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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Script Splits: Using Advanced Stats to Rank 1B

Rizzo's 15.1 AB/HR ranks third for all 1B and his improvement against LHP warrants more attention
Rizzo’s 15.1 AB/HR ranks third for all 1B and his improvement against LHP warrants more attention

After finding some very interesting information while researching what catcher splits can tell us about players, I will continue by focusing on first base today. Not only will the advanced stats and split information tell us what players to target for daily gaming, but it will also help to show what players may be ready for a breakout or better ranking in 2015. In case you missed it here are the five categories the article will explore:

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.

Allowing the numbers to sort out who is excelling in these categories will allow us to see past the counting stats that fantasy gamers rely upon. It is this knowledge that will not only help in daily contests, but evaluating players in future rankings. Following the five lists of statistical rankings, I will compile them into a top twelve list with their yearly stats against each pitching split thus far. Each group has some surprises:

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

wOBA:
1. Paul Goldschmidt .481
2. Steve Pearce .478
3. Anthony Rizzo .432
4. Mike Napoli .410
5. Edwin Encarnacion .400
6. Jonathan Singleton .391
7. Jose Abreu .379
8. Freddie Freeman .379
9. Brandon Moss .371
10. Miguel Cabrera .364
11. Eric Campbell .360
12. Tommy Medica .353

ISO:
1. Steve Pearce .369
2. Edwin Encarnacion .300
3. Jose Abreu .292
4. Jonathan Singleton .283
5. Anthony Rizzo .276
6. Miguel Cabrera .255
7. Mike Morse .250
8. C.J. Cron .229
9. Ryan Howard .221
10. Freddie Freeman .218
11. Paul Goldschmidt .217
12. Albert Pujols .207

OPS:
1. Paul Goldschmidt 1.146
2. Steve Pearce 1.119
3. Anthony Rizzo .997
4. Edwin Encarnacion .938
5. Mike Napoli .924
6. Jose Abreu .916
7. Jonathan Singleton .911
8. Freddie Freeman .865
9. Miguel Cabrera .856
10. Brandon Moss .841
11. Albert Pujols .822
12. Eric Campbell .819

AB/HR:
1. Anthony Rizzo 12.3
2. Jose Abreu 12.7
3. Edwin Encarnacion 14
4. Jonathan Singleton 15.3
5. Ryan Howard 15.8
6. Brandon Moss 17
7. Albert Pujols 19.3
8. Chris Davis 21
9. Freddie Freeman 22
10. Paul Goldschmidt 23
11. Matt Adams 25.3
12. Miguel Cabrera 25.5

wRC+:
1. Paul Goldschmidt 210
2. Steve Pearce 209
3. Anthony Rizzo 177
4. Mike Napoli 161
5. Edwin Encarnacion 154
6. Jonathan Singleton 152
7. Freddie Freeman 143
8. Brandon Moss 141
9. Jose Abreu 140
10. Eric Campbell 134
11. Miguel Cabrera 131
12. Tommy Medica 130

Overall Rankings Based on Aggregate Totals Above:
1. Anthony Rizzo – 98 AB, 20 R, 8 HR, 18 RBI, 306/415/532
2. Edwin Encarnacion – 70 AB, 12 R, 5 HR, 9 RBI, 257/381/557
3. Steve Pearce – 65 AB, 11 R, 6 HR, 12 RBI, 338/411/708
4. Paul Goldschmidt – 69 AB, 13 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 391/538/609
5. Jose Abreu – 89 AB, 9 R, 7 HR, 16 RBI, 281/343/573
6. Jonathan Singleton – 46 AB, 7 R, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 283/346/565
7. Mike Napoli – 84 AB, 13 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 310/448/476
8. Freddie Freeman – 110 AB, 17 R, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 282/365/500
9. Brandon Moss – 68 AB, 9 R, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 279/355/455
10. Miguel Cabrera – 102 AB, 16 R, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 265/336/520
11. Ryan Howard – 95 AB, 13 R, 6 HR, 20 RBI, 232/299/453
12. Albert Pujols – 116 AB, 16 R, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 284/331/491

While I was under the presumption that Edwin Encarnacion and Paul Goldschmidt would be dominant in this particular split, I was shocked that Anthony Rizzo averaged out the best across the five categories above. His hitting this year has been a bit under-appreciated and if he can maintain this growth against left-handed pitching, he may be a steal next year. Another surprise is that Brandon Moss, also a lefty, has as many home runs against southpaws as Miguel Cabrera, in 34 fewer at bats no less. Something is off with Miggy this year. Look at Paul Goldschmidt’s huge OBP and SLG against lefties and know that even though his home run numbers are down, he produces and gets on base against lefties. My last takeaway here is how many left-handed batters appear on this list (5), almost half. It goes against the notion of a true split advantage as seen with the catchers.

