Team MVP: fantasy baseball’s Most Valuable Playas. If you came away with this team after your draft, you probably renamed your team the Staten Island Dump. If you seen your team full of these playas now, you probably think you’re God’s gift to fantasy baseball. Owning even a few of these guys is enough reason to do a little fist pumping. Make the jump to see fantasy baseball’s MVPs and a bunch of players who will be overrated in 2011. Feel free to brag, boast and flash your six pack in the comments.
Catcher- Buster Posey .305 AVG, 58 Runs, 18 HR, 67 RBI
O-Rank 416, ADP 238, Rank 183
Bussabus wasn’t promoted to the big leagues until late May because of financial defensive reasons so his 183 Rank is misleading. From May 29th on, Posey was the top ranked Catcher. He was the 50th best player in all of baseball and Mike Napoli was the only backstop to hit more HR during this stretch of time. Posey’s 13.5% K% and 15.4% HR/FB% make me look at him with a skeptical eye. Buster’s K% was sitting between 15% and 17% in the minor leagues and I don’t think he has the raw power to launch Fly Balls over the fence at that rate again. Posey will likely be too rich for my blood in 2011.
1st Base – Paul Konerko .312 AVG, 89 Runs, 39 HR, 111 RBI
O-Rank 267, ADP 249, Rank 12
Konerko provided plenty of ammo for owners who chase contract seasons. In the face of free agency, Konerko jumped in his Delorean, went back in time and brought the 2004 version of himself back to the future. His Batting Average and BABIP were a little out-of-character, but he’s put up these kind of power numbers in the past. We’ll see where he lands in the off-season and wait for his O-Rank to slap the overrated label on him.
2nd Base – Kelly Johnson .284 AVG, 93 Runs, 26 HR, 71 RBI, 13 SB
O-Rank 324, ADP 216, Rank 60
Banished from Atlanta after some bad luck, the boy named Kelly took his talents to Arizona and flourished. Not only did he make good on all the sleeper tags, he went above and beyond potential expectations. Johnson started out red hot, hitting 9 HR in April, but only mustered out 10 HR during the next four months. He doesn’t have the raw power to hit 26 HR again so KJ may be overrated come next season.
Shortstop – Álex González .250 AVG, 74 Runs, 23 HR, 88 RBI, SB
O-Rank 325, ADP 195, Rank 175
Álex’s season was a tale of two halves. He hit 17 HR in 85 games with Toronto and he hit 6 HR in 72 games with Atlanta. His Batting Average wasn’t pretty, but it never is. Would you hold it against me if I said that I’m not going to pay much attention to Álex González in 2011 drafts? He’s hit 137 HR in 1,386 career games.
3rd Base – José Bautista .260 AVG, 109 Runs, 54 HR, 124 RBI, 9 SB
O-Rank 323, ADP NA, Rank 9
If hatin’ is your occupation, then José Bautista had a full-time job for you. A player who was a free agent after the draft in most leagues is not supposed to hit 54 Home Runs. No. Scary statistic: Bautista’s Isolated Power score of .357 was the highest ISO the league has seen since Barry Bonds’ ridonkulous .450 mark in 2004. He may have more power than this guy
! Call me a hater, but I’m not buying the 9% jump in HR/FB%.
Outfield – Carlos González .336 AVG, 111 Runs, 34 HR, 117 RBI, 26 SB
O-Rank 122, ADP 143, Rank 1
My favorite Outfield option and numero uno target in all leagues made my bullish projections look bearish. Carlos Gonzalez was fantasy baseball’s best player. The power/speed combination is real, but his Batting Average was aided by a .383 BABIP. Expect the Batting Average to come down in 2011 (my 2010 forecast was .285). He is going to be a Round One pick next season, no doubt about it. I’m not ready to slap the overrated label on him and I don’t know if I ever will be ready to do so.
Outfield – Vladimir Guerrero .300 AVG, 83 Runs, 29 HR, 115 RBI, 4 SB
O-Rank 141, ADP 174, Rank 26
You have to love Vladi’s free swinging ways at the plate. He’s led the league in O-Swing% the past three years while hitting .303, .295 and .300 respectively. Talk about skills. Looking back, it seems pretty obvious that he was going to have a good season after signing with Texas, but I ended up with him on only one team despite the juicy ADP. Guerrero is a fav of mine and I’ll be cheering on Vladi and his gangsta limp during his quest for 500 Home Runs (he is 64 HR from the plateau). He’s getting older so maybe we can get the elderly discount at the draft table in 2011.
Outfield – Álex Ríos .284 AVG, 89 Runs, 21 HR, 88 RBI, 34 SB
O-Rank 138, ADP 165, Rank 27
What can I say about Ríos? He’s an up and down player who matched his career highs in all stats this season. You could get a 15/15 season from him one year and 20/30 the next. He doesn’t take many walks and those players tend to be streaky and less predictable than those who do wait for better pitches. I can’t spend an early round pick on this guy.
