Let’s talk about “stars and scrubs.” Every fantasy owner has tried it, and sometimes it can pay off if you hit on the right combination of high-priced talent and roster filler that evolve into much more. Short-term, immediate success shouldn’t be the only goal. In dynasty leagues, the idea is to compete and dominate on a yearly basis when you find yourself in the right stage of the contention cycle. It’s important to acquire the best possible players, yes, but it’s just as important to find value with your less expensive guys at the back end of the roster. If you miss out on an elite talent, there is usually a way you can try to replicate that production later in the draft. Stars and scrubs can work, but often times only if you can find a way for your scrubs to be less, well, scrubby.
It’s the time of the year where we offer congratulations to those of you brave dynasty league owners that survived the offseason. The greatness that 2016 will surely offer is upon us and that means we’ll be spending the next six weeks moving our way through the positional landscape, offering thoughts on the respective values of roughly 700 players throughout the process.
We sincerely hope that you enjoy the countless hours of hard work that went into these rankings and continue to support The Dynasty Guru by showing your appreciation through this link or via the splendid ‘donate’ button located on the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated.
Players are ranked where they played 20 or more games at during the 2015 season at their highest position on the defensive spectrum, e.g. Chris Davis played 30 games in the outfield, meaning he’s an outfielder for our purposes. We can’t assume that a player will have eligibility at a position in the future (so no Hanley Ramirez at 1b for these rankings) or that a player will lose eligibility at a position in the future. This should clear things up for all non-Javier Baez/Jurickson Profar players, and we’ll do our best to explain where those players are ranked when the time comes. All DH types, such as Evan Gattis and David Ortiz, appear on the 1B rankings, as we will not be doing a UTIL rankings list.
As we move to our next grouping of outfielders, we start with a sweet-swinging 24-year old that could challenge for batting titles as he reaches his peak:
The “elite power is becoming scarce” narrative has been greatly exaggerated by the fantasy community in the last calendar year simply because the data strongly supports the theory. What about stolen bases? We don’t talk about speed at great length in the offseason because it’s “always available on the waiver wire” and predicting stolen base breakouts can be a tougher challenge than finding anyone who actually watched the Entourage movie. Sorry Mark Wahlberg. I’ll be there for Ted 2, I promise.
If elite power is on the downswing, is elite speed in decline as well? The numbers of hitters who have swiped at least 30 bags has declined in each of the past two years since 23 hitters accomplished the feat in 2012. Last season, just 15 batters stole 30 or more bases. It’s also extremely rare to find hitters who consistently post elite stolen base totals year after year. The only players to eclipse 30 steals in each of the past three seasons are Carlos Gomez, Jose Altuve and Rajai Davis.
There comes a time in fantasy baseball where many of us decide it’s time to branch out and try a new league. For many of you who spend time reading this site it is safe to say you are far more than the average fantasy baseball enthusiast. Here at The Dynasty Guru we cater to dynasty league owners of all formats and roster sizes and recently I decided to branch out into an 85-man roster linear weights league where I found myself having to dig deeper than ever to find value.
The 85-man league that I participate in holds a Rule 5 draft, International draft, and a Rule 4 amateur player draft. When I took hold of my team the Rule 5 draft had passed so myself and fellow TDG writer George Bissell had begun to prepare for the other two drafts. The international pool is always much harder to figure out since translating stats from other leagues can by dicey but when preparing for the Rule 4 draft we decided a good place to start was organizational track record.
Congratulations on surviving another off-season. Now that the new year is upon us, it’s time to spend the next month traveling across the positional landscape, labeling players with numbers that correspond to their value. It’s the very definition of freedom. A ton of hard work was put into these rankings, and will continue to be put in as we bring you just an ungodly amount of information over the next month. We hope you enjoy the product we’ve created, and if you’d like to show appreciation for that work you can do so through this link, or via the donate button on in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. All donations are truly appreciated.
The outfielders continue with one of the most difficult guys to rank in all of fantasy baseball…
21) Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 26)
11 Bold Predictions
You’re not here for intros. Here’s last year’s. Here’s the review of last year’s. Here’s this year’s train wreck:
1) Michael Choice gets 400+ plate appearances
Mitch Moreland is playing through a might-be-tweaked oblique right now and I think Choice is good enough to hold on to the job if he can get a crack at it full time. Between his ability to rotate into the outfield corners and hit for power that would be functional in Oakland much less Texas, Choice should earn plenty of playing time. If he does, it’s fantasy gravy.
Its time to have fun with some predictions. Some of my predictions are bold and some are BOLD but none of them are crazy. All of these things have a decent chance of actually happening, at least in my mind anyway. I can’t wait to brag about my psychic prognostication skills come October.
I am stepping out on a thin limb here with my first bold prediction because this rare feat has been done only one time in the history of baseball…
1. Billy Hamilton will steal 100 bases while scoring less than 100 Runs.
Take a look at Vince Coleman’s strange 1986 batting line:
PA — 670
R — 94
H — 139
2B — 13
3B — 8
HR — 0
RBI — 29
SB — 107
CS — 14
BA — 0.232
OBP — 0.301
SLG — 0.280
OPS — 0.581
OPS+ — 62
That is all sorts of ugly. Coleman got a lot of fanfare that season because of his antics on the basepaths, but he was just plain terrible batting in front of Tom Herr, Jack Clark, Andy Van Slyke, Terry Pendleton, Willie McGee and Ozzie Smith. The two are often compared, but Billy Hamilton is likely to be a much better all-around player than Vince Coleman both offensively and defensively. Hamilton won’t hit many home runs but he will get a lot more doubles and will hit for a much better slash line than Coleman, who finished his career with a very poor .668 OPS. My bold prediction is Hamilton will match Coleman’s dubious feat his rookie year but will get much better as time goes by.
2. Joey Votto will be the National League MVP. Continue reading