Thursday, July 31, 2014

King of the Waiver Wire Hill: 7/31

8) Oscar Taveras

Currently owned in 24% of leagues. His place among trendy player pick-ups is a byproduct of Allen Craig being part of the package the Red Sox got in return for John Lackey.

The advice showing up on him is that he's worth picking him. While I think his future is bright, i'm just not sure it's here yet. He did struggle after his initial call-up in June. While some of this is BABIP related (.235), that still brings only brings his average up to .266, with a current 4.0% walk rate that would bring his projected OBP to a paltry .306.

Beyond that, i'm not sure if he brings much power to the table (i'm thinking maybe 10 over the course of a full season) and he doesn't bring anything in regards to speed. For keeper leagues, he may be worth a look since he's still only 21 but for immediate short-term returns, not so much

7) Jedd Gyorko

Currently owned in 37% of leagues. He had himself a really good day against the Cardinals yesterday (3-5 2 R, HR, 4 RBI...thank you) bringing his batting average up to .181. Gyorko has been horribly unlucky in the BABIP department this year (.213) and this could be the start of a recovery from what has been thus far a horrible season.

My projection has his batting average at .255 and the capability to hit 20+ homers over the course of a full season.

6) Denard Span

Currently owned in 40% of leagues. Span had himself a nice day against the Marlins as he stole two bases and scored two runs in yesterday's 4-3 win. While he's never going to be a massive power force, my latest projection shows him able to score 92 runs and steal 26 bases over a full season (650 plate appearances).

5) Yangervis Solarte

Currently owned in 20% of leagues. Solarte had another big day against the Cardinals 4-5 R, 2 RBI (thank you again!!!!!) as the Padres had a nice 12-1 beat down over the Cardinals. The most recent projection has him hitting .286 with a like chance of 15-20 homers per year.

Now for a side tangent. Yesterday, Heather dressed up Zeplen in a Brewers outfit and in my hadn't had my morning cup of coffee haze made a comment on how maybe this would help the Brewers snap their three game losing streak (which they did by beating Tampa Bay 5-0). In addition, the Pirates ending up losing (contributing factor being one of the worst base-running blunders you will ever see on a major league field). To top it all off, the Padres sweetened the deal by absolutely dominating the Cardinals.

4) Allen Craig

Currently owned in 74% of leagues. Allen Craig's value is in flux right now as he is also one of the most dropped players today. Despite being one of the most added players, he has seen his ownership rate decrease by 3%.

First of all, i'm glad that Craig is now in the American League as he always seemed to feast on Brewers pitching. That being said, this was a good buy-low option for the Red Sox. His BABIP this year (.281) is well below career totals and I could see his average hit the high .270s and hit 18-20 homers.

3) J.P. Arencibia

His ownership rate is up to a whopping 4%. He ended up going 0 for 3 yesterday and the numbers contributed him to being unable to defend his title at the top of Waiver Wire hill. While his home run total (over a full season) projects to 30+ homers (32), his projected batting average has moved down to .234.

2) Lucas Duda

Currently owned in 56% of leagues. In this countdown, he seems to be in the 1990s Buffalo Bills role, finishing in second place for the second consecutive day. You can't blame this on lack of recent performance as he homered and drove in three yesterday and has five homers in his last 8 games. Today's projection has him hitting .265/26 HR/94 RBI over 650 plate appearances.

And the King of Waiver Wire Hill Today Is:

1) Matt Kemp

This is probably not fair since he is owned in 92% of leagues, but this total is still 2% higher than it was yesterday and he still has somehow been one of the most added hitters in Fantasy today.

The most likely scenario is someone having him on the bench instead of starting versus him being available in most leagues. Anyway's his bat is sort of on fire right now (three home runs over the last two games) and showing no signs of cooling down. His full-season projection is .279/22 HR/84 RBI/17 SB/82 R, a far cry from his near-MVP performance in 2011 but still not bad.

All research for this posting done on and Yahoo! Fantasy

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

King Of The Waiver Wire Hill: 7/30

Trying (yet) another new thing. I looked at the most picked up hitters in Yahoo! fantasy this morning and pitted the top eight against each other to project which one has the most projected value.

8) Conor Gillaspie

Currently owned in 19% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues with a 1% uptick over yesterday. He has 10 hits over the last five games which has raised his batting average up to .327. His strong batting average to date has been driven by a .373 BABIP which does not seem to show any indication of slowing down soon (though it is bound to sooner rather than later.

While I think he's capable of at least running into some more home runs, once the BABIP comes down to earth, so will his value. Over 650 PA, his line would look something like:

.263/16 HR/63 RBI/0 SB/69 R

7) Emilio Bonifacio

Currently owned in 31% of leagues with a 2% increase from yesterday. He had plenty of opportunity in yesterday's 16-inning marathon game against the Rockies and he took full advantage going 4-7 scoring two runs, driving in 2 runs and even hitting a home run. Since the Cubs are not even close to contention and Bonifacio is not amongst the rising stars on the farm, the news indicates that he could get traded soon. While that may be good for him as he'd get a chance to play for a winner, this could reduce his value as it is possible his playing time could go down depending on where he gets traded to.

His 650 PA projection is:

.278/3 HR/38 RBI/34 SB/79 R

6) Danny Santana

Currently owned in 32% of leagues with a 5% increase from yesterday. The BABIP fueled good times continued as he went 2 for 5 to move his batting average to .318. The player info data in yahoo included the line of "all Santanta does is find ways to contribute offensively" sounds a lot like the description of "he just wins games" mantra that we heard in the middle of Tebow-mania. He's made this last longer than I thought it would. Maybe you gamble to see if he keeps the hot streak going, but this can't last forever.


.239/11 HR/71 RBI/92 R/21 SB

5) Yangervis Solarte

Currently owned in 16% of leagues with a 5% increase from yesterday. Since he moved from the Yankees (awesome hitters park) to Petco Field (the exact opposite of that), it seemed a given that his offensive numbers would take a tumble. Instead, he's hit two homers in the last three games, and scoring 2 of 3 runs in last night's victory over the Cardinals (thank you). Over a full season, I think he would hit:

Also, he could be in for a BABIP related rebound (currently at .269) so it is possible his .257 batting average could move into the .280's.

.287/17 HR/78 RBI/0 SB/70 R

4) Josh Harrison

Currently owned in 56% of leagues, a 12% increase from yesterday. It's safe to say that Josh Harrison is ON FIRE right now. He's homered in three consecutive games which has played a contributing role to helping the Giants in their current free-fall while also making things a bit nerve racking as a Brewers fan (Pirates are currently 1 game out). His projection is:

.275/16 HR/63 RBI/22 SB/79 R

3) Chris Carter

Despite going 0 for 3 last night, Carter saw his ownership rate increase to 40% today.Chris Carter doesn't always come close to hitting the ball, but when he does it goes a long, long way. His batting average is always going to be terrible, but at .212 is more terrible than I think it will be going forward due to his BABIP. Going, forward I think he's closer to a .240 hitter with the potential to hit 35-40 homers depending on playing time. His 650 PA projection is as follows:

.241/37 HR/95 RBI/79 R/2 SB

2) Lucas Duda

Currently owned in 53% of leagues with a 13% increase over yesterday. His bat has been scorching hot over the last week (especially last weekend against the Brewers where his bat was the difference between a series split and the Mets getting swept). I've been a proponent of Duda's value for awhile and everyone else seems to be catching on. He appears to have successfully overcome the fact that he plays on the Mets to become a very good player. His projected 650 PA line is as follows:

.264/25 HR/92 RBI/4 SB/75 RBI

Today's (very surprising) waiver wire king of the hill is:

1) J.P. Arencibia

Currently, owned in 3% of leagues, a 1% increase over yesterday. It is safe to say that Arencibia had a very successful day yesterday as he hit 2 home runs and drove in seven runs yesterday.

Considering that his value going into today was so low and the fact that he was in the majors to begin with had more to do with the reality that pretty much everything has gone wrong for the Rangers this year versus something resembling a track record of success (55 wRC+ in 497 plate apperances for Toronto last year).

While he is an albatross on the batting average side, he's not the .183 hitter currently reflected in his stats. He has a .186 BABIP compared to his career BABIP of .245. Adjusting for this, he's closer to a .241 hitter.

He has hit home runs at a decent clip this year (6 in 112 plate appearances) and this appears to be reflective of his home-run hitting ability (15.4% HR/FB rate this year versus 15.2% of in his career).

Based on what he has done in the past, he appears to be more than capable of hitting over 30 home runs over a full season and the number of runs he's driven per at bat both this year and in his career indicate that in the right context/structure/luck, etc. he could drive in north of 100 runs per year.

However, Arencibia's skill set while useful to Fantasy players does not transfer itself well to being a full-time starter. He's drawn walks in a measly 3.6% of his plate appearances. While his .241 batting average would be tolerable to teams if he was more selective at the plate, this projection would also give him a cringe-worthy OBP of .277. Paired with some sub-par defense, he's probably not going to be a full-time starter ever.

With that being said, if you do need extra power (and can stomach a .241 batting average), Arencibia could give you a power boost as he gets regular playing time due to the Rangers injury epidemic.

Will Arencibia defend his crown next time? You'll have to tune in to find out.

