Benchmarking the Projections

The Angels' Mike Trout celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against Oakland on Monday. (Ben Margot / AP)
The Angels’ Mike Trout celebrates after hitting a two-run home run against Oakland (Ben Margot / AP)

Guest Writer: Justin Paradis  (@FreshMeatLeague)

It’s all been done before.

Draft season is here. Be prepared to be inundated with list after list. Each will be approximately the same in that it will be players ranked from best to worst, position by position.

The lists will be annotated with blurbs announcing why their list is the best, and how their methodology changed.   Some will use advanced metrics and others will be just what seemed right to whoever wrote it.  All of these lists serve a purpose and are essential in forming your own opinion on draft day value. However, none of these lists are going to help you manage how you structure your team.

After all, drafting is not just picking up the best players at the best value. Drafting is about team building.  In rotisserie, the only thing that matters is being at the top of the most categories as possible. If that is the case, then shouldn’t there be means to determining which players are best suited to meet individual category goals?  

Here is another tool to add to your draft day arsenal.  It is not a definitive list, that is, it is not the list to end all lists. However, what it will do is help you identify multi-category contributors, and specialists. It will help you define how elite that special skill is.  Most of all, this tool will assist you in putting the 2018 projections into a relevant context.

Essentially, this list compares each player’s projection to the average league leading category total since PED testing was implemented in 2003.  Across each category, the player is ranked from 1 (Terrible) to 10 (Record Breaking Level) as to the projection against the benchmark total.  For easy reference, dark green means the player is projected elite at that category. Dark red means you are getting no help in that category, look elsewhere.

Lastly, included is an impact score.  This measures the impact of the player’s projected at bats or innings. This will help you assess how much the player’s ratio numbers will impact your team’s totals. For example, a reliever may have elite ERA and WHIP ratios, but impact is low because their projected number of innings is minimal as compared to a SP.  

First, we are doing the hitters. Here are some takeaways:

  • Any list without Mike Trout not at the top of it really needs to be reconsidered for credibility.  Here is a good reason why. Trout is projected to be elite in almost every category without sacrificing the stolen bases category.  Given his injury in 2017 that occurred while base running, it is somewhat of an unknown how active he will be on the base paths.
  • Stolen bases is really a wasteland.  Only three players are offering elite production. Billy Hamilton, Dee Gordon and Trea Turner. It is no mistake that drafters are making a point to select Turner early because he offers across the board production.
  • People hate old and boring players, but they do offer consistency and a stable base. Robinson Cano, Adam Jones, Lorenzo Cain, and Ryan Braun are all being drafted well below the production value they are capable of.
  • There are always plenty of outfielders, which is more reason to focus on the infield positions with the early portion of the draft. Trumbo, Shin-soo Choo, Jackie Bradley Jr., Kole Calhoun, and Corey Dickerson all offer consistency in the top 100, but can be generally drafted after the 250th pick.
  • The projections have not been friendly to Corey Seager for whatever reason this year.
  • In this benchmarking system, catchers are seen to be drafted way before they should be.  However, one exception is Gary Sanchez. His hitting projections are strong, and at bats are not an issue as he will see time at DH.  Sanchez is not a reach at his current ADP.

Now for the table. For reference, on base percentage has been included. However, the order seeks to define consistency in a traditional 5×5 format.

Initial Values Below (as of Feb 19)

Find Justin’s WEEKLY UPDATES here through Opening Day

Guest Writer: Justin Paradis  (@FreshMeatLeague)

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