A pair of pitchers taken in the late rounds helped General Manager Eric Brown and Bacon at Mile 11 earn the second best draft grade in league history in 2017.
Reliever Nick Vincent was chosen with the 377th pick of the draft and finished the 2017 season with a 3.20 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 27 net saves/holds. Vincent ended the season ranked in the Top 200, finishing 193rd.
Lucas Giolito was picked in the last round with the 409th pick but spent much of the early season in the minors before making seven starts late in the season for the White Sox. While Brown released Giolito in April, the young pitcher went on to post a 2.38 ERA and .094 WHIP and was a contributor for Everybody Hurts, who added Giolito on Sept. 3.
Finding late-round contributors is essential for a good draft but equally important is to avoid early round busts. Four of five keepers for Brown finished the season ranked in the Top 80 and Chris Archer, the one player that didn’t, finished 2017 ranked a respectable 117th.
Two late-round flyers, catcher Sandy Leon and pitcher Zack Wheeler, were the lowest-ranked players drafted by Brown. Leon was dropped in early June as he hit just .225 in 301 plate appearances while Wheeler earned just six quality starts in 86.1 innings.
By uncovering several late-round gems, minimizing keeper busts, and squeezing value out of mid-round picks, Brown finished 2017 with the league’s highest-rated draft. It helped him win the North Division title and finish with the league’s fourth-best regular season record.
New York Mets reliever Addison Reed is a shining example of how set-up men offer great value late in the draft. In 2016, Reed was chosen by Sean McKenna with the last pick of the draft, 416th overall. Reed pitched 78.2 innings, striking out 92 batters, while earning 37 net saves/holds. The last player chosen in the draft finished the season ranked 41st overall.
Of the 10 best values in last year’s draft, six were relievers chosen in the 22nd round or later. Houston reliever Will Harris was chosen by the Lower Haighters with the 382nd pick, was promptly released on April 3 and remained unclaimed until May 7 when he again joined the Lower Haighters. Harris finished as the league’s 79th ranked player after earning 37 net saves/holds.
No position in fantasy baseball offers more late-round upside than set-up men. Major League teams often spend April determining late-inning roles and those frequently fluctuate as the season progresses.
Overall, teams struggled in the 2016 draft. The Lower Haighters had the highest-rated draft, finishing with an average player value of 337.84 (average BaseballMonster ranking for each player at the end of the season). That ranks 11th in league history and was just the team’s fourth best draft.
High Cheese had an excellent draft in 2016. The team’s 344.8 player ranking was best in franchise history. Pitchers Shawn Kelley, Roberto Osuna, Tanner Roark, Dellin Betances, Kevin Siegrist and Aroldis Chapman led the team to 149 wins, the third most in team history.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, starting pitchers Gerrit Cole and Yordano Ventura, and relievers Kevin Jepsen and Huston Street all underperformed in 2016 which led to Bacon at Mile 11 having the second worst draft in team history. The 532.5 average player value was the 12th highest in league history but General Manager Eric Brown did a masterful job of managing and eventually guided the team to 149 wins.
General Manager Mark Peterson had the second best draft in franchise history and led Warning Track Power to 147 wins and the team’s first West Division pennant. Pitchers Kyle Hendricks, Pedro Strop, Zach Britton, and Justin Wilson were great draft values as was catcher Wilson Ramos.
While the 2016 draft won’t go down as one of the league’s best, it did show that team’s can recover from a bad draft to have a good season and it reinforced that set-up men are a valuable late round drat commodity.
High Cheese is sitting atop the league standings and they are coming off a huge 11-1 victory over A-Rod’s Mirrors last week. The’ve won four straight series for several reasons.
Outfielder Adam Jones and pitcher Jon Lester are big reason for the team’s surge. Jones is hitting .313 with a .959 OPS with 27 RBI and 25 runs over the last four weeks. Lester has five straight quality starts in that period with a 1.46 ERA and 0.84 WHIP.
Can they keep it going and does Ziguana believe in the Cheese this week?
Lower Haighters vs JetSetters
The Lower Haighters have lost just one series over the past six weeks and are coming off an important 8-4 victory over Bacon at Mile 11. The Lower Haighters are 81-59-4 and are second in the league standings The JetSetters are one of the hottest teams in the league. They saw their five-week winning streak snapped last week but they were able to forge a tie with the Eephus Monkeys. The JetSetters are 69-68-7 and 11th overall.
