Everyone has their own method of determining their draft board and I imagine mine is rather unique. My early focus is on playing time/injuries so I can run Steamer rates against them and run the results through my Player Rater $ calculation. I then compare this against NFBC ADP and any expert drafts to get a sense for the outliers. As the preseason crawls on, I find myself digging into more and more players and determining whether they are players I want on my team based on their market value.

My tweak this year has been to analyze the outliers (guys my Player Rater is high/low on) earlier in the preseason. Projections are far from perfect and I have no problem drafting a guy above or below my $ value if I feel passionately about his value. These analyses are not terribly thorough – just scanning their FanGraphs pages for peripheral stats and reading Baseball Forecaster and Baseball Prospectus player summaries (the former of which being more helpful than the latter). I also check against Grey’s rankings so I can identify on which players we will inevitably debate.

Below are three pitchers – Julio Teheran, Mat Latos, Tyson Ross – where my Player Rater is way more pessimistic than the other sources I have reviewed. While my reasons vs Steamer’s reasons may differ, it still ends up with the same conclusion: I think these guys are being overvalued and I cannot envision a scenario where one of these three ends up on one of my teams.

Julio Teheran (NFBC ADP – 78, LABR – 96, Grey’s Ranking – 108, Rudy’s Player Rater – 166)

  • I like his Age (24), last 2 year performance, BB/9, shortstop, and stud pedigree but…
  • His ERA has ‘outperformed’ his FIP for 2 straight years – by 0.49 in 2013 (3.20 vs 3.69) and 0.60 in 2014 (2.89 vs. 3.49). Since 1990, there have been 87 seasons (by 60 pitchers) where a pitcher was coming off two straight season of beating their FIP by 0.40+ and qualified for the ERA title in all three of those years. The average FIP minus ERA difference was 0.18 indicating that there was partial skill in beating one’s FIP. But 11 of those cases involve Tom Glavine (the modern day king at beating one’s FIP), Greg Maddux, and Jamie Moyer. Take those seasons out and the average goes down to 0.12. Take Teheran’s average FIP the last two years (3.59) and subtract 0.12 and you have a medicore 3.47.
  • His average xFIP the last two years has been 3.74 as he has given up less HRs than the average pitcher. That could be a repeatable skill. But, based on Baseball Heat Maps’ xHR calculation (using average fly ball distance to calculate expected HRs), Teheran finished as the luckiest (2014) and 2nd luckiest (2013) pitcher in regards to HRs. Hard to bet on such luck again, hence Steamer’s 3.77 ERA (about where his xFIP has been the past two years) starts making sense.
  • His average fastball velocity has gone from 92.1 in 2012, 91.5 in 2013, and 90.4 in 2014. Not a good trend.
  • He threw 30% breaking pitches last year. That is greater than average and does not leave much flexiblity should his fastball effectiveness wanes.
  • His K/9 went from 8.24 in 2013 to 7.57 in 2014.
  • The Braves STINK – the 14 wins he reached in 2013 and 2014 looks implausible no matter how well he pitches.
  • Conclusion: I think he is overpriced based on reputation, age, and surface stats. There are several comparably-priced pitchers within just the NL East that I would take over Teheran (Matt Harvey, Gio Gonzalez, Alex Wood, Zach Wheeler). He is an SP2 that will be seen as an SP3/SP4 by the All-Star Break.

Mat LatosGrey’s Ranking – 83, NFBC ADP – 179, LABR – 182, Rudy’s Player Rater – 360)

  • I like his Age (27), his 2010-2013 performance/durability, gradual control improvements, new home park, his league and stud pedigree but…
  • His fastball velocity dropped from 92.6-92.8 in 2011-2013 to 90.7 in 2014. Maybe his various injuries (including a knee injury which kept him out until June) are responsible for some of that drop but fastball speed typically stays flat or decreases.
  • His K-rate plummetted from a solid 8 K/9 in 2012/2013 to a 6.5 in 2014. Again, maybe related to his injuries but not good.
  • About those injuries, he had stem cell surgery on his elbow in the offseason. Actually, in his words, “I had them dig into my hip bone and put stem cells in my right elbow“. Given he historically throws 35% breaking pitches, that sounds like Metal Machine Music to my ears. I think my 28 GS, 177 IP playing time estimate is being generous.
  • His BABIP (.269) and HR/FB (7.3%) were both above average in 2014 (and, to be fair, for most of his career). Maybe there is some skill there but I imagine it will be tougher if he does not regain his dominance.
  • Conclusion: The Player Rater’s 360 ranking is overkill but I think Latos will be a negative play in 10/12-team leagues – either due to injury, reduced performance, or both. I do not like him at the NFBC / LABR spots but his downside is at least partially factored into his price. Hoping Grey drafts him out of spite in our RCL.

