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

Miggy's health will go a long way to determining his value in 2015.
Miggy’s health will go a long way in determining his 2015 value

Early average draft position results are not the bible, but in the midst of preseason rankings it helps to see where players are being selected. There is controversy every year, whether it be concerns over “fat” Mike Trout, where Kershaw will go or Miguel Cabrera’s health. Things have been quiet in Detroit and if the Tigers are indeed going for it this year, Cabrera will play. He proved that by playing hurt throughout September while putting up an epic stat line for the month:

Miguel Cabrera September 2014: 19 R, 8 HR, 18 RBI, .379/.409/.709, 1.118 OPS, 214 wRC+

The concern with Cabrera has gone from whether he should be the top pick to how far he falls in mocks. Early indications seem to suggest it is not as far as I would like, but I have seen him go in mocks as far back as number 8. Is there risk involved? Of course, but if he is on the field for the whole season he’ll be more than fine. Outside of Cabrera, a healthy Paul Goldschmidt and the return of old favorites Prince Fielder and Joey Votto make the position deep once again. In fact, it looks like power at the position can be had throughout. Anthony Rizzo seems primed to take another step forward and is climbing up rankings and draft lists. First base is making a comeback as a position of elite fantasy production.

On the other end of the spectrum is third base. With the loss of Miguel Cabrera and the lack of production top to bottom along with the volatility of the players at the position, it will be a tough sea to navigate this year. In looking at early data, it seems like you’ll have to take a third baseman in the top-100. Otherwise, just fill the position late and hope it pans out. In dealing with corner infielders, it appears most teams will be grabbing from the first base pool but there could be an advantage gained by grabbing two strong third baseman early and thinning the pool for your competitors if you can grab a Josh Donaldson and a Kyle Seager. This means another guy in your league may be forced to roster a Mike Moustakas at third, yuck. Have a plan and if you can force a run, it opens opportunity for you to get what you want. For starters, here are the first baseman taken in the top 200 in money NFBC drafts thus far:

1B NFBC ADP

There has never been a time to get such value on players like Prince Fielder and Joey Votto, but do you want to? If you could see their credentials without the names attached, would that change your mind? With credit to Matthew Berry of ESPN, I love his use of blind analysis to take the name value out of the equation and simply focus on the numbers. I will use Steamer projections as a guide for this exercise:

Player A: 79 R, 20 HR, 71 RBI, 4 SB, .280/.409/.473
Player B: 77 R, 23 HR, 73 RBI, 6 SB, .270/.349/.464

Sure, you are giving up some OBP and a pittance in slugging percentage but are the numbers really that different? Drafters say yes since player A is being drafted on average at pick number 79.85 while player B is outside of the top 200. One more:

Player C: 73 R, 20 HR, 79 RBI, 2 SB, .295/.353/.484
Player D: 81 R, 24 HR, 86 RBI, 1 SB, .282/.380/.483

Player D is going at pick number 69 and player C is being selected on average at pick 166.69, I cannot make this up. I sort of played my hand in the intro to this exercise but here are the players:

Player A: Joey Votto
Player B: Steve Pearce
Player C: Justin Morneau
Player D: Prince Fielder

See what I am saying? If I put those names in front of you without the numbers are you changing how you look at them? Something to think about. Just like with Miguel Cabrera, until he comes out and says he is hampered by the injury and may miss time, I am taking him. If he is there at pick 8, I will be ecstatic. I do like Freddie Freeman and he had an impressive 2014 but have you looked at the lineup surrounding him? There are several other players I like more than most, too. Carlos Santana is one of them. If left alone to play first base after the failed move to third should bounce back this year. He’ll be third base eligible in 2015 too! Adam LaRoche is a forgotten entity as well. He’s in Chicago now, hitting after Jose Abreu and will hit 30 home runs this year. I’ll pass on Joey Votto and Prince Fielder. Let them be someone else’s problem, I just can’t trust either slugger. Here are the top 20 first baseman taken in the first 200 with their Steamer projections included. I highlighted the leaders in the four counting statistical categories as well:

1B Steamer Projections

While first base is getting deeper, third base is as murky as the situation in New York. With the pending return of Alex Rodriguez and his albatross of a contract, the Yankees signed Chase Headley to a four-year pact. If you want to take a chance on A-Rod being a fantasy asset in 2015, be my guest, but I will be watching from afar. Anthony Rendon was a favorite target of mine in 2014 due to his value in drafts but the gig is up. Rendon is going at pick number 14 in the drafts used for this article and that may be too steep a price. Like Carlos Santana, Rendon does have dual eligibility along with Todd Frazier but people may be pushing them up too far. Don’t get me wrong, Rendon has the talent and lineup to be successful but there are warning signs about taking him too soon. He hit 21 home runs in 2014 but 12 of them are rated “just enough” and of those 12, 3 more had “lucky” attached as well. I am not saying he will regress but to plan on more than 18 home runs may be aggressive.

