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: Yankees in Transition

Headley enjoyed his stint in NY so much he took less to stay. Let that marinate with his 4 year 52 million dollar deal.
Headley enjoyed his stint in NY so much he took less to stay.

It seems strange to be breaking down New York’s offseason moves to this point without commenting on a free agent that they overspent on. Well, with the exception of Chase Headley. However, he may have left money on the table to sign with New York. Wait, what? In flurry of moves during the Winter Meetings, teams like San Diego, Los Angeles and Miami were wheeling and dealing. Within the division, Toronto has strengthened their team defense and lineup by signing Russell Martin and trading for Josh Donaldson. The Red Sox have been busy hoarding number three starters to go along with the signings of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. Tampa is being Tampa and making under the radar deals and stockpiling arms. The biggest news in Baltimore is that Chris Davis can (legally) take Adderall this year. Phew!

Oh yeah, one last thing. The black cloud that is Alex Rodriguez is hanging over the 2015 Yankees.

Brian Cashman is trying to look to the future and shed some of the mistakes of contract’s past. Now that the Derek Jeter retirement tour has ended and the “Core Four” have all retired, the time has come to try and rebuild on the fly. A total reclamation project is not in the offing for a franchise that prides itself with headlines, winning and most importantly, championships. But one of the reasons they have been quiet this winter is because the cupboard is kind of bare on the farm. Because the Yankees are devoid of the prospects that other teams desire, they have taken a new course. I was surprised about the backlash on Twitter from Yankee fans after they traded Martin Prado and David Phelps to Miami for Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones and prospect Domingo German. Prado is nice and all but his ceiling is limited and pitchers who repeatedly throw 95 MPH do not fall off trees. Adding the Marlins number 8 prospect in German was great as well. He is not overpowering but throws strikes.

So what have the Yankees done this winter?

Yankee Acquisitions: Andrew Miller, Didi Gregorius, Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones, Domingo German, Gonzalez Germen, Chase Headley, Chris Young
Yankee Losses: David Robertson, Shane Greene, Martin Prado, David Phelps, Brandon McCarthy

Starting with the infield, it appears for now that the Yankees are going to bring in Didi Gregorius and his strong defense to platoon with Brendan Ryan at shortstop. While it makes sense to be strong up the middle, what does Sir Didi offer as he tries to replace a Yankee Legend? According to ESPN Statistical Analysis, Gregorius made 41 good plays at shortstop in 2014 in 580 innings while the best total at the position was 71 good plays per 1,000 innings. I am not a math wizard but this implies that Gregorius was on pace to make more good plays per 1,000 innings than the leader in baseball. While this will not mean anything to Gregorius’ production on offense, if he helps save runs that may have more worth than anything he would do offensively. On a positive note, here is another list, courtesy of Mark Simon, noting the players with the highest hard hit rate in 2014:

Hard Hit Rate Mark Simon

It is only one statistic, but Gregorius is nestled in between Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Trout. I’m not sure how this happened but Didi is a candidate for a platoon. His career slash lines against left-handed pitching are a paltry .184/.257/.233 while his numbers improve against righties to the tune of .262/.332/.411. It is hard to say that a move to Yankee stadium will improve his numbers since Arizona is a hitter’s ballpark as well but the short porch in right is enticing to lefties. Gregorius has hit all 13 of his career homers off of right-handed pitchers so it really makes sense to platoon him with Brendan Ryan not only to shield him from the New York fans and writers but to allow him to gain confidence. This is could be a tough sell as Bob McManaman wrote about for the Arizona Republic:

“…this was a scout’s take on Gregorius in a text message to the New York Daily News: He’s OK. Solid defender, bat is light-long swing. Good athlete. Nervous type, not sure he can handle NY. If Gregorius is batting around .220 in May, Yankees fans and the New York tabloids alike will be screaming at Cashman for not trading for Troy Tulowitzki or Elvis Andrus or making a run at Hanley Ramirez before he bolted to the rival Red Sox.”

