February 2011

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Santana, Stanton Have Higher Price On Yahoo, ESPN

So far this year we have been using Average Draft Position (ADP) data from Mock Draft Central exclusively.  It makes for a solid proxy, but most of you will not actually run your draft with MDC.  Instead, you'll use a big provider like Yahoo or ESPN.

Yahoo ADP data is difficult to get into a spreadsheet; you have to go to the Draft Analysis tab, copy position by position, and remove accent marks to tie it to projection data with vlookups.  And even then, many players are missing.  Still, it is easy to look up individual players on Yahoo to see if their ADP is drastically different from MDC.  ESPN ADP data is simple to look up under Live Draft Results and easy to import too.

For most top hitters, the MDC average draft round runs in tandem with Yahoo and ESPN.  However, young studs Carlos Santana and Mike Stanton stand out.

Using MDC, you might expect Santana and Stanton to be major bargains.  The have ADPs of 129.61 and 151.39 respectively, which in a 12-team league means the 11th round for Santana and 13th round for Stanton.  But on Yahoo, Santana goes at 75.2 and Stanton at 90.9, meaning the seventh and eighth rounds.  In ESPN, Santana is at 89.2 and Stanton is at 70.3.  You often have to spring for someone at least a  round early to make sure you get them, and once you get down to the round 6-7 range, Santana and Stanton are starting to look pretty risky.  Matt Wieters and Chris Davis once felt like acceptable picks in this range, and they were total busts.

A good strategy is to get recent average draft round data from your provider on draft day.  But this data is only a guide to help you decide whether your targeted player will be gone by the time the draft snakes back to you.  Auction leagues do not have these concerns - you can figure out your dollar value range for each player and bid on anyone you like.


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Starting Pitcher Rankings

The wait is over!  Our starting pitcher rankings are here.  Average draft round from Mock Draft Central is in parentheses.  I've been using MDC data because it's easy to work with, but we'll have ADP data from Yahoo, ESPN, and CBS soon.

