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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Transaction Scripts: Melky Cabrera to the White Sox

Melky brings his career .307/.345/.477 slash lines in the AL Central ballparks home to Chicago and sees his fantasy value rise
Melky brings his career .307/.345/.477 slash line in AL Central ballparks to Chicago

Whether you buy into steroids being the reason for Melky Cabrera’s evolution from a fourth outfielder with the Yankees to a viable fantasy option three of the past four years, he has been relevant. In 2011 he broke through with a career best 18 home runs and 87 RBI for Kansas City and then had a chance at a batting title in San Francisco in 2012 until his PED suspension. Not an ideal way to enter free agency. In 2013 Toronto took a chance on Cabrera, signing him to a two-year contract, but the stain of steroids made this risky. After struggling through a number of injuries, Cabrera had a disappointing season, making 2014 a make or break year for him. The “Melk Man” delivered, rewarding the owners who stashed him late in drafts with a bounce back season across every category but stolen bases. Playing on the turf in Toronto has had an adverse affect on speedsters like Jose Reyes. This was no different for Cabrera, as his theft numbers were cut in half from 13 in 2012 to 6 in 2014.

From a fantasy perspective, the move to Chicago should not only help Melky maintain his value, but may even increase it. An uptick in stolen bases is the would be prize. Using three of his last four years as an indicator (I am discarding his shortened 2013) Cabrera’s numbers seem to hold up. His HR/FB in 2012 was 9.8 and jumped to 10.7 in 2013, holding steady at that number in 2014. Since U.S. Cellular and Rogers Centre are strong hitter’s venues, this should have no affect on his power production going forward. While there is a big discrepancy in his home run distances from 2011 and the years following, his average speeds off the bat have held fairly stable as well according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker:

Melky Cabrera 2011: average true distance 406.9, average standard distance 403.1, average speed off bat 105 MPH
Melky Cabrera 2012: average true distance 393.1, average standard distance 390.5, average speed off bat 104.4 MPH
Melky Cabrera 2014: average true distance 395.1, average standard distance 394.1, average speed off bat104 MPH

Here is a 2014 overlay of his home runs with the Cell as a backdrop:

Cabrera overlay
His home run metrics hold up, so how will Melky Cabrera adapt to the American League Central? Already having played in the division with the Royals should make his transition easier. Looking deeper into his numbers, this looks like a match made in heaven for Cabrera, not only to keep his knees healthier, but he enjoys hitting in all five ballparks in the Central. Here are his aggregate numbers for his career in the division’s ballparks:

Melky Cabrera in AL Central parks: 198 G, 126 R, 23 HR, 110 RBI, 22 SB, .307/.345/.477

In 34 games as a visitor at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field, he has been even better:

Melky Cabrera in Chicago (A): 34 G, 23 R, 7 HR, 24 RBI, 3 SB, .336/.366/.591

I understand that Melky will not be hitting against the White Sox, though their pitching staff is vastly improved, but his .957 OPS at the Cell should encourage fantasy owners. Digging a bit deeper I was surprised about how consistent he has been in spite of the steroid cloud that has been attached to him. Again, looking at his last three out of four seasons (skipping 2013) his counting statistics have varied but that is more about games played than production. Over the seasons 2011, 2012 and 2014 this is his average stat line:

Melky Cabrera 3-year average: 136 G, 89 R, 15 HR, 73 RBI, 13 SB, .315/.357/.478

I think Cabrera may slot in second, behind Adam Eaton and preceding American League Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu. That being said, I have a hard time believing his runs would slip but his Steamer projection looks like this:

Melky Cabrera Steamer projection: 134 G, 77 R, 14 HR, 67 RBI, 6 SB, .288/.341/.432

I do think that Cabrera has probably already had his best season, but the move to Chicago may be just what he needs to bounce back to double-digit production in home runs and stolen bases. In spite of missing time in 2014, Melky was able to finish as the 25th ranked outfielder via ESPN’s Player Rater after going undrafted in leagues coming off of his 2013 disaster. What remains to be seen is what this move will have on his value in upcoming drafts. Here is the projected stat line I am willing to attach to Cabrera:

My 2015 Melky Cabrera projection: 145 G, 87 R, 17 HR, 84 RBI, 10 SB, .293/.344/.480

Statistical credits: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com, BrooksBaseball.net, ESPN.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/7z3JlW

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!

Transaction Scripts: Yasmani Tomas to Arizona

Yasmani TomasJesse Sanchez of MLB.com has reported that Yasmani Tomas has accepted a 6-year, 68.5 million dollar offer to sign as an international free agent with the Diamondbacks. His power is off the charts, but his approach may be the topic of discussion moving forward. Hitting in Arizona should only enhance his fantasy value.

