Draft Scripts: Using NFBC ADP’s to evaluate Catcher & DH

Buster Posey is a world champion & reigning #1 catcher on the Player Rater but he is not worth his ADP
Buster Posey is great but is not worth taking at his current ADP

Draft season is approaching and it seems that we still overthink how to handle catchers. While the production from the position and their ADP’s seem to be coming closer together, there are still owners out there who think that acquiring a top catcher is of the utmost importance. In that, a player like Buster Posey gets drafted too soon. He was the only catcher to crack the top 50 via ESPN’s Player Rater (he finished 49th). He and Jonathan Lucroy were the only two to finish in the top 100 (Lucroy broke out, finishing at 97). Even in two-catcher leagues, I think you can get by owning a top-12 option at the position and waiting until later on in your draft to gamble on a flier type. Devin Mesoraco circa 2014 comes to mind on the flier front.

Due to the declining power numbers in baseball, designated hitters are in transition as well. The top player at the position will be 39 this year and though there seems to be a player who can match Ortiz’s thump, Chris Carter’s batting average leaves something to be desired. 30-homers out of a single player will be rare in 2015, making Carter more valuable than he would have been otherwise. Whether it is the new age of pitching dominance or the emergence of shifts and specialty pitchers, run production will be in demand in fantasy next season. Power is such a scarce commodity that batting averages will likely be ignored if a player can produce 30 home runs. The stigma about a player that hits below .240 and launches 30 bombs is all but gone.

So how do we treat the players and rankings for these positions going forward? I gave my thoughts above about catcher, I try to target a solid top 10-12 catcher and get him at a fair market price whether in auctions or drafts then target a bounce back candidate or younger catcher who could break out later on. If the gamble does not work, there is bound to be someone on the waiver wire I can move on to. If any position in fantasy baseball is related to the kicker in fantasy football, it’s the catcher. Find one with a good chance to get at bats on a solid team and you’re golden. These are your Yan Gomes, Salvador Perez, and Russell Martin types. After that, take a flier or get two of the types above and gamble on upside later in the draft. But to spend a second round pick on a Buster Posey, as good of a real baseball player as he is, just does not make much sense to me.

Following up on my article about the NFBC’s top 200 by ADP, I will list the catchers taken in the top 200 along with their average draft position in the chart:
Catchers ADP Chart
As much as I liked Devin Mesoraco last year, I am shying away from him at the present cost this year. There are too many other players I will be targeting at pick 80. Knowing a catcher rarely makes the top 100 in overall rankings makes it tough to grab one early. Bounce back candidates include Matt Wieters, Wilin Rosario and Brian McCann (if he can solve the shift). Stephen Vogt and Carlos Santana lose catcher status in leagues that use 20 games played for eligibility purposes, so that stinks. In an effort to gather statistics, I made a spreadsheet listing their projections by Steamer and CBS:

Catchers Projection Chart 1-6
Catchers Projection Chart 7-13

Two players catch my attention on the chart above; Evan Gattis and Travis d’Arnaud. One is limited by his defense and the other has durability questions. Rumor has it that Gattis will open 2015 as Atlanta’s left fielder now that Justin Upton has been traded to San Diego. This means good things for his value since he will not wear down physically due to the rigors of catching. This should allow him to get 500 at bats. That would be huge since he has hit 43 home runs in 723 career at bats in the majors. If he hits the magic 500 number, that would pace him for 29.74 homers if he maintains his career rates. 30-homer potential out of my catcher slot is something I will definitely be exploring at pick 125.

Travis d’Arnaud also has the ability to be a stealth starting catcher for fantasy owners in 2015, but he has to stay on the field. In the second half of 2014, d’Arnaud slashed .265/.313/.474 while hitting 7 home runs and showed us why he was a top catching prospect. He did appear in 108 games last year and had some bone chips removed in October, so if he is healthy and can stay healthy, then he represents a bargain in 2015.

Speaking of health, Yadier Molina is not even being drafted in the NFBC top 200 so if you like a low double-digit home run hitting catcher that will actually help your batting average then he is your guy. If a team has loaded up on power hitting early, then Molina is a perfect target to balance a team. Another player I like with spotty health issues but burgeoning power is Wilson Ramos. He may break my heart one more time but he can hit 18-20 home runs for Washington while batting .270. Speculate. One more target is Yasmani Grandal of the Dodgers. I think he can hit 15 or more home runs for Los Angeles and be a player that is the perfect flier type to pair up with an Evan Gattis. Every draft or auction is different but I think it will pay to wait at catcher.

