Dynasty rankings: Top 25 fantasy players, age 25 or younger, 2012

Dynasty leagues are among the most enigmatic in the entire land of fantasy sports, and I’m of the mind that they represent the game in its true form most successfully.

You must build from the bottom up, target depth and roster balance, and sell high and buy low when necessary. Most importantly, you must think years ahead, and make rebuilding projects and keenly timed all-ins at your own risk. An injury or physical or mental setback that sinks your top prospect in Double-A will hurt you much in the same way it would the Pittsburgh Pirates. No one knows how your minor league talent will shake up, and what steals you might find in your supplemental minor league draft. Welcome to the world of dynasty league baseball. It’s a ruthless, enticing, and incredibly time-consuming—and did I mention awesome?— form of the simplistic game we’ve all come to know and love.

Thus, Josh Shepardson, Ben Pritchett and I have put together our lists of the top 25 of players under the age of 25 at the present date (all players born on Jan. 6, 1986 or later are eligible). The parameters for last year’s rankings are the same in 2012. A refresher, from Josh Shepardson’s 2011 presentation of these rankings:

The league scoring we used as a guideline was a 5×5 roto league that includes two catchers, one corner infielder, one middle infielder one utility player, five outfielders, nine pitchers of any type (with a 1,250 innings pitched cap) and the other standard positions.

Because of the age limitations in these rankings, don’t be surprised when you don’t see Evan Longoria, Carlos Gonzalez, David Price or Adam Jones, to name a few (the first three graduated from this list in 2011). I think I speak for many of my fellow rankers when I say that the aforementioned four are all excellent dynasty league players, and Longoria in particular is among the top of the crop, even at age 26.

With that said, please do scrutinize, argue, react, agree/disagree, and question our rankings in the comments below (or at our respective e-mail addresses). We encourage all reactions, as always.

The e-mail addresses of the authors of these rankings:

Josh Shepardson:

Ben Pritchett:

Nick Fleder:

Rk     Ben Pritchett          Josh Shepardson            Nick Fleder

1      Stephen Strasburg      Justin Upton               Stephen Strasburg
2      Clayton Kershaw        Stephen Strasburg          Brett Lawrie
3      Carlos Santana         Clayton Kershaw            Justin Upton
4      Justin Upton           Felix Hernandez            Clayton Kershaw
5      Felix Hernandez        Mike Stanton               Desmond Jennings
6      Brett Lawrie           Bryce Harper               Starlin Castro
7      Andrew McCutchen       Mike Trout                 Mike Stanton
8      Mike Stanton           Brett Lawrie               Matt Moore
9      Mike Trout             Carlos Santana             Felix Hernandez
10     Jason Heyward          Eric Hosmer                Carlos Santana
11     Yu Darvish             Andrew McCutchen           Jesus Montero
12     Eric Hosmer            Desmond Jennings           Andrew McCutchen
13     Bryce Harper           Jay Bruce                  Eric Hosmer
14     Matt Moore             Matt Moore                 Bryce Harper
15     Jay Bruce              Madison Bumgarner          Mike Trout
16     Tommy Hanson           Buster Posey               Madison Bumgarner
17     Pablo Sandoval         Starlin Castro             Pablo Sandoval
18     Dustin Ackley          Matt Wieters               Jay Bruce
19     Mat Latos              Pablo Sandoval             Paul Goldschmidt
20     Buster Posey           Jesus Montero              Jason Heyward
21     Starlin Castro         Elvis Andrus               Michael Pineda
22     Jesus Montero          Jason Heyward              Buster Posey
23     Mike Moustakas         Dustin Ackley              Matt Weiters
24     Michael Pineda         Michael Pineda             Elvis Andrus
25     Desmond Jennings       Yovani Gallardo            Dee Gordon

       Next Five:             Next Five:                 Next Five:
26     Alex Avila             Mat Latos                  Craig Kimbrel
27     Madison Bumgarner      Brandon Beachy             Yovani Gallardo
28     Neftali Feliz          Jason Kipnis               Dustin Ackley
29     Cameron Maybin         Freddie Freeman            Mat Latos
30     Elvis Andrus           Dee Gordon                 Brandon Belt

       Five More:             Five More:                 Five More:
31     Paul Goldschmidt       Alex Avila                 Cameron Maybin
32     Brandon Belt           Tommy Hanson               Julio Teheran
33     Travis Snider          Yu Darvish                 Yu Darvish
34     Dayan Viciedo          Cameron Maybin             Daniel Hudson
35     Devin Mesoraco         Mike Moustakas             Jason Kipnis


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Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
I’ll address all of the posts in greater depth later, but in short, my ranking of Jason Heyward has less to do in belief of his skill set, and more to do with concerns of his durability.  The first thing I saw when checking his FanGraphs page was a note of him having an MRI on his back to determine if there was any damage in there that could explain his shoulder soreness.  That’s a huge red flag for me.  Keith Law pointed out how the shoulder soreness completely destroyed his swing mechanics this year, and the proof is in… Read more »
Andrew
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Andrew

Clayton Kershaw is literally the top pitcher in fantasy baseball. He’s going #1 among SPs in NFBC drafts!

Yes, Strasburg has #1 SP upside, and his peripherals have been otherworldly when healthy. But why take the potential best pitcher in fantasy baseball when you can already have the best pitcher in fantasy baseball?

In short, to rank Strasburg before him makes absolutely no sense. I would love to be in a dynasty league in which someone made this colossal mistake.

Brad Johnson
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Brad Johnson

Colossal is a…colossal…overstatement. Your argument has merit, but the difference between Strasburg and Kershaw – regardless of which is better – is quite small. You’d have to be colossally averse to health risk in order to see any noticeable difference in future value.

And if you’re that risk averse, you’d be taking a position player.

Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder

Andrew, while I respect your opinion, you don’t pay for the past but rather the future. Next 5 years, I’ll take Strasburg. New elbow, better peripherals (small sample size is backed by unbelievable scouting accolades, incredible stuff. No debate: Kershaw is incredible, but Strasburg can be better, and I think will be in the next five years.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
This is a different Andrew from the last one but the same as comment #3. Scouting Accolades all rave about the stuff and the poise of Strausberg, I will give you that.  What you’re neglecting to mention is the Flaws in his mechanics everyone points to leading to elbow and shoulder issues down the road.  Work Ethic and Durability also concerns. So for the next five years you’d prefer to have a guy with mechanical and work ethic flaws that could lead to further injuries. Or a guy with back to back 200 inning seasons with improved metrics every time? … Read more »
Brad Johnson
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Brad Johnson

Where have you seen complaints about his work ethic?  From what I’ve heard he has an excellent work ethic.

Andrew
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Andrew

Work Ethic mostly related to Diet…the nickmane “Fatsberg” made it’s way around

BleacherGM
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BleacherGM
Hi Guys, I thought it’d be cool to average out the 3 rankings; 1   Strasburgh 2   Upton 3   Kershaw 4   Lawrie 5   Felix 6   Stanton 7   Santana 8   McCutchen 9   Trout 10   Harper 11   Hosmer 12   Moore 13   Jennings 14   Castro 15   Bruce 16   Heyward 17   Montero 18   Sandoval 19   Bumgarner 20   Posey 21   Gallardo 22   Pineda 23   Ackley 24   Latos 25   Andrus 26   Darvish 27   Wieters 28   Hanson 29   Goldschmidt… Read more »
Ben Pritchett
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Ben Pritchett
I started thinking about the Strasburg vs. Kershaw debate, and I realized that if I was drafting a team this year I’d probably take Kershaw over Strasburg in a beginning keeper league but I’d rather have Strasburg on a redraft team if that makes any sense I love the potential and I will always give the benefit of the doubt to a guy with just one huge injury. You can’t automatically label him an injury risk because of one injury albeit Tommy John surgery. Also in regards to that nickname “Fatsberg”, he picke that up at SD State well before… Read more »
Matt Veasey
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Matt Veasey

Fun fact: 6 years from now, when we’re looking ahead to a new “Roaring Twenties” and no matter what this year’s elections hold, Obama will be yesterday’s news? Bryce Harper will STILL make this list, still be under 26 years old. As an owner of his in my longtime Dynasty League, it puts a smile on this 50-year old face smile

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
OK, colossal was a strong word choice. I guess I’m just too risk-averse by nature to even consider taking Strasburg over Kershaw. At any rate, love the post. Also, for what it’s worth, here’s Keith Law’s Top 50 Players 25 or Under from a real baseball perspective… 01. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks 02. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates 03. Mike Stanton, Marlins 04. Buster Posey, Giants 05. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers 06. Starlin Castro, Cubs 07. Eric Hosmer, Royals 08. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals 09. Madison Bumgarner, Giants 10. Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays 11. Mike Trout, Angels 12. Jason Heyward, Braves 13. Cameron Maybin, Padres… Read more »
Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
Kershaw/Strasburg: I think we can all agree, both starters are incredibly desirable in keeper/dynasty formats.  In general, I tend to slant toward hitters in these formats over pitchers, and in submitting my rankings to Nick, mentioned that it physically pained me to include three pitchers in the top 4.  That said, those pitchers are tremendous. With that in mind, if I’m going to start a dynasty league roster with a pitcher, I’m shooting the moon.  Someone addressed Strasburg’s conditioning above, and that is an issue of the past, as another reader was quick to point out.  As far as mechanics… Read more »
MH
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MH
Thanks for the kind words Ben! In regard to your point about Dee, I’m not sure the Bonifacio comparison completely holds up.  Gordon has more raw speed than Bonifacio for one.  He probably also has more job security.  More likely the Marlins find someone better for their outfield than the Dodgers do at SS.  Also, Dee Gordon likely leads off for the Dodgers, meaning he could get 700+ PAs.  Jose Reyes in his first full year is a good example of what can happen with a player with elite speed getting 700 PAs despite a poor OBP—his OBP was .300… Read more »
Brad Johnson
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Brad Johnson

Let’s play with some numbers. Let’s say Strasburg has X% chance of being 10% better than Kershaw, Y% of being equally as valuable, Z% of being 10% worse, and N% of suffering career changing injury. Kershaw has M% chance of career changing injury.

What do X, Y, Z, N, and M equal to you? I’m asking anyone.

Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder
@SIDA Once again, these lists are for future value (under 25, lest you forget), not past performance. Yes, I can see the point in regards to Kershaw vs. Strasburg, the former of whom has several years of excellent service time to his name, but the fact is Hellickson’s ROY win was pretty much smoke and mirrors, and everyone on this list has more upside and has a better shot to be a better pitcher than Hellickson over the next five years (or position player for that matter). Your argument is based entirely on the fact that rookies who haven’t logged… Read more »
Ben Pritchett
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Ben Pritchett
@SIDA!- First of all “SIDA” means “AIDS” in Spanish. You might want to come up with another tag. I don’t know if that was intentional. I’m going to leave the debate of Strasburg vs. Kershaw alone. That topic is growing tired. I think all writers’ POVs are displayed throughout the comments section on this topic. I am, however, going to address Jeremy Hellickson’s absence from this list. Now SIDA, if you want a list with Hellickson in it, you are on the wrong site. Go to ESPN or CBS or something. The Hardball Times prides itself on being a site… Read more »
MH
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MH
@Brad I’d say (if we’re totaling these up to 100% so assuming you mean “at least 10%” more/less valuable for X and Z and “within 10% of value” for Y) its something like X=25%, Y=45%, Z=30%.  What I think is important to remember is that most cases that fall under X, though, include primarily outcomes where Strasburg is 10-15% better than Kershaw, while Z includes a larger variety of outcomes, although in many of the X outcomes Strasburg’s performance is also off the charts good while Kershaw’s performance is pretty stable among the outcomes in all three groups.  As for… Read more »
Zeus
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Zeus

I love these lists and GREAT job. 
How is LoMo not on all 3 list (16 on Laws) never mind completely off all three?  He has shown power (wrist injury slowed it) and great plat discipline skills.  He has 25+hr/290ave with more upside.

