It's the thick of draft season, and once again this year, members of the Reddit fantasy baseball community are rallying to the /r/SultansOfStats subreddit to sign up for drafts. SoS uses a unique format, in which managers seek to progress season-to-season through a premier-league style system of four divisions. Make your way up to Division 1, and you could even challenge yours truly for the title! To add yet another wrinkle, these leagues use a unique 6x6 roto scoring setup (HR, R, RBI, SB, OBP, OPS for hitters and QS, SO, ERA, WHIP, SV, HD for pitchers). To that end, I'm here today to write about the top players that are value gainers in this format, and the top players that are value losers in this format from the changed categories. All of this analysis was done using the Big Board - if you're interested in creating your own customized rankings and winning your fantasy leagues (like I did in SoS), check it out! Additionally, I'll drop them into a few categories, as you'll see there are certain types of players that are good or bad in SoS.
Over the next couple of weeks at Harper Wallbanger, I'm sorting through the Big Board for 12-team 5x5 leagues to find the must-draft and must-avoid players at each position. Let's keep it rolling with second base!
2B is changing, with old go-to's like Kipnis, Kinsler, Pedroia tumbling out of the upper ranks (or out of relevance completely), but there are some exciting names here. Jose Ramirez's surprising power outburst in '17 pushes him into the upper echelons now, and Ozzie Albies' exciting debut last year has people hyped. As always, 2B is also home to easily-projected, reliable type guys that can allow you to take risks at other spots, but this year there are a fair amount of upside/risk plays, like Albies, Villar, Moncada, and Happ. Which way I go will totally depend on the rest of my roster - if I have safe guys elsewhere, I really like some of these upside plays, but if I have say, Matt Olson at 1B, Paul DeJong at SS, Ian Desmond in the OF... I need some safety at 2B, like Lemahieu or Harrison.
Over the next couple of weeks at Harper Wallbanger, I'm sorting through the Big Board for 12-team 5x5 leagues to find the must-draft and must-avoid players at each position. Let's keep it rolling with first base!
With Miggy's injury issues and Goldy getting humidor'd, Votto is my top option at 1B this year. The tier just below that feels fairly interchangeable, with Freeman, Rizzo, Goldy, and Abreu all providing solid 2nd round value. There is a youth movement underway at 1B, and though Bellinger/Hoskins are not yet in these upper tiers, either (or both) of them could make their way in by 2019. Jumping down a bit, Tier 6 is just huge, featuring breakout names from last year such as Smoak, Olson, and Zimmerman, and the best option might be to just wait and snag two guys out of that group (depending on your site/your leaguemates, grab the ones that fall). It drops off quick, so don't find yourself left holding the bag with the risky bottom tier that can include the likes of Cron, Davis, Adams, and Moreland - they could be good bench options, but I'm not relying on them.
Sanchez has claimed the top spot, and Posey's power has really started to wane, but the real story at catcher might be the disappearing middle-tier. After Sanchez, Contreras, Posey, there are a few viable catchers left in Realmuto, Perez, and Gattis... it gets real ugly after that. Even in 12-teamers, the bottom tier is mostly unappealing, a bunch of 30+ year olds that you're hoping hold up to the rigors of a full season of catching. So, what's the strategy at this position?
Tip #1: Know where player values come from
Tip #2: Set your Hit/Pitch split
Tip #3: Value your Picks and Make Preseason Trades
Tip #4: Customize your Projections
Tip #5: Draft with tiers
Tip #6: Use the best projection systems
Draft week is nearly here! Right around now everyone is poring over their draft prep sheets and coming up with round-by-round targets. Here at the Harper Wallbanger blog, it's no different! This week, I'll be sorting through the Big Board for 12-team 5x5 leagues and coming up with the *most* undervalued players at each position, along with which round you should be targeting them in order to make sure you get them. I'll also throw in the Big Board's choices for players to avoid at all costs. Stay tuned as they roll out with the links below!
Also, hey, let's do a quick review of last year. In these same posts last year, among the players I recommended were: Gary Sanchez, Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner, Mike Moustakas, Jorge Polanco, Andrew Benintendi, Domingo Santana, Josh Reddick, Scott Schebler, Gio Gonzalez, Alex Wood, and Sean Doolittle. I also correctly identified players to avoid in Adrian Gonzalez, Ben Zobrist, Hernan Perez, Xander Bogaerts, Max Kepler, Rajai Davis, Danny Duffy, David Price, Jeurys Familia, and Mark Melancon. Were there some misses in there as well? Sure. But this is a pretty dang good hit rate for targets/avoids of mid-tier players!
Bonus - Sultans of Stats