First Base versus Right-Handed Pitchers (minimum of 100 plate appearances):

wOBA:
1. Jose Abreu .415
2. Edwin Encarnacion .414
3. Lucas Duda .404
4. Matt Adams .397
5. Miguel Cabrera .391
6. Justin Morneau .390
7. Paul Goldschmidt .389
8. Anthony Rizzo .384
9. Freddie Freeman .373
10. Adrian Gonzalez .373
11. Brandon Moss .369
12. Adam Dunn .368

ISO:
1. Jose Abreu .336
2. Edwin Encarnacion .318
3. Lucas Duda .279
4. Brandon Moss .262
5. Brandon Belt .255
6. Paul Goldschmidt .250
7. Mark Teixeira .245
8. Anthony Rizzo .233
9. Adrian Gonzalez .227
10. Mark Reynolds .225
11. Adam Dunn .218
12. Adam LaRoche .211

OPS:
1. Jose Abreu .978
2. Edwin Encarancion .965
3. Lucas Duda .942
4. Matt Adams .924
5. Miguel Cabrera .911
6. Paul Goldschmidt .902
7. Justin Morneau .902
8. Anthony Rizzo .888
9. Adam LaRoche .887
10. Adrian Gonzalez .877
11. Brandon Moss .861
12. Freddie Freeman .852

AB/HR:
1. Jose Abreu 11.8
2. Edwin Encarnacion 12.3
3. Mark Teixeira 13.3
4. Brandon Belt 13.8
5. Mark Reynolds 14.9
6. Lucas Duda 15.2
7. Anthony Rizzo 16.4
8. Chris Davis 17.7
9. Adam LaRoche 18.2
10. Adrian Gonzalez 20.1
11. Albert Pujols 21.1
12. Paul Goldschmidt 21.3

wRC+:
1. Jose Abreu 165
2. Lucas Duda 164
3. Edwin Encarnacion 164
4. Matt Adams 157
5. Miguel Cabrera 149
6. Paul Goldschmidt 146
7. Adam LaRoche 146
8. Anthony Rizzo 144
9. Adrian Gonzalez 143
10. Freddie Freeman 140
11. Brandon Moss 139
12. Justin Morneau 135

Overall Rankings Based on Aggregate Totals Above:
1. Jose Abreu – 271 AB, 45 R, 23 HR, 63 RBI, 299/344/635
2. Edwin Encarnacion – 258 AB, 45 R, 21 HR, 61 RBI, 283/364/601
3. Lucas Duda – 258 AB, 41 R, 17 HR, 51 RBI, 283/380/562
4. Paul Goldschmidt – 320 AB, 60 R, 15 HR, 57 RBI, 288/365/538
5. Matt Adams – 259 AB, 28 R, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 351/369/560
6. Anthony Rizzo – 279 AB, 51 R, 17 HR, 38 RBI, 276/379/509
7. Miguel Cabrera – 286 AB, 47 R, 12 HR, 64 RBI, 325/375/535
8. Adrian Gonzalez – 282 AB, 44 R, 14 HR, 51 RBI, 294/355/521
9. Brandon Moss – 290 AB, 41 R, 19 HR, 61 RBI, 259/340/521
10. Adam LaRoche – 218 AB, 35 R, 12 HR, 45 RBI, 284/392/495
11. Justin Morneau – 241 AB, 31 R, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 332/367/535
12. Mark Teixeira – 200 AB, 26 R, 15 HR, 41 RBI, 240/317/485

Emerging from the shadows in NY is Lucas Duda with 17 HR's & 51 RBI vs. RHP in only 258 AB's
Emerging from the shadows in NY is Lucas Duda with 17 HR and 51 RBI vs. RHP in only 258 AB