Sal
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Sal

I traded for Heyward last year (gave up quite a bit) and rode him through the whole season.

I’m in a 7 keeper 10 team league with other quality options to keep. At this point I should just let go and hope I can redraft him…correct?

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
@ Sal That really depends on a number of things.  Is the league a standard 5×5 format?  Is there any cost associated with each keeper, or a limit on how long they can be kept?  What are the starting lineup positions (i.e. is it a 5 OF league, are the outfield spots specifically broken down LF/CF/RF)?  Where do you select in the draft?  Who are the other keeper options?  In a vacuum, I don’t believe Heyward will be a top-70 player in 5×5 formats in 2012.  That said, he has the talent that he certainly could be, and as soon… Read more »
Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder
Heyward’s injury concerns certainly had him lower in these rankings than he was last year, but I also don’t love his upside. Sure, he’s a superb glove and has all the tools to succeed and be a superstar, but he strikes me as a better real-life player than fantasy-player. He plays in the deepest position, unless you go LF/CF/RF (I don’t generally), he probably won’t top 20 stolen bases in his peak, and I question how consistently he’ll hit for a high average; after all, his .277 rookie showing was aided by a .335 BABIP, and he consistently put up… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!
These lists are atrocious. I am not even sure where to begin, but since I have to start somewhere….let’s start with the absence of Jeremy Hellickson. You know, the kid that just won the AL ROY by posting a sub 3.00 ERA, a fantastic WHIP and doin’ it in the hardest division in baseball. An ERA that was good for EIGHTH place in the rankins in the AL and would have been good for NINTH in the NL. Let me guess…you are going to dock him because “he was statistically lucky” or his strikeouts weren’t there? I laugh when fantasty… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!

@Nick

Coming off of 2009, was David Price an average pitcher at best?

FIP 4.59
xFIP 4.43
WAR 1.3
BB/9 3.79

Or do those stats only count for Hellickson?

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
@ SIDA! I always wondered who thought Bartolo Colon was deserving of the Cy Young in 2005, and now I know.  I mean the guy won 21 games!  Seriously though, I wasn’t aware there were leagues that awarded fantasy points based on hardware.  I remember when Eric Hinske won a ROY award.  He’s been a fantasy stud ever since.  Could you please enlighten me to how well ERA predicts future performance when stacked up against FIP, xFIP, tERA, SIERA and any other number of advanced metrics?  I also find it curious that you are trolling a fantasy article and referring… Read more »
Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder
Touchè. I mean, he was an average pitcher at best coming off of his 09 season, but I was being too closed minded about his future prospects. This doesn’t take away from the fact that you’re being incredibly closed-minded about service time requirements and past performance dictating future success. Yes, Hellickson may be a top notch pitcher at one point, but his 2011 success—which you cited as reason enough for him to deserve an appearance on this list—was largely smoke and mirrors. I can’t find a legit argument for his Cy Young worthiness, and in purely fantasy terms, he possesses… Read more »
Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder

“his future prospects,” pertains to Hellickson, for clarification.

SIDA!
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SIDA!
@Ben FWIW, I agree with you that young closers should be devalued (all closers should be devalued…way too much volatility). So, I don’t have any qualms with that. I do find it amusing that you take a swipe at ESPN and CBS rankings while professing to be a more astute analyst of the fantasy game because you actually look at the really important stats. You proceed to regale me with a litany of reasons why Hellickson isn’t even on your list and then nonchalantly decide to drop the “I like Travis Snider because I feel it is his time” argument.… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!
I am a fantasy geek, that is why I am on here.  I was referring to the propensity of other fantasy geeks to blow their wad all over guys that have never even played at the MLB level or have a small sample set. And I never said that just because a guy wins hardware that that equates to legitimate bonifides being handed out to that player. I don’t believe wins is a measure of a pitcher’s talent. Hellickson was an elite prospect with an excellent pedigree that had produced exceptionally well at EVERY level he has played in.  Then… Read more »
Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder
I’m shocked that Matt Moore ahead of Mat Latos brings up debate, but I will repeat this one more time that *past performance does not dictate future success*, and this is list is NOT ranking past performance but where we think the players will lie, value wise, over the next ~5 years. Mat Latos’ rookie numbers are completely irrelevant. Relevant, however, is the fact that he pitched in PETCO for his entire career and now shifts to Great American. He has a career 3.57 ERA away from PETCO, and while I like him as a pitcher and concede that I… Read more »
MH
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MH
@SIDA I think there’s some creedence to that argument, but Price is a bit different.  He had a considerably better strikeout rate, he gets some points for raw “stuff,” being a #1 overall pick, being a lefty, and having a more neutral batted ball profile (as opposed to Hellickson who is an extreme fly ball guy).  Even if I think the sabermetric and hardcore fantasy communities may be overlooking Hellickson a bit (as opposed to the more average redraft fantasy community where he’s being overvalued), he doesn’t have Price’s ceiling, and he’s much harder to project.  I wouldn’t expect much… Read more »
Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder
@Zeus I can’t speak for the other writers, but I considered LoMo. He clocked in around ~40 if we expanded the list. Couple of concerns with him: outfield is incredibly deep, so I’d prefer a pitcher or position player in the infield above an outfielder always; that is, unless the outfielder has incredible power upside or the much-desirable five-tooled label. That said, I can see an argument for LoMo over, say, Maybin, and I’ll consider that strongly in my revisions. Back to LoMo, though: his HR/FB is a huge red flag—it’s a stat that jumps all over the place, but… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!
@Brad: He has a 3-5% chance at being 10% or more better than Kershaw and I would say a 25-30% chance (if that) of being as good as Kershaw. You and others may think that is crazy, but let me explain. What percent chance does Mike Stanton have of hitting 10% more homers in a season than Barry Bonds monster season? What percent chance does Stanton have of hitting 10% more homers than McGwire’s 70?  A 10% improvement upon elite numbers is a herculean task.  Kershaw just won the triple crown of pitching and is elite in just about every… Read more »
Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder
@MH Incredibly well-said. “Pitchers like that are much less scarce than they were a few years ago, so there’s a premium on ceiling when talking about pitchers in dynasty formats, especially deeper into the rankings,” is something that I’ve totally ignored in my comments, but of course factored in. Pitching is incredibly deep; yes, in any given draft, that could mean you skip the elite boys and snag a superb staff in the later rounds, but in dynasty leagues, you’re looking for incredible return on value and upside. High-ceiling guys are obviously the ones to deliver. Ask yourself who has… Read more »
MH
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MH
@Nick I’m not sure I entirely agree with your assessment that past performance is irrelevant.  After all, future projection is largely based on past performance. I agree that we’re obviously not attempting to rank past performance, but it is certainly part of the discussion.  I also agree that I’d take Matt Moore over Latos, but I wouldn’t knock Latos too far back.  His HR rate should rise playing half his games in Great American, but he’s also been a low BABIP guy in a park that would seem (I don’t have figures) to possibly inflate BABIP (big park, moderate-warm dry… Read more »
Zeus
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Zeus

