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

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

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

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

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

2B ADP's

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2B Steamer Projection Chart

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

SS NFBC ADP's

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SS Steamer Projection Chart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 04/16

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.

I hope you had a similar lineup last night as I posted. Very successful for me yesterday even with all the rain outs. Let’s follow it up with another good day today.

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 04/16

Check back throughout the day as I will either alter or add more lineups to choose from.

 

lineup

Here are a few reasons why I like these matchups.

Andrew Cashner vs. Colorado Rockies – 8-6 with a 2.54 ERA and 79 Ks at home. Love this matchup for Cashner today.

Pablo Sandoval vs. Paul Malhom – hitting .375 (6/16) with a 2B, 2 HRs & 5 RBIs

Justin Upton vs. Cliff Lee – hitting .304 (7/23) with 3 2Bs, a RBI & a BB
Upton is hitting .500 over the past week with 4 homers and 8 RBIs. He has a tough matchup today but Lee has struggled so far this year and Upton has the hot bat.

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 2nd 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 myself (Ricky Valero), Matt Bell and Matt Wincherauk as we are going to take a look at the 2nd base.

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy 2nd baseman

1 – Which player or players are you targeting?

Matt Bell – I would be more than happy if I can snag Robinson Cano or Dustin Pedroia for my 2nd baseman this year, but I don’t like to use my early pick at this positions. The guy I’ll be targeting a few rounds later will be Matt Carpenter who hit .318 last year for the Cardinals. He’s still 2nd base eligible on most sites despite moving to 3B this year for the Cardinals. I really like what he can do for the Cardinals in the leadoff spot and can total up runs and RBIs given the Cardinals line up.

Matt Wincherauk – I’m looking to grab Jose Altuve this year. He’s a part of an emerging Astros team that has a ton of young talent. A great stolen base threat, and hopefully this will be the year that the rest of his offensive game takes off.

Ricky – I am targeting Daniel Murphy. He was awesome in the 2nd half of the season hitting .307 after the break. We saw a nice bump in his stolen bases, while I don’t think he repeats that but he is a rare 5 category 2nd baseman. He has huge upside heading into this year and you can more than likely find him on all my fantasy squads this season.

2 – Which player are you staying away from?

Matt Bell – I’ll be staying away from this year at 2nd base is going to be Brandon Phillips. He’s declined in average every year over the last 3 seasons and was only able to steal 5 bases last year down from 15 the previous season. He’s just getting older and I see decline in his future.

Matt Wincherauk – Brandon Phillips is who I’m going to try to avoid this year. He’s already in a decline, and it doesn’t seem likely that he will be bouncing back to the Phillips of old anytime soon. He’s a guy who’ll get a lot of middle round looks based off name alone.

Ricky – Robinson Cano – 1st round guy and moving to an unfavorable stadium (in Seattle) just equates to disappointment for me this season. He will produce but just not the numbers we are used to seeing or the numbers need to produce being worthy of a 1st round choice.

3 – Who is the biggest sleeper heading into 2014?

Matt Bell – The Rangers traded away Ian Kinsler making room for Jurickson Profar to become the everyday starter for the Rangers at 2nd baseman. He’s got some major tools for a 2nd baseman as he can steal bases, hit for power, and just get on base. I really think Profar has a ton of value for a later round pick at 2nd base.

Matt Wincherauk – I honestly feel like this is the year that we see Jurickson Profar take off, and be the star that we all think he will be. He’ll be getting a lot more regular time with Ian Kinsler in Detroit and should be ready to be a big time part of an explosive Rangers offense.

Ricky – Chase Utley – I really like what he did in the final month of last season. He hit .349 with a pair of homers and 17 RBIs. I look for him to try to start 2014 as he finished 2013.

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

Matt Bell – I hate to do this, but I feel like people are going to ignore what I say about Brandon Phillips for my answer to question 2 therefore I think he will be the biggest bust at 2nd base. I’ve already given all the reason I don’t like him this year, but he’s just to high ranked on most sites and will be taken way to early by many fantasy teams.

