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Final Second Base Rankings – Fantasy Baseball 2020



Final Second Base Rankings - 2020 (60 game season updated)

2020PlayerTeam
1Jose AltuveAstros
2Ketel MarteDiamondbacks
3Gleyber TorresYankees
4Ozzie AlbiesBraves
5Keston HiuraBrewers
6Jonathan VillarMarlins
7DJ LeMahieuYankees
8Whit MerrifieldRoyals
9Jeff McNeilMets
10Mike MoustakasReds
11Max MuncyDodgers
12Eduardo EscobarDiamondbacks
13Danny SantanaRangers
14Cavan BiggioBlue Jays
15Tommy EdmanCardinals
16Cesar HernandezIndians
17Brandon LoweRays
18Robinson CanoMets
19Rougned OdorRangers
20Gavin LuxDodgers
21Ryan McMahonRockies
22Starlin CastroNationals
23Carter KieboomNationals
24Kolten WongCardinals
25Garrett HampsonRockies
26Howie KendrickNationals
27Nick SolakRangers
28Tommy La StellaAngels
29Kevin NewmanPirates
30Michael ChavisRed Sox
31Dee GordonMariners
32Luis ArraezTwins
33Asdrubal CabreraNationals
34Mauricio DubonGiants
35Jonathan SchoopTigers
36Wilmer FloresGiants
37Jose PerazaRed Sox
38Jurickson ProfarPadres
39Jason KipnisCubs
40Brad MillerCardinals
41Hanser AlbertoOrioles
42Luis UriasBrewers
43Nick MadrigalWhite Sox
44Adam FrazierPirates
45Brendan RodgersRockies
46Franklin BarretoAthletics
47Isan DiazMarlins
48Shed LongMariners
49Enrique HernandezDodgers
50David BoteCubs
51Nico HoernerCubs
52Aledmys DiazAstros
53Nicky LopezRoyals
54Eric SogardBrewers
55Josh HarrisonPhillies
56Joey WendleRays
57Derek DietrichReds
58Luis RengifoAngels
59Yolmer SanchezWhite Sox
60Scooter GennettFA
61Brian DozierFA
  • Not much movement at the top. After a more in depth look at Whit Merrifeld, I’ve dropped him a couple spots. He’ll still have decent value hitting atop the Royals lineup but his speed is declining as he’s over the hill (31 years old). I’m also not a believer in his power. His metrics were decent in 2017 but have steadily declined.
  • Gavin Lux is another faller. He’ll get a latte start due to COVID and the Dodgers have such depth, that he’ll likely be a part-timer. I think 2021 will be his year but I’m likely staying away in 2020.
  • Cesar Hernandez is a riser thanks to the news about him possibly leading off for the Indians. I was already a fan of his value coming in, now he’s pushing inside the top 175.
  • Starlin Castro will play everyday and he showed some improvements in the second half of 2019.




(Photo: Andy Marlin, Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports)

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Final First Base Rankings 2020 – Fantasy Baseball



Final First Baseman Rankings for 2020 - 60 Game Season

RankPlayerTeam
1Cody BellingerDodgers
2Pete AlonsoMets
3Matt OlsonAthletics
4Jose AbreuWhite Sox
5Freddie FreemanBraves
6Paul GoldschmidtCardinals
7DJ LeMahieuYankees
8Josh BellPirates
9Anthony RizzoCubs
10Max MuncyDodgers
11Carlos SantanaIndians
12Rhys HoskinsPhillies
13Edwin EncarnacionWhite Sox
14Yuli GurrielAstros
15Luke VoitYankees
16Danny SantanaRangers
17C.J. CronTigers
18Yandy DiazRays
19Eric HosmerPadres
20Christian WalkerDiamondbacks
21Joc PedersonDodgers
22Mark CanhaAthletics
23Ryan McMahonRockies
24Wil MyersPadres
25Renato NunezOrioles
26Justin SmoakBrewers*
27Daniel MurphyRockies
28Joey VottoReds
29Miguel CabreraTigers
30Howie KendrickNationals
31Jesus AguilarMarlins
32Brandon BeltGiants
33Evan WhiteMariners
34Michael ChavisRed Sox
35Marwin GonzalezTwins
36Albert PujolsAngels
37Eric ThamesNationals
38Ji-Man ChoiRays
39Garrett CooperMarlins
40Kevin CronDiamondbacks
41Mitch MorelandRed Sox
42Rowdy TellezBlue Jays
43Dan VogelbachMariners
44Ryan MountcastleOrioles
45Matt BeatyDodgers
46Nate LoweRays
47Chris DavisOrioles
48Austin NolaMariners
49Ronald GuzmanRangers
50Brandon DixonTigers
51Dominic SmithMets
52Josh Van MeterReds
53Yonder AlonsoBraves
54Matt AdamsMets
55Bobby BradleyIndians
  • Freddie Freeman is an obvious faller as he’s been diagnosed with COVID-19. From all accounts, his symptoms have been relatively severe. He guaranteed to miss at least the first two weeks and potentially more as the side affects and ramp up period is unknown.
  • Anthony Rizzo dropped as well. His back is bothering him and could start the season on the IL.
  • I’ve also dropped veterans Joey Votto and Daniel Murphy. Much of the research I’ve done has shown significant decline in their metrics. See the most recent research on Blast Zone Barrels.
  • Risers include Joc Pederson, Justin Smoak, Renato Nunez, Howie Kendrick, Eric Thames, Evan White, and Kevin Cron. The addition of the DH in the NL is the main reason for these risers. I’m a believer in Evan White who has solid plate discipline and well-above average power. I think he’s a better player than Dan Vogelbach.




