We have posted the 2009 Point Shares for 10 team and 12 team leagues under ‘2009 Fantasy Baseball Rankings‘ in the top navigation menu.  Point Shares are the estimated difference in an average fantasy team’s points if they were to substitute a given player for the average player at his position.  For example, David Wright’s 6.64 Point Shares means he is worth 6.6 points more to the average team than an average 3B (closest player to ‘average 3B’ is Kevin Youkilis).  Point Shares are estimated for each statistical category – Wright’s points are broken out as:  1.5 Runs, 0.9 HRs, 1.7 RBI, 1.1 SB, and 1.4 AVG.

The initial 2009 Point Shares posted were based respectively on Marcel and CHONE projections.   These projections are based on Marcel, CHONE, and ZiPS projections weighted by Baseball Prospectus AB/IP (note: Saves projected by Razzball).  There are two major benefits of this projection method are:
  1. Playing Time – The biggest weakness with projected stats – even those as good as Marcel, CHONE, and ZiPS – is that they do not accurately project playing time.  While a player’s performance can be modeled based on that player’s past performance, component skills, performance of similar players, etc., playing time is dependent on team roster/depth chart.  Even Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA doesn’t project AB/IP well.  For example, it has phenom catcher Matt Wieters at 105/31/102/.311 in 571 AB.  The problem with that?  The last catcher to manage that many at-bats was Victor Martinez in 2006!  So don’t get too wedded to the counting stats you see by any projection system.  We converted Marcel, CHONE, and ZiPS counting stats into per-AB and per-IP rates and then weighted each of them equally against the AB/IP that is constantly being updated by Baseball Prospectus as part of their Fantasy package.  The impact?  The latest projection for Matt Wieters is 348 ABs which reduces his value from the #1 catcher (and perhaps a 1st round pick) to the 10th catcher off the board in a 10 team league.
  2. Projection System Anomalies – Any projection system may over- or underproject a player – e.g., CHONE loves Javier Vazquez this year to the tune of his stats would make him the 4th most valuable fantasy player based solely on projections.  By balancing three respected sources, such anomalies are minimized.

Please note that the Point Shares aren’t meant to be a suggested draft sheet. You need to factor Average Draft Position and the strategies of your fellow drafters for that. The purpose is to show the projected fantasy value of each player based on a diversified mix of leading statistical projection systems.  CC Sabathia may be #5 but you can generally wait until at least the 2nd round to get him.

An additional note on pitchers is that we have incorporated the findings from our Risky Pitcher analysis that focuses on previous year pitch counts/types (Pitch counts and types sourced from FanGraphs).  The P Flags category has letters for risky pitchers that refer to the following:

  • A = 30+% breaking balls and 2,000+ pitches in 2008
  • a = 27-29.9% breaking balls and 2,000+ pitches in 2008
  • B = 700+ spike in pitches between 2007-2008 (note: amongst pitchers with 2700+ pitches or extreme spikes and 2000-2699 pitches)
  • b = 700+ spike in MLB pitches between 2007-2008 (but not if Minor League pitches included)
  • C = 2008 was first year above 2700+ pitches

Lastly, below are rosters based on the most Overrated and Underrated teams when comparing ESPN’s Live Draft averages with Point Shares.

