2014 Fantasy Baseball: Real Offensive Value — Shortstops, Part II

andrus land

Source: Cooper Neill/Getty Images North America

The trade deadline is rapidly approaching. One could go to MLB Trade Rumors every 15 minutes to check out the rumors, but most of the deadline deals are about common sense. Which teams are in the playoff hunt and which teams are clearly out of the playoff hunt. From there you look at teams needs and places of surplus for the sellers and you can play matchmaker pretty easily.

The second group of shortstops are a coveted group even though their numbers leave a lot to be desired. If you add in the Detroit Tigers (who did not have a qualifying shortstop), there are a grand total of five teams that have shortstops with real offensive values below .200. As you might imagine, any team that has any designs of getting to October can’t survive long with any position that weak. Mind you, the players on the next list may not be world beaters, but teams looking to make it to the playoffs might find something they like.

ROV

RP

RC

DIFF%

wRC+

Asdrubal Cabrera

.241

79

41

193

98

Alexei Ramirez

.240

78

44

177

97

Erick Aybar

.239

91

46

198

107

Eduardo Escobar

.234

49

31

158

98

Jed Lowrie

.232

77

37

208

89

Ruben Tejada

.231

43

27

159

87

Jonathan Villar

.227

43

19

226

65

Yunel Escobar

.223

35

24

146

90

Elvis Andrus

.219

70

35

200

76

Xander Bogearts

.219

55

34

162

82

Last time, we added the differential category that calculates how many more runs a player is producing (RBI + Runs – HR) than they are creating. As you can see, it is natural for any player to produce more, but the question is how much more. Here, we see three players that are producing twice as many runs as they are creating. Obviously, they are benefitting from either good luck or from good support.

Asdrubal Cabrera– Cleveland Indians

The extra wild card has put some teams in no man’s land. After advancing to the playoffs last season, the Indians may be reluctant to give up on this season. The Tigers appear to be running away with the division, but as long as the Indians hover around .500 they may be tempted to add rather than subtract. That being said, there might not be no better time to deal Cabrera since Francisco Lindor is waiting in the wings. Cabrera might be the most overrated shortstop on the board overall, so if you can get a couple of good prospects for him you should probably do it.

Erick Aybar– Los Angeles Angels

Aybar is second among shortstops in runs produced. Let that sink in a little bit when considering his value. Unfortunately, the Angels are like the riverboat gambler that sticks in with a pair of eights. They look around the table to and see some aces and some jacks, but they just can’t throw the cards in. They are on pace to win a wild card now, so they added Huston Street to the roster. In terms of the long-term future, trading Aybar now would make perfect sense. Yet, that would mean folding after they’ve already shucked for a buck.

Jed Lowrie– Oakland Athletics

Lowrie is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. He falls in the middle of the pack in terms of real offensive value, but that also puts him as a below average player in comparison with the rest of the league. Yet, the Athletics chose to deal Addison Russell, so there really isn’t much waiting in the wings. The decision on Lowrie will come in the offseason when it comes time to decide on a new contract. Defensively, he is a bit of a liability, but he is capable of playing second and third. He might be able to survive as one of those super subs.

Jonathan Villar– Houston Astros

The Astros sent Villar down several weeks ago, but he still has enough at bats to qualify as an everyday shortstop. Funny, but he has performed better offensively than some shortstops that play everyday. Go figure. The Astros have one of the deeper farm systems in the game and Marwin Gonzalez seems to be holding down the fort just fine. Maybe Villar gets thrown into a deal towards the deadline for a desperate team. He could also stick around and compete for the job again next season.

Elvis Andrus– Texas Rangers

The stars are aligned perfectly for Andrus to be dealt. Jurickson Profar is the shortstop of the future and was stuck at second base. Rougned Odor seems to have taken to the position in Profar’s absence, so there is a logjam there again. The Rangers are losing, so if they can shed just a little salary in the coming weeks (namely Andrus, Alex Rios and Joakim Soria) then they will be ready to fight another day when their injured brigade comes back healthy in 2015.

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Real Offensive Value – Shortstops Part I

The history of the shortstop position has been littered with light hitting mighty mice with quick feet and slick gloves. We could certainly point to certain players in history that have broken the mold, but it is a testament to the rarity of offensive prowess that got Derek Jeter his many ovations during the all-star game. After all, is he really any better a hitter than Tony Gwynn (who inexplicably was snubbed in lieu of just one more Jeter curtain call)?
[Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Real Offensive Value — Third Basemen, Part II

It’s funny, but the second group of fantasy third basemen is almost as distinguished as the first. This is how things often go in fantasy baseball. The question comes on how long to wait for normalcy to return. Sometimes it never does. The all-star break is closer to the 60 percent mark than the 50 percent mark, so hope for normalcy might not be warranted. Sometimes we have to accept what is.

As we have done throughout the series, we have often looked at the difference between runs produced and runs created. Runs produced matters more to fantasy baseball players because it is something real and tangible. For most players, it represents either 33 percent of 40 percent of their fantasy life. So, finding players with a large gap between the two can help determine which players outproduce their value the most.

