Waiver Wire: Disappointed!

A slight change of plans from what I said on Tuesday, as — perhaps unsurprisingly — the disappointments and those who failed to qualify for the batting title featured more than a little crossover.

Injury is one of the dominant reasons players ended up here — whether one major blow like the one Buster Posey suffered, or a seemingly endless cavalcade of issues that hit Joe Mauer or Shin-Soo Choo — but some simply just couldn’t produce this year.

This is a value ranking of position players only, produced by taking their average draft position according to ESPN and subtracting the oRank I introduced on Tuesday. The more negative the number in parentheses is, the worse the value the player provided. Not everyone here was objectively bad, but all were overdrafted.

15. Martin Prado (-32)
14. Ryan Howard (-33)
13. Buster Posey (-33)
12. Nelson Cruz (-35)
11. Ryan Zimmerman (-36)

Howard may not have had a great year, but he’s hard done to be listed among this lot. A -9 in baserunning does him no favors, but even if that’s generously reduced to 0, he still struggles to make the top 40 in batting runs alone. You could have gotten just slightly worse production from Nick Swisher, who was drafted about 125 picks later in most drafts.

Posey, Cruz, and Zimmerman all spent more than a month of the season on the DL, so it’s not surprising that they failed to reach expectations for this year. I’ll draft both Posey and Zimmerman without hesitation next year, but Cruz, who had the most playing time of the three, turned in an uncharacteristically poor year. I have concerns about his ability to avoid this list again next year.

10. David Wright (-39)
09. Jason Heyward (-40)
08. Shin-Soo Choo (-44)
07. Justin Morneau (-52)
06. Joe Mauer (-57)

If you didn’t watch much of the AL Central this year and are wondering what happened to the Twins, well, here’s a pretty good clue. Once Mauer was healthy, he was more productive than fans seem to remember — an .810 OPS in the second half isn’t stunningly good, but it’s nearly 200 points better than his first half — but pneumonia made his resurgence short-lived. Morneau had so many injuries and issues this year, it was hard to keep track of them all. Even when he was on the field, he wasn’t right; his best month was May when he had a .723 OPS, his next best was his .612 in August.

Heyward is an interesting case. This season was a big disappointment for him and he has been told that he is not guaranteed the right field job next year. If an MRI on his shoulder shows damage, that could go a long way towards explaining his poor year, but this could just be a case of a player and new manager not gelling well.

05. Ichiro Suzuki (-61)
04. Alex Rios (-65)
03. Adam Dunn (-85)
02. Hanley Ramirez (-86)

Before mock draft season started, I was deadset on drafting Dunn, but he consistently went just a little higher than I wanted. Consider that a bullet dodged. Dunn’s issues versus left-handers got plenty of press — going 6-for-94 against them will do that — but Dunn just flat out didn’t hit anyone this year. I refuse to believe this is the sudden and permanent end to Dunn’s career, so perhaps he’s worth targeting in the late rounds of next year’s drafts. Just a thought.

Like Morneau above, Ramirez was alternately hurt and profoundly disappointing, which was a kick in the teeth to owners that took him second overall, or worse, above Pujols with the first pick in the draft. One of the most compelling storylines for the early part of the 2012 season will be how he and new manager Ozzie Guillen get along. Keeper owners are surely hoping for a good bond between the two.

01. Carl Crawford (-102)

There’s nothing like kicking a man while he’s down. 2011 was an immensely disappointing year from Crawford, who would have provided owners good value if he had been taken some 100 picks lower than he was. For redraft owners, there’s not much beyond the old Ron Washington quote “that’s the way baseball go,” hopefully you traded Crawford to some sap early in the season and weren’t forced to watch him stumble his way through. You have my condolences, for whatever that’s worth.

For keeper owners however, there’s some good news. Crawford last swooned like this in 2008, when he hit .273/.319/.400 with 8 HR and 25 SB — better than this year’s line of .255/.289/.405, 11 HR, 18 HR, but still disappointing. He rebounded in 2009 to .305/.364/.452 with 15 HR and 60 SB. While this doesn’t mean he’s a lock to swipe 60 bases in 2012, it’s at least a glimmer of hope after a regrettable year for Crawford.

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Dan enjoys black tea, imperial IPAs, and any competition that can be loosely judged a sport. Follow him on Twitter.

11 Responses to “Waiver Wire: Disappointed!”

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  1. max says:

    So where does Mauer get drafted next year? He’s an enimga at this point. I’m not sure I’d take him before the 8th round.

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    • Dan Wade says:

      On flat value, he was 85th of the top 200 drafted players, which probably puts him between 100 and 110 in total value, but I don’t know that there are 8 catchers I want more than him.

      I think Mauer comes back healthy(ish) next year, and with Thome and likely Kubel off the roster, there will be DH ABs open for him. If Morneau struggles again, he’ll get time at 1B to further keep him healthy. I just can’t see him coming back with another year as poor as this one, so I’d take him earlier than 8, but I’m not touching him at the end of 2/beginning of 3 the way people did this year.

      If you get him in late 6, I think you’re in great shape, but — off the cuff — I’m guessing he’ll go off the board closer to the end of 4/beginning of 5.