Tyson Ross (Grey’s Ranking – 53, NFBC ADP – 96, LABR – 123, Rudy’s Player Rater – 167)

  • I like his Age (28), his home park, his league, his velocity, his home park (did i mention that?) but…
  • Actually, aside from a fortunate strand rate (75%) that helped sneak his ERA under 3.00 and a 3.0+BB/9, Ross’s 2014 success seems sustainable (and I’m more bullish than Steamer) except…
  • He throws two pitches: a 2-seam fastball and slider. His 2-seam fastball is great at inducing ground balls but not swings-and-misses. It is a slightly below-average pitch based on FanGraphs wFB.
  • His slider was amazing last year. He had the fifth most valuable slider season (measured by wSL) in the past 5 years (and Kershaw and Darvish own 3 of the 4 superior ones). He threw his slider 41.2% of the time in 2014 which was the most by any pitcher who qualified for the ERA title since Randy Johnson in 2004 (thanks FanGraphs leaderboards!). I do not feel comfortable banking on a repeat of his 9.0 K/9 knowing that it would require him to maintain a near-unprecedented slider rate.
  • Building on the above, you know who looks like a great comp – Justin Masterson. In his one premium year (2013), he dialed up the sliders (27% vs ~19% in 2012/2014, a wSL year nearly on par with Ross’s 2014) and ended up with his best K year by far. Granted, he throws a couple MPH slower than Ross and plays in a more hitter-friendly league/park but look at 2014 Masterson if you want a picture of the ‘bad’ Ross outcome. Note that Masterson never had an ADP above 200 (I think) despite similar skills.
  • Conclusion: I think Steamer’s 3.67/1.27 projection feels closer to a 25th percentile vs 50th percentile outcome for Ross but I see a good chance at K mediocrity if/when he dials down the slider. I think Ian Kennedy is a safer bet than Ross and he is going about 90 picks later than Ross in NFBC ADP.

 

 

 
  1. GhostTownSteve says:
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    Totally agree on these three.

  2. Me says:
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    I totally agree on these three.

    • @Me: Wast that Me writing that? I don’t remember writing that though I agree.

      • bossmanjunior333 says:
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        @Rudy Gamble:

        What a narcissist!

  3. bossmanjunior333 says:
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    Could you elaborate on your love for Harvey? Just listened to Eno talk about ranking Harvey around the same spot.

    • bossmanjunior333 says:
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      @bossmanjunior333:

      Damn you have Salazar really high too…me likey!

  4. Wake Up says:
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    I could agree with you less. But, for different reasons.

    Teheran: Mostly because the White Bear is gone. The two of them had a great Iron Sheik like pepperoni combo thing going. He also had really really great chemistry with Heyward. He’s gone too.
    Conclusion: Having to put up with the artist formerly known as BJ, Nick the Greek, and Andrelton the Alien = Terd Sandwich

    • @Wake Up: I couldn’t argue w/ that even if I wanted to.

      • Wake Up says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: I have Latos 200ish…mostly due to tats and tweets…and not getting to pitch in Dallas…

      • Wake Up says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: And Ross is your classic case of extreme swing from being undervalued last year, to being overvalued this year…will end up somewhere in the middle, 150’s…stick there for the next three years…but, the main reason why I don’t like him is because Sky does…

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          U jus jelly…

          • Wake Up says:
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            @Sky: HaHa…you know I’m just playing…

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              Oh I know *cancels order on shipyourenemiesglitter.com*

              • Mike says:
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                @Sky: I totally looked up that website to see if it was a real thing

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  @Mike: Hahaha, sadly yes, it does exist.

  5. bossmanjunior333 says:
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    How would your action values change for a shallow h2h league with a snake draft? I was playing around with fangraphs action calculator, but Im not sure how much those values apply to my league format. Thanks, Ruddy!

  6. The $ values do not change for H2H but the strategy does. For shallow leagues, I prefer a ‘2 Aces, Buttload of RPs and Stream’ strategy. For H2H, I de-emphasive RPs and Aces in favor of SP depth. I want about 8 SPs with decent $ value – with particular bias towards pitchers w/ favorable home parks for my last pitchers (e.g., a J.A. Happ in SEA could be a good end-of-draft pick). I could see guys like Ian Kennedy on my H2H team. I also de-emphasize speed guys as well b/c I find SBs to be more fluky than the other 4 stats.

