I’m a value oriented fantasy manager.  I’m not a believer in positional scarcity and I take that approach (aka meritocracy) to my draft by relying largely on projections.  When evaluating my slumping players I look at their projections and peripherals to see if the slump means anything.  When looking at the hot players in the player pool I take the same approach.  I am going to make recommendations to you based on these approaches.  For the next in line closers it means recommending players with good projections but also considering each players chance to close in the future.  For base stealers it means making sure the player won’t destroy your AVG or at least letting you know if he’s going to.

This week in SAGNOF (Saves Ain’t Got No Face) Recap: Early last week Adam Ottavino ascended into the closer role for Colorado and it looks at the very least to be semi-permanent.  He was previously my 7th best next in line closer to own.  Formerly my 2nd best next in line closer to own, Joakim Soria had ascended due to an injury to Joe Nathan, who should be back soon and will regain his closer role.  Jordan Walden notched a save last night but it appears Trevor Rosenthal was being given the night off.

Bobby Parnell should probably be owned right now in all leagues because he could take Jeurys Familia’s job in the next 2-3 weeks.  He will probably return to action this week but as of now we can’t be sure how quickly, if at all, he will ascend to the closer role.  I’m thinking that if it doesn’t happen in 2-3 weeks it won’t happen at all unless Familia implodes down the line.  Now onto this week’s recommendations…

Previously I used a projections based approach to rank the next in line middle relievers by their skill and I combined that with knowledge of their situation (chance to ascend into the closer role) to give an overall ranking.  To shed some more light on how this approach works for middle relievers here are two tables with some projections derived values.  The first table consists of the best projected players, the second the rest of the next in line closers.  To get a value for each player I’ve subtracted $Wins and $Saves from Rudy’s Rest of Season Player Rater Values and you can consider this their “Skill Dollar Value”.  That way we are able to view each player’s contribution in a situation neutral context.  I’ve included the interim closers because it gives you an idea of how ownable each interim closer after he loses the closer gig upon the return of the incumbent.  Finally, below the tables, I’ve ranked the next in line players most worth owning taking into account skill and situation.

The most skilled middle relievers, projections wise:

Name Team Next Up? $ Value
Dellin Betances NYA Maybe, he’s been struggling mightily 4.9
Brad Boxberger TB Interim 4.3
Wade Davis KC Interim 3.6
Jake Diekman PHI No 3.2
Danny Farquhar SEA Probably 3.0
Joaquin Benoit SD Yes 2.6
Kelvin Herrera KC Temporarily 2.3
Tony Watson PIT Yes 2.2
Ken Giles PHI Yes 2.1
Joel Peralta LAN Interim 1.8
Darren O’Day BAL Yes 1.2
Sergio Romo SF Yes 1.0
Jordan Walden STL Yes 0.7
Pedro Strop CHN Yes 0.5
Brett Cecil TOR Deposed, needs to  show he’s improved first 0.1
Will Smith MIL Maybe 0.0
Casey Fien MIN Yes -0.2
Joakim Soria DET Interim -0.6

The rest* of the next in line relievers:

Name Team Next Up? $ Value
Jumbo Diaz CIN Yes -0.7
A.J. Ramos MIA Yes -1.8
Brad Ziegler ARI Yes -2.0
Bryan Shaw CLE Yes -2.2
Jonathan Broxton MIL I Hope Not -2.3
Jim Johnson ATL Yes -3.0
Zach Putnam CHA Yes -3.1
Chad Qualls HOU Yes -3.3
Edward Mujica BOS Maybe, has been shaky -3.5
Kyuji Fujikawa TEX Currently DL’d -3.9
Keone Kela TEX Maybe, at least until Fujikawa is ready ?**

*I skipped the situation in WAS, for instance, because I can only speculate at who the next in line is.

**Leone’s projections are bad but also aren’t really useful here because he is projected for so few innings pitched.

Dellin Betances has not allowed any earned runs so far this year, despite sporting a WHIP of 2.06.  He’s been pretty bad overall, although has only walked one batter in his last 3.2 innings after walking six in his first 3.1 innings.  I consider the projections for him to be what he’s capable of, not what he is right now.  Rodney still has a grip on the Seattle closer position and I would say it’s tightened slightly since last week.