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Final Catcher Rankings – 2020 Fantasy Baseball




Final Catcher Rankings for 2020 - Updated 7/15/2020

RankPlayerTeam
1J.T. RealmutoPhillies
2Gary SanchezYankees
3Yasmani GrandalWhite Sox
4Mitch GarverTwins
5Willson ContrerasCubs
6Wilson RamosMets
7Salvador PerezRoyals
8Carson KellyDiamondbacks
9Omar NarvaezBrewers
10Jorge AlfaroMarlins
11Will SmithDodgers
12Christian VazquezRed Sox
13Yadier MolinaCardinals
14Jason CastroAngels
15Danny JansenBlue Jays
16Roberto PerezIndians
17Travis d'ArnaudBraves
18Victor CaratiniCubs
19Sean MurphyAthletics
20Francisco MejiaPadres
21Tom MurphyMariners
22Mike ZuninoRays
23Willians AstudilloTwins
24Yan GomesNationals
25Tyler FlowersBraves
26Kurt SuzukiNationals
27Austin RomineTigers
28James McCannWhite Sox
29Chance SiscoOrioles
30Jacob StallingsPirates
31Robinson ChirinosRangers
32Tucker BarnhartReds
33Austin HedgesPadres
34Pedro SeverinoOrioles
35Isiah Kiner-FalefaRangers
36Andrew KniznerCardinals
37Francisco CervelliMarlins
38Jonathan LucroyRed Sox
39Tony WoltersRockies
40Josh PhegleyCubs
41Jake RogersTigers
42Keibert RuizDodgers
43Grayson GreinerTigers
44John HicksTigers
45Zack CollinsWhite Sox
46Joey BartGiants
47Manny PinaBrewers
48Chris IannettaYankees

  • Buster Posey has opted out of the 2020 season.
  • Will Smith is far too volatile and should split time behind the plate, so he’s been dropped a few spots.
  • Victor Caritini is the big riser as he not only should get a couple of days behind the plate but could also be used as the DH occasionally.



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Blast Zone Launch Angle – Climbers and Fallers

In the introduction to Blast Zone Barrels (BZB), I determined the parameters for the metric based on barreled balls that result in home runs at the highest frequency. I ran correlations and concluded that while it certainly (and quite obviously) has a strong correlation to power, it also has a moderate correlation year over year. I also took a look at outliers over the last three seasons. While Part one covered the genesis of the metric, part two will expand the metric by looking at all batted balls hit within the Blast Zone launch angle band (23-35 degrees). It’s a similar concept to what my colleague, Dan Richards wrote over at Pitcher List last season. Give the article a read, it’s very intriguing. 

Part Two of this series will hopefully provide a little more value for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. First, a quick reminder of the parameters of a BZB. It’s a barreled ball hit between 23 degrees and 35 degrees of launch angle. But, what it ignores is the balls hit at those launch angles that do not qualify as a barrel. In other words, balls that are hit at ideal launch angles for home runs without the extremely high exit velocity. The table below displays the league-wide average exit velocity of all batted balls between 23 degrees and 35 degrees.



AVERAGE EXIT VELOCITY ON BALLS HIT WITHIN BLAST ZONE BARREL LAUNCH ANGLE (23 -25 DEGREES)

2017 (AVG EV) 2018 (AVG EV)

2019 (AVG EV)

90.6 MPH 90.9 MPH

91.3 MPH

As a whole, balls are being hit harder at ideal launch angles over the last three seasons. Part of that can be attributed to the juiced ball. It’s also likely that players are “swinging for the fences” more often which has increased power production but has attributed to the league-wide elevated strikeout rate. Knowing this, let’s look at some three-year trends. I set the parameters for at least 40 batted balls hit within the launch angle band of 23 and 35 degrees for each of the last three seasons. To be fair, I relaxed the qualifying threshold to 25 BBEs for a single season if a player qualified with 40+ BBE in the other two seasons. 

