2017 Fantasy Baseball: Pre-Auction Tiers Third Basemen
Many of you have already completed your draft or auction, but research shouldn’t end when your draft or auction are finished. Many of you play daily fantasy sports (if your state allows you) and if you do then these results are paramount. They are excellent predictors as to the price that players will be going for in the early going. Just like your regular draft and auction, you can find some bargains if you look hard enough.
Daily fantasy sports play with a total points model. That includes just about everything a player does beyond the basic five categories. So, we are using total average from Baseball Prospectus and value over replacement player to evaluate whether players are good values or not. We will look at their ESPN and Yahoo average auction values.
For those of you just joining us, total average is an all-encompassing statistic that measures what a player does offensively. It is calculated to look like batting average. Since BP’s TAVs are park neutral, we have included a multiplier to reintroduce that element. Value over replacement player (VORP) is also park neutral. It measures how many more runs a player contributes over the typical AAA player at his position. We also applied the park factor multiplier there too.
Methodology is often difficult in an article like this. I could predetermine how large the groups are (which I have done) or base it on the data. This is really a four person group with Kyle Seager thrown in. Seager really doesn’t fit anywhere neatly anyway. We could say he is his own tier. The other four fit nicely even if Arenado underperforms in his VORP. That probably is a Coors Field thing because his numbers have been right there.
The question (and the whole reason why we use the tiered system) is how much more those guys are worth than the next group. They are clearly better, but are they 20 to 25 dollars better? As always, it depends on the format of your league. For daily fantasy players you might base it more on matchups that day.
Every position has a unique breakdown of prices and third base is a little top heavy. It almost invites you to bypass the top group and go here for value. Most of the group is more the tripled up on price, but have more than 50 percent of the first group’s VORP. Then, there is Adrian Beltre. He is essentially nearly equal to the elite for a little more than a third of the price. He might be the best value play in the entire draft/auction.
The others depend greatly on the format of your league. Frazier is a low batting average guy, but he will draw a ton of walks. In daily fantasy that works out almost as well as a high batting average with a ton of singles. Rendon and Bregman are riskier because of a shaky track record and nearly non-existent track record, but every winning team takes on some level of risk.
Which of these does not belong? One of the biggest challenges in fantasy baseball is adjusting your thinking based on the format. Jose Ramirez is more valuable in standard 5×5 leagues because he gives you 20+ steals at a position that normally doesn’t have that. Overall, he is more or less an average player, so he isn’t as valuable in total points leagues or six category leagues.
Justin Turner is virtually the mirror image of Ramirez. He doesn’t put up huge numbers in the five categories, but when you look up he is more valuable than the other guys in the group. The other three are decent fall back options if you don’t want to fork over the big bucks or high picks for a more accomplished third baseman. They won’t reach those levels of production, but they should come close for much less.
This group represents how thin the third base ranks are beyond the top couple of groups. Your best bet over the long haul might be to go with a player like Gallo and hope he grows into the role. On a single day you almost would prefer a Prado or Solarte because they are more consistent day to day performers.
However, it is Healy that is the most puzzling of all of them. He hit over .300 last season and would have hit 20+ home runs if he had played a full season. Obviously, the bet is that he will seriously regress this season. Still, a one or two-dollar expenditure on him would make more sense that the what the numbers would seem to suggest. Reyes offers more to the standard 5×5 league than total points. If he plays full-time, he will give you 20+ steals like Ramirez. I certainly don’t mind spending a late round pick on a category like steals.