Category Archives: Positional Ranking

1984 All Star Picks Part 1

Today Cubs close out the Pittsburgh series by beating them 8-7 in another opposite of a pitching duel game with Rueschel giving up 5 runs in 5 IP and Lee Smith blowing a save in the ninth allowing PIT to tie.

All Star game coming up on July 10th so let’s look at the top players in each position based upon this data model and compare them to players fans picked. In Part 1 we’ll cover the 4 infield positions, 1B , 2B , 3B , and SS.

First Base

Rank WAA Name TeamID Pos
+003+ 3.97 Leon_Durham CHN 1B
+009+ 3.76 Eddie_Murray BAL 1B
+010+ 3.74 Willie_Upshaw TOR 1B
+017+ 3.25 Alvin_Davis SEA 1B
+029+ 2.79 Don_Mattingly NYA 1B-LF
+082+ 1.68 Barbaro_Garbey DET 1B-3B-DH
+099+ 1.45 Tim_Corcoran PHI 1B-RF
+116+ 1.28 Kent_Hrbek MIN 1B
XXXXX 1.13 Len_Matuszek PHI 1B
XXXXX 1.09 Gerald_Perry ATL 1B-LF

This model picks Leon Durham and Eddie Murray highlighted above in bold blue for NL, bold red  for AL.  For this exercise we’ll use this list on Wikipedia.  Survey says: Rod Carew for AL, Steve Garvey for NL.  Neither player is in the top ten list above according to this data model.  Both players are unranked at this point in the season.

Starters are voted on by fans with real hand punched hanging chad paper ballots.  Both Carew and Garvey are near the end of great careers so name recognition prevailed here.

Eddie Murray and Mattingly make the reserves.

Second Base

Rank WAA Name TeamID Pos
+028+ 2.81 Ryne_Sandberg CHN 2B
XXXXX 1.24 Joe_Morgan OAK 2B
XXXXX 1.18 Juan_Samuel PHI 2B
XXXXX 0.76 Lou_Whitaker DET 2B
XXXXX 0.71 Tim_Flannery SDN 2B-3B-SS
XXXXX 0.71 Tim_Teufel MIN 2B
XXXXX 0.57 Jerry_Royster ATL 2B-3B-SS-LF
XXXXX 0.46 Alan_Bannister TEX 2B-DH
XXXXX 0.4 Glenn_Hubbard ATL 2B
XXXXX 0.17 Alan_Bannister TOT 2B-DH

The people pick Lou Whitaker for AL, Ryno for NL.

Third Base

Rank WAA Name TeamID Pos
+012+ 3.65 Mike_Schmidt PHI 3B
+054+ 2.1 Wayne_Gross BAL 3B
+060+ 1.97 Ron_Cey CHN 3B
+107+ 1.39 Howard_Johnson DET 3B
XXXXX 0.88 Bob_Horner ATL 3B
XXXXX 0.8 Graig_Nettles SDN 3B
XXXXX 0.73 Pedro_Guerrero LAN 3B-RF-CF-1B
XXXXX 0.55 Richie_Hebner CHN 3B
XXXXX 0.4 George_Brett KCA 3B
XXXXX 0.4 Nick_Esasky CIN 3B-1B

Schmidt gets the nod for NL, Brett for AL.  

Shortstop

Rank WAA Name TeamID Pos
+038+ 2.46 Cal_Ripken BAL SS
+048+ 2.25 Alan_Trammell DET SS-DH
XXXXX 0.5 Mario_Ramirez SDN SS
XXXXX 0.13 Robin_Yount MIL SS-DH
XXXXX 0.08 Tom_Foley CIN SS-2B
XXXXX 0.06 Spike_Owen SEA SS
XXXXX 0.04 Jerry_Dybzinski CHA SS-3B
XXXXX 0.02 Dave_Owen CHN SS
XXXXX 0 Lenny_Faedo MIN SS

Fans pick Cal Ripken of course for AL and Ozzie Smith for NL.

This is still early in the season.  Only 96 118 of  787 players are rank eligible but fans must choose who they think is best with less than 1/2 season of data.  In Part 2 we’ll look at Catcher and outfield positions and Part 3 we’ll cover pitchers. 

Tomorrow Cubs start a series with the Dodgers which will be next matchup post.  Until then …

Fantasy Baseball

Although fantasy baseball has been around for decades it has exploded with the advent of easy access to the Internet and emergence of sites like Draft Kings.   What makes a player excel on a fantasy baseball team does not necessarily mean they excel on their real team.

It was brought to my attention that perhaps modeling and ranking players in fantasy leagues might be a useful exercise and it only took around 700 lines of code to make it happen.  This post will show the top players in each position based upon 2019 numbers.  For this exercise we’ll only look at the head to head leagues where points are tabulated as followed.  This table was published on the CBS sports page.

head2head
Looks like runs and rbis aren’t very important for hitters and neither are earned runs for pitchers.  Whatever.  This is supposed to be fun, not an actual valuation of these players.  Let’s look at the top players in each position.

