All Star Break Consensus Ranks: Second Base

At the beginning of the year, I thought this might be the worst position in baseball. It might still be when all is said and done, but there are positive things you can say about this group, too.

There are actually some great young players at the position. Jason Kipnis has zoomed to the top. Jose Altuve probably won’t ever be a true-talent top three guy, but for batting average and speed, he looks like a steady contributor. Kyle Seager is a find. Matt Carpenter was a favorite of ours, but he’s outproduced even our more rosy projections. Jedd Gyorko has a nice compact, fast swing and looks like he’ll have a bit of power. Anthony Rendon, well we have to see about his strikeout rate, but he’s looking good too. Nick Franklin! And maybe even Jurickson Profar.

And you still have the useful veterans sprinkled in. In fact, these rankings go so deep that they make an argument against position scarcity. Well, not completely, you still see that these aren’t first basemen. But! Why reach in a twelve-team mixer if the 12th-ranked second baseman should hit .300 with 15-homer power? You could make a Chase UtleyNeil Walker old man – old man platoon work, even if they only have one healthy knee between them.

Second base: not quite as bad as we thought it would be.

With the color-coding we hope to highlight the biggest movers. That definition changes as you follow the ranks down the list — players had to move more to register a color change as you near the bottom of the list. These are rest-of-season rankings for 5×5 roto. Jeff Zimmerman’s rankings are a combination of ZiPs and Steamer rest-of-season projections with playing time determined by our depth charts. You can find the projections on every player page and the depth charts here.


RG Player ES JZ MP ZS
1 Robinson Cano 1 1 1 1
2 Jason Kipnis 2 2 3 3
3 Dustin Pedroia 4 4 2 2
4 Ian Kinsler 3 5 4 4
5 Jose Altuve 5 3 8 8
6 Aaron Hill 7 9 5 6
7 Brandon Phillips 6 6 6 10
8 Kyle Seager 11 8 10 5
9 Ben Zobrist 10 7 7 11
10 Howie Kendrick 8 11 9 12
11 Everth Cabrera 9 16 11 13
12 Matt Carpenter 12 25 14 7
13 Chase Utley 15 19 12 14
14 Martin Prado 14 10 20 20
15 Neil Walker 13 13 16 24
16 Jedd Gyorko 19 23 15 15
17 Rickie Weeks 16 15 13 29
18 Michael Young 21 18 22 19
19 Anthony Rendon 23 20 21 17
20 Dan Uggla 18 20 17 27
21 Daniel Murphy 22 14 23 23
22 Jed Lowrie 20 35 19 9
23 Nick Franklin 17 39 18 16
24 Omar Infante 26 17 27 21
25 Marco Scutaro 27 21 26 18
26 Josh Rutledge 25 12 32 33
27 Gordon Beckham 28 22 30 39
28 Kelly Johnson 38 31 28 25
29 Jurickson Profar 33 37 34 22
30 Dustin Ackley 29 24 33 41
31 DJ LeMahieu 24 36 29 45
32 Darwin Barney 30 27 35 42
33 Brian Dozier 35 45 24 31
34 Mike Aviles 37 34 38 26
35 Derek Dietrich 39 28 25 45
36 Jeff Keppinger 31 29 40 38
37 Emilio Bonifacio 32 32 31 45
38 Mark Ellis 34 45 37 28
39 Cliff Pennington 36 38 45 35
40 Maicer Izturis 41 45 39 36
41 Jordany Valdespin 40 40 45 45

Also ranked once were Danny Espinosa, Scooter Gennett, Cesar Hernandez, Eric Sogard, Brock Holt, Donovan Solano, and Chris Nelson.




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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


85 Responses to “All Star Break Consensus Ranks: Second Base”

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  1. atoms says:

    Not sure I understand why Aaron Hill is 2 spots above Seager. Longer track record? Better team for R/RBI? I think that might well be offset somewhat by age and health concerns.

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  2. dtpollitt says:

    Man I’m getting frustrated with Zobrist. I love the guy because he represents all that’s great about sabermetrics, but holy hell he’s been steadily declining for what, the last 3 years? I want to keep him for his position eligibility, and because he does a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but argh he’s frustrating. I’m damn near close to getting rid of him.

