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.

 

 

76 Comments
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Mike
Mike
7 years ago

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

PBMAX
PBMAX
7 years ago

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?

PBMAX
PBMAX
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

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

jbird669
jbird669
7 years ago

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)?

Clint
Clint
7 years ago

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?

the swinging
the swinging
7 years ago

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

Mike B
Mike B
7 years ago

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!

farcus
farcus
7 years ago

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?

Scott
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

@Rudy Gamble:

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

Pun
Pun
7 years ago

Really enjoyed this article and would love to see more of them

Artemis
Artemis
7 years ago

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 :)

Jb
Jb
7 years ago

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

Jb
Jb
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

@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??

Kid A
Kid A
7 years ago

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.

notKid A
notKid A
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

@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.

Baezaworldseries
Baezaworldseries
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

@Rudy Gamble: Perfect.

FrankGrimes
FrankGrimes
Reply to  Kid A
7 years ago

@Kid A:
haha

Filet O'Fish
Filet O'Fish
7 years ago

@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?

gregor
gregor
7 years ago

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?

gregor
gregor
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

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

sport
sport
7 years ago

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.

Kid A
Kid A
7 years ago

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
Baezaworldseries
Reply to  Kid A
7 years ago

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

mauledbypandas
mauledbypandas
Reply to  Kid A
7 years ago

@Kid A: Rudy hates you, confirmed!

Kiss a Bum
Kiss a Bum
7 years ago

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.

Brad
Brad
7 years ago

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!

Buge Hoobs
Buge Hoobs
7 years ago

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
Tigres
Reply to  Buge Hoobs
7 years ago

Seconding this request – thanks Rudy!

Bugs Hoobs
Bugs Hoobs
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

@Rudy Gamble: thanks so much!

Seph Meier
Seph Meier
7 years ago

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
Seph Meier
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

@Rudy Gamble:

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

Snarky Anklebiter
Snarky Anklebiter
7 years ago

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
sport
Reply to  Snarky Anklebiter
7 years ago

@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?

bossmanjunior333
bossmanjunior333
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

@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
bossmanjunior333
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

@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
bossmanjunior333
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

@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.

bossmanjunior333
bossmanjunior333
7 years ago

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!

Wake Up
7 years ago

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
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

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

Wake Up
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

@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
Reply to  Wake Up
7 years ago

U jus jelly…

Wake Up
Reply to  Sky
7 years ago

@Sky: HaHa…you know I’m just playing…

Sky
Sky
Reply to  Wake Up
7 years ago

Oh I know *cancels order on shipyourenemiesglitter.com*

Mike
Mike
Reply to  Sky
7 years ago

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

Sky
Sky
Reply to  Mike
7 years ago

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

bossmanjunior333
bossmanjunior333
7 years ago

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

bossmanjunior333
bossmanjunior333
Reply to  bossmanjunior333
7 years ago

@bossmanjunior333:

Damn you have Salazar really high too…me likey!

Me
Me
7 years ago

I totally agree on these three.

bossmanjunior333
bossmanjunior333
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

@Rudy Gamble:

What a narcissist!

GhostTownSteve
GhostTownSteve
7 years ago

Totally agree on these three.