Posts Tagged ‘1b’

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Ike Davis

Ike Davis – Current ADP 202; 18th 1B – My Rank: 111th hitter; 20th 1B

This isn’t at all spurned by the fact that Ike Davis is my starting first baseman in a 20-team writer’s league – not at all. I swear

In reality, he was on the list before that draft, but who knows if I would have pulled his name today had I not selected him recently.

Still, I really wanted to investigate the first basemen further given his successful 2010 campaign (.264/.351/.440).

Unfortunately, his isolated power (a measure of a hitter’s raw power) was just .173 (first basemen averaged about .200 last year) – so he gave up power compared to the position. He did post far better ISOs in AAA last year and AA before that – but it was against weaker competition and in hitter-friendly ballparks.

Of course, he did manage 19 HRs and 33 doubles last year – so he’s not James Loney. From my research, most projection systems have him approaching the normal ISO for the position which should get him over the 20 HR hump. With a modest improvement in his BABip (somewhere closer to his minor league numbers), you’re looking at a guy with .280 average potential (although he will probably sit in the .270s) and a .360 OBP. In short, he should get on base enough and drive enough runners in.

I took Davis with the 240th pick in the 20-teamer, so his ADP is clearly fluctuating. I think I got good value in him, especially in this deep a league. It seems he’ll comfortably slide in the top 18-20 first basemen (especially if you throw out the catchers that qualify at first) with upside to be in the 12-15 range. Still, his moderate upside won’t win you your league, but he’ll be a steady source of runs/RBIs and 20 HRs or so. Think of him as pretty similar to Adam LaRoche with a smidge better AVG and more upside.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

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Maximizing every drop of value in every pick is hugely important. Taking a player in the fifth round that you could just as easily have taken in the sixth round is a major mistake. To avoid this, you need to know all about Average Draft Position (ADP).

While no two drafts are identical, knowing where a player typically goes gives you a general idea of where he will go in your draft. That said, be sure to do homework on your league mates subjective tendencies. For example, if there are Red Sox fans, be sure to snag guys like Lester and Youkilis a bit earlier than you normally would. In addition, you should talk up your sleepers before the draft (discretely of course) to see if anyone is on to them. If you don’t, an opponent with an itchy trigger finger who hasn’t done his ADP homework might snag one of your sleepers a round before anyone else is typically taking him.

Now that you know WHY ADP is important, I want to show you HOW to exploit it by highlighting those players who are going too low compared to players with similar ADPs. You can grab an ADP report at Mock Draft Central.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Mark Teixeira

Mark Teixeira – Current ADP 12; 5th 1b – My Rank: 27; 6th 1b

Mark Teixeira was barely in the top 20 first basemen in batting average – he was 19th. He was not in the top five in HRs at his position (he was sixth). He was tied for fifth in RBIs and he was second in runs. He did not steal a base.

Coming off three straight .290+ seasons, clearly 2010’s batting average (.256) was a shock. While his K-rate increased a smidge, his BABip declined from a career line of .303 to .268. This was not due to a change in line drives, ground balls, or fly balls – all were about the same as 2009. Of course, since joining the Yankees, Teixeira has gone from hitting about 40% fly balls to averaging about 44% – and, somewhat surprisingly, his HR/FB rate has declined since joining the Yankees.

The major 2010 culprit: Teixeira swung at more pitches out of the strike zone than he has in any previous year. The rate was about five percent more than his career average. In addition, pitchers seemed to catch on as Teixeira saw a lot less pitches inside the strike zone than he normally does.

I just threw a ton of numbers and percentages and ratios at you. Basically, his BABip was historically low and it should rebound. However, given that his patience at the plate has declined (as noted by his increasing fly ball percentages and swings at balls outside the zone), he won’t return to his .290/.300 hitting self.

In short, Teixeira looks like a guy who will hit .280 with 35 HRs, 100 runs and 120 RBIs. Is that much better than Adam Dunn who is going 38 picks later? Or Andre Ethier who is going 23 picks later? Given the depth of the position, I don’t see a need to select Teixeira at the end of the first round – his value is a lot closer to the third round than the first.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

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Maximizing every drop of value in every pick is hugely important. Taking a player in the fifth round that you could just as easily have taken in the sixth round is a major mistake. To avoid this, you need to know all about Average Draft Position (ADP).

While no two drafts are identical, knowing where a player typically goes gives you a general idea of where he will go in your draft. That said, be sure to do homework on your league mates subjective tendencies. For example, if there are Red Sox fans, be sure to snag guys like Lester and Youkilis a bit earlier than you normally would. In addition, you should talk up your sleepers before the draft (discretely of course) to see if anyone is on to them. If you don’t, an opponent with an itchy trigger finger who hasn’t done his ADP homework might snag one of your sleepers a round before anyone else is typically taking him.

Now that you know WHY ADP is important, I want to show you HOW to exploit it by highlighting those players who are going too low compared to players with similar ADPs. You can grab an ADP report at Mock Draft Central.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

h2h Corner ~ 2011 head-2-head Catcher Rankings

For a downloadable spreadsheet, please visit: awesome-h2h-rankings.comsizzle.

