Example of the Drain that Power Only Players Have on a Team

A while ago, I ranked 2B according to their possible 2012 return using the Bill James Projections. There was some discussion in the comments on how detrimental it is to have a low AVG and SB number with a power hitter. I have decided to rank some 2B ‘roto style’ to help show how players that only have value in RBIs, Runs and HRs can be a drag on a team.

In the discussion, it was stated that HRs from 2B are nice and players like Dan Uggla are extremely valuable. Other people pointed out that a horrible AVG and effectively 0 SB make him a liability. While most teams can be balanced through multiple players, having one player not pulling his weight in a couple of categories can be a huge drag.

I picked 20 top ranked 2B going into the 2012 season to examine. I took each player’s stats rated for 600 PAs. I am not a huge fan of the Bill James projections, but they will work just fine for the example being shown. I ranked each player from 1 to 20 in each of the 5 roto categories with the 1st place person getting 20 points and so on down with the 20th rated player getting 1 point. The totals were added up and here are the results using just HRs, RBIs, and Runs.

Rank Name Runs RBI HR Runs RBI HR Total
1 Dan Uggla 85 82 29 14 17 20 51
2.5 Chase Utley 89 83 22 16.5 18.5 15 50
2.5 Robinson Cano 86 90 22 15 20 15 50
4 Ian Kinsler 100 72 23 20 12 17.5 49.5
5 Ryan Raburn 81 83 23 11 18.5 17.5 47
6 Jason Kipnis 95 74 19 19 14.5 12.5 46
7 Danny Espinosa 80 71 24 9 10 19 38
8 Rickie Weeks 94 61 22 18 4.5 15 37.5
9 Ben Zobrist 82 74 17 12.5 14.5 9.5 36.5
10.5 Dustin Pedroia 89 68 16 16.5 8 7.5 32
10.5 Brandon Phillips 82 71 17 12.5 10 9.5 32
12 Howie Kendrick 80 74 14 9 13 5.5 27.5
13 Kelly Johnson 79 63 19 7 6 12.5 25.5
14 Neil Walker 71 81 14 2.5 16 5.5 24
15 Ryan Roberts 78 65 18 5.5 7 11 23.5
16 Aaron Hill 72 71 16 4 10 7.5 21.5
17 Brian Roberts 80 53 9 9 3 2.5 14.5
18 Martin Prado 78 61 12 5.5 4.5 4 14
19 Dustin Ackley 71 52 9 2.5 1.5 2.5 6.5
20 Jemile Weeks 70 52 4 1 1.5 1 3.5

The two players that really stick out place are Uggla at #1 and Pedroia at #10. They both seem like they have been swapped in the rankings. Uggla’s power number push him to the top of the rankings by being nearly 1st in all 3 categories.

Now here is the rankings with AVG added in:

Rank Name Runs RBI HR AVG Runs RBI HR AVG Total Rank Change
1 Robinson Cano 86 90 22 0.302 15 20 15 20 70 2
2 Chase Utley 89 83 22 0.280 16.5 18.5 15 16 66 0
3 Ian Kinsler 100 72 23 0.271 20 12 17.5 10 59.5 1
4 Jason Kipnis 95 74 19 0.272 19 14.5 12.5 11 57 2
5 Ryan Raburn 81 83 23 0.264 11 18.5 17.5 9 56 0
6 Dan Uggla 85 82 29 0.251 14 17 20 2.5 53.5 -5
7 Dustin Pedroia 89 68 16 0.299 16.5 8 7.5 19 51 3
8 Brandon Phillips 82 71 17 0.279 12.5 10 9.5 14.5 46.5 3
9 Rickie Weeks 94 61 22 0.262 18 4.5 15 7.5 45 -1
10 Howie Kendrick 80 74 14 0.287 9 13 5.5 17 44.5 2
11 Ben Zobrist 82 74 17 0.262 12.5 14.5 9.5 7.5 44 -2
12 Danny Espinosa 80 71 24 0.248 9 10 19 1 39 -5
13 Neil Walker 71 81 14 0.273 2.5 16 5.5 12 36 1
14 Martin Prado 78 61 12 0.289 5.5 4.5 4 18 32 4
15.5 Ryan Roberts 78 65 18 0.255 5.5 7 11 4.5 28 0
15.5 Kelly Johnson 79 63 19 0.251 7 6 12.5 2.5 28 -3
17.5 Brian Roberts 80 53 9 0.274 9 3 2.5 13 27.5 0
17.5 Aaron Hill 72 71 16 0.256 4 10 7.5 6 27.5 -2
19 Jemile Weeks 70 52 4 0.279 1 1.5 1 14.5 18 1
20 Dustin Ackley 71 52 9 0.255 2.5 1.5 2.5 4.5 11 -1