Since only two designated hitters were taken in the Top 200 NFBC ADP’s it is not too hard to look at them. First here are their projections by Steamer and CBS:

DH Projection Chart

As much as David Ortiz can light up a room and hit home runs, power hitters do not age well. Ortiz has been defying the odds for years. I give him all the credit in the world, but with an ADP in the top 90, I think it is better to let him age on someone else’s team. It’s better to be a year early than a year too late.

Chris Carter does not always make contact, but he has hit 66 HR in 1013 AB's the last two seasons.
Chris Carter does not always make contact, but he has hit 66 HR in 1013 AB’s the last two seasons

Chris Carter will be a polarizing fantasy player since he is the prototypical three outcome kind of guy: a walk, a home run or a strike out. In fact, over his 572 plate appearances in 2014, 48% of his outcomes were one of the above. Carter hit 37 home runs, struck out 182 times and drew 56 walks. But over the second half he slashed a respectable .252/.338/.521. This was fueled by a line drive rate that he cannot maintain for a full season, but the seeds are in place for some growth. Both projections above account for a batting average in the Dunn range, but there is a chance he can hit .240 which increases his value. With the potential for 40 home runs at pick 140, I’ll gamble.

Values are likely to change as all of the sleeper lists and under the radar picks will be coming out, but having a grip on where to take a catcher helps. Don’t be that guy who grabs Posey in the second round to preserve your team’s batting average while other teams are collecting power. It is a precious commodity in fantasy baseball today.

Statistical credits: Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com, CBSsports.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/29PPDZ (Posey), http://goo.gl/SwH7RT (Carter)

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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Top DFS Plays for 09/06/14

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

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

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

Top DFS hitters for today:

Derek Norris vs. Scott Feldman – hitting .500 (5/10) with a HR, 2 RBIs & 2 BBs

Jose Altuve vs. Scott Kazmir – hitting .500 (8/16) with 2 2Bs

Adam LaRoche vs. A.J. Burnett – hitting .343 (12/35) with 5 2Bs, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs & 6 BBs
I know LaRoche is in a slump but a bomb today whips that all away.

Michael Brantley vs. Jose Quintana – hitting .471 (8/17) with 3 2Bs, a HR, 5 RBIs & 2 BBs

Gerardo Para vs. Lance Lynn – hitting .500 (6/12) with a 2B, 2 3Bs, a HR & a RBI

Yadier Molina vs. Kyle Lohse — hitting .579 (11/19) with 3 2Bs, 3 HRs & 8 RBIs

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Adam LaRoche

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

Madison Bumgarner vs. Detroit Tigers – Bum has thrown 15 innings, given up 1 run and struck out 20 in his last 2 starts. He has been on fire and look for that to continue today.

Francisco Liriano vs. Chicago Cubs – Liriano pitched a complete game with 14 Ks in his last matchup against the Cubbies. Love him.

Movie of the Day: From Paris With Love – John Travolta plays the ultimate bad ass in this movie. Not sure why it gets crapped on because I love it.

Follow me on Twitter @Rickygangster!

The Fantasy Forecaster 08/27/14

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

You can stream on demand here.

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

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

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

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

2014 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings

MLB season is upon us and Fantasy Baseball is back and better than ever! I am here to unveil my 2014 Fantasy Baseball rankings. Over the course of the next few weeks I will be providing my rankings, sleepers and answering 5 questions about each position. All in hopes of getting you ready for any of the upcoming Fantasy drafts you have. Today we start with Catchers.

2014 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings (as of 2/17/14)

Rank Player Team
1 Buster Posey SF
2 Yadier Molina STL
3 Carlos Santana CLE
4 Joe Mauer MIN
5 Jonathan Lucroy MIL
6 Brian McCann NYY
7 Salvador Perez KC
8 Wilin Rosario COL
9 Wilson Ramos WAS
10 Evan Gattis ATL
11 Matt Wieters BAL
12 Jason Castro HOU
13 Miguel Montero ARI
14 Carlos Ruiz PHI
15 A.J. Pierzynski  BOS
16 Yan Gomes CLE
17 Russell Martin PIT
18 Devin Mesoraco CIN
19 Jarrod Saltalamacchia MIA
20 Alex Avila DET
21 Travis d’Arnaud NYM
22 Dioner Navarro TOR
23 Mike Zunino  SEA
24 Welington Castillo CHC
25 A.J. Ellis LAD

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.