  1. Tim Lincecum (2) - $37.96
  2. Roy Halladay (2) - $37.18
  3. C.C. Sabathia (5) - $31.21
  4. Justin Verlander (6) - $29.63
  5. Felix Hernandez (3) - $29.51
  6. Dan Haren (5) - $29.13
  7. Clayton Kershaw (5) - $27.59
  8. Jon Lester (4) - $27.36
  9. Zack Greinke (5) - $27.16
  10. Mat Latos (7) - $27.15
  11. Jered Weaver (5) - $25.84
  12. Cliff Lee (4) - $25.27
  13. Chris Carpenter (9) - $24.19
  14. Max Scherzer (9) - $23.98
  15. Cole Hamels (6) - $23.85
  16. Matt Cain (8) - $23.58
  17. Ubaldo Jimenez (4) - $23.33
  18. Josh Johnson (7) - $23.23
  19. Roy Oswalt (9) - $23.16
  20. Tommy Hanson (7) - $22.16
  21. Yovani Gallardo (6) - $21.11
  22. David Price (6) - $20.83
  23. Jeremy Hellickson (15) - $17.80
  24. Colby Lewis (10) - $17.26
  25. Ted Lilly (20) - $17.21
  26. Chad Billingsley (8) - $17.16
  27. Javier Vazquez (16) - $16.48
  28. Dan Hudson (12) - $15.78
  29. Francisco Liriano (7) - $15.44
  30. Phil Hughes (14) - $15.34
  31. C.J. Wilson (19) - $14.91
  32. Shaun Marcum (10) - $14.91
  33. Clay Buchholz (9) - $14.77
  34. Wandy Rodriguez (11) - $14.74
  35. Jonathan Sanchez (14) - $14.74
  36. Ian Kennedy (21) - $14.43
  37. Ricky Nolasco (16) - $14.36
  38. Josh Beckett (15) - $14.21
  39. John Danks (9) - $13.56
  40. Tim Hudson (13) - $13.41
  41. Gio Gonzalez (16) - $13.05
  42. Ryan Dempster (8) - $12.67
  43. Jake Peavy (33) - $12.11
  44. Brett Anderson (14) - $11.95
  45. Brett Myers (14) - $11.89
  46. James Shields (15) - $11.71
  47. Hiroki Kuroda (16) - $11.13
  48. Madison Bumgarner (13) - $10.97
  49. Brandon Morrow (11) - $10.61
  50. Matt Garza (10) - $10.55
  51. Brandon Webb (31) - $10.36
  52. Ervin Santana (21) - $9.82
  53. John Lackey (15) - $9.81
  54. Edinson Volquez (29) - $9.64
  55. Carlos Zambrano (27) - $8.89
  56. Travis Wood (29) - $8.30
  57. Brian Matusz (23) - $8.27
  58. Jaime Garcia (21) - $7.85
  59. Trevor Cahill (8) - $7.61
  60. Bronson Arroyo (31) - $7.60
  61. Jhoulys Chacin (26) - $7.41
  62. Johnny Cueto (27) - $6.90
  63. Jorge de la Rosa (17) - $6.58
  64. Anibal Sanchez (27) - $6.34
  65. Gavin Floyd (13) - $6.24
  66. Jordan Zimmermann (18) - $6.19
  67. Daisuke Matsuzaka (34) - $6.00
  68. Dallas Braden (33) - $5.96
  69. Scott Baker (19) - $5.27
  70. Kevin Slowey (21) - $5.24
  71. Mike Minor (25) - $5.22
  72. Randy Wolf (32) - $5.01
  73. James McDonald (31) - $4.33
  74. Jeff Niemann (33) - $4.14
  75. Jair Jurrjens (16) - $3.88
  76. Phil Coke (Not drafted) - $3.76
  77. Joel Pineiro (Not drafted) - $3.34
  78. Ricky Romero (14) - $3.14
  79. A.J. Burnett (30) - $2.91
  80. Brett Cecil (34) - $2.70
  81. Wade Davis (30) - $2.62
  82. Derek Lowe (33) - $2.38
  83. Carl Pavano (30) - $2.36
  84. Clayton Richard (32) - $2.34
  85. Jonathon Niese (22) - $2.07
  86. Chris Capuano (Not drafted) - $1.69
  87. Edwin Jackson (16) - $1.09
  88. Jake Westbrook (33) - $1.09
  89. Derek Holland (23) - $1.07
  90. Brandon McCarthy (Not drafted) - $1.00
  91. Jeremy Guthrie (Not drafted) - $0.83
  92. Randy Wells (26) - $0.65
  93. Barry Zito (Not drafted) - $0.64
  94. Kyle Drabek (33) - $0.49
  95. Justin Duchscherer (Not drafted) - $0.16
  96. Justin Masterson (33) - $0.01

I've projected 180-200 innings for a lot of guys, because I can't predict exactly who will get hurt.  This looks like a very deep group.  If you were to draft hitters for your first eight picks and assembled a staff of Scherzer, Oswalt, Hellickson, Lewis, Lilly, and Vazquez, you'd be in good shape.  There are probably a dozen additional starters I'd be comfortable mixing and matching in there if you're the type who waits on starting pitching.

A few who have the stuff to outpitch their projections: Jackson, Buchholz, Cueto, Matusz, Davis, Zimmermann, Holland, Morrow...the list goes on.  At the end of the draft you definitely want to take a kid with upside and a rotation spot over someone like Westbrook.


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RotoAuthority League Filled; Silver League Open

FRIDAY: We've filled the RotoAuthority League; thanks for all the interest.  Every year we put together an identical league, the Silver League, and the winner gets to join the RotoAuthority League the following season.  This year a fellow named Tyler will run the Silver League.  I'm assuming that all those who commented below would have some interest in this, so I've asked Tyler to just email eleven of you about joining that league.

TUESDAY: Looking for a badass fantasy league in which every team fights tooth and nail to the finish, and there is no arguing about rules or trade vetoes?  Let me tell you about the RotoAuthority League, which is entering its fourth year.

