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)

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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)

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 04/25

Who is excited baseball is back????? I know I am which also means that Daily Fantasy Baseball is back as well. I really enjoy DFS Baseball as it keeps you even more involved and keeps you up to date with guys you normally wouldn’t care about.

Had some great success in the early games and decided to get a little greedy and try the night-cap too and burnt me.

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

I am going to bring you the lineup I feel is the best for you to bring home some $$$ for the day. Early on we are fighting the guessing game but riding some of the guys hot bats to start the season.

The Sports Script Fan Duel MLB Lineup for 04/25
lineup

Here is a few reasons I like these guys tonight.

Miguel Cabrera vs. Kevin Correia – hitting .393 (11/28) with 2 2Bs, a HR, 8 RBIs & 2 BBs
Early in the week Miggy owners were in panic mode and selling him, today you couldn’t get him if you tried. 6 hits in the last 3 games and he has a matchup against Correia who is struggling against RHP this season. They are hitting .360 against him and this is the easy no brainer pick of the day.

Pedro Alvarez vs. Shelby Miller – hitting .231 (3/13) with 3 HRs, 3 RBIs & a BB
This is just a gut play today. Miller has struggled against lefties and Alvarez has struggled against RHP. I think Alvarez takes Miller deep tonight.

Don’t forget to tune into the Fantasy Forecaster each and every Wednesday at 9 PM EST here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration or download the show on iTunes by clicking the link here. https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-sports-script/id850876078?mt=2

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy Baseball 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

10 Predictions & Questions Heading Into The All-Star Break

We’ve had a great 1st half of baseball this year! The Sports Script asked Ricky and me 10 questions regarding the 1st half of the season. We’ll be talking about what’s happened so far this year, as well as predict how the season will finish.

1. Who is the biggest surprise team? The Pittsburgh Pirates.

After finishing the last 20 years on the wrong side of .500, the Pittsburgh Pirates have seemed to amass a winning formula. Known for draft picks that didn’t pan out and veteran signings that fell through, this season the pieces appear to be falling into place. With acquisitions such as Francisco Liriano and Jeff Locke, joining A. J. Burnett and Gerrit Cole in the rotation and a talented bullpen, the pitching has been the heart and soul of the Pirates’ success. Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte’s outfield performances have been electrifying. With the fourth lowest payroll in the majors, GM Neal Huntington’s bargain shopping appears to be paying off.

2. Who is the biggest disappointment? The Toronto Blue Jays

The splashiest moves in the off-season don’t always translate into regular season success. The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays are a prime example. After the trade for shortstop Jose Reyes, left-handed pitcher Mark Buehrle, right-handed pitcher Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck, the acquisition of free agent Melky Cabrera and knuckleballer R. A. Dickey from the New York Mets, the Jays were an early favorite to win the division. With a division-worst 45-48 record, they are falling miserably flat. Following a poor start to the season, the Jays recovered slightly but in the midst of a strong A.L. East, there is no room for mediocrity. With a sorely under-producing rotation, in order to contend with the Boston Red Sox, the Baltimore Orioles, the New York Yankees, and surging Tampa Bay Rays, their acquisitions will have to produce.

3. Who is the MVP? AL: Miguel Cabrera. NL: Yadier Molina

Although still early in the debate, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers is a runaway favorite for MVP consideration. Aside from Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles, there is no other major league player whose numbers even come close to touching Cabrera’s. With an impressive 95 RBI’s, 30 HR’s and batting an average of .365, his production in the Tigers’ line up is extraordinary. In the NL, Catcher Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals isn’t a “typical” MVP candidate. With only 7 HR’s in 2013, he isn’t your power-hitter, however, his real strength comes in his batting average at .341 (with 49 RBI’s) on the year. He has thrown out 45% of attempted base-stealers. With a 4.0 WAR rating, Molina ranks second only to Cabrera and has started behind the plate in nearly every game, proving his durability. Perhaps most importantly, Molina is the backbone of the division-leading Cardinals.

