ADP of 11th overall at 1st base and I have him sitting at #7. Gonzalez has been very consistent fantasy option over the last 3 seasons averaging .310, 190 hits, 22 HRs, 108 RBIs and 84 runs. While he doesn’t show the power he once had, he is in a very potent offense in which he is batting cleanup in and he should easily see his numbers duplicate what they were a year ago.

Matt Bell – Allen Craig is a guy I’m higher on that most people as he’s 5th in my ranking while carrying an ADP of 11th among 1B. Craig missed some time due to injury, but if he can stay healthy at his age I think he can carry your fantasy team. He’s hit for an average of .306 in his career and could go over 100 RBI’s this year in the Cardinals Line up.

Why I ranked (blank) lower than his current ADP.

Ricky – Anthony Rizzo – Current ADP is 15th and I have him ranked 17th. It’s really not that much of difference but he has a big upside to him if he lowers his strike outs. I don’t see that happening. In his 1st full season he struck out far too much for my likening and honestly would rather have a guy like Jose Abreu or Brandon Belt who are being drafted 2-3 round later.

Matt Bell – Albert Pujols has a ADP of place 7 while in my rankings you will find him ranked 16th. I’m not high on Pujols at all this year as he’s battled injuries the last year and is only getting older. I firmly believe there is something wrong with him that will keep him from ever performing at the high levels he use to. Is Albert Pujols going to be a terrible player this year? No, probably not, but he’s going to hit .300 and justify a top 5 round pick in my book.

Yesterday I started with my Catchers and you can check them out here:  http://wp.me/p2MUTr-BY

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 Matt Bell @Mattbell211 and we will answer any and all questions.

Want to help support the Sports Script? You ever buy anything from Amazon? Just use our link and we get a little kick back to support the site! Sports Script Amazon Link