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  1. Greinke’s ERA- over the past two years are 101 and 95 respectively. I understand his peripherals are great, but I don’t see how you can put him in the same tier of pitcher as Verlander, Weaver, Felix, etc at this point in the season.

    Comment by Omar Little — August 9, 2012 @ 8:24 am

  2. Buchholz has been excellent for over two months now. He’s two tiers too low.

    Comment by Locust — August 9, 2012 @ 8:30 am

  3. …errrr, okay maybe just one tier too low, on second thought (based on K-rate).

    Comment by Locust — August 9, 2012 @ 8:40 am

  4. Grienke has 0 wins, 6.05 ERA, and 1.50 WHIP since June 28th. He does NOT belong in tier 1

    Comment by Vinny — August 9, 2012 @ 8:42 am

  5. I’m sorry but David price is a CLEAR first tier guy at this point. That tier is a mess. How are darvish and price anywhere close in value?

    Comment by theojd — August 9, 2012 @ 8:44 am

  6. Is Zach McAllister too low here?

    Comment by um. — August 9, 2012 @ 8:47 am

  7. Agree. He and Price should switch places

    Comment by LuckyStrikes — August 9, 2012 @ 8:48 am

  8. Curious why you’re not higher on Matt Moore – in his last 15 starts, he is 7-4 with a 3.11 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and 90 Ks in 89.2 IP. He’s had only 3 of those starts where he gave up more than 3 earned runs and 10 with 2 or fewer. Is it the high walk rate (4.22 per 9)?

    And what about Price has him not in the top 5? Is it the league-leading xFIP? #4 in FIP? #5 in K/9? #5 in fWAR?

    I understand this is “for the rest of August”. Just wanting to know what trends you’re seeing that has them lower than they’ve pitched to date?

    Comment by Dave — August 9, 2012 @ 8:52 am

  9. Beckett is a hot mess right now. I would have trouble trading him straight up for Bartolo Colon. At least with Colon you could start him in the Coliseum. When do I start Beckett? He has an unfavorable home park, in the toughest division in baseball. I’ve had him ride the pine in my league for the last month, and I’m thinking about dropping him. Theres no telling whenever he’s going to take a dump all over your ERA and WHIP, and since I can’t trust him, I’m honestly thinking about cutting him and just doing daily streamers.

    Beckett is way too high….

    Comment by Hunter — August 9, 2012 @ 8:53 am

  10. I think all Angels pitchers should have a BABIP of around .000with Trout and Hunter out there. Fly balls+big park+speedy smart OFs sounds like a good recipe for beating your predictors. Visiting Oakland and Seattle alot helps too, I’m sure.

    Comment by sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo — August 9, 2012 @ 9:04 am

  11. say what you want about jason vargas, his dependence on safeco and so on, but he’s having a nice season and you’re still ranking him below jerome williams and derek lowe, who aren’t even starting pitchers any more. lowe isn’t even on a roster. seems harsh

    Comment by wily mo — August 9, 2012 @ 9:17 am

  12. Not really. His xFIP in June was 3.94 and 4.16 in July. He’s just been lucky with a .253 and .200 BABIP those months which kept his ERA below 3.00.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — August 9, 2012 @ 9:26 am

  13. These are rankings going forward, not how the pitcher has performed over the last month.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — August 9, 2012 @ 9:27 am

  14. They aren’t that close. Price is at the top of the tier and Darvish is at the bottom. The order within my tiers does matter.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — August 9, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  15. That’s funny, I was higher on Moore than everyone else! In fact, I own him in all my leagues. I dropped him a tier last ranking, because his walk rate hadn’t improved like I expected. Despite the shiny ERA, his xFIP hasn’t gotten any better. He’s just had better luck.

    On Price, there really isn’t much of a difference between the bottom tier 1 guy (Weaver) and top tier 2 guys. Maybe $2 of value? That’s not a big deal. Price specifically though has a lower than league average SwStk%, which suggests that the strikeout rate should be lower. He’s also been quite lucky with LOB%.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — August 9, 2012 @ 9:33 am

  16. Oops, forgot to pay enough attention to the bottom guys! I removed Lowe and Williams. As for Vargas, his SIERA is 4.40 and that comes with a terrible strikeout rate and a weak offense behind him.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — August 9, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  17. I agre with Avon (or whomever). Zack Greinke above Jered Weaver, Felix Hernandez & David Price seems especially foolhardy and not at all reactionary enough.

