Dee Gordon: The New Juan Pierre?

It’s not often that a player we failed to even rank in the preseason finishes third in overall value at his position. But that’s exactly what Dee Gordon did, earning the third highest dollar value among second basemen this year. If someone told you that Gordon would earn nearly $3 more than Robinson Cano this year before the season began, you would have laughed in his face. But maybe it shouldn’t have been so shocking.

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RotoGraphs Audio: The Sleeper and the Bust 10/20/2014

Episode 174

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is live!

Eno Sarris and Nicholas Minnix talk end-of-season first basemen rankings, which went up last week, and what they think of the 2015 prospects for some first basemen, including: Steve Pearce, Chris Davis, Chris Carter, Lucas Duda, and Matt Adams. The analysts also break into some discussion about some general auction and draft strategy related to the position.

As usual, don’t hesitate to tweet us or comment with fantasy questions so that we may answer them in our next episode.

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Robinson Cano: Power Struggles

Generally, everyone expected Robinson Cano home runs, runs batted in and runs scored to be down in 2014 compared to 2013 as he went from the Yankees to the Mariners. The Runs (81 to 77) were about the same and the RBIs dropped a good amount (107 to 82), but it was the home runs which did owners in. They nearly halved going from 27 in 2013 to 14 in 2014. Today, I am going to look at the decline’s  cause and if there is any hope for 2015.

The first key is to see how many home runs Cano lost moving from Yankee Stadium to Safeco Field. Using Inside Edge data*,  I estimated his HRs in 2012 and 2013 if he played half his games in Safeco and half at a league average field. This value would give an estimate on how much his home run total would go down. He hit 60 for the combined two seasons and the estimated home run total was 54.0. On average, he would be down three home runs per season if he was a Mariner those two years. If we move to his 2014 home runs, he would be estimated to hit 14.4 HR. He wasn’t exactly unlucky this past season, he hit almost as many home runs as he deserved.

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Neil Walker: Improperly Named

You can’t choose your last name. Otherwise, we might have to quibble with Neil Walker‘s choice, considering his career walk rate is below league average. His impatience doesn’t come with a poor knowledge of the strike zone, however, and that’s probably what helped fuel a semi-breakout season at 29 years old, despite a four-year low in walk rate.

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Anatomy of an Adjustment: Brian Dozier

In July, I wrote a column detailing my concerns about Brian Dozier. Dozier came into July with 51 walks compared to 65 strikeouts, and that plate discipline was a big part of his move into the top tier of fantasy second-base options. By the time I wrote him up on July 28, the 27-year-old had amassed 21 strikeouts, with just one measly walk, since the calendar turned over to July.

Without regurgitating my entire piece from July, I concluded that Dozier was being far more aggressive at the plate, as the 4.50 pitches he saw per plate appearance in June had dropped to less than four pitches per PA. Additionally, pitchers were throwing Dozier fewer fastballs, and he was swinging at offspeed stuff with nearly zero strike-zone discrimination.

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Did Rougned Odor Improve as the Year Went Along?

As a resident of the city of Dallas and a Rangers fan when they’re not playing the Astros, it was my impression that Rougned Odor improved as the year went on. Part of that was just the assumption that he gradually acclimated to the big leagues over the course of 400+ PA, and part of that was my perception based on the regrettably occasional Ranger game I watched this year.

But his monthly splits don’t necessarily tell the tale of a guy who improved with more seasoning. Yes, his best month according to wRC+ was September (128), but his next best months were May and June, his first two months in the majors this year. Of course wRC+ is a result-oriented statistic and can be misleading in a small sample size, like a single month, for example. If he was truly acclimating well, we’d expect to see him swinging more at good pitches and less at bad pitches, making more contact, and squaring the ball up more as the year went on. So did he do any of that? Read the rest of this entry »

Ottoneu Arbitration: First Pass

The arbitration season of ottoneu is upon us and will last through November 14. Often, the best way to teach is via example. Today I’m going to provide my list of bids and the thought process behind a few notable selections. In some cases, I’ll discuss non-selections as well. Remember, these picks can be changed at any time and aren’t finalized until the conclusion of the arbitration season.

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Reviewing Pod’s Picks: Second Base

And onward we move, this week to recapping the second basemen. It was a pretty crazy year, as the preseason consensus top choice finished 14th in value, while a player we didn’t even rank at all finished third. Let’s find out how I did with my Pod’s Picks.

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End of Season Rankings: Second Baseman

The 2014 fantasy baseball season has come to a close, so it is time to look back at the season past and determine which players were the most valuable at each position. Moving around the infield, we’re looking at second baseman this week.

The players were ranked based on their 2014 production, using the evaluation system explained and updated on this site some time ago. The valuations are built for $260 budgets and standard 5×5 roto fantasy leagues, where only one catcher is started. Players are listed only at their primary positions from 2014.

One important thing to note is the premium (or lack thereof) placed on the position a player occupies in your lineup. For example, while a first baseman may be able to accumulate superior overall numbers, the availability of such production lower in the rankings severely dampers the amount the player was worth. These rankings are meant to reflect a player’s value should he have occupied this spot in your lineup for the entire year. A player who missed time due to injury but put up great numbers during his time on the field would be worth less.

This year, I’ve added in RotoGraphs’ preseason consensus rankings so you can see what we thought of each player coming into the year. This ranking can be found in the “Pre” column. “EOS” of course stands for End Of Season, and the rest should be self explanatory.

With all this in mind, here are your rankings. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Joe Mauer Still Good at Baseball

Mauer ranked 24th among fantasy first basemen this year according to Colonel Sanders’ rankings behind Mark Teixeira and ahead of Mike Napoli.

On the surface, Joe Mauer’s 2014 season is anything but impressive. In fact, it’s borderline identical to his last injury-marred season back in 2011.

Season Batting Average On-Base Slugging wOBA
2014 .277 .361 .371 .322
2011 .287 .360 .368  .321

The circumstances were a little different though. In 2011 Mauer was shut down with pneumonia and upper respiratory issues. This year Mauer played out the string, but did miss 34 games in the middle of the season for an oblique issue. Read the rest of this entry »