Unlike in this model where we rank pitchers and hitters together, in Fantasy pitchers have a separate ranking.  Pitchers can be ranked with hitters in this data model because for every run a hitter scores is a run a pitcher gives up making it exactly symmetrical.  We also rank pitchers with hitters with WAR only for comparison.

In WAR hitters make up 60% of total value, pitchers 40%.  It’s close enough to rank them together.  In Fantasy hitting total points is almost 2x pitchers meaning hitters make up 2/3 or 66% of total value.

In 2019 hitters accumulated 182,837 points at a rate of 0.980 points per plate appearance.  Not sure if that was by design to be close to 1/pa  or just how it happened.  In 2018 it was 0.933 and 0.952/pa in 2017.  The ball bounces differently each season.

Pitchers accumulated a total of 89,349 points in 2019 for an average of 0.686/out.  This model uses outs as a measure of time for pitchers, plate appearances for hitters.  A starter who pitches 6 complete innings should accumulate around 12 points.  This is an average across both starters and relievers.  Relievers pitch less innings but accumulate points at a faster rate.  In the tables below we lump them all together.

Points above average which uses a similar methodology to how Wins above average was calculated for each player but won’t be shown as it might confuse.   Due to the disparity in how points are distributed between players PAA should not be used for ranking purposes.  KISS requires ranking on total points accumulated per season.

The WAA and WAR columns show ranks for each value system covered here to provide context. Fantasy league values are points in a game for fun and do not necessarily reflect a player’s contribution to their real team winning.   For example, wins and losses are meaningless for pitchers and a legacy stat carried over from old school baseball when starting pitchers used to pitch an entire game.  Nowadays a reliever can come in, give up a bunch of runs to tie the game and receive a W for a bad outing.  In modern baseball the W and L stat are often randomly allocated.   Randomness is part of the fun in a game like Fantasy baseball however.

The below tables will cover top 15 point players for each position player and top 35 pitchers in 2019.  Since hitter ranks do not include pitchers and vice versa you kind of have to double the rank number to get an apples to apples comparison with the WAA and WAR columns.

Fantasy Position 1B

Rank Points Name Pos WAA WAR
+002+ 849 Pete_Alonso 1B +031+ +038+
+008+ 791 Freddie_Freeman 1B +013+ +055+
+022+ 732 Rhys_Hoskins 1B XXXXX XXXXX
+023+ 730 Jose_Abreu 1B +086+ +166+
+024+ 729 Paul_Goldschmidt 1B +129+ +134+
+027+ 725 Carlos_Santana 1B +091+ +049+
+031+ 706 Josh_Bell 1B +019+ +124+
+053+ 654 Christian_Walker 1B XXXXX +134+
+056+ 641 Anthony_Rizzo 1B +092+ +073+
+058+ 637 Eric_Hosmer 1B XXXXX XXXXX
+060+ 633 Danny_Santana 1B-CF +069+ +176+
+064+ 628 Matt_Olson 1B +098+ +035+
+069+ 608 Yuli_Gurriel 1B-3B +052+ +108+
+093+ 563 Brandon_Belt 1B-LF -123- XXXXX
+100+ 555 Joey_Votto 1B -071- XXXXX

Fantasy Position 2B

Rank Points Name Pos WAA WAR
+010+ 787 Jonathan_Villar 2B-SS XXXXX +066+
+032+ 704 Ozzie_Albies 2B +192+ +041+
+033+ 704 Max_Muncy 2B-1B +029+ +023+
+035+ 700 Whit_Merrifield 2B-RF XXXXX +066+
+047+ 669 DJ_LeMahieu 2B-3B +035+ +019+
+054+ 647 Rougned_Odor 2B +119+ XXXXX
+078+ 595 Ryan_McMahon 2B-3B +159+ XXXXX
+084+ 575 Starlin_Castro 2B-3B -160- XXXXX
+089+ 571 Jose_Altuve 2B +089+ +085+
+091+ 565 Cesar_Hernandez 2B -197- +158+
+094+ 561 Freddy_Galvis 2B XXXXX XXXXX
+120+ 528 Asdrubal_Cabrera 2B +078+ XXXXX
+127+ 509 Kolten_Wong 2B -174- +043+
+136+ 490 Cavan_Biggio 2B XXXXX +134+
+137+ 490 Adam_Frazier 2B -128- +141+

Fantasy Position 3B

Rank Points Name Pos WAA WAR
+007+ 793 Eugenio_Suarez 3B +139+ +049+
+013+ 782 Alex_Bregman 3B-SS +011+ +002+
+014+ 782 Rafael_Devers 3B +006+ +033+
+018+ 756 Anthony_Rendon 3B +005+ +015+
+019+ 745 Josh_Donaldson 3B +102+ +018+
+025+ 729 Eduardo_Escobar 3B-2B +051+ +059+
+026+ 726 Nolan_Arenado 3B +022+ +023+
+028+ 720 Matt_Chapman 3B +106+ +013+
+029+ 710 Kris_Bryant 3B-RF +109+ +092+
+050+ 657 Yoan_Moncada 3B +171+ +047+
+055+ 643 Manny_Machado 3B-SS XXXXX +112+
+057+ 640 Hunter_Dozier 3B-RF XXXXX XXXXX
+072+ 600 Mike_Moustakas 3B-2B +125+ +108+
+080+ 590 Miguel_Sano 3B +038+ +112+
+104+ 554 Jose_Ramirez 3B XXXXX +102+