Donaldson and his fantasy value head north with his trade to Toronto.
Donaldson and his fantasy value head north with his trade to Toronto

I think Josh Donaldson’s move to Toronto should allow him to thrive and finish as fantasy’s top third baseman in 2015. However, he is being taken at the end of the second or beginning of the third in NFBC money drafts. This number may climb but if it does not, pounce. Here are what the ADP’s for third baseman look like so far:

3B NFBC ADP

It seems that Evan Longoria is finally being valued correctly, but look at the precipitous drop for David Wright. He is teetering at the edge of the top 100 which means he is finally a value pick. But is this name value again? He is an injury risk but the Mets should have a chance to at least compete for a wild card spot with the pitching depth they have. How about another blind comparison?

Player A: 69 R, 17 HR, 68 RBI, 6 SB, .257/.343/.413
Player B: 67 R, 16 HR, 66 RBI, 9 SB, .275/.347/.432

Not too far apart on value but player B is on the outside of the top 200 even after Martin Prado while player A is David Wright. Player B is his New York counterpart. Yes, Chase Headley. Here are the Steamer projections for the third baseman drafted in the top 200:
3B Steamer Projections

Navigating third base will be interesting but while some values exist, people will be reaching for name value like Evan Longoria and Chris Carpenter. One surprise is Kris Bryant going at pick number 105 without yet being named the starting third baseman for the Cubs. Could he return a profit at this spot? Yes, but that is a fine line to walk. I like Nolan Arenado to take a step forward this year but so does everyone else. Kyle Seager should thrive in the improved Seattle lineup and he was already profiled here. If healthy, Manny Machado is a steal at 148.69. Players outside of the top 200 that I like include Nick Castellanos, Aramis Ramirez and Jake Lamb.

Corner infield is setting itself up for a bounce back in 2015 but there are as many questions as there are locks. Good luck avoiding the land mines. Throw name value out the window and try to see a player for who he really is using the numbers.

Statistical credits: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com, NFBC.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/VEC1jj (Cabrera), http://goo.gl/IBmCX9 (Donaldson)

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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Fantasy Forward: 3B In Transition

No Nolan, you are the man with 7 HR's and 20 RBI over the last 30 days. Do not sleep on him in 2015
No Nolan, you are the man! With 7 HR and 20 RBI over the last 30 days, do not sleep on him in 2015

“Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want.”
Kristin Armstrong

After tracking the improvements of Nolan Arenado and Nick Castellanos recently, I decided to take a look at fantasy’s position in transition. While closers cause owners to chase saves, the dearth of solid third baseman left for fantasy purposes forced many tough decisions on draft and auction days in 2014. It pushed players like Evan Longoria and David Wright up in the rankings due to the “positional scarcity” that was projected at the position. While the scarcity argument may have had some basis for discussion, some players like Aramis Ramirez were overlooked. He did make a trip to the DL in 2014 but his production has not slipped. In fact, when I looked at the last 365 days, he is in the top two using advanced stats like wOBA (weighted on base average) and wRC+ (weighted runs created). Before delving into those stats, here are the top 12 third baseman according to Fantasy Pros aggregate ADP tracker:

Average ADP for 3B in 2014 Drafts:
1. Adrian Beltre (12)
2. Evan Longoria (19)
3. David Wright (21)
4. Matt Carpenter (56)
5. Josh Donaldson (65)
6. Ryan Zimmerman (67)
7. Carlos Santana (71)
8. Pedro Alvarez (76)
9. Kyle Seager (99)
10. Martin Prado (115)
11. Manny Machado (128)
12. Pablo Sandoval (131)

There are pretty standard decisions above and most of the picks will not cost in the pursuit of a fantasy title. However, the injury concerns that caused gamers to avoid Aramis Ramirez were ignored by the Ryan Zimmerman sympathizers. This will also call into question how to value Manny Machado going forward now that he has injured both of his knees. Due to the drop in power around the league, many reached for Pedro Alvarez regardless of his drain on batting average. Matt Carpenter was a great story and value in 2013, but that also swung his returns to pretty much nil in this year’s drafts. So as not to create a recent bias, I will look at the last 365 days (statistical year) for the third baseman next.

