Friday, July 25, 2014

Totally Wired: 7/25

Catcher:

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

Shortstop:

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)

Outfield:

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