While we use replacement level freely on the other side of FanGraphs, the idea of replacement level hasn’t exactly forced itself into fantasy baseball yet. I’m not sure why, because I’ve been using it successfully for a while. In fact, we all have, whether we realize it or not. If we didn’t use replacement levels, catchers, shortstops and second baseman would rarely be taken before the third round, yet we see them scattered amongst the top ranked players most years. To give you a better idea of the different strengths at each position, here are the players were valued at replacement level this year by my z-score rankings.
Catcher: Jason Kendall
Without the 12 stolen bases, Kendall wouldn’t even be close to replacement level. But, we do count those stats, and someone who could use an extra handful of steals wouldn’t mind having him hang around on their roster. The better example of replacement level is Ryan Doumit, who did it without relying on stolen bases.
Three Below: Yorvit Torrealba, Ryan Doumit, Ramon Hernandez
First Base: Ike Davis
Davis didn’t even get the chance to play a full season, yet turned out to be a somewhat useful player. A .265 average and about twenty homers with run and RBI counts around 70 do a very good job of illustrating how powerful this position can be.
Four Below: Buster Posey, Carlos Pena, Mike Napoli, Lyle Overbay
Second Base: Ryan Theriot
You couldn’t pick a better example of a replacement level second baseman, which is why I know the formula works. He did a decent job of scoring runs and stealing bases, but he’s not giving you anything else.
Three Below: Aaron Hill, Orlando Hudson, Freddy Sanchez
Shortstop: Starlin Castro
Castro makes sense, right? High average, but not a whole lot of counting stats. He was a very safe option, but nothing to get excited about.
Two Below: Erick Aybar, Jason Bartlett
Outfield: Ryan Raburn
Raburn hit some dingers, had a solid average, but didn’t contribute to the other counting stats. I’m surprised he’s this low, and if he stole another three or four bases, he’d be ranked five spots higher.
Three Below: Tyler Colvin, Jose Tabata, Josh Willingham
You’ll notice that relief pitchers aren’t listed, because it’s very hard to evaluate them. Do we include only players who recorded a save, or use a standard innings limit? Feel free to weigh in on that point below.
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