FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

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  1. Agree with your general point and I typically land one or two older bargain players in my A.L.-only auction league at prices at or below younger players less likely to produce.

    I do think, though, that Konerko is an outlier and not the best example of this tendency. When you picked him before 2010 he was coming off three middling years in-a-row, with offensive numbers only 11% above average, which is isn’t really much for a first-basemen. The two years since he’s put up the best numbers of his career, which is clearly an outlier for aging players.

    Konerko’s numbers the three years just before you picked him are actually a tick below what 21-year-od Hosmer did last year, and objectively speaking, the chance of substantial improvement is far higher for Hosmer in 2012 than it was for Konerko in 2010.

    I benefited from a similar windfall anomaly a few years back with Melvin Mora.

    None of that detracts from your broader strategy.

    Comment by rotofan — December 15, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  2. agreed, the Ackley pick was HORRRRRRIBLE. many people make the critical mistake of far overvaluing potential future performance of young players and ignore extremely productive current players who are on the wrong side of 30 but still could produce elite stats for 2-3 years at least.

    wtf is Ackleys upside? 300/15/15? Is that REALLY worth paying for and leaving Strasburg, Greinke, McCann, Posey, Weaver, Lester, Sabathia, etc. on the board? Ridiculous….

    Comment by batpig — December 15, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

  3. If everyone else values youth highly it’s in your best interest to value proven stars more. Hitting the prospect lottery is about as easy as hitting the Lance Berkman lottery.

    Comment by adohaj — December 15, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

  4. I also feel that Ackley is very overrated. Yes he was a high pick, but did he do anything that amazing in the minors?

    Comment by Simon — December 15, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

  5. I never would have drafted Bryce Harper that early. Years ago I drafted a highly touted rookie early. The kid was a blue chip, a can’t miss prospect, someone who could carry your team for years and years to come. I bought into the the hype and picked him early to the applause of many in my league. That man was Delmon Young…….DAMN! I’ve learned from my mistakes.

    Comment by just jim — December 15, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

  6. There is no doubt about the prevalent anti-age bias for most owners who partake in dynasty settings.

    As much as younger player are more easily marketable in such contexts, they are also far risker, as the above article notes. But staying away from them completely, is not necessarily a recipe for success either.

    I think it would be opportune to target one or two young players with limited MLB experience but who are close to the majors but not make these the first picks. I’d mix and match as much as possible with players who are entering their peak years and if not, players at the apex of their peak years, and supplement with lesser experienced players.

    It’s all a matter of risk management when targeting a young player in the context of a dynasty draft. I’d want to focus and choose amongst young players who have a consistent record of improvement in the minors, who are at or below the desired age relative to the level of the minors they have come from, who are the closest to the majors in terms of readiness, who have a path of least resistance in terms of acceding to a position in the show (Bryce Harper is more likely to find a regular position in WAS than say someone in the Yankees system, as a general rule), who have been the object of close scrutiny by reliable sources and where the latter appear to have near-consensus on the players’ likelihood of success and who possess the usual tools. Preferably not someone who is a catcher as their injury cycle and the demands of their position, limits their ability to be productive long-term. I would think Bryce Harper qualifies on all of these counts.

    If you’ve drafted Harper in the third round, but have drafted wily vets at the top of their game in Rounds 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6, then you have mitigated your risk sufficiently in owning Harper. If you’ve drafted Harper and followed up with Ackley and Hosmer, then yeah, you’ve compromised your ability to compete in-season. It’s not the one player who will kill your draft — it’s how you build with the rest of your picks.

    Bryce Harper is probably the most marketable asset in any dynasty league. If you needed to bolster your roster at any point in the season cause you were close enough to a flag, chances are he’d bring you equal or greater value in a trade, than the player you missed out on in Round 3 when you picked him.

    From a personal perspective, if I felt the need to own a player near his early 20s, I would have been more tempted by Justin Upton for his MLB experience or Mike Stanton who has shown enough of a sample size, both of whom are very young but who will be playing full time in 2012. Harper is more likely a 2013 contributor.

    Comment by True North — December 15, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  7. how accurate are “fans” predictions?
    they peg ackley for 5.8 war next season.
    of course some is bsr and defense

    14 hr
    101 runs
    92 rbi
    15 steals

    this is his AAA bb% last year: 16.6 %
    and k%: 11.5 %

    I’m optimistic about ackley.
    my league penalizes strikeouts and counts obp

    Comment by bSpittle — December 15, 2011 @ 11:46 pm

  8. my problem isn’t projecting ackley as the next brian roberts (in terms of a 5/6 WAR peak), but in projecting those r/rbi numbers. even with the addition of a prince fielder-type, near term, i think the fan numbers are more than a bit ambitious and thus it’s tough to justify his draft spot.

    Comment by jcxy — December 16, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  9. Best kids to draft are post-hype guys like Alex Gordon.

    Comment by Blue — December 16, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

  10. Ackley is going to be a very good major league player, but fantasy stud? I don’t see it. He’s never going to light up any fantasy category save for maybe Avg/Obp.

    Comment by Colin — December 17, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

  11. Problem is Ackley will never be the next Brian Roberts b/c Roberts stole a lot more bases than Ackley ever figures to steal. Also, unless the M’s pick up some more offense real fast those R/RBI numbers are extremely ambitious.

    Comment by Colin — December 17, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

  12. Agree somewhat, the 2nd and 3rd year guys who had some previous hype and are around their prime ages are great value picks.

    Comment by Colin — December 17, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

  13. Cannot believe the list of catchers that went higher than VMart. Iannetta? Arencibia? Are you serious? You cannot justify either of those on current production or future potential.

    Comment by Colin — December 17, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

  14. Every fantasy baseball draft I have seen over the last 20 years older players were purchased generally overly cheap. I have won many a title with a roster full of 33-37 year old players I got cheap. Often half my roster is older and I win almost every time. fantasy baseball is about identifying value and those who get the most value for their money win most of the time. Very young players with talent almost always get bid up beyond their value. Older players with injury histories can be nearly free. Yet both have similar single season upsides. Even in a dynasty league I never stop caring about this season until at least September.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — December 19, 2011 @ 2:05 am

  15. This assessment is somewhat league dependent. Does your league have managers that are willing trade quite a bit? If so, then the younger players will have enhanced value. Especially in dynasty leagues trading mid-season to teams that are out of it. The higher trade value can translate into more wins down the road even if your numbers say current predicted production value is lower. Things change and younger players in dynasty leagues often give you more flexibility to adapt because of higher trade value.

    Comment by Hans — February 15, 2012 @ 4:16 am

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