All-Overrated Team (ESPN Draft Averages vs. Razzball Point Shares)
Position Player ESPN Rank Point Shares Rank Diff Comment
C Victor Martinez 99 212 113 After an injury-prone 2008, drafters are betting on V-Mart to return to his 2004-2007 form when he averaged .301/78/21/99.  The problem?  It required 147 games and 550 AB per year to reach those numbers – extremely high totals for a Catcher.  He’s now 30 and the Indians also have Shoppach.  At an estimated 400 ABs, his counting stats are a VORP-like 53/12/64.
1B Derrek Lee 57 141 84 D-Lee seems to be coasting off his career year in 2005 as there is no reason why a player who isn’t even in top 10 in his position is being drafted so high.  Don’t reach for 80/20/80/.290 at 1B.
2B Placido Polanco 133 236 103 Polanco is a one category player.  Yes, he’ll earn you a point in average vs. the average 2B but he’ll hurt you plenty in HR/RBI/SB.  Fine for an end-game MI pick but no reason to reach for him.
SS Rafael Furcal 73 199 126 It is possible that Furcal can provide enough value to warrant the #73 pick if he gets 550+ AB.  But he’s 31 and has been injured the past 2 years.  I’ve got a line of 438/73/9/45/20/.284.  I wouldn’t bet my 8th pick that he’ll far exceed that.
3B Chone Figgins 110 225 115 Yes he brings above averaged speed at this position (+2 points above average).  But he will KILL you at HR/RBI.  I estimate him at 4 HR and 42 RBI.  The average 3B in a 10 team league (counting those at CI) go for 23/85.  Where are you making up 19 HR / 43 RBI?  Pass.
CI Aubrey Huff 85 166 81 Huff had his best year since 2003.  People are drafting for a repeat of 2008.  Expect a repeat of 2004-2007 (75/20/75/.280)
MI Howie Kendrick 122 196 74 Maybe he’ll stay healthy one of these years and hit .330+.  Even if he does, he’s not going to provide much more than average HR/SB for the position.  Why draft Kendrick so high when the upside isn’t so high and the injury risk is.
OF Ichiro 22 142 120 I’ve mentioned him before as the most overrated top 3 round pick.  Here is how it lays out with Point Shares. He’ll earn you 1.1 points in SB and 1.2 in AVG vs. the average OF.  Not bad.  He’s just average in Runs.  But his HR/RBI are -1.6 and -1.8 respectively.  Basically his HR/RBI hurt you more than his SB/AVG help.  Why would you waste a top pick on that?  Projections:  78/8/46/26/.305 and a bottom half finish for any team taking him in the first 5 rounds.
OF Justin Upton 125 220 95 I think people are drunk on his upside.  He’s a negative on average (30+% K rate will do that) and he’s not a real SB threat (he’s never stolen more than 15 in a season).  None of the projection systems have him going much more than 70/20/70.  Sober up.
OF Xavier Nady 129 201 72 He doesn’t even have a starting position.  And I wouldn’t bet on a repeat of 2008 anyway…
OF Vernon Wells 106 174 68 Injury prone.  Maybe he pulls off his ‘every 3rd year is great’ trick (best years were 2003 and 2006) but don’t draft him expecting anything more than 80/20/80/8/.275
OF Manny Ramirez 24 82 58 This isn’t about whether Manny could hit.  It’s how many ABs he’s going to get.  He played only 130 games in 2006 and 2007.  He’ll have no DH slot and LA has a decent 4th OF in Pierre.  I would take the over on my projections 75/27/87/.295 but not enough to jump 6 rounds.
UTIL Jim Thome 136 223 87 Good for near 30 HRs but an average drain (lucky to hit .250) with nothing special in Runs and RBIs.  Add in he’s a UTIL clog and he’s a late game play at best.
All-Underrated Team (ESPN Draft Averages vs. Razzball Point Shares)
Position Player ESPN Rank Point Shares Rank Diff Comment
C Mike Napoli 139 133 6 Napoli, Mauer, McCann, Martin, and Soto are all being taken at or near their projected Point Share rank.  Napoli’s is the best value of the bunch but just barely.  I’d still punt catcher.
1B Ryan Howard 14 11 3 This is another position where ESPN ADP and Point Shares are coming in close on a lot of top 1Bs.
2B Kelly Johnson 216 107 109 People are taking Polanco and Kendrick 7 rounds before Kelly Johnson?  Nothing special but 87/15/72/10/.281 provides some solid value at 2B.
SS Miguel Tejada 155 122 33 I’m not a huge fan at this point of Tejada but he’s projecting at 75/16/75/.291.
3B Edwin Encarnacion 251 132 119 74/22/77/5/.275 is below average for a 3B but it’s still good for #12 at the position.
CI Mark Reynolds 184 126 58 Not a favorite of mine because his huge K rate leads to .250ish average but he’s set for 80/24/80/6 with some upside.  Slight concern about Chad Tracy taking some ABs away.
MI Alexei Ramirez 62 37 25 If the playing time projections are right and he gets 550+ AB, a 25/15 season with solid Runs and RBIs has high value at a position that falls quickly after the top 3.  I wouldn’t draft him at #37 but he’s one of the few middle infielders that may provide value in Rounds 3-8.
OF Nelson Cruz 235 99 136 I guess the word isn’t out yet to ESPN Nation about everyone’s favorite sleeper.
OF Cameron Maybin 179 117 62 Projected playing time at 534 ABs seems high to me but he could be a cheaper version of Curtis Granderson if Florida hits him leadoff.  A 15 HR / 30 SB candidate.
OF Jay Bruce 92 54 38 The projection systems are loving Jay Bruce to the tune of 87/30/84/9/.274.  Looking like a solid #2 OF and very strong #3 OF.
OF Rich Ankiel 156 134 22 Projected for 71/27/86/3/.260 in only 466 AB.  Worth taking as a 4th OF if your team is low on power.
OF Andre Ethier 118 103 15 We call him Andre Nethier because he’s neither great in power or speed.  But an 80/19/80/.290 line tends to be undervalued.
UTIL Chris Davis 71 49 22 Much like Cruz, the hype isn’t quite as strong as I thought.  Being projected at 80/29/98/.272.  I don’t like gambling on unproven hitters in the first 8 rounds but a 7th round gamble on Chris Davis appears smart right now.
  1. TBone says:

    I’m a big Ankiel fan. Is it safe to argue that he has 35 hr potential?

  2. Simply Fred

    Fred Barker says:

    I’m a big fan of you guys! Still, have to put in my two cents on just a couple of misfires(?):
    Martinez: Gets ABs from 1st and DH.
    Furcal: FOURTH in production over last TEN years of ALL Dodgers. You better hope he gets hurt or will see your fellow GMs pull away.
    Napoli: From May 9 to Sep 4 slugged .364. That’s pretty poor for a pretty long stretch.
    Neithier: If you take out one mid-Aug to mid-Sep month (he reverted to form end of month), he slugged .435. Not good enough for me.

    Thanks for caution on Manny and confidence in Maybin. I need to re-think those two.

    Nice WOOOOORK!

  3. Lou says:

    It’s pointless to try to make sense of it, I know, but those are some awful ESPN ranks for Encarnacion and K Johnson. It’s like ESPN projects what people want to hear, not what they should. I think you said that recently.

  4. sickmangarner says:

    Seeing this makes me realize that I’ve probably been biased towards guys who’ve had some stretch of established good numbers even if that stretch was 5 years and 6 surgeries ago. Don’t stretch for Furcal and pick up Bruce late. I think it also points up how crucial and challenging rounds 3 through 9 can be. A lot of the good info on the list above is about late bargains. Learning enough to NOT stretch is one good thing but knowing WHO to take in rounds 3-9 is another steep curve to master.

  5. willclarkismyhero says:

    Nicely done, Rudy. I’ve noticed that even though the hype isn’t there for Nethier and Chris Davis at ESPN, it sure is at Mock Draft Central. Or at least in the drafts I’ve done…

  6. @willclarkismyhero: thanks. just went through the mock draft central rankings. i see a number of the same overvalued/undervalued players but, in general, MDC results are slightly better. If I do another post on this subject, will reference MDC as well.

  7. Nick J says:

    Thanks so much, Rudy. Any chance of posting a downloadable spreadsheet?

