Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wankdorf Valuetron .500 Part 2

Now that we've introduced the WV.500 (pictured at left with Molly, Official Dog of the GRBG, and Teddy wearing the Official Toupee of the GRBG), it's time to get into the fun stuff. Today we'll count down the ffifteen most valuable assets in the league, thereby establishing ironclad rankings that we confidently expect will be contradicted by multiple trades before the draft. But that's all part of the fun, we suppose. (Teddy)

I think the keyboard I'm typing this on is brighter than the actual Molly, but I tip my cap to Teddy for his positive words about the world's zaniest bearded collie.  In any event, let's get this wrapped up before some offseason trade makes this look even more ridiculous than it already is.  (El Angelo)

15. Carlos Gonzalez (3 slots)

As we noted above, CarGo had a slightly down season last year, largely because nagging injuries limited him to 135 GP. But even in that down year, he went 20/20, and put up a .371 OBP, which was better than all but 3 players who stole at least 20 bases. This coming season is CarGo's age-27 year, which means his odds  of putting up a career year are as good as they can be. He's going between picks 6-10 in redraft leagues, but his 3-slot keeper cost pushes him down a half-round or so in our league. (Teddy)

CarGo is probably one of the more underrated players in baseball for the casual fans, but fantasy players all know how valuable he is.  If he was 1-slot, he'd be in the top 5-7 here, but the punitive keeperdom status puts him here, because it's unlikely that you'll keep an outfielder that takes up 1/3 of your roster next year, meaning he's basically a 1-year asset.  (El Angelo)

14. Robinson Cano (3)

Lacks CarGo's speed, but has edged his SLG up over the past few seasons. More importantly, he is the only second baseman in the league with an extended track records of both good performance and good health. Cano has missed 7 games over the past 4 seasons combined. The only 2Bs with similar per-game stats over that period (Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler) miss more games than that in the average month and the only high-level 2B with comparable health (Ben Zobrist) lacks Cano's power and production stats. So there's really only one first-tier 2B, and Cano is it. (Teddy)

And he plays on the Yankees, who while probably not as dominant as they were last decade, still play in a bandbox and have guys like Texieria and Granderson to knock him in a bunch of times.  And he's in a contract year.  And to reiterate: second base is a wasteland.  (El Angelo)

13. Justin Upton (1 through '13)

Upton is here almost entirely on the strength of his 2011 season, when he went 30/20 at the tender age of 23. He took a step back last year before getting run out of Arizona, presumably because he lacked papers. If there's a red flag it's in the career line of his brother BJ, who torched the league at 22 but has never quite put it all back together since. But one slot for a young guy who recently finished in the top 5 of an MVP ballot? Tasty. (Teddy)

Him and the next guy are two players where their trade value reflects their potential more than their actual performance this year.  Justin Upton is unlikely to be one of the 3 best outfielders this year, but is cheap, and the possibility exists that the light bulb goes on and he goes 30/30 now and for the rest of the decade.  Almost everyone would move a fair amount to get him, which puts him here.  (El Angelo)

Is that MPH or KPH???
12. Stephen Strasburg (2)

Probably too high for a 2-slot pitcher who has never thrown more than 160 innings in a year and has already blown out once. But the WV.500 thinks his lack of a visible ceiling more than compensates here. There's also the fun factor to consider--Strasburg had the fastest average fastball velocity of any pitcher with at least 150 IP last year. We look forward to watching him battle Justin Upton in divisional games this year. (Teddy)

Strasburg is the pitching side of the Upton rule: he's not one of the 4-most valuable pitchers in the league, but because everyone thinks he can reincarnate Dwight Gooden's 1985 season, he'll fetch a ransom in a trade.  (El Angelo)

11. Clayton Kershaw (3)

Led the NL in ERA the past two years, and also led in Ws and Ks in 2011. In a lot of ways, he's what Strasburg could grow into. That's why the good ol' WV.500 edged him ahead of Strasburg despite the heavy keeper cost. (Teddy)

I doinked him a little bit because of the injury last year, but this guy is either the best or second-best pitcher in baseball on a team that should be relatively competitive this year.  That said, you're only likely to have him this year and next if you're aggressive, meaning that his trade value isn't quite in the top 10.  (El Angelo)

10. Miguel Cabrera (3)

Essentially a perfectly designed pitcher destruction machine. He has never knocked in fewer than 100 runners in a season, and is still only 30. He even managed to increase his fantasy value by allowing Detroit to carefully prop him up in the general vicinity of 3B while his team was on defense last year, thus giving him unusual roster flexibility for a guy with his production. If he cost even one fewer slot he'd be top-5; if he could run even a tiny bit, he'd arguably be No. 1. (Teddy)

The guy's career line is .318/.395/.561.  Since his rookie year, he's never played fewer than 157 games, never hit fewer than 26 home runs -- shit, he's only been below 34 twice -- and his strikeout rate has decreased to where he's below 100 a year for three straight years.  None of this is the most unbelievable part about his resume.  The most ridiculous part is that this fat bastard has 33 career steals and swiped 4 last year.  How?  How is this possible?  (El Angelo)

Gian-Mikeo's cousin, Jean-Ralphio
9. Gian-Mike-o Stanton (2)

Like the Kershaw/Strasburg call below, we'd be willing to hear arguments against the Valuetron on this one. But as we said from the get-go, age matters. And Stanton led the NL in slugging at age 23. Cutting against him is the fact that he'll be playing alongside a bunch of kids and AAAAers in Florida next year, and that fact that he changed his name from Mike to Giancarlo after his rookie year. If only our M*ke had done that, he'd probably still be in the league. (Teddy)

