During the preseason I made a strong case for selecting Clayton Kershaw as the top overall pick ahead Mike Trout in points leagues using total points, Z-score and FVARz. Kershaw edged out Trout across the board, but I’m sure that didn’t convince most of you to pull the trigger. Actually I’m pretty positive of this because Trout’s average draft position (ADP) was 1.3, while Kershaw’s ADP was just under 2 at 1.9. That means that there were a few of you that joined the dark side, but the rest of you just didn’t have enough balls. Let’s see if I made a jacka*s of myself taking such an outrageous stance.
With 659 total points, Kershaw currently leads all starting pitchers with 24.4 points per start (PPS). A quick note about total points. I am not accounting for any bonus points awarded for quality starts, complete games, no hitters or shutouts. Factor those in and he’s over 700! My preseason projections, which I used to base my recommendation of selecting Kershaw with the first pick, had him at 728 points for the entire season. That translated into 22.94 points per start. He’s currently a point and a half ahead per start projections. So he’s performing better than I had even anticipated. Do I hear an “I told you so” brewing?
There are only seven other pitchers with a PPS greater than 20. Zach Greinke (22.81), Jake Arrieta (22.11), Dallas Keuchel (21.81), Chris Sale (21.46), Madison Bumgarner (21.07), David Price (20.67) and Jacob deGrom (20.12).
But how is Mike Trout doing? Are his numbers strong enough to justify him being taken ahead of Clayton? Trout has 400 points (.731 PPPA). Not too shabby. However there are eight batters that have been even better. Paul Goldschmidt (474), Josh Donaldson (463), Bryce Harper (444), Joey Votto (432), Jose Bautista (425), Anthony Rizzo (424), Nolan Arenado (409) and A.J. Pollock (402). He’s not even the top batter. So how can he be the top overall? While Trout might not be the top point scoring hitter at the moment, he’s right near the top and has been so since entered the Major Leagues.
Here’s how I ranked the top ten players preseason:
Here’s how I’d draft the top ten right now factoring in 2015 year-to-date performances.
I said it preseason, and I’m saying it again now, Kershaw is the top pick in points leagues. Even though Trout is not the top scoring batter, I’d still be taking him in the two hole if I had the second pick. But knowing how most of you think, I’d be getting Kershaw with the second pick because you’re just too stubborn to pass on Trout.
What do you get when you combine a five time Pro Bowler from the Dolphins back in the 80’s with the most valuable player in fantasy baseball points leagues? Give up? Mark Clayton Kershaw. Had I said the toughest boxer of the 80’s with the player everyone considers to be the most valuable player in fantasy baseball points leagues, the answer would have been “Iron Mike Trout”. Before and after!
Most points leagues have just begun the playoffs or will be doing so next week. My league has two week playoff matches, which is a must, so we started this week. One thing I like to do is stay ahead of my opponent. I’m looking at next week while the current week has just begun. Are there any two-start streamers I can grab before my opponent? I might not start him, but at least I know he won’t either. Defense! At this point of the season it’s safe to drop players you just don’t see yourself playing in redraft leagues in order to stash one that you might. I dropped Neil Walker to stash Javier Baez and Andrew Cashner to stash Taylor Jungmann. Jungmann is slated to have two starts next week and has looked pretty good lately. Don’t say I told you so, when you snooze and your opponent does and he drops a 50 spot on you.
One other thing I’d like to mention. Full beards. That’s right full beards. Sorry Grey, as much as I love the stache, the full beard gets today’s spotlight. In my current top ten I have three pitchers. Kershaw, Sale and Bumgarner. You know what they all have in common? Full beards. Sale’s might not be as impressive as Bumgarner’s or as ugly as Kershaw’s, but he has one. Perhaps Felix Hernandez should consider growing more than that disgusting “Jim the anvil Neidhart in training” thing he’s got going on on his chin and go full beard. And I’m going to have to give similar advice to Stephen Strasburg. Cancel your membership to The Dollar Shave Club and let that puppy blossom! Stephen Strasbeard strikes out double digits batters like it’s his job. And coincidentally it IS his job.