Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fantasy Funkhouser: Baseball 2013 Ranks - Round 5



Can Harper out "trout" Trout in his age 20 season? (bustasports.com)

Fantasy Funkhouser will review all things Fantasy Baseball. After all, life is a small sample size.

I gotta say, looking back at what I wrote last week, that's pretty impressive. Some nice analysis, got a theme together, and executed. There isn't anyone to pat me on the back for this stuff, so I'll take a minute - as we approach the halfway point of my rankings - to reflect on some solid ass work.

Ok, enough of that. On to Round 5.

A lot of the players in this round made a big impact last year. For many of them, it was their first legit attempt at a major league season, but for a player like R.A. Dickey he truly had a remarkable year.

Starting with Dickey - no, I don't expect him to repeat his numbers from last year. But the surprising thing is that the season Dickey had last year, isn't different from his previous two seasons. His FIP (FIP dropped a fair bit in 2012, but nothing shocking) and BABIP are right in line with his numbers from 2010-2011. What changed are his innings pitched and his K% which sky rocketed from 15.3% to 24.8%. That is something that may not be able to be maintained in general, let alone with a division change to one of the better hitting divisions along with dealing with AL line-ups. So expect around a 3.50 ERA and if he's lucky, he can approach 200 K's again, but I too would split the difference and guess closer to 175. Not that you should chase wins, but 20 wins isn't out of the question either.

I have found my first crush of the off-season though, and his name is Yu Darvish. Darvish got off to a rough start in his Freshman campaign, but after he stopped worrying and loved potentially getting hammered by throwing copious amounts of strikes he unlocked that magic door to superstar.

He really figured something out from September on. Even though he did get knocked around a lot most of the season he still ended with his K/9 at 10.4 and his BAA was .220. Those are elite numbers. What was dragging him down was him nibbling and walking too many batters. In September his walks dropped to 7 in 36 innings pitched, and although he pitches in a tough park in a tough division, he could very well lead the league in K's. In fact, I'm so enamored with him right now, I would say it's not out of the question he could win the Cy Young this year. If he could keep his BB/9 under 3.50, that is realistic. If he can get it under 3.00? He just might be the best fantasy pitcher this year.

Time to wrap this round of the draft up with the player seemingly all fantasy articles work their way back to: Bryce Harper. Harper may have been mentioned once or three times on Lockration, but hey, get used to it.   I am rather shocked at how bullish many experts have been on Harper this year. Typically, you'll get a lot of conservative estimates and tempered expectations, but experts are going gaga over him. I'm hearing MVP talk, 35+ homer seasons, and he was even drafted 14th overall in LABR mixed draft the other day. If he produced that kind of value, I'd be thrilled, and yes, it wouldn't be that unexpected, but coming off his excellent age 19 year, I can see growth coming - I'm just not sure how much. That's the intriguing thing. Harper has no limit to what he can do, it's just a matter of what he will do. He could put up an age 20 year that out does Trout's year (in Harper's way - mucho power and RBI, toss in 30 steals) or he could marginally improve over last season where he was comparable to Miguel Montero.

It appears with the addition of Denard Span we can expect Harper to bat third in the order, which should help his RBI numbers, and I doubt Davey Johnson will curtail his running. I would expect a more linear improvement and virtually no chance at him taking a step back. Pitchers last year were already pitching around him, giving him a lot of breaking stuff to focus on; while as they were more apt to challenge Trout with fastballs. Harper adjusted and aside from some playoff jitters, finished the year on a tear. I'll play the skeptic and shoot for a 100/25/80/12 year from him, but that's most likely a base for him. It'll be exciting to see if he can give us another memorable season.

Quick notes: Cespedes did a million times better than I thought he would. He's an exciting player to watch. It certainly doesn't appear the A's wasted their money on him, and yes, I would take him over Harper in a redraft league although injuries are a concern ... Andrus is only 24; remember that if you're writing him off ... Like most things, you remember the successes more than the failures. For every Trout and Harper there's a Lawrie and Hosmer. Lawrie appears to be in a better position to bounce back, but he did struggle mightily and I do worry he'll be injured a lot, but he's talented; just needs to hang in there ... Kimbrel may not hit the heights of last year, but it's possible. Even if he stumbles a bit, he's shampoo (head and shoulders) better than any other reliever out there.