All information referenced found on either or Yahoo Fantasy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Third Base Rankings: 7/29

Top 20 Rankings for Third Base For 7/29/14

1-Adrian Beltre
2-Josh Donaldson
3-Anthony Rendon
4-Todd Frazier
5-Kyle Seager
6-Aramis Ramirez

7-Mike Moustakas

Currently owned in 18% of leagues. He's disappointed year after year but this year seems to be the mis-fortune of bad luck versus being disappointing. He has shown underlying signs of improvement as his walk rate has gone from 6% to 8% but his BABIP is at .189 (career total is .260). When adjusting for this his batting average is .268 (.236 for his career).

While he has gotten fortunate on the home run front as his HR/FB ratio is higher than usual, he still is a decent bet to push at least 20 home runs. The 650 plate appearance projection for him is as follows:

.268/19 HR/93 RBI/75 R/2 SB

Bottom line, is that he is a sneaky good, buy-low candidate.

Verdict: Buy, that .189 BABIP is gonna improve sooner rather than later.

8-Matt Carpenter
9-Evan Longoria
10-David Wright
11-Lonnie Chisenhall
12-Josh Harrison

*Ryan Zimmerman would be right below Harrison if he wasn't injured

13-Nolan Arenado
14-Pablo Sandoval
15-Pedro Alvarez
16-Juan Francisco
17-Casey McGehee

* Brett Lawrie would be right below McGehee if he wasn't injured

18-Martin Prado
19-Mark Reynolds
20-Chris Johnson

Some other third basemen that are available in less than 50% of leagues:

Brock Holt (48%)

Rank: 36

While Holt is still hitting above .300, his performance appears to finally be regressing towards sub-standard levels. He is 1 for his last 19 and it appears that his ownership stock has plateaued (he's seen his rate decrease by 5% since Yesterday).

I wasn't high on him when he was actually hitting well and i'm definitely not high on him as there are clues that his .373 BABIP is coming back down to earth.

Over a full season, i think he'd do the following:

.245/8 HR/44 RBI/11 SB/70 R

Maybe double-digit steals, definite single digit home runs, a sub .250 batting average. I'm assuming that the Red Sox are likely to stock their roster in the off-season and find someone better to take the at bats that Holt has gotten fortunate with this year.

Verdict: And the Regression Starts Now

Jedd Gyorko (33%)

Rank: 31

Gyorko, he has to be like the most unluckiest hitter in the universe (.196 BABIP). Over a full season (650 PA). With that being said even adjusting for this will provide for some home runs but still an overall mediocre value at third base

.251/21 HR/73 RBI/4SB/51 R

Verdict: Sell

David Freese (21%)

Rank: 23

A lot of people were hoping that a change of scenery would help David Freese have a bounce back season. After taking a look, this is about as good as it's going to get. His BABIP while high (.333) is lower than his career totals and his HR/FB ratio is slightly lower than career norms. The only thing keeping his ranking as high as it is are decent run & rbi totals from being on the Angels. His numbers projected over 650 PA are as follows:

.254/15 HR/77 RBI/2 SB/73 R

Verdict: Sell

Research for this article done on and Yahoo Fantasy

Monday, July 28, 2014

Outfielder Rankings: 7/28

So i'm going to experiment with this by reviewing things on a position by position level, ranking the top 20 players and then highlighting some players that are very available (defined as less than 50% ownership inYahoo! leagues. The top 20 list for outfielders is as follows. For context, 129 players were in this section of outfield rankings

1-Mike Trout
2-Nelson Cruz
3-Ryan Braun
4-Michael Brantley
5-Andrew McCutchen
6-Giancarlo Stanton
7-Jose Bautista
8-Carlos Gomez
9-Adam Jones
10-Brandon Moss
11-Torii Hunter
12-Billy Hamilton
13-Melky Cabrera
14-Yoenis Cespedes
15-Hunter Pence
16-Justin Upton
17-Jacoby Ellsbury
18-Jayson Werth
19-Charlie Blackmon
20-Matt Holliday

Some players of interest that are likely available (owned in less than 50 % of Yahoo! Leagues)

Domonic Brown (38%)

Score (with 100 being #1 ranking) 49
Ranking: 67 (out of 129)

Last year, Brown at least provided some power as he did hit 27 home runs. 2014 has been a different case as he has struggled (then again who hasn't on the Phillies). Granted, he has had some bad luck (.266 BABIP versus .275 career) and a 8% HR/FB rate (versus 13.3% career) but even with those two pieces factored in, there's just not that much there. Over a full-season (650 plate appearances) my projection is that he would hit 21 home runs but that would come with a .239 batting average. With about 90 starting outfield slots available in the bigs, he's barely cutting it as a starter in real life (and probably only there due to the quality of the team he is playing on) let alone anyone's fantasy team.

Verdict: Pass

Denard Span (35%)

Score: 54
Ranking: 46

While Span does have a slightly lower ownership rate, I think that he is a slightly better option (though still very borderline for an outfielder). The good aspects are that he will steal you some bases and score some runs (even if the Nationals offense can be a bit cold), the negative is that if you need power, he's not your guy. Over a full season I could see the following line

.288/ 5 HR/ 38 RBI 24 SB 88 R

Verdict: Buy (If you need some stolen bases but are okay on power numbers)

Emilio Bonifacio (30%)

Score: 44
Rank: 85

Prior to yesterday's 0-4 performance against the Cardinals, Bonifacio was ona nice five game hitting streak. With that being said, his value is extremely limited as he can help you with stolen bases but is likely to give you nominal contributions in the other four categories.

Verdict: Pass

Danny Santana (29%)

Score: 40
Rank: 91

His ownership rates continue to creep up (+2% since yesterday) as he has hits in six of his last seven games. As long as he gets picked up, it also warrants to keep pointing out that he is being fueled by a .394 BABIP. Bottom line, don't be surprised when he starts struggling either later this year or next year. My projection for him over 650 PA is:

.240/11 HR/64 RBI/76 R/22 SB

There are some stolen bases in play, maybe the occasional home run but once his BABIP regresses back to normal he may struggle to even get in the lineup every day.

Verdict: Pass

Josh Reddick (24%)

Score: 42
Rank: 88

Even with Reddick struggling this year, I did sort of expect his ranking to be a bit higher. His HR/FB ratio has been lower than his career totals which would put his expected home runs this year at 7 instead of 5. Even at a .245 batting average, one red flag I see is that his BABIP .291 is actually higher than his career total of .273.

Over a full season, his expected line would be

.240/21 HR/76 RBI/6 SB/78 R

Basically, the AL equivalent to Domonic Brown. He may give you 20 home runs if things break right but getting him to provide anything else may be a bit much to ask for.

Verdict: Pass

All research for this article done on and Yahoo! Fantasy

Friday, July 25, 2014

Totally Wired: 7/25


Dioner Navarro

Rank: 247
Score: 42.3

Currently owned in 14% of Yahoo! leagues. He appears to be on track to get more than 400 plate appearances in a season for the first time since 2009. While he is more than capable of reaching double-figures in home runs, there's not that much beyond that. He does get a small rbi boost from being on a Toronto team that scores lots of runs but he may hurt a bit on the batting average side (.253) going forward.

Verdict: Pass

First Base:

Ben Paulsen

Rank: 176
Score: 50.4

Paulsen was called up at the beginning of this week to fill in for Justin Morneau while he is on the disabled list. Even with a small uptick in ownership this morning, he is still at a whopping 0%.

So far, he has done good for himself going 5 for 11 and driving in a couple of runs. Since the work i've done is based on having larger samples of MLB data, this is one of my first forays of using minor league totals to predict future performance. I took his performance in AAA in 2014 and pro-rated it to 650 plate appearances. I also adjusted his batting average from his .358 BABIP in the minors to an area that is assumed to have an average BABIP of .320. From there, I took all categories (except for stolen bases) and reduced these totals by 15% to account for an increase in difficulty which gave me the following projection over a full season:

.221/ 68 R/ 20 HR/ 79 RBI/5 SB

Given that he also has the benefit of playing at Coors Field, I think best case scenario is of him as a one category contributor in home runs but the projected batting average at this point is too low to give him a serious look.

Verdict: Pass

Second Base:

Jed Lowrie

Rank: 128
Score: 55.5

On the surface, Lowrie has had a disappointing 2014 season. Looking at the numbers deeper, he's closer to a good buy-low candidate in the 46% of leagues where he his available. Where there's the .243 average on the surface, I see a slightly below normal BABIP that adjusts my prediction going forward to a better (though not great .263 average). Where the surface stats show only five homers which is somewhat below historical norms, I see that this is being pulled back by a 3.5% HR/FB Ratio (career total is 6.6%).

Over a full season, I could see him hitting .263 with 20 Homers. Playing on a solid Oakland team also helps out his value somewhat as he also projects to 84 Runs & 71 RBI over a full season and the option to plug him in either at second or shortstop.

Verdict: Buy

Third Base:

Juan Francisco

Rank: 119
Score: 56.7

Francisco had a huge game yesterday and it's possible he could be embarking on another hot streak. While i'm unsure whether he would ever play full time over a full season due to his streakiness as a hitter and his atrocious "defense" it would be interesting to see how it would turn out.

This year he is striking out more than ever (38.6% of the time) but has shown a modest increase in walking (8.3% to 8.7%). Over the course of a full season, the Zeplen Dean system projects him to hit about .240 while hitting 29 home runs.