    Comment by Stan Gable — August 9, 2012 @ 10:08 am

  18. What does his xFIP have to do with his standard rotisserie performance? Clay Buchholz is on a team that should give him ample run support & is 7-1 with an ERA of 2.43 & a WHIP below 1.00 since May wrapped. Do you think any Buchholz owners would even consider a SU trade whereby they’d receive Justin Masterson, Gavin Floyd or Josh Beckett at this juncture? Of course not.

    Comment by Stan Gable — August 9, 2012 @ 10:13 am

  19. ‘Price is at the top of the tier and Darvish is at the bottom. The order within my tiers does matter.’

    So the order does matter?

    Comment by Stan Gable — August 9, 2012 @ 10:14 am

  20. Jon Lester is entirely too high. Did Rip Van Winkle contribute to this submission?

    Comment by Stan Gable — August 9, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  21. David Price should not be in the same group with guys like Lester and Shields. He has been one of the most consistent AL starters this year.

    Comment by ObiWarKenobi — August 9, 2012 @ 10:24 am

  22. Exactly. Classifying Price otherwise is practically indefensible.

    Comment by Stan Gable — August 9, 2012 @ 10:30 am

  23. If you had any commom sense, you’d realize that these are rankings MOVING FORWARD.

    I love how you ass clowns come on to these rankings’ posts to make ridiculous claims. Mike and co. do a great job EVERY DAY and for some unknown reason these pieces provoke non-sensical comments like the one above.

    Comment by GoHabsGo — August 9, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  24. Still, there’s no way Price isn’t a first tier guy. I realize you’re saying there are degrees between them, but still having Price & Darvish in the same tier is a bit out there.

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 9, 2012 @ 10:40 am

  25. There is no consistency between the authors’ ranking methodology on fangraphs. I can’t tell you how many times a player’s ranking has been justified by the author with the explanation, “A player’s position within a tier doesn’t really matter; he can be switched with any other player within the same tier.”

    I agree with that explanation, too. Isn’t that the point of tiers: to group the guys that you can’t realistically differentiate with a numerical ranking? Otherwise, why not just straight rank them from 1-100 and just eliminate the tiers altogether? If Price and Darvish are that far apart, put them in different tiers.

    Comment by BStu185 — August 9, 2012 @ 10:44 am

  26. Mike – any idea when National league tiers will be up? Debating some options in trades here and need an extra perspective.

    Comment by Pdiddy31 — August 9, 2012 @ 10:44 am

  27. And Mike, I’m sorry, but the Lester ranking is a crazy head-scratcher. That K rate has been falling off a few years now. Not sure if he’s just a pitcher in decline, but that ranking – even going forward with great luck – is really tough to defend. Ive had a mancrush on him for the last 3 years, but clearly he’s not the same guy any longer

    Comment by Pdiddy31 — August 9, 2012 @ 10:47 am

  28. I mean, I like beer and fried chicken
    more than most folks and my game is also certainly in decline. I see a correlation here…

    Comment by Pdiddy31 — August 9, 2012 @ 10:50 am

  29. I’m concerned reading through this that you see a number that is above or below league average and you instantly label it luck whether good or bad. It’s never that simple.

    Like accounting all of Buchholz’s recent success to luck sells him REALLY short and I think it’s actually incorrect. I think that kind of stats-only analysis loses some folks and leaves you prone to bigger misses.

    Stats are great and they definitely merit consideration, but it looks like they are the *only* factor in these rankings based on the commentary and then your comment responses. And I’m sorry, but there is just no way that Price hasn’t been a top tier AL SP and done enough this year & throughout his career to project the same going forward.

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 9, 2012 @ 10:54 am

  30. BTW if you want another voice to juxtapose against Michael’s rankings, I released by rest of season SP ranks – http://paulsporer.com/2012/08/08/starting-pitching-rankings-for-remainder-of-12/

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 9, 2012 @ 10:57 am

  31. Excellent – thanks

    Comment by Pdiddy31 — August 9, 2012 @ 11:21 am

  32. the point, i believe, is that they should strongly consider such a trade if they are planning ahead instead of assuming that everyone will do exactly what they did the last 2 months

    Comment by pastadiving jeter — August 9, 2012 @ 11:29 am

  33. That’s is not the correct context to use the word “juxtapose “.

    Additionally, regarding your RoS “rankings”:

    J Zimm > Burnett
    Greinke > Cain
    Weaver > Price

    Comment by GoHabsGo — August 9, 2012 @ 11:33 am

  34. Wow, snark much? Sure it is: “to place close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.”

    And those are your opinions… duly noted, but I obviously disagree. Greinke’s periphs are great, but he has to start being dinged for the fact that he isn’t performing up to them. His implosion starts on him, can’t just keep chalking it up to “bad luck”, especially if you watch ’em. I realize statheads love him and I do, too, but Cain is better.

