My guys: 2014 Values
I know this is probably a little late for most drafts, but I wanted to make a post or two sharing the guys that I am most aggressive on and most cautious on this year (with respect to the FantasyPros ECR). I will start with the list of players I am most aggressive on first.
*Please note that the blurbs following each player listed are more or less notes on the player, not the entire foundation upon which my projections are built.
1. Ryan Braun: My rank: 5/ECR: 30 – This was surprising…Ryan Braun has been so good over the past few years that even if he produced just 85-90% of what he did pre-suspension, he is still a top-10 player.
2. Jean Segura: My rank: 19/ECR: 46 – Perhaps others are invoking the poor second half fallacy. I am not sure. The shoulder could be an issue, but my ranking assumed that he was healthy heading into opening day. A good candidate for 90/10/55/40/.290.
3. Everth Cabrera: My rank: 38/ECR: 95 – 50+ steal potential at SS is pretty valuable. Improved his contact rate substantially last year and it appeared sustainable, so his average shouldn’t be too much of a burden.
4. Matt Cain: My rank: 48/ECR: 70 – Peripherals say Cain is just about the same pitcher he has always been. Unlucky strand rate and career high HR/FB spike are making Cain a potential value this year.
5. Wilin Rosario: My rank: 54/ECR: 87 – I wrote about Rosario here.
6. Jose Abreu: My rank: 56/ECR: 103 – There was little to analyze statistically with Abreu, but Steamer, ZiPS and Oliver like Abreu a lot. They think he will make a lot of contact for a power hitter, which is probably one of the bigger unknowns here. Prorating the aggregate projection between these three projection systems to 650 PAs would have Abreu valued as a top-20 player, so there is plenty of upside at this ranking. I am the highest of any ranker on Jose Abreu, but I probably could have been more aggressive without feeling too uncomfortable about it. I am not typically this aggressive on Cuban players entering their first major league season, but Abreu looks to be an exception to the rule.
7. Danny Salazar: My rank: 81/ECR: 126 – Elite fastball velocity, elite SwStr%, three above average pitches, very good control. Biggest question is his workload. If he throws 170 IP, he could approach 200 K and doesn’t even have to match his 2013 rate stats to be a good value here.
8. Brandon Belt: My rank: 83/ECR: 121 – Adjusted his grip midway through the 2013 season and had a fantastic second half, increasing his ISO, cutting his K% and slashing .326/.390/.525 in the second half. While second half splits are not as predictive as full season splits, when there is a mechanical adjustment, we are, in a way, looking at two different players. I think his second half surge is probably for real, although not to that extent, but a real breakout could be coming in 2014.
9. Sonny Gray: My rank: 87/ECR: 133 – Very good ground ball rate, good home park, good fastball, great curve, good control, should maintain a strong strikeout rate. Will likely regress some, but still a potential value, even at 87.
10. Norichika Aoki: My rank: 111/ECR: 166 – Lowest K% of all qualified major leaguers last season. High GB% hints at BABIP upside as well. The Royals like to run wild, so Aoki could eclipse 30 SB, as he did in 2012 in Milwaukee.
11. Brad Miller: My rank: 117/ECR: 186 – Hitting second in the M’s lineup to start the season. Makes good contact, has good hit tool, should have a high floor in batting average. Has some power and some speed — 15/15 potential. Projection systems really like him too. He won’t be overly exciting in any category, but, at shortstop, the overall production should be very solid.
12. Ben Revere: My rank: 118/ECR: 191 – Will lead off. Should approach 40 steals, with a chance for more. Makes elite contact, so batting average floor should be high. Could score 90+ runs, steal 40+ bases and hit .300.
13. Chris Johnson: My rank: 167/ECR: 242 – Despite likely severe BABIP regression, I still have Johnson projected for a .283 average with 16 HR. Johnson will hit fourth for Atlanta to start the year and if he sticks there, he could rack up plenty of RBI.
14. Tyler Skaggs: My rank: 231/ECR: 342 – Former top prospect changed his delivery and got his velocity back this spring. Under the radar a bit as a sleeper, but could offer strikeouts with good control on a team that should provide him with an above average amount of run support.
Other players I am more aggressive on than the FantasyPros consensus: Michael Cuddyer (My rank: 77/ECR: 111), Aramis Ramirez (My rank: 103/ECR: 137), Daniel Murphy (My rank: 105/ECR: 158), Brandon Moss (My rank: 106/ECR: 152), Xander Bogaerts (My rank: 120/ECR: 177), Adam Eaton (My rank: 143/ECR: 184), Kole Calhoun (My rank: 154/ECR: 200), Ian Kennedy (My rank: 182/ECR: 251), Oswaldo Arcia (My rank: 190/ECR: 266)