Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2013 Draft Prep: Luck indicator targets to pursue or avoid

  •  

When a young player takes a huge step forward, we call it a breakout, and when an older veteran takes a nosedive, we call it decline. Sometimes, though, a player experiences a notable change in production for no discernable reason. That presents a challenge for Fantasy owners trying to make sense of that player's value for the following season.

A certain portion of a player's stat line is the result of random fluctuations -- just simple luck. Some stats are more prone to random shifts than others, and when those shifts are large, they can be indications of a coming regression. For batters, batting average on balls in play (BABIP) can be used as an indicator of luck, and to a lesser extent, changes in home run-to-flyball ratio (HR/FB) can be a sign of good or bad fortune. For pitchers, BABIP is also a good luck indicator, as is strand rate.

Get your Custom Draft Kits!
Download your Draft Kit for Draft Day 2014 that's customized to your specific league scoring system, format and player pool!
Download your Draft Kit today!

Understanding luck indicators can be a help on Draft Day, steering you away from players due to for a fall and towards players poised to surge. For example, a year ago, Hunter Pence was 13th among outfielders with an average draft position (ADP) of 59 in mixed Rotisserie leagues, but his 2011 BABIP of .365 looked too good to be true, especially since his rates usually hovered just above .300. Pence failed to deliver on the value of his ADP, winding up as the 59th most productive outfielder. Conversely, a .239 BABIP in 2011 left Alex Rios as the 58th most-popular outfielder (231 ADP) in Roto, yet he finished as the fifth-most productive player at the position in 2012.

While these are extreme examples, BABIP rates and other luck indicators can be useful tools for judging a player's true value for the coming year when they were out of line with career or major league norms during the previous season. Even if your drafts for this year are over, you can use luck indicators to your advantage to trade away over-valued players or acquire under-valued ones. Below are 10 players who are currently being over- or under-valued because many owners are ignoring the impact that luck had on their 2012 seasons. I've omitted players (e.g., A.J. Pierzynski, Adam Wainwright) whose unexpected 2012 performances are already being discounted by Fantasy owners. The 10 featured here could genuinely surprise Fantasy owners, though those aware of their luck indicators can get a step ahead of the coming regression.

Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates

Impact of luck in 2012: McCutchen posted a .379 BABIP, thanks to an other-worldly .348 batting average on grounders. McCutchen did not make progress as a contact hitter, and jumping from 23 home runs in 2011 to 31 last year does not account for his career-high .327 batting average.

Forecast for 2013: McCutchen's average may not crack .290, and at that level, he doesn't warrant being drafted among the top five outfielders in Rotisserie, though he is currently fourth in ADP. He is not making it to the second round in many 12-team leagues, but let another owner reach for him in the first round.

Miguel Montero, C, Diamondbacks

Impact of luck in 2012: Montero's longer plate appearances resulted in more walks but also more strikeouts. Those got masked by a .364 BABIP that left his batting average at .286, even though he struck out 33 more times in seven fewer at-bats.

Forecast for 2013: Montero is at risk of losing 20 points or more off his batting average, leading him to be drafted at least two rounds too early (current 145 ADP) in Rotisserie leagues.

Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners

Impact of luck in 2012: As a rookie, Ackley overachieved with a .343 BABIP, but last season's regression to a .265 mark from last season was overkill. His .050 BABIP on flyballs in particular is sure to improve.

Forecast for 2013: Because Ackley got shortchanged on flyballs, he should not only be able to raise his overall batting average, but also provide a big boost to his doubles and triples totals. Last season's bad luck on balls in play could be a factor in Ackley being drafted too late in both Roto (197 ADP) and Head-to-Head (174 ADP).

Drew Stubbs, OF, Indians

Impact of luck in 2012: As Stubbs has become more of a ground ball hitter over the last two seasons, he has lost value to be sure, but he's better than a .213 hitter. His 30 stolen bases show that he didn't become slow, yet his batting average on grounders fell by 80 points, from .327 to .247.

Forecast for 2013: Stubbs may only rebound into the .230s, but that should be enough to make him a viable late-rounder in Rotisserie leagues, due to his potential for a fourth-straight 30-plus steals season. He has been largely overlooked outside of deeper leagues up to this point.

B.J. Upton, OF, Braves

Impact of luck in 2012: Upton increased his HR/FB ratio for the third straight season, raising it from 12 to 16 percent, but he needed a red-hot month-and-a-half at the end of the season to do that. Given how dependent he was on a hot streak to boost his numbers, Upton's outsized power gains look more than a little suspicious.