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    • Cuck city says:

      suck his big allstar

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      • Giovani says:

        These comments sections need more concept-based participants. I support a cuckold themed regular commenter.

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    • Wolf359 says:

      Zobrist has always been overrated by this site and others …

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      • Clifford says:

        overrated? really? from 2009-2012, guess how many position players have more combined WAR than Ben Zobrist? One. Miguel Cabrera. And he’s barely ahead.

        *I understand a large % of his WAR comes from his immense defensive value, so no need to point that out.

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      • Paul says:

        How does WAR directly relate to fantasy? I guess he helps in every cat except AVG, and he’s unremarkable but consistent. If it wasn’t for his multi-position eligibility, I’m thinking he’d be ranked lower.

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  3. TJ says:

    I’ve got Mr. Kinsler on my team and I think a #4 ranking is a little generous…

    He’s not hitting for power…he’s not stealing bags…and his average has been dipping ever since he returned from injury.

    I’m skeptical that he’ll hit 20 HRs and steal 15 bags this year…and if his average is anywhere close to where it was last year then he’s definitely not worth his draft position…and a spot on a fantasy squad is even questionable…

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    • Josh says:

      20 HR and 15 Steals is pretty money for a 2b. Are there really any more than 5-6 second basement you would take over Kinsler?

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      • Paul says:

        Then why is Kendrick ranked 10th? He’ll have those numbers with a superior batting avg.

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      • SKob says:

        Why – History! Projecting Kendrick to keep playing at a level he’s never achieved and projecting Kinsler to play worse than he has in the past is not how projections work. Considering the first half numbers, Kendrick will probably be a better 2B than Kinsler was this year, but for the 2nd half alone, give me Kinsler!

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  4. Jay says:

    JZ’s rankings seem like at this point he’s just intentionally ignoring what’s happened so far this season to ruin these rankings. Franklin is ranked below Aviles, Ackley, and Pennington. Franklin’s track record doesn’t make his performance in his first 40 games seem that crazy, and certainly better than his teammate who lost the job to him, and two guys who don’t have starting jobs anymore.

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    • …and here we go…

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    • Doc says:

      what a novel idea.. let’s complain about zimmerman’s usage of projection based rankings.

      very original.

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      • Cybo says:

        Almost as original as people complaining about people complaining about Zimm’s rankings.

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    • shibboleth says:

      Methinks these aren’t going to go away and an explanation riding alongside all consensus articles wouldn’t hurt. For those of us who are new to them and/or cannot read. Although the lack of clarity does offer some interesting discussion in the comments….

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        Added something. Who knows if it will help. We’ll also look into adding back in some form of RL for missing playing time on injury-prone players.

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      • jfree says:

        A mere explanation can’t possibly help. Face it — at least 50% of the population (probably closer to 99%) are now pod people


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  5. Will says:

    Where would Lawrie be ranked once (if?) he gains 2B eligibility?

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  6. Endershadow says:

    Lawrie behind Howie if he gains eligibility?

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  7. Billy says:

    How is Uggla at 20? He’ll get 20 HRs, 20 singles, and 200 strikeouts. Nothing else. And he won’t bat his weight.

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  8. TreeFrog says:

    The magic of Seager is impressive… He’s ranked #9, but still manages to appear above Zobrist, who’s ranked #8.

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  9. bradley newman says:

    Why does Zimmerman rank Carpenter at #25? Is he projecting him to have a horrible 2nd half? Is he saying his 1st half #s were lucky? I’m new to sabre-metrics so I’m curious as to the low ranking when each time I watch him bat, he looks rock solid.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      Zimmerman uses projections, which you can see on the player page. One problem for Carpenter is that Steamer doesn’t project him into full playing time going forward, probably because he’s a rookie. The other is that both projection systems don’t believe he can sustain a .352 BABIP. And both think he’s a bit over his head for power. I think the runs are good enough to put him in the top twelve, but I agree he’s probably .280+ with about five homers the rest of the way, if we use his minor league work as a track record.