Utility – Corey Hart .283 AVG, 91 Runs, 31 HR, 102 RBI, 7 SB
O-Rank 179, ADP 233, Rank 32
After being benched for Jim Edmonds, of all people, Corey burst back onto the scene in May by hitting 11 HR in 17 games. You want to pay for that? Be my guest. Corey the Hitman Hart will likely hit .275 with 25 HR next year, serviceable numbers, but not worth any kind of reach. Insert Sunglasses at Night joke. Talk about HR streak. End scene.
Starting Pitcher – Roy Oswalt 211.2 IP, 13 Wins, 193 K, 2.76 ERA, 1.03 WHIP
O-Rank 168, ADP 163, Rank 15
Just when people were thinking Roy was slipping a little, he comes back and puts up his best numbers since his rookie season in 2001. He threw his Fastball less often and made more use of his Change-up. The Change-up had a bit more bite on it and this resulted in batters making less contact against him. A rise in K/9 and a favorable BABIP (17.6% LD% suggests it wasn’t all luck) led to the microscopic WHIP. I don’t want to say he will be overrated, but I don’t want to say he can replicate these numbers next year. The Change-up will be key.
Starting Pitcher – David Price 208.2 IP, 19 Wins, 188 K, 2.72 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
O-Rank 129, ADP NA, Rank 28
Oh, how about a Price is Right joke? No? Cool. I’m hoping he’s overrated next season so I can use the “Price is Wrong, Bitch” line. David Price basically improved across the board. His K/9 went up, the BB/9 went down, batters made less significant contact against him and his velocity increased. He still threw a lot of Fastballs (74%), but he used his Slider less often in favor of the Curveball. He was able to get batters to chase more pitches out of the zone and make less contact against them. He was out of the strike zone more often, but that’s expected when batters are chasing pitches and he’s getting ahead of the count with his increased F-Strike%. All of his pitches were positively valued. I really can’t say enough about David Price, all signs point to go. That “Price is Wrong, Bitch” line from Happy Gilmore may never be used.
Starting Pitcher – Mat Latos 184.2 IP, 14 Wins, 189 K, 2.92 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
O-Rank 287, ADP NA, Rank 31
How about that Mat Latos kid. 17 straight starts with two or less Earned Runs allowed. That streak would have been 22 games, but he allowed three Earned Runs in one of those starts. Not bad, eh? He’s got the talent, no question about that. The questions arose about his attitude. Shit, I’d welcome Milton Bradley with open arms if he could throw like that. Latos has the ability to rack up Strikeouts, limit walks and induce weak contact. There’s your holy trinity. What is going to talked about is the workload increase. He pitched 123 Innings across three levels in 2009 and pitched 184.2 Innings this year.
Starting Pitcher – Trevor Cahill 196.2 IP, 18 Wins, 118 K, 2.97 ERA, 1.11 WHIP
O-Rank 344, ADP NA, Rank 49
Trevor Cahill just posted fantastic numbers as a 22-year old. If he can tap into that Strikeout potential he displayed in the minors (10 K/9 in A ball), he is going to be something special. Cahill’s may not have struck out a lot of batters (5.4 K/9), but he helps himself by limiting walks and inducing a lot of weak contact (1.93 GB/FB, 15% LD%). Look for him to build arm strength, increase his velocity and K/9. Trevor Cahill makes for a good target, we’ll see what kind of price we have to pay for him next season.
Starting Pitcher – Clay Buchholz 173.2 IP, 17 Wins, 120 K, 2.33 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
O-Rank 278, ADP NA, Rank 52
I almost snubbed Buchholz in favor of Francisco Liriano, but Clay’s price was too cheap to ignore. I don’t think Buchholz pitched as well as his surface numbers suggest and his Rank has a lot of value tied into it from his 17 Wins. Buchholz got a lot of help from his high Left on Base Percentage (79%, league average was 72%), BABIP (.265) and 5.6% HR/FB%. His LD% was only 17.7% so the BABIP wasn’t all luck, but .265 is pretty low. The 79% LOB% was pretty high considering he didn’t strikeout a ton of batters (the 50.8% GB% helped though). So while Buchholz didn’t pitch as well as the surface numbers suggest, it wasn’t all luck and he is young and improving. We did see increased velocity on all four of his pitches and he used his Slider more often. We’ll have to see how far the Boston homers are reaching for him before we slap any kind of value related label on Clay.
Relief Pitcher – Neftali Feliz, John Axford, Matt Capps
Neftali Feliz was drafted as a middle reliever, an expensive one at that, but it didn’t take long before he was in the Closers role. Feliz never looked back as he racked up 40 Saves (blowing three) while posting excellent peripherals.
John Axford stole the job from Trevor Hoffman and I’ll never forgive him for that. Axford was able to overcome his bouts with wildness (4.19 BB/9) by striking out everyone and they mama (11.79 K/9). He racked up 24 Saves and 8 Wins while Trevor Hoffman was trying to figure out how to locate his Fastball.
Matt Capps was supposed to be the first Closer to lose his job as he had a shaky season with the Pirate in ’09 and was going to be shopped around while the Nationals groomed future Closer Drew Storen. Capps got off to a fast start and did end up being traded, but he inherited Jon Rauch’s job and ended up getting 42 Saves with the Nats and Twins.
Sabre stats provided by Fangraphs.com
ADP numbers provided by Yahoo!