Let’s follow up on a post of mine from a few weeks ago. Before Spring Training kicked off, I took a quick look at two players – Christian Yelich and Byron Buxton – with differences between Rudy’s Player Rater for 15-team NFBC leagues and NFBC ADP data.

It was easy to get carried away with Yelich and Buxton, but for this version I’ll expand out to four players.

If you’re interested in taking a look at the differentials I’ll be using, feel free to navigate to this google sheet I made and will be using as reference. The NFBC data is from drafts between 2/15/2018 and 3/3/2018, about 100 drafts in total. I’ll reiterate once again that this isn’t exactly a one-for-one comparison, as the numbers I’m using for Rudy’s rankings are purely on ranked dollar-value output, while NFBC data is where the player is actually being drafted. The merit here is highlighting standouts between the two, as opposed to relying on one as the true indicator of a given player (…Rudy’s projections are essentially gospel for me). I’ll also focus on players inside the top 200 overall and those whom Razzball is higher than NFBC ADP on. These should be some of your value targets if you’re a faithful Razzballer.

The 2018 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join with prizes! All the exclamation points!

Yasiel Puig

Razzball – 51st overall, 16th OF, $15.6 return

NFBC ADP – 106th overall, 27th OF

Difference of 55 spots

For those that don’t know, there is a big fantasy baseball invitational in the process of drafting (The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational). 15 leagues of 15 teams, for a total of 225 industry minds, and in one of those leagues, I just swiped Puig 111th overall. By Razzball’s projections, this was fantastic value, especially as Puig becomes my third outfielder behind Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna.

His ADP may be bogged down due to the general stigma around the player he is, and while I often recommend drafting players you enjoy rooting for if you’re new to this craft, the projections are telling you to like the player, especially at his price, regardless of intangibles.

A true five-category contributor cresting into the prime age of 27, even if Puig takes a few home runs off his 28 from last year, the approach change he showed could extend even more into 2018. If true, this returns enough value on average to render a minor falloff in pop irrelevant. If you expect both to sustain, he quickly returns top-60 value.

While his simple uptick in walks and drop in strikeouts are self explanatory, the most interesting point is his eight percent drop in his zone swing rate. Intuition would suggest Puig cut his chase rate, which he did, but this patience being the largest change could suggest Puig’s intention of working deeper into counts. While some hitters might target fastballs, Puig’s career success against breaking balls could make him a dangerous hitter on counts where other bats would find themselves with one foot back in the dugout.

Development is never finite. 2018 will remind us of this as ever year prior has.

Michael Brantley 

Razzball – 96th overall, 26th OF, $21.2 return

NFBC ADP – 240th overall, 61st OF

Difference of 144 spots

The theme tethering our first two players is the contribution across categories, even if either doesn’t give you a demonstrable advantage in any one particular stat. Brantley provides an average boost and peripheral contribution that doesn’t look particularly appealing at the end of the season, but in the aggregate returns more that you’d expect.

I’ve always had a tendency to veer away from contact-first profiles with limited surface upside like this, especially in a player with an injury history, but that bit me in the rear end last year when Jose Ramirez posted gaudy numbers. The reason Razzball is boosting Brantley’s value to top-100 territory relates to the extra 25 games attributed to the outfielder over Steamer’s 103-game projection.

The larger issue at play that clouds my estimate of how many games Brantley earns deals with the Indians’ depth. Yandy Diaz can play third, so can stud rookie Francisco Mejia. Either of those decisions would push Jose Ramirez to second base and Jason Kipnis to the outfield. While Bradley Zimmer and Lonnie Chisenhall aren’t exactly dire threats to block Brantley, this compiled creates a mass of question marks that I’d prefer not to deal with.

I’d consider him  around the 16-17th round of a 12 teamer, which falls in line more with his ADP that may be suppressed by a combination of my thoughts above.