It's a 12-team 5x5 mixed league with 23-man rosters, three bench spots, and two DL spots.  The positions are C, C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CI, MI, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, DH, SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, P, P, P.  The categories are AVG, HR, RBI, R, SB, ERA, WHIP, W, K, and SV.  Transactions are daily and unlimited.  There is a 1500 inning cap.  Trades go through automatically without needing anyone's approval.  We do a snake draft in Yahoo in which the order is chosen at random by my wife out of a hat.  Trading spots is allowed prior to the draft.

The league costs $100 to get in, and we use LeagueSafe to collect the payment.  Payments must be in by the deadline or you're out of the league!  Typically we do a $900/$200/$100 payout.

The draft takes place on Wednesday, March 23rd at 8pm central time.  Please only apply to be in the league if you can make the draft at this time.

This is not a keeper league, but the top eight teams carry over each year.  A ninth team is added when we take the winner of the Silver League, a separate and equally competitive league hosted on this site by a friend of mine.  That leaves three open spots most years.  There's usually quite a fight to avoid finishing in the bottom four, so teams don't quit on this league.  Only three original members from 2008 remain.

If this all sounds appealing to you, make your case in the comments as to why you should be in this league.  There are no rules, you can approach it any way you want.  The one stipulation is that you must include your email address with the comment so that I can easily contact you if you're in.  If you don't make the cut, don't fret - we'll do a separate post where RotoAuthority readers can get together for leagues.


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Designated Hitter Rankings

Most mixed league players won't lock an actual designated hitter into their team's DH spot, but there are a few to consider.  Average draft round from Mock Draft Central is in parentheses.

  1. Vladimir Guerrero (7) - $13.94
  2. David Ortiz (17) - $8.16
  3. Luke Scott (30) - $3.14
  4. Hideki Matsui (28) - $0.87

These guys all have pretty low projected AB totals; Vlad is at 550 and the others are in the 500 range.  Scott should qualify at outfield a little bit into the season.  Aside from Vlad, most full-time DHs are batting average liabilities with good power and no speed.  Further down the list you'll find Jack Cust, Jim Thome, and Travis Hafner.



About RotoAuthority.com

RotoAuthority.com was created by Tim Dierkes in June of 2005, back when Twitter was just an idea and blogging was all the rage.  Tim is a fantasy baseball junkie dating back to the pencil and paper days.  For Tim, the perfect fantasy league meets these criteria: live auction, mixed league, standard 5x5 categories and rosters, unlimited transactions, and trades that are approved automatically.  He can be contacted here

The site was created with the goal of a new post every day, which was abandoned as Tim's other site MLB Trade Rumors started to grow.  Since then, RotoAuthority has been re-launched as a team effort.  Our group of experts is led by Alex Steers McCrum, and also Mark Polishuk, Andrew Gephardt, Luckey Helms, and Tim Dierkes.

If you like what you see, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and RSS.


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Outfielder Rankings

The outfield is next, as we've ranked catchers, first basemen, second basemen, shortstops, and third basemen already.  These dollar values apply to 5x5 12-team mixed leagues with standard categories.  Average draft position from Mock Draft Central is in parentheses.  Warning: these are not similar to the rankings you'll find in a standard-issue fantasy magazine at the grocery store.  Also, they are subject to change at my whim!