3B Ranks for the last 365 Days:
1. Aramis Ramirez: 132 G, 61 R, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 3 SB, 309/359/490, wOBA .374, wRC+ 135
2. Adrian Beltre: 50 G, 80 R, 22 HR, 81 RBI, 2 SB, 310/370/482, wOBA .368, wRC+ 129
3. Josh Donaldson: 159 G, 105 R, 32 HR, 109 RBI, 10 SB, 263/352/484, wOBA .365, wRC+ 137
4. Matt Carpenter: 163 G, 115 R, 9 HR, 65 RBI, 7 SB, 295/388/422, wOBA .361, wRC+ 132
5. Todd Frazier: 157 G, 84 R, 28 HR, 84 RBI, 18 SB, 272/329/462, wOBA .347, wRC+ 120
6. Pablo Sandoval: 157 G, 69 R, 19 HR, 75 RBI, 286/340/447, wOBA .343, wRC+ 125
7. Anthony Rendon: 150 G, 98 R, 17 HR, 78 RBI, 12 SB, 276/334/447, wOBA .341, wRC+ 117
8. Kyle Seager: 161 G, 63 R, 22 HR, 88 RBI, 8 SB, 253/330/427, wOBA .334, wRC+ 114
9. Chase Headley: 133 G, 49 R, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 8 SB, 248/353/391, wOBA .323, wRC+ 108
10. Evan Longoria: 166 G, 86 R, 23 HR, 90 RBI, 4 SB, 255/327/412, wOBA .322, wRC+ 108
11. Trevor Plouffe: 143 G, 63 R, 11 HR, 69 RBI, SB, 258/319/399, wOBA .317, wRC+ 100
12. David Wright: 126 G, 50 R, 10 HR, 60 RBI, 6 SB, 270/330/383, wOBA .315, wRC+ 104

Due to positional scarcity, David Wright and Evan Longoria were taken in very early in drafts earlier this year. Part name brand and part scarcity, but neither is justifying their draft price. The chart below, which highlights how qualified third basemen have performed over the last 30 days may be a great parameter on how to value players at the position entering 2015. A premium will be placed on third base prospects Kris Bryant (Cubs) and Joey Gallo (Rangers) as we await their debuts. Miguel Sano was drafted late this year with the hopes his power would be promoted by June but an injury took him out for the year. If the Phillies decide to rebuild next year, Maikel Franco should also benefit from a chance to play in the majors. All hope for the position has not been lost as young players like Nolan Arenado and Nick Castellanos are starting to show signs in the second half of breakout potential for next year. Todd Frazier is another player to watch moving ahead, he’s had an MVP-caliber season to date and it will be interesting to see if he can continue that into next season. Frazier, Josh Donaldson and Anthony Rendon are the only third baseman to have double-digit home runs and steals over the last statistical year, which bodes well for their production moving forward. Here are the rankings for the last thirty days:

3B Last 30 Days
1. Nolan Arenado: 20 R, 7 HR, 20 RBI, 333/410/618
2. Josh Harrison: 22 R, 5 HR, 9 RBI, 6 SB, 328/361/578
3. Josh Donaldson: 13 R, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 4 SB, 284/410/484
4. Matt Carpenter: 18 R, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 2 SB, 310/402/500
5. Aramis Ramirez: 9 R, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 337/356/480
6. Yangervis Solarte: 17 R, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 283/370/413
7. Adrian Beltre: 11 R, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 287/368/406
8. Nick Castellanos: 7 R, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 247/301/481
9. Kyle Seager: 12 R, 3 HR, 14 RBI, SB, 273/339/414
10. David Freese: 9 R, HR, 7 RBI, 286/340/417
11. Anthony Rendon: 19 R, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 4 SB, 269/326/420
12. Pablo Sandoval: 12 R, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 288/321/394

For next season, I’ll be avoiding Longoria and Wright while enjoying the safety of Adrian Beltre. I see myself heavily targeting Nolan Arenado, Anthony Rendon, Nick Castellanos and Kyle Seager in 2015. Getting an early look at how these players are trending is always interesting. I definitely predict seeing gamers continue to reach for third baseman next year thanks to the scarcity trend, but there are players to be had and help on the way in the minor leagues. Third base is in a down cycle, but that should be changing soon.

Statistical credits: Fangraphs.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/wDFYnx

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

Be sure to check for our articles and more at FantasyRundown.com, your one stop shop for the best fantasy content from around the web!

Script Splits: Using Advanced Stats to Rank 3B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top DFS Plays for 07/21/14

*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:

Carlos Gomez vs. Mat Latos – hitting .400 (8/20) with a 2B, a 3B, 2 HR and 7 RBI

David Freese vs. Bud Norris – hitting .389 (7/18) with 2 2B, 2 RBI and 2 walks
Freese is hitting pretty well in the month of July, take advantage of this and get a cheaply priced 3B option today.