This will be Didi’s third team in the last three years. Replacing Derek Jeter is a tall order on its own, starting in New York as a platoon player at best whose best quality is defense, may be too tough for Gregorius to handle. In the 81 games Steamer projects out of him, he’ll produce 34 runs, 6 home runs, 32 RBI and 2 stolen bases while hitting .248/.310/.366. That does not look great but in comparison to Derek Jeter’s 2014 of 145 games, 47 runs, 4 home runs, 50 RBI, 10 stolen bases and .256/.304/.313 it doesn’t look so bad. I think Yankee fans are smarter than people give them credit for (Editor’s note: Greg is a Yankees fan). Gregorius may not light it up in fantasy, but if he saves runs for their patchwork pitching staff then he will be worth his spot in the platoon.

When the Yankees traded for Chase Headley in 2014 it seemed like a reach for a team that could not realistically make the playoffs. I remember watching a game near the end of the year and hearing that Headley was surprised about how much he enjoyed being a Yankee and that playing there may have changed his mind about his pending free agency. It really did not register with me at the time but while I am reading reports that his 4 year 52-million dollar contract was below other offers, I was surprised. Taking out his outlier 2012, his high in home runs for a season is 13 (which he has done each of the last two years). If the Yankees had any plans to give Alex Rodriguez playing time at third base would they have given Headley a four year contract? As congruent as Headley’s statistics have been over the last two years in which he has averaged 138 games, 57 runs, 13 home runs, 50 RBI, 8 SB and a .246/.338/.387 slash line, his power peripherals are very intriguing. First, here are Headley’s home runs from 2014 with an overlay of Yankee Stadium. Now he did hit 6 of his 13 homers with the Yankees, but notice the distances in comparison to the overlay:

Chase Headley Yankee Overaly 2014

What makes even less sense is how his supporting statistics match up over the last three years. I charted them below and you may find it as perplexing as I did:

Headley HR Chart

It would appear that Headley is regaining strength in his thumb with the increased bat velocities the last two seasons and while a return to his 31 home run spike from 2012 is very unlikely, I am willing to buy into Headley increasing his home run totals in 2015. Ballpark, plus increased HR/FB%, plus increased ball speed off the bat could translate into a bump in not only Headley’s home run totals, but his fantasy stats overall. Steamer seems to agree:

Chase Headley 2015: 138 G, 69 R, 17 HR, 68 RBI, 8 SB, .259/.343/.413

That is a solid portrayal for Headley going forward and although I was not enamored with his contract for the Yankees, it is a boon for his fantasy value. By no means does this propel him to the top of any 3B rankings but it makes him relevant again. If he can hold on to the distances that he exhibited in 2014, I could see him hitting 20 – 23 long balls next year:

2014 Longest HR by AVG Distance

Although it seems that the Yankees are stockpiling designated hitters with Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez already on the roster, they picked up Garrett Jones from the Marlins. Jones is not a particularly strong fielder in right or at first base so if he plays it will be for his bat. But if Jones is going to be a part of a platoon at DH, the Yankees may be on to something. Similar to Gregorius, Jones does his best work against right-handed pitchers, hitting 101 of his 117 career home runs off of them. His career slash lines against right-handers is .267/.333/.479, which, in New York is something to take note of. Once again, just like Headley, Jones’ power spike in 2012 has been followed up by back to back 15 homer campaigns. Unlike Headley, Jones’ peripheral numbers do not portend a serious jump in power due to his arrival in New York. First here is his home run overlay with Yankee stadium using his 2014 home runs:

Garrett Jones Yankee Overlay 2014

While Headley had supporting stats to say an increase in power is due to happen, Jones will have to rely on the short porch in right field for a power jump. But Jones averages a home run every 21.9 at bats against right-handed pitching for his career so if he can garner 450 at bats with the Yankees his career numbers dictate that he could hit 21 home runs at his peak. Using Jones’ Steamer projection of 81 games, he’s due to produce 41 runs, 14 home runs, 45 RBI and a .250/.311/.448 slash line. Jones’ value will be determined not only by how he is used but by how many at bats he gets. He is a sneaky cheap power play in AL-only leagues.