ROV

RP

RC

wRC+

Brock Holt

.266

49

37

119

Conor Gillaspie

.264

60

39

123

Aramis Ramirez

.263

59

35

121

Evan Longoria

.256

80

48

108

Yangervis Solarte

.256

50

32

105

Casey McGehee

.256

87

50

119

Trevor Plouffe

.253

71

34

101

Nolan Arenado

.250

50

28

96

Pablo Sandoval

.247

65

40

105

Cody Asche

.245

39

23

98

It’s funny how perceptions and realities are far different. Nearly half of the players above have played in an all-star game if we count Casey McGehee’s flirtation with the game this year. Yet, when you look at the ROV numbers you end up being very underwhelmed. It might be high time to readjust our expectations of offensive players.

Aramis Ramirez– Milwaukee Brewers

Ramirez has long been considered one of the top producing third basemen in the game and he was there on Tuesday night. The problem is that he can’t seem to stay on the field as much as most of the other elite third basemen. He’s surpassed 100 RBI seven times in his career, but this will not be one of those seasons. He still has an OPS near .800, so he is still a decent guy to throw in there, but his best days are behind him.

Evan Longoria– Tampa Bay Rays

You cannot overestimate how disappointing a year it has been for the Rays and their fans. They were picked by many to be the favorite in the AL East. Now, they are fighting with the Red Sox for fourth place. Longoria is on top of the list of players that aren’t producing. He has a career .853 OPS and he is circling the drain at .719 this season. He is the main guy people look at when considering the question of whether there will be a return to normalcy.

Casey McGehee– Miami Marlins

Yes, he was up for getting into the all-star game and there was all that hype, but he has only two home runs. That’s right, he has two more home runs than any of us do. That helps the 87 runs produced right along, but you have to wonder how long that can continue without something else in the power department. In other words, how much longer will it be before he turns back into a pumpkin?

Pablo Sandoval– San Francisco Giants

Kung Fu Panda is in a contract year and it was supposed to be a big year before a big contract. Instead, he ranks as the 19th best third baseman according to ROV and is in a tie for 17th in wRC+. Those aren’t the kind of numbers that get you big contracts. Then again, the Giants have been giving out their fair share of big contracts, so maybe this was pretty good for the Giants long-term.

David Wright– New York Mets

You talk about disappointments. Captain America didn’t make either list. He would have been 23rd according to ROV. He is in that tie for 17th along with Pablo Sandoval and Yangervis Solarte. Evan Longoria and Wright are the poster bearers for underachievement at not only third base, but throughout the fantasy baseball world. In his case it isn’t a lack of a batting average, but a staggering lack of power.

 

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Real Offensive Value — Third Basemen, Part I

We’ve taken a break along with most of the league on our game wide rundown of real offensive value. Many of you might be new to the discussion, so first let’s talk a little bit about real offensive value (ROV). Real offensive value combines batting average and secondary average to create one statistic that looks like batting average. At the break, the league wide batting average was a shade above .250. The league wide ROV is fairly close at .245.

We could stop there, but we will include three other numbers as a simple gauge of how these guys are doing. The most important of these is runs produced. It is important because it reflects what these guys are actually doing fantasy wise. In particular, the difference between runs produced (RBI + Runs – HR) and runs created is important. Runs created is a complex formula that calculates how many runs a player creates on his own. A large separation between runs produced and runs created shows which players benefit the most from their supporting casts. Finally, we have wRC+ from Fangraphs. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Real Offensive Value — Second Basemen, Part II

A look at the second group of second basemen reveals why there might be a lot of movement at the position around the trade deadline. Second base might be the weakest position on the diamond for fantasy baseball teams, Some teams want to move beyond an absolute hole and into something resembling league average. There will be some key names missing from the second list that might surprise you. Primarily, you will notice that Aaron Hill and Jedd Gyorko are missing. Coming into the season, they were definitely supposed to be a part of at least the second group.

Both the Padres and the Dbacks are paying those guys a pretty penny, so they can’t give up on them completely. If the Dbacks are willing to pay a portion of Hill’s salary going forward, they may be able to find a taker. Otherwise, they are stuck with them. Based on the math, when you remove those names, there are at least eight teams that don’t have a top twenty second baseman. If any of them are playoff contenders you might see them make a deal. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Daily Fix – July 9th, 2014

Welcome back to another edition of the daily fix. As we approach the all-star break we come to realize that most of the players are who they are at this point. Sometimes you have some matchups that you are just dying to take advantage of. Yu Darvish has had seven starts against the Houston Astros in three seasons. In seven starts, he has hurled 51 innings (more than seven innings a start) with a 72/15 strikeout to walk ratio.
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2014 Fantasy Baseball: Real Offensive Value — Second Basemen, Part I

We continue the yo-yoing through positions when we move to second base. We saw how different first base was from catcher and now we move to the other extreme with second basemen. For those that haven’t checked out this series before today, we are chiefly concerned with a statistic called real offensive value. It is calculated by splitting the difference between batting average and secondary average. It provides a nice reference (that can be evaluating like a batting average) to look at everything a player contributes.