Paul Goldschmidt vs. Justin Verlander – no previous history
Goldy will take JV deep, book it!

Tigers RH hitters (Kinsler, Miggy, Torii, Ajax & JD) stack against Vidal Nuno
RHH against Nuno – .283 with 14 HR, 42 RBI and 18 walks

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

Chris Sale vs. Kansas City Royals – Sale went 8 innings while giving up no runs and only 4 hits in his last start against Kansas City

Movie of the day: The Departed – One of/if not the greatest movie I have ever seen. I love the cast and storyline. If you have not yet seen it, you have really missed out.

Follow Ricky on Twitter @Rickygangster!

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy Baseball 3rd 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 Bell, Matt Wincherauk and special guest Timothy King (@Tking978). Timothy writes over at Rotoanalysis.com (@RotoAnalysis) as well as Fantasysquads.com (@FantasySquads). Make sure to hop on over to twitter and give him a fellow and take a trip on over to the other sites that he writes at.  Today we have lined up to take a look at the 3rd Base position.

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy 3rd baseman

1 – Which player or players are you targeting?

Timothy – Outside of the usual suspects being selected in the first couple of rounds (Beltre, Longoria, Wright), I’m intrigued by Pablo Sandoval’s weight loss and think he bounces back in a big way this season. The underlying data suggests that he made gains in skill in ’13. Recent performance can be attributed to weight issue and nagging injuries. Top 10 3B for me heading into ’14.

Ricky – Adrian Beltre is high on my list and would draft him if I was picking in the middle of the 1st or end of the 1st. Beltre has been one of the most consistent Fantasy baseball hitters over the last few seasons. Ryan Zimmerman is another guy I have an eye on as well after hitting 11 HRs in September giving his 5 season with 25 + homers in his career.

Matt Wincherauk – I’m going to be looking Manny Machado’s way when it comes time to draft. He’s only gotten better every single year, and should continue to be a top flight option at third base. As for his injury, he seems to be way ahead of schedule, potentially even could be ready for opening day and that’s good enough for me to take him as a top 10 third baseman.

Matt Bell – I think without a doubt you have to consider Miguel Cabrera the top pick in any fantasy baseball draft, so he’s a guy I’m targeting. I’ll look past that and look at one of the not so obvious guys at 3rd base that I want. Manny Machado is a guy I’ll do everything I can to get on my fantasy team and with him being so young I’m not worried about him coming off a major injury. Machado is an extra base hit machine and should only get better as he gets older.

2 – Which player are you staying away from?

Timothy – I don’t know if there is necessarily anyone I am staying away from, but Pedro Alvarez seems to be creeping up a lot of people’s draft boards. Sure, the power is nice (he hit 36 home runs in ’13) but he also posted an average just north of .230 and a sub-.300 OBP. I’d rather fill the position early and grab a guy like Adam Dunn in round 22 for empty power.

Ricky – Pedro Alvarez – The power is a wonderful thing to have but his average and his OBP is just brutal. I am not sure it goes up any if at all in 2014. Where he is going to be drafted and where I would draft him are two totally different places this year.

Matt Wincherauk – I’m going to be avoiding Matt Carpenter, because I just don’t trust him to duplicate what he did last season. His 126 runs scored, and .318 average are probably not sustainable, so it’s not that he’s a bad option, it’s just that he’s bad value with how high he’s going to go.

Matt Bell – The player I’m staying away from this year at 3rd base is Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez is 35 years old this year and after an injury prone 2013 he’s not a good I’m going to target at all this year. Ramirez had his worst season batting average wise and in slugging percentage of the last 3 years. I see this as the decline of a once all-star 3rd baseman.

3 – Who is the biggest sleeper heading into 2014?

Timothy – Outside of the aforementioned Sandoval, I think both Headley and Seager could prove to be value picks. Seager is one of the few Mariners prospects to have panned out in recent seasons and I think he can build upon his 22 homer, 9 steal 2013. Headley busted out in 2012 only to be a massive failure last season, but if we average the two seasons together (which judging by his metrics seems reasonable) he’ll be a top 10 option as well. I like Headley to hit 17 homers and swipe 12 or so bags.

Ricky – Chase Headley – I really liked him to have a monster season last year and he just was a complete dud. But I believe 2014 should be much nicer to him as he looked better down the stretch last year hitting .280 with 6 HRS and 19 RBIs. Look for him to continue where he left off last season.

Matt Wincherauk – I feel like Brett Lawrie is going to be a solid sleeper pick for 2014. He’s slipped a bit with some inconsistent play, and injuries, but he’s such a phenomenal talent, and if he continues to drop down boards, then I’d be happy to snatch him up. This could be a break out year for Lawrie, as long as he’s grown up a bit.