  1. Ryan Braun (1) - $29.25
  2. Carl Crawford (2) - $27.87
  3. Nelson Cruz (3) - $26.68
  4. Carlos Gonzalez (1) - $26.15
  5. Matt Holliday (2) - $24.01
  6. Josh Hamilton (2) - $20.80
  7. Matt Kemp (2) - $19.95
  8. Mike Stanton (13) - $19.94
  9. Shin-Soo Choo (3) - $19.75
  10. Rajai Davis (25) - $16.40
  11. Jayson Werth (5) - $15.63
  12. Juan Pierre (12) - $15.00
  13. Jay Bruce (7) - $14.88
  14. Andrew McCutchen (4) - $14.82
  15. Justin Upton (4) - $14.48
  16. Corey Hart (9) - $13.66
  17. Jason Heyward (5) - $13.57
  18. Hunter Pence (8) - $13.31
  19. Jose Bautista (5) - $13.31
  20. Alex Rios (6) - $13.26
  21. Ichiro Suzuki (3) - $12.99
  22. Ryan Raburn (29) - $12.63
  23. Jacoby Ellsbury (6) - $12.41
  24. Shane Victorino (13) - $12.22
  25. Andre Ethier (4) - $11.70
  26. B.J. Upton (6) - $11.52
  27. Carlos Beltran (24) - $11.24
  28. Chris Young (9) - $11.20
  29. Brett Gardner (17) - $11.10
  30. Curtis Granderson (7) - $11.05
  31. Delmon Young (10) - $10.22
  32. Torii Hunter (8) - $10.19
  33. Coco Crisp (29) - $9.61
  34. Michael Bourn (10) - $9.51
  35. Andres Torres (25) - $9.50
  36. Bobby Abreu (11) - $9.45
  37. Nick Markakis (10) - $9.41
  38. Jose Tabata (23) - $9.07
  39. Drew Stubbs (14) - $8.96
  40. Sean Rodriguez (30) - $8.27
  41. Colby Rasmus (8) - $8.26
  42. Ryan Ludwick (11) - $7.89
  43. Denard Span (15) - $7.82
  44. Chris Coghlan (33) - $7.74
  45. Carlos Quentin (19) - $7.60
  46. Vernon Wells (9) - $7.41
  47. Carlos Lee (12) - $7.18
  48. Adam Jones (16) - $7.07
  49. Nick Swisher (11) - $6.69
  50. Jason Bay (13) - $6.63
  51. Ben Zobrist (11) - $6.62
  52. Travis Snider (26) - $6.32
  53. Austin Jackson (28) - $6.17
  54. Angel Pagan (26) - $6.11
  55. Aubrey Huff (10) - $5.99
  56. Nate McLouth (33) - $5.35
  57. Manny Ramirez (15) - $5.25
  58. Michael Cuddyer (24) - $5.17
  59. Grady Sizemore (9) - $4.96
  60. Logan Morrison (25) - $4.32
  61. Julio Borbon (30) - $4.10
  62. Magglio Ordonez (20) - $4.01
  63. Dexter Fowler (24) - $3.67
  64. Cameron Maybin (Not drafted) - $3.38
  65. Josh Willingham (31) - $2.98
  66. Johnny Damon (22) - $2.73
  67. Michael Brantley (Not drafted) - $2.62
  68. Alfonso Soriano (9) - $2.62
  69. Alex Gordon (34) - $2.18
  70. Jason Kubel (12) - $1.32
  71. Omar Infante (25) - $1.09
  72. Marlon Byrd (31) - $1.00
  73. J.D. Drew (30) - $0.95
  74. Nyjer Morgan (31) - $0.50
  75. Domonic Brown (29) - $0.24
  76. Cody Ross (33) - $0.01

Let's begin with more disclaimers.  I am not saying you should draft Stanton in the first or second round, nor am I saying that I think he's a better bet than Choo.  Choo has done his thing for two and a half big league seasons, Stanton just a half.  The point is more that with 570 ABs I can see Stanton hitting 40 home runs and driving in 110 - and I don't think I'm going out on a limb with that.  He's just unproven, and that's why he comes at a discount.  Rightfully so.

Others come at a discount because of injury history.  Barring a Chipper Jones situation where the guy simply cannot get 550-600 ABs this year, I typically project players for full seasons.  So guys like Cruz and Hamilton are getting 550 right now, and you can see that Cruz would be one of the game's top fantasy outfielders if he avoids the DL.

