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  1. Agreed on Freeman. I partly agree with the average downside. If he continues to make quality contact, I don’t think a .335ish BABIP is out of the question, but I understand what you’re saying.

    Comment by Tyler McAdams — February 29, 2012 @ 8:31 am

  2. Thought it was every position? You are missing pitcher and catcher.

    Comment by ithrowplastic — February 29, 2012 @ 8:42 am

  3. woops….maybe I should have read the first paragraph lol

    Comment by ithrowplastic — February 29, 2012 @ 8:44 am

  4. We all understand that batting average is a category that counts, but if you draft for batting average, you’re probably giving up Runs/HRs/RBI across the board at each position.

    Do you think a more prudent way to view BA is to pair up a low BA power guy (Stanton) with a higher avg steals guy (Bourn)?

    There aren’t 50 Kemp & Uptons running around that cover all the categories…

    Comment by mtackman — February 29, 2012 @ 8:45 am

  5. Isn’t BA also the most volatile statistic in 5×5? Uggla is a pretty safe bet to hit 30+ homers, as he’s done so every year since 2007. But if his BABIP does swing the other way (see 2006, 2008 & 2010!), his BA looks decent to pretty good.

    If his trend continues, he should post a .340 BABIP!

    Comment by Ayuh — February 29, 2012 @ 9:17 am

  6. I disagree with Freeman but only because the middle tier of 1B is so cruddy. Assuming his knee is fine I’d take him over the likes of Goldschmidt, Butler, Davis etc and certainly over the huge injury risk guys like Howard, Morales and Morneau. I assume you are listing a couple of those guys over him or maybe some multi positional guys who don’t really belong in the 1B tier but people insist on listing them there. That tier of 1B has very little separation though.

    The other ones are all guys I probably won’t own in a single league because they have been going too early so I agree with you on most of them.

    Comment by Ender — February 29, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  7. What a waste of time.

    Comment by BoKnows — February 29, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  8. How surprised would you really be if Giancarlo hit 45 bombs this year? Be honest.

    Comment by Derek — February 29, 2012 @ 9:29 am

  9. Thank God I play in an OBP league. AVG sucks

    Comment by David — February 29, 2012 @ 9:47 am

  10. It’s not a matter of “drafting for batting average”. It’s simply valuing a player based on their contribution. If they don’t contribute in batting average, their value is going to be reduced. The Santon/Bourn combo is one way to do it. Or another way is to get two guys who contribute all around, rather than a pure HR/no avg guy and a pure steals/no power guy.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — February 29, 2012 @ 9:54 am

  11. Yes, the volatility aspect is one I neglected to mention. That could be an entire column on its own. It’s plausible that people are simply choosing to spend less on the category given its volatility. However, I don’t think that’s the case because batting average is properly valued in most players. For example, a lot of Joe Mauer’s value comes from his average over relatively lots of at-bats for a catcher. When he was healthy, he was a top catcher, so owners were valuing him properly.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — February 29, 2012 @ 9:55 am

  12. Sort of unrelated question: In a head to head league, is batting average less important because it fluctuates to much? Yeah, in a week any stat will be pretty volatile, but I feel like BA especially can vary a ton. So if I get someone like Stanton in that type of league he could sometimes have big BA weeks and sometimes have awful ones. In the bad weeks I just give up on BA, but in the good weeks he helps in all categories. Is there something to this or am I crazy? (Probably the latter)

    Comment by Matt H — February 29, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  13. It’s the K rate that scares me.

    Comment by geo — February 29, 2012 @ 11:01 am

  14. Freeman as the 12th best 1B? Really??????

    Comment by supgreg — February 29, 2012 @ 11:24 am

  15. Freeman does have a great LD rate, almost 23%, and the 14% HR/FB isn’t ideal for a 1B, but it’s hardly bad. For comparison, Kevin Youkilis has topped 15% HR/FB just once in the past four seasons, and we haven’t had a problem projecting him in for 25-30 jacks per. The BABIP is higher than we usually see, but he hits more liners than most do, too.