Matt Bell – Pablo Sandoval is a guy that I’m targeting as a sleeper for 2014 as he’s been reported as losing as much as 42 pounds this year. I’m not worried about that being muscle because if you’ve seen Pablo you know he had some pounds to lose. If anything I think the loss will help him at the plate and speed everything about his game up. I can see Pablo getting his average back up above .300 like the 2011 season.

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

Timothy – Will Middlebrooks. He doesn’t walk (5.3% BB rate in ’13) and strikes out far too much (over 26% last season) to be a reliable fantasy contributor. Power upside remains, but until he gets his ratios in check he’s going to struggle to hit big league pitching.

Ricky – Evan Longoria – Playing in his 1st full season since 2010, Longoria hit some high and some lows. He hit 32 HRs (2nd best of his career) but struck out a career high 162 times. He had the 4th highest K% (23.4%) of all 3rd baseman and saw his HR/FB% (15.7%) drop to a 4 year low. He is going higher than I would want for someone who may be on the downside.

Matt Wincherauk – I have Aramis Ramirez as my bust. He’s now 36 years old, coming off an injury plagued season, so I just can’t feel like I can trust him. There’s no chance to me that he gets back to that 25 homerun plateau.

Matt Bell – Pedro Alvarez will be targeted by many fantasy players because of the 36 home runs he hit last year. There is more to a fantasy player than just home runs though for the yearly teams. He only hits for an average around .240 and more than likely is going to hit closer to 25-30 home runs then above 35.

5 – Give a bold prediction for one player.

Timothy – Josh Donaldson sees his batting average fall 40 points and hits .261 in ’14. Donaldson isn’t a top 10 option for fantasy owners this season.

Ricky – Timothy has a very upsetting Bold Prediction as I love Donaldson this year but I like Aramis Ramirez to bounce back and hit over .300 and hit 30+ homers.

Matt Wincherauk – I’ll go with Pablo Sandoval getting 25 homeruns, 90+ RBI all while maintaining a solid .280 batting average. He’s finally in shape and should mean that he’ll get more games than he has in any of his previous years.

Matt Bell – The Bold predictions for my 3rd baseman this year is that Miguel Cabrera will fall off a little this year and not come close to competing for a triple crown this year. I can’t pin point one name that I think will overtake him, but I just think we will see a small decline in his production

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 3rd 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 will be 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 is joining me today as we rank 3rd Baseman 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 3rd Base Rankings (as of 02/20/14)

Rank Ricky Valero Matt Bell
1 Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera
2 Adrian Beltre Adrian Beltre
3 David Wright Matt Carpenter
4 Josh Donaldson David Wright
5 Evan Longoria Manny Machado
6 Matt Carpenter Evan Longoria
7 Ryan Zimmerman Josh Donaldson
8 Pedro Alvarez Ryan Zimmerman
9 Manny Machado Pablo Sandoval
10 Kyle Seager Kyle Seager
11 Pablo Sandoval Chase Headley
12 Chase Headley Pedro Alvarez
13 Brett Lawrie Nolan Arenado
14 Aramis Ramirez Will Middlebrooks
15 Martin Prado Brett Lawrie
16 Todd Frazier Aramis Ramirez
17 Nolan Arenado Martin Prado
18 Chris Johnson Chris Johnson
19 Will Middlebrooks Todd Frazier
20 Xander Bogaerts  Xander Bogaerts
21 David Freese Matt Dominguez
22 Matt Dominquez David Freese
23 Mike Moustakas Mike Moustakas
24 Cody Asche Trevor Plouffe
25 Trevor Plouffe Cody Asche

Guy ranked higher than his Current ADP (ADP is being provided from Fantasypros.com)

Ricky  Josh Donaldson – Current ADP 7 – I have him ranked 4th – Donaldson had a career season last year hitting .301 with 24 HR and 93 RBIs. He hit well on both sides of the break last season, showing that he wasn’t a fluke. Donaldson will again prove to be a top 3rd base option this season. Give me Donaldson over Longoria, Alvarez and Zimmerman in 2014.

Matt Bell – Manny Machado has an ADP of 13th, but you’ll see I’ve got him 5th and this might be my most reach of any guy in my rankings! I love what Machado can do for his team and I feel like people are knocking him down because of his injury to end last season. He’s a young player though and all signs point to him being fully ready to go this season. He carries a nice batting average and can contribute in other categories as well.

Guy I have lower than his current ADP.

Ricky – Evan Longoria – Current ADP 4 – I have him ranked 6th – Longoria had one his worst seasons at the plate since his rookie year. He struck out way too much and showed little patience at the plate. While the HRs may still be there, I think the average stays where it is and he doesn’t fufill his ADP this season.