What trends would we expect in regards to average exit velocity on balls hit in this range based on age? Well, naturally, we would expect the trend for aging veterans to be declining, right? You also might expect younger hitters to improve their exit velocity. If that’s what you assumed, then you’d be correct. Shocker! Of the sample I conducted, the list featuring the largest fallers had an average age of 34.7. The List featuring the largest climbers were a hair younger than 30 at 29.7 years to be exact. Below is the list of climbers with over the last three seasons and their current age.

Average Exit Velocity of Balls Hit at Launch Angles Between 23 - 35 Degrees - Climbers

PlayerAge2017 (MPH)2018 (MPH)2019 (MPH)Diff (19-17)
Yoan Moncada2594.890.995.91.1
Starling Marte3187.092.796.89.8
Shin Soo Choo3791.394.995.84.5
Nick Castellanos2892.693.194.01.4
Nelson Cruz4096.397.399.93.6
Mike Trout2893.894.095.31.5
Kyle Seager3290.691.495.14.5
Kole Calhoun3290.891.993.42.6
Josh Bell2791.094.294.53.5
Eugenio Suarez2889.992.093.63.7
Anthony Rendon3091.992.094.72.8
Alex Bregman2690.692.694.13.5
Christian Yelich2890.793.996.45.7
Didi Gregorius3087.288.892.45.2
D.J. LeMahieu3187.59295.58.0
Jason Jeyward3086.987.690.33.4
Kris Bryant2890.991.293.82.9
Matt Chapman2794.493.998.84.4
Xander Bogaerts2785.193.7948.9



A couple of quick points. Mike Trout continues to be the best player and baseball AND is still getting better! There isn’t much he can’t do. Nick Castellanos is my boy! I covered him extensively in Part 1 and love his new landing spot. He’s going to ball out in Cincy and is essentially a J.D. Martinez clone. I included Yoan Moncada because of his huge boost in exit velocity from 2018 to 2019. Was he hiding an injury in 2018? He smoked the ball in his debut back in 2017 but fell way back in 2018. Either way, he absolutely crushed the ball at all launch angles last year and is still just 25 years old. He’s my dark horse to win the AL MVP.

Can we talk about Nelson Cruz and Shin-Soo Choo for a second who appear to be defying the aging curve? Without these two old heads, the average age of the climbers falls to 28.7 which sounds more reasonable. Now, we all know Cruz is a monster and lights up the Statcast page but how has he gotten even better from age 37 to age 39? Averaging a tick under 100 mph within the blast zone launch angle puts him third behind only Joey Gallo and Miguel Sano (both averaged over 100 mph). If you’re expecting a decline from him this year, don’t. Only an injury or God forbid COVID could stop him from crushing in the shortened season. I bet you didn’t expect to see Choo here. On average, he actually hits the ball harder at ideal launch angles than Mike Trout! Think about that for a second. Given the short season, maybe move him up a few spots. He’s certainly is not finished just yet.


Let’s touch on a couple of other veterans who could be sleepers in 2020. Kyle Seager and Kole Calhoun have both steadily increased their exit velocity on ideal launch angles. Calhoun’s playing time could be spotty and news recently came out that he tested positive for COVID. At this point, he’s slight fade until we have more information. However, Seager should hit third or fourth in Seattle, albeit in an awful lineup. Even still, he should provide pop with decent run production. Did you notice Jason Heyward in the mix here? I almost fell asleep writing his name. His metrics aren’t great but he’s shown steady improvement over the last three years. He improved his walk rate and ISO last year and his defense should keep him in the lineup most days. Maybe he can put it together for two months in 2020?

Christian Yelich is just ridiculous. At age-28, he should continue to be an MVP candidate for the next three to five years. He’s my top pick going into the abbreviated 2020 season. Would you look at Alex Bregman? His barrel rate may be brutal and he scored poorly on my Blast Zone Barrels metric, but here we are. The reason he’s been so good in addition to his unbelievable plate discipline is this. He has improved on consistently hitting batted balls at ideal launch angles with authority. He doesn’t need to hit the ball 105 mph to hit a home run. I’m fading him less as a result of this research. 

The steady growth from Eugenio Suarez over the last four seasons has been fun to watch. He’s been successful in a similar manner to Bregman but without elite plate skills. Still, given his home park and this metric, I’d expect another great season from him. Josh Bell has arrived! He didn’t quite put it all together in 2019 but had an MVP-like first half. I’m a believer that he’s closer to the first half Bell than the 2018/second half Bell we saw. I’m buying and might jump him over an aging first baseman I’ll cover below.