    Good call on Hardy. I picked him up last year, then spent almost all season trying to peddle him. No on-base skills, doesn’t hit the ball squarely. The HR will be nice, and he should amass counting numbers as a SS with above average power, but I won’t be buying again.

    Completely agree with your take on Stanton. I’ve polluted at least one comment section with a similar writeup. He doesn’t hit the ball squarely (16% LD, double-digit pop-ups) and he makes mediocre contact (68% total), so it’s going to be very difficult for him to bat above his career .260-.270 mark. He can absolutely hit 35-40 HR, but if all he is is power & RBI, isn’t he simply Adam Dunn plus 15-20 points in average, minus some runs? And last I remembered, nobody ever drafted Adam Dunn in the second round.

    Comment by kid — February 29, 2012 @ 11:26 am

  16. 1B is a funny position. It obviously depends on league size and format, but generally as long as the league employs either CI or Util slots and a bench of reasonable size, the 1B replacement level will be much closer to that of “scarce” positions than people realize intuitively. At least on draft day – once injuries and underperformance take hold at other positions it’s a different situation (see the national 3B debacle last year). But since it’s difficult to predict which positions will suffer those trends ahead of time, ex ante I believe 1Bs like Freeman are a great source of value, even with the caveat that he is at risk for regression and not in the top 10 at his position.

    Comment by mcbrown — February 29, 2012 @ 11:33 am

  17. These valuations are based on roto leagues. I’m not sure if values should be adjusted for H2H leagues (assuming this is what you’re talking about). It’s possible that it would be smarter to devalue ratio categories in those types of leagues, but I don’t know.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — February 29, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

  18. I don’t value players any differently in roto vs H2H leagues, with the exception of pitchers with innings limits. In the end, all I want to do is maximize my output in all the categories. There will be some week to week fluctuations, but you can’t predict that anyway, so there is no point in considering it. If you have the best AVG at the end of the season or the most HR, chances are that you won those categories more than anyone else.

    As an aside, I actually think AVG is one of the more stable statistics week to week.

    Comment by drewcorb — February 29, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

  19. Agree. With UT spots and some guys being eligible at OF or guys like Napoli and Santana that show up in some 1B rankings, the position gets pretty risky once you get outside the top 10 guys. Not sure how anyone looks at Freeman as being top 10 when he doesn’t look to have that much power. Then again, tons of question marks once you get outside the top 7-9 guys.

    Comment by Chad — February 29, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

  20. Of all those names, Stanton is the one that stands out to me as able to buck the label. I wouldn’t laugh if he were taken near the end of round 1. Anyone who owned Mike last year knows how good he can be when healthy/in a groove. Overall stats from 2011 don’t do him justice.

    There’s position scarcity, and imo there’s also stat scarcity. Having the league leader in HR is on par with obsessing over elite SS/2B early. I can see it fitting a certain strategy as 20 hr becomes the new 30 hr.

    Pair Stanton with Sandoval and you’ve got two guys expected to average 35 hr/100-110 rbi/.285 avg. Can do the same damage with Longoria + Bruce, but in my league that’s a 1st and 3rd round combo…versus 2nd and 4th for Mike/Panda.

    Comment by jimbo — February 29, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  21. Note: should clarify “expected” means *i* expect Stanton/Panda to combine for 70 hr. Wether that is 40/30, 45/25, or 50/20 doesn’t matter. Need one to match projections and one to exceed, yet both have upside.

    Comment by jimbo — February 29, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  22. Stanton got better and better as the year went on. I fully expect a further drop in k’s as his recognition improves. He’s valued perfectly at 8. I can’t name 18 OF I’d rather have, that’s for sure.

    Comment by Scott — February 29, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

  23. In regards to Adrian Beltre, you do realize that he only played 124 games last year and still was able to get over 30 HR’s and 100 RBI right?