Matt Bell – Pedro Alvarez falls to 12th in my rankings with a ADP of 9th. I love the Alvarez can hit a ton of home runs, but in reality that is all he does. He doesn’t have the potential to carry you in many categories, but home runs. He can lead the league in home runs, but he may also lead it in strike outs as well.

In case you missed these, here are my Catcher Rankings (http://wp.me/p2MUTr-BY), 1st baseman (http://wp.me/p2MUTr-BZ) and 2nd baseman rankings (http://wp.me/p2MUTr-C2)

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

The Sports Script MLB Offseason Blog by @mattbell211

The MLB off-season is in full swing right now with teams preparing for spring training! I personally can’t wait till February 25th when players must report to spring training, but now is the time for teams to make moves to prepare for a World Series run. The goal of this blog is to simply break down each move that takes place either via trade or free agent signing with a short one to two sentence explanation of how it impacts the upcoming MLB season.

Note: I will only list a signing or trade after it’s been made official with MLB

Note 12/23: The blog has been updated if I’m missing something and you are reading please contact me at my twitter. I apologize for the delay in between updates this time.

Note 1/11: The blog is up to date, but not a log going on.

TRADES

11/21/13 – Detroit Tigers traded 1B Prince Fielder to Texas Rangers for 2B Ian Kinsler

This trade is basically about dumping some money off the books for the Tigers as they also send $30 million to the Rangers with Fielder. The Tigers lose some power in the line up but the money frees them up to sign guys like Max and Miggy in the future which to me is more important. Kinsler is no slouch either and will offer some power in the line up and can play a solid 2nd base. I’m very excited as a baseball fan to see what Fielder can do in Texas at Arlington Stadium which is a hitters park.

Trade Winner: Tigers

11/23/13 – St. Louis Cardinals traded 3B David Freese and RHP Fernando Salas to Los Angeles Angels for CF Peter Bourjos and RF Randal Grichuk.

David Freese was a hometown hero during the 2011 World Series for the Cardinals, but since then he’s done nothing to prove he’s more than an average 3b. He hit just .262 with 9 home runs last year and the Cardinals needed the outfield depth that Bourjos will provide them. The Cardinals now have a solid center fielder in Bourjos who can cover a ton of ground. The Angels hope that last year was just a down year and that they can get the 2011 world series version of David Freese.

Trade Winner: Cardinals

12/2/13 – Detroit Tigers traded RHP Doug Fister to Washington Nationals for LHP Ian Krol, 2B Steve Lombardozzi and LHP Robbie Ray.

I wish I knew what Detroit was thinking here, but I sure don’t! Doug Fister was a solid starter this year for the Tigers earning 14 wins on the years. He’s going to fill in nicely for a Nationals pitching staff that could use some help towards the 4 and 5 starters spots.

Trade Winner: Nationals

12/3/13 – Baltimore Orioles traded RHP Jim Johnson to Oakland Athletics for Player To Be Named Later and 2B Jemile Weeks.

The Orioles could use the second baseman that they got in Weeks, but the whole point of the trade was about saving money. The Orioles would have had to pay a huge amount of money in arbitration and they avoided that by trading him. The Oakland Athletics get a solid closer who had the most saves  over the last two seasons.

Trade Winner: Athletics

12/3/13 – Texas Rangers traded CF Craig Gentry and RHP Josh Lindblom to Oakland Athletics for RF Michael Choice and 2B Chris Bostick.

There is not a lot to say about this trade, but I do like what the Athletics did here. Gentry can be a solid outfielder in the major leagues I believe.

Trade Winner: Athletics

12/3/13 – Colorado Rockies traded Player To Be Named Later and CF Dexter Fowler to Houston Astros for CF Brandon Barnes and RHP Jordan Lyles.

Houston gets a good ball player in Fowler who I don’t think ever got the credit he deserved in Houston. The Rockies pick up a couple nice young ball players in Barnes and Lyles, but they sure are giving up a good one in Fowler.

Trade Winner: Astros

12/5/13 –Milwaukee Brewers traded RF Norichika Aoki to Kansas City Royals for LHP Will Smith.

This is kind of under the radar trade that most people wont care about, but it could be a nice get for the Royals. Aoki is a very solid outfielder hitting .286 with 20 stolen bases last year.

Trade Winner: Royals

12/10/13 – Arizona Diamondbacks traded LF Adam Eaton to Chicago White Sox for LHP Hector Santiago and Player To Be Named Later.Los Angeles Angels traded RF Mark Trumbo and Player To Be Named Later to Arizona Diamondbacks for LHP Hector Santiago and LHP Tyler Skaggs.