A.J. Ramos and Brad Ziegler are worth considering if you are desperate for saves. They are pretty much the only guys from the second list I would bother with right now, deeper leagues being the exception.  Another name to keep in mind or pick up, especially for deeper leagues is Rafael Soriano who currently does not have a team.  He has a better chance than most of the above players to end the season with 15+ saves.

Ranking the the middle relievers that are not 100% owned by considering their skill and situation gives us:  Farquhar, Ken Giles, Tony Watson, Joe Smith, Darren O’Day, Sergio Romo, Jordan Walden, Brett Cecil, Pedro Strop, and Will Smith.  These are, in my opinion, the middle relievers most worthy of owning.

 

On the speedster front, some of our favorite prospects seem to be failing us.  Micah Johnson and Jace Peterson haven’t performed.  Surprisingly (at least to some) their projections are nothing spectacular: Jace is projected for only a .229 AVG and Micah for only .248.  Hold them if you are the type to stash rookies otherwise I have no problem with dropping them because with their low OBP it’s going to be hard for them to light it up on the basepaths.  Jose Peraza is a better speedster than Jace and he could, eventually, replace him this year.  He’s one to keep in mind.  Dalton Pompey has underperformed but has still played every day.  For him it looks like it’s just a matter of time before he hits more.  Preseason sleeper Eric Young Jr is not playing enough and Michael Taylor has been sent back to AAA because Denard Span came back (sooner than expected, no less).

One prospect who has lit up the box score is Odubel Herrera and he’s eligible at both SS and OF.  Steamer projects him for a .241 AVG but ZiPS, for instance, projects him for .276.  The reason for the big difference in the AVG projections is the big difference in their BABIP projections.  His speed is not great but he should be able to manage approximately 15 or more stolen bases from here on out given regular playing time.  He has 3 already.

I know Denard Span is available in a few leagues (although perhaps not by the time this is published) and he’s an immediate add.  Ender Inciarte is a player that could steal 20 or so bases while starting only against righties and also brings decent batting average to the table.  Sorry I missed him last week, I think if I had mentioned him last Monday you would have had a chance to snag him as I think he was picked up in many leagues around Tuesday or so.  While that was an outright mistake, many times I won’t have a chance to give an update in time simply because the SAGNOF Special is weekly.  So here’s what to do if you are wondering if a player will produce: Whenever you see a player that you aren’t familiar with getting playing time always check his projections.  Try to imagine what a full season based on those projections would look like.  Early in the season it’s usually safer to trust the projections over the SSS (small sample size) of stats we have to work with.

If you missed out on Inciarte, hopefully Jake Marisnick is still available.  Marisnick projects as a player that can steal nearly as many bases as Inciarte but he brings less AVG and slightly more power.  Kevin Pillar has been pretty good and could steal 20 bases with a full time gig but figures to lose playing time with Michael Saunders set to return soon.  I still consider Jose Ramirez a buy low, although he barely projects better than Micah Johnson.  He’s been slumping quite badly but has still managed to steal 3 bases and hit one home run.  Everth Cabrera is off to a slow start but is worthy of an add if you need short term help at shortstop.

Angel Pagan and Nori Aoki are both owned at 89% in RCLs but if you see them dropped and need a little bit of speed (and a little is all they offer at this point in their careers) their overall value is good and Pagan, for instance, will almost certainly be a plus to your team’s AVG.

Without consideration of playing time I would rank these players: Span, Inciarte, Pagan, Aoki, Pillar, Marisnick, Cabrera, Herrera, Ramirez, Johnson, Peterson.  In consideration of current playing time it would be: Span, Pagan, Aoki, Herrera, Pillar, Inciarte, Cabrera, Marisnick, Ramirez, Johnson, Peterson.

Always keep in mind: It’s not what a player has done, it’s what he’s going to do.  That’s something to keep in mind for those of you that like streaming players or if you play DFS.  And Razzball Tools can help you excel at that.

Thanks if you stuck it out and read the whole thing and thanks to all those who have commented previously.  Thanks in advance to those who comment on this one.  I like a good back and forth.

