Bright and early Monday morning, Zach Sanders dropped the first of his End of Season Rankings, looking at how first basemen fared during the 2012 fantasy season. The rankings are based on what actually happened on the field and use the traditional 5×5 roto categories to establish values for the production of each player.
While some of you ottoneuvians are playing a 5×5 format, many more are using the FanGraphs Points scoring system, and that type of linear weights scoring (as well as other OBP-based systems, particularly those that lower the weight on stolen bases) does not always value the same players that 5×5 leagues do. So each week, after Zach posts his rankings, I will follow with a look at where ottoneu FanGraphs Points rankings differed.
As with Zach’s rankings, this is purely a look back at what happened – we don’t cut Joey Votto any slack because he clearly would have produced more had he stayed healthy, nor do we penalize Miguel Cabrera for leading the league in “Just Enough” home runs. All we are looking at is exactly how many points each 1B eligible player produced.
You can see Zach’s valuation at the link above, and the table at the end of this article shows 1B players’ total ottoneu points, rank in ottoneu and rank in Zach’s system. But let’s get right to the names worth calling out.
ottoneu’s True Loves
Partial season or no, ottoneu* has nothing but love for Joey Votto. Ranked 20th in the original rankings, Votto was the number nine 1B in the ottoneu world, outproducing players like Adrian Gonzalez, Corey Hart, Paul Goldschmidt, and Adam Dunn, despite accruing at least 140 fewer at-bats than any of them. Why? ottoneu hates outs. Hates’em. They are the worst. And Joey Votto doesn’t make outs. His .474 OBP is neither a typo nor is it even in the same realm as any of the other top 1B. Gonzalez, for example, ranked 10th in ottoneu and 11th in 5×5. He had 4 more HR, than Votto, 16 more runs, and 52 more RBI, thanks to 209 more PA. But 199 of those extra PA ended in outs (calculated as PA-hits-BB-HBP). Want to win ottoneu? Don’t make outs. ottoneu also loves non-HR extra base hits in a way that 5×5 doesn’t, and Votto managed to crank 44 doubles – 3rd most among 1B – even in his limited playing time.
Paul Konerko sits one spot ahead of Votto in the 5×5 rankings (19) but jumps up to #12 on the ottoneu list. Using Gonzalez as a foil again, Konerko ranked so far behind him in 5×5 due to R (9 fewer) and RBI (33 fewer). When you take away those, and swap out batting average for the ability to get on base, Konerko looks much better. Gonzo and Paulie hit .299 and .298, respectively, but Konerko walked far more and ended up with a .371 OBP, compared to Gonzalez’s .344. Again – if you don’t make outs, ottoneu will be your friend. Konerko’s poor running (6th worst base runner among 1B according to UBR) cost him some runs in 5×5 and probably cost him some extra base hits in ottoneu, which kept him from cracking the top 10, but the linear weights scoring downplayed that weakness and accented his strength – getting on base.
So I think it’s been made clear that ottoneu likes it when you don’t make outs, so it should be no surprise that Nick Swisher moved from 17th in Zach’s rankings to just outside the top 12 (13th) in ottoneu. Sure enough, if you look at the players he leap-frogged (Paul Goldschmidt, Adam Dunn, Freddie Freeman, Allen Craig, Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis), none had a higher OBP than Swisher. Similarly, Joe Mauer‘s low power output may have hampered his 5×5 ranking (12th), but he became a nearly first-division starter (7th) in ottoneu thanks to a .416 OBP and 35 non-HR XBH.
ottoneu’s Worst Enemies
Paul Goldschmidt’s 18 SB had a lot to do with his top-flight ranking in 5×5 leagues – he led all 1B in that category – but ottoneu does not care for the stolen base (at least not like a 5×5 league does). In a typical 5×5 league, most (all?) teams will hit more HR than they steal bases, meaning that, on the margins, a SB has more value than a HR. In ottoneu, a HR is worth 14 points (5.6 for a hit, 9.4 more for that hit being a HR, and -1.0 for the AB), while a SB nets 1.9 points. Plus, a caught stealing costs you 2.8 points, an even larger penalty than simply getting out, because the cost to your team is greater (if you strike out, you failed to reach base; if you get caught stealing you have actually taken a player off the bases). That seriously hampers the value of those SB compared to the power numbers put up by other 1B, so Goldschmidt’s 20 HR and 18 SB end up ranked 14th in ottoneu.
ottoneu was no fan of Allen Craig and, to be honest, I am not 100% sure why. After missing much of the early season, Craig came back with a vengeance and put up the 10th ranked season from a 5×5 1B. Yet in ottoneu, he was ranked 17th. This isn’t a case of huge numbers of outs (he posted a .354 OBP, which is maybe not great, but is plenty good), nor did he lack in extra base hits (both formats view his 22 HR roughly equally, and he managed to finish with the 11th most doubles among 1B despite limited playing time). It seems to me that rather than ottoneu not giving Craig enough love, he benefited from his teammates to the tune of 92 RBI, which boosted his 5×5 ranking without helping him in ottoneu.
Finally, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo sat 13 and 14, respectively, in the 5×5 ranks, but were 19 and 18 in ottoneu. These are big bats (32 HR for Trumbo, 33 for Davis) with big holes (153 K for Trumbo, 169 for Davis), that built up big counting stats (161 RBI+R for Trumbo, 160 for Davis), while making big outs (400 in 586 PA for Trumbo and 379 in 562 for Davis). Neither hit many non-HR XBH (22 for Trumbo, 20 for Davis), and while each added a sprinkling of SB (4 for Trumbo, 2 for Davis), each was CS more than they successfully swiped (5 for Trumbo, 3 for Davis). Basically, these guys both excelled (relatively) at everything 5×5 values without having the underlying performance that ottoneu values. High K% + low BB% can work in 5×5, but will be exposed in the ottoneu FanGraphs Points leagues.
A couple final notes:
– Billy Butler didn’t make Zach’s original list, but would have been 6th in 5×5, creating $19 of value. He was 5th in ottoneu.
– Yonder Alonso was 42nd in 5×5 and 24th in ottoneu. He wasn’t a fantasy starter this year, even in ottoneu, but when you start eliminating guys in front of him who you likely didn’t use at 1B (Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, Adrian Gonzalez once he hit OF eligibility, Corey Hart, Nick Swisher, Allen Craig, Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis, Carlos Santana, Garrett Jones) he was closer than you think.
– Pro-rating everyone to 650 PA, Joey Votto is your top dog, with a theoretical 1217 points, followed by David Ortiz, with 1205. Allen Craig jumps to 8th, Goldschmidt to 10th, Tyler Colvin to 13th. These stats don’t mean a whole lot (although you could make an argument for Votto being the best 1B if he plays a full year), but they are kind of fun, right?
|ottoneu Rank||5×5 Rank||Diff||Name||ottoneu Points||PA||Pro-rated to 650 PA|
*In these articles, I am going to use “ottoneu” as the designation for the ottoneu FanGraphs Points system. I think these ranks pretty accurately reflect both the points leagues and 4×4 leagues.