    Weaver is great; Price is better.

    And why exactly are they “rankings” as opposed to rankings? LOL.

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 9, 2012 @ 11:42 am

  35. I dont think you know what a “tier” means

    Comment by Vinny — August 9, 2012 @ 11:44 am

  36. xFIP is a much better predictor of future ERA is than ERA itself. So while no one actually plays with xFIP as a category, everyone does ERA, and since these rankings are for future performance, I look at that metric before actual ERA.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — August 9, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  37. So what is someone like CJ Wilson doing to stay so far above a Buchholz (or so high in general)? He hasn’t had an xFIP below 4.06 since Apr (though I’m skeptical of just utilizing monthly xFIP anyway) with a terrible walk rate. While he looks really good at times, he just hasn’t had any measure of consistency the last month-plus.

    I’ve been down on Buchholz for some time and was really down on him coming into the season, but Collette & Normandin encouraged me to check out some of his starts with that sinker dominating and his success definitely cannot be written as simply “lucky”.

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 9, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

  38. I hope must understand that, but I’m sure some are forgetting that. However, past performance is a key factor in predicting future performance. Greinke’s sharp skillset earns him those shiny xFIPs that make statheads drool, but his inability to avoid the implosion starts (often self-inflicted) prevent his results from matching those indicators.

    I’m just not seeing how he can realistically be projected to out-perform Felix at this point, let alone Price and probably even teammate Weaver. Obviously in a short sample anything can happen and we’ll see some things we don’t expect in the coming two months, but I think there is a general overrating of Greinke at this point. Not just by you.

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 9, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

  39. Paul, I am surprised you have Wainwright ahead of Weaver. I realize they are right next to each other, but shouldn’t a quick look at their stats show that Weaver is clearly better? I think a long look at their stats would show the same. Why was Wainwright ahead of him?

    Comment by drewcorb — August 9, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  40. If you want to plug your own website, buy an advertisement.

    Comment by Detroit Michael — August 9, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  41. Ok, to insert the definition into you sentence:

    “BTW if you want another voice to ‘place close together or side by side’ against Michael’s rankings…”

    That makes no sense. You may have stated, “…another voice to juxtapose Michael’s rankings…”, it would probably sound like a better way to self-promote your site.

    Can you please explain AJ being ranked above Zimmermann?

    Do your rankings include arm tattoos?

    Comment by GoHabsGo — August 9, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  42. Methinks Pdiddy = Paul Sporer, methinks.

    Comment by GoHabsGo — August 9, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

  43. Oh, c’mon… If you don’t want to go to the site, don’t click the link. It’s not like I’m spamming FG w/links to my site. It’s pertinent to the article and I’ve been a part of the community here for quite a long time. I’m not begging for click-throughs. I didn’t think it was a big deal.

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 9, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

  44. Methinks you’re completely wrong. Methinks. I have one acct. here.

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 9, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

  45. drew, that was one rank I looked at yesterday right after posting & regretted. I think I’d reverse those two if I re-did em.

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 9, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

  46. Wow, you’re trite. Honestly, if you weren’t behaving like a tool, I’d engage you in a discussion about the rankings, but you don’t seem to be worth the time.

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 9, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

  47. “into you sentence” …

    Sweet grammar, bro. Into you sentence? That’s not even a phrase!

    See how that comes across? That’s how your messages read.

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 9, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

  48. These rankings are basically useless for fantasy players so long as Price and Lester are in the same group. I don’t understand what Price would have to do to get in the first tier. Leave the AL East or something?

    Comment by The SubMariner — August 9, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  49. “Peavy moves up a tier now. His ERA has jumped above 3.00, so I don’t have to worry as much about luck regression leading to a poor rest of season mark.”

    Um, what? This is moronic. Gambler’s fallacy much?

    Comment by Brian — August 9, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

  50. ‘Nonsensical’ doesn’t need a hyphen. It’s one word. Also, what about the comment was nonsensical? Not a Washington Irving fan?

    Of course it’s understood that the rankings are going FW (where did I ever say otherwise?) & I happen to be a big Jon Lester fan. Ranking him at any place near David Price &/or Chris Sale (above?) at this point is borderline absurd & can’t possibly be based on their performances or even their talent levels.

    Comment by Stan Gable — August 9, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  51. Methinks he’s a belligerent tool. Nothing to see here..

    Comment by Stan Gable — August 9, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  52. It’s ridiculous. Not to mention Chris Sale being placed below Lester on the same general tier (meaningful or not, in 2012 parlance they shouldn’t be in same stratosphere).