Pitching: The JetSetters led the league in Week 12 with a 10.54 K/9. After going 15-2-1 on the mound the previous three weeks, the JetSetters were stymied by the Monkeys last week, losing four of the six pitching categories. Jose Fernandez was brilliant, earning a pair of quality starts while finishing the week with a 0.64 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. The Lower Haighters won four pitching categories last week and are now 16-7-1 on the mound over the last four weeks. Drew Pomeranz pitched seven scoreless innings with a 0.57 ERA to lead the Haighters in Week 12.
Hitting: The JetSetters were tied for the league lead with 46 RBI last week but also were tied for the most strikeouts with 59. They won four of the six hitting categories against the Monkeys in Week 12. Third baseman Jake Lamb drove in eight runs while Wilson Contreras and Jay Bruce each had seven. The Lower Haighters won four of the six hitting categories against Bacon at Mile 11 last week and won the runs scored and RBI categories for the first time in four weeks. Shortstop Carlos Correa led the team with a 1.282 OPS in 27 plate appearances while driving in nine runs and scoring six times.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: The Lower Haighters opened the week as a 77.8 percent favorite. Ziguana predicts the JetSetters have just a 11.4 percent chance to win the series.
Bacon at Mile 11 vs A-Rod’s Mirrors
It’s unbelievable to think Bacon at Mile 11 hasn’t won a series in seven weeks and have lost four of their last five. They are licking their wounds following a 8-4 loss to the Lower Haighters that dropped them to fourth in the league standings with a 75-62-7 record. After winning seven straight, the Mirrors have now lost two in a row and a coming off a 11-1 butt-whipping at the hands of High Cheese. The Mirrors are 73-67-4 and are now seventh in the overall standings.
Pitching: Bacon has won just seven pitching categories over the past six weeks. The team is 7-27-2 on the mound during that dismal stretch. Young pitcher Aaron Nola finished Week 12 with a 17.05 ERA and 3.16 WHIP while John Gray lasted just four innings in his start. The Mirrors have their own pitching problems, losing five of the six categories in each of the last two weeks. In the last month, the Mirrors are just 8-16 on the mound. Starters Nathan Eovaldi and Justin Verlander each finished Week 12 with a 7.00+ ERA.
Hitting: The Mirrors finished Week 12 with 59 strikeouts, tied for the most in the league. Outfielder Matt Kemp struck out eight times in 24 plat appearances. For the first time in 2016, they were swept in the hitting categories and are now 6-12 at the plate over the past three weeks. Bacon at Mile 11 led the league last week with a .969 OPS, their second highest mark this season. Despite the high OPS, the team lost four of six hitting categories. Anthony Rizzo had a 1.036 OPS in 19 plate appearances but failed to score a run and drove in just one.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Bacon at Mile 11 is a heavy favorite to win this series. Ziguana predicts Bacon has a 66.2 percent chance of victory compared to A-Rod’s Mirrors, who have just a 20.2 percent chance to win.
Let’s Play 2 vs Home Run 101
This series features two teams trying to avoid finishing last in the league and earn the Wooden Spoon. Let’s Play 2 is 47-93-4 and currently in last place. They’ve lost seven straight series and are coming off a 12-0 drubbing by Buster Hugs. They are the first team this year to get skunked in a series. Home Run 101 has lost six straight, lost 9-2 last week to Land Shark, and are 47-90-7 and 15th in the overall standings.
Pitching: Let’s Play had just 44.0 innings pitched in Week 12, tied for the league’s fewest. Jeff Samardzija lasted just three innings in his lone start, finishing with a 18.00 ERA and 2.67 WHIP. No team had fewer strikeouts per nine innings than Home Run 101 last week (4.85) or net saves/holds (1). Home Run 101 is 5-17-2 on the mound over the past four weeks and has won just one pitching category in three of those series. Erasmo Ramirez was terrible in relief last week, posting a 22.50 ERA and 3.50 WHIP in two innings while blowing a save.
