Surprises Among Next Year’s PT Static Projected Top 30

Yesterday, Jeff Zimmerman decided to have a little bit of fun by sharing with all of us his value calculations based on RoS Steamer/ZiPS projections. These were meant to be the earliest look at potential 2015 preseason value, though it is important to note that no adjustment for position was made so catchers in two catcher leagues would be worth significantly more than the spreadsheet indicates. With playing time a huge question mark for many players given that this season still has over a month to go, the rub was that every player’s stats were extrapolated over 600 plate appearances. So this was more like a fantasy skills like valuation, which is still plenty useful. It could assist in identifying guys who could be very valuable if they fell into additional playing time. It also provides a super early glimpse of what next year’s cheat sheets may look like. So who are some of the surprises in the top 30?

Rajai Davis | 13th overall

Excluding his cup of coffee with the Pirates back when he debuted in 2006, Davis is now in his eighth season. We know what he is and teams do too. His primary skill, speed, is the one that ages most quickly. He is excellent against lefties, having posted a career .350 wOBA against them, while he is helpless against right-handers, posting a weak .287 wOBA versus them. He’ll be 34 next year. He’s not going to be an every day player next year or likely ever. But if he somehow finds himself getting regular playing time, he would be projected to steal 50 bags, with nine homers to boot. That’s basically Jacoby Ellsbury and he was a borderline first rounder this season.

Jarrod Dyson | 20th overall

Sensing a theme? These speedsters are worth a heck of a lot more to us fantasy leaguers than real baseball teams, which is why they rarely find themselves with full-time jobs. Dyson is excellent defensively and has posted wOBA marks around the league average over these past two seasons, in spite of his complete lack of power. But he hasn’t been able to break away from the fourth outfielder/pinch runner role. Like Davis, he’s on the wrong side of 30, and it’s extremely unlikely he’ll suddenly find himself as a regular in the Royals outfield. But the projections think a full-season of plate appearances would yield about 63 steals, but little else in the other categories. Still, the swipes alone are enough to vault Dyson into the top tier of outfielders if he were to garner regular playing time, as hard as it might be to believe.

Corey Dickerson | 22nd overall

At least someone has made me look good this year. If he began the season as a regular, he would no doubt shatter my bold prediction. He could still reach the 25/10 objective, but will have to finish strong to do so. Given how he has performed, perhaps it isn’t so surprising to see his name this high on the rankings. But anytime a player has a breakout year, it is usually shocking the first time you see him ranked in a spot you have never seen that name in before. The projections think Dickerson would go 21/13 over a full season next year, which actually sounds a bit conservative. It’s a small sample, but he has posted a .363 wOBA against southpaws this year, plus, he never had trouble against them in the minors. So he really shouldn’t fall into a platoon.

George Springer | 25th overall

We didn’t have to wait long for the super prospect to be recalled, as the Astros promoted the outfielder just a couple of weeks into April. After a scorching May, he slowed down each month before going down with a quad injury that has sidelined him for over a month. But the kid was doing exactly what we expected from him — tons of strikeouts, good plate patience with an above average walk rate and gargantuan power. His batted ball distance ranks fourth in baseball. Unfortunately, he wasn’t stealing at quite the pace we may have expected given his minor league totals, and who knows whether he’ll do so when he returns from injury. His stolen base projection will have quite an impact on his value next year. Is he a 10-15 steal guy or more like a 25+ steal guy like he was in the minors? The projections are thinking 28 homers and 19 steals with a pitiful batting average. But, if his high BABIP marks from the minors start to translate, he may not kill your average after all.

Javier Baez | 27th overall

Baez is the other uber prospect to get the call, his promotion much more recent than Springer’s. Baez has essentially been an extreme version of Springer, which seems impossible to pull off considering how extreme Springer himself is to begin with. The real difference is that Baez rarely takes a walk, but he, too, whiffs like crazy, but has also shown immense power. If he qualified for the leaderboard, his distance would rank 20th in baseball. Also boosting his power is his extreme 53% fly ball rate. He’s basically been a two outcome player — strike out or hit a fly ball! The projections are banking on 18 steals, but he hasn’t even attempted one in 86 plate appearances with the Cubs so far. I’ll take the under on those and figure closer to 10-12. He gets a slight value boost for his middle infield eligibility, but I prefer Springer for next year.

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Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. He also sells beautiful photos through his online gallery, Pod's Pics. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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Soriano, im interested in his explanation

Daniel Schwartz
Daniel Schwartz

Don’t have numbers in front but I presume if he gets enough plate appearances (all players at 600 on this list) then his home run counting stats would inflate his value relative to other hr totals….like sb’s for davis, Hamilton & dyson.