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  2. Dan says:

    Nelson Cruz hit 29 Hr. I’m drafting him next year. He wasn’t a rockstar but he didn’t suck

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    • Dan Wade says:

      It’s all about where he’s getting taken. If he drops into Round 4, yeah, I’ll look in his direction, but his ADP this year was earlier than Jose Bautista, Matt Kemp, and Justin Upton, and there’s no way he’s matching their production.

      I get that this is all hindsight and, you’re right, he’s not a bad player objectively, but he’s a guy whose reputation is better than he actually is.

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    • B N says:

      I would say that as a Cruz owner, I got about what I expected: about 30 HR, AVG in the 265 range, and almost the 135 games I was hoping for. His counting stats were at good rates too (64 R and 87 RBI are pretty solid for 3/4 of a season of play). He was disappointing in SB and I was hoping for a higher average, but I wasn’t banking on it. At the pick I got him, I was satisfied with the results. I guess this means a lot of people were drafting him higher? I got him in the 4rth round this year (admittedly a pick before Bautista). Considering he’s a solid 4 to 5 category guy who won’t ever kill you in average (nothing under 260 in his career), I’d pick him around the same region next year.

      I don’t know where he was going before Kemp in standard leagues though- I would have definitely taken Kemp in the 3rd round if I could have. He had rebound written all over him. Not sure if I would have done Upton over Cruz though- his track record was short at that point and the Diamondbacks were not expected to score nearly as many runs as the Rangers (e.g. less R and RBI). Clearly, that would change next year.

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      • B N says:

        As a corollary, these disappointments list should really differentiate between disappointing RATES of play and disappointing AGGREGATES of play. Considering you have a DL spot- it’s not like you get no production when the guy is out. You’re basically getting his production, plus waiver-wire replacement for the remainder (or better, if you have backups- and you’d be a fool to own Cruz without a backup). In a competitive league, I’d definitely take a guy that misses 25% of the season but is on a tear during that period. Between him and his replacement, I’m getting more than I expected out of the position in total. DL spots aren’t unlimited, but they do take most of the edge off of a productive 3/4 season for a guy or two.

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      • Brad Johnson says:

        Additionally, I think anyone who acquired Cruz without planning to draft an extra OF to back him up got what they deserved. He performed exactly as expected aside from steals.

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  3. Brad Johnson says:

    I traded for Crawford early in the season, sending Kendrys Morales (who was still supposed to return at that point), Chris Coghlan, and Michael Pineda for him. This is a keeper league where Pineda now costs ($10 to keep). Uhg.

    The good news is that I then traded him about 3 weeks later with Chone Figgins and Seth Smith for Bryce Harper ($8 to keep), Mat Latos ($15 to keep), and Desmond Jennings ($15). Whoo!

    And I won the league to, so…yay.

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  4. strat575 says:

    Dan, how exactly are you computing your oRank? I’ve been kinda tinkering around with something and would like to know how it compares.

    I’m in a standard 12 Team Mixed Roto Keeper League with 13 offensive positions (156 active positions).

    First, although I would have liked to play with ESPN’s databases to find out the ‘most played’ players over the course of the year, I instead needed a quick and dirty to put it together, and took the top 218 by wOBA counted in sample to account for adds/drops/injuries. This number also made sense by actual and assumed PAs (156 *600 = 93600, and sample 98243). These 218 served as my sample and resultantly left out fantasy regulars Adam Lind, Drew Stubbs, and Carl Crawford, but included a bunch of the youngins such as Montero and Lawrie. Although the former were not in the sample, they could still have the same values applied to determine an associated value.

    Here is the model for Total Fantasy Value:

    BA Component(((BA-adjMean(BA))/stdev(BA))*(1+Mean(BB%)-BB%) +
    R Component (R/PA-adjMean(R/PA))/stdev(R/PA) +
    RBI Component (RBI/PA-adjMean(RBI/PA))/stdev(RBI/PA) +
    HR Component (HR/PA-adjMean(HR/PA))/stdev(HR/PA) +
    SB Component (SB/PA-adjMean(SB/PA))/stdev(SB/PA)) *

    Where the adjMean is the mean adjusted for the vORP point (in my case, player 157’s (aka Wilson Betemit’s) total value is just about 0). The adjustment is:


    The vORPadj is .21.

    This vORP point is instrumental because depending on where it lands, it can significantly affect the value of each player in the league as the relationships relative to the mean via these measures are not linear. The increase of the sample size will result in niche players becoming more valuable (e.g. Stubbs goes from 70th ranked to 56th) and well rounded players becoming less so (Michael Cuddyer fell from 76 to 101). (If you have any take on this, I can’t think of how to deal with this, or if it is even a concern.)

    The BA adjustment is to account for a players walk rate as a share of their PAs. This was done so as to properly inflate Robinson Cano’s BA v. Jose Bautista’s.

    This means of valuation finds that Mike Napoli was the eleventh most valuable hitter this year, while on ESPN he was 45th. Among players with greater than only 50 ABs, his per PA ranks were BA (13), R (14), HR (3), and RBI (14).

    Any opinion or advice would be appreciated.

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  5. Ben says:

    Between my 2 teams, I had Dunn, Choo, Zimmerman, Cruz, and Prado from that list.
    I actually wasn’t disappointed in Cruz because I had him benched a lot and felt like I could put him in for good pitching matchups.
    I drafted Zimmerman really high, and a lot of my friends criticized me for it, but I really believe in him as a hitter and will probably go after him again next season. If he can stay healthy he could be a #1 fantasy 3B.

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