LoMo has great Bb/k rates in the past and the power loss was due to the wrist. He still hit a lot of doubles in 2010
I think SP is deeper and higher risk than OFers. Look how many top SP prospects vs OF prospects.
Have you seen he tweets…. He is a crazy dude. #nohomojustlomo

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
@ SIDA! “You know, the kid that just won the AL ROY.”  I didn’t write that, you did.  Asking where logic is, and suggesting that these lists were put together without thought is trollish behavior.  Presenting that a player had a good ERA in 2011 does little but suggest you can read a leader board.  I’d be willing to bet the bank on the 2012 ERA leader board not being a mirror image of that in 2011.  To suggest that a player can’t succeed at the major league level because they haven’t had a chance is silly (i.e. Yu Darvish). … Read more »
Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder
@MH I don’t mean to knock on Latos so much. He’s a superb pitcher, but I think it’d be silly to imply he has the same upside as Matt Moore. And I didn’t mean to say past performance is irrelevant, but rather, that past performance does not dictate future success. Really, all I was trying to argue, in regards to SIDA, was that the argument “Hellickson shouldn’t be ranked *because* he’s played a year while Yu Darvish has no service time” is silly. Take out the specific names—which can be argued—and that assessment is wrong in my mind. @Zeus No… Read more »
Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder

In my “Hellickson shouldn’t be ranked *because* he’s played a year while Yu Darvish has no service time,” quote, change shouldn’t to SHOULD. My bad for the confusion.

Ben Pritchett
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Ben Pritchett
@Zeus- I also considered LoMo in my rankings. I think he was more of a casualty of the numbers than actually deserving of being left off this list. As is obviously debatable, 30-45 in a dynasty format rankings can almost be interchangable. It’s relative to personal preference, risk tolerance, and strategy. He’d definitely be in my top 45. @MH- Wilson Ramos’ upside isn’t that great. He’s little more than an NL Only backstop, and I don’t think he sees much higher of ceiling than what we saw last year. Look at the 15 HRs. He’s never shown that kind of… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!
@MH Price had exactly a 1.0 K/IP ratio in the minors. Hellickson had a 1.09 over a far greater sample set of innings. As Price has matured in the majors…he has shown he can get the K at the major league level.  He very well may end up being an all around more dominant pitcher than Hellickson. But it is very difficult to hit these moving targets.  Depending on who I talk to here, Hellickson better minor league stats don’t count over Price.  His major league stats don’t count because a sabermetric says his “real” numbers were “flukey”.  When I… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!
@Nick Once again, my statements are being twisted to create straw man arguments.  I did not say that Yu Darvish should not be ranked simply because he hasn’t played in the majors or that Hellickson should be ranked simply because he has played in the majors. What I articulated was that Hellickson should be ranked because he has played in the majors…and actually performed and posted great numbers…great numbers in categories we actually count in fantasy baseball leagues. I have no qualms with ranking players who have never played over players how have played in the majors..but it is relative. … Read more »
Ben Pritchett
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Ben Pritchett
@SIDA!- First smart thing you’ve said is pointing out my unsubstantiated love for Travis Snider. That’s the beauty of lists. I can like Travis Snider’s potential for a dynasty leagues and not like Hellickson’s future. That’s why we have opinions. My opinion of Hellickson is stat driven. My opinion of Snider is talent driven. Snider’s success has been limited because of his head not his skills. I can live with that. Hellickson has been a fine pitcher, but you really need to stop comparing him to Verlander. They don’t even pitch the same. Verlander is a power pitcher that can… Read more »
MH
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MH
@Nick Absolutely, can’t disagree with that at all.  I have some trepidation about Darvish, but he’s young and shown consistent improvement over numbers that were already flat out dominant.  If you were to ignore what other Japanese pitchers wound up doing in the majors and simply ranked them based on projections at the time they came over, Darvish would pretty easily come out on top.  I think you and Josh are dead on with him, while Nick is being more aggressive with him than I would.  I’m a little surprised you left Hanson off though. He’s tough to rank, for… Read more »
Ben Pritchett
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Ben Pritchett
@MH- What! No love for my Yu Darvish ranking? Darvish has been the one guy I’ve staked my “expert” flag on this year. I think people that compare him to past Japanese/Asian pitchers will find out they are wrong. He doesn’t have a herky-jerky delivery. He’s calm, borderline cocky. He throws mid90s with stellar off-speed pitches. He wants the ball. I think he’s as close to an American pitcher as Nolan Ryan is as to a Texan. My only worry about him is his innings load, but most say that he doesn’t pitch with the frequency and extremism of Daisuke… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!
LOL @Ben the psychiatrist and the statistician. Why would I take you on your bet when you have an entire list of players and yet you instead pick from just the pitchers you ranked?  How about I make a bet that Hellickson is more valuable to the Rays this year than Snider is to his team this year?  Will that make you happy? Afterall, Snider is on your list. I find it amusing that you want to denigrate Hellickson’s numbers as being lucky and praise the ceiling of Moore and Darvish…but yet you don’t think they can even match Hellickson… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!
I pointed out the ROY followed by…his ERA and WHIP, both of which were near the top in the AL (8th and 13th, respectively). He didn’t win ROY because he won popularity contest.  All of these awards generally speaking have their flaws, but let’s not pretend Hellickson stole it from some other more deserving player. He also had the second best batting average against in the AL. Only Verlander was harder to hit. Or was that luck, too?  But luck only showed up when he pitched and not any other TB pitcher? On his own team he bested Price in… Read more »
Ben Pritchett
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Ben Pritchett
@SIDA!- Enjoyed the post until the reference to Greg Maddux. I know you didn’t compare Hellickson to Greg Maddux. If you did you just lost all the credibility you have manage to muster in all this. “Why would I take you on your bet when you have an entire list of players and yet you instead pick from just the pitchers you ranked?  How about I make a bet that Hellickson is more valuable to the Rays this year than Snider is to his team this year?  Will that make you happy? Afterall, Snider is on your list.” What does… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!
@Ben Where did I say anything about Hellickson being the next Maddux? You are the talent scout around here telling us that “throwing hard” or batting near the Mendoza Line equates to talent. You are the one that suggested hitting 100 on the gun equals talent and that softies like Hellickson can’t cut it. Yet, inexplicably I didn’t see Aroldis Chapman on the list. Maybe he is over 25. I can’t check now.  My comment that Hellickson will be more valuable than Snider to their respective teams was a general comment and I also mean that Hellickson will be more… Read more »
Ben Pritchett
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Ben Pritchett

