2014 Fantasy BaseballFantasy BaseballTotal Run Index

Total Run Index: Substitution Value– Third Basemen

Every position is different, so this is where substitution value comes into play. Talking about data distribution can bring even the most enthusiastic baseball fan to sleep. Suffice it to say, the data at third base is a lot more condensed than at other positions. This is particularly true if we remove Miguel Cabrera from the equation. He officially has been moved to first base, so some leagues may remove his third base eligibility.

However, we will include him on the third base list (even though we included him at first base as well). He is what most statisticians would call an outlier. For those joining the substitution value conversation late, it really doesn’t matter who exists on top of the list anyway. What matters is the median TRI score for the position. So, we are looking at the middle of the list anyway.

TRI

POS

SUB

Miguel Cabrera

58.00

4.25

53.75

Evan Longoria

27.10

4.25

22.85

David Wright

25.40

4.25

20.15

Adrian Beltre

22.20

4.25

17.95

Aramis Ramirez

18.60

4.25

14.35

Pablo Sandoval

15.70

4.25

11.45

Chase Headley

15.40

4.25

11.15

Ryan Zimmerman

15.10

4.25

10.85

Josh Donaldson

11.00

4.25

6.75

Kyle Seager

8.40

4.25

4.15

David Freese

6.80

4.25

2.55

Todd Frazier

4.30

4.25

0.05

Nick Castellanos

4.25

4.25

0.00

Brett Lawrie

4.20

4.25

-0.05

Mark Reynolds

3.40

4.25

-0.85

Martin Prado

2.90

4.25

-1.35

Chris Johnson

1.90

4.25

-2.35

Pedro Alvarez

0.70

4.25

-3.55

Manny Machado

-0.30

4.25

-4.55

Will Middlebrooks

-1.00

4.25

-5.25

Trevor Plouffe

-1.50

4.25

-5.75

Matt Dominguez

-4.20

4.25

-8.45

Mike Moustakas

-10.90

4.25

-15.15

Nolan Arenado

-12.50

4.25

-16.75

 

It’s a losing case, but I’ll make it anyway. Value is a dirty word in our industry because it means lots of things to different people. In terms of picking the most valuable player we have some things we look for and Mike Trout should have been the guy the last two years. When we look at fantasy baseball we are looking at different parameters completely. Yet, the smart money is still on Trout because of all of the things he offers a fantasy player.

Still, I’m not one to necessarily go along with the smart money. That is what substitution value is all about. What is the difference between Cabrera and the next available player? In this case, it is worth nearly 30 runs a season. Mike Trout might be worth more in pure TRI (depending on how you calculate it) but the key is the difference with the next available player at that position.

The key is whether Cabrera is a first baseman or a third baseman. If he is a third baseman, then you are comparing him to Evan Longoria. If he is a first baseman then you are comparing him to Joey Votto. As we will see, Mike Trout is compared to Andrew McCutchen. The difference between those two is not nearly as much as the difference between Cabrera and Longoria.

  • Miguel Cabrera: +58.0
  • Evan Longoria: +27.1
  • Difference: +30.9

 

  • Mike Trout: +46.1
  • Andrew McCutchen: +31.5
  • Difference: +14.6

The TRI for Trout might be closer to 60 if we go only by his two full seasons, but even then he would still come up short in the differential with Andrew McCutchen. It may not convince you, but it all depends on your definition of value. For me, the definition of value is the difference between one player and another. If that is the definition then we could argue that Cabrera is the most valuable fantasy player in baseball. Of course, I haven’t had a number one overall pick in years, so it really doesn’t matter.

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