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.
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
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>