@SIDA!- Cueto was honestly an oversight. I forget how young he is, and he barely made the cut-off on a 1986 birthday. That’s a good catch. I’d actually have him just behind Latos but behind Gallardo. You won’t find any more Cueto lovers in the writer’s staff. I don’t know Fleder’s position, but I was the only one that liked Cueto and CJ Wilson entering the 2011 season. They aren’t sabrmetric darlings. They were also cheap, something I don’t think can be said about Hellickson. That plays a role in my like/dislike as well.

MH
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MH
@Ben re: Ramos I half agree.  I don’t think he has tremendous upside in any single category, but what he does offer is a solid production floor and a nice amount of upside in every category (aside from SB of course).  I’m not sure where the power knock comes from.  He hit 39 HR in 1600 minor league PAs through age 22 and had a .146 ISO.  That’s about 11 HR per 435 PAs, so the idea that he evolved into a guy that could hit 15 HR over that span really isn’t that far fetched.  His HR/FB was probably… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!
RE: Cueto This is the stuff that kills me. Every year he has shown progression in ERA/WHIP (don’t have access to secondary stats at the moment) and he has outperformed Gallardo, yet Gallardo still gets more love. You guys are inconsistent in your application of criteria.  And here Cueto is doing it in Cinci….and at thesame time you guys dock Latos because he is going to Cincy. I mean, there is seemingly no rhyme or reason to what you guys use to rank these guys and when it is convenient you try to point to some saber stat or more… Read more »
Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder

I’ll concede, I really do like the fact that Cueto added a curveball that was league average in value. He found some value in his fastball, in his slider, and the GB% is incredible. That says, you have to assume some BABIP bad luck, some more fly balls leaving the park. He might make an appearance near the bottom of my list next time around.

A projection for Moore: 11 K/9, 2.75 ERA, 14 wins, ~1.10 WHIP. Watch it come back to hurt me, but I think he has the talent to put together that season right away.

MH
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MH

They’ve been pretty consistent about how they apply the advanced metrics….The guys they favor all perform well according to FIP/xFIP/SIERA and the guys they don’t…well…don’t.

SIDA!
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SIDA!
@MH I’ll make a projection but I believe the onus is on the three writers to put forth their projections for Latos, Hellickson, Darvish and Moore first. I find it incredible that you say Mat Latos can’t put those numbers up…he already did!  Those are the guys numbers. I’m not saying that Matt Moore will not be better than Latos. He very well may end up being better than Kershaw. That is not the point. The point is not whether someone can be better than another but whether or not they willbe better and in order to derive an answer… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!

@Nick

Please let me take your money. I will bet you $1, $100, $1000 or $10,000 or any number in between that Moore doesn’t post those numbers.

Seriously. Let’s get this done.

MH
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MH
“I find it incredible that you say Mat Latos can’t put those numbers up…he already did!  Those are the guys numbers.” Perhaps I misunderstood.  I was operating under the assumption that you were proposing, as you put it, an “even money bet.”  For me to take such a bet, I would have to believe there was greater than 50% chance that Latos would put up those numbers.  Are you saying you’d be willing to lay significant odds in my favor for betting Moore might outproduce those numbers?  You’re the one talking about assigning probabilities, so surely you didn’t think I… Read more »
Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder
@SIDA! First off: Mat Latos doesn’t have a 51% GB rate, he has a *fine (at best)* ERA Away from PETCO in his career (if you want to use ERA… 3.57), and now he’s moving to GAB. Cueto has played there for four years, and has improved his stuff, changed his repertoire, and learned how to pitch to contact as well as he can. He’ll see some regression to the mean in terms of balls in play, but he’s a good player. The task is hard, I admit. Rank guys over the next five years or so, include top prospects,… Read more »
MH
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MH

@Nick

I wouldn’t bet strongly against any of those marks aside from the 11 K/9 (I’d question the ERA too, but not by nearly as much).  Betting on any starting pitcher to do that in the major leagues over a full season is silly.  Matt Moore had sick minor league numbers, but he’s not such an extreme outlier that we should be expecting him to do something that’s only been done 18 times in the history of the game. 