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  10. Clifford says:

    the low ranking of Matt Carpenter in both the 1B and 2B rankings is quite perplexing if you ask me. Talking about a guy who is currently on pace to post .321, 125 runs, 49 doubles, 7 triples, 16 HR, 78 RBI, 68/89 BB/K, .394 OBP, and near .900 OPS. Seems a little ridiculous.

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    • ncb says:

      it is cause by JZ’s projection rankings which in turn are so low on Carpenter because he is not projected for full playing time.

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      • Clifford says:

        yeah, I get that part, but others still have him listed at 12 and 11, which IMO, is still far too low.

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      • John says:

        Why even put his rankings in there if they are no thought from him. Just total up the projections (even if they think carpenter will be a part time pleyer the rest of the way) and poof…there’s his score. I thought the authors on this site were known for their insight and analysis…not just repeating others projections.

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      • Kevin says:

        There is a thought process to JZ’s work, he’s made a custom method to blend the projections systems available.

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    • batpig says:

      Unfortunately you don’t get to stop the season at the All-Star Break and just book their “on pace for” numbers. They actually have to play the second half, and you have to project that.

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  11. Todd says:

    Why am I not surprised that Zimmerman, who ranked Bud Norris ahead of Chris Sale in last year’s All-Star break rankings, has absurd second base rankings? Matt Carpenter at 25? Josh Rutledge at 12? Omar Infante (17) ahead of Chase Utley (19)? At least Zimmerman’s consistent…

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  12. LuckyStrikes says:

    Brad Miller has started 4 games at 2B for SEA. Could gain 2B eligibility soon.

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  13. pudieron89 says:

    Altuve is awful high.

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  14. pudieron89 says:

    Everth doesn’t have 2B elig?

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  15. pudieron89 says:

    Why even include Jeff if he’s not going to do any work on this? Just say it’s a projection aggregation and move on, then you won’t get complaints from people. It is the simplest thing in the world to realize some players are going to get more/less playing time at the midway point than their projections at the beginning of the season, which may have been based on depth or performance which changed drastically in some cases. Jeff could do this but he hasn’t, so he’s really not contributing anything.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      You know what’s way harder than ignoring one column? Running a system that combines information from two projection systems and the depth charts on these sites (so yes, playing time is accounted for) and then uses fantasy replacement level to spit out a value for these rankings. I know how much work he does on these.

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      • pudieron89 says:

        He runs his system, it spits out a ranking. The vultures convene on it in the rankings. Yes, people will never agree and that’s the point of driving discussion, but come on, his are so far off base from what the other 3 of you have listed and what common sense would dictate for players like Matt Carpenter or Josh Rutledge, as extreme examples of the playing time point.

        We can’t ignore his column because the other 3 of you didn’t, and it reflects in the overall rankings where it is weighted equally with all of yours.

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      • jfree says:

        It is apparently no longer possible to actually have an opinion that isn’t the same as everyone else’s without being accused of “lacking common sense” or “defying scientific consensus” or somesuch epithet

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      • pudieron89 says:

        You should look up the definition of epithet before rushing to post your sycophant comment, homeboy. JZ doesn’t have a different opinion, he has an outdated opinion based on outdated data that he doesn’t apparently care enough to update.

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      • ncb says:

        I submitted a community post about my methodology using the ZIPS projections to determine fantasy value over replacements (while accounting for playing time). However, my excel sheet wouldn’t upload properly. If you are interested in it I’m more than willing to share it.

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      • majnun says:

        It’s work that everyone hates. Why don’t you get this? It’s bad work that everyone hates and complains about.

        We hate his hard work. We wish he didn’t work so hard, and that his work wasn’t included at all. We wish his work, provided to us for free, did not exist at all.

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      • batpig says:

        You are incorrect, not everyone hates it, just a few vocal people who feel the need to vocalize EVERY time.

        Including a computer generated projection as 25% of the overall ranking isn’t “bad work”, it’s smart hedging. It’s an unbiased mathematical model that serves as a built-in hedge against overreaction by flawed human rankings. Get over it.

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  16. Trevor says:

    Neil Walker is 27, hardly old. I sure as hell hope you were not thinking of Todd Walker.

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  17. Todd says:

    If Zimmerman’s rankings are based on his projection system, then he needs to revisit his formula.