Also, my valuations consistently show that fantasy leaguers undervalue steals.  I'm not sure exactly why, but a one steal in a vacuum is worth just as much as one home run (of course, the homer has more residual benefits).  Take Davis' projected line of a .281 AVG, 7 HR,  57 RBI, 82 R, and 52 SB.  His value would be almost the same if he had a .281 AVG, 52 HR, 82 RBI, 57 R, and 7 SB.  Putting aside the rarity of a line like that, if he projected as a 50 HR guy you'd sure as hell draft him earlier than the 25th round.  The burners don't have the same aesthetic appeal as the sluggers in fantasy leagues, but they often have similar value.  Of course, the value of an SB goes down if you get a ridiculous amount of them, so don't stock up on Davis, Pierre, and Gardner just because of the nice dollar values.

Another important point on my valuations: they are not linear.  As a player gets further away from being a $1 guy, his value increases exponentially.  A 20% increase in ABs increases value by much more than 20%.  For example, if Manny Ramirez gets 600 ABs instead of my projected 500, he goes from $5.25 to $13.74.  Players such as Ellsbury, Quentin, Sizemore, Willingham, Soriano, Kubel, and Brown are projected for fewer than 530 ABs right now.  If you like them for 575-600 you should draft them earlier.

Overall I've got some aggressive AB projections; I usually prefer to see what a guy can do if he maintains his standing as a regular.  So I'm showing you that Raburn can do .273-25-90-86-8 with 575 ABs, but it's up to you on draft day to guess as to whether he'll really get that many ABs.  Guys like Crisp, Tabata, Coghlan - they're projected as regulars and I'm not putting them down for DL time right now.

Right now my projections aren't giving huge counting stats to someone like Justin Upton, but the kid is certainly capable of 30 homers, 100 RBIs, and 20 SBs.  Don't get boxed in my dollar values and ignore obvious potential.

I always aim for balance, and outfield offers about 13 true five-category guys: Braun, Cruz, CarGo, Holliday, Kemp, Choo, Werth, Justin Upton, Hart, Heyward, Pence, Beltran, and Hunter.  That's the group if you limit it to a .280 average, double digit homers and steals, and 80+ RBIs and runs.  Guys like Hamilton, Rios, and Jones can creep into that mix too.


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Sign Of A Home Run Breakout

In 2009 Jose Bautista hit 10 home runs over 125 plate appearances in September and October, which we now know was a sign of things to come.  Let's find late-drafted players who smacked 6+ home runs in a month in 2010, suggesting at least the possibility of a 30 home run season.  Rather than try to tackle every 30-day slice I'm just going to look at each calendar month, so the methodology here is quick and imperfect.

With some of these guys, it's all about playing time.  If Napoli, Scott, Willingham, Quentin, or Burrell get 600 ABs, they're probably good for 30 homers.

The name that really jumps out at me is Stanton.  I think this kid will hit 40 home runs in 2011, and he's being drafted in the 13th round.  I'm also intrigued by Encarnacion, who could get a career-high in ABs if Adam Lind sticks at first base.


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Wanted: Your Fantasy League Data

I last collected league data two years ago, so it's time for a refresh.  The RotoAuthority dollar values (and your own, if you're crazy enough to create them) can be greatly refined if you fulfill this league data request.  We'll post info on what it took to win a standard league in 2010 as well as SGPs for the more hardcore players to use.

If you were in a 12-team mixed rotisserie league with 14 hitters (C, C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CI, MI, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, DH) and 9 pitchers in 2010, and used the 5x5 categories of AVG, HR, RBI, R, SB, ERA, WHIP, W, K, and SV, please consider taking a minute and filling in this spreadsheet with team data.  You may have to change the Points column if there was a tie in the category.  Please note that I can only use data that fits this specific league format.

Once you've filled out the spreadsheet please email it as an attachment to rotoauthority@gmail.com.  Also in your email, please include another piece of data: the average number of at-bats, the average number of hits, and the average IP total for a team in your league.  So you'd have to get the totals and divide by 12.


