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Patrick Mayo Staff Writer June 27, 2013 11:05AM EDT
None of the usual shenanigans this week – OK, maybe a little. Preaching abstinence is easy, putting it into practice, not so much – but the people demand rankings, so rankings is what they’ll get. I’ve seen what a Tamarod can do, and trust me, I can live without having my car overturned and set on fire like the Lakers just won the NBA finals.

Oh, and in case you missed it because you’re either incontestably oblivious or just suck at the Internet, here are the complete rest of the season infielder rankings.


Every preseason there will be a debate on the top overall pick, which is fair; usually there’s no consensus choice. But then the argument oozes into the entire Top 10 discussion and, inevitably, people will start pointing to position scarcity as a reason to take players with glaringly inferior stats. This is how the case gets made for Robinson Cano as the first overall selection, despite no chance of actually finishing as the best player. It’s how we got suckered into Albert Pujols as a first rounder this year; there appeared to be a dearth of talent at first base.

All this ever leads to is the abasing of outfielders and their value. Besides starting pitching, it’s the only position in Fantasy baseball anyone ever considers “deep.” Which I suppose is true, until you factor in that you start more outfielders than any other position players. Whereas you really only need to be concerned with the Top 20 or so – depending on the size of your league – of all the other positions, you may need to look at almost 100 outfielders by the time all the rosters are finalized. Yes, you can find upside late in drafts at outfielder, but by failing to address the position early, you miss out on the best players, period.

Entering July, of the Top 60 Fantasy performers, 20 or so – depending on which metrics you use – reside on the grass. Why? Because outfielders tend to be better athletes, and better athletes tend to have an easier time filling up all five categories; the single most valuable attribute a Fantasy player can have. So if you’re wondering why Starling Marte and Hunter Pence are ranked above Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran, it’s because the latter are four-category players, not five. And in a season where stolen bases are waaaaaaaaay down, you need to put more weight on players that can donate some respectable numbers in the stat and really enhance the value of those that commit base larceny at an elite rate: Hence, Jacoby Ellsbury at No. 9.

1. Mike Trout
2. Carlos Gonzalez
3. Ryan Braun
4. Andrew McCutchen
5. Carlos Gomez
6. Bryce Harper
7. Matt Kemp
8. Hunter Pence
9. Jacoby Ellsbury
10. Adam Jones
11. Allen Craig
12. Starling Marte
13. Matt Holliday
14. Nelson Cruz

Considering the number of Twitter questions I get asked on a daily basis, it’s crazy no one has brought up Nelson Cruz all season. Not as a part of a trade. Not to predict his worth the rest of the season. Not as an overreaction to the PED scandal. Just never. It’s weird, especially since he’s having his best season since busting on to the scene in 2009. Insane, considering Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli fleeing Arlington took away his lineup protection. Oh silly me, I forgot, that’s a myth. Maybe he’s just the victim of banality. Cruz did just became the first Ranger to smack 20 bleacher reachers five straight seasons. Consistency, not so exciting.

At the moment, Cruz is on pace for a 43 HR/13 SB season, and his advanced numbers show no signs of regression. Well, at least not anything significant. His 20.9 percent HR/FB is a tad high, but he has sustained a rate that high before, in that same 2009 season. His average and runs certainly won’t be elite, nor will they be damaging. You’re looking at a plus power/speed player that literally no one is talking about, making him a great trade target.

15. Jose Bautista
16. Justin Upton
17. Coco Crisp
18. Giancarlo Stanton
19. Yoenis Cespedes
20. Carlos Beltran
21. Jay Bruce
22. Domonic Brown
23. Michael Cuddyer
24. Shin-Soo Choo
25. Alex Rios
26. Dexter Fowler
27. Mark Trumbo
28. Austin Jackson
29. Matt Carpenter
30. Alejandro De Aza

Alejandro De Aza would be ranked higher were it not for his .257 average, although, I do expect that number to rise in the second half. To date, he’s sporting a .313 BABIP, which is fine but it does rest 24 points below his career rate, so improvement is looming. And with so few legitimate 20/20 options outside the Top 10 at the position, the Pale Hose’ leadoff man has some sneaky value. In fact, if he were to finish the season at his current pace we’d be looking at a .257/86 R/23 HR/80 RBI/20 SB player. Pretty impressive. And I’d wager, health pending, he outperforms those numbers by season’s end.