Hitting: Home Run 101 tied the Eephus Monkeys for the lowest number of runs scored last week with 22 as the team lost five of six hitting categories against Land Shark. Ben Revere didn’t score or drive in a run in 20 plate appearances last week while posting a .311 OPS. Let’s Play 2 was one of three teams that finished with -1 net stolen bases in Week 12 and had the fewest plate appearances with 193. It can’t get much worse for Louie’s team at the plate as they haven’t won a single hitting category the last two weeks. Brock Holt and Dexter Fowler are both on the DL while Michael Conforto has been optioned to the minors.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: It might be fitting if these teams played to a tie but Ziguana has installed Let’s Play 2 as the early favorite, with Louie Bottaro’s team a 60.1 percent chance to win. Home Run 101 has just a 24.3 percent chance to take the series.
Marin Menehunes vs High Cheese
High Cheese dismantled the Mirrors 11-1 last week, winning their fourth straight series. They have the best record in the league at 84-53-7. The Menehunes are 69-66-9 and 10th in the overall standings. They snapped a two-week losing streak with a 7-4-1 victory over Los Coches Bomba last week but they’ve lost six of their last eight.
Pitching: No team allowed more walks or hits than the Menehunes in Week 12. They finished with a league-high 1.68 WHIP. The last three weeks has been rough on the pitching staff as the team has gone 4-12-2 on the mound. Jordan Zimmermann lasted just 3.2 innings in his lone start last week while finishing with a 17.18 ERA and 2.45 WHIP. High Cheese won five of the six pitching categories against A-Rod’s Mirrors last week and has now gone 12-6 on the mound over the last three weeks. Tyler Roark had a pair of quality starts last week while Aroldis Chapman and Roberto Osuna combined for four saves/holds.
Hitting: High Cheese led the league in runs scored (48), RBI (46) and plate appearances (275) last week. They swept the hitting categories against the Mirrors and have now gone 14-3-1 at the plate over the last three weeks. Chris Davis and Angel Pagan combined to drive in 18 runs last week while Ian Desmond led the team with a 1.495 OPS in 22 plate appearances. The Menehunes won five hitting categories against Los Coches Bomba last week and are now 10-7-1 at the plate over the last three weeks. Adam Eaton scored nine runs in 33 plate appearances in Week 12 while Marcus Semien knocked in seven runs and finished with a team-high 1.223 OPS in 25 plate appearances.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: High Cheese is on a serious roll and Ziguana doesn’t see Matt Patchell’s team slowing down this week. They have a 66.5 percent chance of defeating the Menehunes. Elizabeth’s team has just a 19.3 percent chance to win.
Buster Hugs vs Warning Track Power
Every category win is important for Buster Hugs at this point in the season. They are 73-65-6 and sixth in the league standings but have a host of teams bearing down in the race for the final playoff berths. Buster Hugs is coming off a huge 12-0 victory over Let’s Play 2, ending a three-week losing streak. Warning Track Power has just one series win over the last five weeks but at 74-69-1 they are holding onto the league’s final playoff spot.
Pitching: Warning Track Power led the league with 67.0 innings pitched in Week 12 but finished tied for last in net saves/holds with one. David Price lasted just 2.1 innings in his start while posting a 23.14 ERA. It’s been a tough month for the team’s staff, going 9-15 during that stretch. Buster Hugs had the most quality starts in Week 12 with seven and for the first time this season won all six pitching categories. Sonny Gray and Madison Bumgarner each had two quality starts while Santiago Casilla had three saves without giving up a run and recording a 16.88 K/9.
Hitting: No team had fewer strikeouts in Week 12 than Buster Hugs with 21, or more stolen bases, with 5. They swept the hitting categories against Let’s Play 2 last week, the first time this year they’ve won all six categories in a series. Shortstop Jean Segura posted a 1.029 OPS and scored 11 runs in 34 plate appearances. Buster Hugs hasn’t lost the plate appearances category since Week 5. Warning Tack Power won just two hitting categories last week, their worst performance at the plate since Week 8. Curtis Granderson had a team-low .597 OPS in 24 plate appearances in Week 12.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana expects Warning Track Power to defeat Buster Hugs. Mark Peterson’s team has a 60.1 percent chance to win while Andrew’s team has just a 23.7 percent chance of victory.
Stadium Mustard vs Hapamon
Stadium Mustard defeated the Bulls 7-5 last week and have now won two straight and three of their last five. They are 65-71-8 and 13th in the league standings. Hapamon defeated Warning Track Power 8-4 and has won two of their last three series. They are 63-69-12 and 12th in the league standings.
