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July 1, 2016

In-Season Fantasy Valuations

Second Edition, 2016

by Mike Gianella

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We are almost halfway through the 2016 season, so it is time to take a look at what players have earned year-to-date in fantasy baseball.

In the linked document, you will find values through games of Wednesday, June 29th for:

  • American League Hitters
  • American League Pitchers
  • National League Hitters
  • National League Pitchers

The formulas used to derive these valuations are not based on last year’s statistical formulas but rather on 2016 statistics year-to-date. Average salaries are based on the auction rosters for the CBS, LABR, and Tout Wars AL- and NL-only expert leagues. The formulas are SGP-based off of the aforementioned auction rosters for CBS, LABR, and Tout Wars.

Last time, I looked at how players were doing 54 games into the 2016 season compared to how they were doing in 2015 at approximately the same time. Today, I will compare the top 10 players from four weeks ago to where they currently stand.

Table 1: Top 10 AL Hitters 2016

Rank

2016 (81)

$

2016 (54)

$

2015 Final

$

1

Jose Altuve

$50

Jose Altuve

$49

Jose Altuve

$39

2

Ian Desmond

$41

Mookie Betts

$42

Josh Donaldson

$37

3

Mike Trout

$39

Xander Bogaerts

$41

Manny Machado

$35

4

Xander Bogaerts

$39

Mike Trout

$40

Lorenzo Cain

$35

5

Mookie Betts

$36

Ian Kinsler

$39

Mike Trout

$35

6

Eduardo Nunez

$34

David Ortiz

$38

Nelson Cruz

$32

7

Francisco Lindor

$33

Ian Desmond

$35

Mookie Betts

$31

8

Manny Machado

$33

Eric Hosmer

$35

Chris Davis

$29

9

David Ortiz

$32

Robinson Cano

$34

Jose Bautista

$29

10

Ian Kinsler

$32

Jackie Bradley Jr.

$33

J.D. Martinez

$29

Average

$37

$39

$33

Not only has Altuve kept up his amazing pace, he has slightly improved upon it. It’s difficult to earn $50 in 5x5 fantasy formats, but Altuve’s power speed combination is pushing him toward a historic fantasy season for a middle infielder. Four of the top five hitters on the list remain the same, with Desmond replacing Kinsler. Nunez is the biggest new addition; his crazy jump in stolen bases propels him all the way to sixth overall.

Table 2: Top 10 NL Hitters 2016

Rank

2016 (81)

2016 (54)

$

2015 Final

$

1

Starling Marte

$38

Daniel Murphy

$42

Paul Goldschmidt

$41

2

Jonathan Villar

$37

Starling Marte

$41

Dee Gordon

$41

3

Daniel Murphy

$36

Jonathan Villar

$39

A.J. Pollock

$40

4

Will Myers

$36

Gregory Polanco

$37

Bryce Harper

$39

5

Carlos Gonzalez

$35

Ryan Braun

$35

Charlie Blackmon

$34

6

Nolan Arenado

$34

Ben Zobrist

$34

Nolan Arenado

$34

7

Paul Goldschmidt

$33

Nolan Arenado

$33

Joey Votto

$32

8

Kris Bryant

$32

Dexter Fowler

$31

Anthony Rizzo

$32

9

Jean Segura

$31

Marcell Ozuna

$31

Starling Marte

$31

10

Ryan Braun

$30

Stephen Piscotty

$31

Ryan Braun

$31

Average

$34

$35

$35

As was the case last month, steals dominate at the top, with Marte and Villar both jumping past Murphy. The NL Top 10 had much more movement than the AL did, with half of the hitters on Table 2 new to the Top 10 from the previous update. Coors Field played a factor not only for Gonzalez and Arenado but for Goldschmidt and Segura, who benefited from a crazy series at Coors this past weekend. Bryant’s big five extra-base hit day helped him move to eighth overall.

Table 3: Top Ten AL Pitchers 2016

Rank

2016 (81)

$

2016 (54)

$

2015 Final

$

1

Chris Sale

$40

Chris Sale

$46

Dallas Keuchel

$35

2

Danny Salazar

$33

Rich Hill

$34

David Price

$32

3

Corey Kluber

$31

Jose Quintana

$33

Chris Sale

$26

4

Steven Wright

$30

Zach Britton

$30

Sonny Gray

$25

5

Zach Britton

$29

Steven Wright

$29

Chris Archer

$24

6

Cole Hamels

$29

Chris Tillman

$28

Corey Kluber

$24

7

Marco Estrada

$28

Roberto Osuna

$28

Andrew Miller

$23

8

Andrew Miller

$27

Danny Salazar

$27

Carlos Carrasco

$23

9

Rich Hill

$24

Marco Estrada

$27

Wade Davis

$22

10

Brad Brach

$24

Jordan Zimmermann

$27

Felix Hernandez

$22

Average

$30

$31

$26

Sale maintains as the top pitcher on the board but he isn’t nearly on the same excellent pace he was four weeks ago. Pitchers fluctuate far more than hitters, so it isn’t too much of a surprise to see significant changes in the Top 10. The biggest surprises to valuation novices are Miller and Brach, but relievers with great ERA/WHIP can and do make an impact. It is unlikely that Miller and especially Brach end the season in the Top 10, but a $15-20 season in AL-only from a reliever shouldn’t surprise.

Table 4: Top 10 NL Pitchers, 2015 versus 2016

Rank

2016 (81)

$

2016 (54)

$

2015 Final

$

1

Clayton Kershaw

$52

Clayton Kershaw

$56

Jake Arrieta

$44

2

Jake Arrieta

$37

Jake Arrieta

$44

Clayton Kershaw

$42

3

Jose Fernandez

$36

Johnny Cueto

$36

Zack Greinke

$41

4

Madison Bumgarner

$35

Stephen Strasburg

$34

Max Scherzer

$34

5

Johnny Cueto

$35

Noah Syndergaard

$33

Madison Bumgarner

$30

6

Max Scherzer

$34

Jose Fernandez

$33

Jacob deGrom

$28

7

Kenley Jansen

$33

Jon Lester

$30

Gerrit Cole

$28

8

Stephen Strasburg

$29

Madison Bumgarner

$30

Matt Harvey

$25

9

Noah Syndergaard

$29

Aaron Nola

$28

Mark Melancon

$25

10

Julio Teheran

$29

Jeff Samardzija

$27

Jeurys Familia

$23

Average

$35

$35

$32


Kershaw dipped slightly pre-injury. He will likely drop into the low-$40s in the next update. The Top 10 in the NL is a far more stable group than in the AL, with only three pitchers changing from the last update. Nola is a cautionary tale of the worst that can happen to a pitcher off to a strong start; after a terrible month, he is on pace to earn $10. Teheran is the other side of this coin. His ridiculous run over the last four weeks propelled him into the Top 10. The recent run of NL injuries shows that as stable as the top pitchers appear, volatility among pitchers is far more significant in-season than it is among hitters.

Mike Gianella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mike's other articles. You can contact Mike by clicking here

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