Josh Bell

Razzball – 113th overall, 17th 1B, $14 return

NFBC ADP – 184th overall, 23rd 1B

Difference of 71 spots

Continuing to highlight players I’ve enjoyed rostering as my leagues commence, I paid $19 for Bell in an NL-Only league with the CBS Sports crew. Bell was a player I targeted due to his lineup spot and approach, which I wouldn’t be shocked to see take a step like Puig’s did from 2016 to 2017. This could result in Bell becoming a .280 hitter with 20-25 home run power and opportunity galore on a Pirates team stacked with… hope?

I cite two points of emphasis when discussing Bell: the lack of clear split issues due to his switch-hitting ability and breaking balls. When considering a lot of other big, left-handed bats, averages are bogged down by an inability to produce against southpaws (See – Olson, Matt). Bell is more productive from the left side, but posted near league-neutral numbers versus southpaws from the other batter’s box. Bell has fared well against curveballs, with less success against sliders. I reserve some concern for the effect of a slider increase, but he’s comparable to a large portion of other first baseman after you navigate beyond the top five.

Bell is an extremely polished hitter and once a prospect who was probably overlooked given his lack of defensive ability. Thankfully, the industry hasn’t adopted a defensive metric into standard roto leagues and nobody is threatening his job.

Jeff Samardzija

Razzball – 76th overall, 17th SP, $17.8 return

NFBC ADP – 133th overall, 48th SP

Difference of  57 spots

If you navigate through the google sheet I linked in the intro of this column, you’ll notice a lot of the largest discrepancies are position players. Of the 31 players inside Razzball’s top 300 with higher projection ranks than NFBC ADP by more than 100 spots, only one is a starting pitcher (Clayton Richard). Of the 23 players who have an ADP over 60 spots higher than their projection, only three are starting pitchers (Chase Anderson, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks).

This leads to a larger theme that I’ve recently become interested in: fantasy owners are valuing starters based on projections better than they ever have (possibly?). That rabbit hole of a topic I’ll leave for another day. For now, I’d like to highlight Shark’s eating habits: innings.

With past injury a general predictor of future injury, it makes that eye-opener duly appealing. While the falloff could be disastrous, and his actual production never jives with his peripherals (*cough* NL Michael Pineda *cough*). Making Samardzija your third starter creates a fantastic blend of floor and ceiling if you split the difference between Razzball’s 76th overall and NFBC’s 113th overall.

I like his tendency to use a slider more than a cutter last year, but am concerned that with the ineffectiveness of his four-seamer. Any adjustment by hitters to counter his slider – hitters will adjust – could neutralize his wider set of skills and force him into adaptation mode once again. The floor of adaptation mode is higher than most because of At&T Park, but it could be a frustrating own if production wavers as it has in the past. I have no problem betting on Samardzija’s peripherals, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable drafting him at the ceiling of his production, which feels like our

I’m on Twitter! I swear I’m not joking!

@LANCEBROZDOW

Dansby Swanson say what?! Yes, I have another column that just debuted, if you care to give it a read!

   
  1. Andre says:
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    Keeper league question- Which 5 out of these 8 players would you keep in a 10tm, H2H categories league …Avg, Hits, HR, RBI, B.B., Steals, Runs —— W, L, ERA, Whip, Saves, Ks, and Quality Starts are the categories.

    No penalty for the round kept, keep forever format.

    Donaldson, Trout, T. Turner, Acuna, S. Marte, Dozier, W. Contreras. Severino.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Andre:
      I’d go without question….

      Trout (duh)
      Turner (duh)

      Then I’d prefer to hold onto…

      Severino
      Acuna

      Lastly I’d debate based on your contention window…

      Contreras v Donaldson – Contreras is younger at a premium position. Donaldson seems like he’s in for a big year, but is also 32. Take you pick here, I see both sides of the argument. I might go Donaldson for the heck of it and try to win now.