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  18. Tchaikovsky08 says:

    I appreciate that four fantasy baseball writers can have such varying opinions (such as JZ’s). I’m honestly curious, however, how JZ is doing in his fantasy leagues this year using his formula. It would be interesting to compare and contrast different fantasy strategies with results.

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  19. Brian says:

    There should be more love for Everth! He’s going to win you SB almost by himself (on pace for a little under 60 despite missing time) and doesn’t kill you in the other categories. He’s the only major steals-guy that pulls his weight. That makes him solid gold to me.

    For me, when it comes to middle infielders, I look at HR+SB for guys and for guys who don’t handicap me too much in other categories. I’d rather have Everth’s 7 HR and 60 SB (67) than Aaron Hill (projected total of 15 by ZiPS), or Zobrist (24).

    Heck, I mean, Altuve is basically the same player without the steals, as he’s projected to finish up with 6 HR and 36 SB (41 total). He’s also got a significantly weaker slash line .280/.315/.352 than Everth does .291/.373/.396 yet you have Altuve at #5 overall.

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    • Tchaikovsky08 says:

      I disagree with your fundamental premise as applied to a H2H league. I’d rather win steals 5-4 and HRs 9-8 in a given week than win steals 12-4 and lose HRs 8-6. Certainly a guy like Everth has a lot of value in H2H, but often the “one-category monsters” aren’t as valuable as the guys who can contribute across 5 categories.

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      • Clifford says:

        really? youd rather win 2 categories by a close margin rather than only 1(and lose 1) by a large margin? what intellectual depth.

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      • Tchaikovsky08 says:

        The premise isn’t that I’d rather go 2-0 instead of 1-1 in steals and HRs. The premise is that players who dominate one category aren’t as useful as 4- or 5-category guys in H2H, at least in my opinion.

        Glad you glommed on to my specific hypothetical (and used it to insult me) instead of considering the broader point I was making.

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      • wainman says:

        There’s less variance in a 5/60 guy than a 15/15 guy.

        Would you rather take a guy that will get you roughly 3 steals EVERY WEEK?
        Or a guy that will get you an average of .5 HR/SB per week?

        The 2nd option is a drop in the bucket for those categories. The 1st option is a huge advantage in that category every single week.

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    • Tchaikovsky08 says:

      My preference is to load up on several 4- or 5-category guys which helps eliminate some variance that might appear in any given individual case. While I agree that a 5/60 guy is more consistently going to win you steals, what happens when he gets injured? Suddenly you have zero speed. If you have several 15/15 guys, you can more easily absorb one of them going down.

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  20. andy s says:

    A humble suggestion: instead of labeling the projections “JZ”, come up with some fancy-pants name for the projection system he uses. A lot of the frustration seems to stem from the sense that his rankings aren’t actually “his”. If the point of including his rankings is that they are a (relatively) agnostic projection counterweight to our irrational human overexcitement, it might help to make that more obvious in the nomenclature.

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    • jfree says:

      There is not a single comment that actually objects to his use of projection system. They all simply object to “his system doesn’t agree with everyone else re this player” and then uses “projection system methodology” as a conformity stick.

      Personally I’ve always thought projection systems adjust too slowly to skill changes. But then again, it is hard to tell the difference between skill changes and a hitting streak (or skill declines and a hitting slump). Even harder to quantify the former moving forward.

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      • ncb says:

        his projection system doesn’t account for playing time. Therefore when steamer has Chris Davis out for 15 games, his system assumes that spot is just dead rather than being filled with a waiver wire quality player. Its why a lot of his rankings are whacky.

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      • Clifford says:

        his system has absolutely nothing to do with fantasy baseball.

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  21. Cybo says:

    A projection systen cannot weigh real world information such as injuries and a teams depth at a givin position. I think that’s the problem most of us have with JZ’s rankings (those of us who disagree).

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  22. ashtray says:

    I really hope Franklin doesn’t read fangraphs. Those rankings are cold blooded.

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  23. Kaline's Ghost says:

    odd that Hill winds up higher than Phillips on the composite even though 3 of 4 project Phillips as the better option (yes, I understand that its because ZS irrationally believes Seager (in that offense), Altuve (with that power), Lowrie (with all his injuries) and Carpenter (with, well something) are all better options than Phillips)

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  24. Jay says:

    Why is Infante is always underrated?