    Comment by Richie — February 29, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  24. a fun game i play is looking at beltre’s career stats, and then just deleting the safeco years and looking at them again. a whole different picture emerges! i have him everywhere right now. think he’s actually undervalued.

    but i’m crazy, so

    Comment by wily mo — February 29, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

  25. The counter to that is teams have had all offseason to study him and look for holes in his swing. It’s also not easy or common for players to drastically cut their K rate, so I wouldn’t count on it. It’s also worth noting that he plays in a division that features 4 pitchers parks and great pitching overall.

    Comment by jerbear1985 — March 1, 2012 @ 2:56 am

  26. He said he’s made tremendous strides in terms of pitch selection this off-season. Of course every player claims they improved in some capacity, but I expect his K rate to go down a bit this season. I also believe in his power potential more than most, all he needs is a slight upper-cut once/if he starts making more contact. Right now, and at his age, he ‘should’ be focusing on squaring the ball up rather than trying to yank it out of the park. He hit some mammoth shots last year, quite a lot of them to LF and straight away center.

    I agree he’s not a top 10 pick though.

    Comment by Undocorkscrew — March 1, 2012 @ 9:55 am

  27. I understand all around guys are a preference. But there aren’t that many elite guys like that. It seems w/ offensive #’s down across the board, power guys should be valued at a slightly higher premium. I look at the winning stats from our keeper league (from last 6 years) and see a decline across the board, including average.

    Do you think BA has the most variation for a player? (considering large swing potentials in BABIP?) I’ve always valued BA when drafting, but instead of having elite attributes in a category I get guys who are balanced. Thus keeping me at least in the top half of the league, but the last 2 years I’ve been hard pressed to be in contention at the end.

    I feel like I’m going to change it up a little bit this year and look more for the counting stats and “somewhat” ignore BA.

    Comment by mtackman — March 1, 2012 @ 10:53 am

  28. I agree, he just needed to get out of Safeco.

    Comment by NickL — March 1, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  29. “Batting average! It’s a category.”

    Not in my league.

    Comment by BStu185 — March 1, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

  30. Yes, average is the most volatile, and somewhat ignoring in the draft is actually an intriguing strategy. But you better make sure you absolutely draft a top homer and steals team if you are going to ignore an entire category.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — March 1, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

  31. The Marlins park is scary for all non-Mike Stanton Marlins. And what you didn’t mention are the three rabbits that will be hitting in front of him; Reyes, Bonifacio and Hanley. Stanton should be able to double-steal his way to 10 bags at least, which will offset him avg drain for a power guy.

    You’re the one pretty far off with Stanton at 18. Down there, you’re probably ranking guys like Cruz, Jennings, Bruce and Morse ahead of him – players with far bigger question marks and/or less track record than Stanton.

    Comment by Brandon — March 2, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

  32. I value AVG as well. Regarding Uggla:

    He is one year removed from a 2010 .287 AVG. His second half in 2011 was .296.

    The ‘decider’ on this one: his 2011 BABIP was .253. His xBABIP (from Fangraphs babip calculator) is .304. He is expected to be much ‘luckier’ this year.

    This enough to rethink your original call?

    Comment by Fred Barker — March 4, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

  33. His .287 average was fueled by a .330 BABIP. He has a career .294 mark, so no reason to project such great luck again. The second half of last year simply balanced out the bad luck from the first half. No reason to look too deeply into that. I am projecting a .253 average and a .290 BABIP, and that BABIP is actually slightly higher than every projection system.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — March 4, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

  34. I see somebody just read/saw Moneyball.

    Comment by Morrissey — March 5, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  35. “He said he’s made tremendous strides in terms of pitch selection this off-season.”

    Also, I hear he’s in the best shape of his life!!!1!11!!!1!one!!

    Comment by Spring Training Memes — March 5, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

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