  2. knucks says:
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    Awesome man, I was doing something very similar with the Fantrax ADPs for a few weeks and tracking this sort of thing… yielded very similar data and so I’m gonna go ahead and stop now, since most of my drafts are next week.

    Great writeup, appreciate you sharing this sheet. Keep up the great work brutha

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @knucks:
      Thanks!

      It’s a good exercise to do, helps with gauging true value.

      Best of luck in your drafts.

  3. Packers says:
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    Lance, great post. I love this type of data. Helps with strategy. Thank you.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Packers:
      Thanks for reading!

  4. Packers says:
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    lance, can you give us a link to your draft board where you drafted Stanton?

  5. BJFOHOHL says:
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    One eyeball takeaway from watching Puig last year compared to other seasons was his approach to every at bat being important…most of the time. The Turner Ward impact was huge and trying to please your coach like Puig did kept him engaged almost every time out. We all know players fall back into their bad habits, but if he continues on this path then 25 dongs should be easy peezy.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @BJFOHOHL:
      JOFH!

      I actually was interested in you opinion on Puig cause I know you watch a lot of Dodgers ball. I was actually a bit surprised in his improvements because I can’t say I saw much of him last year aside from the playoffs.

      He’s heading right into that prime 27 age too, where a lot of aging curves peak, so I think we could see another tick up this year. Like the point about Ward as well, didn’t think of that.

      He seems like a really solid 5-cat OF.

      • BJFOHOHL says:
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        @Lance: He comes with a risk. I always say players usually get their numbers. May not be how we want them to but they get there. That’s why I also did my projections in multiples of fives. The difference between 20-25 is trips to little league parks and some favorable wind.

        The Ward connection was well documented and you saw his stamp all over that team. Probably the second most important coach for the team after Honeycutt and that whatevs manager we got. He’s such a physical specimen and since he cut his weight last year that I’m not even sure age 27 theory applies right now. His gold glove acrobatics in the outfield last year was some of the best defense he’s played and signals that he’s not going to regress as quickly as others. I like taking him where you did. Let the stigma be your gain. I’ve never seen a player so excited about getting a walk or driving the ball up the middle to push the runner over like Puig. I can only pray that the corner has been turned because if he repeats then that value will be gone in 2019.

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @BJFOHOHL:
          Spot on!

          In my eventual top 100 ranks that I’ll have out on my own site, I think my little blurb on him is that he’s a darkhorse to hop into the top 25 next year if he puts together like a 30/15 season, which I think it a reasonable possibility.

          I’m going to look into this Ward stuff, I really like storylines like this and how they can affect players. Thanks for bringing it up, I have my bedtime reading for the night! hahaha

  6. BJFOHOHL says:
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    Oh shizz, I forgot to call you Lance Romance. And WTF commenters. You all should be engaging with Lance. I see more comments on whatevs post and greats like Lance being barely commented on. I got your back bro

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @BJFOHOHL:
      PREACH!

      • BJFOHOHL says:
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        @Lance: Believe in the good word of LANCE. The third part of the Razzball Holy Trinity. Grey is God, Ralph is Jesus and you are the Holy Spirit…wait does that make Laura Mary? (she whoops Grey’s ass in their NL only)

  7. adfa says:
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    “His ADP may be bogged down due to the general stigma around the player he is, and while I often recommend drafting players you enjoy rooting for if you’re new to this craft, the projections are telling you to like the player, especially at his price, regardless of intangibles.”

    I find that very weird. To me he is what baseball should be. Such a wide range of opinions on what he does.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @adfa:
      I’m starting to turn towards this side of the coin as well. His ADP is suppressed for some reason and I doubt it’s projection or injury-based honestly. That seems like the outstanding factor; some intangible aspect hurting his public perception.

      If it means nabbing him in drafts at fantastic value, I’m all for it.

      I used to get very tired of him, but I more so now realize that at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what we think of the player personally. He is who he is. I’ll let the team deal with it and not let my opinion of a player be affected anything aside from his play.

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