4. Who is the CY Young? American League: Max Scherzer National League: Adam Wainwright

Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers finally lost his first game of the season this past weekend but still leads the majors with only 1 loss. While wins-losses can be overrated, they are not meaningless. With an ERA of 3.19, Scherzer leads the league in strikeouts with 152. Adam Wainright of the St. Louis Cardinals has 12 wins and 5 losses, an ERA of 2.30, and is second in the National League with 126 strikeouts. Wainwright has had 2 shutouts on the year and an impressive 14 walks in 19 games.

5. Who is the Least Valuable Player? B.J. Upton

This past off-season the Atlanta Braves signed B.J. Upton to a 5-year, $75.25 million deal, the biggest contract in franchise history. Hitting a dismal .177/.266/.300 on the year, Upton is looking like a poor investment. He is struggling at the plate with 102 strikeouts half way through the season. His timing is poor, he shows too much movement in his swing, and any adjustments he has tried to make haven’t proven effective. In fact, Upton appears to be regressing as a hitter. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez admitted he considered asking Upton to work out his struggles in a minor league assignment. Currently Upton has been placed on the 15-day DL with a right adductor muscle strain.

6. Which team needs to make a move at the deadline? Philadelphia Phillies

Throughout the season many have speculated whether the Phillies would be sellers before the deadline with the likes of Chase Utley, Michael Young, and Carlos Ruiz. However following a strong July outing, General Manager Ruben Amaro reportedly announced the Phillies could be buyers, not sellers. With the Atlanta Braves, who started the 2013 season red-hot, slightly slowing down their pace and the Washington Nationals falling short of expectations, a strong addition to the roster could give the Phillies a push for the post-season, if any is to be had. If the Phillies go the selling route, there could be great value for Utley, Young, or Ruiz in the trade market.

7. Which team is most likely to bounce back in the 2nd half? Los Angeles Angels

With a record of 44-49 the Angels are heading into the All-Star break below .500 and 12 games out of first place in the NL West. However, they have the ability to recover. If they are going to gain ground in the second half of the season they need a boost from their pitching staff (particularly ace Jered Weaver); the offense needs to live up to its potential and they need to win the games they are supposed to win. This season against the less than stellar Astros, the Angels have gone just 6-7 included being swept by Houston in a 4 game series. Their big off-season acquisition, Josh Hamilton, had a bleak start to the season but heading into the weekend has hit .346 in his last 14 games with 12 runs and 4 HR’s. Hamilton needs to break out in the second half. Injury-riddled Albert Pujols has also had a weak first half of the season but if last season is any indication (slugging jumped from .460 to .581 in the second half), he should start to improve. His bat returning to previous form will provide a much-needed bolster to the Angels’ line-up.

AL 8. Will Miguel Cabrera win the Triple Crown for a 2nd year in a row? No.

While Cabrera is certainly making a case for a repeat Triple Crown the one category that will hinder him is power-hitting. Cabrera has 30 HR’s heading into the All-Star break, second to Chris Davis’ 37. While either hitter could slow down in the 2nd half, it will be difficult to top Davis’ power. With Davis finishing out the 1st half with 93 RBI’s, 37 HR’s, and a batting average of .315, he may also be a Triple Crown contender. At the very least, his numbers will threaten Cabrera’s.

NL 8. Who will finish with the most HRs in the NL? Carlos Gonzalez

The National League does not boast the same power-hitting numbers as the American League. Currently Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies leads the NL with 25 HR’s, Pedro Alvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates has 24, and Domonic Brown of the Philadelphia Phillies has 23. While the HR leader at the close of the season is a toss-up, Coors Field, the home of the Colorado Rockies is known for being a home-run friendly ballpark due to the high altitude, which could give Gonzalez an advantage.

9. Which 5 teams are making the playoffs?

AL East: Boston Red Sox

AL Central: Detroit Tigers

AL West: Oakland A’s

Wild Card: Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles

NL East: Atlanta Braves

NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals

NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks

Wild Card: Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals

10. Who is representing the AL & NL in the World Series? Detroit Tigers & St. Louis Cardinals

Twitter: MissMaria_88

10 Predictions & Questions Heading Into The All-Star Break

We’ve had a great 1st half of baseball this year! The Sports Script asked Maria and me 10 questions regarding what took place during the 1st half of the year and predictions for the rest of the season.