Finishing up the infield preview, it appears that a spring training battle at second base is brewing between Robert Refsnyder and Jose Pirela. At a time when Yankee fans are looking for a prospect to break through and contribute to this team, Refsnyder has been growing in the minor leagues. Their numbers in the minors last year are strikingly familiar:

Robert Refsnyder AA/AAA: 137 G, 82 R, 14 HR, 63 RBI, 9 SB, .318/.387/.497
Jose Pirela AAA: 130 G, 87 R, 10 HR, 60 RBI, 15 SB, .305/.351/.441

Pirela is on the active 40-man roster and would appear to have the inside track as the season opens, but a strong spring could push Refsnyder into the position earlier than anticipated. Defense could be the deciding factor, as Refsnyder is still a work in progress at second base and could use a bit more seasoning at AAA. Steamer seems to think that the Yankees will start with Pirela at the position:

Jose Pirela Steamer: 57 G, 24 R, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 5 SB, .259/.307/.381
Robert Refsnyder Steamer: 97 G, 45 R, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 9 SB, .262/.328/.390

Even though I think Refsnyder is the best for second base in the long run it may take him until June to win the job. But once he is there it may be his for some time which would make Yankee fans happy to see players come through the system again.
As to the pitching pieces in this deal, it starts with Nathan Eovaldi coming over from the Marlins. Like Chase Headley, he is a tough player to project for 2015 as he has enticing positives like his live arm and improving FIP but he has his warts. Courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net, here is repertoire:

Eovaldi MPH and Movement 2014

Fangraphs.com’s Eno Sarris has a couple of interesting tweets regarding Eovaldi:

To say that Eovaldi could be the next Garrett Richards is high praise indeed, but may be a work in progress. His pitches with batting averages against show the problems that Eovaldi has with his changeup:

Eovaldi 2014 Results against

There are reports that Eovaldi is working on a split finger fastball this offseason, so it will remain to be seen what he can do in a ballpark like Yankee Stadium. But with his velocity and youth, it is a risk worth taking for the Yankees.

The other piece in the Marlins trade was pitcher Domingo German who was the eighth rated Marlins prospect and immediately jumped one spot in the Yankee ranking to number 7 after the trade. German is a very good young pitcher who struck out 113 in 2014 against only 25 walks. His fastball is reported to be in the low 90’s with an average changeup and a developing slider. In his first full season in class A, German had a tidy 2.48 ERA. His fastball does have sink which is a plus as teams are looking for power pitchers who generate groundballs.

I have already written up Andrew Miller here and how he provides insurance in the bullpen as the Dellin Betances era may begin in New York. Having been fortunate enough to get him in the reserve draft in my AL-only league next year I look forward to Betances transitioning in to take over at closer for his mentor and hero Mariano Rivera. It will be interesting to see if the Yankees can stay the course and hold on to their prospects like Luis Severino, a live-armed righty who throws an easy fastball and allow AFL star Aaron Judge to develop instead of flipping him for an aging veteran. The times are changing in New York and I am curious to see how Brian Cashman sheds contracts before trying to make a splash in the 2016 free agent class. These are not the Yankees of years past, at least at the moment.

Statistical credits: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com, BrooksBaseball.net, ESPN.com, MiLB.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/mGs6bU

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!

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: 2B

Altuve steals his way into fantasy owner's hearts
Jose Altuve has stolen his way into the hearts of gamers

While there seemed to be safety in getting one of the “big three” in pre-season drafts (Cano, Kipnis, Pedroia), there has been upheaval thus far at the position with none of the top-tier appearing in the top five on the player rater. As of this writing, not only is Jose Altuve the top option at the position, but he is the top rated player in fantasy. This is a precipitous climb for someone who is listed at 5’ 5”. Because of his hot first half and the stolen base accomplishments of Dee Gordon, they not only lead the majors in stolen bases, but assume the top two spots at second base. In an effort to streamline the data, I have listed the top 20 second basemen on the player rater below along with their stats from the last 365 days to underscore what they have done. The results may surprise you:

1. Jose Altuve – 159 G, 77 R, 4 HR, 51 RBI, 55 SB 315/349/410
2. Dee Gordon – 110 G, 55 R, 2 HR, 26 RBI, 48 SB 297/348/397
3. Ian Kinsler – 160 G, 110 R, 15 HR, 87 RBI, 21 SB 287/330/432
4. Brian Dozier – 160 G, 104 R, 28 HR, 77 RBI, 22 SB 246/327/439
5. Anthony Rendon – 145 G, 85 R, 16 HR, 75 RBI, 8 SB 270/332/442
6. Robinson Cano – 158 G, 77 R, 13 HR, 101 RBI, 8 SB 333/388/474
7. Daniel Murphy –164 G, 97 R, 14 HR, 77 RBI, 25 SB 298/340/492
8. Howie Kendrick – 124 G, 67 R, 6 HR, 57 RBI, 11 SB 287/336/385
9. Chase Utley – 158 G, 85 R, 15 HR, 85 RBI, 6 SB 293/354/447
10. Scooter Gennett –136 G, 65 R, 12 HR, 49 RBI, 7 SB 325/359/492
11. Neil Walker –142 G, 72 R, 23 HR, 70 RBI, 2 SB 266/33/449
12. Josh Harrison – 125 G, 46 R, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 13 SB 291/330/448
13. Dustin Pedroia-159 G, 83 R, 7 HR, 49 RBI, 6 SB 280/343/382
14. DJ LeMahieu –148 G, 66 R, 4 HR, 41 RBI, 15 SB 282/321/354
15. Omar Infante –114 G, 47 R, 9 HR, 70 RBI, 5 SB 297/330/408
16. Brandon Phillips – 152 G, 68 R, 13 HR, 72 RBI, 5 SB 264/303/384
17. Jason Kipnis – 135 G, 69 R, 7 HR, 54 RBI, 23 SB 265/344/368
18. Ben Zobrist – 150 G, 72 R, 12 HR, 47 RBI, 10 SB 275/354/407
19. Martin Prado –158 G, 70 R, 10 HR, 82 RBI, 4 SB 291/328/412
20. Kolten Wong – 85 G, 28 R, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 15 SB 220/274/339

It appears the concern over Dustin Pedroia’s power numbers in decline are more than people bargained for. With only seven home runs since last July it looks like this is who he is moving forward. It will be hard to list him in the top five next year. If you laughed at guys riding a Scooter, the one in Milwaukee has proven to be a fantasy factor off the waiver wire displacing Rickie Weeks and hitting in the top two of the Brewers lineup. A player in the midst of breakout is Anthony Rendon but he seems to be overshadowed in Washington due to the angst and attention that Bryce Harper commands. But his numbers from the last year have been rock solid and he is only getting better. One of the biggest questions has been where Robinson Cano’s power has gone. With only 13 home runs over the last year, this may be who he is going forward but like a struggling Chris Davis, Cano can hit them in bunches if he gets hot. Injuries have limited Jason Kipnis in the first half and his second half struggles have been well documented. Feeling lucky? Like Cano, his power numbers have been in a steep decline with only seven in his last 135 games. With all this in mind, here are the ZiPS ROS projections according to Fangraphs to see how player are thought to finish the season:

ZiPS ROS Projections:

Runs:
1. Ian Kinsler 38
2. Brian Dozier 35
3. Robinson Cano 32
4. Jason Kipnis
5. Dustin Pedroia 31
6. Jose Altuve 31
7. Daniel Murphy 31
8. Anthony Rendon 30
9. Ben Zobrist 30
10. Neil Walker/Howie Kendrick 29

Home Runs:
1. Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, Neil Walker, Brian Dozier, Dan Uggla 7
2. Anthony Rendon, Chase Utley, Jason Kipnis, Kelly Johnson, Jonathan Schoop 6

RBI:
1. Robinson Cano 35
2. Ian Kinsler 31
3. Neil Walker 29
4. Jason Kipnis 29
5. Dustin Pedroia 28
6. Anthony Rendon 27
7. Howie Kendrick 27
8. Daniel Murphy 27
9. Aaron Hill 26
10. Brian Dozier 26

Stolen Bases:
1. Dee Gordon 19
2. Jose Altuve 17
3. Emilio Bonifacio 11
4. Jason Kipnis 9
5. Leury Garcia 9
6. Arismendy Alcanatara 8
7. Ian Kinsler 7
8. Brian Dozier 7
9. Josh Harrison, Howie Kendrick, Daniel Murphy, Roughned Odor 6

Batting Average:
1. Jose Altuve .301
2. Robinson Cano .300
3. Daniel Murphy .284
4. Scooter Gennett .284
5. DJ LeMahieu .284
6. Dustin Pedroia .281
7. Marco Scutero .281
8. Tommy LaStella .281
9. Ian Kinsler .279

Mark it down Rendon is a top 5 second baseman in the second half and going forward
Book it: Anthony Rendon is a top five option at 2B

