Analyzing the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball Draft

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When you analyze the history of the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League you can see a clear relationship between a successful draft and a successful season. Of course, it only makes sense, teams that draft the best players should win.

The excellent fantasy baseball site, Baseball Monster, helps us measure the value of each MLB player by creating z-scores based on the specific statistics we use in the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League. This year, Baseball Monster gave us the opportunity to upload statistical projections and create z-scores based on those.

I uploaded the 2016 MLB player statistical projections from Ron Shandler’s Baseball Forecaster. Using those projections, Baseball Monster created z-scores for each player. Below, you’ll see the average z-score for players drafted by teams in our league based on Shandler’s projections.

Remember,  a player with a z-score of zero is league average. A z-score of 1.00 is excellent and a score above 2.00 is elite. Clayton Kershaw has a z-score of 2.9897 and is the highest rated player in our league. Catcher Jeff Mathis has the lowest z-score at -2.5068. It’s also important to remember that these scores were calculated using ONE SET of statistical projections based on our league scoring criteria. Shandler will have his share of misses.

Average Player Z-Scores

Lower Haighters +0.1875
Warning Track Power +0.0234
Marin Menehunes -0.0262
Bacon at Mile 11 -0.0266
The Bulls -0.0720
Eephus Monkeys -0.0823
Buster Hugs -0.0890
Stadium Mustard -0.1228
High Cheese -0.1257
Los Coches Bomba -0.1266
A-Rod’s Mirrors -0.1281
JetSetters -0.1393
Home Run 101 -0.1505
Hapamon -0.1506
Land Shark -0.2208
Let’s Play 2 -0.2389

When I created my draft list, I used Shandler’s projections and two sets of FanGraphs projections to develop an average z-score for each player. Because Shandler’s projections were integral to my draft list, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Lower Haighters emerged from the draft with the highest average player z-score. Now, if Shandler and FanGraphs are accurate with their player projections, the Lower Haighters should be a very competitive team. If not….

Based on Shandler’s projections, the Lower Haighters have a league-best 16 players with positive z-scores. Warning Track Power has 13 players with positive z-scores and the Marin Menehunes have 11. On the other end of the spectrum, Let’s Play 2 has just six players with positive z-scores.

Let’s dig a little deeper. Below, you’ll find the average z-scores for the starting pitchers drafted by each team based on Shandler’s 2016 statistical projections.

Average Starting Pitcher  Z-Scores

Lower Haighters +0.5075
The Bulls +0.2084
Warning Track Power +0.0717
Marin Menehunes -0.0301
Eephus Monkeys -0.1218
Stadium Mustard -0.1228
High Cheese -0.1257
Los Coches Bomba -0.1266
Bacon at Mile 11 -0.1275
A-Rod’s Mirrors -0.1281
JetSetters -0.1393
Hapamon -0.1959
Let’s Play 2 -0.1969
Buster Hugs -0.2237
Land Shark -0.3345
Home Run 101 -0.4242

Starting pitcher notes: While Kershaw is highly rated, Hapamon’s starting pitcher z-score took a hit because Matt Cain has a -1.1447, the second lowest for any player on the team. As a keeper, Hapamon has a big investment in Cain…Starting pitching will be the issue for Home Run 101. Chris Young (-1.0828), Joe Kelly (-1.0717) and Jake Peavy (-0.8981) are the lowest rated players on the team. Two of the three will likely be in the starting lineup on opening day…Stephen Strasburg (+1.0975) is the highest-rated player for the Bulls while Zack Greinke (+0.6938) is third highest…The High Cheese starting staff is led by Jon Lester (+0.5841) but Cole Hamels, Steven Matz and Marcus Stroman all have positive z-scores…Noah Syndergaard is the only starting pitcher for Bomba with a positive Z-rating.

Average Relief Pitcher Z-Scores

Buster Hugs +0.3777
Stadium Mustard +0.2076
High Cheese +0.1075
Bacon at Mile 11 +0.0640
Warning Track Power +0.0595
Hapamon +0.0486
Lower Haighters +0.0039
The Bulls -0.0039
Land Shark -0.0048
JetSetters -0.0548
Marin Menehunes -0.1167
Los Coches Bomba -0.1904
A-Rod’s Mirrors -0.1932
Let’s Play 2 -0.2065
Eephus Monkeys -0.2562
Home Run 101 -0.2831

Relief Pitcher Notes: The pool of relief pitchers with a positive z-score is high and that’s reflected in our team z-scores. Seven teams have bullpens that average positive scores. It’s much tougher to find hitters and starting pitchers. Only three teams have hitters and starting pitchers with average positive z-scores…Kenley Jansen (+0.9175) is the leader for Buster Hugs but the team has just three relievers on the roster. All three are very good…Stadium Mustard has 10 players with positive z-scores to start the season and three are relievers, Wade Davis (+0.8210), AJ Ramos (+0.2812) and Brett Cecil (+0.1944)…Ken Giles (+0.6150) and Shawn Tolleson (+0.1412) are the only relievers with positive scores for Home Run 101 but the team’s overall reliever rating takes a hit because Chris Young (-1.0828) and Erasmo Ramirez (-0.7207) are both eligible as relievers…The Eephus Monkeys have the same issue with Doug Fister (-0.8311) and Marco Estrada (-0.4371).

Average Hitter Z-Scores

Lower Haighters +0.1682
A-Rod’s Mirrors +0.0527
Bacon at Mile 11 +0.0098
Home Run 101 -0.0154
Marin Menehunes -0.0318
Eephus Monkeys -0.0523
Los Coches Bomba -0.0556
Stadium Mustard -0.0712
Buster Hugs -0.1024
Warning Track Power -0.1651
Hapamon -0.1664
The Bulls -0.2384
JetSetters -0.2610
Land Shark -0.2680
Let’s Play 2 -0.2818
High Cheese -0.3722

Hitter notes: Mookie Betts (+1.2972) and Paul Goldschmidt (+1.2750) are Shandler’s two highest-rated hitters…The lowest-rated hitter on a roster is catcher Chris Gimenez (-2.0669) for the Bulls. Buster Posey and Jonathan Lucroy are the only catchers with positive z-scores. As a fantasy owner, your primary goal is to minimize the damage on a weekly basis from your two catchers…Only nine shortstops have a positive z-score led by Manny Machado (+0.8195)…The Mirrors have eight players with a positive z-score and six of the eight are hitters. Bryce Harper (+1.1252) is the highest-rated player for the defending champs…The Lower Haighters are led by young shortstop Carlos Correa (+0.7632), Ryan Braun (+0.6458), and Giancarlo Stanton (+0.5979)….High Cheese might be second-guessing last year’s trade of Machado to the Mirrors for pitcher Wei-Yin Chen. Cheese has just four hitters with positive z-scores on the roster.

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