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Monday, September 14, 2009
It’s hard not to be influenced by pre-ranks. A novice owner may simply defer to authority. An owner use a pre-ranking to confirm a preference for one player over another. And even the savviest of owners may be taken aback if there is a large chasm between their opinion of a player and his pre-ranking.
This week I want to dive into the volatility and accuracy of Yahoo pre-ranks and see if there’s anything we can learn relating to keeping or drafting highly pre-ranked starters, closers, and position players. In most of my keeper leagues, we don’t declare keepers until relatively soon before the season begins. That means pre-ranks are up already and may be a tool one uses when making decisions.
How reliable are those rankings? Are they more reliable for batters, starters, or relievers? Here, I’ve decided to take a snapshot of Yahoo’s top 100 players coming into the season and what the current top 100 actually looks like. This is hardly scientific, as it is only one season, which isn’t even complete yet. But, let’s see if there are any clear trends that emerge.
For 2007 and 2008, I can’t access the pre-ranks, but here’s the final composition of the top 100 for each year:
Here are some trends that emerge from the data:
At some point, the pre-ranks start to become nearly meaningless. Next week, I’ll delve into the 51-100 segment of the list, where presumably the bulk of the variation occurs, and explore whether the pre-ranks are a viable tool at all once decisions start to get a little more difficult.
Let me also add two quick notes before I close. First, I chose to remove players who didn’t perform at top-100 level because of injury, being that injury is a constant every year that is more or less random depending on the particular player. Two, if anybody has information about the year-to-year volatility of fantasy production for pitchers vs. batters, that would make a great companion resource to this piece.
Posted by Derek Ambrosino at 2:01am
Last week there was a comment request to do a Clone Wars on Adam Lind and Andre Ethier. I had recently reviewed Ethier when comparing him to Raul Ibanez, so I substituted Kendry Morales, another .300 average, 30 home run, 100 RBI player.
R HR RBI SB AVG BB% K% HR/F% BABIP Adam Lind 80 28 97 1 0.301 8.80% 19.40% 16.50% 0.330 Kendry Morales 73 30 98 1 0.307 7.10% 19.60% 18.20% 0.332
When 2009 began it looked like Lind was going to be spending much of his time at DH and might soon lose his outfield eligibility. This would be a bit of a loss for his value, but with Travis Snider's early struggles, the left field spot opened up and he has already gotten into 54 games at left field. He'll at least hold on to outfield eligibility for another year, but his defense out there won't keep him there long. His UZR/150 currently stands at -14.8, though Snider hasn't shown much defensively either, with a UZR/150 of -12.7 in 51 games (small sample size caveats apply, of course).
His BABIP this year is .330, which is higher than his career rate of .319. However, this is his first year with real playing time, he has increased his line drive rate from 18 percent to 20.6 percent. He also has had a large spike in his power. All signs indicate that he should have a high BABIP so far this year, but could regress in the future.
Looking at his HitTracker data it looks like Lind's power is for real. He has only five "just enough" homers, which better than average. This suggests his power is still growing and 2010 could be another big year for Lind. His home run scatterplot also demonstrates his ability to hit for power to all fields on
One other thing to note is that his splits show he still is much stronger against right-handed pitchers. His batting average is respectable against both, but against lefties his walks and power drop. It isn't a big enough split that he shouldn't start full time, but on his career his OPS does drop from .855 against right handers to .722 against lefties.
Lind is looking to enter 2010 as a top 10 outfielder, but even if the power is for real there are some possible regressions in average. He also looks like someone headed to a DH spot more often and could eventually lose is outfield eligibility.
In 2008, Morales struggled and was behind Casey Kotchman and Mark Teixeira on the depth chart. The Angels tried to re-sign Teixeira for 2009, but so far Morales' production means that the Angels haven't lost much. Morales has posted a .381 wOBA Morales to date, compared to Teixeira's .392. Unfortunately his walk rate is closer to Lind's than Teixeira's by a good margin.
This season, Morales also has a raised BABIP above his career rate, but unlike Lind his line drive rate has decreased this year. His power numbers are obviously up, but he does have a higher number of "just enough" homers. He has 10 "just enough" homers, which is 33 percent of his total homers. That is above the league average and a possible sign that he will regress next year.
As a switch hitter he has also been much better against righty pitchers with a .871 OPS and dropping to .721 against lefties. Both have risen this year at .971 versus righties and .778 versus lefties. Much like Lind he has trouble getting walks against lefties, but also not so bad he needs to be platooned.
Here are a couple guys who should finish with 30 homers, 100 RBIs and a batting average around .300. These two are extremely similar even when you look at their peripherals, but there are a few numbers that make Lind look like the better offensively of the two. His power numbers and line drive rate are better. Lind's eligibility in the outfield also makes him a better choice. Eleven first basemen have 30 homers and Miguel Cabrera is at 29 right now. Only five outfielders are at 30 or more with four others including Lind at or above 27. Lind should be the better value, but both will still be good players in 2010.
Posted by Troy Patterson at 2:20am
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