42 days into the new year and 50 percent of you abandoned your new year’s resolution. Last year, according to sources that don’t exist, our attrition rate on things you shouldn’t need an arbitrary date to commit to, sat around 55 percent. I’m proud of you all for the improvement. Your reward is Grey’s fantastic videos which we’ve embedded into his positional rankings, enjoy!

My resolution was to exercise more. But instead, I’ve opted to toy with semantics and perform more exercises, like the one we’re about to coast through: comparing Razzball’s Player Rater ranked auction values for 15-team NFBC leagues, to NFBC’s average draft position (ADP).

Is this comparing apples to oranges? Kind of. I’d say it’s comparing opples to aranges, which are two fruits I just made up and am sure exist (confirmed). The value here is highlighting who the Player Rater is actually bullish or bearish on, and by how much compared to where they are going in the upper echelon of industry leagues. If our Player Rater has “Player A” – one of my sleepers this year – inside the top 50 in terms of production, but Player A is going outside of the top 100 in NFBC leagues, it might be valuable to look at the dissenting opinions.

Below, my “difference” is calculated by subtracting NFBC’s ADP from the Player Rater’s ranking of the same player based on their total dollar return. Players with positive values mean Razzball is expecting the player to produce more value than NFBC’s ADP is suggesting.

This edition features two outfielders – Christian Yelich and Byron Buxton – who have values that differ between our two sources of information. I plan on publishing multiple versions of this column with different players before the season starts, but if you just can’t wait for more value differentials, take a look at the aggregated list by following this link.
Christian Yelich 

NFBC – 68th overall

Player Rater – 19th overall, $28

Difference: +49

I’ve come to the realization that much of the aggressive projection around Yelich, might have to do with two things we’re not considering as much as a park and lineup alteration: a potential swing change and the standard hitter aging curve.

Because I’m skeptical a park and lineup change will have as big effect on his output, I’ve leaned towards a potential swing change and entrance of a prime window of youth, to buoy my hope and expectations for Yelly.

The swing change aspect is simple. Yelich’s launch angle is one of the lowest in baseball, on average. Misconceptions exist that this metric causes a negative effect on his production, but the effect itself isn’t particularly negative, it’s merely different. The 0-10 degree window of launch angle is hard to achieve because it’s caused by the near-perfect alignment of bat and ball. This window of launch angle, which results in a .472 average, is extremely productive, just not in the way we’re used to given the surge in home runs. Add in Yelich’s tendency to stay in between the gaps and my mind says in order for a substantial jump in home runs to occur, Yelich needs to alter his launch angle or batted ball tendency. This might occur if he re-allocates some pop to his pull side in order to fully take advantage of Miller Park, or if he stays gap-to-gap and lifts the ball more overall.

Given the success in his career with his stroke and skill set, I’m skeptical Miller Park alone will convince Yelich to change drastically. With that said, he can still be a wildly productive hitter, and I can’t count out an adjustment that helps his launch angle create more fantasy value.

Some of the aggregate curves considered viable across the industry actually suggest peak “runs above average” for players with Yelich’s skillset sit around 26 years old. As he just turned 26 in December of 2017, I don’t mind getting excited that this could be a peak season if you choose to look bigger picture with things matters like this. Even if the runs above average increase is marginal, also consider his intentions and motivation to produce on a club where he can prosper as opposed Miami, and the slew of compounding factors pile up.

Verdict? I’m intrigued to see if anything changes mechanically for Yelich. 19th overall feels aggressive, but a true five-category contributor is hard to pass up.

Byron Buxton 

NFBC – 45th overall

Player Rater – 92nd overall, $16.1

Difference: -45

Buxton is a great example of where I think stats and scouting can deviate when given a small sample to work with. In 2016 we convinced ourselves his number one prospect ranking was migrating towards justified, only to have the rug pulled out from under us. Those sticking with a high level of insight on Buxton, or simple discouragement due to letdown, might miss the change I’m most encouraged by: the simplification of Buxton’s stance. This seems to have helped him go the other way with pitches on the outer third (sample is still probably too small). It could also mean greater pitch recognition, commiting to balls deeper in the zone, and productivity versus breaking balls, something nearly all young hitters are continually trying to improve against.

With all this said, I still believe 45 overall might be a little bit too aggressive on the Twinkie, while 92nd overall might be baking in too much stats in lieu of the eye test. As you can tell, I am pretty terrible at taking sides.

The verdict? This gif to show what my brain is attached to in valuing Buxton…

Twitter, I can be found at @LanceBrozdow.

I also wrote some words and gif’d some vids of Braves prospect OF, Cristian Pache. I encourage you to take a look! Right now…. read it, I beg of you.

  1. Swfcdan says:
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    This is Lance aka Broshiz right? If so firstly nice hair!

