2014 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Dumpster Diving — Third Base, Part One

Photo Credit: Eric Brynsvold
Photo Credit: Eric Brynsvold

As we continue on with the dumper diver series, it sometimes pays to look back at what we are trying to do. So, as we move to third basemen this week, we should note the ground rules of our little endeavor. First, we are only looking at players that are owned by fewer than 25 percent of Yahoo leagues. Most of these players are owned by less than ten percent of leagues in that platform. After all, there is no sense in profiling a player if you can’t add him anyway.

Those of you that have been regular readers of the series know I have been looking at conventional statistics, plate discipline statistics, and batted ball statistics. We are looking to see who will give us the better numbers looking forward. So, we look at the more advanced numbers to see who has been lucky and unlucky up to this point.

Last time, we divided up the players between players we could classify as rookies and players we could classify as veterans. We will do the same this time and focus on the rookies first. There are a number of players that could be classified as rookies (most notably Nick Castellanos and Yangervis Solarte), but the only two players that fit our particular data set are Mike Olt and Cody Asche. (All statistics as of May 10th)

Owned

PA

AVG

HR

Runs

RBI

BB

Mike Olt

3

88

.192

7

10

17

7

Cody Asche

2

94

.229

3

9

11

11

 

The problem with these two guys is that they just can’t seem to get regular playing time. A large part of the problem would be what we might call the tension that exists between player development departments and managers. Managers are paid to win games, but neither of these teams (Cubs and Phillies) are expected to compete in their division.  Both teams are officially last in their division (although the Phillies are tied with the Mets), so you would think that they would start preparing for the future.

Of course, ownership groups are rarely as enlightened as we might hope. So, managers aren’t into developing talent. They want to put the best team on the field so they have the best chance to win. That means playing Luis Valbuena way too often in Chicago and Jayson Nix way too often in Philadelphia. In a perfect world, both of these guys would be left out to succeed or fail, but we don’t live in a perfect world.

In terms of fantasy value, both of these players carry considerable flaws with them. Then again, most players do. The question is whether there is enough upside to consider stashing them on your bench. Olt obviously has a ton of power that can come in handy, but Asche’s upside is not quite as clear. Of course, that is why we always take a look at the plate discipline and batted ball statistics. We often find hidden value there.

BABIP

SO%

BB%

Oswing

Contact

Mike Olt

.186

33.0

8.0

24.2

71.5

Cody Asche

.281

24.5

11.7

28.6

76.6

 

Mike Olt famously had some vision problems coming into this season and when you consider his recent minor league history it makes sense. His vision has improved, but he still has some pretty significant swing and miss tendencies. Yet, those tendencies have little to do with plate discipline. He isn’t swinging at missing at balls outside the zone. He’s swinging and missing at balls in the zone. Part of that could be due to an all or nothing approach. Part of that could simply be an underdeveloped hit tool.

Still, there is no way he will continue to carry a .186 BABIP. If the Cubs were smart they would play him every day and simply bank on regression. Of course, it can be really trying to exercise patience on someone striking out a third of the time. Asche is a lot more traditional in all of his numbers, so people would expect traditional numbers overall. Give him thirty points on his batting average and he becomes a .260/.350/.440 type of performer.  I don’t know about you, but I’d take that on my bench every single day.

ISO

LD%

GB%

FB%

HR/FB

Mike Olt

.282

10.0

40.0

50.0

28.0

Cody Asche

.169

26.7

46.7

26.7

18.8

 

Both players have a healthy isolated power total and both players have a very good rate of home runs per fly ball. That is where the similarities stop. Olt’s isolated power total is out of this world. Bill James developed a statistic years ago he called secondary average. Essentially, it was designed to calculate everything a hitter contributed other than batting average. The beauty of it is that it can be interpreted like batting average. Olt’s SecA is .372 as of this writing. That’s pretty damn high and when taken in context with his batting average means he is producing like someone with a .272 batting average.

Cody Asche’s secondary average is .301. While that is not nearly as good as Olt’s secondary average, it does demonstrate that much of his value is also hidden. Asche has better on base skills than Olt and might be a better all-around offensive player. So, it largely depends on what you are looking for. If you need raw power then Olt might end up being your best bet. If you want someone that can keep you afloat in all of your categories then Asche would tend to be the best bet. I’d definitely give both of them a look.

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