31. Alex Gordon
32. Yasiel Puig
33. Desmond Jennings
34. Jason Heyward
35. Nick Markakis
36. Norichika Aoki
37. Brett Gardner
38. Curtis GRANDERSON!!!!

Remember; always say his name like a 60’s Spiderman villain who’s simply aghast that Peter Parker did not succumb to his poorly laid trap and he won’t get hurt in the second half. GRANDERSON!!!!!!!!

39. Colby Rasmus
40. Carl Crawford
41. Nate McLouth
42. Shane Victorino
43. Michael Brantley
44. Nick Swisher
45. Raul Ibanez
46. Dayan Viciedo
47. Wil Myers
48. Josh Willingham
49. Drew Stubbs
50. Torii Hunter
51. Josh Hamilton
52. B.J. Upton
53. Justin Ruggiano
54. Nate Schierholtz
55. Will Venable

Will Venable has officially passed Rodney Dangerfield in the no respect ledger. Maybe it’s because of the team he plays for, his .210 average, or a perceived lack of consistent playing time; to me it doesn’t matter, he deserves to be rostered in all but the shallowest of leagues. Yes, I understand some teams can’t have the average anchoring them down, but Adam Dunn is almost four times as owned and he’ll do significantly more damage to your totals, in more areas too. And don’t expect him to be hovering around the Mendoza Line much longer. Venable has been one of the league’s most unlucky players; his .234 BABIP is more than 80 points below his three-year average. So, while his 19.6% HR/FB may lend some regression to his power totals, a reversal of fortune on balls in play will more than compensate that loss.

56. Melky Cabrera
57. Ben Revere
58. Michael Bourn
59. Gerardo Parra
60. Martin Prado
61. Alfonso Soriano
62. Matt Joyce
63. Chris Carter
64. Kyle Blanks
65. Adam Dunn
66. Daniel Nava
67. Jon Jay
68. Marlon Byrd
69. Michael Morse
70. Kelly Johnson
71. Leonys Martin
72. Lorenzo Cain
73. Chris Young
74. Michael Saunders
75. Jason Kubel
76. Jayson Werth
77. Carlos Quintin
78. Josh Reddick
79. Ichiro Suzuki
80. Andres Torres


What’s with drug dealers and their names? First Marlo, now Walter White. Must be remnants spewed forth from Snoop Dogg in the 90s.

Doesn’t it seem strange that someone who seems to have no issues using Twitter can’t just Google “When does Breaking Bad come back?” instead of demanding someone else answer it for them? Lazy fuck. Either way, that day is August 11. Save the date. It’s the return of Heisenberg and his fancy fedora.

breaking bad


Rankings can be deceptive. Basically, these lists are what my cheat-sheet would look like if I was redrafting tomorrow. But the one thing they don’t factor in is cache. This list resides in a vacuum, it takes out the unknown variables. What do I mean? Lets use numbers 37 and 38 as an example: I would rather have C.J. Wilson than Patrick Corbin for the remainder of 2013. However, if I owned Corbin, I would not accept a one-for-one deal for Wilson. WHAAAAAAAAAA?????? Why? I could get more for Corbin. His performance so far this year will land him a more valuable piece than Wilson.

Same thing goes for #44 Corey Kluber and #55 Jon Lester. Yes, I prefer Kluber, but I wouldn’t have to trade Lester to get him. People know who Jon Lester is. He has name value, and that carries a giant amount of trade value in every Fantasy sport, as illogical as that may be.

So remember, use these rankings as a guide to who will have the better performance from this point on, when it comes to making deals, you need to be able to judge the strength of every particular player’s stats and name value and how that clouds the rational of your leaguemates. By doing that, you can acquire some great players for next to nothing, and sell someone mediocre talent for a hell of a lot more than they’re worth.

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Cliff Lee
3. Felix Hernandez
4. Adam Wainwright
5. Yu Darvish
6. Justin Verlander
7. Stephen Strasburg
8. Max Scherzer
9. Madison Bumgarner
10. Chris Sale
11. Matt Cain
12. Matt Harvey
13. Mat Latos
14. Zack Greinke
15. Gio Gonzalez
16. Cole Hamels
17. Mike Minor
18. Jordan Zimmerman
19. Homer Bailey
20. Jeff Samardzija
21. James Shields
22. David Price
23. Anibal Sanchez
24. CC Sabathia
25. Johnny Cueto
26. Lance Lynn
27. Doug Fister
28. Justin Masterson
29. Hyun-Jin Ryu
30. Julio Teheran
31. Hisashi Iwakuma
32. Hiroki Kuroda
33. Shelby Miller
34. Jose Fernandez

Can Shelby Miller keep this up? Doubtful. His strand rate is on the high end – 82% – which is reflected in his FIP (2.74) and xFIP (3.15), quality numbers, but far more elevated than his current 2.35 ERA.