The home runs are nice but the question you got to ask yourself is how much of a hit can you absorb on the batting average front. He may be worth picking up speculatively to see if his bat will still hot over the next few weeks but i'm not sure if he's a long term solution.

Verdict: Buy for the Short Term


Derek Jeter

Rank: 119
Score: 57

One of the last chances I may have to discuss how over-rated Derek Jeter is. While his defense always has and always will be over-rated, I think there's a good chance that his offense numbers will be relatively strong the rest of the year. His BABIP is below career ranges and it is possible he could hit .300 going forward while showing a modest increase in power (his HR/FB rate this year is well below career norms). Even without pitchers lobbing fastballs over the middle of the plate, he may be a good addition as he closes out his career....well unless they start counting defensive stats in fantasy.

Verdict: Buy (Reluctantly saying this)


Seth Smith

Rank: 160
Score: 51.8

Seth Smith has been the beneficiary of strong BABIP fortune this year which is starting to move back to normal totals. While the Padres missed the opportunity to sell him at the highest possible value, i'm not sure how much he has for fantasy. There's always going to be the risk of less plate appearances as he basically only hits rightys and while he has modest power, anything over 15 in a given year may be a bit much to ask.

Verdict: Sell

Adam Eaton

Rank: 278
Score 38.3

Batting average that is inflated by BABIP? Check. Single-digit home run power? Check. Promise of strong stolen base totals but likely to not get past 20 per year? Check. Going to look elsewhere for an extra outfielder? Check

Verdict: Sell

Khris Davis

Rank: 59
Score: 65.5

Davis launched a home run last night against the Mets. Since he is another player that tends to hit home runs in bunches, he's likely worth picking up at least in the short term. His batting average is in the low .250s for better or worse. This season, he has shown that his power is for real as he's already at 17 home runs. In his career, he's had a 20% HR/FB ratio (16.7% this year). Since he only has 484 career plate appearances, I tried to adjust for a 10% HR/FB ratio which somewhat reduces his ranking but if your in one of the 32% of leagues where he is available, he is definitely a good upgrade.

Verdict: Buy

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Totally Wired: Around the Lineup 7/24

A quick look at some players and whether they are worth a shot:


John Jaso:

Rank: 207
Score: 46.8

Jaso has been red hot over the last few days with six hits and four rbi over the last threee games. I think he's worth a play short term (currently owned in 17% of leagues) as the A's have one more game against the Astros, a series with the Rangers then another one with the Astors.

For a long term play, it is a bit more debatable. Currently his average is doing nicely at .289 but he also has a .337 BABIP (compared to .295 career total) projecting himself out to a hitter in the .250-.255 range. Also, the power numbers this year are higher than his baseline as he has a 9.9% HR/FB Ratio (Compared to 7.6% for his career). After adjusting for this, his projected line over a full season is something like:

.254/ 71R/ 12 HR/ 65 RBI/ 5 SB

Verdict: Short-term buy due to weak schedule but not recommended long term

First Base:

Lonnie Chisenhall

Rank: 175
Score: 50.5

At this point he's a player that people are changing their minds on one way or another. While primarily a third basemen he has been one of the most picked up (and most dropped first basemen today).

He is definitely in a cold snap as he has one hit over the last four games. It appears this is the start of his numbers regressing back to normal after a very strong first half. His projected numbers over a full season are as follows:

.266/ 67 R/ 21 HR/ 66 RBI/ 4 SB

While he's not a .300 hitter he's not going to be an albatross in this category either. While his BABIP numbers have been over the norm his HR/FB rate this year (10.1%) is actually smaller than his career total (10.9%). While he's not going to provide much speed, he is capable of hitting 20 homers per year.

Vedict: Sell (First Base), Buy (Third Base)

Second Base:

Danny Santana

Rank: 274
Score: 39

Yes, I realize Santana has a nice .325 batting average, is eligible in two positions (second base & shortstop) where options are limited and even steals bases on the side.

What I also realize that his BABIP is at .407 which ain't going to stick around forever and he has single figure home run power. Under the assumption that his base-line babip is at .300. That moves his average to a whopping .230 while still leaving single digit home run power (is it worth the stolen bases at that point?). I say no.

Verdict: Go in the opposite direction, then run

Third Base:

Josh Harrison

Rank: 184
Score: 49.3

Harrison had a big Wednesday getting two hits & two rbi's in a key win over the Dodgers. He's also appeared to sort of be in the right place and the right time to get big game-winning moments.

He's also been more lucky than good in some respects and would expect him to regress at some point. His current average (.291) is projected to be .262 going forward. The only upside is that he does provide stolen bases (22) but otherwise nothing stands out that he is a must aquire.

Verdict: Sell


Erick Aybar

Rank: 84
Score: 61.7

Not exactly a sleeper with 73% Yahoo! ownership but he has been added to 785 teams today (as of 12:12 PM PST).

What he lacks in power (7 home runs projected), he makes up in the other categories. He's projected to have a decent average (.290), and lucky enough to play on a strong Angels team which will lead him to be an asset in runs & rbis while also providing about 20 steals. If your in one of the 27% of leagues where he is available, go ahead and get him.

Verdict: Buy


Denard Span

Rank: 137
Score: 54.4

Whether to pick him up or not depends on your particular needs. I see him as a two category contributor (Runs & Stolen Bases) while having an okay impact on batting average (.278). However, if your looking for power, its better to look elsewhere. Granted he's going to do better than 1 home run per 379 plate appearances ( he has a 1% HR/FB rate versus 3.8% for his career) but he's not a contributor here.

Verdict: Buy (Runs, Stolen Bases), Sell (Home Runs)

Corey Dickerson

Rank: 161
Score: 51.4

Yes, Dickerson has had a nice season so far but I currently think his value is over-rated. That shiny, .336 batting average was brought to you by a BABIP of .399. That number's likely to go down to the .250's going forward. That power he's displayed? Yes, he's going to have an advantage as long as he's with the Rockies of getting the Coors Field effect, he's also had the benefit of a very high 20% HR/FB rate.

Verdict: Pass

Christian Yelich

Rank: 221
Score: 47.7

After looking at the numbers closer, i'm taking more of a conservative approach on Yelich. He has shown hints of being one of those players able to maintain a high BABIP over the longterm (.380 in 2013 & .348 this year) but we still have less than 1000 PA sample size. If he turns out to be one of those players thats always able to maintain a high BABIP, his average should stay in the .280 range, if not its closer to .243.

The same goes for his power. He's had a HR/FB rate over 16% his first two years. If this holds great, if it regresses to around 10%, he could project to single digit home run power. If both of these regressions apply, he's someone to pass on.

With this ranking, I do run the risk of being totally wrong, looking like an idiot and regretting giving this low of a ranking. However, i'd like to see a larger sample size with the above trends before looking elsewhere.

Verdict: Sell (with higher than usual risk of being very, very, wrong)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Quick Hits: Who's worth the Pick Up, Who is Not

Not enough time to go around the lineup, gonna try to get to as many players as possible.

Josh Rutledge:

Score: 51.9
Rank: 160

This week's Zeplen Dean Rankings now have 302 players as he was not originally on (133 plate appearances so far this season).

The positives on Rutledge are that he's going good at the moment (hits in four consecutive games), he can be plugged in at three different positions (Second Base, Third Base & Shortstop). Also, having a player that plays half of his games at Coors Field never hurts.

The downside is that while he has a .298 batting average, this number is distorted by a .384 BABIP. When this gets adjusted for (in comparison to a .310 career BABIP), his average gets adjusted down to .241. Also, he's never had more than 314 plate appearances in a season so even getting regular playing time isn't necessarily a guarantee.

Even with him being the second most picked up batter today on Yahoo (as of 12:30 PM PST), his ownership rate is still at 6% and I wouldn't recommend contributing to this total.

Verdict: Sell

Neil Walker:

Score: 66.9
Rank: 55

Granted, he's not exactly a well kept secret (70% ownership) but this is still a 4% increase over Yesterday. If you are in one of the 30% of leagues where Walker is somehow available, get him now.

Currently, he is on a six game hitting streak during which time he has thrown in 3 home runs and 7 rbi. Over 650 plate appearances, the Zeplen Dean System Projects:

.296/79 R/22 HR/83 RBI/4 SB

Walker has been one of those players who has been quietly consistent and this year added a subtle yet notable uptick in power. Considering this and him being at Second Base, he is definitely an upgrade to any roster.

Verdict: Buy

Jimmy Rollins:

Score: 57.3
Rank: 118

He may not be getting any younger (35 years old) but he's still putting up double figure home run & stolen base numbers (even if the batting average has been lackluster so far.

This is another player with a high ownership rate (79%) yet has still found a way to add momentum after going deep against the Giants last night (he's seen a 4% increase so far today).

His projection over 650 plate appearances is:

.251/ 80 R/18 HR/ 64 RBI/28 SB

If your in one of the 21% leagues where he is available I would go get him asap.

Verdict: Buy

Research for this posting done on Yahoo! &

7/23/14 Zeplen Dean Rankings

I've gone through and done the most recent Zeplen Dean Rankings for batters. Data for this is through yesterday's games (7/22/14).

One tweak I made was to have the Zeplen Dean Score be adjusted to 100 for the #1 player.