Not since my little league hay-day, when I was a switch-hitting catcher like Mickey Tettleton (before he left the Orioles, cause afterward I hated him – I didn’t understand free agency) with the speed of Craig Biggio, has the catching position been manned by so many interesting specimens.

As my twitter followers know, I have, again, become obsessed with baseball cards. I’ve bought a number of 2010 Topps packs and have been blessed with a few Buster Posey (ranked: #2 catcher, 45 overall) rookie cards. I’m as shocked as you are by Posey’s immodest ranking, to be honest. Usually, my rankings really deflate catchers. Posey is that special. I honestly believe Posey will finish in the top 5 among catchers in four of the five main categories. You can’t make that same claim with Mauer, given his schizophrenic power numbers. The only thing that hasn’t forced me to push Posey higher is his relative lack of at bats and Mauer’s awesome average potential. This is such an atypical rank for me (I am also typically way down on sophomore phenoms) that I’m more confused than anything else. So, let’s move on.

While Posey, Mauer and Carlos Santana seem to be claiming all the catcher fantasy headlines, I’ve become a big Geovany Soto (6, 107) fan. Clearly, his abysmal 2009 burned many-a fantasy owner. But his 2010 (.280/.393/.497) showed me enough to put him back in my good graces (especially in OBP leagues). As a backstop who won’t kill your ratios (think .270 AVG, .370 OBP) and has 20+ HR upside, he’s a very good low-risk selection. Honestly, I was tempted to put him higher and could see arguments for tabbing him over Posada, but I’d be confident with him as my backstop.

Going into 2010, the only concern with Miguel Montero (7, 115) was how much playing time Chris Snyder would take – well Snyder’s been exiled to Pittsburgh and Montero is healthy. While he doesn’t possess the 20 HR upside of Soto and those catchers above him, Montero should settle into the 14 – 18 range and provide a non-life-threatening average in the .270s. He is, by no means, a sexy pick, but I think a relatively safe one.

In the past, I have been concerned about young players with relatively little track record (Chris Davis, Dallas McPherson, Brandon Wood, etc.) who are getting tons of hype and picked high without much major league experience to back that up. I do not think Carlos Santana (8, 128) fits in there; however I also don’t see him as a surefire top 5 catcher. I like him at number eight and in the 12th round or so because there is very little risk. If you are picking him in the top seven rounds, you’re likely passing on a 200+ K pitcher or a solid contributing outfielder for a guy with 192 MLB PAs who might go .260/.380/.440. In OBP leagues, he gets a huge bump. But in AVG leagues, I don’t see his 20+ HR potential making up for the real batting average risk. Quite simply, Posada, Soto and Montero are safer and likely cheaper options.

Mike Napoli (9, 150) might be too low on my rankings. He did receive a significant bump after the trades, but I’m worried my significant bump might be too cautious. A perennial 20+ HR threat (if given the PAs), Napoli is moving to an incredibly hitter friendly ballpark and away from a not so offensive-healthy environment. He could really push 30 HRs, but probably will struggle to bat above .250. He is definitely a needs-based selection – if you can forego batting average and need power, he should be your catcher.

Sleeper sofas:

Chris Iannetta (#15 catcher, 215 overall): he was a sleeper last year until, somehow, Miguel Olivo posted the best first half of his life. However, that didn’t sway the interesting and clearly intelligent Rockies front office as they continue to believe in the underlying statistics for Iannetta. As the Rockies have brought in career backstop back-ups, Iannetta will be the starting catcher. I think his floor could be a Miguel Montero-lite: .245-.255 AVG, 15+ HRs. I also think there is upside here, potentially to 22-25 HRs and a .270 AVG.

Ryan Hanigan (20, 224): never has Hanigan seen over 300 PAs in a season. However, he should be the “starting” catcher for the Reds this year, which should earn him around 100 games and the near 400 PAs that go along with it. I don’t think there will be much counting numbers with him (think single-digit HRs), but he could provide nice, non-painful ratios. I see him capable of hitting .275 at the least with upside to .300. He should also post a very good OBP (has a career 12.6% walk rate). At the end of drafts, or two-catcher leagues, he makes a lot of sense.

Josh Thole (23, 239): If you are looking for power, Thole (who never had a SLG% higher than .430 in the minors) isn’t your guy. However, he has shown a keen eye at the plate (11.5% walk rate in AAA) and 10.6% in 227 MLB PAs last year. It’s unclear how much playing time he will get – he might only see spot duty (think 70 games and 270 PAs), but he will put up decent ratios: .280 AVG and .360 OBP. If he could luck into full time duty, you’d have a catcher with good peripherals and 8-10 HRs.