For your frame of reference, at the halfway point (when these numbers were compiled) the average ROV is .245. That compares fairly well with the league wide batting average which stood at .251 at the halfway point. Like the last several editions, I will include other numbers as well. We will see runs created (a number estimating the number of runs a player creates based on what he actually produced). We will see wRC+ (a fangraphs estimate of the number of runs a player produces per plate appearances). Finally, we will see runs produced (runs plus RBI minus home runs). [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Real Offensive Value — First Basemen, Part II

Houston Astros v Detroit Tigers

First base is the easiest position on the diamond to punt on draft day. If you have no doubt about that then all you need to do is look at this second tier list of first sackers. They are a part of the second list because they fell outside the top ten in real offensive value. Of course, some of them are better than that and were drafted higher than that. The point is not to look at where everyone ranks, but the sheer volume of good first basemen makes it easy to justify waiting on draft day.

From a human interest point of view, the names we find on this list are fascinating. It is a pure example if there ever was one of how times will always change. You used to be able to set your watch to guys like Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, and Miguel Cabrera, but those days are moving on. The funny thing is that they never move on suddenly. It’s a gradual process that sneaks up on you and we are witnessing the beginning of that process with Cabrera. It’s been a lovely ride, but all rides must end. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball Daily Fix: July 2nd

Draftstreet has been a terrific platform for daily baseball and to prove it we are going to play a different game today than what we have played before. Draftstreet offers three types of games in addition to the multitude of ways you can get paid out. You can play salary cap games (as we have played every other time before), they offer snake drafts, and today’s game which is the pick em’ game.

The concept behind the pick ‘em game is to fill eight positions without any regards to salary or position. Instead, they give you a choice of anywhere between three players and seven players per tier. There are two tiers of pitchers and the other six tiers are filled with position players. The idea is that they are not necessarily from any particular position. The players are bunched together based on their fantasy points per game production.

So, when you look at the picks, you will notice that the salaries are going to be removed. Instead, you will see the opposing pitcher and some notes about why I picked that particular player. As always, I will have an alternative lineup in case there are any last second lineup changes or weather conditions that would force us to make a change.

Opposing SP

Comments

Tier 1

Cole Hamels

Miami Marlins

The first few starts of the year were brutal and he still has a 2.84 ERA on the season.

Tier 2

Travis Wood

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox have not been world beaters this season.

Tier 3

Mike Trout

John Danks

He had a rough May, but he has been his old self the last few weeks.

Tier 4

Adrian Beltre

Chris Tillman

Beltre has been one of the few reliable Rangers hitters.

Tier 5

David Ortiz

Travis Wood

He seems to come up big in the right moments.

Tier 6

Gregory Polanco

Chris Anderson

Anderson has faded big time and Polanco might be the real deal.

Tier 7

Josh Hamilton

John Danks

Hamilton has been really good this year when healthy.

Tier 8

Marlon Byrd

Tom Koehler

He is very quietly on pace to hit 30 home runs this season.

As always, I offer an alternative lineup just in case you don’t like my picks or something happens before the game that requires a change. Keep in mind, the pick em’ does not require salaries or even the same positions. So, take this for what it is worth.

Opposing SP

Comments

Tier 1

Julio Teheran

New York Mets

Yes, he has a 2.34 ERA, but he’s pitching a bit above his pay grade at the moment.

Tier 2

Charlie Morton

Arizona Dbacks

He’s certainly decent enough and the Dbacks are not.

Tier 3

Jose Abreu

Tyler Skaggs

He already has 26 home runs on the season.

Tier 4

Anthony Rizzo

Brandon Workman

He has become one of the top ten first basemen in the game.

Tier 5

Justin Upton

Jacob DeGrom

He isn’t elite, but then again neither is DeGrom.

Tier 6

Chris Davis

Miles Mikolas

He isn’t the Chris Davis of last season, but he has been pretty good since June.

Tier 7

Brock Holt

Travis Wood

Holt has been playing out of his mind the last few weeks.

Tier 8

Adam Eaton

Tyler Skaggs

Eaton is a blue collar kind of guy, so he should give you some positive points.

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Real Offensive Value — First Basemen, Part I

You cannot find any positions any different than catcher and first base. That being said, there were 17 regular catchers (or at least semi-regular) that were above average in real offensive value. The first base tally is off the charts. So, there will inevitably be some pretty decent first sackers on the sidelines in most standard twelve player leagues.

For those that are just joining us, real offensive value is the marriage of batting average and secondary average. Secondary average calculates everything a player does outside of batting average. So, when you combine the two you get a very good representation of the value of a player. The league average at the mythical half-way point was .245 for ROV. So, when you see the numbers you can roughly compare them to batting average in terms of grading a player’s overall value.
[Read more...]