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/strikeouts_per_nine_season.shtml

MH
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MH

…and by only seven different pitchers for that matter.

Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder

@SIDA!

I would love to see a top 35 from you when you get a chance.

Early Projections (next year, think of them as highly bullish):
Matt Moore: 10 K/9, 2.75 ERA, 14 wins, ~1.10 WHIP
Yovani Gallardo: 9.5 K/9, 3.50 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 15 wins
Jeremy Hellickson: ~6.5 K/9, 3.75 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 15 wins
Mat Latos: ~9 K/9, 3.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 15 wins

I’ll admit that I got carried away with the K’s projection for Moore at first, but I think 10 is do-able.

MH
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MH
I still think that Moore projection is pretty tough.  Its not unattainable, but I would never project it.  Even at 10 K/9 its only happened 58 times in the history of the game, so just a bit more than once every other year on average.  Its happened that pitchers like Moore have done it (some worse, ahem, Ollie Perez), so its certainly possible, but its extremely bullish to project. I also think giving Latos a 9 K/9 and a 3.50 ERA might either be generous on the Ks or or overestimating the park-factor difference a touch, but that might be… Read more »
Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder
Bullish, I’ll admit, but to be fair, the fine fans at FanGraphs are predicting 10.27 K/9 (23 ballots submitted). http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1890&position=P Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more likely, but maybe it’ll be industry standard come spring time. I picked 3.50 because his xFIP was 3.52 last year and is 3.51 over his career. I could see a league average HR/FB rate coming over from PETCO. He also found more success with the changeup than he did the curveball (2010: 10.1% and 7.1% use, 3.3 and 0.1 value) (2011: 6.6% and 13.2% use, 1.0 value and -1.6 value). So my gut tells me… Read more »
MH
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MH

Right, I suppose part of it is if you expect his BB/9 to move back towards 2010 or not.  If it doesn’t, I suppose a 3.50 ERA is possible with a normal HR/FB and 9 K/9, but it seems just a touch high to me.  FWIW, I’d probably give him an 8.75 or so K/9 and 3.40 ERA or so raspberry

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
Well, I’ve been at work all day, and I see nothing has changed in CIDA’s approach.  It’s wishy-washy at best.  It starts with using Hellickson’s ROY award as validation for his argument, and retracting when it is pointed out that hardware won isn’t a fantasy category.  It meanders on to arguing that a player without major league experience shouldn’t be ranked ahead of one with experience.  And then it heads down the road of Jeremy Hellickson had a shiny ERA, WHIP, and be dammed with his 5.57 K/9 (strikeouts are a fantasy category) that was 1.56 K/9 below LEAGUE AVERAGE,… Read more »
LoMo
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LoMo

Completely agree on LoMo. I think the front office thing is over blown. Plenty of player, manny, produce fine with little love w the front office. 
I just don’t see a maybin, snider, etc being as good. 
Again.  Great list and love insights.  Just surprised he was 0-3 on list when I felt he was a clear top 25 at worst

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
Johnny Cueto’s exclusion from my list is a testament to the depth of quality pitching, and not an indictment of his skill level.  On the positive side of the ledger, his GB rate sky rocketed last year, which is HUGE for him pitching in a launching pad.  He also repeated his big control gain that he made in 2010. Unfortunately, it was the third consecutive season in which his strikeout rate dropped.  That change is probably the result of a conscious decision to induce ground balls. I make that assumption based on his change in fastball useage.  In 2009 he… Read more »
Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
@LoMo Yup, players can without question perform with distractions, I just think it’s worth remembering.  Morrison and Maybin are pretty close to a toss up for me.  Both are the same age, but the big difference for me is that Maybin has a chance to be elite in one category (stolen bases) and Morrison is unlikely to be.  It’s also easy to forget that with a full season of at-bats Maybin is probably capable of hitting double digit round-trippers, where as Morrison is unlikely to steal double digit bases.  Don’t forget, PETCO is mostly hell on left-handed power, not nearly… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!
@Josh Why are you being disingenuous with my statements and twisting them around to suggest that I said something that I did not say? First of all, I never said that the ROY in and of itself validated anything or that it was the be all, end all.  What I did say was that I agree with you and others that “hardware” is not the be all, end all when it comes to assessing player talent.  I also said that you simply cannot dismiss the ROY award as if it was awarded to the worst rookie in the league.  Your… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!
@MH We’re definitely not on the same page.  You made a statement about Matt Moore being worth more than Latos 3 years from now or something to that effect. I was simply making the statement that I would bet that Latos would be worth more but that it is entirely possible that Moore will in fact be worth Moore.  But, I am going to take the guy with 400+ innings of solid performance over a guy with 10 innings of MLB performance. It is the smart money play.  Doesn’t mean I will win that bet every time, but over time…I… Read more »
MH
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MH
The bet I would consider making regarding Moore is that over the next three seasons, he will produce more fantasy value than Mat Latos. No specific number, one pitcher vs. The other. I would also be willing to bet that Mat Latos will not match his first-season numbers in 2011. As you are so quick to point out with other pitchers, I’m not saying he CAN’T put up those numbers, but I would be willing to make an even money bet that he, or nearly any pitcher not named Halladay, Verlander, Lee, Kershaw, Hernandez, Hamels, or Lincecum, for that matter,… Read more »
Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
@ SIDA You’re going to question my reading comprehension?  Really? The guy who can’t understand the fact that this is an exercise in projecting future performance, and circles back to Darvish/Moore needing to match Latos/Hellickson’s rookie seasons in order for them to be more valuable IN THE FUTURE, is questioning this?  Hahahaha this is too funny.  “You know, the kid that just won the AL ROY by posting a sub 3.00 ERA, a fantastic WHIP and doin’ it in the hardest division in baseball.”  That’s what you said above.  You used the AL ROY as a form of validating your… Read more »
Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson

“Hell, I would of said the same thing about Strasburg before he made his first pitch and guess what…he blew his arm out and did not add value to his owners, etc.”