While these projections are far from perfect, it does give fantasy owners an idea of how players could finish out the season. It also helps to predict how they will finish the year in the rankings. Going forward, here are my top 20 fantasy second baseman for the season’s second half:

1. Jose Altuve – Never thought I would type this but why can’t he keep the top spot all year? He is going to hit for average, will steal bases and the Astros can score runs
2. Ian Kinsler – I underestimated him in the preseason and his motivation to show the Rangers they made a mistake has definitely made a difference. The surrounding offense doesn’t hurt, either
3. Robinson Cano – He is still a top option but the first round is a reach next year
4. Anthony Rendon – I am all in with him and next year he may bust out even further
5. Dee Gordon – Stolen bases provide huge value and he is still providing them, the average will regress but the speed is here to stay
6. Brian Dozier – His average can be a drain but the power and speed combo are too hard to ignore
7. Daniel Murphy – Unlike David Wright, he is undervalued at his position
8. Jason Kipnis – The talent is there but his plate discipline and lack of power in the last calender year are concerning
9. Chase Utley – Could a trade really boost his value in the second half? Absolutely
10. Ben Zobrist – See Utley above, he is warming up
11. Scooter Gennett – Hits at the top of the lineup against righties and helps in all five categories
12. Neil Walker – Still has power and will be in play as the Pirates push for the playoffs
13. Howie Kendrick – Has been healthy and solid
14. Dustin Pedroia – As I am typing this he is 0 for 4 in a game that Boston has scored 14 runs. I love his heart and hustle, but his name buoyed his draft position. Look at his last 365 stats above
15. Kolten Wong – Upside late and he could leapfrog a couple of the names above him if he can stay healthy. Has stolen base and runs upside
16. Arismendy Alcanatara – Why not? He has been solid in his debut and if the Cubs leave him in the second spot in the lineup he can provide double digit steals in the second half
17. Aaron Hill – He has to get better this year. Just in case though, I am leaving him here
18. Martin Prado – Does a little bit of everything but like Aaron Hill, he’s been a disappointment
19. Rougned Odor – Again, upside play and this kid plays older than his age but the Rangers are burying him by hitting him last. Move him up please, Ron
20. Josh Harrison – Has eligibility in leagues and he is a spark plug in this offense

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, ZiPS Projections
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/nnHCNt (Altuve), http://goo.gl/90NPMB (Rendon)

5 Questions Surrounding Fantasy Baseball Outfielders

The MLB season is upon us which means it is time for the Fantasy Baseball season. We here at the Sports Script want to do everything possible in setting you up for draft day and helping you throughout the season to win a Fantasy Baseball Championship. We are gathering a team of Sports Script writers as well as some special guest to answer 5 key questions about each position for the upcoming 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season. Today we have gathered myself (Ricky Valero), Matt Bell, Matt Wincherauk and special guest Jonathan (@Jonathan_TTF) from Top Team Fantasy (@TopTeamFantasy) as we are going to take a look at the Outfield.

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy Baseball Outfielders

1 – Which player or players are you targeting?

Jonathan – Carlos Beltran: Everyone always looks for the sexy guys like Yasiel Puig (more on him later) and Billy Hamilton, but you win your leagues by grabbing those value players like Beltran. He’s 36 years old, but based on his 10th round ADP; I love the 8-time all-star who is moving from a tough ballpark to a launching pad in New York (check this out for a great read on the subject). He’s been more durable than you may thing in his last three seasons and will be almost a lock for a 25 HR season. I’d be shocked if he finishes outside the top 20 OFs.

Ricky – Unlike my buddy Jonathan and many others that I have had some nice chats about in the past, Yasiel Puig is a guy I not only want on my team, I am willing to reach in the middle of the 1st round for the guy. If you are drafting around the 5th or 6th spot in this year’s draft there is a bunch of uncertainty. After Cabrera and Trout, the field is wide open. Now I think Goldschmidt is a shoe-in at #3 but after him you have McCutchen, Cano and Davis lined up right after all of whom have some serious questions. If you are drafting 4th-6th you are more than likely not going to have a chance at Puig in round 2. I present the following things to you.

He ranked 6th in batting average (Min. 400 PA)
He scored 66 runs in only 104 games
His 19 HRs/382 PA (20.1% AB/HR) ranked 25th in baseball
12th in OBP (.391) higher than Cano/Davis/Beltre/Ramirez
His 160 wRC+ was 4th in baseball and was 60 points higher than the league average
Of the 56 players with over a 20% K% only 5 players hit .300 or better last year. Only Chris Johnson had a higher batting average than Puig did.