For example, the score (if done by prior standards last week) was 83.3 for the #1 player on the list (Mike Trout). I got this by adding projected runs, home runs, rbi & stolen bases and multiplied this by their projected batting average. The line in this example is as follows:

.312/108 R/33 HR/103 RBI/24 SB

I then took 1.20048 (100 divided by 83.3) and used this to multiply everyone else's scores.

The criteria to get on this list is at least 160 plate appearances in 2014 which currently gives us 301 players.

The Current Top 10 List Is As Follows:

1-Mike Trout
2-Jose Abreu
3-Miguel Cabrera
4-Ryan Braun
5-Victor Martinez
6-Nelson Cruz
7-Torii Hunter
8-David Ortiz
9-Billy Hamilton
10-Carlos Gonzalez

Note: Troy Tulowitzki & Edwin Encarnacion would be on the top 10 list if they were not currently on the disabled list.

The Bottom 10 List is as Follows:

292-Ed Lucas
293-Luis Valbuena
294-Andrew Romine
295-Tyler Flowers
296-Nick Punto
297-A.J. Ellis
298-Ruben Tejada
299-Adeiny Hechavarria
300-Stefen Romero
301-Jose Molina

The average Zeplen Dean Score in this sample is 54.7, a score that currently belongs to Justin Ruggiano. The projected line that got him this ranking is as follows:

.249/77 R/19 HR/75 RBI/13 SB

Replacement level (120th place in a 12 team fantasy league with 10 active offense spots is 57.0 and belongs to Lorenzo Cain. Since he's injury prone and does not get consistent playing time, this may not be the best example but his projected line is as follows:

.267/68 R/8 HR/77 RBI/25 SB

Other Zeplen Dean Score Thresholds are as follows:


Players Above this Mark: 5
Player Closest to this Total Without Going Below: Ryan Braun
Projected Line: .305/97 R/ 28 HR/ 107 RBI/ 20 SB


Players at or above this total: 15
Player Exactly at this total: Albert Pujols
Projected Line: .292/90 R/31 HR/99 RBI/7 SB


Players at or above this total: 39
Player at this total: Jose Bautista
Projected Line: .249/ 99 R/34 HR/94 RBI/ 7 SB


Players at or above this total: 94
Player at this total: Curtis Granderson
Projected Line: .238/89 R/28 HR/ 79 RBI/14 SB


Players at or above this total: 179
Player closest to this total (50.1) without being below: Rickie Weeks
Projected Line: .238/ 84 R/16 HR/ 63 RBI/ 12 SB


Players at or above this total: 266
Player closest to this total without being below (40.3) Andrleton Simmons
Projected Line: .249/61 R/11 HR/57 RBI/ 5 SB


Players at or above this total: 297
Player closest to this total without being below (30.7) Ruben Tejada
Projected Line: .238/57 R/ 3 HR/ 44 RBI/ 4 SB

Players at or above this total: Everyone
Player closest to this total without being below (and leading candidate in the Yuni award for worst offensive player in the MLB: Jose Molina (22.4)

If he somehow got 650 plate appearances his line would look like this:

.219/31 R/ 5 HR/ 40 RBI/ 9 SB

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Totally Wired: Around the Lineup 7/22

Today's look at some players that appear to be popular adds in Fantasy Baseball today.


Yan Gomes

Rank: 114
Score: 48.1

He is owned in 71% of leagues so it's not that he's that big of a secret (so far he's up 3% from yesterday in ownership). If he continues to hit the way he has lately, this number should continue to go up.

If you are in one of the 29% of leagues where he is not available, you may need to swoop in and pick him up. The Zeplen Dean system projects a .268 average and 24 homers over the course of a full season at a position where it is tough to get power production.

Verdict: Buy

First Base:

Mike Napoli

Rank: 147
Score 44.2

Another player that isn't exactly that big of a secret (73% ownership) but is the most picked up first basemen today (amongst players that weren't covered Yesterday of Friday).

Napoli appears to be starting to heat up as he homered in last nights win over Toronto and has an OPS above .900 over his last four games. It looks like he's on the cusp of going on a tear over the last couple weeks. Assuming he stays healthy, his projected home run total would be 26 for the year. One thing to keep an eye on after he cools down is that the batting average could take a BABIP course-corrected hit. towards .240ish. Even with that being said, he is a trusted source to provide strong home run totals.

Verdict: Buy

Second Base:

Scooter Gennett

Rank: 51
Score 56.6

Unlike Gomes & Napoli, Gennett isn't as known of an entity amongst fantasy players (41% ownership).

When he came up late last year, he did provide an initial boost in Brewer game watch ability as routine ground balls were less anxiety inducing (as it can be with Rickie Weeks sometimes). Then he ended up having a good stretch towards the end of the season.

Coming into this year, there appeared to be a likelihood of some regression (his 2013 performance included a .380 BABIP). While the BABIP went down (still at a .339 though) there is enough indication that Gennett could end up being an above average second baseman. He's on track to accumulate double-digit home runs and possibly the same for stolen bases. Also, his batting average has stayed above .300 and shown underlying encouraging signs as he's improved his Walk Rate while decreasing is K-Rate in 2014.

Verdict: Buy

Third Base:

Casey McGehee

Rank: 205
Score: 39

Another player that i'm familiar with due to his time with the Brewers. During his time in Milwaukee, he had a couple of really solid seasons and proved to be a solid under the radar move made by Doug Melvin.

After struggling for a couple of seasons and a strong season in Japan, McGehee has found himself back in the majors with the Marlins and has enjoyed some success. The fan in me is happy for McGehee, the what do the numbers say side of me is more pessimistic due to an inflated BABIP which indicates his average would be closer to .253 controlling for this and his new found decrease in power which projects out to single-digit home run totals

Verdict: Sell


Stephen Drew:

Rank: 231
Score: 35.9

Another Red Sox player that has been getting picked up today (due to contributions to last night's thrashing of the Blue Jays). Even with that, he's only owned in 4% of leagues and has an unsightly .175 batting average.

As he's only at 114 plate appearances, he didn't end up on the initial rankings for this week. I did some quick math to project the following.

.241/67 R, 16 HR, 60 RBI, 6 SB

The positives are that part of his issues are related to a extremely low BABIP and he still projects out to hit about 16 home runs. The negative part is that even adjusting for this his batting average projection still comes in at .241 which brings his overall score well below what is freely available on the waiver wire.

Verdict: Sell


Kole Calhoun

Rank: 57
Score 57.4

Another player that may not be a secret (72%) but is still getting momentum in getting picked up. Granted, there are areas that have caused him to over-acheive (BABIP, 15% HR/FB Ratio). But even after factoring out for these elements, he still has a solid projected line over 650 plate appearances.

.282/106 R, 17 HR, 73 RBI, 8 SB

Granted, some of this is helped by playing on one of the stronger teams in baseball but either way he's definitely worth adding if your in one of the 28% of leagues where he is still available.

Verdict: Buy

Lucas Duda

Rank: 109
Score: 48.7

Duda currently has a five game hitting streak going and is currently available in 27% of leagues. Even playing on a bad Mets team in a stadium that is not friendly to power he has already cranked 14 home runs this year. While his batting average is about what your going to get (.258) he still projects to a healthy 26 home runs over a full season. Based on ownership rate versus projection production, Duda is a very solid under the radar pick.

Verdict: Buy

Marlon Byrd

Rank: 111
Score: 48.7

Currently owned in 69% of leagues but that number could continue going up as he's gotten multiple hits in the last three games.

It is interesting to see that the ownership rates are very different for both him and Lucas Duda even though their Zeplen Dean Scores are identical. While Byrd projects out to a better batting average (.268 to .258), he has minor dis-advantages at home runs (26 to 24) & RBI (90 to 76). If both Duda & Byrd are available in your league I would pick up Duda. But if your in one of the few leagues where Byrd is available and Duda is taken, Marlon  Byrd is definitely worth a look.

Verdict: Buy


Chase Headley:

Rank: 55.3
Score: 58

I started working on the third base section and had this completed this morning before news broke of Chase Headley being traded to the Yankees. Since he is the most picked up offensive player in Yahoo today by a long shot (as of 12:33 PM PST). I felt the need to discuss his prospects.

In the latest Zeplen Dean ranking, he had a ranking of 166 and a score of 42.4 based on the following line

.266/65 R/16 HR/68 RBI/12 SB

His batting average has been down due to BABIP issues this year and was already projected to come in at .266. While the Yankees are not an offensive juggernaut their offense has been much stronger than the Padres (3.98 RPG versus 2.96). Assuming Runs Scored & RBI increases correlate with the improved quality of offense that increases Runs to 87 and RBI to 91. The multi-year park factor for Yankee Stadium is 101 versus 92 for Petco Park. Adjusting for this his projected home run total goes to 18 for the following line.

.266/87 R/18 HR/91 RBI/12 SB

This gives him a modified Zeplen Dean Score of 55.3 which moves his ranking from 166 to 58. Whether Headley helps give the Yankees enough momentum to make a playoff run is highly debatable but being traded to a team that at least somewhat of a clue offensively should give a major boost to his fantasy value.

Verdict: Buy

All research, numbers, etc. referenced above found on either, or Yahoo!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Waiver Wired: Around the Lineup 7/21

A quick look at some players that are trendy waiver wire acquisitions today and whether or not they are worth a look:


Stephen Vogt

Current Rank: 117
Current Score: 47.8

Vogt's strong season continues as he had 3 hits in Sunday's win over Baltimore. Vogt is currently raking at a .364 average. (fueled by a .386 BABIP). Even after regression, he's still a solid bet at batting average .283. He wasn't in this weeks rankings as he only has 126 plate appearances this year. Looking at the data, I think he would project out to the following over a full season.