    What do you do with the prospects that come up and fail? I have Fisher, Martes and Barretto. Prospect draft ongoing and need to select a U-20 guy, that will be Tristen Lutz but who should be my cut? I then have a pick 5 picks later (2.7) and have to decide whether to dump another for a new draftee (or C Pache if he’s still available).

    Easy to move onto the new prospect flavour of the month but I know sometimes these kids take time to adapt to the show. Problem is neither Fisher or Martes will have promient roles, both could use a trade. At least Barreto should get more reps so is worth holding onto I think.

    Hope you respond quicker than Ralph does (hope he aint reading this)!

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Swfcdan:
      Yes! This is the Bro of Broshitz!

      My responses are sometimes delayed, but if you ever need anything quicker, hit me up on Twitter – @LanceBrozdow. Although, my responses here are more detailed, so take your pick.

      Depends on the pedigree of prospect for me regarding how much leash I’m willing to give. Barreto I’m not doing anything with, I like the guy a lot. Fisher I still like a decent amount too, he’s just in a bad spot. Martes is probably the only one I’d consider cutting, but even then, we’re talking about three guys that are at/near the ML level, as opposed to Lutz, who I like a lot, and I know Ralph does too, but he’s 2ish years off most likely and possesses much more risk simply because of what can happen in the minors.

      Pache I actually wrote a pretty big feature on regarding his swing. I linked it at the bottom of this post. I think you have to realize his defensive value is playing into the hype a lot. Longenhagen’s comp, via Fangraphs, is Kevin Pillar, so take that into account. Who else is there?

      All in all, don’t touch Barreto. If you want to gamble on risk, cut for Lutz, otherwise sit. Who else is there in place of Pache?

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        T-shirt idea: Without Lance, it’s just shitz.

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @Grey:
          *calls Kenny Cashman*

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Haha

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Lance: Thanks Bro(shitz). I had to change one as we require an U-20 prospect. Lutz was the clear best pick at 2.2 so I took him in the end for Fisher. Mainly because I had a lot of OF prospects and only Honeywell as an arm, and because Martes was much higher regarded in prospect circles than Fisher.

        Thanks for the info about Pache, perfect timing! It’s soured me a bit on him, so I think I’ll pass on taking him over Martes now and just hold pat. My current prospect roster fyi:

        K Tucker, F Baretto, B Honeywell, O Albies, R Devers, F Martes, J Sanchez, A Alford, Z Collins, T Lutz (U-20).

        Yummy! Good stuff on the pod too.

  2. Squat Cobblers says:
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    Good stuff Lance. I could definitely see taking Yelich about 10-12 picks ahead of his ADP in the J Up/Ozuna area depending on need. The problem I have with him is that his two best projected cats are Runs and BA…which are perhaps more random than other categories.

    I also agree on Buxton. It appears I won’t have him on too many teams. I’d rather have Rendon/J Up/Ozuna/Pham/Rhysus/EE.

    Another thing I think I have to consider.

    Going through Grey’s (and my version of Grey’s) projections, there seems to be a ton of draft value (adp vs projection) in the OF position and some at 1B as well. Puig, Castellanos, C Taylor, Rosario, Mancini, Mazara, I Happ, Gurriel, Dickerson, Haniger, Trumbo, Alonzo, Renfroe, Tomas, Brinson, A Hays, McMahon, Gamel, Delmonico…are all going 7th Round or much later. Maybe not a lot of steals in this bunch, but I’m inclined to wait on OF except to snag one of the big 7 (Trout, Betts, Stanton, Harper, Springer, Bellinger, JD) in the first two rounds.

    Thanks Lance!

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Squat Cobblers:
      Sure, those are his two best, but the appeal is that he’s above average in everything, I think that’s more important!

      You should be able to get Buxton a round or two later than those guys, but I guess that depends on league and such. I’m going to invest in a league or two because I believe strongly in that adjustment.

      OF is something that always ends up being kind of deep, but we really never know until the season starts. I always hesitate when saying a position is deep because of this. I used to be all over “deep” and “shallow” positions in the past, but now I tend to just lean on drafting who I’m confident in, not really looking too much at positional factors, although I sometimes use it as a tiebreaker. I remember a few years ago the industry said 3B was shallow and then Arenado and everybody else blew up (the good kind of blow up).

      I’m in the process of my ranks, and while I agree in theory that a lot of those OFs are appealing, I also think that the upside of a lot of those guys you’re mentioning are limited, to me. That’s why they’re going late. Guys like Benny, Pham, Ozuna, etc. I have much more confidence in than some of those fliers we hope can repeat 25+ HRs.

      You can disburse the risk by grabbing a lot of those guys and likely hit on 1-2, but then you’re holding up pretty much everything else that might fall to you value-wise around that point.

      Best advice I can give is don’t handcuff yourself going into a draft. Simply a philosophy I’ve run with and have executed relatively well … with of course, a lot of research elsewhere to help corroborate my initial, high-level thoughts.