Pitching: After losing 10 of 12 pitching categories combined in Weeks 9-10, the Stadium Mustard staff seems to have found its bearings over the last two weeks. They won five of six categories against the Bulls last week and are 9-1-2 on the mound over the last two weeks. The bullpen was especially strong last week as Neftali Feliz, Brad Brach, and A.J. Ramos combined for six saves/holds without giving up a run. Hapamon’s pitching staff enters this series on a nice roll, going 12-6 over the last three weeks. They won four of six against Warning Track Power last week.Closer Jeurys Familia earned four saves without giving up a run in Week 12.
Hitting: No team had a lower OPS in Week 12 than Stadium Mustard at .655 or fewer net stolen bases (-1). The team won just two hitting categories, their worst showing at the plate since Week 3. Outfielder Trayce Thompson failed to reach base in 15 plate appearances, striking out eight times, while veteran catcher Yadier Molina posted a .255 OPS in 20 plate appearances. Hapamon also finished with -1 net stolen bases but won four hitting categories against Warning Track Power. It was their best hitting performance since Week 9. It was keyed by Matt Carpenter and Charlie Blackmon, who combined to score 16 runs and drive in 14 more.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Stadium Mustard opens the week as a slight favorite, with Ziguana projecting they have a 51.6 percent chance to win. Hapamon has a 31.2 percent chance of victory.
Los Coches Bomba vs Land Shark
Land Shark is one of the hottest teams in the league. They are coming off a 9-2 victory over Home Run 101, their fifth straight series win. Their record is now 77-62-5 and they sit third in the overall standings. Los Coches Bomba lost 7-4-1 to the Marin Menehunes last week and have now lost three of their last five. They are 71-61-12 and are fifth in the league standings.
Pitching: Los Coches Bomba finished Week 12 with a 6.58 ERA, the league’s highest but also led the league with nine net saves/holds. The team won four of the six categories against the Menehunes but it wasn’t a thing of beauty. In fact, Edinson Volquez’s start was so hideous he finished just one inning while posting a 99.00 ERA and 11.00 WHIP. The team’s 1.64 WHIP was a season-high and they still won the category. Land Shark lost just one pitching category last week and is now 13-9-2 on the mound over the last four weeks. Jeremy Hellickson had a pari of quality starts while Seung-hwan Oh inherited the closing role in St. Louis and earned two saves.
Hitting: Land Shark has lost just three hitting categories combined over the past three weeks and scored a season-high 42 runs last week. Three players (Paul Goldschmidt, Jonathan Schoop, and Francisco Lindor) all posted +1.000 OPS while Schoop scored eight times in 31 plate appearances. Los Coches Bomba failed to win a hitting category last week, the first time this season they didn’t win at least one category at the plate. Catcher Kurt Suzuki was the only payer on the team with a +1.000 OPS in Week 12 while Robinson Cano failed to drive in a run in 32 plate appearances last week.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Meredith’s team enters this series as a big underdog. Ziguana has Land Shark with just an 8 percent chance to defeat Los Coches Bomba. Jenni Kirk’s team has a 83 percent chance to win.
Eephus Monkeys vs The Bulls
The Monkeys haven’t lost a series in the last five weeks and are coming off a 6-6 tie with the JetSetters. They are 59-76-9 and 14th in the league standings. The Bulls have won four of their last six series but did lose 5-7 last week to Stadium Mustard. The Bulls are now 70-66-8 and 9th in the overall standings.
Pitching: The Bulls were tied for the lowest number of innings pitched in Week 12 with 44.0 and had the fewest quality starts with one. That led to the team losing five of the six categories against Stadium Mustard and it only gets worse as Stephen Strasburg hit the DL this week. The Eephus Monkeys finished Week 12 with the league’s lowest ERA at 2.32 and the lowest WHIP at 1.10. This pitching staff is on a roll, going 19-5 over the last four weeks on the mound. Jacob deGrom tossed eight scoreless innings in Week 12 while reliever Sam Dyson had a pair of saves without giving up a run.
Hitting: The Monkeys tied Home Run 101 with the fewest number of runs scored last week with 22 and they’ve won just six hitting categories combined over the past month. Outfielder Jason Heyward had a .513 OPS with just one run scored and one RBI in 31 plate appearances in Week 12. The Bulls won four hitting categories last week and have now gone 7-4-1 at the plate over the last two weeks. Carlos Gonzalez is in a nice groove, posting a 1.007 OPS over his last 30 plate appearances while driving in six runs.