As former scout Bernie Pleskoff points out, this gives the Diamondback options to change their roster moving forward. They have a mix of outfielders and middle infielders with many teams searching for a shortstop to address their pitching needs.

As for Tomas, his power is a 70 out of 80 on the grading scale. Some scouts feel his swing is long but I would be more concerned about the presence of the uppercut in this home run:

Tomas also struggled against breaking pitches during the World Baseball Classic, so adjusting to Major League pitching may be a bit of a struggle for him. There’s no doubt that he will run into some fastballs and hit them a long way, however. Trusting his stats from the last three seasons in Cuba will be tough, especially considering his 2014 was cut short due to injury. Regardless, here are his numbers:

2011 – 2012: 240 PA, 36 R, 16 HR, 42 RBI, 4 SB .301/.340/.580
2012 – 2013:
342 PA, 45 R, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 1 SB .289/.364/.538
2013 – 2014:
257 PA, 28 R, 6 HR, 35 RBI, 6 SB .290/.346/.450

Although his home run totals dropped, he does posses immense power. He homers about once every 22 plate appearances but ballpark effects in Cuba are hard to gauge. For comparison’s sake, here are some number of other recent Cuban Major Leaguers:

Yasmani Tomas: 821 PA, .293/.350/.523, OPS+ 134
Jose Abreu:
1015 PA, .356/.478/.681, OPS+ 180
Yoenis Cespedes:
1190 PA, .303/.384/.564, OPS+ 138
Alex Guerrero:
1009 PA, .327/.405/.578, OPS+ 129
Rusney Castillo:
556 PA, .322/.369/.518

Based on the data, Tomas probably compares the closest to Yoenis Cespedes. Though they are built differently, their slash lines and OPS+ are relatively close. The stats above underscore just how good Jose Abreu was in Cuba. For reference, Cespedes was 26 when he made his Major League debut for Oakland and Tomas just turned 24. But Cespedes’ rookie season looked like this:

Yoenis Cespedes 2012: 129 G, 70 R, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 16 SB .292/.356/.505 OPS+ 139

Cespedes was able to keep his slash lines close while improving his OPS+ by 1 with Oakland in his first season. With 3 extra years of experience but a much lower rated ballpark effect in Oakland, I would use Cespedes’ rookie year as the top of any projection for Tomas but would not recommend planning on it. Rather, I could see a slash line more like .245/.335/.485 for his rookie year with 20 to 25 home runs as he adjusts to life in the American Major Leagues. That is nothing to ignore at a time when power hitting corner outfielders are at a premium. I am willing to adjust my projections during the spring after we can get a look at how healthy his wrist is. If Tomas can hit the breaking ball he will be a great source of power as soon as 2015, just do not use Abreu as a guide. Pay for the power and be pleasantly surprised if he can hit .260 or higher.

Statistical credits: Obstructedview.net, Baseball-Reference.com, MLB.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/uhaH8A

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!

Transaction Scripts: Adam LaRoche to the White Sox

LaRoche replaces Dunn in Chicago and could be in line for a career year
LaRoche replaces Adam Dunn in Chicago and could be in line for a career year

How does a new hitting environment change a slugger’s value? When it was rumored that Adam LaRoche received a two year twenty-million dollar contract I started researching his stats in case he signed. Washington is neutral in terms of ballpark effect, so it was going to be interesting to see where LaRoche would land. It’s been confirmed that he signed with the White Sox and should slot in to bat right behind Rookie of the Year Jose Abreau and ahead of Avisail Garcia. Then I followed up on Fangraphs.com to see how their ballpark effect rated the “Cell”, and saw that it was tied for third for home runs. Entering drafts in 2014, Adam LaRoche had an average draft position of 270 and was the 39th first baseman taken. At a time where fantasy owners are craving home runs, how does a player that has averaged 26 home runs over the last three years fall so far? Easy. LaRoche, while being a solid ballplayer is not sexy name. Due to our incessant pursuit of the next big thing, players like LaRoche fall below the value they provide. In fact, here is the average LaRochian season over the last three years:

Adam LaRoche last 3-year average: 140 G, 73 R, 26 HR, 92 RBI, 3 SB .259/.362/.455

His statistics are not overwhelming but you can set your watch to them. Moving to a hitter’s environment has to grow his home run numbers over 30 this year. Here is his map featuring his home runs in 2014 with an overlay of the Cell:

laroche chicago overlay
In 2014, LaRoche’s average standard distance for a home run was 396.7 feet with average speed off the bat of 103.8 MPH. Chicago used sixteen hitters in the clean-up position last year. While they were not unproductive, it does give a hint as to what Adam LaRoche’s ceiling could be:

White Sox “4” hitters 2014: 162 G, 76 R, 35 HR, 94 RBI, 4 SB .242/.307/.462

I am not going out on a limb here when I say that LaRoche will be a big upgrade over Adam Dunn. What intrigues me the most will be if LaRoche goes from under-rated to over-rated in upcoming fantasy drafts. Similar to Brian McCann moving to the American League, LaRoche will have to use the opposite field more to be successful. Teams will be shifting him to try and take hits away. Here is his spray chart from this season:

laroche spray chart 2014
My favorite is his zone profile. While you can shift a player, he really hurts mistakes middle-in and middle-low. You can shift a hitter all you want but you cannot keep the ball in the park. Inside pitches at the Cell will be souvenirs in 2015:

laroche zone profile slugging
With a look to the future I am comfortable paying for Adam LaRoche to hit 30-35 home runs and even exceed that total if he is comfortable in his adjustment to the American League and the designated position. This is also a huge signing for the White Sox to keep Jose Abreu fresh as he had leg problems last year. Adam Eaton should also see a bump in value as runs scored will be aplenty. However, this is a team that needs an upgrade in pitching and the bullpen if they wish to contend. I applaud the signing of LaRoche and this signals that the American League Central will be fun to watch. Sometimes steady can be sexy. welcome to the Chicago Adam LaRoche!

Statistical credits: ESPN.com, Fangraphs.com, BrooksBaseball.net, Baseball-Reference.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/usnmSl

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

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

Top DFS Plays for 09/03/14

*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:

Hanley Ramirez vs. Jordan Zimmerman – hitting .455 (10/22) with 2 2Bs, a HR, 6 RBIs & 2 BBs

David Ortiz vs. Hiroki Kuroda – hitting .550 (11/20) with 4 2Bs, a HR, 3 RBIs & 3 BBs

Joe Mauer vs. John Danks – hitting .393 (22/56) with 3 2Bs, 8 RBIs & 5 BBs

Jose Abreu vs. Trevor May – no previous matchup. May is letting RHH hit over .370 against him this season. Abreu is hitting over .500 in the last week. BOMB ALERT!!!!!

Ian Kinsler vs. Danny Salazar – hitting .333 (1/3) with 1 HR & 3 RBIs
Also like Miggy if you don’t use Abreu.

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Jose Abreu 

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

Justin Verlander vs. Cleveland Indians – I know I am crazy but JV looked good in his last outing and I look for him to follow up with another solid output today. JV always has a 3.50 ERA against the Indians in 3 starts this season.

Chris Archer vs. Toronto Blue Jays – Don’t trust JV today? Go ahead and play it safe with Chris Archer. He went 7 innings giving up only 2 run while striking out 6 in his last outing against the Jays.

Movie of the Day – Draft Day – Just coming out on Blu Ray and honestly it wasn’t that bad folks. Some parts were a bit over the top but I loved the behind the scenes of the whole draft process.

Follow me on Twitter @Rickygangster!

Top DFS Plays for 08/29/14

*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:

Neil Walker/Josh Harrison/ Russell Martin vs. Mike Leake – All batting above .300 with a HR against Leake
Leake is 1-0 with a 5.03 ERA against the Pirates in 3 starts. I really like this matchup for the above hitters.

Derek Jeter/Ichiro Suzuki vs. Mark Buehrle – Both guys are hitting better than .345 against Buehrle on their careers.
Buehrle also has a 6.89 ERA against the Yankees this season. I actually don’t hate stacking a bunch of Yankees today.

Jose Abreu vs. Justin Verlander – hitting .444 (4/9) with 2 HRs & 2 RBIs
In 3 games against JV, Abreu has taken him deep twice. Can he make it a 3rd time? I believe so.

Aramis Ramirez vs. Ryan Vogelsong – hitting .381 (8/21) with 2 HRs, 2 RBIs & a BB

Mark Trumbo vs. Christian Bergman – no previous history.
RHH vs. Bergman in his 4 starts are hitting .377 with 5 HRs

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Jose Abreu  & Mark Trumbo

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

 Jon Lester vs. LA Angels – Lester went 7 innings, only giving up 5 hits and 1 run with 7 Ks in his last outing against the Angels. I look for him to have around the same success tonight as well.

Movie of the Day – Remember The Titans – Denzel is easily one of the my favorite actors and in this movie he showed why. This movie is hands down one of the best sports movies of all-time.

Follow me on Twitter @Rickygangster!

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 05/08

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.

 Terrible night last night!

Well everything I am going to bring you my lineup in which I am playing over at FanDuel.com –RIGHT NOW IF YOU JOIN Fan Duel and make your 1st deposit using the Promo Code – SCRIPT – You will get 100% bonus match on it!!!!!!!! Just do it folks.
Which if you haven’t joined just click this link here: http://partners.fanduel.com/processing/clickthrgh.asp?btag=a_3360b_2

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 05/08

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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