Early 2013 fantasy baseball top 300

We are only a week removed from the culmination of the 2012 postseason, and while the offseason is still in it’s most nascent stages, it is never too early to look towards the upcoming season. Below is my preliminary—and incredibly early—look at the top 300 fantasy baseball players for the 2013 season. Players are ranked by their expected value in standard 5×5 Rotisserie leagues. The list is slanted slightly towards 12-team leagues, but the ordering would stray very little in any other format.

Ranking Methodology

I have created my own regression-based projections for well over 300 players, looking at a profusion of peripheral data to arrive at projections that I feel are reasonable, break-even points for each player. Back in August, I outlined my personal method for valuing players, called ‘roto points above average’ (rPAA), a method that is both quantitative and objective (outlined here and here). I use the same methodology in these rankings, with the sole exception that I am using my own projections instead of projections generated by ZiPS, which were used in the August rankings.

Once all players have been projected, positional adjustments are then made to account for dearth and abundance. Once this is completed, the values are set and a rough outline is created. My rankings do not reflect the precise ordering of players by projected roto point total, as my own subjectivity does move players up or down when the difference between them is merely fractions of a point.

Understanding my personal biases

I tended to rank catchers, starting pitchers and relief pitchers slightly lower than where their projected roto point total suggested they should go. This is because these positions usually have less certainty with regards to health, and because the surface numbers of pitchers (ERA, WHIP, wins and saves) are more vulnerable to wild fluctuations due to random variation or team context rather than skill elevation or degradation. And with closers, roles are in constant flux, making values extremely mercurial, rendering closers more replaceable with shrewd waiver-wire manipulation.

Remember that while these rankings are reasoned and were contrived deliberately, I cannot claim to have dissected every player profile with a surgeon’s precision. In the coming months, I will delve deeper into plate discipline statistics, pitch-f/x data, and more individualized qualitative analysis. And, as always, roster moves, playing time expectations, closer roles, and injury status will become more salient in the coming months, inevitably affecting subsequent rankings.

I will update this list periodically throughout the offseason, but for now this is what my initial top 300 for 2013 looks like. Comments, critique, suggestions and questions are welcome.