I would have told you headed into September that both the Red Sox and Braves would have historic collapses this past year! Ha, beat that.

Hindsight, crazy thing.

SIDA!
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SIDA!
Except that you wouldnt have said that and I would have actually traded Strasburg for an established player that was already performing.  I am going to trade an elite prospect or guys with tons of “upside” all day long for guys who are actually producing and ranking in the top 50 players each year.  And I guarantee you that I will come out ahead in the end. Thank you for actually posting your projections. Hopefully I can get the other two to give projections for all these guys as well. I enjoy reading in black and white that the two… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!

*the last sentence got a little jumbled there.

I meant, sheer lunacy to rank and value guys that haven’t dont it at the MLB level significantly more than those who have done it.

P.S. If Darvish is trotting out a 3.65 ERA and Hellickson is trotting out a 3.75 ERA…what would you estimate their FIP/xFIPs?

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
@ SIDA! “And yet, Hellickson can’t even sniff your rankings and is way down on your list?” Ummm… “Does Hellickson have the talent necessary to improve as a pitcher?  Absolutely, I’ve pointed that out before. I like his change-up and curveball as weapons to help him improve his strikeout rate.  He was near the cut list for me, in spite of his underwhelming peripherals, because I believe he has more talent than was on display in 2011.” This is what I said, not sure how that equates to didn’t sniff my lists. I’m done arguing with someone who continues to… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!

LOL at the Jair Jurrjens blast.  I am not going to carry his water, but you mean the guy that has a career ERA less than what you project for Yu Darvish and about equal to what you projected for Matt Moore?

Oh yeah…I forgot.  ERA is overrated…

SIDA!
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SIDA!

About the sniffing your list… I apologize. I misspoke and confused you with either Nick or Ben.  It is hard to keep straight which arguments the three of you are making at times.  I stand corrected.

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
@Zeus, I like LoMo quite a bit.  He got consideration starting around 28 on this list (where I ranked Jason Kipnis).  I love his patient approach, and his raw power.  I believe it was his prospect write-up in the 2009 Baseball America Handbook (but I may have the year wrong) where it was noted that he put on batting practice displays that rivaled those of Mike Stanton.  Batting practice home runs don’t count in fantasy games, or real game for that matter, but they do at least suggest that his 23 HR outburst this past season wasn’t out of nowhere. … Read more »
Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
@ MH Thanks for the thoughtful contributions to the commentary.  I like Latos, and he has been a tremendous pitcher (hence his ranking on this list).  A couple concerns I have with Latos that go beyond his change of home ballparks.  His velocity has declined the last two years on his fastball (94.2 mph in 2009, 93.7 mph in 2010, 92.8 mph in 2011).  That’s certainly not the end of the world, but it could help explain a trend that could be damming for him, and that’s declining fastball useage (66.5 percent in 2009, 59.8 percent in 2010, 55.8 percent… Read more »
Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson

@ MH

I forgot to address Wilson Ramos.  I’m a fan, namely in two catcher formats, but he’s the type of player that is hurt by emerging talent at the catcher position (Santana/Posey/Wieters/Avila not to mention prospects like Mesoraco/d’Arnaud/LaVarnway/Grandal/Rosario and Jesus Montero for now) and established talent in place (McCann/V-Mart in 2012/Mauer/Napoli/Miguel Montero).  In Ramos’ defense, there is a great deal of value in getting every day at-bats and having the ability to hit for mid-to-upper teens power with a passable batting average at catcher.

Derek Ambrosino
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Derek Ambrosino
Good job with the list, guys. Interesting stuff. I don’t have a ton to add, except to emphasize that the nature of this kind of list is to prioritize picks/players that can possibly be home runs. If player A is 22 and posts WARs (as a stand-in for actual fantasy stats) of 2.8, 3.1, 3.3, and 3.5 for the next four years, and player B puts up something like 0.8, 1.4, 4.8, 5.7 – those players are producing the same overall WAR value, but player B “wins” on this kind of list because what you are really going for is… Read more »
MH
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MH
@Derek Completely agree.  I always tend to assume that general, in most formats, as the cost of a player decreases, the marginal value of “upside” increases and the marginal value of safety decreases.  Thus I’ll be more inclined to take a safer bet on Kershaw over Strasburg’s upside, assuming cost is similar, while when you get to lower cost guys like Hellickson and Darvish, my strategy goes the other way.  The issue is how replaceable almost all of the outcomes for Hellickson are, including may of the best possible ones.  There’s a nice quantity of pitchers at that level, so… Read more »
Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson

@Derek and MH

You both pretty much hit the nail on the head.

matt
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matt
Fun list and I know I’m incredibly late to the party, but… I wouldn’t put too much weight on Strasburg’s numbers from last season. We’re only talking about 5 MLB starts and none of them went past the 6th inning. Strasburg didn’t face a single team that had an above average offense. Every opponent was well out of the race except for Atlanta, who was in a free fall. He didn’t pitch great against Atlanta. The best argument for Strasburg over Kershaw has to be based on a traditional scouting assessment. I’d be hesitant to make that case. There’s lots… Read more »
Ben Pritchett
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Ben Pritchett

I want to also add that I will have Chris Sale in my revision Dynasty rankings that should be out next week or the week after.

We’ll see what other changes I will have in store. But let the Strasburg vs. Kershaw debate live on.

