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

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

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

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

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

2B ADP's

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2B Steamer Projection Chart

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

SS NFBC ADP's

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SS Steamer Projection Chart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Script Splits: Using Advanced Stats to Rank 2B

Altuve is stealing his owners fantasy titles this year
Jose Altuve is stealing his owners’ fantasy titles this year

While there was surprising depth at catcher and first base, my research of second basemen shows much more of a chasm between the players to target against pitching splits in daily fantasy. This will also reflect in rankings for next year as players like Dustin Pedroia continue to lose traction in the ranks. It also underscores just how good Scooter Gennett has been this year as both he and Neil Walker rank ahead of Robinson Cano based upon the advanced statistics used to rank performance in this article. For instance, would you think that Steve Tolleson has been better against left-handed pitching than Dustin Pedroia?

Before I get into the splits rankings, here are the five categories I am using:

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.

2B versus Left-Handed Pitchers (minimum of 70 plate appearances):

wOBA:
1. Jose Altuve .433
2. Steve Tolleson .428
3. Ben Zobrist .410
4. Anthony Rendon .394
5. Howie Kendrick .372
6. Daniel Murphy .363
7. Gordon Beckham .357
8. Brian Dozier .339
9. Rickie Weeks .338
10. Dustin Pedroia .334
11. Robinson Cano .320
12. Dee Gordon .319
13. Aaron Hill .319

ISO:
1. Steve Tolleson .224
2. Brian Dozier .219
3. Danny Espinosa .192
4. Anthony Rendon .188
5. Rickie Weeks .185
6. Gordon Beckham .159
7. Ben Zobrist .149
8. Dustin Pedroia .149
9. Logan Forsythe .138
10. Aaron Hill .125
11. Howie Kendrick .124
12. Daniel Murphy .124

OPS:
1. Steve Tolleson .991
2. Jose Altuve .989
3. Ben Zobrist .941
4. Anthony Rendon .907
5. Howie Kendrick .850
6. Gordon Beckham .831
7. Daniel Murphy .827
8. Danny Espinosa .827
9. Brian Dozier .774
10. Rickie Weeks .757
11. Dustin Pedroia .753
12. Robinson Cano .735

AB/HR:
1. Brian Dozier 19
2. Steve Tolleson 25.3
3. Rickie Weeks 30.7
4. Danny Espinosa 36.5
5. Aaron Hill 40
6. Gordon Beckham 41
7. Ben Zobrist 47
8. Logan Forsythe 47
9. Daniel Murphy 48.5
10. Howie Kendrick 56.5
11. Chase Utley 57
12. Jose Altuve 57

wRC+:
1. Jose Altuve 181
2. Steve Tolleson 174
3. Ben Zobrist 170
4. Anthony Rendon 154
5. Howie Kendrick 143
6. Daniel Murphy 136
7. Danny Espinosa 126
8. Gordon Beckham 125
9. Brian Dozier 115
10. Rickie Weeks 113
11. Dustin Pedroia 109
12. Dee Gordon 106

Overall Rankings Based on Aggregate Averages:
1. Steve Tolleson – 76 AB, 8 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 355/412/579
2. Ben Zobrist – 95 AB, 13 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 SB, 358/426/505
3. Anthony Rendon – 102 AB, 22 R, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 4 SB, 333/378/520
4. Brian Dozier – 114 AB, 17 R, 6 HR, 13 RBI, 2 SB, 246/310/465
5. Jose Altuve – 114 AB, 16 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 11 SB, 421/445/544
6. Danny Espinosa – 74 AB, 11 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 SB, 284/369/473
7. Gordon Beckham – 92 AB, 13 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB, 317/356/476
8. Howie Kendrick – 113 AB, 16 R, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 2 SB, 336/390/460
9. Daniel Murphy – 98 AB, 5 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 3 SB, 327/370/449
10. Rickie Weeks – 92 AB, 13 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 239/333/424
11. Dustin Pedroia – 121 AB, 22 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB, 256/348/405
12. Aaron Hill – 80 AB, 9 R, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 275/318/400

Count me among those daily fantasy players who did not realize how good Steve Tolleson is against left-handed pitchers. It will be interesting to see if he can still get at bats against lefties once Brett Lawrie returns from the disabled list. The acquisition of Danny Valencia suggests a platoon with he and Juan Francisco at 3B may be in order. This would push Lawrie to a 2B role, which would limit Tolleson’s reps moving forward. On a positive note, Ben Zobrist and Anthony Rendon are two options to target against southpaws moving forward. If you subscribe to the notion that “speed never slumps”, Jose Altuve is another great 2B to have in lineups against lefties with his 11 stolen bases and .421 batting average. Seeing Aaron Hill and Dustin Pedroia at the bottom of this list just exacerbates how they have struggled in 2014. By the way, where is Robinson Cano? Daniel Murphy made the top ten against lefties.

2B versus Right Handed Pitching (minimum 100 at bats):

wOBa:
1. Robinson Cano .393
2. Scooter Gennett .381
3. Neil Walker .372
4. Chase Utley .357
5. Ian Kinsler .342
6. Jose Altuve .341
7. Anthony Rendon .335
8. Dee Gordon .334
9. Jason Kipnis .332
10. Roughned Odor .330
11. Brian Dozier .326
12. Daniel Murphy .322

ISO:
1. Neil Walker .211
2. Scooter Gennett .195
3. Anthony Rendon .185
4. Brian Dozier .175
5. Ian Kinsler .169
6. Roughned Odor .159
7. Chase Utley .149
8. Jonathan Schoop .147
9. Robinson Cano .140
10. Kolten Wong .140
11. Ben Zobrist .138
12. Brian Roberts .136
13. Aaron Hill .136