NumPlayer NameTeamPosition
1Miguel CabreraDet3B
2Ryan BraunMilOF
3Mike TroutLAAOF
4Matt KempLADOF
5Robinson CanoNYY2B
6Joey VottoCin1B
7Albert PujolsLAA1B
8Carlos GonzalezColOF
9Andrew McCutchenPitOF
10Justin VerlanderDetSP
11Jose BautistaTorOF
12Prince FielderDet1B
13Josh HamiltonTexOF
14Adrian BeltreTex3B
15Giancarlo StantonMiaOF
16Clayton KershawLADSP
17Evan LongoriaTB3B
18Hanley RamirezLADSS/3B
19Ian KinslerTex2B
20Stephen StrasburgWasSP
21Buster PoseySFC/1B
22David WrightNYM3B
23Jose ReyesMiaSS
24Dustin PedroiaBos2B
25Troy TulowitzkiColSS
26Jason HeywardAtlOF
27Justin UptonAriOF
28Starlin CastroChCSS
29David PriceTBSP
30Matt CainSFSP
31Adrian GonzalezLAD1B
32Felix HernandezSeaSP
33Edwin EncarnacionTor1B
34Matt HollidayStLOF
35Curtis GrandersonNYYOF
36Adam JonesBalOF
37Bryce HarperWasOF
38Cliff LeePhiSP
39Brandon PhillipsCin2B
40Cole HamelsPhiSP
41Jered WeaverLAASP
42Joe MauerMinC/1B
43Jacoby EllsburyBosOF
44Jay BruceCinOF
45B.J. UptonTBOF
46Billy ButlerKC1B
47CC SabathiaNYYSP
48Ben ZobristTB2B/SS/OF
49Alex RiosCWSOF
50R.A. DickeyNYMSP
51Aramis RamirezMil3B
52Mark TeixeiraNYY1B
53Roy HalladayPhiSP
54Aaron HillAri2B
55Jason KipnisCle2B
56Ryan ZimmermanWas3B
57Craig KimbrelAtlRP
58Corey HartMil1B/OF
59Shin-Soo ChooCleOF
60Ian DesmondWasSS
61Brett LawrieTor3B
62Yoenis CespedesOakOF
63Jimmy RollinsPhiSS
64Zack GreinkeLAASP
65Chase HeadleySD3B
66Madison BumgarnerSFSP
67Pablo SandovalSF3B
68James ShieldsTBSP
69David OrtizBosDH
70Chris SaleCWSSP
71Paul KonerkoCWS1B
72Aroldis ChapmanCinRP
73Michael BournAtlOF
74Gio GonzalezWasSP
75Allen CraigStL1B/OF
76Adam WainwrightStLSP
77Melky CabreraSFOF
78Yadier MolinaStLC
79Jose AltuveHou2B
80Hunter PenceSFOF
81Yu DarvishTexSP
82Carlos SantanaCleC/1B
83Shane VictorinoLADOF
84Alex GordonKCOF
85Kris MedlenAtlSP
86Derek JeterNYYSS
87Michael MorseWasOF
88Mat LatosCinSP
89Carlos BeltranStLOF
90Asdrubal CabreraCleSS
91Paul GoldschmidtAri1B
92Elvis AndrusTexSS
93Max ScherzerDetSP
94Jonathan PapelbonPhiRP
95Kenley JansenLADRP
96Matt WietersBalC
97Desmond JenningsTBOF
98Freddie FreemanAtl1B
99Yovani GallardoMilSP
100Eric HosmerKC1B
101Dan HarenLAASP
102Wilin RosarioColC/1B
103Johnny CuetoCinSP
104Neil WalkerPit2B
105Jason MotteStLRP
106Mark TrumboLAA1B/OF
107Carl CrawfordBosOF
108Jordan ZimmermannWasSP
109Nelson CruzTexOF
110Mike NapoliTexC/1B
111Ian KennedyAriSP
112Josh WillinghamMinOF
113Ernesto FrieriLAARP
114Matt GarzaChCSP
115Austin JacksonDetOF
116Tim LincecumSFSP
117Matt MooreTBSP
118Salvador PerezKCC
119Sergio RomoSFRP
120Dan UgglaAtl2B
121Victor MartinezDetC
122Alexei RamirezCWSSS
123Andre EthierLADOF
124Hiroki KurodaNYYSP
125Ichiro SuzukiNYYOF
126Joe NathanTexRP
127Doug FisterDetSP
128Ike DavisNYM1B
129Glen PerkinsMinRP
130Miguel MonteroAriC
131Jake PeavyCWSSP
132Martin PradoAtl3B/OF
133Jayson WerthWasOF
134Tom WilhelmsenSeaRP
135Lance LynnStLSP
136Alejandro De AzaCWSOF
137Josh JohnsonMiaSP
138Matt HarveyNYMSP
139Adam LaRocheWas1B
140Marco EstradaMilSP
141Brett AndersonOakSP
142Fernando RodneyTBRP
143Alcides EscobarKCSS
144Brian McCannAtlC
145Chase UtleyPhi2B
146Rickie WeeksMil2B
147Carlos GomezMilOF
148Nick SwisherNYYOF
149Josh RutledgeColSS
150Jon LesterBosSP
151Will MiddlebrooksBos3B
152Tommy HansonAtlSP
153Drew StorenWasRP
154Anthony RizzoChC1B
