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Catcher article

Postby Broncmet724 » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:24 pm

Something I read on my web browsing recently I thought I'd share with everyone. Draw your own conclusions, and discuss if you like. Read it on Roto Rebel

One of the most pressing questions in fantasy baseball drafts is whether or not it’s worthwhile to go after a top-tier catcher. Well, I’m about to put the debate to rest once and for all.

First let me start by saying that, technically, a catcher cannot help your team. As my Rebel Ratings (unweighted) indicate, no catcher in the league right now produces more than the average fantasy player in a typical 12-team league. With that in mind, logic would suggest that ignoring catchers and taking whoever is left at the end of the draft is the best approach, right? Wrong. Way wrong. How can that be? Well, when it comes to catchers, it’s not about how much they can help you but rather how much they can hurt you. To put that into perspective, consider this: A mediocre starting catcher will hurt your team as much as an elite player will help your team. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the numbers:

One catcher who would be a candidate to pick up late in the draft is Ramon Hernandez. (His ADP is around 228, which is actually good value given that he's my 9th-ranked catcher.) So let’s say we project him to hit .262 with 16 HR, 66 RBI, 51 runs, and one SB in 405 AB. Sound about right? Well, considering that the average fantasy starter hits approximately .285 with 22 HR, 86 RBI, 88 runs, and 12 SB, Hernandez would effectively nullify the value of a guy who hits .300 with 28 HR, 106 RBI, 125 runs, and 23 SB. Yikes! By contrast, a guy like Joe Mauer (-0.14 Rebel Rating) will not hurt you, because his production is very close to that of the average fantasy starter.

But let’s get straight to the heart of the matter. We can do that by comparing the production we would get by drafting a top catcher versus what we would get if we did not. So, let’s say in Scenario A we draft Joe Mauer with the 51st pick (his ADP). In Scenario B, we take Ramon Hernandez with the 219th pick. In Scenario A, drafting Mauer with the 51st pick would leave us with the 219th pick open. With that, we could take, say, Hank Blalock (ADP = 224). In Scenario B, taking Ramon Hernandez with the 219th pick would free up the 51st pick. Hopefully, we could get Jacoby Ellsbury (ADP = 55) at that spot. So, which scenario would work out better? Let’s break it down.

Scenario A
Player AVG HR R RBI SB
Joe Mauer 0.325 12 92 76 5
Hank Blalock 0.288 24 73 78 3
Totals .305 36 165 164 8


Scenario B
Player AVG HR R RBI SB
Ramon Hernandez 0.262 16 51 66 1
Jacoby Ellsbury 0.290 14 110 58 55
Totals .276 30 161 124 56


Clearly, we did better by investing in Mauer. And the same logic applies to auction leagues. Better to spend $25 on Mauer and $16 on Blalock than $11 on Hernandez and $29 on Ellsbury.

Interesting thoughts on a well discussed topic. Personally I might go with the Ellsbury comparison. Those SBs are hard to pass up <shrug>
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Re: Catcher article

Postby j24jags » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:37 pm

There's no right or wrong answer it all depends on how you build the rest of your team...
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Re: Catcher article

Postby dclark0699 » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:45 pm

In your example if we have higher avg guys to balance that out who maybe lack speed (Miguel Cabrera etc.) then Jacoby and Hernandez would probably be a better way to go.

But as another example a combination of Joe Mauer and Adam LaRoche last year would have netted you .292, 164 R, 34 HR, 170 RBI. 2 SB
A Combo of Bengie Molina and Garrett Atkins would have gotten you .289, 132, 37, 194, 1. Less runs but more RBI and HR.

There is no clear cut answer because maybe you take Brian McCann early and grab Dustin Pedroia late. Or Jorge Cantu. But maybe you grab Robinson Cano and JR Towels.
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Re: Catcher article

Postby bazzy_51 » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:47 pm

but if you look at it with a different player that can be contradicted...

take for example Big Papi with an ADP of around 52...

David Ortiz .306 34 92 102 1 (in only 130 games projected)
Ramon Hernandez .262 16 51 66 1
Totals .284 50 143 168 2

as compared to Mauer and Blalock
Joe Mauer 0.325 12 92 76 5
Hank Blalock 0.288 24 73 78 3
Totals .305 36 165 164 8

so which line is better to draft?
.284 50 143 168 2
.305 36 165 164 8

don't really think it much matters as long as you make up value with 1 or 2 other players...it really depends on how you draft the remainder of your team... the whole C thing i don't think matters quite as much as just taking the best value available to fill needs....
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Re: Catcher article

Postby Art Vandelay » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:54 pm

That was a lot of words to say, "If my projections are correct, you'll be better off with Mauer and Blalock than Ellsbury and Hernandez," which is all that he "proved."
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Re: Catcher article

Postby Broncmet724 » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:00 pm

True, I didn't really look at the projections compared to mine. And you can swing players in and out and come up with many different comparisons also I am sure
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Re: Catcher article

Postby jcook3127 » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:17 pm

Is it just me or does the 40 RBI and 30 points of batting average barely outweigh the 50 steals you get going with Ramon/Jacoby.....not to mention you could fill that #51 spot with a power guy and probably turn out much better HR/RBI than the Mauer/Blalock combination....not to mention 24/75 for Blalock is probably optimistic given his recent past...

This is just way too arbitrary and not nearly powerful enough to sway anybody on the issue...

I've done drafts where I am one of the first couple of people to draft a catcher...I've done drafts where I am one of the last people to draft a catcher...and I've won in both circumstances....as long as you are getting value with your picks, that's the only measuring stick available...

Does a healthy Mauer or McCann have vale at their lofty ADPs...ABSOLUTELY...and for the same reason that the author of this article mentioned...the value there is McCann's numbers - Ramon's.....

Is there value in waiting until the cost of your catcher is minimized and just picking up 15/60/55/.270.....ABSOLUTELY, provided you spent that 5-6th round pick on a productive player...

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Re: Catcher article

Postby Ender » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:19 pm

This misses the entire point of why you don't draft C or P early. SP, RP and C are all much more volatile than other positions. The players get hurt more often and since they play less you find more value in later rounds every year. Last season picking Doumit or Ianetta you got a ton more value than McCann or Martin types can ever get you. Top end C are pretty much all downside and risk, no reward.

SP, RP, C - very risk
MI, 3B - risky
1B, OF - safe

So while VORP style systems show where value is assuming you hit your projections, the actual position itself carries more inherent risk and less upside so you need to devalue them just like you do with SP/RP.
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Re: Catcher article

Postby silverZ » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:30 am

I'm happy grabbing Navarro in the 2nd last round. Martin and Mccain are for suckers.
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Re: Catcher article

Postby The_Natural » Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:06 am

Don't we need to distinguish between 1 and 2 catcher leagues before we have this discussion?
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