  8. @Nick J: hey nick – you can just cut and past the HTML into Excel. Just tried it and it works pretty well…

  9. walkoffblast says:

    Huff at 75 RBI? Seems like Huff is the guy no one is valuing right. Either too focused on what he did last year or too focused on some of his recent troubles before last year.

  10. @walkoffblast: He had 72 RBIs in 2007 during his first full year with Baltimore. Markakis dropped from 112 RBIs in 2007 to 87 in 2008 despite increasing his Batting average (.300 to .306) and OPS+ (121 to 134). Huff is due for a regression. Maybe 75 is a bit low but I don’t think it’s that far off…

  11. Simply Fred

    Fred Barker says:

    Rudy, predicting injuries feels a bit like projecting wins. I want it to work, but …. Is there a way for you guys to compare post-season how your point shares actually performed against Chone, etc.?

    RE: merging multiple experts. It can be good, as you say, in reducing the impact of anomalies. However, it would be better to discover what each does best and merge those parts. Maybe you did that…maybe not doable…just thoughts.

    I will re-evaluate Martinez. THANK YOU again for all of the hard work and especially your experienced insight!

  12. Martin says:

    hey i have a problem. Im in a league with R, HR, RBI, AVG, TB, SB, and OBP…. and i have the 5th pick. Should i go miggy, sizemore, or braun (miggy has 1st and 3rd base eligibility). Or some how should i try trading picks

  13. Simply Fred

    Fred Barker says:

    Rudy, copy and past via HTML worked fine. I do a points league which doesn’t value average. I deducted that column from your totals to get a new total. Noteworthy differences without average:
    1B: Howard from three to one
    2B: Uggla from seven to four
    3B: Longoria from five to three
    C: Mauer from two to five
    OF: top five identical. Crispie Young from 17 to 6; Bruce from 15 to 9

    Wasn’t quite sure how to convert from systems that included average.
    This is great!

  14. Simply Fred

    Fred Barker says:

    SPs without ERA & WHIP:
    Vasquez 10 to 5
    Burnett 19 to 8
    Padilla 120 to 64
    Shields 11 to 21
    Harden 9 to 28
    Joba 30 to 51
    If points style reference really not relevant to readers, let me know.

  15. Simply Fred

    Fred Barker says:

    I see and understand the P flags but don’t see an adjustment in the pts share total. Do you recommend pts or percentage reduction do to the risk?

  16. Nick J says:

    @Rudy: Tried to cut & paste into Excel but the rows/columns get messed up. Or maybe there’s something I need to do to change it to .html? Any suggestions?

  17. Simply Fred

    Fred Barker says:

    When I try to paste, I get option “paste special”, from there I get option to save as HTML. All worked well for me except the top line that needed special attention. Anything like paste special for you to get to save as HTML?

  18. Simply Fred

    Fred Barker says:

    Rudy, with Cain’s lack of run support, poor win record, what is the rational for his .1 Wins pt share compared to Lester at .1 (and lots of run support) and Dempster -.4 and Meyers -.6. I must be missing something?

  19. @Martin: I’d take Braun. He’s the strongest for TB and they are all about the same for OBP.

    @Fred Barker: I didn’t adjust any Point Shares for the pitcher flags but I will definitely be discounting starters on my own draft sheets that are flagged. I’d say any pitcher with an A (27+% breaking pitches) should be avoided in the first 10 rounds and docked 3 rounds below value in rounds 11 and on. For pitchers with B (700+ pitch increase) or C (coming off first 2700+ year), I’d avoid in the first 5 rounds and then dock 1-2 rounds after that.

    @Nick J: Did you try just highlighting the data cells first and then the headers separately? It worked for me.

    @Fred Barker: Wins are just based on an average of Marcel, CHONE, and ZiPS. I didn’t weight them at all based on IP. The results came out with Cain and Lester @ 10.7 Wins, Dempster at 9.3 Wins, and Brett Myers at 9.0 wins. FYI, Cain is the only one of these four that aren’t on the risky pitcher list…

  20. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:

    Very nice post — thanks Rudy. You’ve given me the excuse I need to draft Bruce, Davis and Alexei.