155Greg HollandKCRP
156Tim HudsonAtlSP
157Jeff SamardzijaChCSP
158Ryan HowardPhi1B
159Shaun MarcumMilSP
160C.J. WilsonLAASP
161Coco CrispOakOF
162Adam DunnCWS1B
163Erick AybarLAASS
164Grant BalfourOakRP
165J.J. PutzAriRP
166Angel PaganSFOF
167Michael CuddyerCol1B/OF
168A.J. BurnettPitSP
169David FreeseStL3B
170Danny EspinosaWas2B/SS
171Kyle LohseStLSP
172Nick MarkakisBalOF
173Wade MileyAriSP
174Alex RodriguezNYY3B
175Ben RevereMinOF
176Jon NieseNYMSP
177Jaime GarciaStLSP
178Chris DavisBal1B/OF
179Ryan DempsterTexSP
180Rafael BetancourtColRP
181Edwin JacksonWasSP
182Mike MoustakasKC3B
183Joel HanrahanPitRP
184Manny MachadoBal3B
185Josh BeckettLADSP
186Howie KendrickLAA2B
187Jarrod ParkerOakSP
188Alex CobbTBSP
189Matt HarrisonTexSP
190Carlos RuizPhiC
191Casey JanssenTorRP
192Ryan VogelsongSFSP
193Jason KubelAriOF
194Jim JohnsonBalRP
195Josh ReddickOakOF
196Anibal SanchezDetSP
197Brett GardnerNYYOF
198Huston StreetSDRP
199Addison ReedCWSRP
200J.J. HardyBalSS
201Brandon MorrowTorSP
202Torii HunterLAAOF
203Chris CapuanoLADSP
204Rafael SorianoNYYRP
205Lorenzo CainKCOF
206Wilton LopezHouRP
207Jason HammelBalSP
208Justin RuggianoMiaOF
209A.J. GriffinOakSP
210Andrew BaileyBosRP
211John AxfordMilRP
212Kendrys MoralesLAA1B
213Everth CabreraSDSS
214Ted LillyLADSP
215Marco ScutaroSF2B/SS
216Yasmani GrandalSDC
217Chris PerezCleRP
218Drew StubbsCinOF
219Todd FrazierCin1B/3B
220Alfonso SorianoChCOF
221Homer BaileyCinSP
222Brandon MossOak1B/OF
223Steve CishekMiaRP
224Jesus MonteroSeaC
225Daniel MurphyNYM2B
226Jeremy HellicksonTBSP
227Carlos MarmolChCRP
228Norichika AokiMilOF
229Jon JayStLOF
230David MurphyTexOF
231Justin MorneauMin1B
232Phil HughesNYYSP
233Dustin AckleySea2B
234Dexter FowlerColOF
235Emilio BonifacioMiaOF
236Mariano RiveraNYYRP
237Wandy RodriguezPitSP
238Trevor BauerAriSP
239Jarrod SaltalamacchiaBosC
240Chad BillingsleyLADSP
241Tyler ColvinCol1B/OF
242Pedro AlvarezPit3B
243Mark BuehrleMiaSP
244Jean SeguraMinSS
245Trevor CahillAriSP
246Frank FranciscoNYMRP
247Drew SmylyDetSP
248Cameron MaybinSDOF
249Kevin YoukilisCWS3B
250Kelly JohnsonTor2B
251Andrew CashnerSDSP
252Shelby MillerStLSP
253Rajai DavisTorOF
254Hisashi IwakumaSeaSP
255Chris YoungOakOF
256Colby RasmusTorOF
257Mark ReynoldsBal1B
258Zack CozartCinSS
259Starling MartePitOF
260Logan MorrisonMiaOF
261Jonathan LucroyMilC
262Tyler ClippardWasRP
263Brandon BeltSF1B
264Michael FiersMilSP
265Matt JoyceTBOF
266Joaquin BenoitDetRP
267Dayan ViciedoCWSOF
268Bobby ParnellNYMRP
269Mike MinorAtlSP
270Omar InfanteDet2B
271Jose ValverdeDetRP
272Tommy MiloneOakSP
273Brian WilsonSFRP
274Garrett JonesPit1B/OF
275Carlos QuentinSDOF
276Ryan LudwickStLOF
277Vinnie PestanoCleRP
278J.P. ArencibiaTorC
279Cody RossBosOF
280Jhonny PeraltaDetSS
281Kyle SeagerSea3B
282David RobertsonNYYRP
283James McDonaldPitSP
284Russell MartinNYYC
285A.J. PierzynskiCWSC
286David HernandezAriRP
287Jed LowrieHouSS
288Andrelton SimmonsAtlSS
289Johan SantanaNYMSP
290Wilson RamosWasC
291Michael BrantleyCleOF
292Junuchi TazawaBosRP
293Jason VargasSeaSP
294Ryan DoumitMinC/OF
295Justin MaxwellHouOF
296Lucas HarrellHouSP
297Sean MarshallCinRP
298Alex AvilaDetC
299Brandon McCarthyOakSP
300Jake McGeeTBRP
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Comments