Matt Wincherauk – Ian Kinsler shouldn’t be a major bust, but moving from Arlington to Detroit should take some getting used to. Besides just moving to a more pitcher’s ballpark, he’s also entering his mid-30s and isn’t the same player he used to be.

Ricky – Brandon Phillips – While he celebrated a career high in RBIs, he saw his batting average, on-base percentage and runs continue on a 3 year decline. Owners will overpay and be disappointed in the result.

5 – Give a bold prediction for one player.

Matt Bell – I haven’t mentioned his name yet in my questions, but another 2nd baseman I really like is Jose Altuve. I’ll actually go out and make the bold prediction that he will be a top 3 second baseman this year.

Matt Wincherauk – Despite a drop off in power numbers, Robinson Cano will see a rise in his average, and will be an MVP type player despite leaving the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium.

Ricky – Ian Kinsler will hit 20+ HRs and steal over 20 SBs. Kinsler moving over to the Tigers and hitting in that potent lineup should have some great results for fantasy owners.

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 2nd 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 2nd 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 2nd Base Rankings (as of 02/19/14)

Rank Ricky Valero Matt Bell 
1 Robinson Cano Robinson Cano
2 Jason Kipnis Dustin Pedroia
3 Dustin Pedroia Matt Carpenter
4 Ian Kinsler Ian Kinsler
5 Matt Carpenter Jason Kipnis
6 Ben Zobrist Jose Altuve
7 Brandon Phillips Aaron Hill
8 Jose Altuve  Jedd Gyorko
9 Daniel Murphy Ben Zobrist
10 Chase Utley Daniel Murphy
11 Martin Prado Brandon Phillips
12 Jed Lowrie Jurickson Profar
13 Howie Kendrick Chase Utley
14 Aaron Hill  Martin Prado
15 Jedd Gyorko Jed Lowrie
16 Omar Infante Howie Kendrick
17 Jurickson Profar Anthony Rendon
18 Brian Dozier Neil Walker
19 Anthony Rendon Omar Infante
20 Neil Walker Brian Dozier
21 Kelly Johnson Alexander Guerrero
22 Alexander Guerrero Kolten Wong
23 Gordon Beckham Kelly Johnson
24 Marco Scutaro Marco Scutaro
25 Josh Rutledge Gordon Beckham
26 Kolten Wong  Josh Rutledge
27 Dustin Ackley Dustin Ackley
28 Dan Uggla Dan Uggla
29 Rickie Weeks Rickie Weeks

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

Ricky – Daniel Murphy – Current ADP 14 – I ranked him 9th – Murphy is one of my big-time sleepers heading in the 2014 fantasy season. While his OBP isn’t great the rest of his 2013 stats were pretty impressive. He is a 5 category player (career high 23 stolen bases last year) and you honestly won’t get that from many other 2nd baseman. I believe he hits .280 with 13 HRs, 75 RBIs, 80 Rs and 15 SBs.

Matt Bell – Ben Zobrist has an ADP of 6, but I’ve got him ranked 9th as I feel like he’s a bit of risk to be taken very highly. Last season he had a higher average batting wise, but saw a decrease in home runs, stolen bases, and RBI’s. They are slight decreases as I noted, but it as he gets older it’s just worth watching and I think there are better 2nd baseman behind him.

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

Ricky – Aaron Hill – ADP 10 – I ranked him 14 – I have seen him as high as 6 on the rankings and I just don’t see it. His stats have been all over the place since 2011. You don’t know which Aaron Hill you are going to get. And the one stat (Stolen bases) that he provided an extra pop in, he only had 1 in 87 games last season. I just don’t trust him.

Matt Bell – Jose Altuve is a guy I’ll be targeting in just about all my drafts as he has an ADP of  7, but you will see him ranked slightly higher at 6 in mine. I know that’s not a big difference, but I feel he could be even higher among 2B this year. Altuve gets a little lost in drafts because he plays for Houston, but he’s young and has a ton of speed on the base paths.

This week we already unleashed our Catchers & 1st baseman and you can find them here:  (C) http://wp.me/p2MUTr-BY & here: (1st)http://wp.me/p2MUTr-BZ

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

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