Over the last couple of weeks, Dr. Easy — my fantasy baseball partner-in-crime — and I having been playing the “Where Are They Now?” game, which has been pretty enlightening — for us, anyway. We’ve looked back to the beginning of the 2017, to compare the top 12 players on the Razzball Preseason Player Rater (PS PR) versus the top 12 as of right now per the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (STD PR). With the regular season drawing to a close (<sob>), how have things changed? What can we glean for next season: Who’s steady; who isn’t? In week 1, we looked at Trout, Betts, Kershaw, Turner, Machado, Altuve, Scherzer, Goldschmidt and Arenado. In week 2, we went over Harper, Cabrera, Bryant, Blackmon, Stanton, Sale, Votto, Judge, Kluber and Andrus. This week, we’ll move into the next 6 according to the PS PR and the STD PR.
Here were players 13 to 18, according to the PS PR, at the start of the season in April:
- 13. Starling Marte
- 14. Jonathan Villar
- 15. Anthony Rizzo
- 16. Chris Sale
- 17. Giancarlo Stanton
- 18. Ryan Braun
And here are players 13 to 18 at time of writing, week of 18 September:
- 13. Clayton Kershaw
- 14. Justin Upton
- 15. Jose Ramirez
- 16. Zack Greinke
- 17. Marcell Ozuna
- 18. Jonathan Schoop
Starling Marte: Ranked 13th pre-season, Starling Marte is currently ranked 577th on the STD PR. That may win the record for biggest disparity between a pre-season and a current ranking. One might even call it…Startling. Of course, missing 80 games with a suspension will do that to you (thanks, player in my keeper league!). Since he’s returned, he’s hardly set the world on fire, either, hitting .247 with 6 home runs (admittedly he’s never been a huge power hitter, with a personal best of 19 HRs in 2015). In $/G terms (8.7), he’s sitting 178th overall. His BB% is low, at 5.5%, but that’s about par for the course for him (his highest ever was 6.1% in 2014); same with his K%, an average 19.2%. He’s still swiped 16 bags, which prorates to 40 stolen bases over a full season, so he’s doing fine on that score. So what will we get next year? Will he revert to his HR form of 2015, or is this his new normal, post-PED?
Jonathan Villar: In other “O How the Mighty Have Fallen” news: ranked 14th pre-season, Villar is currently sitting a sorrowful 298th overall. I traded for this guy in one league. The only consolation was that I traded away Miguel Cabrera, who is 392nd <sad trade trombone>. Villar’s K% is awful: 30.1%. His wOBA is a woeful .290. His BABIP is .331 — the lowest it’s ever been except for his 2014 stretch with the Astros, when it was .271. His BB% is a lame 7.1%. And all this has resulted in his playing only 115 games, so that’s awesome. All that said. Despite the disappointing numbers, hitting wise, especially the massive drop in OBP, he’s maintained his HR pace and he’s still stealing bases when given a chance to play. It was probably too bold of the PS PR to rate him as high as it did after one massive season, and we don’t imagine anyone drafted him this high, anyway (Matt Truss’s handy ADP spreadsheet puts him drafted 30th in the Razzball Commenter Leagues). At this point he could be worth a flyer in late rounds (10th-ish) next season.
Anthony Rizzo: There’s not a huge amount to say about Anthony Rizzo — he was ranked 15th pre-season and he’s sitting at 11th currently (in some weeks, he’s sneaked into the top 10). He’s done pretty much everything he was expected to do: his pre-season and current Player Rater rankings are similar, other than for $SB: in the pre-season, he had a projection of $SB 0.2, but is currently $SB 2.6 (10 steals). He’s walking at a nice, high 13.3 BB% and striking out at a nice, low 12.8 K%. He may have started a little slow (.259 pre-All Star Break), but since the All-Star Break, he’s boosted his average to .313. Most importantly, he’s also acquired 2B eligibility. We’re gonna say grab him as soon as you can next year.
Ryan Braun: Another plunge here. Ranked 18th in the pre-season, Braun is currently sitting at a pretty sad 242nd. He has lost a lot of time to injury. Pace-wise, he’s still doing what he was supposed to in terms of runs and stolen bases, but his power is down (17 HRs on the season) and in a season where home runs are way up, he’s obviously lost a lot of $HR value. His average is down, too (.275), but that’s a fickle thing, especially since he’s maintaining his OBP (.346). Moving forward, the loss of power for an aging and injury-prone outfielder doesn’t bode terribly well.
Justin Upton: The only way was Up-ton for Bossman Junior’s Brother this season. Pre-season, he was ranked 48th overall; now he’s 14th. While the PS PR was pretty much bang on with his $HR (6.4 pre-season vs. 6.1 currently: 31 on the season, and he still has time to reach the predicted value) and $SB (2.6 vs. 3.1 currently: 11 steals), it vastly underestimated his $AVG (0.5 vs. 3.4: .280) and $RBI (5.8 vs. 9.4: 103). He was traded to the Angels on August 31st but still leads all the Detroit Tigers’ counting stats categories, except for hits (Nick Castellanos has assumed that mantle). He’s been a doubles machine this year: he’s hit 42 of them, his highest in his career, and he’s 4th in MLB in 2Bs (Jose Ramirez has 50). He’s walking more, too: BB% at 11.9, 70 BBs so far — his highest ever was 75 with Atlanta in 2013. He’s also striking out less than last year: a not-great K% of 27.3, 161 SOs so far, which definitely could be better but is still an improvement on the ignoble 179 he managed in 2016. He should rank higher than 48th next year — although this could depend on where he signs: he has the option to opt out of his contract at the end of 2017. With a better lineup around him, he could post even better R and RBI.
Jose Ramirez: The season’s nearly over and I’m still bitter that I didn’t manage to draft Ramirez in a single one of my roto leagues, especially as I see that Ramirez actually went 90th or 95th in the RCLs, so I have no one to blame but myself. Anyway! Ranked 56th on the PS PR, Ramirez and his little Popeye cheeks have clambered all the way to 15th overall. Coincidentally, Lance just talked about Ramirez in his excellently titled “Still Kind of Early 2018 ADP Guesses,” so go read that if you haven’t already. We pretty much agree with everything he says, but also wanted to point out how woefully wrong the PS PR actually got Ramirez. $R: 2.5 pre-season, 7.8 currently (10th overall); $HR -1.4 pre-season, 4.5 currently (27 HRs; 43rd overall, in the year of Everyone Hits Homers); and $AVG 7.1 pre-season, 8.3 currently (.314 [mm, Pi], 9th overall). It did pretty much get it right in $RBI (2.1 pre-season, 3.3 currently) and $SB (7.7 pre-season, 5.1 currently). It’ll be interesting to watch where he goes in 2018. His BB% and K% have remained steady from last year and his average is about the same (.314 this year, .312 in 2016). His steals are down (15 this year, 22 in 2016), but home runs are way up (27 this year, 11 in 2016). He’s signed with Cleveland for 5 years, and they’re a solid lineup, and he’s only 25. We predict more of the same in 2018. Grab him while you can.