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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The Fantasy Forecaster 08/27/14

With Ricky on hiatus, Timothy hosts The Fantasy Forecaster! In this episode, he is joined by Jim Finch of Fantasy Assembly. The talk about Adam Wainwright’s struggles, Gregory Polanco, bullpens, Manny Machado’s long-term outlook, Justin Verlander as a closer and a whole lot more (seriously, we’re not just saying that).

You can stream on demand here.

You can also subscribe/download on iTunes here. Don’t be shy to leave a positive rating or comment, either!

Make sure to follow Timothy (@TKing978) and Jim (@TheJimFinch) on Twitter!

We will be back next Wednesday (September 3) with all of the news from the MLB roster expansion and to help guide you in round 1 of your fantasy playoff matches!

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

Top DFS Plays for 08/09/14

*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:

Jose Bautista vs. Max Scherzer – hitting .571 (8/14) with 4 2Bs, a HR, 3 RBIs & 3 BBs

I fully support a O’s stack today. They have destroyed Lackey this year. He is 1-2 with a 7.02 ERA in 3 games against them this season.

Manny Machado vs. John Lackey – hitting .389 (7/18) with a 2B, 2 HRs & 4 RBIs
Nelson Cruz – hitting .333 (12/36) with 2 2Bs, 2 HRs, 8 RBIs & 2 BBs
Nick Markakis – hitting .328 (21/64) with 6 2Bs, a 3B, 5 RBIs & 6 BBs

Ryan Howard vs. Dillon Gee – hitting .450 (9/20) with a 2B, 6 HRs, 14 RBIs & a BB
6 HRS in 20 At-Bats, I really like those odds.

Daniel Murphy vs. Cole Hamels – hitting .354 (17/48) with 4 2Bs, a HR, 6 RBIs & a BB
Murphy is red-hot at the plate over the last week and has a fantastic history against Hamels. Must start today.

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Ryan Howard or Nelson Cruz

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

Francisco Liriano vs. San Diego Padres – Liriano in his last 4 starts has been insane good. Padres aren’t exactly a offensive powerhouse and Liriano should have no problem making you some money today.

Trailer of the Day – Interstellar – Christopher Nolan and Mattew McConaughey together? Count me in. The trailers look fantastic and I really can’t wait for this movie.

Script Splits: Using Advanced Stats to Rank 3B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post Break Preview: 3B

Not only a fantasy ADP All Star, the Toddfather has broken through in 2014
Not only a fantasy ADP All Star, the Toddfather has broken through in 2014

Third base is a position in serious transition. Entering drafts this year it was almost necessary to reach on a third baseman in order to secure stable statistics for the season. Not only that, of the ten third baseman drafted on average in the top 100, two of them (Miguel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion) will not have eligibility in 2015. Further, two of the top three third baseman according to ESPN’s Player Rater were drafted after round 20: Todd Frazier (ADP of 248) and Anthony Rendon (ADP of 283). Although Rendon will have 3B eligibility in 2014 he is more appealing at second base in most formats, but his dual eligibility will only enhance his value in 2015. Drafters were hesitant to trust in Josh Donaldson and though he is streaky he still resides in the top five with a solid statistical year stat line. Before I get to my ranks, here is the present third baseman ranks according to the player rater with their last 365 day stats entering the All Star Break:

