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May 28, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

Success Stories in the Endgame, Part One

by Mike Gianella


After a very slow start, George Springer arrived with a vengeance this past weekend. His sizzling 1.091 OPS in May is seventh-best in the majors for the month and the buzz/wow factor or whatever the heck you want to call it is extremely high. For the purposes of comparison, Springer has a 268/348/500 slash line in his first 155 major league plate appearances. Mike Trout had a .220/.284/.376 slash over his first 155 plate appearances. It’s an apples-to-bananas comparison given that Springer is almost two years older than Trout is now, but it is nevertheless amazing how quickly Springer has broken through.

It is also an aberration.

Earlier this month, I documented the performance of Baseball Prospectus’ top 20 hitting prospects between 2009-2013 in mixed league formats. Over the last five years, 26 of these prospects have accrued 100 or more plate appearances in a single season. Only half of these hitters were mixed league worthy (12-team league) and only three—Buster Posey in 2010, Bryce Harper in 2012, and Wil Myers in 2013—finished among the top half of mixed league hitters. Hats off to you if you drafted Springer this year, but if you were counting on elite production, you were really hoping that Springer bucked historical trends.

In keeper leagues, performances like Springer’s lead some owners to inappropriately value all rookies and bet entirely on the upside. Contenders ask for the moon and the stars for their elite prospects, and far too often the teams out of contention pay the full asking price.

There is another avenue to building a competitive team if you’re playing for next year, and that is mining your opponents for lower-profile players on the cheap. This week I will take a look at the hitters who fit this profile; next week I will focus on the pitchers.

Many owners don’t even consider this approach because at first glance the ROI from seems underwhelming.

Table 1: Rate of Return on $1-3 AL and NL Only Hitters: 2009-2013

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Related Content:  Fantasy,  Endgame

8 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

jfranco77

What's the deal with the NL? Their value is significantly higher than the AL. Is it just because they used to have 16 teams so there was more available on the FA list prior to 2013?

May 28, 2014 04:44 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

The difference in league sizes is part of it. The DH/no DH is part of it as well. You need more guys on the back end in NL leagues with versatility/utility.

May 28, 2014 06:53 AM
 
Jack Edwards

Great article Mike! My question for you is which of the following SP could you see having either a fair chance of reaching the big leagues sometime this summer AND/OR having some sort of meaningful impact for deep mixed league fantasy players? And could you provide some expert insight on a couple of the following players?

A.J Cole, J.R Graham, Eddie Buttler, Jonathan Gray, Alex Meyer, Mike Montgomery, Matt Wisler, Casey Kelly, Allen Webster, Johan Santana, Kyle Zimmer, Mike Fiers, Mike Foltynewicz, Jared Cosart, Jeremy Helickson, Marcus Stroman, Jimmy Nelson, Erasmo Ramirez, David Hale, J.A Happ, Samuel Deduno

May 28, 2014 12:46 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

It's going to be one of Butler or Gray, Meyer, Wisler, Cosart, Hellickson, Stroman, Nelson, and Ramirewz.

Jun 03, 2014 07:22 AM
 
jayson14

Puig wasn't a top 20 hitting prospect in 2013?

May 28, 2014 16:29 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

#79

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19694

May 28, 2014 17:46 PM
 
bird3478

Question for Mike or anyone reading this. I have Springer in one of my 3 minor league slots in a 10 team, 5 player keeper league. I'm towards the top in the standings and want to make a run for the championship. I am VERY tempted to "call up" Springer but doing so will force me to keep him next year (assuming he's a future keeper-type player). Worth the possible win this year? I've been stung in the past by this same type of move: I brought up Hosmer in 2011 in the middle of the season and kept him for the 2012 season - not a good idea.

May 29, 2014 05:07 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

Given how Springer has performed, I think you have to assume the future risk and worry about next year next year. Do you have a good chance of winning?

Jun 03, 2014 07:20 AM
 
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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Wil... (05/28)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Wil... (05/28)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Suc... (06/03)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Closer to Me: Week Nin... (05/28)

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