I don’t know about you, and let me preface this by saying most if not all of my league mates at least know I contribute fantasy baseball (OPS) content, but I keep getting the old “But, he’s a Catcher/Shortstop so he’s worth more” and from a position scarcity perspective, that’s obviously true. However, I am A) going for the win-now so all I want is to take the lead in certain (all) categories and B) position scarcity-schmarcity: give me the best available.

So it’s time for your 5×5 (HR,SB,R,RBI,OPS) rankings for both position scarcity and position schmarcity.

FYI, I use the FVAR (fantasy value above replacement) approach to fantasy valuation vs. SGP (standard gains points) approach since I don’t have all of your leagues’ current and historical information. Feel free to look this up or ask below.

For reference, here are the positional replacement 5×5 values and associated players (the 5 z-scores for each category are summed up; the sum is adjusted in each position by this positional replacement value i.e. each Catcher gets .73 added to their z-sum while each First Baseman only gets .01 added to their z-sum i.e. all catchers values are inflated more because of the lower replacement-value):

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As I type this, I’m in a small, but expected depression as a disgruntled Mets fan living in Minnesota after today’s non-waiver trade deadline. In the middle of thermal packaging related activities, I saw deal and deal and deal swing by. All I get from both the teams that I follow most? A Kurt Suzuki extension. Oye. All that did was disgruntle me more, as I like Josmil Pinto quite a bit. I figured at least Bartolo Colon would get traded for some PTBL or a BoB (bucket o’ balls). Ah well.

On the other hand, if you’re a Tigers fan (I’m not a bandwagon A’s fan until the Mets are good, I decided today), you must be pretty excited. Drew Smyly wasn’t as dominating as a starter and Austin Jackson continued to short-come expectations. Instead you have an second ace, and can now appropriately consider Justin Verlander your number 3 or 4 or 5. [Jay's Note: Or playoff closer?] Verlander has not been good, but he’s also been almost as unlucky as he’s been bad, or he’s hurt and isn’t saying anything/doesn’t know it.

July 1st, I noted the luckiest pitchers to date, but the one thing I didn’t do at that time was look at the pitcher’s luck/bad luck relative to their career rates. So for this post, for luck, I z-scored each pitcher’s luck stats relative to their career stats (homerun to flyball ratio, left on base% and BABIP). I weighed each z-score by the stats correlation to ERA. Therefore the luckies pitchers (using luck alone and excluding skill) as of 7/27 is: Josh Beckett, Jake Arrieta, Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, Garrett Richards, Zach Britton, Jordan Lyles, Drew Pomeranz, Dellin Betances, Alfredo Simon and Danny Duffy. Chris Young, Jason Hammel and Jesse Chavez (update: both Hammel and Chavez were rocked in their last start). However, this all excludes skill (contact rate, strikeout% minus walk% and ground ball to flyball ratio). Incorporating this, here are the actual luckiest pitchers as of 7/27:

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Which Jose Ramirez am I discussing, you ask? No, not the other eight professional Jose Ramirez’s… but the Cleveland Indians stopgap between Asdrubal Cabrera and Francisco Lindor.

FranLind has been extremely impressive– he’s already got 2 successful Double-A go-rounds under his belt at 19 and 20 totaling 400+ at-bats (.280+ AVG and 30 SB). While the historical HR/Isolated-Slugging isn’t ideal, currently (and briefly) at Triple-A, he’s mashing to the point where it’s not even worth presenting his stats. And still he’s only 20.

So the Francisco Lindor contingency is out of the way. Next up: Asdrubal Cabrera. Supposedly the Blue Jays are showing interest in acquiring Asdrubal and he  makes sense for their 2b-slot. While we’ve seen the best of him, his 80+% contact rate and 15/10 HR/SB at middle infield is an asset to many teams.

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I don’t know about you, but even I get hung up on the individual site rankings for my leagues’ player pages, even though they have little to do with the categories that we use. For example, in my CBS dynasty league, we use Runs Produced (RBI+R-HR), net Stolen Bases (SB-CS), Slugging, On-base Percentage, and Plate Appearances [Jay's Note: We use OBP, TB, W+QS, 2*Sv+H in a couple of my dynasty's], yet I am still at times impulsive to pick-up whomever sits at top of the sites’ rankings, which is based off standard 5×5 formats. Well, you’re welcome– This post is to help you distinguish the value differential for OBP and OPS leagues relative to the ESPN player rater rankings. It should give you targets to trade for or trade away.