1. Todd Frazier – 158 G, 85 R, 28 HR, 84 RBI, 15 SB 264/327/464
2. Adrian Beltre – 151 G, 86 R, 23 HR, 90 RBI, 2 SB 328/386/503
3. Josh Donaldson – 159 G, 101 R, 29 HR, 100 RBI, 6 SB 258/347/459
4. Kyle Seager – 161 G, 65 R, 22 HR, 88 RBI, 10 SB 253/336/427
5. Lonnie Chisenhall – 127 G, 56 R, 15 HR, 56 RBI, 2 SB 290/350/481
6. David Wright – 112 G, 55 R, 13 HR, 62 RBI, 7 SB 288/344/438
7. Evan Longoria – 166 G, 88 R, 25 HR, 81 RBI, 4 SB 256/330/426
8. Pedro Alvarez – 162 G, 72 R, 27 HR, 85 RBI, 7 SB 227/306/400
9. Aramis Ramirez – 108 G, 53 R, 18 HR, 66 RBI, 3 SB 292/353/482
10. Matt Carpenter – 165 G, 115 R, 6 HR, 69 RBI, 5 SB 297/383/414
11. Brock Holt – 80 G, 43 R, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 7 SB 303/350/429
12. Pablo Sandoval – 159 G, 65 R, 16 HR, 78 RBI, 0 SB 283/345/438
13. Conor Gillaspie – 127 G, 56 R, 10 HR, 53 RBI, 0 SB 289/345/447
14. Chris Johnson – 158 G, 53 R, 12 HR, 73 RBI, 2 SB, 292/319/403
15. Juan Francisco – 129 G, 45 R, 21 HR, 51 RBI, 0 SB 221/294/461
16. Nolan Arenado – 120 G, 55 R, 10 HR, 56 RBI, 3 SB 292/314/446
17. Mark Reynolds – 126 G, 50 R, 20 HR, 53 RBI, 5 SB 211/298/393
18. Brett Lawrie – 139 G, 57 R, 18 HR, 70 RBI, 7 SB 262/320/413
19. Trevor Plouffe – 142 G, 57 R, 11 HR, 61 RBI, 1 SB 246/310/388
UR – Chase Headley – 135 G, 52 R, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 6 SB 248/333/395
UR – Manny Machado – 121 G, 58 R, 16 HR, 46 RBI, 2 SB 256/299/399

Omitted from this list with their rank in parentheses: Miguel Cabrera (2), Anthony Rendon (3), Casey McGehee (9), Josh Harrison (14), Martin Prado (18) and Carlos Santana (24) because they have more value at their other positions. (Rendon, Prado, Santana) and Miguel Cabrera will only have a first base designation in most leagues next year. To say the fantasy landscape at third base is dire is an understatement. Even with the breakthrough season by Todd Frazier, there has not been an infusion of talent at the hot corner for fantasy players to capitalize on. This is underscored by the list above. As pedestrian as David Wright’s stats have been over the last 365 days, he maintains a high ADP because of a combination of name value and lack of top options at his position. This further underscores how bad of a pick it was to take him in the first round in the FSTA by a “fantasy expert.” But we all make mistakes. A key to avoiding mistakes in the future is to use the projections and get the right breaks when a player not only achieves a projection, but more importantly exceeds it. Speaking of projections, here are the leaders using the ZiPS ROS projections via Fangraphs.com:

ZiPS ROS Projected Leaders:

Runs:
1. Matt Carpenter 33
2. Josh Donaldson 33
3. Evan Longoria 30
4. Kyle Seager 30
5. Adrian Beltre 29
6. Todd Frazier 28
7. Chase Headley 28
8. Manny Machado 28
9. David Wright 27
10. Pedro Alvarez 27

Home Runs:
1. Pedro Alvarez 11
2. Adrian Beltre 10
3. Evan Longoria 9
4. Todd Frazier 9
5. Josh Donaldson 9
6. Kyle Seager 8
7. Aramis Ramirez, David Wright, Pablo Sandoval, Chase Headley, Manny Machado, Mike Moustakas 7 each

RBI:
1. Josh Donaldson 34
2. Pedro Alvarez 34
3. Adrian Beltre 33
4. Kyle Seager 32
5. Evan Longoria 31
6. Todd Frazier 31
7. David Wright 29
8. Pablo Sandoval 29
9. Chase Headley 29
10. Aramis Ramirez, Chris Johnson 26

Stolen Bases:
1. Gerin Cecchini 6
2. David Wright 5
3. Todd Frazier 5
4. Klye Seager 4
5. Chase Headley 4
6. Brock Holt 4
7. Manny Machado 3
8. *Brett Lawrie 3

Batting Average:
1. Adrian Beltre .306
2. Nolan Arenado .284
3. Pablo Sandoval .279
4. Lonnie Chisenhall .278
5. Aramis Ramirez .278
6. David Wright .277
7. Chris Johnson .276
8. Brock Holt .276
9. Matt Carpenter .274
10. Nick Castellanos .274

Round mound of pound may be in store for a big second half
Round mound of pound may be in store for a big second half