Forecast for 2013: Especially with Upton settling into the peak phase of his career, it's more plausible that he will finish with a home run total in the low 20s, rather than build on his late 2012 "breakout." His propensity for strikeouts may be causing Head-to-Head owners to put the brakes on drafting him, but Upton is going far too early (79 ADP) in Roto leagues.

Mark Reynolds, 1B, Indians

Impact of luck in 2012: Over the previous three seasons, Reynolds had launched roughly 20 percent of his flyballs for home runs, but last year that ratio dropped to 16 percent. He hit for his typical power in the second half, which further suggests that Reynolds' HR/FB dip was the artifact of a protracted slump and not a long-term decline in his power skills.

Forecast for 2013: With his move to Cleveland, Reynolds traded in a good hitting environment in Baltimore for a stadium that is tough on righties. Then again, he hasn't relied on gaudy home splits, either as an Oriole or as a Diamondback, to put up big power numbers. With his HR/FB due to rebound, Reynolds should be a 30-homer threat yet again, but he's not being drafted like one.

Ivan Nova, SP, Yankees

Impact of luck in 2012: Nova didn't do himself any favors last season in posting a nondescript 46 percent ground ball rate, but that alone shouldn't have resulted in him allowing 28 home runs over 170 1/3 innings. Former teammate A.J. Burnett was notorious for his troubles with the long ball when he was a Yankee, but even he typically posted HR/FB ratios lower than Nova's 14 percent from last year. Nova also posted a .337 BABIP which is highly likely to shrink this season.

Forecast for 2013: Nova may correct his problems by reverting to a higher ground ball rate, but even if he doesn't, he should be able to do a better job of limiting homers and hits in general and lowering his ERA and WHIP. While Nova will have to fend off David Phelps for the fifth starter's job once Phil Hughes (back) returns from the disabled list, he is worth a flyer as one of the top 100 starting pitchers -- a distinction he does not currently own in Rotisserie drafts.

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

Mike Minor, SP, Braves

Impact of luck in 2012: As a flyball pitcher, owners can expect Minor to record a lower-than-average BABIP, but his .260 mark from last year was too far from the majors' .297 norm to be credible. A 1.15 WHIP that resulted from that low hit rate allowed Minor to finish among the top 50 starting pitchers in Rotisserie last season.

Forecast for 2013: This year, Minor is clocking in as a top 40 starting pitcher in mixed Rotisserie drafts, but with some WHIP regression likely in his future, he could frustrate owners looking for a repeat of or improvement over last season.

Jordan Zimmermann, SP, Nationals

Impact of luck in 2012: There is no question that Zimmermann has great control and is highly efficient, and owners can trust his back-to-back sub-1.20 WHIPs. However, his 2.94 ERA was far lower than his 3.87 xFIP suggests it should have been. A 78 percent strand rate was at the heart of the discrepancy, and not many pitchers can replicate a rate that high in consecutive seasons.

Forecast for 2013: Owners may expect Zimmermann to have a third straight season with an ERA close to 3.00, but he may not benefit from an unusually-low HR/FB ratio like he had in 2011 or a low strand rate like he had last year. Look for Zimmermann to finish with a mid-3.00s ERA to go along with a low WHIP.

Scott Feldman, SP, Cubs

Impact of luck in 2012: Feldman has always had problems with stranding baserunners, but last season's 64 percent rate with the Rangers was low, even for him. He posted a career-high 7.0 K/9 rate while walking only 2.3 batters per nine innings, but his reward was a 5.09 ERA.

Forecast for 2013: Because of the lack of upside for strikeouts, Feldman is not a solid option for standard mixed leagues, but in deeper mixed leagues, he deserves more consideration. He has been hit hard this spring, which will further depress his value, but Feldman is worth a late-round pickup in deeper formats, as he could put up a better ERA and WHIP than his recent track record would indicate.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Cory Rasmus a candidate to start Saturday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:26 pm ET) Angels pitcher Cory Rasmus is a candidate to start Saturday, according to the Orange County Register

Rasmus has pitched out of the bullpen all season. He's posted a 2.68 ERA over 37 innings. Both Randy Wolf and Michael Roth are thought to be in the running for the start as well. 


Ehire Adrianza unlikely to return this season
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:21 pm ET) Giants infielder Ehire Adrianza is heading to the team's spring-training facility in Arizona for more rehab work, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Adrianza estimates that he's a month away from being ready for game action, which means he's unlikely to return to major-league action this season. The infielder is recovering from a hamstring injury.


Russell Martin having impressive season
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7:12 pm ET) So you're the lucky owner who invested in Wilin Rosario and have driven yourself crazy trying to find an adequate replacement?

Let me ask you: Have you given a second thought to Russell Martin? Probably not. He's pretty much established his mediocrity over the last few years and is a not-so-impressive 68 percent owned.