.283 63R, 19 HR, 83 RBI, 4 SB

This projects out to a score of 47.8 which would rank him 117. While Vogt keeping his average at .364 is extremely unlikely, even after pulling the BABIP covers, there is a player with enough value at the Catcher position to justify picking up.

Verdict: Buy

First Base:

Brock Holt

Current Rank:  209
Current Score: 38.3

Also available/eligible at third base & outfield. The majority of his value so far has been at batting average (which is being help up by a .392 BABIP). While the BABIP is making his numbers look better (like Vogt), unlike Vogt i'm not sure there is enough value when this area holds off.

Assuming his skill set includes a BABIP of around .300, his actual future average would be divided by 1.3, which gives us an average of .250 with single digit home runs and maybe double figures in steals.

Verdict: Sell

Kolten Wong

Current Rank: 59
Current Score: 55.1

While the home run power has cooled off, his bat has not as he had a very strong weekend series against the Dodgers. Even though this hot streak has moved his average up (at .251 after this weekend), this number is still artificially being held back due to a still below average BABIP.

Going forward, I think he can provide a batting average around .287, possible double digit home runs power and possibly 35-40 steals. Yet, he's only owned in 38% of leagues in Yahoo, better get him while you can.

Verdict: Buy

Third Base:

Chris Coghlan

Current Rank: 169
Current Score: 42.1

Another player who thus far has followed up a strong end of the first-half with a solid showing in the second half of the season as he got a couple of hits in Sunday's lost to Arizona. If given the chance to play full time for a year, I could see him breaking into double digits for homers and steals but he projects closer to a .255 hitter (versus his current .278 average).

Verdict: Sell


J.J Hardy

Current Rank: 253
Current Score: 34.2

If Baltimore is going to hold onto first place, they will need to get more power contributions from Hardy in the second half (like they got on Saturday against Oakland.

Even though his power was non-existent in the first-half, he was lucky in getting hits as his BABIP (.330) is significantly higher than his career total (.277). Even though I like Hardy as a player (I even have his bobble head doll) i'm not sold on the average staying up (i'm thinking this is closer to .236 going forward).

The question is whether he can return to the 25-30 homer/season form he has shown in the past. So far this year his HR/FB rate has been 3.6% (compared to his 10.9% career total).

While adjusting for this helps his home run projection a little bit (taking it from 13 to 19), he still ranks very lowly on the Zeplen Dean system. He could be of use if you really, really need the power but his 2014 BABIP compared to his career BABIP indicates that he could hurt owners in the batting average category.

Verdict: Sell


Carlos Beltran:

Current Rank: 84
Current Score: 51

Beltran's value is down due to injuries, age and a .228 BABIP which has dragged his average down to .222 and made this season's performance look worse than it actually is.

He did break into double figures for home runs the other day. Despite being a brand-name player and playing the Yankees, the issues in the aforementioned paragraph have his ownership rate at 62%. If he's still available ( and stays healthy) he could be a valuable upgrade for fantasy owners in the second half.

If his BABIP returns to normal levels for him, I could see the batting average come in at .288. Over the course of a full (healthy) season, I think he's still capable of hitting 25 homers per year.

Verdict: Buy

Austin Jackson:

Current Rank: 133
Current Score: 45.5

Jackson had a strong weekend, getting six hits in the Tigers series against the Indians. While his BABIP this year seems high (.328) this is actually well below his career total in this area (.356). Putting this into consideration, I think he is closer to a .286 hitter but with limited value in power (8 projected home runs) and modest speed (16 steals). While his performance is not off the charts bad, there's nothing to indicate that he's going to have any performance upside (like Carlos Beltran) has as we head into the second half.

Verdict: Sell

Torii Hunter:

Current Rank: 16
Current Score: 66.7

Currently owned in 69% of leagues but still the 7th most added outfielder in Yahoo today (as of 12:37 PST).
He ended up ranking much higher than I expected with the way I put the numbers together. This is probably a mixture of me needing to tweak the numbers and also BABIP fueled metrics. Coming into today, he has a .283 BABIP (.309 career) and comes in with a .275 batting average.

Factoring out for this, his batting average could come in closer to .318 while maintaining very solid pop in his bat (13 homers so far this year/23 over a full year projected by the Zeplen Dean System.

Verdict: Buy

All research for this posting done through Yahoo! Fantasy &

Friday, July 18, 2014

Waiver Wired: Around The Field 7/18

A sampling of same players commonly being picked up by position and whether they warrant a look:


Kurt Suzuki:

Current Rank: 250
Current Score: 34.6

Yes, he looks to be having a good season on the surface (.309) average and stumbled into more RBIs than usual. Much of this is being fueled by a higher than average BABIP (.328 versus .274 career). Going forward, his projected average is .247 which comes with minimal stolen bases and single digit home run totals.

Verdict: Pass

First Base: Conor Gillaspie

Current Rank: 156
Current Score: 43.5

Also eligible at third but he was one of the first names coming up when filtering to First Base eligible players getting picked up on Yahoo. His .326 batting average is inflated due to a .370 BABIP. His average is likely to be closer to .268 with no speed upside and would project to about a dozen homers over a full season.

Verdict: Pass

Second Base:

Arismendy Alcantara

Current Rank: 144
Current Score: 44.6

Didn't make it onto the initial list as he's only had 25 plate appearances so far with a .444 BABIP.
I looked at his minor league data from this year 366 PA, 62 R, 10 HR, 41 RBI, 21 SB, .380 BABIP to do some quick math.

Using the assumption of an average BABIP of .320 for minor leaguers, I projected an initial 650 pa line of:

.260, 18 HR, 73 RBI, 37 SB, 110 R

Assuming a 15% increase in the talent curve for AAA pitching and MLB pitching, I adjusted the numbers accordingly:

.221, 15 HR, 62 RBI, 31 SB, 94 R

While I think, he is a part of the Cubs bright future (he is only 22) his BABIP is not going to stay high forever and he's going to have some initial struggles on the batting average front though I still think he can contribute some home runs and stolen bases. This gives him a Zeplen Dean score of 44.6 which would have tied him with Mike Aviles for 144th place.

Verdict: Yes, but only because its tough to find power at second. Keep an eye on BABIP, average as there may be eventual struggles in this category

Third Base:

Chris Johnson:

Current Rank: 195
Current Score: 39.7

His modest batting average (.277) is held high by a .360 BABIP. Interestingly enough, this is pretty much in line with his .361 career BABIP. I normally wouldn't even somewhat consider a BABIP along this line as sustainable but he has done this over 2,238 plate appearances.

Even best case scenario gives us about a .280 average and home run totals that should get into the double figures but unlikely to get past 15.

Verdict: Pass


Johnny Peralta:

Current Rank: 123
Current Score: 47.2

In doing research for this, I was surprised to see that he is owned in 60% of Yahoo! leagues, my guess is that this total would have been higher. As usual, he has provided double digit home run totals and he should be able to get this total into the 20s. His perceived value may be dragged down by a .253 batting average but this is dragged down by a lower than usual BABIP (.275 this year versus .312 career)

The Zeplen Dean system projects out .279 average and 22 homers over a full season for Peralta. At shortstop, i'll take that any day of the week.

Verdict: Buy


Kevin Kiermaier:

Current Rank: 144
Current Score: 44.7

Yes, Kiermaier has been to a surprisingly scorching hot start in his first 48 games. This ranking says more about me needing to make further tweaks to how i'm projecting players. (Currently it's a mix of this year's data and data from 2010-2014). Initially, he was ranked 27th before I made modifications specific to his data.

For the most part, it seems to work but for players such as Kiermaier where this year is all that there is to work from and his numbers are much stronger in his first 48 games than they were in the minors, I may need to modify things.

His BABIP currently sits at .345. Assuming he ends up around .300 in this measure, his batting average would be closer to .270. Currently, his HR/FB rate is at 20%, assuming this moves closer to 10% that would put us at 4 home runs per every 170 plate appearances.

This puts his projected average/home runs at .270/15 which still may be a bit generous. I also divided his projected runs & rbi by 1.15 (this is what I got when dividing his current .345 BABIP by .300). He may be worth a speculative pick up to see if he keep this hot streak up for awhile but wouldn't bank on him as a long term option.

Verdict: Pass

Chris Carter:

Current Rank: 122
Current Score: 47.4

Definitely very hit or miss with Carter. He may be on the cusp of a hot streak as he had a couple multi-homer games in the week leading up to the all-star break. His power is definitely a plus skill (he projects out to 37 homers with a full season of at bats.

The thing holding down his value is that he is a one-category contributor (even if that category is impressive). His batting average while barely above the Mendoza Line, still projects to improve due to a .237 BABIP. But even at a projected .241, he isn't exactly helping in this category.

Verdict: Buy if you need the home runs and are able to absorb somewhat of a hit in batting average category

Rajai Davis:

Current Rank: 31
Current Score: 61.3

Another outfielder that ranked a lot higher than I expected. Most of his value is tied to his stolen base ability (60 projected over 650 PA). Though at his age (33), the stolen bases could fall off at any time. He's not going to hurt too bad with batting average (.276 projected) and may provide the occasional home run. Davis' ranking shows one of the shortcomings in my projections in not downgrading numbers based on playing time (it currently projects all players to 650 but he's only had one season with more than 500).