While I like the safety that Beltre provides, the upside plays on this list could be the most important additions as the fantasy season winds down. It will go a long way towards developing ranks for third base in 2015 and beyond. It will be fun to try and navigate. I was fortunate to get Todd Frazier off the waiver wire in two different leagues and with the added stolen bases, I think he can maintain his value the rest of 2014. Here are my top 20 3B going forward:

1. Todd Frazier – Crazy? Maybe but why can’t he finish the year number one for present 3B? Projected for 9 HR, 31 RBI and 5 SB the rest of the way, I’ll take that.
2. Adrian Beltre – The Rangers offense is down but they still score at home and he is as solid as it gets, but a first round option? Not anymore.
3. Josh Donaldson – He is streaky but mashes lefties and Oakland’s offense will score runs down the stretch.
4. Kyle Seager – If the Mariners make a run at the playoffs Seager has to be a big part of it. Only he and Frazier have double digit home runs and steals over the last 365 days.
5. Pablo Sandoval – Somewhere Tim King is smiling. While his health is always in question, I see a big second half coming. Over his last 28 days he has hit 3 HR slashing .320/.378/.480.
6. Manny Machado – I do not have to love a guy to understand his value. It is time for him to bring his career arc forward and a big second half with the Orioles in a pennant race is just the way to do that. His last 28 games: 6 HR, 11 RBI and hitting .373/.420/.729, wow.
7. Aramis Ramirez – Hear me out, he is not flashy but the power is for real, he already had a DL stint so his power numbers will keep him relevant.
8. David Wright – I still respect Wright and he is a good fantasy option but he has been overvalued for too long. Casey McGehee is one spot behind him on the Player Rater.
9. Evan Longoria – Like Wright, he gets a pass for providing power at a weak position, but with only 25 over his 365 days, his price tag suggests it should be 30+.
10. Nolan Arenado – Great home ballpark. He has struggled to find his mojo post injury but it is coming soon.
11. Chase Headley – He is not a fantasy savior moving to New York, but it will not hurt his value. If he improves his average and a couple of fly balls clear the fence in right field, he justifies this spot.
12. Matt Carpenter – It is hard to maintain value at 3B with runs scored and batting average. That is a middle infielder, the league has adjusted to him.
13. Pedro Alvarez – Power is for real, his approach is not for the faint of heart. Third base’s version of Chris Davis or Adam Dunn.
14. Brett Lawrie – His rehab is nearing soon and his talent is so tantalizing, but I may be divorcing him after this year. Lawrie has 18 HR and 7 SB in only 139 games over the last 365 days, fantasy tease.
15. Lonnie Chisenhall – After his three home run performance in Texas he has hit, wait for it, two in his last 34 games. He is growing but is not a top ten option going forward.
16. Mike Moustakas – In fact, given the choice I would gamble on Moose, especially if I needed power for a team. His last 28 games: 4 HR and 255/311/491
17. Conor Gillaspie – Is this a run on the AL Central? Looks that way but Gillaspie deserves more attention than he is getting, slashing a respectable .315/.370/.462 for the season. Lacks power but helps in other areas.
18. Chris Johnson – Speaking of lacks power but helps, Johnson is nothing spectacular but if you got him late and he replaced an injured player you can tolerate his streaks but he just had a hot one.
19. Nick Castellanos – Solid rookie campaign and his star is on the rise.
20. Ryan Zimmerman – Would have had him much higher and he was just hitting his stride, until he popped his hammy. Out probably at least a month and makes him an upside play for the last 6 weeks.

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

Statistical credits: Fangraphs.com, Baseball-Reference.com, ESPN.com, FantasyPros.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/gKJ46E (Frazier), http://goo.gl/SwBeFQ (Sandoval)

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy Baseball 3rd baseman

The MLB season is upon us which means it is time for the Fantasy Baseball season. We here at the Sports Script want to do everything possible in setting you up for draft day and helping you throughout the season to win a Fantasy Baseball Championship. We are gathering a team of Sports Script writers as well as some special guest to answer 5 key questions about each position for the upcoming 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season. Today we have gathered me (Ricky Valero), Matt Bell, Matt Wincherauk and special guest Timothy King (@Tking978). Timothy writes over at Rotoanalysis.com (@RotoAnalysis) as well as Fantasysquads.com (@FantasySquads). Make sure to hop on over to twitter and give him a fellow and take a trip on over to the other sites that he writes at.  Today we have lined up to take a look at the 3rd Base position.