Finally, can we talk about the elephant in the room? Starling Marte, WTF!?! His average exit velocity on balls hit between 23 and 35 degrees jumped nearly 10 mph from 2017! That was the year he was busted for PEDs. Hmmm? Unfortunately, his ground ball rate continues to hover around 50%. But, his career-best 18.5% HR/FB rate in 2019 was certainly justified. Even with some negative regression, Marte could still provide plenty of pop. Will Marte transform into a power hitter late into his career? It would require a launch angle adjustment but could certainly prolong his career as his speed declines. Xander Bogaerts’ presence on this list is largely due to a wrist injury in 2017 that sapped his power. He’s essentially been the same guy the last two seasons and at age-27, it doesn’t appear anything is going to change. Oh, hello there D.J. LeMahieu! The research I’ve done on D.J. points his results from 2019 being mostly sustainable. Bet against him if you will but he hits the ball as hard as Trout at ideal launch angles and has the short porch in right field.

Below is a graphical representation of the largest risers covered above.

Average Exit Velocity of Balls Hit at Launch Angles Between 23 - 35 Degrees - Fallers

PlayerAge2017 (MPH)2018 (MPH)2019 (MPH)Diff (19-17)
Daniel Murphy3591.088.485.9-5.1
Yuli Gurriel3689.689.788.4-1.2
Yadier Molina3793.391.290.3-3.0
Whit Merrifield3191.790.687.8-3.9
Paul Goldschmidt3297.393.493.3-4.0
Justin Smoak3394.894.093.0-1.8
Josh Reddick3388.589.286.9-1.6
Joey Votto3691.393.490.1-1.2
J.D. Martinez3296.396.094.3-2.0
Albert Pujols4092.493.690.3-2.1
Kurt Suzuki3693.891.186.7-7.1

This is a shorter list. I won’t spend too much time on these guys because many of them aren’t fantasy relevant outside of deeper formats. Kurt Suzuki had a nice run in his mid-30s, but he may just be cooked. Yadier Molina isn’t far behind. He may be able to contribute with moderate power this year but after 2020, I think his career is just about over. Same for Albert Pujols and potentially Joey Votto. Everyone knows about Pujols but the metrics on Votto are just as ugly. Even in the favorable home park, I will not be betting on bounceback. FREE KYLE TUCKER! It’s getting embarrassing with Josh Reddick and the Astros. He’s hardly a plus defender anymore and can’t hit with a 94 wRC+ and a .134 ISO last season. Come on Astros.

Daniel Murphy’s 2019 can be attributed to a finger injury, but even the metrics from 2018 are pretty scary. Coors Field could help but I’m not betting on a power resurgence. Then again, if health is on his side for the short season, I could envision Murphy putting together a fortunate .350 BA – 7 HR type season. Yuli Gurriel’s Statcast metrics have never been great and at age-36, his exit velocity is declining. He was unbelievably fortunate in 2019 and I’d be surprised if he hit more than seven homers in 2020. Justin Smoak is interesting. He’s 33 years old and has shown natural regression in terms of BZ launch angle exit velo. However, 93.0 mph is still well-above the league average. He’ll get a boost with the DH and with his new home park, so I wouldn’t give up on him just yet, just don’t expect much in 2021.


Now to the fantasy-relevant players. J.D. Martinez went from being elite to very good. Should we be concerned? He’s 32 years old and there’s some evidence of player’s declining at that age. The Red Sox are still stacked even without Mookie Betts, but that means fewer RBI opportunities. Remember how I mentioned earlier that Nick Castellanos was J.D. part two? Well, if the trend continues, Nicky C could outperform JDM in 2020. Bold or not? Paul Goldschmidt falls into a similar category as JDM. They are the same age and have shown signs of declining. Not only has Goldy’s BZ EV fallen quite significantly since 2017, but he’s also a full mile per hour lower on average than JDM. I absolutely hate Busch Stadium for home runs and will very likely dock him given this information. I mentioned Josh Bell earlier and could see Bell outpacing Goldy in 2020. To Bell’s dismay, his surrounding lineup is awful, so I think Goldy bests him in run production. That being said, I’ll take Bell in batting average and home runs.

Finally, there’s Whit Merrifield. The late bloomer who helped players win championships in 2017 and 2018. He came out of nowhere in his late twenties to hit 19 homers and steal 34 bags back in 2017. Then as an encore, hit 12 bombs and stole 45 bags with a .304 BA in 2018. In 2019, the average stayed and the power returned (somewhat to 16 HR) but his steals were cut in half. The trend in the table above is extremely worrisome. He was saved by the juiced ball last year but now at age-31, I don’t think his power will play. His sprint speed is still in the top 15 percentile but is clearly falling. Over a full 162, I’d be hard-pressed to project more than 10 homers and 20 steals. What does that mean over 60 games? How about 4 homers and 8 steals. Yikes. He’s teetering very close to contributing an empty batting average. I’ll go out on a limb and say he’s nearly undraftable in 2021.