While his ranking his high, Davis should only be targeted if your doing good with power but need a nice boost in the stolen base department. That being said, his ranking of 31 says more about me having more work to do then Davis' actual fantasy value.

Verdict: Buy if your good on power but need some stolen bases

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hitting Player Rankings

So, I went through yet another modification in an effort to rank players. One step forward taken here was that I was able to get the data combined faster and for more players in this go-round. I went into and pulled data for all players with at least 162 plate appearances this year (290) players and also got 5 year data (2010-2014) for the same players.

I've mentioned the Zeplen Dean score but haven't defined how I get to this number. Currently, I have this data structured to project out to 650 plate appearances for all players so in essence it's almost a value per at bat ranking. While this is currently projected out just for fantasy categories i'm also looking into eventually doing a real value ranking which places higher emphasis on OPS & WAR.

I add the projected Run, Home Run, RBI & Stolen Base Totals and multiply this by batting average.

With That out of the Way The Top 10 Rankings area as follows:

1-Mike Trout
2-Miguel Cabrera
3-Jose Abreu
4-Troy Tulowitzki
5-Victor Martinez
6-Ryan Braun
7-Carlos Gonzalez
8-Nelson Cruz
9-Billy Hamilton
10-Albert Pujols

* Edwin Encarnacion was the person ranked 10th, but he was removed from this list due to currently being on the disabled list.

No surprise for the #1 & #2 spots but the rest of the rankings are up for debate. The biggest surprise I found while doing this list is that Billy Hamilton came in at #9. Hamilton was expected to provide a boost in stolen bases (which he has, he projects out to 78 stolen bases), the surprising thing here is that he projects to be at least a decent hitter for fantasy categories (.291/9 HR/68 RBI).

The only players with a Zeplen Dean score above 80 were Trout, Cabrera & Abreu. In a 12 team league with 10 starting offensive players (8 position starters plus two utility players) replacement level would be the player ranked 120th overall. In this version, that honor belongs to Corey Hart who has a Zeplen Dean Score of 47.5.

While his surface numbers haven't been pretty, he has been injured and also has a very low BABIP (.246). Factoring this out, the Zeplen Dean system thinks he could hit .273 with 24 HR/75 RBI over a full season.

In reviewing all the players on this list, the average Zeplen Dean Score is 46 and the standard deviation is 11.5

This Breaks things out to the following tiers

Tier 1: >3 Standard Deviations Above Average >80.5

Example: Mike Trout

Tier 2: 3 Standard Deviations Above Average 80.5

Example: Troy Tulowitzki

Tier 3: 2 Standard Deviations Above Average 69

Example: Adrian Beltre

Tier 4: 1 Standard Deviation Above Average 57.5

Example: Justin Morneau

Tier 5: The Most Average Hitter in This Sample 46

Dexter Fowler

Tier 6: One Standard Deviation Below Average 34.5

Example: Will Venable

Tier 7: Two Standard Deviations Below Average 23

Adeiny Hechavarria

Since we point out the top 10 players on the list, we also need balance in the universe. With that in mind, this week's bottom 10 is:

10-Darwin Barney
9-Danny Espinosa
8-Nick Punto
7-Ed Lucas
6-Luis Valbuena
5-Travis d'Arnaud
4-Tyler Flowers
3-Ruben Tejada
2-Adeiny Hechavarria
1-Jose Molina

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Totally Wired: Jose Quintana

Jose Quintana:

What he's done to get picked up:

He's been one of the stronger starting pitchers over the last month. While Chris Sale has a much higher profile, Quintana has given up three runs or less in his last five starts and has struck out at least six batters in his last six starts. This stretch has moved his ERA to 3.24, WHIP to 1.2 and his strikeout total over 100 (107).

What to expect going forward:

This strong performance appears to be highly sustainable. He's not getting lucky on balls in play as his BABIP is squarely at .300 and if anything, his FIP (2.85) indicates that his numbers are stronger than what is indicated on the surface. If he's currently available in your league, he's definitely someone worth picking up. My estimate is that his numbers will end up looking something like this (projected to 200 innings pitched):

9 Wins, 167 K, 3.16 ERA, 1.2 WHIP

Bottom line, I think he provides solid value especially with strikeouts and ERA but overall value is partially held back by being on a non-contending White Sox team which is going to reduce the likelihood of his very strong outings turning into wins.

While he hasn't been particular lucky overall, one thing that has worked in his favor is that not as many fly balls have turned into home runs (5.6% this year versus 10.5% & 10.2% over the last two years). There is the possibility that this number could equalize itself out at some point during the second half.

All numbers, information referenced found on

Musings, Ramblings & Other Stuff: Kolten Wong

Kolten Wong:

Gone on an absolute tear. Headed into the all-star break he had hits in six consecutive games (with four homers during this same stretch with two of these coming against the Brewers (grrrh).

What's His Zeplen Dean Score:


This total places him right below Joey Votto and right above Anthony Rendon. His average/OBP numbers are pretty uninspiring .242/.299 but this primarily is dragged down by a .248 BABIP. My instinct is that he is too fast of a runner for his BABIP and thus is average to stay that low for an extended period of time.

Adjusting for this, I think his average going forward will likely be in the .290 range. His projection over 650 plate appearances in the Zeplen Dean system is as follows:

.293/.350/..393 70R 17 HR 68 RBI 38 SB

Last year, (including the minors) he had 525 plate appearances, adjusting for this, i'm thinking Wong's final numbers would be along the lines of:

.293, 56 R, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 31 SB


While his perceived value is a bit inflated due to his recent power surge, in some ways I think his value is under-rated due to a batting average that is being suppressed by BABIP. Based on a combination of this improving at some point, a consistent source of stolen bases and the occasional home run, I think Wong will produce plenty of value for fantasy owners looking to upgrade at second base while also making me nervous at  the same time as he's inevitably going to make clutch plays that will increase the challenge of the Brewers mission to hold of the Cardinals (along with the Pirates & Reds) for the NL Central crown.

Information, Numbers referenced found on

Musings, Ramblings & Other Stuff: Clay Bucholz

Clay Bucholz:

What He's Done To Get Picked Up:

In the larger scope of 2014, not much as he has struggled very much this year with an ERA north of 5 and a WHIP of 1.51. But he does have a couple of years where he pitched extremely effectively (2010, 2013) and is coming off a very strong start against the Astros where he threw a three hit shutout and struck out 12 batters

What To Expect Going Forward:

Is this the start of a strong second half or did Bucholz just have a good day? In looking at his FIP & xFIP numbers, he has gotten somewhat unlucky but even these numbers don't exactly paint a pretty picture.

Another thing to keep in mind is that his opposing BABIP (.328) is also much higher than his career total (.284). Going forward, I could see some improvement in his performance (ERA of about 3.96) but any expectation of him replicating what he did in 2013 is a bit of a stretch.

Still, even a modest improvement like this could be a risk. One red flag that is flaring up is that he is inducing a lower percentage of ground balls this year. From 2008-2013, his ground ball rate was in the 47%-53% range for any given year. In 2014, that total has gone down to 41.8%. If this trend continues into the second half, his ERA/WHIP numbers could continue to look unsightly.

Beyond 2014, what can we expect. Through his age 28 season, his closest comparision per Baseball-Reference is Rick Rhoden. Starting with his age 29 season, Rhoden pitched at least 181 innings in seven consecutive seasons being serviceable for the most part and among the better pitchers on occasion (three seasons with an ERA+ above 120).

While Bucholz had a higher ceiling in performance in 2010 & 2013, he has yet to prove that he can stay healthy for extended periods of time and while I think he's going to have a better second half, I don't think it's going to be a difference maker in terms of a miracle Red Sox comeback or winning people fantasy titles.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Musings, Ramblings & Other Stuff: Stephen Vogt

Stephen Vogt:

What He's Done To Get Picked Up:

Despite going 0 for 4 on Sunday, he has been red hot getting hits in 11 consecutive games which has helped raise his batting average to .358 and has also allowed for him to get consistent playing time.

What's His Zeplen Dean Score:

48.08 which places him right behind Salvador Perez and ahead of Pedro Alvarez.

What to Expect Going Forward:

Well for starters, he's not going to hit .358 all year as this total has been aided by an unsustainable .376 BABIP. While his projected full-season numbers (650 plate appearances) aren't off the charts good, his eligibility at Catcher does give him added value. His 650 PA projection is as follows.

.280/.335/.503 63 R 20 HR 88 RBI 6 SB

In 2011-2013, including the minors he had 489 plate appearances. If we adjust the numbers based on this, Vogt could have a line looking like this:

.280/15 HR/67 RBI/5 SB

While his career walk rate is at 5.5%, this along with his OBP could be going up as we go forward. In looking at the plate discipline data available in Fangraphs,  this data indicates that there have been decreases in how often he swings at pitches (both outside the strike zone and overall). While Vogt is eligible at three positions (Catcher, First Base & Outfield) the bulk of his value is going to be in his Catcher eligibility where he appears to be able to an acceptable amount of power and a decent batting average (even after his BABIP brings his batting average back to normal).