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy 3rd baseman

1 – Which player or players are you targeting?

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

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

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

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

2 – Which player are you staying away from?

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

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

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

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

3 – Who is the biggest sleeper heading into 2014?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 – Give a bold prediction for one player.

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

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

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

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

If you have any questions about the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season make sure to hope on over to twitter and ask. You can follow me @rickygangster @mattbell211 & @TheMattyWin and we will answer any and all questions.

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

2014 Fantasy Baseball 3rd Base Rankings

MLB season is upon us and Fantasy Baseball is back and better than ever! Over the next few weeks we are planning on getting you ready for any of the upcoming Fantasy drafts that you have. This week we are sending out our initial 2014 rankings that will be updated as Spring training progresses. The week after we are going to answer 5 questions about each position as well as giving you some insight into some players that we like as well. Matt Bell is joining me today as we rank 3rd Baseman as well as take a look at one guy we like higher than his ADP and one we have lower than his ADP.

2014 Fantasy Baseball 3rd Base Rankings (as of 02/20/14)

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

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

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

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

Guy I have lower than his current ADP.

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

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

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

If you have any questions about the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season make sure to hope on over to twitter and ask. You can follow me @rickygangster  and Matt Bell @Mattbell211 and we will answer any and all questions.

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

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.

Can 2013 be a Triple Crown year?

miguel-cabrera-triple-crown-trophy-back

Last year Major League Baseball saw the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years. Miguel Cabrera, third baseman for the Detroit Tigers, clinched the title with an impressive 44 HR’s, 139’s RBI’s, and .330 batting average on the season. To say Cabrera is a gifted hitter, would be an understatement. In this day and age it’s rare to hit not only for average, but also for power. Throughout his stretch with Detroit, Cabrera has shown steady and consistent numbers with no sign of slowing down. But could a second Triple Crown title be within sight this season?

Only 2 players in MLB history have won a second Triple Crown (Roger Hornsby, ’22 and ’25 and Ted Williams, ’42 and ’47) and no one has claimed the Triple Crown in consecutive years. However Cabrera’s stats are making a case for a repeat performance. Currently Cabrera has 17 HR’s on the year, 67 RBI’s and is hitting a .363 average; he could easily finish with numbers similar to last season.

However, on his heels is an emerging star out of the AL East, first baseman Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles. Historically, Davis has lacked patience at the plate and struggled with pitch selection. Davis played impressively in the minors but saw little playing time with the Rangers. In a less than flashy trade, Baltimore’s Koji Uehara went to Texas for Tommy Hunter and Davis. What looked like a long-term gamble for the Orioles, is now paying dividends. Chris Davis has always had raw power but the difference this season is that he has become more selective at the plate. When given a spot in the daily lineup, Davis is proving what a lethal hitter he can be. Leading the majors in HR’s at 20, 52 RBI’s (second in the AL) and averaging .338 (tied for second in the AL), Davis is a viable threat to Cabrera.

There are several factors that could come into play as the race heats up this summer. Camden Yards is the more hitter-friendly ball park whereas Coamerica’s larger dimensions could stifle Cabrera’s long ball. With Cabrera batting third, as opposed to Davis’ 5th spot, he will see more at-bat’s, garnering more opportunities to pad his numbers. However, with Nate McLouth, Manny Machado, Nick Markakis, and Adam Jones batting above or near .300, this should translate into more RBI opportunities for Davis. Another consideration is Cabrera batting ahead of the prolific home run hitter, Prince Fielder. With Davis hitting ahead of an under-performing Matt Wieters, he will see more intentional walks. Davis’ will also face superior pitching in the AL East (the likes of Clay Buchholz, CC Sabathia, Matt Moore, David Price).

There is little doubt we are watching two talented hitters in their prime. Will Cabrera sustain his momentum, will Davis continue to surge? Will we see a Triple Crown winner for only the second time in 46 years? Or even more incredibly, consecutive titles for Cabrera? Let’s kick back and watch the season unfold.

Twitter: @MissMaria_88