  1. Josh said...

    Good list.  Wonder about Brian Wilson and Soria (Romo seems high).  Also, for better or worse, someone will nab Profar among the top 200 based on potential alone… (even if he only comes up in August)

  2. Jesse Sakstrup said...

    @mrcar: If Hamilton begins the year in the majors, I think he would rank higher than Dee Gordon did last year. Hes still got a few things to work on, though.

    @Josh: Romo is ranked as if he will begin the year as the closer, but I only projected him for 26 saves. His contributions in ERA and WHIP move him above some of the closers that I have projected for more saves. If Brian Wilson is healthy to begin the year, or if there is any uncertainty to whether Romo is the closer or not, then there is no need to take him that high. We will learn a lot in the coming months.

    @Eric: Tulo is at #25, and where you take him is mostly contingent on risk-tolerance. If he stays healthy for 125 games, he will produce top-25 value or higher, but any less than that and you are probably losing value—if he plays 150 games, he is a steal there. Perhaps you could make a case why Tulo should be significantly higher, outlining why the reward far outweighs the risk, rather than making a condescending post about the entire list over the ranking of just one player.

    @Andrew: You could definitely make a case for Tillman as a top-300 player, or maybe even a bit higher than that, but he was a bit fortunate to have a .221 BABIP in 2012. Being that he is a flyball pitcher, he should be able to keep a BABIP lower than league average, but his career BABIP is .280 and his batted ball profile deviated little in 2012 from his career averages. His xFIP and SIERA each had his ERA over 4.00, but since he is a heavy flyball pitcher, he should outperform his DIPS some, in the way that a Matt Cain or Jeremy Hellickson does, but that still leaves a worry of heavy regression.

    We can take solace in his significant velocity spike and in his moderate swinging strike rate uptick, so there looks to be some room for some more strikeouts as his BABIP comes back up, but I did factor this into my projection. I think he will strikeout over 7.0 per 9 for the first time in his career. There is little difference between pick 250 and 300 in terms of expected value—drafting Tillman anywhere in that range would certainly be defensible, and maybe a bit higher if you believe strongly in him.

  3. Scott said...

    Surprised you ranked Dunn that low. Even though he faltered during the last 6 weeks, and his avg is poor, 80+ runs and 90+ RBI’s that late in the draft is a steal.

  4. Jesse Sakstrup said...

    Possibly, but his batting average is a serious issue. He has struck out nearly 35% of his at PAs over the past two seasons, so a return to the days when he hit .240+ looks unlikely (I have him projected to hit .225). Even with 87 runs, 41 HR, and 96 RBI he finished 161 (21st among 1B) on ESPN’s player rater, and since he only has 1B eligibility, he wasn’t even the 161st most valuable player when positional value is taken into consideration. You may not completely agree with ESPN’s player rater, but my formula valued him similarly and my projections have him as a corner infielder in a 12-team league.

    If you play in a league where owners draft power early and stolen bases can be had at a bargain, or easily found on the waiver wire, then his contributions are a bit more valuable, but not all leagues are like that. I would have no issue with anyone who wanted to take him in the 110-130 area, but drafting a guy like that restricts what you can do in other areas of the draft unless you ignore batting average and hope for the best—batting average is a category where you can have more success with that strategy than other categories, it should be mentioned.

  5. Jesse Sakstrup said...

    @Milby: Yeah I like him a lot. He could go 15/15 with a reasonable average. If it becomes clear that he will play everyday, he will move up a bit higher, too.

  6. Milby said...

    Looks like you are buying into Rutledge in a big way.  I am too, but was surprised to see you felt the same way.

  7. Jeff Gross said...

    Looks good at first glance, though I think Starlin Castro is ranked a little high. Also think Edwin is a round or 2 too high as well, but thats just cause I dont 100% buy into his 2012. Here’s to hoping Kinsler bounces back major!

  8. Jerry said...

    I recognize Jeter had a fatastic rebound season in 2012 – amazing at the age of 110, but how long ca he continue being reasonably productive? Even now he is only strong in 2 categories (BA and runs), yet he still ranked as the 7th top ss in baseball on your list and the 86th best player overall. Is this expecting too much from Father Time?

  9. Jesse Sakstrup said...

    @Jerry: If Jeter doesn’t fall off completely, I think he will justify that draft position, and will probably be a value. Last year he had a line of 99/15/58/9/.316, which was good for 45th on ESPN’s player rater (which doesn’t give him credit for playing SS) and my formula rated him similarly. I think it is unfair to call Jeter a two category player since the SS position is still among the shallowest positions of all. His runs and batting average would be strong at any position and the other three categories aren’t complete albatrosses in relation to the majority of other shortstops. I am projecting some regression in every category for next year (95/11/54/9/.299), but seeing as the shortstop position is still pretty shallow, I think taking Jeter inside the top 90 is not only justified, but there is also potential profit at that spot.

    It is completely understandable and defensible for someone to pass on Jeter at that draft spot if they are worried about a complete collapse.

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