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  25. Gary Meadows says:

    The preseason consensus rankings had sortable columns on the page if I’m correct. Why not this edition?

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  26. Paul says:

    So, what’s the real reason behind Kendrick’s 10th ranking? He’s a 20/15 guy with a great average.

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  27. thecodygriffin says:

    Why is it that when Rendon is mentioned, his strikeout rate is listed as a concern? It is above league average right now, during his rookie season, in which he is 23. What gives? Can someone please enlighten me?

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    • thecodygriffin says:

      I mistakenly used above instead of below. I meant to imply that it is better than league average right now.

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      • Wolf359 says:

        I was wondering about that as well. He was the best pure hitter in a very good draft so those strikeout concerns are vastly overblown.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        Given his 17.5% overall strikeout rate in the minors, I’d say his current strikeout rate is on the upper end of his possible outcomes. Doesn’t mean it’s not real.

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      • thecodygriffin says:

        Eno… I appreciate the response, but it didn’t really clarify why his current strikeout rate is concerning. I understand it is “real”, but even if it remained at the current rate for his career, it is by no means a concerning strikeout rate.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        I’m saying that it could not be real, because I’d predict a higher MLB strikeout rate for a guy that had that MiLB strikeout rate.

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  28. Enkidu says:

    Carpenter has a first half with a .352 BABIP and .176 ISO and the thought is that is a bit over his head so expect a drop.

    2012 BABIP .346. ISO .169
    2011 (AAA). BABIP .331. ISO .164
    2010 (AA) BABIP .377. ISO .172

    Is his performance this year really that far from his track record?

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    • Clifford says:

      pretty sure minor league BABIPs don’t translate to the major league level. at least their hasn’t been any direct link proven yet.

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  29. Hmmbug says:

    In a 6×6 16-team league with extra-base hits and complete games, I need the complete games and most pitching stats in general. I just offered Jose Iglesias, Steve Cishek, and David Freese for Jedd Gyorko, Mat Latos, and Justin Masterson. Good deal?

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  30. Mike says:

    At this point in the season, you know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Hence, it is all about the categories. If you are basing your rankings on a traditional 5 by 5 league, how can Altuve be far ahead of Uggla?

    If you rank each second baseman on a scale of 1 to 10 in the five categories, Uggla will come out ahead, even with is 1 in batting average.

    Altuve scores near the bottom in HRs and RBIs. Surprisingly he does not help you in runs either. His batting average is okay, but not a huge asset. So unless you really need stolen bases there is no reason to even start Altuve regardless of your team.

    I would rather look to balance my batting average around Uggla and get elite power numbers and excellent run numbers opposed to what amounts to mostly a hole with Altuve.

    In OBP leagues, Uggla is far superior to Altuve too….

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  31. SKob says:

    I have been a past complainer of JZ and every consensus article has multiple comments dedicated to complaining. We have known the source and reason for the weird rankings for some time now, so let me know change the subject of the complaint. What the hell is going on with the rest of season projections? I get that complaining about free baseball info on this site gets a few people riled up here, but I just bought some funny T-shirts, so I think I get to voice my opinion.

    Why would I trust these rankings if they seem so ridiculous when included in these charts? If Steamer or Zips really thinks Josh Rutledge, Dustin Ackley, and Daniel Murphy are all going to be more valuable than Matt Carpenter for the rest of the season, I have far more of an issue with this than I do that some wackjob would actually rank them this way. Am I expected to believe in the brilliant mathematical analysis of these projections systems when the gap between the rankings and reality is so drastic? I don’t know why it is so hard to incorporate playing time into projections when it is commonly done in almost every other format. While I find the information useful in some aspects, it is far more complicated to use when you know there are major holes in the information being provided. While sabermetricians rag on ESPN, CBS, and Yahoo rankings, the information presented is usually reasonable. What good is a complete analysis when it can’t be trusted due to various reasons? It’s like having a million dollar mansion with a sink hole in the middle – it’s still better than my shack, but watch your step!

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