That’s all from a guy in his first season in the MLB. While there is talks questioning is work ethic (he’s “30” pounds heavier) or questioning his “character” but I am taking him based on his talent. End of story.

Matt Bell – If I have one of the top picks in any of my drafts I’ll be targeting Mike Trout who I think is primed for another huge year. That pick is obvious, so the other outfielders that I’ll be looking to target include Bryce Harper and Josh Hamilton. Harper is no secret to any fantasy player as he’s burst onto the scene pretty quickly in the past two years. He spent some time on the DL last year which really hurt his numbers. I see Harper if healthy hitting for an average of .275 with 30 home runs and over 20 stolen bases. Josh Hamilton probably makes some people throw up in their mouth hearing his name, but I really think he’s primed for a bounce back year.  Hamilton is going to have a ton of value at the spot he will fall to in most drafts. He’s coming off his worst year hitting for an average of .250 with only 21 home runs. Hamilton will improve over last year and being ranked 32nd in the ESPN rankings leads me to believe he can be had in the later rounds of most fantasy drafts.

Matt Wincherauk – Mike Trout. Not adventurous enough? Fine. I’ll go with Bryce Harper here. I feel like he’s about to really break out, like many thought he would last year before injuries got to him. More on him in a later question.

2 – Which player are you staying away from?

Jonathan – Curtis Granderson: We just spoke about the impact of Beltran moving to Yankee stadium, well Granderson leaving Yankee stadium will have an opposite effect. Here’s his home/away splits since joining the Yankees (given in per 100 AB numbers):

Home: 19.75 R, 7.03 HR, 17.41 RBI, 2.9 SB, 0.254 AVG
Away: 18.75 R, 5.8 HR, 16.85 RBI, 3.24 SB, 0.236 AVG

As you would expect, his power was significantly down on the road, and moving to a more neutral park (Citi Field) will only make matters worse for the aging (former) star, not to mention the stark difference in lineup around him. He’s already 33 years old and is coming off a year in which he was limited to only 61 games, so you’d have a hard time convincing me a comeback year is in the works. Don’t let his name value trick you into overpaying for Granderson on draft day.

Ricky – Bryce Harper – He is being over drafted in so many leagues this year and it’s insane. He started off with a Monster April last season and boom just died for months on end. He struggles really badly against lefties as seen below.

Vs. LHP – 131 AB – 12 R – 25 H – 2 HR – 16 RBI – .214 BA – .327 OBP

I think this is a make or break season for Harper if he is going to be among the élite Fantasy outfielders or not. With a current ADP of 12, I am staying as far away from Harper as I can.

Matt Bell – The player I’m staying away from is Carlos Gomez as he was much in the spot light for the Brewers last year with Braun hurt. I think Gomez is going to struggle to hit anywhere close to the .280 mark he hit for last year. The previous years he hadn’t hit anywhere close to that mark with .260 being his highest average. He has some power, but I don’t expect him to hit over 20 home runs next year and he just won’t be able to justify his early draft pick status.

Matt Wincherauk – I’m avoiding Ellsbury like I talked about in the first question. His power numbers might benefit from being in New York, but he is the biggest injury risk in baseball, and I can’t trust him. That and he’s a little traitor.

3 – Who is the biggest sleeper heading into 2014?

Jonathan – Melky Cabrera: How much of Melky’s excellent 2011 and 2012 seasons were due to steroids? We’ll probably never know. But the hate has gone too far. Melky was drafted as a top 25 OF last year, and although he’s coming off a terrible year that was largely due to injuries. He’s still going to be starting in left and looks likely to be starting in the #2 hole. There is absolutely no reason not to gamble on him considering his 281.7 ADP (79th OF).

Ricky – Khris Davis is someone I really have an eye on in all my upcoming drafts. He is coming off the board in the 15th-17th round right now and I think he has a much higher ceiling than that. He hit a pretty solid .279 and hit 11 homers in 136 ABs which equated to 1 in every 12 at bats. While it’ll be tough for him to match those types of numbers in 2014 but even if he balloons to 1 in 20, he will still hit 20+ HRs, hit for a decent average and may even steal you a few bags. I would take him in the 12th or 13th round ahead of guys like Michael Bourn and Torii Hunter.