The two players that dropped the most was Danny Espinosa and Dan Uggla by 5 spots. Dustin Pedroia and Brandon Phillips are now just behind Uggla in the rankings.

Finally, here are the rankings with SB added:

Rank Name Runs RBI HR AVG SB Runs RBI HR AVG SB Total Rank Change
1 Chase Utley 89 83 22 0.280 15 16.5 18.5 15 16 12 78 1
2 Ian Kinsler 100 72 23 0.271 23 20 12 17.5 10 18 77.5 2
3 Jason Kipnis 95 74 19 0.272 19 19 14.5 12.5 11 17 74 3
4 Robinson Cano 86 90 22 0.302 4 15 20 15 20 2.5 72.5 -1
5 Dustin Pedroia 89 68 16 0.299 16 16.5 8 7.5 19 13 64 5
6 Ryan Raburn 81 83 23 0.264 5 11 18.5 17.5 9 4 60 -1
7 Ben Zobrist 82 74 17 0.262 17 12.5 14.5 9.5 7.5 14 58 2
8 Brandon Phillips 82 71 17 0.279 14 12.5 10 9.5 14.5 11 57.5 3
9.5 Danny Espinosa 80 71 24 0.248 18 9 10 19 1 15.5 54.5 -2
9.5 Dan Uggla 85 82 29 0.251 2 14 17 20 2.5 1 54.5 -9
11 Howie Kendrick 80 74 14 0.287 13 9 13 5.5 17 9 53.5 1
12 Rickie Weeks 94 61 22 0.262 12 18 4.5 15 7.5 6.5 51.5 -4
13 Brian Roberts 80 53 9 0.274 24 9 3 2.5 13 19 46.5 4
14 Ryan Roberts 78 65 18 0.255 18 5.5 7 11 4.5 15.5 43.5 1
15 Neil Walker 71 81 14 0.273 8 2.5 16 5.5 12 5 41 -1
16 Jemile Weeks 70 52 4 0.279 29 1 1.5 1 14.5 20 38 4
17 Kelly Johnson 79 63 19 0.251 13 7 6 12.5 2.5 9 37 -4
18 Aaron Hill 72 71 16 0.256 13 4 10 7.5 6 9 36.5 -2
19 Martin Prado 78 61 12 0.289 4 5.5 4.5 4 18 2.5 34.5 -1
20 Dustin Ackley 71 52 9 0.255 12 2.5 1.5 2.5 4.5 6.5 17.5 -1

Uggla moves down another 4 spots, while Espinosa halts his downward trend. Uggla goes from the top 2B to middle of the road once AVG and SB are added.

Power hitters like Uggla seem good with all the counting stats, but they can be a huge drag if they have extremely below average numbers in AVG and SBs. A respectable value in just one of the categories, like SBs with Espinosa, helps boost how much the player is worth. An owner should always be aware of how much of a drain a ‘power only’ hitter is on a team.



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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first season in Tout Wars, he won the H2H league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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bobskinner
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bobskinner

Last word in third paragraph should be RUNS, not AVG…….however, a really nice teaching lesson-type article!

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