 

 

 
  1. Rags says:
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    NL-only roto league with OBP instead of AVG, and no bench.

    Have to drop one to make room for Kris Bryant: Who do you like better between John Mayberry and Mark Reynolds?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Rags: Keep whichever one you think has the best chance to get more playing time in the future, be it for injury (to other players) reasons or whatever. I would think Mayberry has a better chance to become an every day player than Reynolds because I would think, as an outfielder, he might be backing up more spots.

  2. Greyismyhero says:
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    Nice article, I feel better now dropping Ramirez for Herrera in my leagues….

    Who would you rather have in a NSVH league?, Feliz or Walden? I have Grilli, Castro, Otto, Feliz right now…

    Thanks!

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Greyismyhero: I used to own N. Feliz in a league but it’s a shallow (10 team league) so I dropped him for Salazar. That said, I would think he’d still have more value than Walden in the NSVH format.

      • Crapshoot Kershaw says:
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        @RotoLance: i’m gonna go ahead and say that i’m not the only one (or even in a minority of people) that thinks a non-K closer (who’s even been quoted in preseason saying “he’s not worried about his K rate coming back”) for TEX who could blown up at any time and might get traded by july (to likely be a non-closer) over a closer caliber 8th inning man on a good team who could close (already did a couple days ago, when mysteriously rosie was called “tired” after having only pitched once in last 3 days) at any time is fairly ludicrous in NSVH. Feliz clearly worth more in standard 5X5 since he’s closer now. And Walden will actually help you in K’s and definitely more so in ERA/WHIP too. Likely in wins too, simply from pitching in tie or 1 run deficits for a good team.

        • RotoLance

          RotoLance says:
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          @Crapshoot Kershaw: I get your point but I think you are being liberal with the facts. For one thing I’m pretty sure the the fact that “he’s not worried about the K rate coming back” means he thinks it will come back, not that it won’t. But you’ve seen the rest of that context and I haven’t.

          Also, objectively here, Walden is barely better than Feliz projections wise. Taking $Wins and $Saves out of the equation gives Feliz $-0.2 and Walden $0.7. There’s just not enough evidence right now to know where his K rate will reside. He was a huge let down in Ks last year but we don’t know what will happen this year.

          And it’s not like I said it wasn’t close :)

  3. Keith says:
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    Would you drop Kiermeir for Span? Buying into the young guy or trusting the old?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Keith: Span. He brings a lot more AVG. If for some reason you don’t need SB or AVG stick with Kiermaier.

  4. Scott says:
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    Should I bench Ottavino when he’s at home?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Scott: Interesting, but no, I think you just have to roll with it.

  5. Joeg414 says:
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    As a Met fan I say Famillia is not going anywhere.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Joeg414: Yeah I had always kind of assumed that they wouldn’t replace Familia if he performed. Then I saw this “Manager Terry Collins said Sunday that Parnell (elbow), who is due to come off the disabled list as soon as this week, won’t immediately reclaim closing duties, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reports.” Which implies he would be groomed to close at some point.

      However, I think Parnell is still ownable because he was quite good (I think in both 2012 and 2013) but perhaps you don’t want to own him until he proves it first.

      • @RotoLance:

        That might be true if Parnell’s velocity weren’t so down. He’s reportedly topping out at 92-93 (which he did in exactly 1 pitch), but most of his pitches have been in the high 80s (88-89).

        That’s not going to get major league hitters out, nor is it enough of a difference to his changeup to be effective. He’s been getting slapped around by A-ball players, so I’m not seeing any reason to be confident handing him high pressure situations.

        Meanwhile all Familia has done is save 6 games in 8 days. Yeah – Parnell isn’t worth wasting a roster spot on until he shows something resembling his old velocity – he doesn’t need to throw 97-98 again, but 95 would seem to be minimum – and consistently, not once.

        Plus can you really run a guy out on back-to-back nights when they’re just coming off Tommy John?

        I wouldn’t hold my breath on Parnell getting his gig back in 2015. Possible, but very unlikely.

        • RotoLance

          RotoLance says:
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          @Lucky Dog: 1. I didn’t make it clear above that, despite what the report said, I no longer believe Parnell will take the job unless Familia implodes. Which is what I believed last week before reading the report that implied otherwise.