A.J. Ellis (24, 248): With the corpse that is Russell Martin in New York, Ellis could finally get the chance he deserves. Ellis, who will be 30 in April, has just 141 career MLB PAs, yet has consistently posted .380+ OBPs in the minor leagues. Sure he hasn’t added any pop whatsoever, but I think we can see a low-teens walk rate and a .275 AVG if he gets to play. Rod Barajas is no good.

I think the moral of the sleeper story is to get one of the top nine catchers.

You can get full catcher ranks here.

If you have ideas for other columns, post your thoughts in the comments. Also, feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

h2h Corner ~ 2011 head-2-head first base Rankings

For a downloadable spreadsheet, please visit: awesome-h2h-rankings.comsizzle.

Is there really anything exciting about first base when you’re over the age of 15? By 16, you should have rounded second and also realized that slugging first basemen aren’t exactly Wendy Peffercorn.

Pujols is Pujols, Votto has a few more steals and a better ballpark than Miguel Cabrera. Adrian Gonzalez left Death Valley for Pesky Pole and the Green Monster to partner with the steady and healthy Kevin Youkilis. Mark Teixeira puts up massive numbers even with a flukey bad AVG, Ryan Howard is in decline from great numbers, Adam Dunn takes his homerun hitting talents to a bandbox, Fielder has a bounce back year (when it comes to AVG) and Kendry Morales is healthy.

That is your top 10 first basemen – not too hard a nut, and really you should be happy with any of them.

Of course, once you exit the top 10, there are some questions. One that I’m not capable of answering: is Justin Morneau (#11 first baseman, 39th overall) recovered? It sure seems like he could be. If so, he’d probably leapfrog a few guys, given his consistent track record. Still, his home ballpark really limits his power potential. Nonetheless, if you’re frozen out of the top 10, Morneau is a phenomenal value pick. I have him as the 11th first baseman and still inside the top 40 hitters. One of the top first basemen is likely to fall and you might as well be the guy to catch that player and stock up on other shallower positions earlier in the draft.

Anyone who knows me knows I dislike James Loney as any sort of fantasy option. So how can I have someone like Billy Butler (12, 55) – who has averaged just over 15 HRs for the past three years – as high as I do? Well, he’ll hit above .300 (which Loney wont) and he has a good chance to hit 20+ HRs (Loney has no chance). I’m not sure there is a ton of upside with Butler, but there is very little risk. Clearly, if Butler is your starting first baseman, you loaded up on infielders and outfielders in the earlier rounds, which mitigates the power loss you get with him. What Butler allows you to do is take chances on guys like Mike Stanton who could provide a ton of pop but at a significant batting average cost.

Another surprising no-power first basemen who appears somewhat high in my rankings is Gaby Sanchez (14, 82). Sanchez should easily duplicate last year’s line (.273/.341/.448) with some upside to improve upon it. I see him getting on base more, hitting for more power (say 22-25 HRs) and being a pretty good overall value. He’s another safe grab that allows you to go for upside in other areas.

In reality, though, there isn’t much analysis required for this position. If you’re in a 10-team league, you’ll get a fine first basemen. If you’re in a 12-team league, you’ll also get a fine first basemen. My advice is to know what kind of first basemen you’re getting. If he’s likely to be a batting average drain but provide big power numbers, you should probably avoid the Mike Stantons/Chris B. Youngs of the world. If the opposite, go heavy on those types of players.

Sleeper sofa:

Ike Davis (17, 111): I avoided making a Dwight Eisenhower joke here. I’m sorry. Davis loved his first taste of the majors (.264/.351/.440). I see nowhere to go but up from there. I think his average should improve to something that represents his minor league track record – comfortably in .280s. He should add a few more HRs, possibly getting to 25 and, perhaps improve on his 12% walk rate of last year. In short, I see his average, OBP and SLG% increasing.

Mitch Moreland (25, 234): In just 173 PAs last season, Moreland posted a .255/.364/.469 line with seven HRs. Given his home ballpark and prodigious line-up support, it’s pretty easy to see Moreland pushing 20 HRs and 80 RBIs with a decent average that could approach .280. There is a certain amount of risk with him, given the lack of track record and the presence of Chris Davis, Mike Napoli and (potentially) David Murphy, but, as someone who gets very little attention, he could easily wind-up in the top 15 at the position.

Brandon Allen (26, 240): If he finds playing time, likely in the outfield, the 25 year-old could be an incredibly cheap source of power. While he wont hit for a great average (think .250), he could swing his way to 25+ HRs with a full season of ABs in the desert. Those of you in deep or NL-only leagues should monitor spring training to see if he has a chance of breaking with the MLB club.

Juan Miranda (45, 367): The reason Allen has little chance of being the Diamondbacks 2011 starting first basemen is newly acquired Juan Miranda, who was blocked by Mark Teixeira. If given the at bats, Miranda has the power upside of Allen. All signs point to him getting full time at bats, which make 20 HRs all but a lock. He might hit for a poor average, but his late, 30 HR upside comes with a few downsides.

You can get full first base ranks here.

If you have ideas for other columns, post your thoughts in the comments. Also, feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).