    Can you imagine pitching a Jon Lester SU deal to a Sale owner whilst telling said individual to pay no mind to the ERA a shade under 6.00 because his K rate in July was his highest monthly rate of 2012? Me neither..

    Comment by Stan Gable — August 9, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  53. Where does Straily fall? That was the #1 reason I came here :(

    Comment by Congo Hammer — August 9, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  54. Gable, was that directed at me?

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 9, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

  55. Agreed. He at least needs to drop a group. And he isn’t striking batters out anymore. I dropped him for Doug Fister last week. No regrets at all.

    Comment by Andy — August 9, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  56. Haren & Lester way too high. Fister in the same tier as Beckett? Ok.

    Comment by db — August 9, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

  57. WHAT ABOUT ME? IS MY QUALITY START MACHINE DONE?

    Comment by A.J. GRIFFIN — August 9, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  58. I guess you’d go in the injured tier w/the others.

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 9, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

  59. Totally understand your point here and I’ve struggled with deciding whether the gambler’s fallacy applies to pitchers in baseball or not. For the most part, I think pitchers do see their luck regress and their ERAs will change in a hurry to their expected mark. No studies to confirm this, but from experience, it seems to happen this way more often than not, as opposed to the pitcher just pitching near his SIERA the rest of the way, and finishing the season outperforming it.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — August 9, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  60. Ughhh, I knew I would leave someone obvious out. He’s a real tough one to peg. Lack of great stuff, but excellent minor league stats. Do the strikeouts translate if he’s only averaging 91? They haven’t so far for Hellickson who throws with the same velocity. Straily is also an extreme fly ball pitcher so home runs are going to be a problem, though Oakland’s park helps. I’d throw him into the I’m Not Okay tier.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — August 9, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

  61. I’ll jump on the “David Price is first tier” bandwagon. If you are grouping in tiers then he is certainly more similar to the Felix/Weaver/Greinke group than he is to Shields, Lester, and Darvish.

    Price has put up elite xFIP/SIERA in the low 3’s for 2 years running, lowering his BB rate while bumping the K-rate. He has had a WHIP below 1.20 for 3 years running now. Even if you expect him to “regress” to a 3.27 ERA (like ZiPS RoS projects, right at his SIERA/xFIP marks) the excellent WHIP, K and W totals clearly put him in the 1st tier.

    Greinke has that lovely xFIP and K-rate, and I expect his ERA to drop to the low 3’s going forward like Price, but his high BABIP (he has NEVER posted a BABIP below .300 since his rookie year) keeps his WHIP at 1.20+. Outside of his super awesome CY year in 2009, he has never posted a WHIP below 1.20.

    And if you are going to ding Price for his SwStr%, note that Greinke’s is lower this year (7.9%).

    Compare their 2012 stats:

    Price: 3.17 xFIP / 3.26 SIERA, 1.13 WHIP, 14 W, 8.88 K/9, 8.6% SwStr%
    Zack: 2.96 xFIP / 3.12 SIERA, 1.26 WHIP, 9 W, 8.68 K/9, 7.9% SwStr%

    Other than the slight xFIP/SIERA advantage Price is slightly better across the board. And you can’t expect the BABIP difference to iron out the gap with regression — Price has a .282 BABIP which is slightly higher than his career .274 mark, whereas Greinke’s .328 is a bit higher than his career .310 mark. Greinke gets less advantage from the awesome LAA OF defense because he is an extreme GB’er, but I would still expect that BABIP to come down a bit…

    Not arguing that Price is BETTER necessarily going forward, but they are obviously in the same tier.

    Comment by batpig — August 9, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

  62. Ya, there is absolutely no way Greinke is the 3rd best fantasy pitcher in the AL.
    All the guys in the first tier are better, along with several of the 2nd tier pitchers.

    Comment by cs3 — August 9, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

  63. Wait, what kind of league are these rankings for?!?! Because some preseason rankings are more useful.

    Firstly, Greinke in the top tier? Uh, have you seen any of his games the past 3 months? What about the past 3 seasons? The fact that the writer celebrates Greinke but questions Weaver, huh? Seems to me like over-analyzing when the answer is right in front of your face.

    Meanwhile David Price is hanging out with Lester and Yu. I hate being so negative, but this is borderline disinformation.

    Comment by badr — August 9, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

  64. era-

    does that account for a crappy defense?