Since the Athletics are known to platoon and move players in and out of the lineup (that seems to push the right buttons more often than not), if you pick up Vogt one thing to keep a close eye on are if they are moving him out of the lineup for any given day.

All numbers, information used found on

Musings, Ramblings & Other Stuff: Chris Coghlan

Chris Coghlan:

What He's Done To Get Picked Up:

Basically, finish up the first half on an absolute tear as he's had six multi-hit games since July fourth and added three of this year's five homers in the process.

Where Does He Rank on the Zeplen Dean Scale:

While I haven't developed this for pitchers yet, I have enough of this data for hitters that the general guidelines (varies by position) are as follows:

>80 Super Duper Star
71-80 Elite Star
61-70 Very Good
55-60 Above Average
50-54 Average
45-49 Below Average
40-44 Not Good
<40 Not Even Close To Good:


Coghlan, while he is on a torrid hot streak, is not going to be a mysterious breakout star at age 29. He has a respectable (though not inspiring) Zeplen Dean Score of 48.81. His current batting average of .275 is bound to stay the same as this year's BABIP is nearly identical to his career (.316/.317). Also, it is unknown how much longer he will have regular playing time and/or get injured. If he were to ever get a full season of playing time, the Zeplen Dean projection would give the following.

.276/.363/.403 14 HR 55 RBI, 21 Stolen Bases

Over his previous five years, he's averaged 316 plate appearances per year, adjusting for this, his likely 2014 totals will look something like this.

.276/.363/.403 7 HR 27 RBI 10 SB

In the interim term, Coghlan may keep his hot streak going for a little bit and may give you the occasional home run or stolen base, but he's definitely not a long term plan.

Looking at his comparisons on baseball-reference, it doesn't look like playing time is mysteriously going up. His top comparison R.J. Reynolds  had three seasons of slightly below average play (ranging between 243 & 403 plate appearances) from ages 29-31.

All numbers referenced found on either or

Musings Ramblings, Other Stuff: Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom

What he's done to get added:

Been a boost for people who have added him to their starting rotations lately. He has been pretty consistent in his performance this year as he's given up three runs or less in all of his starts (with the exception of a disastrous performance against St. Louis on June 16). Speaking of disasters, his win total is only three due to him being on the New York Mets.

What to expect going forward:

The Mets may be terrible as always, but deGrom's early success does seem sustainable as both his FIP & xFIP are pretty close to his ERA. If anything, he may be getting a bit unlucky as opposing hitters do have a .323 BABIP against him. The final numbers I think he'd have over a full season (200 inning span) are as follows:

3.33 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 169 K, 8W

Pretty much, I think he is a solid pick up, he's going to give owners some strikeouts and reasonably decent ERA & WHIP totals, the only concern is whether the Mets will give him enough offense to actually get some wins at some point.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Zeplen Dean Rankings: Second Base

Below are the second base rankings...I expanded the criteria to grab the top 30 players by plate appearance for the season when ranking them. Still some holes in that this isn't factoring players that have recently gotten picked up such as Kolten Wong and a few will be flagged due to injury....

Tier 1:

1-Ian Kinsler
2-Robinson Cano
3-Brian Dozier
4-Jose Altuve
5-Dee Gordon
6-Scooter Gennett
7-Howie Kendrick

As the Brewers have slipped massively, so has Gennett's ownership listing amongst fantasy owners as he's seen a 2% decrease over the last day. While he has not been immune to these struggles (he's been held hit less over the last two days), one thing that keeps him higher on here as that there is some indication he may be one of those players that's able to keep his BABIP above average as he's done this over a couple consecutive seasons.

If given a full season (650 PA), I could see him keeping the batting average in the .315-.320 range with enough pop and a favorable enough ball park to get home runs into double figures

Tier 2:

8-Daniel Murphy
9-Mike Aviles
10-Neil Walker
11-DJ LeMahieu
12-Brian Roberts

Note: Brett Lawrie would be ranked between Murphy & Aviles if he was not on the disabled list

While Walker has never been a star, he has always had a way of quietly being productive at second base where offense stats are at a premium. If you are looking for an upgrade at second and your in one of the 35% of leagues where he's still available, he would be a good pick up but you may have to act fast as he's got a nice five game hitting streak going on. I think he's a good bet to maintain his average in the high .270s and maybe break the 20 home run threshold when all is said and done.

Brian Roberts may only be owned in 3% of leagues but he is a bit under-rated. His average/power numbers aren't going to turn out great .264/9 homers but could see him make enough stolen base & run contributions to be an option worth considering.

Mike Aviles is another deeper cut player (9%) ownership that may be under-valued. He is in the same boat as Roberts where mediocre power/average numbers can be made up somewhat in the stolen base category.

Tier 3:

13-Chase Utley
14-Jason Kipnis
15-Darwin Barney
16-Ben Zobrist
17-Jonathan Schoop

Emilio Bonifacio would be ranked between Schoop and Infante if he was not on disabled list

18-Omar Infante
19-Logan Forsythe
20-Dustin Pedroia
21-Gordan Beckham

Brandon Phillips would be ranked between Beckham and Hicks if he was not on the disabled list

22-Brandon Hicks
23-Luis Valbuena

Despite going hitless yesterday, Infante is on a recent good stretch as this was preceeded by four consecutive multi-hit games. He is sort of a lower end version of Neil Walker as he can be counted for a decent average, probably about half the power (10-12 homers) and tends to be little performance variance year over year

Tier 4:

24-Danny Espinosa
25-Alexi Amarista
26-Aaron Hill
27-Jedd Gyorko

Hill may have gotten hits in the last couple games and there is some promise of power based on prior seasons but i'm not sold on him being a good value. I think going forward his average maxes out at .260 and I don't see the power numbers getting past a dozen homers.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Zeplen Dean Rankings: First Base

Listed below are the Zeplen Dean Rankings for First Basemen this season. I took the position data in Fangraphs filtered by players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. Based on this, there are players eligible at multiple positions that are getting picked up and players that have only been in the majors for partial seasons.

Based on the Zeplen Dean scores and standard deviations, there were initially five tiers as Edwin Encarnacion had a score that made it 2 standard deviations above by 0.18 points but he gets excluded from this ranking as he is currently on the disabled list.

Tier 1:

1B-Jose Abreu
2-Miguel Cabrera
3-Albert Pujols
4-Paul Goldschmidt
5-Mark Teixeira

Teixeira may still be available as he is owned is 65% of Yahoo leagues. He does come with a high injury risk based on his recent history but if he stays healthy all season projects to end up in the 32 homers/97 rbi range.

The one thing that is artificially deflating his value is his .238 batting average. However, this is driven by a .243 BABIP. If this normalizes the rest of the season he could have a batting average around .290 going forward

Tier 2:

6-Brandon Moss
7-Justin Morneau
8-Anthony Rizzo
9-Freddie Freeman
10-Adrian Gonzales
11-Matt Adams
12-Adam LaRoche

Adams is (as of this writing) the third most popular pick up in Yahoo today. If he is still available, you may need to act fast as he is owned in 83% of leagues. Adams is red hot right now as he hit a walk off homer last night and is riding a five game hitting streak. For a first basemen, he does provide decent power (23 homers per 650 PA) versus a mean of 25.123 but projects to have a strong batting average .309 and the occasional stolen base (7 per 650 plate appearances).

Tier 3:

13-Lucas Duda
14-Michael Morse
15-Chris Davis
16-Carlos Santana
17-Mark Reynolds
18-Ryan Howard
19-Garrett Jones
20-James Loney
21-Allen Craig

Note: Joe Mauer would have been ranked between Loney & Craig but was removed due to currently being on the disabled list.

Duda may be severely below the radar for most people as the Mets aren't exactly an offensive juggernaut. Still, he is slightly below the cut off line for average performance based on the players in this sample which should earn him a spot on more than 19% of leagues. Given a full season, Duda would project out to a .262 average and about 27 homers.

Tier 4:

22-Mike Napoli
23-Eric Hosmer
24-Adam Dunn
25-Nick Swisher

Hosmer has shown some signs of heating up as he has a 7 game hitting streak going. However, in true Hosmer fashion even this recent good stretch has come with a side order of disappointment as he has zero homers, 3 rbi and a stolen base during this stretch. The allure of him possibly displaying his potential has fooled myself for awhile (before eventually dropping him) but he seems to still have enough people fooled to be owned in 75% of leagues. The Zeplen Dean system projects a paltry .259 average and 11 homers going forward for Hosmer.

A couple of under the radar players that are owned in LT 25% of leagues and either have primary eligibility elsewhere or not enough plate appearances.

Conor Gillaspie (8%)

Primarily eligible at third base. Decent batting average .310 primarily driven by high BABIP (.360). Adjusting for this, his batting average is closer to .256 and expected homers per year is in the 7-8 range. I would pass on him (at least at first).

Chris Carter (19%)

Also with outfield eligibility. Whether to take a flier on him depends on how much of a hit you are willing to take with your batting average. Over the course of a full season (650 PA), I could see him hitting 34 homers. His average is artificially lower due to a .226 BABIP but even after adjusting for this an average in the low .230s is closer to what i'd expect. I wouldn't completely ignore Carter but definitely a buyer beware instance.

As i'm developing and tinkering with the ranking system, writing style, etc. i'd like feedback on whether i'm at least in the ballpark with these rankings (no pun intended) and any suggestions and how to make these postings more interesting.