  21. Steve says:

    @Nick J: don’t know what browser you’re using, but if you’ve got Firefox (and every right-thinking person should), you can right-click on the spreadsheet element and select This frame>Show only this frame and copy and paste into Excel from there. Worked for me – I just had to deal with the headings separately as Ruidy suggested above.

    I have the 12-team numbers in Excel if you want ’em.

  22. Steve says:

    @Steve: Ruidy?

    Rudy – my apologies!

  23. Chip says:

    Rudy, as leagues get smaller (say, from 12 to 10 or even 8), what type of player gains Razzball point shares?

  24. elwood says:

    maybe wrong about this, but don’t think BP-Pecota makes any attempt to estimate playing time…just gives estimate of what x would do with a hypothetical full season’s worth of mlb plate appearances.

  25. sean says:

    @rudy: how are the pointshares numbers best used? tie-breaker between players drafted around the same ADP?

  26. Nick J says:

    Thanks guys. Got it to work.

  27. Pops says:

    Just finished my first of two live drafts. I ended up with four names from the All – Underated Team (Ramirez, Davis, Bruce, and Ankiel).

    I just wanted to thank Rudy and Grey for their advice. I never abandoned my draft strategy, picked up a ton of quality arms between Rounds 8 – 15 and most importantly, I didn’t waste any picks.

  28. @Baron Von Vulturewins: Glad to help. Still don’t like taking an MI in Rounds 3-8 but can’t fault Alexei anymore.

    @Chip: As leagues get smaller, SPs and RPs become less valuable. For instance, an 8 team league should be able to support 4 closers for each team except two whereas a 12 team league can only handle 2.5. I don’t think there’s any big change with hitters. Would be driven by position depth (or lack thereof).

    @elwood: Correct on PECOTA. But BaseballProspectus.com does provide frequently updated team depth charts as part of their Fantasy subscription. That’s where I got my AB/IP info.

    @sean: I suggest using Point Shares as the foundation for rankings and then making manual changes from there. If you start with ESPN or Y! rankings, you’ll still end up with traces of its idiocy in your rankings. If you’ve already done your rankings, I’d use it as a reality check for cases where you’ve overrated a player and to boost up guys you underrated.

  29. Tom says:

    Is Mike Lowell underrated? I’ve noticed he can be had fairly late in drafts. Is it too great a risk to get him?

  30. @Tom: He comes in at #221 in Point Shares so he seems to be rated about right. His value is close to guys like Adam LaRoche, James Loney, and Troy Glaus. Having him as your UTIL guy is fine as long as he’s going into the season healthy. But you don’t have to give it much second thought to drop him in favor of a breakout FA (think ludwick, cantu, quentin in 2008).

  31. AdamPS says:

    Will these rankings be updated closer to the season, or is this the final revision? I understand the projections won’t change much, but the AB’s/IP could, due to injuries, position battles, etc…

  32. @AdamPS: Possibly. I’ll be more incented if there are some big injuries (A-Rod was kind enough to reveal his injury before I posted the first time).

  33. James says:

    @Rudy/Grey – where do you stand on Ryan Howard’s average? I understand his BABIP was lower than normal, which would mean his AVG should rebound. However, what about the fact that the shift is used against him more?

  34. @James: Sorry for the delayed response on this. I think Ryan Howard will always struggle on average b/c of his high K rate but i think he’s more of a .265 hitter than a .250 hitter – at least for the next 1-2 years. He hits more line drives than, say, a Dunn. I’ve got him taking down your average about 1/2 a point vs. the average 1B. Teix is at 0.3 so consider him a point better on AVG than Howard. But Howard is going to give more than a point difference in HR and about 1 extra point in RBI so I’d still rank him ahead of M-Teix…

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