Ziguana Projected Outcome: Ziguana expects the Eephus Monkey’s to win this series. Jordan’s team has a 53.7 percent chance of victory compared to the Bulls, who have just a 28.8 percent chance.
If we’ve done nothing else in this blog during Spring Training, we have successfully tested the theory that great fantasy baseball drafts produce great seasons. The 2015 draft is our best evidence.
The top three teams in the 2015 final standings were A-Rod’s Mirrors, Bacon at Mile 11 and the Lower Haighters. The players they drafted also had the best average value of any teams in the league. In fact, they turned in three of the Top 10 drafts in league history.
The Mirrors uncovered a gem late in the draft when GM Sean McKenna selected reliever AJ Ramos with the 349th pick. Ramos converted 36 of his 42 save situations with a 2.30 ERA and 11.1 K/9. He finished the season 31st in the player rankings and helped the eventual league champions post a 321.00 average player value for the draft class. It is the best draft in franchise history and fourth best in league history.
Outfielder Bryce Harper was the team MVP, finishing the season ranked 10th. Cole Hamels, Craig Kimbrel, Prince Fielder, Yoenis Cespedes, Eric Hosmer, Ben Revere, and Ramos all finished the season ranked in the Top 100 of the player rankings.
The Lower Haighters had the seventh best draft in league history, posting a 335.07 APV. It was the third best draft in franchise history. The team had eight players finish in the Top 100 led by Jake Arrieta, who finished 2015 ranked second behind league MVP Clayton Kershaw.
Bacon at Mile 11 GM Eric Brown turned in the best draft in franchise history with a 336.19 APV. It was the ninth best draft in league history. Seven players finished the season ranked in the Top 100 led by sluggers Anthony Rizzo and Nolan Arenado. Rizzo had a career-high 701 plate appearances and finished with a .899 OPS, 101 RBI and 94 runs scored. Arenado led the league with 42 home runs and 130 RBI.
The Monkeys and GM Jordan Mazur had the steal of the 2015 draft when he selected reliever Jeurys Familia with the 395th pick. Familia converted 43 of 49 save situations with a 1.85 ERA and 9.9 K/9. He finished the season as the 31st ranked player in the league.
While the 2015 draft was decent compared to the previous two seasons, it still trailed 2010, 2011 and 2012. A total of 43 keepers failed to deliver keeper value at season’s end.
It also featured the second worst draft in league history. The Bulls finished 2015 with a 647.96 APV for their draft class. Of the team’s 26 draftees, 21 finished the season ranked below 416th in the final player rankings. It was essentially a draft class with less value than most free agents and the results were predictable – the Bulls finished with the worst record in league history at 81-169-14 and won just two series.
Clearly, the value of a good draft can’t be overstated.
Five of the nine worst drafts in league history came in the 2014 SFRRC Fantasy Baseball Regular Season Draft. It was swing-and-a-miss for the entire league.
Jersey Boys and GM Leigh-Ann Wendling holds the honor of having the worst draft in league history. Her draft class in 2014 ended with a 688.65 average player value. Four of her five keepers failed to return keeper value with Aaron Hill and Justin Verlander doing so in dramatic fashion. Verlander had just 18 quality starts in 32 tries. He finished the season with a 4.54 ERA and saw his K/9 fall to 6.9, the lowest mark since 2006. Predictably, the Jersey Boys finished last in the East Division and 12th overall.
Wendling wasn’t alone. The Eephus Monkey and GM Jordan Mazur saw a pair of pitchers – Matt Cain and Tony Cingrani – flop. Both were keepers. Cingrani ended the season ranked 1,182nd while Cain ranked 1,123rd. Cain strained a hamstring and landed on the DL on May 30. He was then sidelined by an elbow injury and finished with a 2-7 record and 4.18 ERA. Hopes were high for Cingrani entering the season but shoulder tendonitis sent him to the DL on May 1. He started 11 games, pitching 63.1 innings with a 4.55 ERA.
The Monkeys finished with an average player value of 607.03. It was the third worst draft in league history and led to an 11th place finish for the team.