          2. Thanks for the info. Parnell is less ownable (as a next in line guy) than I previously thought.

  6. Oaktownsteve says:
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    Mets saying Parnell will not close when he gets back

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Oaktownsteve: Ok, I was going off of this from Rotowire “Manager Terry Collins said Sunday that Parnell (elbow), who is due to come off the disabled list as soon as this week, won’t immediately reclaim closing duties, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reports.” Which implies he will reclaim them later BUT yeah other reports seem to think it’s Familia’s job to lose.

  7. Jonas says:
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    How do you compared Danny Santana with Herrera?

  8. RotoLance

    RotoLance says:
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    Similar batting average but Santana has slightly more of both HR and SB potential. All in all I think Herrera stacks up favorably.

    • Crapshoot Kershaw says:
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      @RotoLance: how does odubel stack up favorably if you are right about dannys having more steals and homers and similar average? unless of course PHI would lead to more counting stats (by a decent margin) than MIN.

      • RotoLance

        RotoLance says:
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        @Crapshoot Kershaw: I think I phrased that poorly. I meant relative to what conventional thought would be. I think he’s legitimately right in there with D Santana, just a notch below, but t’s certainly too early to say he’s better. If I had to pick which player finishes with higher average it’s Herrera.

      • RotoLance

        RotoLance says:
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        @Crapshoot Kershaw: By the way, everyone knew Santana was a BABIP regression candidate but here are some particulars. He needed a .405 BABIP just to bat .319 last year. This year his BABIP is .303 and he’s only batting .200. So I said I’d favor Herrera if I had to choose one for AVG but now I’m more worried about Santana than I thought. Legit chance he only ends up a career .240 hitter. And it’s hard to steal bases when your OBP is .280. Projections (ZiPS, Steamer) are assuming a decrease in his K% from last year but so far this year it’s up. So yeah color me worried.

        Thanks for reading.

  9. RotoLance

    RotoLance says:
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    I neglected putting Joe Smith into the first table. His ROS $ERA, $WHIP, $K value is -0.3

  10. Andre says:
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    Quick question. I’m in a 10 team,7×7 league keeper league. Hits, Runs,HR, RBI, Avg, Steals, and Walks are the offensive stats. My teams been killed by injuries and I need some production from my MI. Would you drop Daniel Murphy for Devon Travis. I have a cap on number of moves I can make during the season so this would be for ROS. Are you buying?

    Thanks!

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Andre: I don’t know if I’m buying to that extent. Daniel Murphy has been batting 5th and Devon Travis figures to be moved back down to 9th when Reyes comes back, unless they decide to slot him 2nd at that time. Your league has two additional counting stats with no rate stats added so it really starts to favor those that bat high in the order.

      I believe in trusting the projections and I have every reason to believe Murphy will bounce back. He’s being hurt by a .140 BABIP but his lowest since he became full time was .282.

      • Andre says:
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        @RotoLance:
        Thanks for the advice Roto!

        • RotoLance

          RotoLance says:
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          @Andre: I should have mentioned, the other effect that those added categories has is each of the original 5×5 batting categories are now slightly less valuable. So for instance, a player with a low AVG that hits a lot of HRs is less valuable in this format not only because he’s not getting many hits, but because HRs are now 1 of 7 categories instead of 1 of 5. That makes a difference. Once you start counting Hits or specific types of hits like 1B, 2B, 3B players like Matt Carpenter get a significant bump because he not only hits a lot but his weakness (HR and SBs) are now only 2/7ths of the equation instead of 2/5ths.

        • RotoLance

          RotoLance says:
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          @Andre: FYI Travis is in fact slotted behind Reyes today BUT I’d like to add that Bautista’s out so that may matter as Donaldson was not a candidate to bat 2nd because of Bautista’s absence.

  11. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    thanks for the updates,love it,what about the situations in tampa and oakland with doolittle and McGee coming back soon?thoughts?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @AL KOHOLIC: Well, all 4 guys (Doolittle, Clippard, McGee, Boxberger) are all ownable in 12 team leagues, that’s for sure.