    • bossmanjunior333 says:
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      @Rudy Gamble:

      How would this further complicate matters: h2h 10 team, only 9 position players (C/1B/2B/3B/SS/3OF/UTL) with limited moves (100 dollar budget with $1 pre trade deadline, $3 post deadline, $5 playoffs).

      So basically, with only 9 position players and no CI/MI spot, I am placing more emphasis on those positions early on, targeting the elite tiers of both and just punting SS if I miss out on one of the big three (Not including Reyes). Further, I am taking generally hitters with my first 6 rounds, a few high upside starters the next few rounds and then a mix of SP/RP/OF/UTL the rest of the draft focusing on best value.

      Here is an example of what most iterations look like:

      1. Abreu
      2. Rendon
      3. Tulo/Desmond/Hanley
      4. Harper/Dickerson
      5. Arrenado/Longoria
      6. Springer/Marte
      7. Harvey/Zimmerman
      8. Cobb
      9. Davis
      10. Cole/Arrieta
      11. Wood/DeGrom
      12. Carrasco
      13. Moss/Trumbo
      14. Stroman
      15. Perkins
      16. Benoit
      17. Smyly
      18. McHugh
      19. Shoemaker
      20. Clippard/Boxberger/Mejia type
      21. Polanco bench type
      22. Catcher

      • @bossmanjunior333: Makes sense. The one thing I’d recommend is punting 2B as well. You are guaranteed the 10th best 2B/SS. Unless a 2b/SS comes at a fair price (near my rank), I’d just wait until the end of the draft and get a Kendrick/Neil Walker type.

        • bossmanjunior333 says:
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          @Rudy Gamble:

          Bascially, If I miss out on Rendon (not high on Altuve or Cano), I’m going to wait until the Kipnis/Wong/Walker part of the draft around the 10th round. However, If I miss out on Tulo/Desmond/Hanley, I’ll wait until the last round and just take Segura, who should be there.

          Thanks for the feedback, Chesney!

        • bossmanjunior333 says:
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          @Rudy Gamble:

          Normally, I really like the punt strategy for middle infield or catcher, but in a league with only 9 positions, I don’t feel like I can get away with punting 3 postions, basically a third of my offense. Like you said, If I get good value at those positions and can get an elite option at 2B and SS, get it, but otherwise when the guys get really similar, just wait. I have no problem punting catcher at all since aside from Posey, the rest of the guys are very similar and all carry a higher injury risk, However, If I do miss out on a top SS or 2B, I have thought about taking a gamble on Gattis around the 10th round, which seems like a great value.

  7. Snarky Anklebiter says:
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    I’m curious of your opinion on a few other young starters that Grey and JB have ranked significantly higher than you incl. deGrom, Shoemaker, McHugh, Ventura and Pineda.

    • sport says:
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      @Snarky Anklebiter: I like this question too! I’m also wondering about your thoughts on Carrasco and Cole. Pretty much right on the rankings or a little higher/lower?

    • @Snarky Anklebiter: I don’t have strong opinions on these players but I know they were not at the top of my draft board during LABR. As a whole, Grey and I have a similar % of $ towards SP but I price the aces higher than him and he prices the middle grough higher than me. From a playing time/injury perspective, I am not a fan of Pineda.

  8. Seph Meier says:
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    There are so many pitchers and I play in a keeper league and have a lot of pitchers and want to keep them all but know I can’t. This is a keep forever type of league so they don’t cost draft picks or anything, we start 6 sp’s each week with IP/ERA/WHIP/BAA/W-L/NSV/PSLG /K:9/CG/ShO

    I currently own:
    C. Kluber/Z. Greinke/J. Arrietta/ M. Shoemaker/ M. Stroman/ J. DeGrom/ D. Salazar
    among the starters I’d like to keep….
    I really like Stroman, Shoemaker, DeGrom and Salazar and would hate to lose them forever; I have a competitive team and place top 3 the past 3 years; we keep 12 and would potentially be able to keep 4 or stretch to 5. what would you do?

    • @Seph Meier: Wow, that is a strong staff. Without knowing the hitter options, I’ll just rank them:

      Kluber
      Greinke
      Stroman
      Arietta
      DeGrom
      Salazar
      Shoemaker

      • Seph Meier says:
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        @Rudy Gamble:

        Perfect! Thank you! Let’s me debate some preseason trading to!

