Research-Based Sleepers, And Eno’s Guys

This probably should have been posted before the season, but the idea just came to me. We see research here all the time, and that research often produces fantasy baseball sleepers, so let’s gather them in one place.

Chad Young and Mike Podhorzer developed an xHR/FB metric based on batted ball data. Young then wrote about a few guys in part five, and I summed it up some more too. Here are some power sleepers for the year:

Justin Ruggiano
Chris Carter
Pedro Alvarez
Michael Saunders
Aaron Hill
Alex Rios
Ian Desmond
Andrew McCutchen
Ryan Zimmerman
Chase Headley
Mike Moustakas

Oppo Power
In my interview with Joey Votto, he talked about batting average on balls in play being a product of using the whole field with power. So I went and looked for players with oppo power. Here are some guys that might be safe in the batting average department.

Bryce Harper
Ryan Zimmerman
Chris Nelson
Michael Morse
Chris Johnson
Nick Markakis
Matt Carpenter
Carlos Ruiz
Alex Gordon
Paul Goldschmidt
Andy Dirks

The Edge
Bill Petti and Jeff Zimmerman found a metric that quantified a pitcher’s ability to hit the edge of the strikezone — Edge%. We don’t yet know how exactly to use it, but let’s try to use the metric to find some fantasy sleepers anyway.

David Phelps
Kyle Lohse
Mark Buehrle
Mike Leake
Brandon McCarthy
Jason Vargas
Tommy Milone
Henderson Alvarez
Hiroki Kuroda
Jordan Zimmermann
Clay Buchholz
Colby Lewis
Dan Haren
Vance Worley

The Infield Fly Ball
It looks like inducing pop-ups IS actually a skill. If you define them as infield flies divided by balls in play instead of infield flies divided by fly balls, the year-to-year r-squared jumps to .6+ and is on par with walk rate. So, if that’s the case, let’s find some above-average PU% guys.

Bruce Chen
Phil Hughes
Colby Lewis
Shaun Marcum
Jeremy Hellickson
Chris Capuano
Dan Haren
Ian Kennedy
Josh Beckett
Bartolo Colon
Jon Lester

Strikeouts Minus Walks
The best in-season metric is K%-BB% or kwERA. It’s the truth! Too bad it’s not in-season yet, but we can still look back at last year and see if there are any undervalued starters.

Max Scherzer
Jeff Samardzija
Madison Bumgarner
Joe Blanton

My Guys
And, since my drafts are done, I can count up who’s on my teams the most. I cut down to 12 leagues this year, I made diversification a goal this year, and these leagues are all of different shapes and sizes, but I’ve started to see some familiar names pop up anyway. Remember that I’m in a ton of keeper leagues and don’t sell low, typically, or else you’ll scratch your head at some of these.

Josh Rutledge 5
Domonic Brown 5
Nolan Reimold 5
Troy Tulowitzki 4
Jed Lowrie 4
Alejandro De Aza 4
Leonys Martin 4
Mike Napoli 4
Mike Moustakas 3
Albert Pujols 3
Josh Willingham 3
Brett Gardner 3
Matt Carpenter 3
Nick Franklin 3

Jarrod Parker 5
Matt Harvey 5
Brandon Beachy 5
Jaime Garcia 5
Mike Fiers 5
Zack Greinke 4
Brett Anderson 3
Felix Doubront 3
Shelby Miller 3
Danny Duffy 3
Cory Luebke 3
Colby Lewis 3

Tom Wilhelmsen 3
Jose Veras 3
Sergio Santos 3

(And guys I own twice, just for fun)
Jesus Montero 2
Ian Kinsler 2
Anthony Rizzo 2
Dustin Pedroia 2
Pablo Sandoval 2
Joe Mauer 2
Starling Marte 2
Andre Ethier 2
Brandon Belt 2
Shane Victorino 2
Joey Votto 2
Nick Markakis 2
Giancarlo Stanton 2
Scott Sizemore 2
Chris Parmelee 2
Tyler Flowers 2
Alex Avila 2
Ian Desmond 2
Greg Garcia 2
Matt Joyce 2
Neil Walker 2
Allen Craig 2
Yoenis Cespedes 2
Billy Hamilton 2
Yasiel Puig 2
Addison Russell 2
Mike Trout 2
Wilson Ramos 2

Tim Lincecum 2
Jeff Samardzija 2
Alex Cobb 2
A.J. Burnett 2
Jeremy Hellickson 2
Felix Hernandez 2
Steve Johnson 2
Erasmo Ramirez 2

J.J. Hoover 2
Glen Perkins 2
Sean Doolittle 2
Joe Nathan 2
Joaquin Benoit 2
Mike Adams 2
David Hernandez 2
Greg Holland 2
Joel Hanrahan 2
Kyle McPherson 2

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

14 Responses to “Research-Based Sleepers, And Eno’s Guys”

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  1. jackweiland says:

    A lot of common threads between Eno’s Guys and Jack’s Guys.

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  2. ghost yoda says:

    No Duda, I cant believe this is your list. Or is it like Bobby Bonilla in that you try to hide you still have him??

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  3. Zach Sanders says:

    Looks like Eno and I are in the same boat in terms of picking up young starting pitching (Harvey, Miller), as well as injured starters (Beachy, Colby Lewis).

    And we both are fans of Wilhemsen, even though he looked a little shaky last night in Oakland.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      get em before they’re injured or right after, I guess. I was sort of surprised by how many times I had the DL guys, but I also like to make sure my DL is filled coming out of any draft.

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  4. DowntownChico says:

    I was able to “steal” Corey Hart in a number of leagues. He’s out until May, which is why he is flying under the radar. Still, with the projections I used, he was relatively high up on my board. I have him 15th among OFs (not reducing for lost playing time), with positive standard deviations above average (not replacement) in HR, R, RBI, OPS.

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  5. Wait, wait, wait. There’s clearly a mistake here. ANDRELTON SIMMONS! Where??

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      I love Andrelton Simmons. I have a big mouth. Everyone got him before I was ready to take him, or spent more than I was willing to spend… Don’t own him once and am a little pissed.

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    • this was also the biggest surprise for me. im assuming that eno owns him in all leagues and the section comprising players he owns in 12 leagues was somehow cut off when this was published.

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  6. Jon L. says:

    Are these lists in descending order (or any order)? They’re fun to look through, but it’s tough to know how to interpret them without any quantification.

    You guys also need to figure out how to get that second “n” in Zimmermann highlighted. His name keeps linking to the wrong guy.

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  7. I would discount the low contact guys on that xHR/FB. You derive their projections from very few events (Ruggiano-54, Carter-44, Alvarez 84) which make them subject to greater error (e.g., extra games in the Yankees/Cubs jet stream, fewer in the marine layers at SD, SF, Seattle, Angels). That plus low contact may cause them to lose ABs.

    Aaron Hill (154), McCutheon (121), etc will be more robust.

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  8. Kris says:

    Speaking of Duda, I’ve grabbed him in a few leagues. I’ve found myself one year early on so many breakouts, that this year I just started drafting last year’s guys. Duda, Hosmer, Lawrie, Moustakas, and even guys like Travis Snider got a look.

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