(Trumbo goes to Diamondbacks, Santiago and Skaggs to the Angels, and Eaton to the White Sox)

The Diamondbacks get a power bat they’ve been looking for. I know Trumbo has a terrible on base percentage, but he does hit 30 to 40 home runs a year. The Diamondbacks are going to have Goldy and Trumbo hitting back to back which will produce a lot of home runs in that park. The Angels get a couple of young arms to try build a solid pitching staff around. I like what each team did in this trade, but my clear-cut winner is the Diamondbacks.

Trade Winner: Diamondbacks

12/10/13 – Oakland Athletics traded LHP Brett Anderson and cash to Colorado Rockies for LHP Drew Pomeranz and RHPChris Jensen.

Brett Anderson has been a disappointing player because of injuries over his career, but he’s got a ton of upside. The Rockies are hoping he can be the front end starter they need in the rotation and stay healthy. The Athletics clear a spot in their rotation they need after signing Kazmir and acquire some young talent that hopefully help the club in the future.

Trade Winner: Athletics

12/13/13 – Seattle Mariners traded RHP Carter Capps to Miami Marlins for 1B Logan Morrison.

Logan Morrison is the name to know here as he can hit the ball really well at times but is a very streaky hitter. Morrison has some power, but he’s not going to do much other than hold down a outfield spot for the Mariners. The Marlins grab Capps in an effort to boost their rotation with young pitching.

Trade Winner: Mariners

12/16/13 – Chicago White Sox traded RHP Addison Reed to Arizona Diamondbacks  for 3B Matt Davidson

The average fan of baseball probably hasn’t heard much about either of these guys, but they are both solid baseball players. I really like the potential in both guys, but I think the White Sox get a future star in Davidson.

Trade Winner: White Sox

FREE AGENT SIGNINGS

11/12/13 – Philadelphia Phillies signed free agent RF Marlon Byrd.

Byrd adds some power to a Phillies team that could for sure use some help in the lineup. I like the signing for the Phillies, but he’s got to hit like last year for it to be a successful one.

11/13/13 – Oakland Athletics signed free agent SS Nick Punto.

Punto is very solid defensively and adds a nice glove to the infield to help the Athletics out.

11/21/13 – Kansas City Royals signed free agent LHP Jason Vargas.

Vargas just adds to the Royals rotation a veteran pitcher, that really doesn’t help or hurt them.

11/22/13 – Colorado Rockies signed free agent RHP LaTroy Hawkins.

This has home runs written all over it. Hawkins will struggle in Colorado with the  long balls.

11/24/13 – St. Louis Cardinals sign Jhonny Peralta 

I’ll be called a homer here, but I don’t care! I love the signing of Peralta as it gives the Cardinals a power bat from the shortstop position that they have not had in years.

11/25/13 – Cleveland Indians signed free agent OF David Murphy.

Murphy is coming off a down year where only hit for an average of .220 obviously the Indians are hoping they get much better production.

11/26/13 – Cincinnati Reds signed free agent 2B Skip Schumaker

Skip is simply a utility baseball player that will fill in for the Reds at multiple positions through out the year. He’s a decent hitter as well hitting .285 for his career.

11/29/13 – San Fransico Giants agreed to terms with P Ryan Vogelsong

Vogelsong is coming off a year where he had a 5.73 ERA on the year. There is not much to say about a guy coming off that kind of season, but I believe the Giants think he can turn it around and become a solid starting pitcher.

12/3/13 – New York Yankees signed free agent C Brian McCann.

This is a very nice additions for the Yankees, while I still think they over paid for McCann they get a nice left-handed bat. The left-handed power hitting catcher will play nicely with the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium.

12/3/13 – Minnesota Twins signed free agent RHP Ricky Nolasco.

Nolasco is an average pitcher, but he will help a Twins staff that was not very good last year. It’s a good fit for both the team and Nolasco.

12/5/13 – Minnesota Twins signed free agent RHP Phil Hughes.

The Twins are picking up pitchers to fill out the rotation and Hughes is another solid additions. He’s not an ace, but he should make for a decent starter for the Twins.

12/6/13 – Miami Marlins signed free agent C Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Salty is a pretty good catcher and hitter as well. The Marlins need solid baseball players after a horrible year last year and Salty brings a World Series ring with him that could provide leadership to the young guys in Miami.

12/6/13 – Miami Marlins signed free agent SS Rafael Furcal.

Furcal didn’t play last year with injury, but when healthy he’s a pretty good shortstop. He’s not going to provide much pop to the Marlins line up, but he will hold down the SS position with some solid defense.

12/7/13 – New York Yankees signed free agent CF Jacoby Ellsbury.