RANK NAME POSITION CHANGE PREVIOUSLY
49 YU DARVISH SP
50 YOENIS CESPEDES OF
51 BRYCE HARPER OF
52 BEN ZOBRIST 2B/SS/OF
53 ELVIS ANDRUS SS
54 PABLO SANDOVAL 3B
55 GIO GONZALEZ SP
56 PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT 1B
57 BRETT LAWRIE 3B
58 R.A. DICKEY SP
59 CRAIG KIMBREL RP
60 MAT LATOS SP

On Deck: Aroldis Chapman, Roy Halladay, Chase Headley, Desmond Jennings


OVERALL RANKINGS THUS FAR

Zero changes overall this week, but I was seriously considering dropping B.J. Upton off the board to around the 70's but decided against it. My logic was that, this guy, who actually did not have a "contract year" season - his stats are in line with what he's done every season except for 2009 (per his OPS+) - he's the classic guy who is consistent in his inconsistency. You know what you're getting from him, you just don't know when. 

I believe only Upton and Drew Stubbs (that might be the last time you ever see his name on here) are the only players with at least 14 HR and 30 SB in the past 3 seasons. That will most likely change in the next year or two with the 15/30 guys becoming more and more prevalent, but it is something of note. Upton ends up where he ends up. It's not always pretty, but he's a lock for 15/30 in 2013. That's something comforting to know. I can eventually see him slipping a bit before the season starts, but he can stay there for now.

Also, with Felix Hernandez (this is not the last time you'll ever see his name on here) locking up his $175M deal with the Seattle Mariners - we can put to rest concerns about his elbow. When this "issue" first popped up as reported by Buster Olney I was skeptical. First, I was skeptical of the wording of how Olney reported it. An elbow "issue"? A failed physical? This guy has been the healthiest of healthy pitchers since he was 19 years old, and now as he's about to sign a monster extension, questions popped up? Suspicious.

With Seattle being Seattle, I thought this was a ploy to lower Hernandez's value or a way to explain to their fans, "Hey we had to trade him. His elbow was about to go!" Then the more that came out, the more I realized there wasn't an issue with his elbow, they were just ironing out some language should something happen to his elbow throughout the duration of the extension. I mean when someone with 1,600 innings logged on his right arm has "wear and tear"? No shit. 

Further securing my confidence in Felix is a breakdown Fangraphs did a breakdown how all of Felix's lost velocity and past history are perfectly in line with a healthy pitcher. There are no indicators of pending injuries. If anyone did some early drafts and took advantage of scared owners, congrats.


RANK NAME POSITION CHANGE PREVIOUSLY
1 MIGUEL CABRERA 3B
2 RYAN BRAUN OF
3 MIKE TROUT OF
4 JOEY VOTTO 1B
5 ANDREW MCCUTCHEN OF
6 MATT KEMP OF
7 ROBINSON CANO 2B
8 CARLOS GONZALEZ OF
9 ALBERT PUJOLS 1B
10 JUSTIN VERLANDER SP
11 PRINCE FIELDER 1B
12 CLAYTON KERSHAW SP
13 JASON HEYWARD OF
14 GIANCARLO STANTON OF
15 DAVID WRIGHT 3B
16 FELIX HERNANDEZ SP
17 JUSTIN UPTON OF
18 JOSE BAUTISTA OF
19 EVAN LONGORIA 3B
20 STEPHEN STRASBURG SP
21 BUSTER POSEY C/1B
22 ADAM JONES OF
23 JOSH HAMILTON OF
24 HANLEY RAMIREZ 3B/SS
25 DAVID PRICE SP
26 ADRIAN BELTRE 3B
27 MATT CAIN SP
28 STARLIN CASTRO SS
29 IAN KINSLER 2B
30 EDWIN ENCARNACION 1B/DH
31 COLE HAMELS SP
32 TROY TULOWITZKI SS
33 DUSTIN PEDROIA 2B
34 CURTIS GRANDERSON OF
35 JAY BRUCE OF
36 JOSE REYES SS
37 CLIFF LEE SP
38 ADRIAN GONZALEZ 1B/OF
39 MATT HOLLIDAY OF
40 RYAN ZIMMERMAN 3B
41 JACOBY ELLSBURY OF
42 ADAM WAINWRIGHT SP
43 MADISON BUMGARNER SP
44 ZACK GREINKE SP
45 BILLY BUTLER 1B
46 JERED WEAVER SP
47 BRANDON PHILLIPS 2B
48 B.J. UPTON OF
49 YU DARVISH SP
50 YOENIS CESPEDES OF
51 BRYCE HARPER OF
52 BEN ZOBRIST 2B/SS/OF
53 ELVIS ANDRUS SS
54 PABLO SANDOVAL 3B
55 GIO GONZALEZ SP
56 PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT 1B
57 BRETT LAWRIE 3B
58 R.A. DICKEY SP
59 CRAIG KIMBREL RP
60 MAT LATOS SP



The Funkman says: "Brett Lawrie fooled me once, and he'll fool me again." (hbo.com)

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