In overall dominance, Jose Abreu leads all first baseman in each of the categories above (though Adam Lind is ahead in a couple of them) for a clean sweep. But to savvy owners looking for a player on the cheap that is producing big stats, how about Lucas Duda? In the same amount of at bats as Edwin Encarnacion (presently on the DL), Duda has only four fewer home runs, ten less RBI and a better OBP for the season against right handed pitching. Paul Goldschmidt just shows his overall fantasy value as he appears in both splits lists at #4 just underscoring how he is number one going forward. Anthony Rizzo also is on both lists coming in seventh against right handed pitching. If the Cubs slot in more talent around them, a huge 2015 may be looming in Chicago with Rizzo and Abreu leading the way. It is unfortunate that injuries have really wreaked havoc at the position all year with six of the top twelve on this list spending time on the disabled list already. Whether it is the stretch run in rotisserie, the playoffs in head to head or the daily fantasy grind, this information will serve you well when deciding on roster spots and who to play. Splits may not seem like a big deal, but they provide valuable information and definite surprises.

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/C63xjE (Rizzo), http://goo.gl/fcZr7u (Duda)

Post Break Preview: 1B

Jose Abreu is #1 on the Player Rate at the break and a top tier option going forward
Jose Abreu is #1 on the Player Rate rat the break and a top-tier option going forward

Entering 2014 first base was a position that had a myriad of question marks. However, as we enter the season’s second half, some of those questions have been answered. It calls to mind one of my Dad’s favorite movies, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” For the good, Paul Goldschmidt has not disappointed as one of the top fantasy options not only at first, but overall. Even with some injury concerns Edwin Encarnacion has stamped his claim as a top flight fantasy producer with one of the all-time best fantasy months every recorded. Another year has passed and people still doubt what Brandon Moss can do but his return compared to his ADP (131 overall) has provided big time profit. Anthony Rizzo and Jose Abreu are breaking out before our eyes and their ADP’s (100 for Rizzo, 102 for Abreu) will not be in the triple digits next year. The bad can be reflected in the number of injuries that have ravaged the position. Prince Fielder was lost for the season, Joey Votto will be out five more weeks and maybe the rest of the season, Mark Trumbo just returned from another foot injury and the aforementioned Encarnacion is working his way back from the infirmary. Chris Davis has created a chasm for the owners who drafted him in the first round and even a big second half may not save his season. Here is how the position rankings on the ESPN Player Rater stacked up at the break:

1. Jose Abreu
2. Paul Goldschmidt
3. Edwin Encarnacion
4. Victor Martinez
5. Albert Pujols
6. Miguel Cabrera
7. Anthony Rizzo
8. Brandon Moss
9. Freddie Freeman
10. Justin Morneau
11. Matt Adams
12. Adrian Gonzalez
13. Casey McGehee
14. Adam LaRoche
15. Lucas Duda

Before I take a look at the position’s last statistical year, here are a couple of blind profiles based on what each player has done over the last 365 days from July 13, 2013 to July 13, 2014:

Player A: 143 G, 54 R, 24 HR, 62 RBI, 1 SB 229/349/421
Player B: 145 G, 74 R, 33 HR, 98 RBI, 6 SB 223/325/461

One of the players above was taken as high as the first round in drafts for 2014. Here is one more for fun:

Player C: 129 G, 62 R, 22 HR, 68 RBI, 2 SB 265/389/478
Player D: 120 G, 49 R, 18 HR, 54 RBI, 2 SB 241/351/450

I think the first one is pretty clear in regards to Player B (Chris Davis) but a player that is widely avoided in fantasy circles because of the drain he creates on batting average is an interesting comparison, Player A is Adam Dunn. Player C was a world champion last year and gained notoriety for walking around with his shirt off, Mike Napoli. His blind double is the first baseman forNew York; not Teixeira, but Lucas Duda. Using WAR offense as my guide, here are the top 15 first baseman from the past year:

1. Paul Goldschmidt: 163 G, 109 R, 31 HR, 109 RBI, 14 SB 299/402/543
2. Edwin Encarnacion: 141 G, 89 R, 38 HR, 105 RBI, 6 SB 280/380/573
3. Freddie Freeman: 162 G, 104 R, 27 HR, 100 RBI, 1 SB 309/391/511
4. Brandon Moss: 149 G, 78 R, 35 HR, 109 RBI, 3 SB 277/357/558
5. Miguel Cabrera: 147 G, 88 R, 28 HR, 117 RBI 309/383/542
6. Joey Votto: 131 G, 69 R, 15 HR, 55 RBI, 4 SB 270/417/440
7. Mike Napoli: 129 G, 62 R, 22 HR, 68 RBI, 2 SB 265/389/478
8. Jose Abreu: 82 G, 49 R, 29 HR, 73 RBI, 1 SB 292/342/630
9. Brandon Belt: 107 G, 56 R, 18 HR, 54 RBI, 4 SB 294/357/504
10. Matt Adams: 136 G, 61 R, 21 HR, 67 RBI, 3 SB 306/335/508
11. Adam Lind: 127 G, 61 R, 16 HR, 58 RBI 292/370/483
12. Anthony Rizzo: 163 G, 88 R, 30 HR, 75 RBI, 3 SB 250/353/447
13. Lucas Duda: 120 G, 49 R, 18 HR, 59 RBI, 2 SB 241/351/450
14. Albert Pujols: 102 G, 61 R, 22 HR, 71 RBI, 4 SB 282/327/489
15. Chris Davis: 145 G, 74 R, 33 HR, 98 RBI, 6 SB 223/325/461

There are a couple of surprises here. One is how amazing Jose Abreu’s first half has been that he places eighth on this list with only 82 games played. Another is how underrated Brandon Belt is and if he could ever stay healthy. If that ever happens. it would be a lot easier to guage what his ceiling is. Anthony Rizzo is weighed down by his low batting average last year but he may be a top five first baseman going forward. Another player I am going to rate higher than most is Matt Adams, with the complete collapse of teammate Allen Craig, first base is his moving forward and his power is legit. It is hard to ignore what Chris Davis has done over the last year, I can buy that his power numbers will probably improve in the second half, but that average drain may be here to stay. This also illustrates that WAR is only one measure of a player as solid professionals like Adrian Gonzalez, Eric Hosmer and Justin Morneau missed on this list but all is not lost. Here is how ZiPS sees the top 10 by fantasy category using its ROS stats:

Runs:
1. Paul Goldschmidt 39
2. Freddie Freeman 38
3. Anthony Rizzo 36
4. Edwin Encarnacion 33
5. Eric Hosmer 33
6. Jose Abreu 32
7. Chris Davis 32
8. Albert Pujols 32
9. Adrian Gonzalez 30
10. Brandon Moss 29

Home Runs:
1. Chris Davis 15
2. Edwin Encarnacion 14
3. Jose Abreu 13
4. Paul Goldschmidt 12
5. Anthony Rizzo 12
6. Brandon Moss 12
7. Chris Carter 12
8. Mark Trumbo 11
9. Albert Pujols 11
10. Adam Dunn 11

RBI:
1. Paul Goldschmidt 44
2. Chris Davis 41
3. Freddie Freeman 40
4. Edwin Encarnacion 39
5. Anthony Rizzo 39
6. Adrian Gonzalez 39
7. Albert Pujols 37
8. Brandon Moss 36
9. Mark Trumbo 35
10. Jose Abreu/Justin Morneau 33

Batting Average:
1. Justin Morneau .292
2. Eric Hosmer .289
3. Matt Adams .288
4. Freddie Freeman .288
5. Joe Mauer .285
6. Paul Goldschmidt .283
7. Jose Abreu .279
8. Albert Pujols .277
9. Edwin Encarnacion .277
10. Casey McGehee .275

Need power in the 2H? Adams will be a catalyst going forward
Need power in the 2nd half? Big City may be the place to visit

There are interesting names above with Freddie Freeman who just missed on home runs with 10 projected and is that a Casey McGeee sighting? Joey Votto was on more than one list but with the chance he misses extended time it may be wise to move on from him for this year. Here are my top 20 options for the remainder of the season:

1. Paul Goldschmidt – Diamondbacks – Rock solid and safest 1B for the 2nd half
2. Jose Abreu – White Sox – Crazy to put him ahead of Miggy? Maybe. Even with regression coming he’s real and he’s spectacular
3. Miguel Cabrera – Tigers – Not sure if there is an injury but he got our attention back in the All-Star game with that line drive dinger
4. Edwin Encarnacion – Blue Jays – His presently being on the DL limits his upside but a chance at the AL East title should keep him motivated when he returns
5. Anthony Rizzo – Cubs – I believe. The power is for real and with more support around him he could be elite
6. Freddie Freeman – Braves – Hits in the heart of the order and is insanely consistent
7. Brandon Moss – A’s – Not a household name and may never be but he provides power, is improving against left-handed pitching and is vastly under appreciated
8. Matt Adams – Cardinals – I say at least 10 more home runs in the second half for this Slippery Rock alum
9. Victor Martinez – Tigers – If he is eligible in your format at 1B he has been an absolute steal this year
10. Adrian Gonzalez – Dodgers – Another player who is not beloved by fantasy players but like Freeman is consistent and drives in runs
11. Justin Morneau – Rockies – After leaving Minnesota for a hitter’s haven in Colorado, he has experienced a rebirth
12. Adam LaRoche – Nationals – Usually a second half monster but he has hit well all year. Has been hitting cleanup and loves the 2H, go get him
13. Chris Davis – Orioles – I own zero shares of him this year and I think he can hit the 15 home runs that ZiPS projects, but it will have an effect on your team’s batting average
14. Eric Hosmer – Royals – He has not been worth his price tag thus far but over the last month he has slashed 345/415/488. May be a good buy low
15. Lucas Duda – Mets – Has been atop of Mark Simon of ESPN’s hardest hit ball lists for the last month. We may not have seen the best of him yet
16. Mike Napoli – Red Sox – I have flipped them from the blind numbers above and for good reason, Duda may be better
17. Brandon Belt – Giants – It pains me to put him this low but this may be a jinxed year with a broken thumb and now the concussion. I still believe but he is making it hard
18. Ryan Howard – Phillies – Nothing flashy and I think he is empty home runs, but with all the injuries he still makes the list
19. Mark Teixeira – Yankees – Like Howard, Teix is streaky but the wrist still concerns me. If the Yankees fall out of the race he could be shut down
20. Steve Pearce – Orioles – He has been hitting second for the Orioles, a prime place to bat, and regression screams his name but what is to say he cannot produce for the 2H? Buck has a way of finding these guys

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

Statistical credits: Fangraphs.com, Baseball-Reference.com, ZiPS Projections
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/U4LkWA

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 04/15

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.

Lineup yesterday was mediocre. I had another lineup loaded with Ervin Santana who came through again for me. I love that guy.  

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 04/15

This is the lineup I am throwing down right now. Check back throughout the days as I will edit or add more lineups
20140415-155127.jpg

Here are a few reasons I am digging this lineup.

Masahiro Tanaka vs. Chicago Cubs – I just love this matchup for Tanaka today and as it sits now I will be rolling this out in all matchups today.

Edwin Encarnacion vs. Phil Hughes – hitting .353 (12/34) with 4 2Bs, a Hr, 5 RBIs & 4 BBs
The bat for EE hasn’t been great this year but he does have 5 hits in his last 3 games as well as a very favorable matchup today. Also right handed hitters are hitting .412 against Hughes this season. Get him in the lineup for sure today.

Neil Walker vs. Mike Leake – hitting .321 (9/28) with 4 2Bs, a HR, 11 RBIs & 6 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

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

A.L. All Star Game Lineup

All Star Game

The latest voting numbers for the MLB All Star Game were released over the weekend and the race in the American League is certainly heating up. Third baseman Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers is reigning supreme with 4,337,223 votes and on pace to set record numbers for overall votes. Currently Josh Hamilton holds the record for the most All Star votes received at 11,073,744 in the 2012 season. The Baltimore Orioles are making a splash with 4 position players occupying the lead in votes. In the outfield, the battle for the final spot is a close one.

1st Baseman:

Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles has a secure spot with 3,960,299 votes, the second most overall votes. Davis is having an impressive season leading the league with 27 homeruns, has 69 RBI’s and is batting a .336 average.  Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers follows Davis in votes with 2,579,031. Fielder has 12 homeruns, 55 RBI’s, and is batting .275.