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson
@ Ben Pritchett Chris Sale is a good name.  I’d say he’ll miss the cut for me, but not by much.  Not thinking I’m going to do a ton of tweaking, maybe a bit of shuffling.  I view Sale much in the same light as Darvish.  Lots of upside, but comes with questions.  His questions are different, but include: How will his stuff play as a starter? How will he do working through a lineup multiple times?  How will he do with the increase in workload?  He has the repertoire to get batters of each handedness out.  He started in… Read more »
Aaron
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Aaron

Josh,

Just curious…do you still think David Price is the Chad Billingsley of the AL East?

Josh Shepardson
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Josh Shepardson

@ Aaron,

You’re mixing up my commentary with Jeff’s from last year.  I dug, because I didn’t remember making the comparison, and saw Jeff did.

SIDA!
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SIDA!
Just wanted to try one more time to get some projections from all of you. Josh supplied projections for all four: Jeremy Hellickson: 200 IP, 7.40 K/9, 3.75 ERA, 1.23 WHIP Mat Latos: 205 IP, 8.70 K/9, 3.45 ERA, 1.15 WHIP Matt Moore: 185 IP, 9.70 K/9, 3.35 ERA, 1.17 WHIP Yu Darvish:  200 IP, 8.75 K/9, 3.65 ERA, 1.18 WHIP Nick put forth: Jeremy Hellickson: ~6.5 K/9, 3.75 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 15 wins Mat Latos: ~9 K/9, 3.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 15 wins Matt Moore: 10 K/9, 2.75 ERA, 14 wins, ~1.10 WHIP Nick, do you care to put… Read more »
Ben Pritchett
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Ben Pritchett

I didn’t know we were still commenting on this thread. Here ya go SIDA…

Jeremy Hellickson: 6.5K/9, 3.67 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 11 Wins

Mat Latos: 8.33 K/9, 3.54 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 15 wins

Yu Darvish: 8.1 K/9, 3.12 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 16 wins (This year, but look for much better next year. These are dynasty rankings ya know)

Matt Moore: 9.5 K/9, 3.21 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 18 wins
(Cy Young winner within the next five)

SIDA!
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SIDA!

bump…

Nick Fleder
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Nick Fleder

Darvish: 3.40 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 13 wins

I admire your persistence.

cheap suits for men|http://cheapsuitsformen.net/gi
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cheap suits for men|http://cheapsuitsformen.net/gi

If some one wants expert view about blogging afterward i advise him/her to go to see this blog, Keep up the pleasant work.

Ben Pritchett
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Ben Pritchett

Where are the Jeremy Hellickson lovers at? They are starting to call him “Shellickson”(@jasoncollette). He’s looked as bad as any pitcher in baseball this Spring. For those that didn’t listen, it’s time to sell before it’s too late.

SIDA!
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SIDA!

Just checking in to let you all know im still around and prepared to eat my crow should things not go my way.

I’m very happy with hellickson and annoyed with latos. However, he has outperformed gallardo and moore to date. Darvish looks to be the real deal.

Still way too early to brag or throw in the towel.

SIDA!
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SIDA!
Well, we are entering the back stretch now. Here are the current numbers. Hellickson: 3.43 era and 1.31 whip Darvish: 4.57 era and 1.46 whip Latos: 3.94 era and 1.23 whip Moore: 3.84 era and 1.39 whip Cueto: 2.52 era and 1.21 whip Gallardo: 3.79 era and 1.31 whip Ben Pritchett wrote somewhere in this thread that he would be right and i would be wrong…and that you all would never hear from me again. We ain’t at the finish line, yet…but it is quite clear you guys are getting smoked so far. Maybe, you all should offer me a… Read more »
Ben Pritchett
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Ben Pritchett
Welcome back! Hellickson/Darvish: Stupid argument. Hellickson has been bad this year. Sure his ERA isn’t that bad, but he’s realistically been a glorified middle reliever. At least a good MR has a better WHIP, ERA, and should be comparable in Ks. Five relievers have 70+ Ks. Hellickson has 76. Darvish, on the other hand, has 154 which ranks 6 IN ALL OF BASEBALL. His inflated ERA is due to his last three bad starts. Before that, he was sub-4. C’mon, nobody in their right mind would rather have Hellickson over Darvish in a dynasty and that’s why we ranked Darvish… Read more »
SIDA!
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SIDA!
Hellickson has been bad? A glorified middle reliever? That is nonsense. In 17 of his 20 starts, he has given up three or fewer runs. Darvish has given up 4 or more runs in 8 of his 21 starts. Granted, darvish gets his k’s, no denying that. But k’s aren’t the be all end all. Maybe ollie perez is still on your leagues waiver wire. Darvish is averaging 6.1 innings per start. Hellickson is averaging over 5.2 innings per start. Hellickson would have to give up 22 er in his next 14 innings to match darvish’s era. Further, darvish’s era… Read more »
Brad Johnson
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Brad Johnson

I actually own Ollie Perez in a linear weights league. Prior to a recent bad outing he had been very helpful.

smile

Both pitchers have been unimpressive and aren’t worth hoarding by any means. I see few dynasty/keeper formats where they could be viewed as strategic assets. Both possess a degree of upside though. Darvish more than Hellickson.

In any event, this argument doesn’t need to be happening. Everything is basically as expected within a normal variance.

Ben Pritchett
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Ben Pritchett
I wonder if that SIDA guy still wishes he had Hellickson over Darvish. Darvish has been outstanding as @bchad50 (Josh Shepardson) pointed on his twitter: In Darvish’s last seven starts: 50.2 IP, 2.49 BB/9, 10.66 K/9 (4.29 K/BB), 26 hits allowed, 2.13 ERA, 0.79 WHIP. #AceMaterial #Rangers His season WAR is up to 4.9 which is only behind Verlander, King Felix, and Gio for tops in baseball. He has 214 Ks on pace for 220+. He has 16 Ws, double that of Hellickson. His FIP and xFIP are on the opposite end of the spectrum to Hellickson. I’m done with… Read more »
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