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Cherry-Picking With Bud Norris

Time to do a little cherry-picking, slicing up a player's stats to show his potential upside.  Here's Astros starter Bud Norris in 13 starts from May 13th through August 19th:

4.48 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 8.9 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 in 80 1/3 innings

These numbers are intriguing, as Norris' biggest wart from 2010 was his 4.5 BB/9.  Over this cherry-picked sample at least, he was able to limit the walks.  Norris averages 93.6 mph on his fastball, and is a cheap strikeout source who is currently being drafted in the 39th round (so, not at all in most mixed leagues). 

One cause for concern was bursitis and biceps tendinitis that cropped up in late May.  Norris was already on a rehab assignment by June 7th, so the Astros may have just been playing it safe.  There's also the issue of Norris' 6.1 BB/9 over his final eight starts.  But hey, that's why you can snag him for a bench spot.


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Third Baseman Rankings

It's time to dissect the hot corner, as we've already ranked catchers, first basemen, second basemen, and shortstops.  Average draft position from Mock Draft Central is in parentheses.

  1. Evan Longoria (1) - $24.69
  2. David Wright (1) - $24.46
  3. Alex Rodriguez (2) - $21.56
  4. Ryan Zimmerman (2) - $19.43
  5. Jose Bautista (5) - $17.06
  6. Mark Reynolds (11) - $14.64
  7. Pedro Alvarez (8) - $13.44
  8. Adrian Beltre (5) - $11.07
  9. Pablo Sandoval (13) - $8.91
  10. Aramis Ramirez (9) - $8.72
  11. Casey McGehee (10) - $7.48
  12. Martin Prado (7) - $7.32
  13. Edwin Encarnacion (40) - $6.83
  14. David Freese (41) - $5.14
  15. Ian Stewart (10) - $3.14
  16. Chase Headley (37) - $2.99
  17. Omar Infante (27) - $2.90
  18. Chris Johnson (36) - $2.66
  19. Miguel Tejada (24) - $2.14
  20. Juan Uribe (28) - $0.50

Scott Rolen falls off this list with a 485 AB projection, but if you can plug in someone decent on his off days Rolen performs at more of a $7 pace.  It's a similar story for Michael Young, who I can't give more than 450 ABs to right now until his situation clears up.  Likewise, Chipper Jones is very much worth owning during times that he is playing regularly.  Others to watch who did not make the top 20: Danny Valencia, Brent Morel, and Wilson Betemit.  As for Kevin Youkilis, once he qualifies at third base he'll rank fourth on this list at $20.22.

I've given A-Rod 540 ABs, and if you agree he's something of a bargain at 17th overall.  But Zimmerman a few picks later is on the upside of his career and is right there in value with A-Rod.

Bautista is this year's Reynolds, minus the 24 bags Reynolds swiped in '09.  Fantasy owners are showing extra caution by taking him in the fifth.  I like Bautista for 35+ home runs this year, and if he hits .280 instead of .260 you can add three bucks to his value.  Reynolds himself will seriously hurt your average at .230 or so, but he too should reach 35 homers along with ten steals if he gets to 550 ABs with Baltimore.  Meanwhile Beltre in the fifth round won't be good value if he drops back to .289-23-89-78-5 or so.  Maybe I'm not giving him enough credit for playing in Texas.

Alvarez seems in line for 30 homers and 100 RBIs, but fantasy owners are anticipating that by taking him in the eighth round following his solid rookie campaign.  I like him, but he's not coming at a discount.  I'm not worried about his reported offseason weight gain.

Speaking of weight changes, Sandoval reportedly worked off about 30 pounds.  I expect a return to form, but with a short leash given Mark DeRosa's presence.

Encarnacion and Freese are probably the last two draftable third basemen.  Their $5-7 projections are predicated on 550+ ABs, a level neither has reached in the bigs.  But if they get there I can see EE approach 30 home runs and Freese flirt with 20.  I'm not sure why Stewart is going in the tenth round.  I've got him at $4.72 ABs which would only be worth a few bucks.  If he gets 600 he's up to $13, but you've got Ty Wigginton and Jose Lopez in the mix if he falters.    


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