  9. Buge Hoobs says:
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    On the flip side, could you give three pitchers where your Player Rater is more optimistic than the other sources reviewed (but without the big write-up of reasoning)? Your top undervalued players that you are willing to reach for to be on your team? Or is that another post?

    • Tigres says:
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      Seconding this request – thanks Rudy!

    • @Buge Hoobs: I think my 2nd/4th/5th SPs in LABR fit the bill: Harvey (explained in an earlier comment), McCarthy (great park/team, 2nd half gains), and Salazar (so much upside). I like Fiers as well and almost took him instead of Salazar with my 15th pick. In deeper leagues, I like Masterson this year as a comeback candidate.

      • Bugs Hoobs says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: thanks so much!

  10. Brad says:
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    Is there a good resource to use to get projected K/9 information for 2015? I didn’t see it here on Razzball, but maybe I am not looking in the right spot. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

  11. Kiss a Bum says:
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    Rudy, i was listening to an old Fangraphs podcast and they kind of infered that Steamers projections are adjusted as news from Spring Training comes forth. Isn’t that what you are doing as well? Seems redundant but I’m sure you know something I don’t.

    • @Kiss a Bum: We use the same underlying Steamer projections – only difference is we adjust Playing Time seperately and I do some adjustments on hitter RHP/LHP PAs.

  12. Kid A says:
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    What has two thumbs and just drafted Teheran and Latos in the Razznasty Dynasty league?

    Times like these I like to celebrate with a refreshing bleach cocktail.

    • Baezaworldseries says:
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      @Kid A: Haha! Rudy hates you. Make sure you use an ammonia chaser.

    • mauledbypandas says:
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      @Kid A: Rudy hates you, confirmed!

  13. sport says:
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    Thank you Rudy for this!! I always look forward to your write ups and even enjoy reviewing your drafts. I always feel more comfortable drafting with about the same philosophy as you……generally. my 5×5 12 team roto currently has Strass, Arietta, Samardzija, Corrasco, Salazar, along with Wheeler, Mchugh, and Paxton as late round pick ups. I don’t want to keep them all, and generally like to stream one SP spot through free agents so i like to go with 5 SP. These other names seemed too good not to grab late. Any ‘dropables’ in the bunch or look to trade?

    Yahoo so it’s 1400 IP cap.

    • @sport: I’d feel free to drop McHugh and Paxton – they are just nice to haves right now for 5×5. Especially if there are any potential closers on the waiver wire.

  14. gregor says:
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    ok…so…I am in 10 team nl only keeper league
    i have tehran at 2$ and Ross at 7$
    would your analysis change any??
    i have ross as my 2nd sp, tehran at 3rd, fiers at 10$ as 4th and wheeler at 10$ as 5th
    i have to get a #1 sp at the draft???
    kershaw and sherzer are both available
    Suggestions?

    • Those prices seem solid for nl-only. I don’t think u need an ace. You just need depth

      • gregor says:
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        @Rudy Gamble:
        thanks—i will look back at your / greys rankings for the next 2 spots!
        was hatin to give up on ross!

  15. Filet O'Fish says:
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    @Rudy

    5×5, 10-teamer

    I must keep one player for four years, one for three years, one for two years and two for one year:

    Heyward, Braun, Baez, Kendrick, Alexei, Latos, DeGrom, Cashner, Robertson, Betances

    It’s ugly I know. Am I crazy to consider any of those pitchers beyond one year? How would you keep them if it was your team?

    • I don’t think any of your pitchers are worth multi-year keeping in 10 team mixed.

  16. Kid A says:
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    You know what compounds the pain of drafting Teheran and Latos back-to-back in a dynasty league? Getting skipped in the comments section and teased by Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

    The bleach doesn’t help either.

    • Sorry – couldn’t think of what to reply with other than “hope for the best!” And “you can always stream”

      • notKid A says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: I was hoping for something a little more quantitative than that. I was hoping for some crooked numbers to lift me up. My draft went SNAFU.

        • Two pitchers don’t make/break a draft

      • Baezaworldseries says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: Perfect.