2nd Baseman:

Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees is leading the voting with 3,032, 183 votes. Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox occupies the number 2 spot with 2,135,499. Cano and Pedroia have similar 2013 numbers, Cano with 44 RBI’s and a .278 average, Pedroia with 41 RBI’s and a .305 average, but the real difference comes in the power hitting. Cano has 16 homeruns on the season while Pedroia has 4. Traditionally power hitters draw the most interest from fans.

Shortstop:

While J. J. Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles still holds the lead in votes, Jhonny Peralta has moved ahead of Elvis Andrus in voting. The more deserving short stop is hard to decipher. Peralta has had a fantastic season thus far, batting .331 with 31 RBI’s and 6 HR’s, and only 4 errors on the year. Of Hardy and Andrus, he has the best fielding percentage. However, Hardy is a power-hitting short stop with 14 HR’s. He has 43 RBI’s and a .270 batting average. Hardy has been on a tear as of late and is the reigning Gold Glove winner. A case can be made for either. Currently, Hardy has 2,788,972 votes compared to Peralta’s 1,838,500.

3rd Baseman:

Miguel Cabrera has comfortably claimed a spot on the All Star team with Manny Machado second in voting with 2,097,804 votes. Cabrera is on pace for another career-defining season with 74 RBI’s, 20 HR’s and a .368 batting average. Machado is having a breakout year and may well be the best overall 3rd baseman in the league; however, he plays the same position as the best pure hitter in baseball. Machado has 64 RBI’s, 12 HR’s, and a .299 batting average in 2013.

Catcher:

Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins holds the starting spot at 2,788,972 votes. Matt Wieters of the Baltimore Orioles is second with 2,068, 032 votes. Mauer should get the spot as he is having a more consistent season at the plate. Wieters has had an under-performing year, hitting .233 with 37 RBI’s and 9 HR’s, but has thrown out 48% of attempted steals. Mauer is hitting .327 with 25 RBI’s and 8 HR’s, while throwing out 40% of attempted steals.

DH:

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox claims the DH spot with 3,247,462 votes (batting .309, 16 HR’s and 55 RBI’s). Lance Berkman of the Texas Rangers is far behind with 1,519, 503 votes. Third in voting is Edwin Encarnacion (1,091,593 votes) of the Toronto Blue Jays who may be more deserving of the spot. While Berkman is hitting .260 with 33 RBI’s and 6 HR’s, Encarnacion is hitting .269 with 59 RBI’s and an impressive 20 HR’s on the year.

Outfield:

With Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels looking secure in the first and second outfield spot, 3,571, 693 and 3,548,195 respectively, there is a 3-way battle for the final spot. Nick Markakis of the Baltimore Orioles holds a slim lead at 1,915,860 votes. Close behind him is Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays with 1,867,367, a lead of only 48,000 votes. This week’s voting update puts him ahead of Torii Hunter of the Detroit Tigers, who currently has 1,851,657 votes, only 16,000 behind Bautista. If Jones and Markakis both get a spot it will be the first time in Orioles franchise history that outfield teammates are selected and only the 17th time in MLB history.

Pitching:

Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers has a spotless record in the 2013 season at 11-0, an impressive stat even with the support of the Tigers’ strong offensive line-up. He has also struck out 6 or more batters in each of his 15 starts, the fourth longest consecutive streak. Holding batters to a .192 average, 122 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.05, Scherzer is a worthy candidate for starting pitcher. Between Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, and Doug Fister, of the Detroit Tigers, AL Manager Jim Leyland has a plethora of options on his own roster. Other candidates for the starting position include Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers and Clay Buchholz of the Boston Red Sox. Darvish boasts an incredible 143 strikeouts, holds opponents to a .208 batting average, and has an ERA of 2.95. Buchholz has 81 strikeouts, holds opponents to a .195 batting average, with an ERA of 1.71. However, Buchholz is currently on the 15-day DL making his availability uncertain. In relief, Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees should be an easy selection. Already with 26 saves in 2013, 43-year-old Rivera has 634 regular season saves as well as 4 All Star game saves. Rivera is set to retire after this season.

While securing a spot on the All Star roster is not necessarily an indication of stellar performance on the season (see Derek Jeter who managed to accumulate 819,175 votes) we are looking at a crop of the very best representing the American League.