Research for this posting done with data found on and numbers referencing ownership levels found on Yahoo

Monday, July 7, 2014

Player Power Rankings: Catcher

I'm made my third modification (this one being a much more simplified version of the Zeplen Dean system) where i'm using numbers to rank players by position. As i'm starting from scratch (again) i'm going to be starting with Catchers. What i'll do is rank the players with enough plate appearances to be eligible for rate statistic titles while also highlighting players who have been getting picked up lately.

Amongst the 13 players with enough plate appearances, the Average Zeplen Dean Score is 42.1 with the Standard Deviation being 7.5

Tier 1:

1-Jonathan Lucroy
2-Buster Posey

The political style campaigning may have not led to a victory in the fan voting for the all-star game but he still got the nod as an all-star. While his batting average is slightly elevated due to a .351 BABIP, even after accounting for this, he still projects to hit .281 with 21 Homers when all is said and done.

Tier 2:

3-Miguel Montero

Over the off-season, Montero's value was driven down due to a career worst season. He has bounced back very nicely this season. Even though the Diamondbacks have had a substandard season (in all categories except being gritty and enforcing the unwritten rules of baseball) over 650 plate appearances, he projects to hit .270 while also having the highest projected RBIs at this point.

4-Brian McCann
5-Mike Zunino
6-Yan Gomes
7-Salvador Perez

Tier 3:

8-Kurt Suzuki

Suzuki has historically had a weak profile offensively and going to the Twins didn't appear to help things along but has been better than expected this year.  While he has shown some improvement signs (improvement in K%), his shiny .306 average has been influenced primarily by BABIP fairy dust (.326 versus a .273 career mark). While his performance is on a recent upswing (6 game hitting streak) keeping his average above .300 for the rest of the season is something that I wouldn't bank on (plus there isn't the side benefit of getting much in the power categories either).

9-Yadier Molina
10-Dioner Navarro

Tier 4:

11-Jason Castro

On the surface Castro, looked to be on the upswing going into 2014. It's tough to blame his 2014 struggles on regression as his BABIP is at .309 and his B/K ratio is headed in the wrong direction.

12-Carlos Ruiz

Thrift Shopping (<25% Owned)

John Jaso (13%)

With Jaso, the issue rests primarily with playing time as the Athletics have used platoon upon platoon to become one of the strongest teams in the league. While Jaso is more likely an option in daily/AL only leagues, he is an unheralded source of power (his seven homers equals what Yadier Molina & Jason Castro have accomplished with much more frequent playing time).

Dumpster Diving (<10% Owned)

Alex Avila (4%)

Has gotten six hits in his last nine games. While the batting average is probably going to stay very low (.228 despite a .339 BABIP) he still looks to be a deep-end power source (6 homers/.150 ISO in 2014). While the strikeout rate is creeping up, he still is drawing walks (13.9% walk rate) which is always pretty awesome in my book.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Zeplen Dean Rankings: Shortstop

Now on to our preliminary shortstop rankings. I did a something a little different in how the players are ranked and sorted.

The average Zeplen Dean score on the shortstops I have in the database so far is 46.56 and the standard deviation is 11.6. I split up the tiered groupings based on being above average, below average and within the standard deviations.

Tier 1 (2 Standard Deviations Above Average) >69.76

1-Troy Tulowitzki
2-Hanley Ramirez

As expected, Tulowitzki had the highest score but the gap between him and Ramirez was smaller than expected. Tulowitzki has a higher career BABIP than normal while Ramirez has a much lower BABIP, after factoring these out their expected batting averages are pretty close. While Ramirez has a sizable lead in stolen bases, Tulowitzki has enough of an edge in the last three categories (Runs, Home Runs & RBIs) to keep his expected spot.

Tier 2 (1 Standard Deviation Above Average) >58.16

Nobody, the next best score is 57.72

Tier 3 (Within Standard Deviation but Above Average)

3-Jose Reyes
4-Dee Gordon
5-Alexei Ramirez
6-Asdrubal Cabrera
7-Starlin Castro

I was a bit surprised that Dee Gordon was ranked #4. When adjusting for BABIP his projected average wasn't an albatross (.275) and the projection has him stealing 72 bases which boosted his value.

Tier 4 (Within Standard Deviation but Below Average)

8-Jean Segura
9-Jimmy Rollins
10-Jhonny Peralta
11-Elvis Andrus
12-Ian Desmond
13-Alcides Escobar
14-Jed Lowrie
15-Brandon Crawford
16-Jordy Mercer

This is somewhat misleading as everyone from Segura down to Ian Desmond was within .46 points of each other and .54 of being in Tier 3 The order of these shortstops is likely to shuffle a lot as the season goes on. Having Tulowitzki and  Ramirez ahead of the pack pushed more shortstops below average than above.

Tier 5 (One Standard Deviation Below Average)

17-Everth Cabrera
18-JJ Hardy
19-Xander Bogarets
20-Andrelton Simmons

The race to the bottom so far is pretty close (.17) point difference. I was surprised Simmons had the lowest rating but does make more sense as his value rests primarily with the glove. If this was based on actual real life value, he would likely have a better ranking.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Zeplen Dean Projection System: Second Base

Since we're transitioning from First Base to Second Vase, we are also transitioning over to lower overall scores on the Zeplen Dean system (no second basemen was over 60, though two of them were at 59). The rankings within this beta system are as follows.

One thing that did surprise me is how closely together players were in the rankings. As the season progresses, my estimate is that there is likely to be more volatility in the rankings here versus the other positions that have been covered.

The Top Tier, Very Similar In Value

1-Robinson Cano (59.83)
2-Ian Kinsler (59.42)

The Next Best Options (54-55)

3-Anthony Rendon
4-Chase Utley
5-Scooter Gennett
6-Jose Altuve

Even as a Brewers fan, I think this formula over-values Scooter Gennett. He has had BABIPs above .350 in both seasons which keeps his projected batting average high. With less than 500 plate appearances under his belt, its too early to tell if he's one of those players who consistently has a higher than average BABIP or if he's gotten fortunate two seasons in a row. It also assumes plate appearances are equal (650) which basically doesn't put into consideration that he gets benched in favor of Rickie Weeks whenever the Brewers opponent start against a left-handed pitcher. With this platoon, I think Gennett has more value in daily based leagues than standard fantasy leagues.

Decent Options but A Not as Good (47-51)

7-Brian Dozier
8-Daniel Murphy
9-Neil Walker
10-Matt Carpenter
11-Howie Kendrick
12-Omar Infante
13-Dustin Pedroia

Even though Brian Dozier is having a very good year in the power and speed categories, he gets weighed down as he had a lesser track record in the power department prior to this year and his projected batting average is very pedestrian (.252)

You Can Do Better (40-45)

14-Brian Roberts
15-Brandon Phillips
16-DJ LaMahieu
17-Ben Zobrist
18- Aaron Hill

Even at a Thin Position, Better Options Await (35-39)

19-Gordan Beckham
20-Brad Miller

Run the Other Direction (<30)

21-Logan Forsythe
22-Luis Valbuena
23-Danny Espinosa

Even though Forsythe is a trendy pick up right now and Valbuena is having a good season (fueled by BABIP), starting them is likely a risky proposition. Even though Espinosa will provide some home runs and stolen bases, the Zeplen Dean system also projects him to struggle to stay above the Mendoza Line with a projected batting average of .202.

Zeplen Dean Projections: First Base

So, i've managed to get through the rankings for the First Basemen in the BETA version of the Zeplen Dean Projection System. A few observations

--One that i'm not too surprised on is that the ratings are higher for first basemen due to it being a more offense oriented position

--For Catchers, nobody had a rating score above 60. In comparison, 8 first basemen had a score above 60

--I haven't quite figured out how to mix season and career totals for players such as Jose Abreu who had no prior MLB experience to this season. Once I get this figured out, I still think he has a strong total but not sure he maintains his number one ranking.

With these disclaimers out of the way, my yet to be comprehensive rankings for future value are as follows

The Best:

1-Jose Abreu (81.49)

Elite: >70

2-Albert Pujols
3-Victor Martinez

Career numbers may be factoring too much in the beta version, this helps Pujols here (and Teixeira at #4) and was the inverse of what moved Yadier Molina much further expected in the beta version of the Zeplen Dean System.

Note: Miguel Cabrera is going to be in the third basemen rankings, so far i'm keeping it to one position per player

Not quite Elite but still solid (60-69)

4-Mark Teixeira
5-Edwin Encarnacion
6-Paul Goldschmidt
7-C.J. Cron
8-Justin Morneau

Same problem with Abreu applies to Cron, I think he's a solid player but probably over-rated in this system.

Decent but not Great Options (50-59)

9-Brandon Moss
10-Freddie Freeman
11-Adam LaRoche
12-Chris Davis
13-Matt Adams
14-Ryan Howard
15-Joey Votto
16-Adrian Gonzalez
17-Anthony Rizzo
18-Mark Reynolds

I'm a bit surprised that Votto was ranked this low but it appears he's dragged down from lower power numbers so far in 2014

Could Definitely Do Better (40-49)

19-Michael Morse
20-Steve Pearce
21-Mike Napoli
22-Joe Mauer
23-James Loney
24-Garrett Jones
25-Billy Butler
26-Carlos Santana
27-Adam Dun
28-Eric Hosmer

Pick Anyone else off the Wire <40

29- Nick Swisher