To date this is the biggest signing to take place as Ellsbury leaves the world champion Red Sox to go to the hated Yankees. Ellsbury is a great ball player when healthy, but the key is when healthy he’s injury prone and the Yankees gave way to much for him to be hurt.

12/7/13 – Boston Red Sox signed free agent RHP Edward Mujica.

Mujica was great for the Cardinals last year to start the year, then it all feel apart for him. I’m not sure how the Red Sox will use him, but i’m sure he will come out of the bullpen as some sort of set up man.

12/7/13 – Los Angeles Dodgers signed free agent RHP Brian Wilson.

THE BEARD IS BACK! The question now is can the beard stay healthy?

12/9/13 – New York Mets signed free agent CF Curtis Granderson.

The Mets make a splash in free agency this year signing one of the best outfielders our there. Granderson spent some time on the DL last year only playing 61 games for the Yankees and hitting .229 with 7 home runs during that time. The Mets are going to need more out of Granderson than 61 games if they are going to compete. 

12/10/13 – Texas Rangers signed free agent C J.P. Arencibia.

I like this signing for the Rangers as Arencibia will be able to back up Soto and can hit for power as well. He’s got the 4th most home runs among active catchers over the last 3 season and should be a decent addition for the Rangers next year.

12/10/13 – Miami Marlins signed free agent 1B Garrett Jones.

I’m a big fan of Garrett Jones and he’s always helped me at times in fantasy, but I’ve got to admit he never got it going last year. The Marlins aren’t a very good team thought, and I”m anxious to see what Jones can do given playing time daily. I’ll revisit this signing during the season and hope Jones is playing solid baseball.

12/11/13 – Detroit Tigers signed free agent LF Rajai Davis.

Rajai is almost an automatic stolen base when he gets on base that is! Davis will likely share time with Andy Dirks and be in the line up when the Tigers are facing a left-handed pitcher.

12/12/13 – Seattle Mariners signed free agent 2B Robinson Cano

Jay-Z done went and got Cano PAID! Cano gets a big deal as it’s not quite the 300 millions we all thought he wanted he still gets 10 years and around 240 million. Cano will struggle to hit home runs as the Safeco filed is not a hitters park. He’s still going to provide an all-star player in Seattle with plenty left in the bat. The Mariners have nothing to lose with this deal, but I still think by about year 6 of this 10 year deal they will regret it.

12/12/13 – Washington Nationals signed free agent LF Nate McLouth.

This signing provides the Nationals with a solid 4th outfielder. McLouth will give them depth at each spot in the outfield and will probably see more at bats than a typical 4th outfielder. The 32-year-old McLouth batted .258/.329/.399 with 12 homers and a career-best 30 stolen bases for the Orioles last season which for sure helps the Nationals.

12/13/13 – Seattle Mariners signed free agent 1B Corey Hart.

I actually like Hart as a solid underrated pick up for the Mariners. He spent much of last season on the DL with an injury but if he can return with a year like he had in 2012 he could be a very nice addition for the Mariners.

12/13/13 – Colorado Rockies signed free agent 1B Justin Morneau.

We know Morneau has some power, so going to Colorado we can expect a few more home runs. I think he’s a nice replacement at 1B for the Rockies and should provide some pop, but I don’t expect anything special.

12/13/13 – Pittsburgh Pirates signed free agent RHP Edinson Volquez.

Volquez is decent, but he’s also a very risky signing. The Pirates were able to turn some pitchers into studs this year thought, so who knows how to judge this signing.

12/14/13 – New York Mets signed free agent RHP Bartolo Colon.

Colon just got paid with this deal. The Mets fans have a had a rough couple of year, so I hope for their sake this works out, but I really think they overpaid for an old pitcher.

12/16/13 –St. Louis Cardinals signed free agent 2B Mark Ellis.

Ellis will play a utility role for the Cardinals this year and I have to say he’s a very solid utility guy. Ellis hit .270 last year for the Dodgers while playing in 126 games. The Cardinals just need him to give guys off throughout the year.

12/16/13 – Kansas City Royals signed free agent 2B Omar Infante.

The Royals probably overpaid for Infante, but to compete they have to overpay for guys. Infante hit .318 last year and will a key piece in the Royals 2014 season.

12/17/13 – San Francisco Giants signed free agent LF Michael Morse

Morse has to stay health for this signing to work out. Morse, if healthy will provide some power to a Giants line up that sure needed it.

12/27/13 – Texas Rangers signed free agent LF Shin-Soo Choo.

The Rangers are making an early push to become the winners of the offseason obviously. That line up in Texas is looking very dangerous and the decision to add Choo is going to add a nice pop. I think Choo can do big things next year in that line up and in the ball park.