      I think the Rays have to go back to McGee once he’s ready because he was so good last year. He could join the club in 7-10 days and will probably be eased back in. I would guess that he is ready for the closer role after about a week of lower pressure spots so maybe 14-17 days from now.

      The Doolittle v Clippard situation is much harder to judge, especially because we are still 3-5 weeks away from seeing Doolittle. If Clippard pitches well, I’m not certain they will go back to Doolittle full time because they could mix and match them.

  12. SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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    hey Roto good stuff.

    12 team deep keeper (8 keepers, tied to round drafted):

    I have at the end of my bench/for Util:

    Odubel (just dropped jace peterson for him)
    Rajai Davis
    Michael Taylor (late round)
    Jose Ramirez (late round)
    Peraza (late round)
    Gallo (late round)

    now – I have 1 DL spot I could use, and Michael Saunders got dropped so I’d like to make the add.

    who do you think I should drop in the interim (hopefully could pick back up later this week) – mostly need speed out of the Util.

    thanks!

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @SheriffMcRawDawg: Saunders has been playing minor league ball already so technically he’s ready to come of the DL, but it seems like they haven’t been in a hurry to get him back to the big club. So if what you are saying is that you are planning on adding him to roster, DLing him and then using the free spot to pick up the guy you dropped to initially make room for him I’m not sure that will work to your liking. He might be off the Blue Jays DL before you even get a chance to pick your guy back up and then I’d think you’d have to remove him from your DL before making any moves, so you’d no longer have the spot available?

      My guess is it’s not worth it. Sorry if that’s the wrong answer.

      • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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        @RotoLance: I totally get that and yes that’s what I’d like to do. but do you see him holding more value than any of those others in a Util spot ROS (obviously excluding the minor leaguers)?

        • RotoLance

          RotoLance says:
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          @SheriffMcRawDawg: Davis is ok to keep around because when he plays he steals. If we want to look at it in that light, Davis has the best production on a per game basis. So for value on a per game basis it would go Davis, Saunders, Odubel, Ramirez. What are the odds you’ll want to keep Ramirez? I mean, I did say I like him. It’s nice that he’s playing every day now and Saunders might not. But he might be less valuable after Lindor is called up.

        • RotoLance

          RotoLance says:
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          @SheriffMcRawDawg: By the way, the people that are reporting on Saunders are getting a sense of maybe Friday or Saturday for the call up.

          • SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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            @RotoLance: Thanks Roto – I made the switch for Saunders (dropped Ramirez), DL’d him, and picked up Heston who somehow was available in this deep-ish league, so I think I’m fine just hoarding for now. Thanks!

  13. Birrrdy! says:
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    Two sleepers for possible saves… Thoughts?

    – Jason Motte, Cubs

    – (super sleeper, but pitched the 8th inning the other day) Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Birrrdy!: If you are trying to say it’s possible, sure. I’m not sure it’s worth acting on just yet. Small Sample Size alert but, Hudson hasn’t been striking anyone out so that’s a little concerning. Steamer projections do actually like Hudson quite a bit though. He’s one to keep an eye on as a player than can help ERA, WHIP and K for RCL type formats (12 team 5×5, SP games started limit).

  14. burningbridges247 says:
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    I play in an OPS league. I currently own Gose. Should I drop him for Span? Thanks.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @burningbridges247: Absolutely. I don’t think OPS changes anything for these two. Sure Gose has an off the chart OPS right now, but that’s because his AVG is also off the charts. It will fall down to normal. You have to take the guy that plays every day, other things being roughly equal.

  15. Nick says:
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    Hi Lance

    missed on Devon Travis yesterday cause of the rib contusion ;( #sad
    and mainly cause i have Altuve + Wong at 2B!

    by the way, my expendable players are :
    OF Ozuna Monkeying around
    OF Khris Davis not crushing
    3B Yasmani (HOLD?)
    3B Castellanos nice beginning and i use him as Matt Carpenter backup

    I may need speed, as my only real speedy is Altuve!
    others are more 15/20 SB for the season ( Desmond, Springer, Wong )
    i can add: Enciarte, Span, Marisnick, Herrera, Pompey, Rajai, Leonys …
    or also Headley over Castellanos at 3B?