What about Jose Fernandez? His FIP (3.19) and xFIP (3.55) are closer to his 2.98 ERA, mainly because his stand rate is hovering around league average, actually it is league average (73%), but his BABIP against is begging for a bit of regression – .256 BABIP.

Those aren’t reasons enough to have both ranked this low. No, I worry about their production when you need them most – September. Rookie pitchers have a storied history of wearing down in their first full season. It’s no certainty, but it is something you need to keep in mind. That’s not the especially troublesome part though, a potential innings cap is. That’s truly terrifying. Presumably, this is going to be more of an issue for Fernandez, it’s safe to call the Marlins out of contention already and it would serve no purpose letting him approach the near 190 innings he’s currently on pace to pitch. And that’s a modest estimate. He’s actually been building durability over the last month, tossing into the seventh in four of five starts. But that 190 IP would be around a 60-inning jump from last season, which is a pretty substantial increase. I doubt Miami’s management would let him get past 170 IP. If they do, it just shows their complete ineptitude, probably not a terrible gamble knowing their history, though.

It’s less conceivable Miller will be sent to the showers early with the Cardinals likely to be in the race through the end of the season, but they have to recognize protecting his arm long term is in their best interest. Miller has been building up slowly. In 2011 he chucked 139.2 IP over two levels, and last year he upped that number to 149.1 IP. This season? He’s on pace for 200+ IP. A leap that big would give even Carl Lewis nightmares. And if they keep him around to qualify for the post-season, they’re certainly not leaving him off the playoff roster. So add another 15 or so innings to his total if St. Louis escapes the first round. Plus, he’s already showing signs of decay. He failed to pitch well in two of his past three starts and he’s only managed to throw past the sixth in just three of 15 starts.

Both will certainly have value the rest of the way, but it’s not nearly as much as you or leaguemates think it is. You can probably withstand a month with a waiver wire replacement in roto formats, but if you’re in a head-to-head league, September is when you’ll need them the most, and chances are, they’re not going to be around to assist your quest for Fantasy glory. Think about selling both immediately.

35. Clay Buchholz
36. A.J. Burnett
37. C.J. Wilson
38. Patrick Corbin
39. Kris Medlen
40. Matt Garza
41. R.A. Dickey
42. Andrew Cashner
43. Francisco Liriano
44. Corey Kluber-Lang
45. Jorge De La Rosa
46. Jhoulys Chacin
47. Matt Moore
48. Brandon Morrow
49. Ian Kennedy
50. Jeremy Hellickson
51. Jered Weaver
52. Ervin Santana
53. Josh Johnson
54. Ricky Nolasco
55. Jon Lester
56. Yovani Gallardo
57. Dillon Gee
58. Paul Malholm
59. Alex Cobb
60. Rick Porcello
61. Alexi Ogando
62. Mike Leake
63. Edwin Jackson
64. Bartolo Colon
65. Jake Peavy
66. Jordan Lyles
67. Jacob Turner
68. Gerrit Cole
69! Phil Hughes
70. Kyle Lohse
71. John Lackey
72. Zack Wheeler
73. Derek Holland
74. Jarrod Parker
75. Andy Pettitte
76. Eric Stults
77. Tim Lincecum
78. Marco Estrada
79. Ryan Dempster
80. Brandon McCarthy
81. A.J. Griffin
82. Kyle Kendrick
83. Scott Feldman
84. Hector Santiago
85. Bud Norris
86. Wandy Rodriguez
87. Tommy Milone
88. Tim Hudson
89. Kyle Gibson
90. Miguel Gonzalez
91. Bronson Arroyo
92. Travis Wood
93. David Phelps
94. Brandon Beachy
95. Drew Smyly
96. Trevor Cahill
97. Chris Tillman
98. Felix Doubront
99. Jason Vargas
100-756. The rest of baseball
757. Jeff Locke

I hate Jeff Locke, and I would wager most people that rely on advanced stats can’t stand him either. It’s like I’m a Malibu Sheriff and Locke’s The Dude. He’s that weird outlier that fudges the numbers because of his smoke and mirrors pitching style, which historically, is generally unsustainable. There’s just no way he can keep pitching at this level. He barely cracks 90 mph on the radar gun and just tosses below average junk at hitters, and to this juncture, all it’s done has mystified them. But unless he’s Merlyn in disguise, everything’s going to start heading the wrong way, quickly too. Lets investigate why:

First off, his 6.26 K/9 is a farce, more so when you combine it with a horrendous 3.83 BB/9. Allowing that many base runners doesn’t exactly scream success, unless he somehow sustains his current 85% Strand rate, which he won’t since it’s impossible.