Matt Bell – The biggest sleeper in the outfield is tough as there are just so many players to choose from, but the player that I think could have a big year that no one is talking about is Mark Trumbo. He’s coming off a year where he only hit for an average of .234, but he still hit for over 30 home runs and now he finds himself in a hitter’s park in Arizona. He’s got the potential to smash 40 home runs there and if he gets his average back up to around .270 you’ve got one heck of a steal in the outfield.

Matt Wincherauk – I’m going to go with Shin-Soo Choo here, just because he’s such a consistent player. Yes please I’ll take a player with a .300+ average, and a 20/20 guy, who should also benefit from playing in the Rangers ballpark.

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

Jonathan – Yasiel Puig: We all know how talented Puig is, but a top 10 OF this year? You gotta be kidding me! In 2013, he hit .319 with 19 HRs, 66 R, 42 RBI and 11 SB in only 104 games. That means in 2014 with a full season he’s a good bet to go 30-20 with a .300 average right? Wrong!

If you look deeper, you will see regression coming up the wazoo. 0.383 BABIP, a contact rate of just 67%, a ground ball rate of over 50%, HR/FB% of 22%, the average will drop significantly this year and the power numbers should suffer as well. We saw that regression already coming when he only batted .214 in September and October.  As a top 10 OF, there is no benefit to grabbing Puig; he can’t possibly outperform his draft position. I’m letting someone else overdraft him and grabbing safer players at a value instead.

Ricky – Can I put Matt Kemp? Anyone that drafts him is in line for a huge disappointing season again. He is hurt again, may or may not start the season and could be on a short leash with the Dodgers having some depth in the OF. Another guy I won’t be drafting is Ryan Braun, while I believe he will be a nice fantasy option this year, I just don’t think he will match up to his ADP.

Matt Bell – The biggest bust that I see looking at the top of the OF rankings is Joey Bautista. He’s going to hit his home runs, but other than he doesn’t give you much value. He’s also missed games in every season but two that he has played in as a professional baseball player. Bautista just scares me as a player that can be taken way too high and spend more of the season on the DL than on the field.

Matt Wincherauk – Jose Bautista is my pick for being a bust this year. I think this is the year that we finally see Bautista fall off a bit from his usual gaudy power numbers. He’s constantly hurt, and his attitude doesn’t help him much either. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a name being floated around in trade numbers.

5 – Give a bold prediction for one player.

Jonathan – Ryan Braun has his third 30/30 season in four years and finishes the year as a top 3 OF.

Ricky – Mike Trout finally wins the MVP? Okay that’s not bold. Matt Kemp won’t play more than 120 games, not bold really either. Give me Yoenis Cespedes to hit .265 with 32 HRs and 98 RBIS.

Matt Bell – The Bold predictions that I’ll make for the outfield position involves Giancarlo Stanton. He’s missed some time over the last couple of seasons with injuries, but this year he stays healthy. The prediction for me is that he will hit for 45 home runs and be one of the top 5 fantasy players at the outfield position

Matt Wincherauk – My prediction will be that Bryce Harper tops 30 home runs, and solidifies his spot as a top 5 outfielder, in that group of Trout, McCutchen and Gonzalez.

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

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

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy Baseball 2nd baseman

The MLB season is upon us which means it is time for the Fantasy Baseball season. We here at the Sports Script want to do everything possible in setting you up for draft day and helping you throughout the season to win a Fantasy Baseball Championship. We are gathering a team of Sports Script writers as well as some special guest to answer 5 key questions about each position for the upcoming 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season. Today we have gathered myself (Ricky Valero), Matt Bell and Matt Wincherauk as we are going to take a look at the 2nd base.

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy 2nd baseman

1 – Which player or players are you targeting?

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

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

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

2 – Which player are you staying away from?

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

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

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

3 – Who is the biggest sleeper heading into 2014?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 – Give a bold prediction for one player.