OPS:
1. Robinson Cano .909
2. Scooter Gennett .889
3. Neil Walker .847
4. Chase Utley .877
5. Ian Kinsler .786
6. Jose Altuve .773
7. Anthony Rendon .767
8. Roughned Odor .764
9. Dee Gordon .755
10. Jason Kipnis .742
11. Daniel Murphy .730
12. Brian Dozier .729

AB/HR:
1. Neil Walker 19
2. Brian Dozier 22
3. Jonathan Schoop 26.4
4. Scooter Gennett 32.8
5. Jedd Gyorko 32.8
6. Ian Kinsler 34.1
7. Kolten Wong 35.6
8. Ben Zobrist 42.2
9. Chase Utley 46.8
10. Gordon Beckham 47.6
11. Danny Espinosa 48.3
12. Robinson Cano 48.4

wRC+:
1. Robinson Cano 155
2. Scooter Gennett 142
3. Neil Walker 141
4. Chase Utley 128
5. Jose Altuve 117
6. Dee Gordon 116
7. Ian Kinsler 115
8. Anthony Rendon 113
9. Jason Kipnis 113
10. Daniel Murphy 108
11. Brian Dozier 107
12. Ben Zobrist 104

Overall Rankings Based on Aggregate Averages:
1. Neil Walker – 268 AB, 40 R, 14 HR, 45 RBI, 2 SB, 280/352/489
2. Scooter Gennett – 265 AB, 41 R, 8 HR, 34 RBI, 5 SB, 325/363/517
3. Robinson Cano – 242 AB, 34 R, 5 HR, 36 RBI, 6 SB, 351/417/492
4. Ian Kinsler – 307 AB, 51 R, 9 HR, 41 RBI, 8 SB, 290/326/459
5. Chase Utley – 281 AB, 41 R, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 3 SB, 310/368/459
6. Anthony Rendon – 301 AB, 52 R, 10 HR, 41 RBI, 6 SB, 262/324/445
7. Brian Dozier – 286 AB, 55 R, 13 HR, 34 RBI, 14 SB, 224/330/399
8. Jose Altuve – 320 AB, 40 R, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 31 SB, 316/354/416
9. Dee Gordon – 316 AB, 47 R, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 41 SB 297/316/446
10. Roughned Odor – 141 AB, 14 R, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 2 SB, 291/316/446
11. Jonathan Schoop – 211 AB, 23 R, 8 HR, 23 RBI, 218/250/365
12. Jason Kipnis – 200 AB, 30 R, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 12 SB, 260/352/390

Scooter is asserting himself in 2014 as a 2B to be targeted going foward
Scooter is asserting himself this season as a 2B option to keep an eye on moving forward

In daily and year-long fantasy, the seasons by Neil Walker and Scooter Gennett have gone under the radar but by these guidelines they are the highest ranked second baseman against right-handed pitching this year. Robinson Cano’s slash lines are nothing to look down upon, but the surrounding lineup has more to do with his suppressed counting stats than the ballpark. In fantasy where a player bats is also vastly underrated, look at players like Jonathan Schoop and Roughned Odor. Their slash lines are not far off from Brian Dozier and Jason Kipnis but they bat 8th and 9th respectively in their team’s lineups. This matters for DFS as well, since more at bats mean more chances to score valuable points. As noted earlier, Dee Gordon and Jose Altuve have stolen a combined 72 bags  so if the power hitting 2B do not have good matchups, target the speedsters instead. A base hit, stolen base and run scored are equal to a home run in daily play and are easier to predict. Like Pedroia above, this list underscores how much Jason Kipnis has struggled in 2014. Kipnis will either be a steal if his value is suppressed in drafts, or this is who he might be looking ahead. The remainder of the second half (Kipnis has struggled in second halves before) will help fantasy gamers better gauge his value. Last note: only Jose Altuve, Brian Dozer and Anthony Rendon qualified in the top 12 splits against both righties and lefties.

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/MNUckp (Gennett), http://goo.gl/VbjFON (Altuve)

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)

Top DFS Plays for 07/22/14 (Happy Birthday Mum)

Today is my Mum’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

*Top hitters and pitchers highlight exceptional matchups that may include stars, lesser-known players and those on your waiver wires.

When I put together my top hitters and pitchers I factor in several things. First, prior matchup history, whether the hitter is hot and the pitcher’s history against that type of batter. Also, these matchups are normally released in the morning so make sure that you double-check the weather leading up to games in case they were postponed or the player got the day off.

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

Top DFS hitters for today:

Chris Johnson vs. Jacob Turner – hitting .250 (3/12) with 2 2B, a HR and 4 RBI

Giancarlo Stanton vs. Mike Minor – hitting .263 (5/19) with 4 HR, 6 RBI and 8 walks
Minor has given up 12 HR to RHH this season. 5 Hits, 4 HR for Stanton against Minor. Stanton will go yard tonight, book it!

Dayan Viciedo vs. Bruce Chen – hitting .344 (11/32) with 3 HR, 7 RBI and a walk

Brian Dozier vs. Danny Salazar – hitting .625 (5/8) with 2 2B, a HR and 2 RBI
RHH are hitting .341 with 6 HRs and 15 RBIs. Dozier has 12 HRs against RHP this season.

Brewers Stack against Homer Bailey – Davis, Weeks, Braun & Gennett all hitting above .320 against Homer

Top DFS pitcher for today:

Scott Kazmir vs. Houston Astros
There are several reasons why I like this matchup:
Kaz is 6-1 with a 1.57 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 8 home starts, 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 12 K in 14 innings against the ‘Stros this season and he is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA and a 17:3 K:BB in July.

Movie of the Day: Life Itself – The documentary is about the life of Roger Ebert. It’s a fantastic look inside the life of one of the biggest movie figures of all-time.

Follow Ricky on Twitter @Rickygangster!