Second, he’s currently ceding just 0.56 HR/9. A number which is sustainable, if only he hadn’t given up long flies at a higher rate IN THE MINORS.

Third, there’s that always-pesky BABIP. Right now, Locke’s is hiding out in the Hadal Zone, burrowing at .225. It ain’t staying there.

Fourth, all ERA indicators hate his guts more than I do: FIP – 3.84, xFIP – 4.11, tERA – 4.21, SIERA – 4.42.

Look, if you’ve been rostering him for the first half of the season, congrats, you won the lottery. But for the love of God, get him off your team before he causes serious damage. Trade him, drop him, quit Fantasy baseball – do whatever it takes.


I don’t hate closers in Fantasy, I nothing them. Big difference. I understand their value, but they make such a limited impact outside of one category that it’s never worth splurging on the top-tier talents. Of course, they’ll be better – No doubt. But the difference between the best closer and the 20th ranked guy isn’t staggering. That, and it’s far and away the most volatile position. Turnover and devastating injuries are a part of the job description. The most important trait, the only trait to seek out in a relief pitcher is job security.

1. Craig Kimbrel
2. Aroldis Chapman
3. Mariano Rivera
4. Edward Mujica
5. Kenley Jansen
6. Sergio Romo
7. Jonathan Papelbon
8. Jim Johnson
9. Casey Janssen
10. Jason Grilli

Jason Grilli has been a living testament to why the proper strategy at draft time is to roll the dice on a few lower-end closers for a few bucks or in the mid rounds instead of blowing your wad on the elite names. Simply put, he’s been awesome – 15+ K/9, 1.82 BB/9 1.82 ERA, 0.77 FIP. Shit, his walk rate matches his ERA, and that’s not usually a good thing. But I’m vexed. Just a worrier, I suppose – although, not why my friends call me Whiskers. I look at his usage this so far and see things taking a turn for the worst.

Grilli’s already appeared in 37 games, covering 34.2 innings. That puts him on pace for a hefty 75-inning workload in 81 appearances. That would be the most work he’s seen since 2007 – 79.2 IP with the Tigers – and 20 more than his three-year average. At age 36, I just don’t see him holding up to the rigors. That, and Pirates will probably stop winning post-All-Star break like they do every year.

11. Addison Reed
12. Rafael Soriano
13. Ernesto Frieri
14. Grant Balfour
15. Joe Nathan
16. Bobby Parnell
17. Greg Holland
18. Fernando Rodney

People misconstrue “sample size” all the time. Like, when a batter is 23 for 101 off a particular pitcher; yes, it is a sample size, not a true sample size. It doesn’t tell you anything besides backing up whatever point you’re currently trying to make. For a batter, 500 PAs is generally the barometer for a true sample size, of course 1000 is better, just more data to analyze. And for pitchers, we need a sample of about 550-700 batters faced to make any concrete determinations on the predictability of most stats. It gives the numbers enough time to plateau. Each stat takes a different amount of time to normalize – like pitcher’s BABIP, 2000 balls in play! – and you can find those all here, but a relievers never make it to any of these bench marks in a single season, that’s why we witness so many outlier seasons out of the bullpen. Which brings us to the tale of two Rodneys.

Hot Rodney existed in 2012, when he was nary unhittable. That guy is longer of this earth. His sample grew and he has reverted back into the man he used to be, Regular Rodney. Great at getting batters to swing and miss, equally as good at missing the strike zone – 12.22 K/9, 6.54 BB/9. He’s a crapshoot, and while he’s in no immediate danger of losing his gig, a string of implosions could jar him from his closing role very quickly. Joe Madden don’t play around.

Be cautious moving forward.

19. Glen Perkins
20. Huston Street
21. Kevin Gregg
22. Jim Henderson
23. Joaquin Benoit
24. Koji Uehara
25. Rex Brothers
26. Chris Perez
27. Steve Cishek
28. Rafael Betancourt
29. Jose Veras
30. John Axford aka AxSaw Jim Duggan


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