Final off-season thoughts

Opening Day has come and gone and most all fantasy drafts are now completed. I thought I’d give a few final thoughts before the season gets into full swing for those either still drafting, exploring the trade market, or scouring the waiver wire.

Common players

First, here is an updated list of the players appearing most frequently on my teams. The same warnings apply as last time. The FOX Sports Experts League (10-team mixed) is the new addition to the list of leagues, joining LABR NL (NL-only), FSIC (NL-only), FantasyPros911 (AL-only), and KFFL (Mixed).

Hitters — 3 teams
Raul Ibanez: LABR, FSIC, KFFL

Matt Wieters: FP911, KFFL, FOX

Cody Ross: LABR, FSIC, KFFL

Nyjer Morgan: LABR, FSIC, KFFL

Hitters — 2 teams
Jose Reyes: FSIC, FOX

Matt Kemp: KFFL, FOX

Nate McLouth: FSIC, FOX

Nelson Cruz: KFFL, FOX

James Loney: LABR, FSIC, FOX

Kelly Johnson: LABR, KFFL

Chris Dickerson: FSIC, KFFL

Kosuke Fukudome: LABR, FSIC

Pitchers — 3 teams
Javier Vazquez: LABR, FSIC, KFFL

Rich Harden: LABR, KFFL, FOX

Kenshin Kawakami: LABR, FSIC, KFFL

Pitchers — 2 teams
Derek Lowe: FSIC, KFFL

Mike Gonzalez: LABR, FOX

Chad Qualls: KFFL, FOX

Joel Hanrahan: FSIC, FOX

Jorge de la Rosa: LABR, FSIC

Ross Ohlendorf: LABR, FSIC

Power bargains

Here is a list of players who could be in for a power boost in 2009. These are players who had a True Home Runs (tHR) total at least 80% higher than their actual home run outputs in 2008.

Keep in mind, however, that this does not guarantee that these players will take such a big leap forward in 2009. First, we are dealing with a single season, so this is not a reflection of a hitter’s absolute talent level, only a sample of it (and some of these players didn’t even get a full season of at-bats). Plus, for there to be such a big tHR/HR disparity, the actual home run total needs to be relatively small to begin with, further decreasing our sample size.

I didn’t get to run nearly as many tests as I had hoped this off-season, but (very) preliminary tests on 2006-2008 data showed that a good portion of these guys do indeed see surface power spikes the following year. For some guys it might be a blip, but for others it should be legitimate. Picking out which is which is difficult, but in a few drafts this year I made it a point to grab at least two or three of these guys late, especially if they had some other valuable skill (speed, batting average, etc). Many make great AL or NL-only targets.

There is great potential upside here since the investment is small and since many of these players will justify the pick even if their power doesn’t skyrocket. And the best part is that a lot of these guys can still be found on many waiver wires, so if you have drafted, it’s not too late to either pick someone up (depending on league depth, of course) or at least monitor them through April and May.

Here’s the list:

Akinori Iwamura
Jimmy Rollins
Coco Crisp
Bobby Crosby
Ichiro Suzuki
Carl Crawford
Carlos Gomez
Ryan Sweeney
Yuniesky Betancourt
Juan Uribe
Mark Kotsay
Brian Giles

Concluding thoughts

We at THT Fantasy are looking forward to a great season with you guys. We have some very cool stuff planned, the first of which you should be seeing this Friday as John Burnson begins writing regularly for THT Fantasy. You may recognize John’s name from the work he’s previously done at Baseball HQ, from his annual Graphical Player book, or from Heater Magazine. We’re thrilled to have John on the team.

As always, if you guys have any questions, feel free to comment or e-mail me.

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Comments

  1. Derek Carty said...

    I should note, Andrew, that there may be some bias at play.

    1) High power numbers almost automatically disqualifies a player from inclusion
    2) In order to secure enough playing time to be eligible for the list, a player needs to have at least some merit.  Because most hit only 5-8 HRs in that playing time, power certainly isn’t it, and low power guys who get PT are sometimes high speed guys.

  2. Andrew said...

    Odd that so many of the power bargains are speedsters. Coincidence, I guess. Thanks for the True Home Run data, Derek.

  3. Derek Carty said...

    Yeah, Andrew, I don’t see any way it could be anything other than a coincidence.  tHR doesn’t consider any elements of speed or anything that is even correlated well with speed.  Does make things nice, though, as these players already have value in one area, and a bump in power would provide a very nice return.

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