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

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

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

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

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

2014 Fantasy Baseball Outfield 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 the Outfield 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 Outfield Rankings (as of 2/22/14)

Rank Ricky Valero Matt Bell
1 Mike Trout 
Mike Trout
2 Andrew McCutchen Andrew McCutchen
3 Yasiel Puig Carlos Gonzalez
4 Carlos Gonzalez Yasiel Puig
5 Jacoby Ellsbury Bryce Harper
6 Adam Jones Jacoby Ellsbury
7 Carlos Gomez GianCarlo Stanton
8 Bryce Harper Adam Jones
9 Ryan Braun  Jose Bautista
10 Giancarlo Stanton Hunter Pence
11 Jose Bautista Alex Rios
12 Alex Rios  Ryan Braun
13 Jay Bruce Shin Soo Choo
14 Hunter Pence Jay Bruce
15 Shin-Soo Choo Yoenis Cespedes
16 Yoenis Cespedes Justin Upton
17 Starlin Marte Starlin Marte
18 Justin Upton Carlos Gomez
19 Matt Kemp Allen Craig
20 Allen Craig Matt Holiday
21 Matt Holliday Matt Kemp
22 Domonic Brown Mark Trumbo
23 Wil Myers Domonic Brown
24 Jason Heyward Wil Myers
25 Carlos Beltran Michael Cuddyer
26 Mark Trumbo Alex Gordon
27 Ben Zobrist Jason Werth
28 Alex Gordon Josh Hamilton
29 Jayson Werth Carlos Beltran
30 Curtis Granderson Jason Heyward
31 Michael Cuddyer Curtis Granderson
32 Josh Hamilton Ben Zobrist
33 Desmond Jennings Austin Jackson
34 Shane Victorino Desmond Jennings
35 Martin Prado Christian Yelich
36 Billy Hamilton Shane Victorino
37 Alejandro De Aza Martin Prado
38 CoCo Crisp Billy Hamilton
39 Carl Crawford Alejandra De Aza
40 Alfonso Soriano Carl Crawford
41 Brandon Moss Coco Crisp
42 Christian Yelich Alfonso Soriano
43 Leonys Martin Brandon Moss
44 Brett Gardner Dexter Fowler
45 Josh Reddick Leonys martin
46 Will Venable  Nelson Cruz
47 Norichika Aoki Colby Rasmus
48 Austin Jackson Torii Hunter
49 Dexter Fowler Josh Reddick
50 Nelson Cruz BJ Upton
51 Ben Revere Will Venable
52 Nick Swisher Norichika Aoki
53 Adam Eaton Adam Eaton
54 Torii Hunter Nick Swisher
55 Michael Bourn Michael Bourn
56 Nick Markakis Nick Markakis
57 Michael Brantley Michael Brantley
58 Colby Rasmus Ben Revere
59 BJ Upton Khris Davis
60 Khris Davis Brett Gardner

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

Ricky – Yasiel Puig – Current ADP 10th – I have him ranked 3rd – Puig has the oppurtinuty to become one of the best outfielders in baseball. He has all the tools to do so and I think he will just add onto what he did in 2013. Puig is a 5 category guy and someone I would draft as high as 4th overall this year. In most drafts he will slip into the top half of round 2 and if you can get him on the 12-13 turn, you will not regret it.

Matt Bell – Giancarlo Stanton is going to be a steal in the outfield this year if you ask me. He’s got an ADP of 10th, but I’ll be snagging him ahead of some of the other guys people plan to take before him. He’s at 7th in my rankings and that’s simply because of the power he possesses. He’s been held back by injuries in his career, but if he gets a full season healthy 40 plus home runs is not out of reach.

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

Ricky – Bryce Harper – Current ADP 5 – I ranked him 8th – Harper was a disapointment this season and for some reason is being overdrafted this season. The price is too steep for a guy that really hasn’t lived up to potential.

Matt Bell – Carlos Gomez is a guy that I’m not very high on as he’s got an ADP of 9th, but can be found at 18th in my rankings. Gomez has had been getting better, but he strikes out a ton and one really good year is not enough for me to rank him ahead of some of the other outfielders in the league. I can even see him taking a step back in some of his stats next year.

In case you missed these, here are my Catcher Rankings (http://wp.me/p2MUTr-BY), 1st baseman (http://wp.me/p2MUTr-BZ), 2nd baseman rankings (http://wp.me/p2MUTr-C2), 3rd Baseman Rankings (http://wp.me/p2MUTr-C7) and Shortstop (http://wp.me/p2MUTr-Cb).

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

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

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