Voting is open until July 4th. Visit MLB.com to cast your ballot.

Breaking Down The 2013 HR Derby

The All-Star break is right around the corner and will be hosted at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. This week the captains were named for the 2013 HR Derby. They were David Wright for the NL and Robinson Cano for the AL. I believe it’s kind of funny that Cano is the captain considering he hit a big goose egg in last year’s competition. I suppose they wanted to do the whole New York vs. New York with picking these two.

This may be one of the least successful HR Derby’s to date. Citi Field is known as a pitchers ballpark and the stats really back it up since it open in 2009.

2009 – 158 HRs – 8th in MLB
2010 – 135 HRs – 6th in MLB
2011 – 147 HRs – 13th in MLB
2012 – 161 HRs – 13th in MLB
2013 – 59 HRs – 5th in the MLB(through 06/19)

So as you can see, it will be interesting how some of the players fare in this year’s derby. We might be in line for an uneventful derby if the stats hold true.

Now to get to whom I think Cano/Wright & the fans should pick for their teams.

Here are the choices the fans have to choose from. (There is a write-in option as well)

AL – Bautista, Beltre, Cabrera, Cano, Dunn, Fielder, Hamilton, Jones, Longoria & Trout
NL – Beltran, Braun, Harper, Heyward, Kemp, McCutchen, Posey, Stanton, Votto & Wright

First off, whoever nominated these players should be fired. You’ve got guys on this list injured as well as guys who are playing just terrible this season. AND WHERE IS DOMONIC BROWN????? Well fans, look no further than my list of players below. You may have to write some of them in, but these are the guys that DESERVE to be playing in the HR Derby this year.

AL – Obvious choice for the team is Miguel Cabrera, who appeared for the Marlins in 2006 (finished 3rd) and in 2010 for the Tigers (finished 4th). I do not see him appearing for the AL this season though.

Then there is 2-time winner and reigning champ Prince Fielder, who I think is more likely to be on the team. This would be his 4th appearance and he currently has 12 HR’s & 54 RBI’s this season. Of course the champ has to defend his title!

The easiest choice of them all? Chris Davis, who is on an unbelievable tear that no one saw coming. Davis currently leads the majors with 25 HR’s, and is 2nd in RBI’s as well as 5th in BA. So Chris should be a sure fire pick to be on the team.

So far we have Cano, Fielder & Davis. My last pick would come between Blue Jay teammates Edwin Encarnacion or Jose Bautista. Baustista has appeared in the last 2 HR Derby’s, so I would think that he might get the edge. I want to see some fresh faces in the Derby though this year and who better than Encarnacion to have in it. He currently has 19 HR’s and has 21 more RBI’s than Bautista does.

So my AL roster would be Cano, Davis, Fielder & Encarnacion.

Now for my NL picks.

NL – The #1 pick of this team should be Domonic Brown. I am biased towards the guy because he plays for my Phillies, but there’s no one more deserving to be on this team than he. Domonic currently is 2nd in the NL with 19 HR’s and much like Davis, has been a very nice 1st half surprise.

My next pick would be Carlos Gonzalez, leads the NL with 20 HRs. He appeared in last years Derby, struggling with only 4 HR’s, and was knocked out in the 1st round. I would expect him to want to come out and show that last year was a fluke. (If he doesn’t participate, his teammate Troy Tulowitzki would be ideal as well.)

My 3rd pick would have to be Justin Upton. Even though he has struggled a lot in the month of June, he is still 4th in the NL in HR’s with 15. I think he would be a perfect choice to have in the Derby.

My 4th and final choice is Paul Goldschimidt, who is 3rd in voting right this second. This choice would have gone to Harper had he been healthy, but since he isn’t, Paul “My names is from Austin Powers” Goldschmidt, is the perfect choice for this team. He has 17 HRs which is more than Upton, leads the NL in RBI’s, and is currently hitting .304.

So my NL Picks are Brown, Wright, Gonzalez & Goldschimidt.

That’s all for now folks. Stay tuned for my 2013 AL/NL All-Star article coming soon.

Tell me whom you think should be in the Derby and who you don’t want in it.

Twitter: @RickyGangster