    Comment by bSpittle — August 9, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

  65. great comment, Batpig. It’s a shame the author refused to acknowledge it though. Lester lol

    Comment by The SubMariner — August 9, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

  66. I just think its funny that most of the guys on FG and now espn unfortunately, have now focused all their emphasis on peripheral statistics rather than standard stat categories that are actually relevant to fantasy leagues…xFIP and SIERA are all great and fancy, often making people sound a lot smarter than they actually are…yet, most of these guys prolly wouldn’t trade josh Beckett for ryan vogelsong….essentially 2 straight years of dominance is simply written off as luck….has anyone considered that a lot of the statistical data collected in order to make statements like “xFIP is a better indicator of future success than ERA”…was accumulated during the steroid era?…where almost all pitching stats should be discounted

    I just think in general there is a severe tendency to overvalue guys that have historically done well, while undervaluing guys that might only have had 1-2 good seasons….I like to read their rankings because I find them interesting, but in reality, they are so random….for instance, at this point, how can you seriously put Paul konerko ahead of A-Gon, whose prolly been the single best player in the league since the ASB?….whereas konerko may be headed to the DL….and these rankings should unquestionably look something like this…..Verlander, Felix, Price, Weaver….I love the undying faith in Lester…when is someone else going to realize that he’s really never had an elite elite season?….

    Comment by Cliff — August 9, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  67. But where in the tier, since there is apparently a huge difference between top and bottom ;-)

    Comment by majnun — August 9, 2012 @ 11:25 pm

  68. Jesus Ubaldo! Be terrible or be great make up your mind! 10 K’s vs 1 BB tonight over 6 IP, and he’s done similarly well against decent offenses already this season! Most infuriating pitcher I’ve ever seen!

    Comment by Stuck in a slump — August 9, 2012 @ 11:50 pm

  69. How you like Moore now? Kidding. Sample size notwithstanding, in his last four starts, his walk rate is down to 2.5/9 IP. Much more in line with what we were anticipating. As a Moore owner in a keeper league, I couldn’t be more excited for his next couple of seasons.

    Comment by Dave — August 10, 2012 @ 10:30 am

  70. No Paul – it was for the Habs fan guy.

    Comment by Stan Gable — August 10, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

  71. True, he stayed away from the more incisive replies on here, lol

    Comment by Stan Gable — August 10, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

  72. That’s unfortunate. I think there were some really good replies/questions here. Not just hatchet jobs on Mike, but rather people looking for some real conversation to better understand the ranks because some things seems to contradict others and it’s hard to get a read on why he ranked some the way he did.

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 10, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  73. Statistically speaking, the gambler’s fallacy applies (in that it remains a false expectation) everywhere. If we truly believe that baseball players performance, all things being equal, has a mean and a standard deviation, which is what basing projections on sabermetrics like xFIP explicitly assume.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regression_toward_the_mean
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambler%27s_fallacy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_averages

    If a pitcher’s true talent level is a 3.00 ERA, and he’s at 2.00 via some luck, with luck taken out of the equation, you should expect his ERA to be 3.00 going forward. You don’t expect him to have a stretch of 4.00 ERA performances to get him back to 3.00, before he becomes a 3.00 ERA pitcher again. I don’t see how this is logically arguable–players do not become worse than their talent level simply because they’ve played a bit over their head for a while and need to “regress”. Good luck to start a season doesn’t require bad luck on the back end to balance it out–or at the least, it has no place outside of a Matthew Berry column.

    Comment by Brian — August 13, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  74. Completely understand your point, and I know that’s the argument in favor of the fallacy applying. However, I have seen time and time again that ERAs do overcorrect to make up for good luck earlier in the season. I justify this because our projections for a pitcher is that he is a true talent 3.00 ERA guy over a full season. That doesn’t mean every single time out he’s a 3.00 ERA guy. It’s usually a roller coaster ride, but eventually he’ll settle on that 3.00 ERA. So if the ups all happen to occur early in the season, then lots of times the downs will soon follow. Of course, no research to back this up, and not every pitcher follows this pattern obviously, but I do see it enough to have my doubts about applying the fallacy.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — August 13, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

  75. You play in a league where Doug Fister was on waivers?? 5-teamer?

    Comment by Jason B — August 14, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

  76. Sorry, Mike you’re just not making any sense here. “To make up for good luck earlier in the season”?? Are there a series of baseball gods doling out luck during the season and after sprinkling James McDonald with tons of good luck during the beginning of the season, they’re now dousing him with bad luck? That’s silly.

    I think the problem is that you simply chalk *way* too much up to luck, good & bad. It’s a very simplistic (and generally incorrect) way of explaining things that run counter to your expectations. Brian nails it here and you willfully ignore it which, with all due respect, makes it hard to put much weight into your analysis & rankings.

    Comment by Paul Sporer — August 14, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

  77. Haren just can’t be in that tier until things get back on track.

    Comment by Jro — August 18, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

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