Category Archives: Adam Dunn

First Basemen: 2010 Fantasy Projections

Last year, I professed my unabashed man-crush on Pablo Sandoval. So it’s only fitting that he’s my “value pick” at first base according to my points-per-plate appearance calibration (using statistical projections from the 2010 Bill James Handbook). Displayed in the previous link is the point breakdown in a standard points league. My approach to deciphering value is based on draft position, depth, and potential for at-bats.

Last year, for example, Joey Votto‘s projected .91 fantasy points per plate-appearance put him above annual stars like Justin Morneau (.86), Kevin Youkilis (.85), and Carlos Pena (.87). However, as we all discovered, Joey Votto didn’t live up to his potential due to injury (for more on this projection, see last year’s article).
2010’s central difference is the influx of .90 pts/pa first base-eligible batters. Last year, only 7 players satisfied this requirement: Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Miguel Cabrera, Lance Berkman, Mark Teixeira, Prince Fielder, and Votto. This year, however, 13 players surpass this threshold, nearly doubling the list of “effective” first base options.
Joining the seven players from 2009 in this group are Mark Reynolds (.99), Pablo Sandoval (.90), David Ortiz (.90), Adam Dunn (.90), Justin Morneau (.90), and *surprise* Chris Davis (.90).
Of the 13 players projected to average the most points per plate-appearance, I’d absolutely stay away from Chris Davis. Last year he was hyped to an ADP between the 5th and 7th rounds, an atmosphere WAY too high for a rookie… I don’t care how much he looked like Shane Spencer in his initial September call-up. In points-based-leagues, the value at this position is coming by way of Pablo Sandoval, Joey Votto, and Adam Dunn (in leagues that do not penalize strikeouts!). Pujols, Howard, Cabrera, Teixeira, and Fielder will all be gone before round two is complete in most drafts (under-statement of the century) and Berkman’s name, Morneau’s ability, and Mark Reynolds’ 2009 will be the next 1B off the board. At this point, in a standard 12-team league, four teams will be without first basemen, leaving fantasy favorites Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, Kendry Morales, and Carlos Pena available.
My advice? Let them go. Fill in the rest of your roster while the other members of your league fill up on the position. While they grab 1B, fill in your OF or pitching staff. Some will value Votto a bit more than players like Pena and Morales, but unless your peers view Sandoval as a solid 3B option, he should slip into the later rounds. Other than a brief stint on the bench with a sore back in 2009, Sandoval was one of the most reliable 1B options available.
Now comes the bad news: players to avoid based on pts/pa. I think this is the point were everyone stops expecting anything from James Loney (.76/pa). Essentially, the calibration equates him to Lyle Overbay (.75/pa)… aka, he’s useless in a points league. If he’s a singles-hitter, he needs more RBI opportunities, and with Manny Ramirez, Andre Ethier, and Matt Kemp on his team… he’s not going to get many.
The same can be said for Nick Swisher (.82), Russell Branyan (.82), and Michael Cuddyer (.82). Rather than spend mid-round picks on each of these streaky batters, grab a younger potential-laden player like Garrett Jones (.85) in the later rounds… especially due to his multi-position eligibility (OF/1B).
In the end, if you take anything from this 2010 first base projection, let it be that you can wait this year. In 2009, if you didn’t grab an early 1B, you were in a bad place to start the year. In 2010, you can afford to wait. As always, let your opponents make your decisions for you, it’s easier that way.

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Filed under Adam Dunn, Adrian Gonzalez, Bill James, Carlos Pena, Chris Davis, Fantasy Baseball, first base, Garrett Jones, James Loney, Joey Votto, Kevin Youkilis, Mark Reynolds, Pablo Sandoval

>Fantasy Baseball Prep: Castigated Outfielders

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Now that the Bill James-enhanced Fantasy Baseball Prep Chapter has finally come to a close, I’ve been shifting through CBS Sports and Marcel projections over the past few days to really key in on the “popular” choices for breakout players and potential slumping players for the 2009 season.

While I continue working through this, however, I wanted to write a bit about someone who’s name I’ve seen brought up quite a bit on the message boards and who I didn’t really mentioned in my outfield prep post.  Again, it’s worth mentioning that an “average” outfielder has a Fantasy Points / Plate Appearance of 0.81 pts/pa.
The Nationals’ Elijah Dukes had a problem getting opportunities in 2008.  This has to do with a number of issues: first, he has a horrible attitude (best example came against the Mets at mid-season when he felt Mike Pelfrey was throwing at him…), second, he has a problem with consistency, and third, he has enough off-field issues to last multiple seasons.
So why the hype?  Why are owners, in the cold of January, hyping someone who may not even be a regular for the Nationals in 2009?
Bill James: 0.89 pts/pa
CBS Sports: 0.83 pts/pa
Marcel: 0.82 pts/pa

I guess that about sums it up…
While Dukes isn’t head-and-shoulders above average, he has shown the potential to be if given the at-bats.  Two years ago, while working for WFUV as a Yankees’ beat reporter, I bumped into Dukes, then a member of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  Now, I’ve seen some big baseball players, but Dukes is one of the biggest guys on the field.  If talent were determined by the shier size of a player, Dukes would be among the tops in the game.  However, for some reason, he’s yet to “put it all together” (you’ve heard this so many times before… but I truly believe it when it comes to a guy with, seemingly, all the tools, like Dukes).
So, who should you look to rank Dukes ahead of, if given the ABs?
Marcel projects Dukes’ .82 pts/pa ahead of Hunter Pence (.81), Eric Byrnes (.80), Mike Cameron (.79), and Shane Victorino (.79) — most of whom will be drafted in points leagues (especially if strikeouts are of a minimal penalty).
For CBS Sports, Dukes barely edges Vernon Wells (.82), while also placing ahead of Jacoby Ellsbury (.81), Johnny Damon (.81), and Hunter Pence (again).
Bill James provides the most liberal, abstruse projections with Dukes’ .89 pts/pa topping those of Bobby Abreu (.88), Nate McLouth (.87), Curtis Granderson (.86), Magglio Ordonez (.85), and Pat Burrell (.84), just to name a few (of the guys who will DEFINITELY be drafted before Dukes).
When all is said and done, the most you can do (at this point, anyway) is wait and see what happens in Spring Training for the Nats.  As of now, they’re rolling into the season with Lastings Milledge, Wily Mo Pena, Josh Willingham, Austin Kearns, and Dukes… while also being rumored to have interest in free agent Adam Dunn and the Yankees’ Xavier Nady.  Now, I was never adroit to numbers games, but I don’t think you’re going to have very much sucess fitting upwards of 7 major leaguers in 3 outfield spots.
To conclude, there’s a bit too many pieces to this puzzle to derail my circumspect approach to a player like Dukes.  I know a lot of fantasy participants out there love him, and it’s not hard to see why… but until Adam Dunn signs with another team, the Yankees trade Nady to the Mariners/Pirates, Josh Willingham converts back to catcher, and Wily Mo Pena retires… I’m going to remain an innocent bystander even with the risk of being burned by Elijah Dukes.

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Filed under Adam Dunn, Bill James, Bobby Abreu, Curtis Granderson, Ellijah Dukes, Eric Byrnes, Fantasy Baseball, Hunter Pence, Jacoby Ellsbury, Johnny Damon, Magglio Ordonez, MARCEL, Nate McLouth, Pat Burrell