      Mock draft off strategies you normally wouldn’t run with; make yourself uncomfortable before the big day(s)!

  3. Packers says:
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    Lance, your the man! I can’t believe you did this for us. I was just going to try and figure some of this stuff out. You saved me a ton of work. Thanks so much. Now just to make sure, is the razzball ranking basically Rudy’s rankings and not Grey’s?
    2. Will you keep this updated through this link?
    3. Any possible way you can insert Grey’s ranking with this chart?
    I am not computer savvy to do it myself. I do good just to bounce around on a few sites. lol
    Once again thanks.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Packers:
      No problem!

      Correct, those are Rudy’s ranks with auction values.

      I can update that link periodically, sure. Just hound me on Twitter or here or something if I’m slacking.

      Need to see if Grey’s ranks are exportable, otherwise, I don’t really want to log those manually unfortunately. I’m sure I can ask the masthead and try to get them in there.

      • Packers says:
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        @Lance: Sounds good. Yeah don’t do it manually.
        Once a week or so would be enough. If you are to busy I can take it from here.
        Thanks again.

  4. Cactus says:
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    In a dynasty keep forever league. 6 X 6 OPS with 8 teams. Who would you rather have for the long haul.

    Lewis Brinson or Byron Buxton

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Cactus:
      I think I’m going Buxton here, simply because we have a bigger sample at the major league and we’ve seen some very nice improvement, year over year (even though stats could disagree). I love Brinson, and I never thought I’d say this, but Buxton feels a little bit safer right now.

  5. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    Thank you Lance -Solid stuff BRO! Love your in depth style. ALWAYS a GREAT READ!

    What a terrific addition you have been to Razzball! Also, thanks for taking the time to respond to me on twitter! Much appreciated!

    I am in my first ever NFBC 50 round, 15 team SLOOOOW draft..

    I don’t mind the 8 hours between picks, just sucks when it actually happens to you, lol

    cheers,

    MP

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms:
      Thanks, MP!

      Appreciate the read and kind words.

      I was in a 15-tm NFBC slow draft last year, I got beat around a little bit, but I’m stronger now because of it (haha). Hopefully you come out on the other side better than I did!

      Definitely some learning curve with those, but a ton of fun.

  6. Malicious Phenoms says:
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    I am up next in the fifth round. Drafting out of the 12 slot.

    My four picks so far:

    1.12 – Manny Machado
    2.19 – Anthony Rizzo
    3.42 – Corey Seager
    4-49 – Carlos Martinez

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms:
      I like it! Pretty standard, I feel like I’ll end up with a lot of teams like this.

    • Packers says:
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      @Malicious Phenoms: MP I’m doing 3 of those 4 hour drafts. One is in the late 40’s and one in the early 40’s round. the other about 25. the last 10 rounds or so have a lot of yellow and some blue as guys get there third or fourth catcher. Try to get some multi positional guys. I’ve been getting about 7 quality SP’s, two closers and a couple set up guys. The Rodney-Reed, Bradley Boxberger and Familia-Ramos combo is pretty easy to do. The last 15 rounds or so you are trying to get this years Hoskins- Bellinger types and breakout SP like Godley and Vargas last year. Luck involved there.Not to mislead you I draft around 18 pitchers.

      • Malicious Phenoms says:
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        @Packers: Thanks, Packers. Lot of SP’s gone already. I am gonna load up on bats for the next few rounds, only grabbing a must have SP.

  7. Captainpyper says:
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    Love your write ups and gave you a follow on twitter! I have Buxton and Gallo in my keeper league so your last few articles have been enjoyable to read. You mentioned that there was a very slight chance Gallo could continue to grow and evolve like Bryant did (although its a longshot that would ne doubt be best case scenario for Gallo owners!). What do you think Buxtons ceiling is?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Captainpyper:
      Thanks and thanks!!!

      I think it’s more than very slight for Gallo. I anticipate him getting better over the next 2-3 years. He’s going to hold that K rate forever, but he only needs little improvements to hold his stock or appreciate it.

      Making a ceiling for a player is always tough, especially with Buxton where you can buy more power development, or just like a better contact approach. I’m somewhere in between (shocker), so I think absolute peak, if all goes well for him is 25 HR, 45 SB, with a .285ish average. I think he has small chance to hit this mark over each of the next three years and then the probability of it happening goes down.

      I buy some power tap-in, but don’t think it’ll be insane at his peak. I think he understands his wheels are his assets and he’ll focus on bringing that K rate down before starting to open up and pull everything.

  8. Miketron says:
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    These are two guys I have been struggling with too. You never seemed to take a hard stance on where you would take them. I’m guessing in the middle of the ranks for both, higher side for yelich, lower for Buxton? Can you give a general pick for each?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Miketron:
      I’ll go late third round, early fourth for Yelich and middle of the 6th for Buxton.

      This is where I project to rank them when I finally get my rankings out!

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