Well, here's a revelation for you: Martin has averaged more Head-to-Head points per game this season than Buster Posey. Yes, really.

The reason I use average points per game is because he missed a month earlier this season with a strained hamstring. Since returning May 23, he's batting .305 with an incredible .431 on-base percentage and .860 OPS.

The plate discipline isn't so new to him. The batting average is. Plagued by inconsistency since his early days with the Dodgers, when he was shaping up to be an elite Fantasy catcher, he typically finishes with a batting average south of .250, but in three of the four months since his return, he has hit over .300.

Kind of makes 2008 seem not so long ago, doesn't it?


Don't freak out about Adam Wainwright
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:58 pm ET) If you weren't already annoyed by Adam Wainwright's struggles -- his latest loss Wednesday makes him 3-5 with a 4.68 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break -- his explanation for those struggles might be enough to put you over the top. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he's going through a "dead arm phase," adding "one of these days it's going to click in, and its going to be real nice."

"Dead arm" is a fun little catch-all pitchers use to explain their struggles to the media. That's a cynical way of putting it, but you get the idea: It means almost nothing to you as a Fantasy owner. Occasionally, it's a precursor to injury, but more often, as Wainwright suggests, the pitcher eventually gets over it and we all live happily ever after.

Since the All-Star break, Wainwright's velocity and strikeout rate are slightly down, but hey, he has dead arm. All things considered, he's not doing so bad -- four of his last five starts have been quality starts -- so I wouldn't even move to bench him unless something more specific comes up.

He gave no indication he wouldn't pitch through the dead arm, so it must not be that bad.


Hector Sanchez to be re-evaluated in three weeks
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:53 pm ET) Giants catcher Hector Sanchez said Wednesday that he'll be re-evaluated by a doctor in three weeks, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Sanchez will join the team for home games and continue exercising as he continues to recover from multiple concussions. With a re-evaluation unlikely until mid-September, it's becoming less and less likely he'll be back before the end of the regular season.


Rougned Odor pops grand slam Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:49 pm ET) Rangers infielder Rougned Odor popped a grand slam Wednesday against the Mariners.

Odor stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the top of the third. He clobbered the first pitch of the at-bat, an 87 mph fastball, out to right center for the grand slam. He finished 1 for 4, with one run scored and four RBI. 


Hyun-Jin Ryu feels no pain in simulated game
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:49 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu said he felt no pain in a two-inning simulated game Wednesday, MLB.com reports.

Ryu could return to the starting rotation Sunday or Monday. He's been sidelined since Aug. 13 while dealing with a strained right glute muscle.


Colby Lewis goes the distance Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:43 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis tossed a complete game Wednesday against the Mariners.

Lewis allowed four runs on seven hits over nine innings. He struck out seven and walked one during the outing. Two home runs accounted for half the damage against Lewis. Mike Zunino went yard in the second inning, and Kyle Seager popped a solo shot in the ninth. In between that, Lewis allowed a two-run double to Kendrys Morales in the sixth.

The Rangers got to Seattle pitcher Erasmo Ramirez early, scoring 10 runs through four innings. That allowed Lewis to stay in the game despite allowing four runs. He threw 112 pitches during the start.

With the win, Lewis improved to 9-11. He'll take on the Royals in his next start.


Erasmo Ramirez pounded for 10 runs
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:31 pm ET) Mariners pitcher Erasmo Ramirez was pounded for 10 runs Wednesday against the Rangers.

Ramirez gave up 10 runs on nine hits over three innings of work. He struck out one and walked one during the outing. Ramirez got through the first inning without giving up a run, but fell apart moving forward. Ramirez loaded the bases in the second inning on a walk, single and hit by pitch. With the bases loaded, Ramirez allowed a bases-clearing double and a run-scoring single against the next two hitters.

The third inning wasn't any better. Ramirez loaded the bases on three singles, and then allowed Rougned Odor to smash a grand slam. Ramirez came out to start the fourth, but was pulled after giving up a single and run-scoring double to start the inning. One additional run would cross the plate during the inning. It was charged to Ramirez.

With the loss, Ramirez dropped to 1-6. He'll take on the Athletics if the team gives him another start. 


David Wright could return to lineup Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:29 pm ET) Mets third baseman David Wright may be able to return to the starting lineup Thursday, ESPNNewYork.com reports.

Wright has been sidelined since Sunday due to a neck injury, but he underwent extensive treatment Tuesday and was able to take batting practice Wednesday. He has hit .266/.324/.368 with eight home runs, 56 RBI and six stolen bases in 489 at-bats.


 
 
 
Rankings