I have an idea. I’d like to make reading a post a more enjoyable, perhaps immersive, experience. Today I will start with with an accompanying song. The following song has been handpicked for today’s post.
Please click here to load this song in the background as you read this article (It should open in another tab)
Knowing YouTube, there will be some sort of ad before the song plays. If that is the case, please wait until it completes or you are able to click the “Skip Ad” link before you begin reading. I know what you are thinking. Is this guy for real? What in tarnation is he up to. Believe me, I’m thinking the same thing.
Picture this, moments after inking his six-year, 162-million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles, Freddie Freeman shuffles over to his man cave jukebox, gives it the Fonzie touch and it starts playing Soul Man by Sam & Dave. If you followed my instructions above, it should be playing for you as well. Only when the chorus hits, instead of hearing “I’m a soul man”, Freddie hears “I’m a free man”. With another Fonzie punch, all of his Atlanta Braves decor instantly transforms into a Dodgers landscape.
Freeman has got to be ecstatic. In fact, he spent most of the day dancing around his house listening to this song on repeat as it played through his house wide Sonos system. By the way, if the song ended on YouTube you can always restart it, right-click and select “Loop” so it will keep playing.
Seriously though, the newest Dodgers star has got to be super excited. He’s coming off a spectacular World Series championship and now he’s headed to the team with the best statistical odds of winning this year. And I think those odds were calculated before the Freeman acquisition. I believe a hundred dollar wager on the Dodgers to win it all in 2022 will win you four dollars and seventy-five cents. As for Freeman, he comes in as the number four hitter overall, and the second first baseman. Read on for more details.
Please click here for the next song (You might have to stop the other song)
Every year I say this and this year I’m saying it again. Projections are a very inaccurate science. Somehow experts like Rudy have managed to make it less of an inaccurate science, but on the whole, there is a whole lot of guesswork that goes into generating projections. One of the biggest variables is playing time. In Jeffrey Zimmerman’s article entitled “Summation of 2021 Projection Accuracy” from earlier this month he said, “For the playing time stats, Razzball owned the competition“. I’ve always said that projections are projections, but accountability for the previous year should be highlighted each year so we know who is throwing the dart closest to the bullseye. The article referenced above does just that and it indicates success for Razzball’s projections.
Those of you that have been reading my posts over the years should be familiar with what I call my “Estimations”. This is just a fancy word for projections. If I had to choose a single set of projections to use, it would be Razzball’s. Not because I am affiliated with them, but because Rudy’s results speak for themselves. But that’s that thing, I don’t have to choose a single source. Every year I pick a handful of sources which I average and aggregate together. Those “handful of sources” are the sources that have consistently yielded better than average results against the field. The software I have written to calculate the estimations allows me to assign a weight to each source so that source can play a greater factor in the final result. For example, I have Razzball’s projections weighted greater than the rest, leaving me with a result set that is heavily influenced by Rudy. I then take those results and feed them back into the same software as an original source with a weight of fifty percent. So if I originally used six weighted sources to calculate my estimations, I then re-calculate with seven sources, using my first run results as the seventh source and give that a weight equal to the original sources combined.
After a long weekend of number crunching, here are my 2022 Estimations. The following positional rankings are based on total fantasy points, but I have included points per plate appearance and points per game as well for reference.
According to the numbers, Salvador Perez is our top catcher. I think that’s the consensus across the board. However, I can say with a great amount of certainty that I will not be owning him in any leagues. El Niño is going off the boards at about pick 41. I’m not taking a catcher in the 4th round. And even though this is contrary to my estimations, I think Will Smith is going to end the season with more points. The numbers are the numbers, so I’ve got to keep Perez as the top catcher. Smith is being drafted at 61. This is a round and half to two rounds later. Still not sure I’d take a catcher at the turn of the 5th and 6th rounds, but better than the zero chance of me taking one in the 4th. As soon as Smith is selected, J.T. Realmuto will be a pick or two behind. Personally, I think I might target Grandal in the 7th, Contreras in the 9th, or Varsho in the 11th. Leaning more towards the latter two in that list.
If Mike Trout doesn’t win the American League MVP, Vlad Junior is going to win it. The reigning points leader amongst hitters will be back at it this year. My estimations have him as the top first baseman and third hitter overall, behind Juan Soto and Jose Ramirez. I’m not really buying Ramirez outpointing him, but the numbers are the numbers. Vlad has an ADP of 5. The only player I would take before him is Soto, so if I have the fifth pick and Guerrero is available I am going to be very happy. Like Butthead once said to Beavis, “it’s high noon on my sundial“.
Anthony Rizzo, who’s going in the 13th round, jumps out as the biggest bargain as I have him as the 7th ranked 1B.