A lot of the value here rests on the tried and true proposition that this league, like most other keeper leagues, values potential over proven performance.  Stanton isn't quite as whole a player as Cabrera or CarGo, but is still young enough that the idea exists that he could go apeshit and hit 55 home runs.  That fact alone puts him this high.  (El Angelo) 

8.  Kelly Johnson (1-slot through 2015)

Just kidding.  (El Angelo)

8. Andrew McCutchen (3)

Like Justin Upton, McCutchen is a 30/20 guy, except he did it just last year, and tossed in a .400 OBP to boot. Almost certainly the best player whose first name I always have to look up, although that will hopefully change one of these years when the Pirates play meaningful games into September. Again as with Kershaw/Strasburg, McCutchen is what you hope Justin Upton turns into, which is why the Valuetron gives him the nod over Upton despite the keeper cost gap. (Teddy)

McCutchen is also one of the best uses of the prospect list in league history - Scot had this guy on his list in 2007 and has been riding him ever since.  Just a great player who produces in all facets; he'd be a serious contender for #2 or #3 if he wasn't so expensive.  (El Angelo)

7. Jose Bautista (2)

Seems too high, right, especially given Bautista's injury last season. But here's the thing: even with his injury-shortened 2012, Bautista still hit more HR than any other player in baseball over the past 3 seasons. And by a fair amount, too--he had 124 HRs over that period, to Miguel Cabrera's 112. That's a bargain for 2 slots, injury or no. (Teddy)

It's the slots that makes this guy this high because yes, he's empirically not as good a player as the guys directly below him, and his best season may be behind him.  But if you put him on the open market you'd fetch a shitload because the other side would know they had his bat for at least that season and next before it got prohibitively expensive.  That's not true with Miggy or McCutchen.  (El Angelo)

6. Justin Verlander (1 through '13)

Do we run the google-baiting Kate Upton picture here? Eh, not sure we care enough to bait google anymore. I'd run a bunch of numbers here, but is there any real doubt about the value of a 1-slot Verlander? (Teddy)

Let's put it this way: if you asked him off the record, I think Jon might tell you he regrets not taking Verlander over Ryan Howard with the first overall pick in 2010.  As to Kate Upton, yeah, I'll take the bait.  (El Angelo)

5. Buster Posey (2)

As we mentioned way back in the Joe Mauer blurb, the Valuetron maniacally adjusts for position. Given the horror shows scuttling around the bottom of the starting C ranks, it's unsurprising that the WV.500 put a real premium on the best fantasy catcher out there. In fact, it put enough of a premium on Posey to make him the most valuable multi-slot player in the league. Assuming Posey is smart enough to avoid blocking the plate in August, he should be right back at the top of the C rankings again over the next few seasons. (Teddy)

I just joined a league where you have to start TWO catchers the entire year.  There's an argument to be made there that Posey should be the second player taken overall.  Great player at an absolute shit show of a position.  (El Angelo)

4. Bryce Harper (Prospect)

A brief process note. The original Valuetron rankings had Harper #1, which caused me to go back and put my thumb on the scale. Because as tantalizing as Harper is, and as amazing as it is that Corey gets multiple one-slot keeps out of him, he hasn't actually done anything yet. If your reaction is the same to his new, lowered ranking, ask yourself what it would take to get you to trade him away if you had him. (Teddy)

Yeah, let's take another look at Bryce Harper's 2012 stats: .270/.340/.477, 22 HR, 98 runs, 59 RBI (!), 18 steals.  That's a nice line and really impressive for a 19-year old, but it's actually a worse season than Adam Jones, Jason Heyward and Matt Holliday just had, and those are three guys who would never, ever, ever be traded straight up for Buster Posey.  So a ton of this value is really built-in expectations that he's going to be the next Griffey over the next 4 years.  Which he might.  We just don't have any proof that he's there yet.  (El Angelo)

3. Josh Hamilton (1 through '14)

Given that I passed on Hamilton just last year, I should probably explain how I feel about this ranking. Stupid, mostly. My thinking was that Hamilton was too risky, because he was at perpetual risk of falling off the wagon or going into a prolonged, unexplained funk. Well, he did both of those things last season, yet still hit 43 HRs and drove in 128 runners. There's still the nagging thought that he could be doing more. But he doesn't really need to do more to be valuable, especially on a cheap multi-year contract. (Teddy)

The guy's a monster and is going to knock in a shitload of runs in that Anaheim lineup this year.  While at first blush it seems a bit too high for a 32-year old that could wind up in rehab at any moment, on reflection, it's exactly right for a guy who's a top-10 hitter and cheap for two years.  (El Angelo)

2. Felix Hernandez (1 through '14)

Subject to immediate and crushing revision if these elbow rumors turn out to be anything. (Teddy)

If we re-did last year's draft, King Felix would go first (he went #2), Josh Hamilton second (#7), followed by Hanley Ramirez (#1), Yu Darvish (#10), Adam Jones (#34), Chris Sale (#101), Edwin Encarnacion (#133) and R.A. Dickey (undrafted!) at third through eighth in some order, and Carl Crawford (#15) would go last.  (El Angelo)

1. Mike Trout (1 through '13)

Had the greatest rookie season since Joe Boyd, will now get a full season in which to pile up more stats, and costs only 1 slot. So, yeah. (Teddy)

Trout could regress by 20% across the board and would still merit this ranking.  What a stud.  And for that, he is, by a nautical mile, the biggest trade asset in this league.  (El Angelo)


Anonymous said...

I'll say on the record , with hindsight Verlander would have been a better choice, but one that would not have been evident in advance

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