It turns out, I maybe should have done a MI Edition instead of both a SS and 2B Edition of this series. Of course, I didn’t know that until Zach Sanders posted his 5×5 SS rankings and I found that a couple of flames from a couple weeks back were reappearing in ottoneu’s little black book this week.
Ben Zobrist and Martin Prado, both of whom were covered in the 2B Edition were two of the five biggest SS climbers when you leave 5×5 and move to linear weights. And Everth Cabrera, who warranted but a brief mention in the 2B piece was the farthest faller at SS. But four of Sanders’s top 10 made meaningful moves when we switch the scoring format.
ottoneu’s True Loves
I already mentioned Zobrist, and I am not going to recount WHY he moved up (the reasons are basically the same they were at 2B), but you should know that the #7 SS in 5×5 was #1 in ottoneu. He leap-frogged on of the other biggest risers to get there.
Derek Jeter is not usually a name associated with a deep, abiding love from advanced statistics, but that is more related to his defense than his offense. And this year the good captain drew the eye of ottoneu, jumping from sixth in 5×5 to second in linear weights. How did he manage this? Well, putting up the second best OBP of all SS definitely helps. Doing that while being a run-away leader in hits helps. Jeter relied heavily on two factors – first, his position leading 740 plate appearances and second, any points-based scoring system’s willingness to reward players who get a lot of plate appearances. Basically, Jeter rode his 169 singles (22 more than any other SS) to more hits-based points (points earned 1B+2B+3B+HR) than anyone else. In 5×5, a single can help you get runs, can help you get RBI, but can never make up for HR. In linear weights, roughly three 1B will get you the equivalent of one HR (14 points per HR/4.6 points per 1B = 3.04 1B/HR). Jeter was only sixth on a per PA basis – but those extra PA made him second overall.
Three other risers matched or exceeded Jeter – the previously mentioned Martin Prado climbed from eighth to fourth, while Zack Cozart and Jhonny Peralta each made five-spot gains, from 23rd and 24th to 18th and 19th, respectively. These two, like Jeter, benefited heavily from playing time. Five of the six players they jumped past had fewer PA than either of them (the exception will show up in the next section). But that isn’t all they did. Peralta put up the 10th best BB% among SS. Cozart had the 11th best ISO. Those kinds of walk and extra-base numbers will help a team out quite a bit on ottoneu, without adding much 5×5 value. Neither became sure-fire starters with those efforts, but they definitely moved up in the world.
ottoneu’s Worst Enemies
So who was it that managed to get more PA than either Peralta or Cozart and still fell behind them? Alexei Ramirez, who was tied for the second largest fall (behind Everth Cabrera), dropped from 15th to 20th largely thanks to an abysmal 2.6% BB%. How bad is 2.6%? Dead last among qualified SS, and second to last among all position players with at least 300 PA in 2012 (Miguel Olivo “beat” Ramirez with 2.2% – yikes). And it’s not like he made up the gap by crushing the ball – his .099 ISO doesn’t even crack the top-20 at a not-so-strong position like SS. If you don’t walk and don’t hit for power, ottoneu has no time for you.
Two of ottoneu’s other dislikes are players who probably don’t deserve to be called “worst enemies.” Sanders’s list included two fellow NL Easters in the top three – Jimmy Rollins in the top spot and Ian Desmond third. ottoneu drops them both but still respects them greatly. Rollins ranked fifth in linear weights, Desmond eighth. For Desmond the story is relatively simple – some DL time cost him dearly, as he was the number one ranked SS by Points/PA, but his 547 PA ranked 21st. The fact that he finished eighth with such a relative lack of opportunities speaks volumes to the season Desmond put up. Rollins was just plain solid in all the areas ottoneu usually loves: fifth in PA, sixth in BB%, fourth in HR, seventh in 2B+3B, and fifth in SB% among players with at least 10 steals. But, as you can see, he was great at none of them, and that was enough to let a handful of players sneak past him. Interestingly, none of the guys who snuck past him had fewer points/PA – they actually just put up better seasons than he did.
A few final thoughts:
– Like Everth Cabrera, Mike Aviles joins the “ottoneu doesn’t like me no matter where I play” club, falling from 18th in 5×5 to 23rd in linear weights.
– Pro-rated to 650 PA, Ian Desmond is your top dog, as noted above. Zobrist follows close behind.
– The biggest surprise on the pro-rated list? Josh Rutledge, who finished 6th, ahead of Jeter, Jed Lowrie, Hanley Ramirez, and Rollins. Playing time is all that holds him back.
– No matter how you cut the data (5×5, linear weights, pro-rated to 650 PA) your least valuable fantasy SS of 2012 was Brendan Ryan. If only we counted defensive metrics in fantasy…
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