Comparing TDG Rankings: Infield
It’s been over two months since the Dynasty Guru first published their first baseball rankings in over 108 days, and since then we’ve published consensus ranks for every position and two top 500s from our gurus– Bret’s and Tom’s. We’ve ranked around 690 players total across all the different lists and discussed those rankings in our blurbs, in comments, and across multiple podcasts. Now it’s time for comparing rankings and finding some of the biggest differences.
Compared to Bret’s and Tom’s top 500 lists, which are auteurist products of singular fevered imaginations, the consensus ranks are an exercise of extreme collaboration. Multiple writers submit ranks for each position, those ranks are consolidated and then debated, and finally revised before we publish.
On a recent podcast, Tom and Bret explored some of the differences between their lists. Here I’ll dive deeper into where they both disagree with the consensus. I’ve pulled all the lists together and separated the top 500s by position, then compared the order Bret and Tom rank players within the position to the consensus rankings. I’ve highlighted some of the most interesting discrepancies at catcher, 1b, 2b, and 3b. There are enough discrepancies at shortstop to warrant its own post, and I’ll cover outfielders and starting pitchers next week.
Catcher- Zack Collins
Bret’s rank: 7th catcher (200 overall on his top 500)
Tom’s rank: 5th catcher (198 overall on his top 500)
Consensus rank: 21st catcher
Collins exposes one of the most obvious differences between the way an individual might rank dynasty baseball players compared to a ranking by committee. As a hyped first-round pick with a strong bat at a premium position, he’s a sexy name carrying a lot of potential value. For the consensus ranks, which don’t consider anything other than a player’s value within his position, Collins represents a tremendous amount of risk, he’s not as close to the majors as other top catcher prospects, and he’s entirely unproven.
As a trade chip or potential prospect cornerstone for a dynasty team’s farm, Collins is a valuable own. As a potential catcher, Collins is a bundle of question marks.
First Base- Matt Thaiss
Bret’s Rank: 26th 1b (308 overall)
Tom’s Rank: 25th 1b (318 overall)
Consensus Rank: Not Ranked
Of the ten TDG writers who submitted 1b rankings AND the dozens who participated in the debate around the final consensus rank, NONE of us thought to include Matt Thaiss. Yonder Alonso got more love than Thaiss. This could be a product of his last name being kind of weird– TDG writers had a VERY hard time with names (literally no two of us spelled Travis Demeritte’s name the same on our individual lists). More likely, it’s the product of Thaiss being an outside-the-top-100 first base prospect with questionable power. 1B prospects are a tough group to rank, but we all (Bret and Tom included) agreed more or less on guys like Trey Mancini, Bobby Bradley, and Rowdy Tellez. I’m going to go on a limb and side with the consensus over Bret and Tom. He should have been on our list, maybe as a top 30 1b, but it seems unlikely that he will be the best of the current crop of 1b prospects to justify where he fits on Bret’s and Tom’s lists.
Second Base– Brian Dozier
Bret’s Rank: 7th 2b (90th overall)
Tom’s Rank: 5th 2b (67th overall)
Consensus Rank: 2nd 2b
Trea Turner is the second best second baseman for dynasty leagues. Not Brian Dozier. Tom and Bret have righted a wrong perpetrated in these very pages with their rankings (more or less). Peek behind the curtain with me. Of the 9 TDG writers who submitted 2b ranks, seven ranked Trea Turner as the 2nd or 3rd best 2b. Only 4 ranked Dozier as 2nd or 3rd best. I personally had Turner the lowest of all TDG writers at 5th 2b, and I had Dozier behind him at 6th.
This is where the process we follow around consensus rankings comes in. After the 2b ranks were consolidated, Turner’s average rank was 2.888. Dozier was tied with Cano at an average score of 4.7. During the debate, the plurality of voices agreed that there were too many question marks around Turner to justify having him so high in a position that’s deeper than it’s been in a hot minute, and as discussed in the 2b rankings podcast, fearless editor Ben Diamond decided to move him behind Dozier and Cano. This pushed Dozier up without much in the way of discussion.
Brian Dozier is a pretty good 2b, who could get traded and be an exceptional player for a few seasons. Turner could have a down year and fall down this list. But heading into 2017, Brian Dozier is not the second best second baseman for dynasty leagues.
Third Base- Ryan McMahon
Bret’s Rank: 29th 3b (337 overall)
Tom’s Rank: 28th 3b (334 overall)
Consensus Rank: 40th 3b
McMahon’s prospect star has fallen quite a lot in the past year, but Bret and Tom seem to have some hope that his bat can contribute enough to carry him even if he potentially moves off the position. It’s hard to say how many TDG writers WOULDN’T include McMahon as a top 500 overall player, but justifying his placement even within the top 40 3b’s is a hard sell since he’s not a lock to stay at third and he’d need a return to form for his bat to warrant inclusion in the Thaiss-less first base rankings. Coors can forgive a lot of wrongs, but McMahon is blocked at the position he’d be most valuable to dynasty players were he to stay at Coors. Like Collins, this is a story of overall value compared to positional value. McMahon is potentially worth more to your team as a trade chip than as a future third baseman.