    • FrankGrimes says:
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      @Kid A:
      haha

  17. Jb says:
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    In an 14 team auction league 4×4 (no Ks) I have spent very few dollars on starters…how do you think this staff will hold up : arieta 13$ stroman 5$ Carrasco 10$ fiers 6$shoemaker3$ and Paxton (jb is high on Paxton I have him for 1$ but I am skeptical

    • That seems like about an average staff for 14 team on first glance. Solid depth but no top-tier ace

      • Jb says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: I generally stay away from the ace bc they are cost prohibitive in my league…I think I’m relying too much on upside, but that’s what wins fantasy IMO!! What’s your opinion on Paxton??

        • I like Paxton. Wouldn’t want to invest a lot to get him but a good late game gamble. I love mariner pitchers in general and he has good stuff. Health and control are the two WILDCARDSr

  18. Artemis says:
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    Objectively, who has had the better SP rankings the past few years between you and Grey? Trying to know whose to give more weight as I prepare for my draft :)

    • Not sure. I do think mine are better though :)

  19. Pun says:
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    Really enjoyed this article and would love to see more of them

  20. farcus says:
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    so. . . in a h2h points league i have keeper questions they “cost” the draft pick of the round they were drafted in last year.

    I have to keep one of these:

    Pujols – rd 2
    Greinke – rd 3
    Cobb – rd 4
    Samardzija – rd 5

    AND I have to keep 4 of these:

    Chris Davis – rd 6
    Justin Upton – rd 9
    Yelich – rd 10
    Arenado – rd 13
    Bautista – rd 20
    Carlos Gonzalez – rd 22

    keepers can be kept at the same cost infinitely. What would you do?

    • Samardzija and drop Chris Davis and cargo on the other group (just no faith in cargo’s health)

      • Scott says:
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        @Rudy Gamble:

        I wish i had more faith in Samardzija but I fear he’s in for a rough year.

        • Yeah, I have my concerns too

  21. Mike B says:
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    Rudy, appreciate the write up and insight! I own Teheran as a 19th round keeper (increases 1 rd per) in a 10 team 10 keeper league ( 30 roster spots). We use QS in place of wins which I assume offsets a small bit of the negativity towards the terrorist. I had expected some regression based on xfip alone, but do you consider Teheran to still have a bright future being just 24 and a former top prospect, or do you suggest trying to move him before his value drops? Sonny Gray is a 20th round keeper(negligible difference in round value) and owner prefers Teheran. Thanks in advance!

    • Teheran is positive value in 19th round. I would swap for Gray.

  22. the swinging says:
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    Sooo I love this website. This is my fantasy baseball source. But now what do I do when I see matt latos on the board? Rudy u have him unranked practically and grey has him in the 80s overall. I move guys around as I see fit, but with nearly 300 draft spots of separation in differences of opinion from u guys on latos, I’m not sure where to rank him.

    Default to espn? Lol

    • We made our cases. You are the jury :)

  23. Clint says:
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    So, your case against Teheran properly places him behind these guys for my potential pitcher keepers in a h2h league then?

    Shark, Arrieta, Cobb, Fiers, Teheran

    I know Grey has Fiers/Teheran right next to each other in his rankings and JB seems a little unsure about Fiers’ stuff if I recall correctly so what’s your take assuming it’d come down to one of those two & not the others for that 4th keeper SP?

  24. jbird669 says:
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    Rudy,

    Thoughts on Teheran as a $9 keeper in a shallow mixed league (C,1b,2b.3b.SS. IF, 4 OFs, 2 UTs, 9 P and 5 bench players that we pay for)?

    • I wouldn’t keep him at that price in shallow leagues

  25. PBMAX says:
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    Rudy,

    Keeper Question: In a 12 team, 5×5 OPS League ($264 total) where I already have Billy H. I also have Dee at $10. I am contemplating an offer for Teheran at $10 for Dee. I also have Dozier as an alternative at $10 at 2B. At SP I have Shark at $13 and that’s it. Should I make the deal?

    • I agree on trading dee or Hamilton but I don’t like Teheran as a keeper. Dude at 90 MPH fastball at 24!

      • PBMAX says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: Thanks! I think I’ll pass on Julio.

  26. Mike says:
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    Rudy,
    AS always job well done-

    Any chance you can create a spreadsheet that shows the comparisons used for ALL players?
    Julio Teheran (NFBC ADP – 78, LABR – 96, Grey’s Ranking – 108, Rudy’s Player Rater – 166)

    This is huge in locating under/over valued players
    Thanks

    • I think they’ll be a post at some point w/ mine vs. Rudy. But LABR data dates pretty quickly. If you have Excel or Google Docs, you can do this pretty easily. The key function is VLOOKUP which allows you to grab data from another sheet based on a match (like Name).

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