A total of 50 keepers failed to return keeper value in 2014. The Bulls, Menehunes, Lower Haighters, and Monkeys all had four of their five keepers fall into this category. Seven teams (Jersey Boys, Monkeys, Los Coches Bomba, Vicious Fishes, The Cys, JetSetters, and Lower Haighters) had their worst drafts in franchise history in 2014. Only the JetSetters and Lower Haighters were able to recover and qualify for the post-season.
The 2014 draft was the worst in league history but there were some value picks.
Carla Baughman-King and the Cys selected Colorado outfielder Corey Dickerson with the 400th pick and he finished the season as the league’s 61st-ranked player. Dickerson had a career-high 478 plate appearances with 24 homers and 76 RBI. He finished the season with a .931 OPS and scored 74 runs.
Donna Hood and the Marauding Schnoodles selected second baseman Brian Dozier with the 374th pick and he end the season ranked 37th. Dozier had a career-high 707 plate appearances with a .762 OPS, 23 home runs and 71 RBI. He scored 112 runs and finished with 14 net stolen bases.
Finally, the JetSetters added Denard Span with the 378th pick and he finished 43rd. Span had 668 plate appearances, had a career-high 184 hits, and scored 94 runs. He finished with 24 net stolen bases and struck out just 65 times.
Quietly, one team actually had its best draft in franchise history. Home Run 101 and GM Bailey Penzotti drafted Jose Abreu and Jose Altuve and finished with a solid 340.69 average player ranking. The success in the draft resulted in the first post-season appearance for Home Run 101.
2013 will not go down in the annals of SFRRC Fantasy Baseball as a banner player draft. In fact, overall, it was the second worst draft in league history behind the abysmal 2014 draft. The average player value for those chosen in the 2013 draft was 465.31. On average, team owners drafted players that were worse than replacement players.
The Lower Haighters had the top draft in 2014 with an average player value of 387.92. It ranks 27th of the 96 drafts in the league’s six-year history. Twinkle Toes (now Buster Hugs) had an average player value of 576.20, the fourth lowest in league history. Where did things go so wrong?
It started with a number of high-profile misses in the Keeper Draft. The Toes protected Ryan Vogelsong who finished as the 13th lowest-rated player drafted at 1,288th. In his first nine starts, Vogelsong had one quality start and a 7.19 ERA. In May, he was hit by a pitch while batting and broke his hand. Shortstop Starlin Castro was kept by GM Carla Baughman-King and the Cys (now Let’s Play 2). Castro played 161 games but it was his worst season. He had a career-low .631 OPS and a career-high 129 strikeouts.
R.A. Dickey, who had been tremendous for the Jersey Boys a year earlier, started 34 games but just 19 were quality. His K/9 rate dropped from 8.9 in 2012 to 7.1 and his ERA ballooned to 4.21. Dickey was a keeper for the Jersey Boys and he finished 2013 ranked 1140th. The Marin Menehunes kept Tim Lincecum, hoping he would rebound from his sub par 2012 season. He wouldn’t. Lincecum was the league’s 1,102nd ranked player, finishing with just 15 quality starts and a 4.37 ERA.
When keepers fail, it leads to bad drafts.
There were some bargains. The biggest was reliever Trevor Rosenthal who was drafted by the Lower Haighters with the 387th pick and finished ranked 48th. Rosenthal blew just five of his 37 save situations. The Mirrors drafted Brandon Moss with the 378th pick and he finished the season ranked 64th. He had 30 homers and 87 RBI.
But this draft won’t be remembered for the bargains. It will be remembered because just 32 of the 80 keepers returned keeper value.
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
|Warning Track Power||+0.0234|
|Bacon at Mile 11||-0.0266|
|Los Coches Bomba||-0.1266|
|Home Run 101||-0.1505|
|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
|Warning Track Power||+0.0717|
|Los Coches Bomba||-0.1266|
|Bacon at Mile 11||-0.1275|
|Let’s Play 2||-0.1969|
|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
|Bacon at Mile 11||+0.0640|
|Warning Track Power||+0.0595|
|Los Coches Bomba||-0.1904|
|Let’s Play 2||-0.2065|
|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
|Bacon at Mile 11||+0.0098|
|Home Run 101||-0.0154|
|Los Coches Bomba||-0.0556|
|Warning Track Power||-0.1651|
|Let’s Play 2||-0.2818|
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.