Category Archives: Mark Reynolds

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

>Why Fadds is Such a Ryan Braun & Troy Tulowitzki Hater

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Enough political talk for now, I have a pressing issue for discussion. Tomorrow is my first Fantasy Baseball draft of 2008 and I have a few tidbits for discussion before drafting my team. First, a bit about the league: it is a 20 (yes that’s right 20) team head-to-head points league. Only four teams make the play-offs so it is going to be ridiculously important to get off to a hot start once the season begins. Normally, I would never think of drafting a league this early, but there are other commitments throughout our staff and this was one of the few weekends in March that we could all meet. The team owners are all employees of WFUV-FM’s Sports department, so it should be competitive and intense for the entire season.

The semantics of the league is not reason for this post. There have been a few thoughts bouncing around my head during my draft prep. Looking into my projected first-round player pool, Ryan Braun bothers me. I don’t know if all the fantasy experts were smoking crack when predicting this kid as a .330-40-120 bat in Milwaukee’s line-up, but I just don’t see it. In fact, I could just as easily see a sophomore slump before that line. I mean… .330… seriously? I know he was killing it last year, but let’s give the pitchers and coaches in the NL a little more credit to figure this kid out. Don’t confuse my skepticism with statistical fact, because the Slugging % over the course of Braun’s career shows that he can keep it up (he had a hiccup in 2006, but other than that it was great). I just wouldn’t spend a first round pick on him. In my 20-team league, maybe at the end of the first I would consider it. However, it would be a definite struggle between Braun’s upside and the robotic consistency of guys like Carlos Beltran, Carlos Lee, and Lance Berkman (again, 20-teams… none of those three should be taken in the first round of any 10- or 12-team draft).

A friend asked me if I would consider Troy Tulowitzki as my starting shortstop in this league. My answer, in short, was no. Currently, I have him ranked as a late second round pick in this league. That’s absurd. Unless I get A-Rod with the first overall pick and have to wait until 40th overall, I can’t see taking Tulowitzki in the second round. Other options that I think are more attractive than Tulo in a points league come in later rounds. Carlos Guillen (ranked mid-third rounder) and Rafael Furcal (mid-fifth rounder) provide the opportunity for average and speed respectively. Though Tulowitzki has the potential for 25 home runs in 2008, Guillen is an automatic for average and runs scored in that beastie Detroit line-up. Furcal, allegedly healthy for ’08, will have Joe Torre liberally giving him the green light on the base paths and a fat contract to play for. I know, it’s easy for me to offer these options without saying who I would take in the second round. Personally, if it were a late pick, I would look to take a stud-starting pitcher. Erik Bedard and C.C. Sabathia are ranked as early-third round picks, but you wouldn’t be crazy to jump at either of them in the late second.

Final thought for this installment: Has anyone else noticed how many 3B options there are in ’08? It’s crazy. Obviously, David Wright, Alex Rodriguez, and Miggy Cabrera are at the head of the class, but as far as sleepers go, most of the guys who I’ve been eyeing are third basemen. Before idiotically getting into a car accident last week, Hank Blalock was on my radar. I never bought into his hype in previous years, but I feel like this year he’s valued at just the right position: a late round sleeper / utility player.

If the White Sox would trade Joe Crede already, Josh Fields would be a good option at the hot corner also. As it stands now, both are White Sox, and Fields, as a result, is undervalued. Everyone talk about Ryan Braun, but this kid hit 23 dingers in 200 less at-bats. Also, let’s not forget the deceptive speed on the base paths he showed in the minors. Throw in dual eligibility at 3B and OF and you have yourself a nice little option in the late rounds of any draft. If your draft is coming up soon snatch this guy up and wait for the ChiSox to ship Crede out to the Giants or something…

I was going to initially list Eric Chavez in this list, but… no.

I don’t really dig on the whole Mark Reynolds hype, but many other writers do. If, you’re one of them, please try and convince me, because 130 punch-outs in someone’s rookie season just screams Jose Hernandez, and I don’t want any of that.

Edwin Encarnacion, again, rears his ugly head. Don’t we do through this every year with him? Is 2008 finally going to be the year he busts it out in Cincinnati? I don’t think so, but that’s only because he’s toyed with my emotions one too many tomes before.

Now, here’s one that you may think I am crazy for: Aubrey Huff. Before you “x” out this window let me try and talk my way out of this corner. This will be Huff’s second season in Baltimore and there’s no more Miguel Tejada. That is a good thing. Tejada, according to some, was not exactly the best teammate and left a clean-up spot vacant for Huff to step right in to. Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis will be on the base paths frequently for Huff, who will see more pitches coming from the stretch. Also, what’s so bad about spending you last pick on ol’ Aubrey Huff? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

I’ll come back some analysis of the draft once it’s complete. Anyone who wants results from this league’s draft, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll see what I can do about sending them to you.

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Filed under Aubrey Huff, Fantasy Baseball, Hank Blalock, Josh Fields, Mark Reynolds, Ryan Braun, Troy Tulowitzki, WFUV