1. Who is the biggest surprise team?

The Pittsburgh Pirates – They have had one impressive 1st half of the season. Their pitching has been unbelievable; they have the #1 ERA in all of baseball right now. What’s even more surprising is the fact they are winning so many games in spite of how badly they’re hitting this year.

2. Who is the biggest disappointment?

At the beginning of June this would’ve easily been the Dodgers, but now it has to be the Nationals. They are only 1 game above .500 and just haven’t been playing the best baseball. They just aren’t hitting at all and they’re ranked in the bottom half of every major hitting category.

3. Who is the MVP?

Miguel Cabrera – Chris Davis gets an honorable mention in this but nobody is playing as well as Miggy. He is hitting .365 with 30 HRs & 95 RBIs. He could be on his way to winning his 2nd Triple Crown and MVP in a row.

4. Who is the CY Young?

I would say there are 4 or 5 names that could be tossed into conversation, but I am going with Patrick Corbin. He is 11-1 with a 2.35 ERA, 109 SO, and a 1.00 WHIP. He has only given up more than 3 runs twice in 19 starts, and has held teams to 2 runs or less in 15 of those. While others can still stake their claim, give me Corbin right now.

Max Scherzer – This guy is 13-1 with a 3.19 ERA, 152 SO & a 0.98 WHIP. There really is no other choice here to be made.

5. Who is the Least Valuable Player?

The Upton Brothers –

After starting the season hot, Justin has hit a cold streak, while his brother B.J., has just been terrible all season long. They have struck out a combined 202 times. The Braves have invested a lot of money in the pair and they haven’t produced the way they should’ve.

6. Which team needs to make a move at the deadline?

The Tigers –

They need a closer and they need one right now. If they do not trade for a dominant closer, this team will not go to the World Series this year.

7. Which team is most likely to bounce back in the 2nd half?

The Nationals –

They aren’t playing anywhere near what they are capable of. I think they are poised for a good 2nd half where they will overtake the Braves and win the NL East.

8a. Will Miguel Cabrera win the Triple Crown for a 2nd year in a row?

I believe he will. I think Chris Davis is going to hit a wall in the 2nd half (Like Jose Bautista did in 2010). This will give Cabrera the opportunity to overtake him in the HR race.

8b.Who will finish with the most HRs in the NL?

This is a race to keep an eye on. Gonzalez, Brown, Alvarez, and Goldschmidt are all within 4 HRs of each other. Beltran and Bruce aren’t far off either. If he is healthy, Cargo will end the season with 42 HRs, which will lead the NL.

9. Which 5 teams are making the playoffs?

NL –

East: Nationals

Central: Cardinals,

West: Diamondbacks,

Wild Cards: Dodgers & Braves.

AL –

East: Rays

Central: Tigers

West: A’s

Wild Cards: Yankees & Angels.

10. Who is representing the NL & AL in the World Series?

I originally picked the Braves to not only represent the NL in the World Series but to win it as well. Well, time for me to take my comment back. The Braves have too many questions surrounding them, the D’Backs aren’t there yet, the Dodgers aren’t unless they trade for Lee, and the Nationals aren’t ready for it yet. So, with the experience and talent, the Cardinals will be in the World Series for the 4th time since 2010.

At the beginning of the season I had the Tigers representing the AL. I will stand by that pick now as well. The Rays I think have the right amount of pitching to make it, but not sure they have the hitting together. The A’s always seem to get there but can never make that final push. Yankees aren’t good enough, and the Angels could go, but aren’t deep enough in the rotation to make it. So that leaves me with the Tigers, and I think that is by default as well. They have been really solid with their Starting Pitchers, but their bullpen has been atrocious this year. As I said, they will fix this issue and trade for one at the deadline, to take home the Crown in the AL.