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As I mentioned in my first/intro OPS post, we’re looking at OPS differential by using expected (x)Homerun and expected (x)BABIP differentials. If you like Captain Planet or laser beams, or want to understand my general approach, then I recommend a gander. If you provide your email below, I can furnish the full list that you can sort. Wordpress doesn’t allow me to copy and paste it all pretty for you.

Let’s start with my xHR formula (PA*Ct%*OFFB%*HR/OFFB%). Here are the top 10 guys likely to drop off from a HR perspective: Albert Pujols, Adam Jones, Justin Morneau, Alexei Ramirez, Mark Reynolds, Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, Brett Lawrie, Hunter Pence and Salvador Perez.

Here are the top 35 guys likely to drop off from a BABIP perspective that you actually might own (meaning I’m excluding the Martin Maldonados of the world): Josh Rutledge, Justin Ruggiano, A.J. Pollock, Josh Hamilton, Stephen Vogt, J.D. Martinez, J.J. Hardy, Eugenio Suarez, Hunter Pence and Matt Adams.

Looking at both xHR and xBABIP differentials, here are guys you might own that I would consider selling in OPS leagues based on their expected vs. actual OPS (the differential is in parenthesis just like this statement. See what I did here?):

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Jay(Wrong) sent presentation rights over to me with the departure/hiatus of Tom Jacks. Tom passed the torch to me by way of a Captain Planet quote: “The Power is Yourz.”

i.chzbgr

You all seemed to appreciate his content, and I hope to fill your passion-buckets with the same sense of quality. I will offer some value in my next post through OPS differential and possible pick-ups, but I wanted to take this time to summarize a few thoughts from Mr. Jacks’ last post, while sharing my general approach. Hopefully Jay(Wrong) strategically publishes this in a slot where you all aren’t salivating for immediate pick-ups! That’s right. In my very first OPS post, I wrote Jay, slot and salivate in one sentence. [Jay's Note: Go easy on the ladies my friend.]

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Clayton Kershaw is no longer just dominating…

Last week, I looked at the luckiest pitchers to date. Clayton Kershaw was not only the most “skillsy,” but he was also slightly UN-lucky. Do you believe that?! His BABIP is actually the worst since 2008 while the HR/FB is the third worst of his career (still not bad) meaning his left-on-base rate is potentially the only luck he has going for him thus far, but then there are these splits:

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Let’s look at some potential homerun decliners based on the following “Power Score” or expected homerun (xHR) formula and compare it to their actual homerun totals. Here is the formula:

Plate Appearances(PA)*Contact Rate(Ct%)*Outfield flyball rate(OFFB%)*Homerun per Outfield Flyball ratio(HR/OFFB).

Make sense? Sure it does: How many homeruns does a player hit per outfield flyball? How much of their contact results in an outfield flyball? How much overall contact does a batter make when swinging the bat in a plate appearance? This should provide us with an expected HR total.

The below lists are ranked by the largest actual HR-expected HR differentials. Their HR related performance (PA, Ct, OFFB, HR/OFFB) is listed along with their average homerun and flyball average distance and rank.

Two contingencies worth noting at this time: 1) Our samples size still isn’t huge and 2) We’re not taking into account platoon hitters, i.e. Scott Van Slyke as a right-hand hitter only raking against left-hand pitchers. So when I extrapolate the data, keep this in mind. In other words, if Scott Van Slyke consumed more playing time against right-hand pitchers, there’s a good chance his performance/power would drop off.

Here are the top potential HR decliners (I think you will see the value of this xHR comp immediately):

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There’s playing with projection (Jurickson Profar). There’s playing with magic (Derek Jeter). Then there’s playing with zeal (Robert Refsnyder). He’s no Mookie Betts, but he’s also not nearly as blocked at second base. He also might be a better bet for some counting stats in NY than Tommy La Stella in ATL.

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As I write this, I’m on a plane. I knew I wouldn’t have internet, so I asked myself what data could I pull and play with to help you play with your team. Let me play guarantee fairy again… I’m supposed to be writing about Deep Impact. I guarantee you can use this list to trade away pitchers that are over-performing for long term deep impact while targeting other pitchers that can provide you with more short-term value. Use the comments section below and I’ll scold or virtual high-five your trade offers.

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