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||529.3||0.81||3.48|
I think Trea Turner is the obvious name at the top of this list. However, like Salvy, he’s another player I am going to have zero shares in based on his ADP as the 4th player off the board. Instead, I’d much sooner grab Albies in 3rd, Altuve in the early 4th, or Semien or Merrifield in the 5th. Now that I take a closer look, providing the eye issue is not a big deal, I might be targeting Ketel Marte in the 7th.
Considering I mentioned above that my estimations had Jose Ramirez ahead of Vlad, it should have been obvious that he’d be the top 3B. The only players I’m taking ahead of him are Soto and Guerrero. I sure do wish I snagged him back in 2019 when he had a “down” year in my keeper league.
Before I started working on my estimations, I expected that Rafael Devers would have been ahead of Manny Machado. Seems I was wrong. Not by much, but I was wrong. In a vacuum, I’m taking Devers over Machado. Outside a vacuum, I’m still taking Devers. I think his upside is greater.
If Anthony Rendon can stay healthy (ha ha), he seems to have good draft day value with an ADP in the tenth round.
Austin Riley might not exactly be worth his draft board spot in the fifth round.
Nothing to see here. Just that Trea Turner guy again. Hold on a minute, why does it seem like the shortstop position gets more stacked year after year. Who remembers the days when it was Troy Tulowitzki (until he got hurt) or bust?
This year we have Wander Franco joining the ranks of the elite. I’d feel more comfortable with a full season’s worth of stats, but his 0.66 points per plate appearance wasn’t too shabby. Carlos Correa also posted a 0.66 PPPA. For some additional reference, Bo Bichette posted a 0.68, Xander Bogaerts a 0.65 and Marcus Semien and 0.71 PPPA.
Here’s the great thing. Picking a shortstop is now easy. Give me any of the top eight listed below. I could make do with Polanco, but he just doesn’t have the same shiny-ness as the others.
The two guys I’m probably targeting the most here would be Seager in the 6th or Correa in the 7th. Love how Seager wrote, “Corey was here inside Freeman’s new jersey“. I wonder if he’d be willing to team up with Corey Feldman to revive The Two Coreys.
|Bobby Witt Jr.||312.77||0.59||2.52|
There he is ladies and gentlemen. Am I allowed to say ladies and gentlemen anymore? I guess so since I just said it twice. Technically I wrote it. You said it, if you read the last few sentences out loud.
Juan Soto is the only player I’d be choosing ahead of Vlad Junior. He’s my number one pick. I traded Gerrit Cole in my primary points league last year to get him. That league’s scoring system is heavily skewed towards starting pitchers and Cole is the top scoring player. But now I have Soto and Vlad and I can find pitching. I also happened to win that league last year. My fifth title in the league’s 19 year history. Technically my fifth in 17 years since I joined the league two years in.
Mike Trout is a top five pick. End of discussion.
For those of you roto players dabbling in points leagues, don’t overvalue Starling Marte. He’s lower in the ranking in points leagues. Especially with the oblique injury.
Keep an eye on Alex Verdugo. He’s going in the 15th round. He’s worth snagging a few rounds before then.
|Lourdes Gurriel Jr.||326.04||0.58||2.35|
What about Fernando Tatis Jr.? By now you should have noticed that Tatis did not make any of the lists above. The reason for that is because they are driven by total points. His injury is going to cost him a decent amount of playing time, and as a result, has reduced his fantasy points total. I’ve got him at about 303 points for the season. Bobby Witt Jr. was the last player to make the shortstop list with 312.77 points and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. rounded out the outfielders with 326.04 points. What’s with all of the players with Jr. at the end of their names. Seriously.
For the record, I would be taking Tatis over Witt, Gurriel and several of the other players at the bottom of the shortstop and outfield lists. Here’s a simple explanation why. Tatis will get you about 303 points when he returns from the IL. In the meantime, you should expect some sort of production from whomever you replace him with in your lineup. So when you add those points to Tatis’s points, the total will exceed that of Witt, Gurriel, or whoever. Plus, you will finish the season with Tatis in your lineup. His estimated PPPA of 0.79 puts him in 4th behind Soto (0.87), Ramirez (0.84) and Guerrero (0.81).
I’ve attached a spreadsheet containing the estimations at the bottom of this post. There is a tab labeled “Scoring” that will allow you to enter your league specific scoring. While I didn’t touch on pitchers today, they are included in the spreadsheet.
malamoney Points Leagues Disclaimer
This post is based on a head-to-head points league with a scoring system as follows:
RUN (+1), RBI (+1), 1B (+1), 2B (+2), 3B (+3), HR (+4), BB (+1), KO (-1), HBP (+1), SB (+2), CS (-1), SF (+1)
WIN (+5), LOSS (-5), IP (+3), K (+1), BB (-1), SAVE (+7), BLOWN SAVE (-3), ER (-1), HIT (-1), HBP (-1), WP (-1)
When asking questions, please include your league’s scoring system as I can’t accurately answer the non-obvious questions without it.
Follow malamoney on Twitter at @malamoney