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2013 NL All Star Starting Lineup

All Star GameThe 2013 All-Star Game is right around the corner and another set of votes came in over the weekend. There are a few positions already out of reach, and few that may come down to the wire. I will dissect the voting, as well as tell you who really belongs at each position. My fellow Sports Script writer, Maria, is going to take on the AL and I am going to tackle the NL.

1st Baseman:

Leading Vote: Joey Votto

Who Should Play: Paul Goldschmidt

Votto is the current leader in votes; he has a 400K lead over Goldschmidt. Votto is not having a shabby season himself. He’s hitting .326 with 13 HRs & 37 RBIs but Goldschmidt should start this game. He is hitting .306 with 19 HRs & 65 RBIs. He currently sits 1st place in HRs, RBIs & 3rd in hits in the NL.

2nd Baseman:

Leading Vote: Brandon Phillips

Who Should Play: Phillips

Phillips has around a 300K lead over Marco Scutaro, which isn’t a very big lead. Giants fans have been known to vote and vote often for their players. But no matter what the vote comes down to, Phillips belongs in this game. He has more than double (60) RBIs than the next 2nd baseman; he is 2nd in HRs behind Uggla & 4th in hits. Phillips more than deserves to play in this game.

3rd Baseman:

Leading Vote: David Wright

Who Should Play: Wright

Wright has a very slim lead over Sandoval but there is no other deserving 3rd baseman than Wright. He is either 1st or 2nd in every hitting category at his position. It would be also cool for Wright to start an All-Star game on his home field.

ShortStop:

Leading Vote: Troy Tulowitzki

Who Should Play: Jean Segura

While Tulowitzki is the leading vote getter by a large number, he is also injured and most likely will not be available for the All-Star game. If he is however, then he should start. Going off the basis that he doesn’t start, Jean Segura should be the player to get the nod here. Segura is off to a surprisingly hot start, hitting .336 with 11 HRs, 31 RBIs and 23 SBs. His stats are a lot better than 2nd place vote getter Brandon Crawford.

Catcher:

Leading Vote: Yadier Molina

Who Should Play: Yadier Molina

In the latest votes, Molina overtook Posey in 1st place by a margin of 90 thousand votes. No matter the outcome, Molina belongs behind the backstop in this game. He has more hits, runs, doubles, 3 less homers, 1 less RBI, 2 more SBs and he is batting 46 points better. So my case here is closed.

Outfield:

Leading Vote: Carlos Beltran, Justin Upton & Bryce Harper

Who Should Play: Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez & Domonic Brown

We all know the All-Star game is really a popularity contest and it really shows in this category. Upton, who started the season hot, has just come up short on every account since. Harper is also near the top for some of the same reasons. Even though he was hitting pretty well before he was injured, he has been out for a little while and doesn’t belong in the game. Gonzalez is within 300k of Harper but I don’t think he will catch him. The big travesty here is Brown being in 14th place and nowhere near the starting lineup. Brown has more HRs than Upton and Harper, as well as a better batting average over Upton by 30 points and 16 more RBIs. There is no doubt in my mind that Brown and Gonzalez belong with Beltran in the All-Star Game.

Now for those who I think should be the Starting Pitchers for the game.

Candidates: Adam Wainwright, Matt Harvey, Patrick Corbin, Cliff Lee, Jordan Zimmerman

The popular pick of everyone is to have Harvey start, not only because he is having one heck of a season, but also because the game is at Citi Field. I don’t think he should be awarded the start though just because of the game being at his home park. There will be plenty of All-Star games in the future for this kid to pitch and start it; this shouldn’t be one of them. Lee, Zimmerman and Corbin are all having monster seasons, and are very capable of starting this game. I think this position should go to Wainwright, the starting pitcher for the NL’s best team. He is tied for 1st in the NL with 10 wins, tied for 1st in complete games, tied for 1st in quality starts, 1st in shutouts and 4th in strikeouts. For all the reasons noted, Wainwright should get his 1st All-Star start of his career.