    What do you think about stashing Corey Seager ? too early?
    i stashed Buxton and Sano already ;) for the playoffs !!!

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Nick: Interesting. Yes, probably too early on Seager. I don’t think you need to hold Yasmani because of Castellanos. And Castellanos over Headley is fine too.

      That’s quite a list of available base stealers. It’s darn near everyone.. I’d say Martin despite his slow start. If you want another pick up Span. Got to go with the established guys I think. I’d probably let go of Davis before Ozuna but it’s close. So definitely get rid of Tomas and then if you still want more speed get rid of Davis.

      • Nick says:
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        @RotoLance:

        took Leonys for Yasmani,, even if i’m not sold, but a +25 steals is appealing

        what about some HOT Valbuena ? @3B

        • RotoLance

          RotoLance says:
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          @Nick:I like Valbuena but… This is my chance to repeat what’s been said before: that a hot streak doesn’t predict immediate forthcoming performance. For Valbuena I think it means something though because he needs to prove what he did last year is legit. But right now his HR/FB ratio is about 3x what it probably should be. I like Valbuena more in OBP leagues. I don’t know if you have anyone that I’d want to swap for him.

      • Nick says:
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        @RotoLance:

        Leonys got a SB yesterday :)
        but Yasmani took over Lamb ar 3B ,,, regular playing time? and Grey is saying to add him everywhere :) let’s wait till next Monday and see

        Corey has ben picked and stashed by another team,,,

        • RotoLance

          RotoLance says:
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          @Nick: I actually disagree with Grey on Tomas. Count Big Magoo (see his recent post, comments section possibly) as another Razzball author who may disagree with Grey. Lamb is only expected to be out 2-3 weeks and then Tomas will be back in that crowded outfield and I suspect he won’t play much. But what he does in the next 2-3 weeks will give us a good indication of what that playing time will be.

          I’m glad Leonys has been (at least a one day) boon. Heh.

  16. Alex Dodd says:
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    do i drop Gose for any of these chaps in a standard 5×5?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Alex Dodd: For any of the guys I mentioned? Definitely. Span for sure. Inciarte would be another one. You have to go with the guy that has been playing more, plus Inciarte may be better than Gose on a per game basis as well. It depends on whose available though.

      I hadn’t noticed until now the degree that Davis is eating into Gose’s playing time. No way those were all lefties Davis started against. I mean it sounds like you have better options than Davis here anyway, but just for reference if playing time is equal Davis > Gose.

  17. The Harrow says:
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    would anybody be speculating saying barrett (still no earned runs and clearly best WAS bullpen guy that’s not storen) anymore than when you say ziegler? everybody else on site thinks this would be somebody other than ziegler and ziegler hasn’t even been used in 8th inning mostly this year. There’s also no consensus on ramos being handcuff in MIA (more agreement than with ziegler though).

    • The Harrow says:
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      @The Harrow: also, from numerous depth charts it’s not at all clear who out of duke/putnam/petricka the k-rob handcuff is either. probably not duke, and javy even before his injury never made the conversation like he could’ve since preseason.

      • RotoLance

        RotoLance says:
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        @The Harrow: Fair points. Thanks for reading.

      • RotoLance

        RotoLance says:
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        @The Harrow: I’d also like to add that I’m going to try to address these concerns in my next post. This one was about value outside of situation so next time I’ll get heavily into situation.

  18. Five-On-One says:
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    Is there a tool that tells us which teams are easiest / hardest to steal against?

  19. Five-On-One says:
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    That’s great (no, really awesome). But it is SP specific, not team specific. With that and with catcher changes, the numbers don’t take into account the effect the current catcher would have on SB attempts / success. Have you ever ranked SB success against teams?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Five-On-One: Yeah there is still probably some work to be done. I may try to write something on my next post but I can’t guarantee it because it’s something that could end up taking a lot of time.

      On the other hand I suspect a pitcher is more responsible for SB rate than the catcher anyway. Also, you can sort by “team” on the columns at the top. I know that’s not exactly what you are looking for but I still wanted to point it out.

Comments are closed.