Fantasy Position Catcher

Rank Points Name Pos WAA WAR
+049+ 658 Yasmani_Grandal CR-1B XXXXX +158+
+066+ 626 J.T._Realmuto CR +100+ +055+
+123+ 520 Gary_Sanchez CR +104+ +112+
+128+ 508 Christian_Vazquez CR XXXXX +187+
+129+ 504 James_McCann CR XXXXX +077+
+150+ 474 Jorge_Alfaro CR -167- XXXXX
+157+ 466 Robinson_Chirinos CR XXXXX +077+
+158+ 466 Mitch_Garver CR +033+ +066+
+159+ 462 Willson_Contreras CR +177+ +112+
+160+ 461 Roberto_Perez CR XXXXX +073+
+164+ 458 Omar_Narvaez CR XXXXX XXXXX
+171+ 441 Wilson_Ramos CR XXXXX XXXXX
+202+ 391 Travis_d’Arnaud CR-1B +130+ XXXXX
+208+ 372 Carson_Kelly CR XXXXX XXXXX
+213+ 367 Yadier_Molina CR XXXXX XXXXX

Fantasy Position LF

Rank Points Name Pos WAA WAR
+012+ 783 Juan_Soto LF +020+ +043+
+037+ 687 Kyle_Schwarber LF +146+ +176+
+051+ 655 Tommy_Pham LF XXXXX +085+
+074+ 598 Marcell_Ozuna LF +084+ XXXXX
+075+ 596 Andrew_Benintendi LF-CF XXXXX XXXXX
+076+ 595 Michael_Brantley LF +124+ +047+
+079+ 594 Eddie_Rosario LF-RF +024+ XXXXX
+085+ 575 Bryan_Reynolds LF-RF +200+ +073+
+087+ 573 Joc_Pederson LF-RF +090+ +102+
+092+ 564 Jeff_McNeil LF-RF +175+ +038+
+095+ 560 Domingo_Santana LF-RF XXXXX XXXXX
+098+ 556 Eloy_Jimenez LF +174+ XXXXX
+107+ 550 Alex_Gordon LF XXXXX XXXXX
+113+ 545 Ryan_Braun LF +160+ XXXXX
+117+ 539 Wil_Myers LF-CF XXXXX XXXXX

Fantasy Position CF

Rank Points Name Pos WAA WAR
+001+ 890 Ronald_Acuna_Jr. CF-LF +030+ +031+
+011+ 783 Mike_Trout CF +012+ +003+
+036+ 687 Ketel_Marte CF-2B +065+ +010+
+043+ 671 George_Springer CF-RF +023+ +017+
+062+ 629 Starling_Marte CF +075+ +124+
+065+ 627 Victor_Robles CF-RF XXXXX +064+
+081+ 589 Brett_Gardner CF-LF +126+ +066+
+086+ 574 Kevin_Pillar CF-RF XXXXX XXXXX
+088+ 572 Jackie_Bradley_Jr. CF XXXXX XXXXX
+096+ 557 Ramon_Laureano CF-RF +108+ +077+
+102+ 555 Mallex_Smith CF-RF -039- XXXXX
+109+ 548 Scott_Kingery CF-3B XXXXX +121+
+112+ 546 Mark_Canha CF-RF XXXXX +049+
+114+ 542 Leury_Garcia CF-RF -089- XXXXX
+119+ 528 Teoscar_Hernandez CF-LF XXXXX XXXXX

Fantasy Position RF

Rank Points Name Pos WAA WAR
+003+ 818 Cody_Bellinger RF-1B +008+ +001+
+004+ 814 Bryce_Harper RF +045+ +059+
+009+ 789 Christian_Yelich RF +027+ +009+
+017+ 758 Mookie_Betts RF-CF +039+ +012+
+020+ 742 Trey_Mancini RF-1B +074+ +102+
+030+ 708 Michael_Conforto RF-CF +134+ +095+
+038+ 687 Nicholas_Castellanos RF-LF XXXXX +141+
+039+ 684 Charlie_Blackmon RF +049+ +176+
+040+ 677 Austin_Meadows RF +111+ +077+
+046+ 670 Kole_Calhoun RF XXXXX +176+
+061+ 630 Yasiel_Puig RF XXXXX XXXXX
+063+ 629 Randal_Grichuk RF-CF XXXXX XXXXX
+067+ 624 Max_Kepler RF-CF +046+ +066+
+071+ 605 Adam_Eaton RF XXXXX XXXXX
+090+ 570 Dexter_Fowler RF-CF XXXXX XXXXX

Fantasy Position DH

Rank Points Name Pos WAA WAR
+005+ 813 Jorge_Soler DH-RF +054+ +085+
+021+ 741 J.D._Martinez DH-RF +041+ +102+
+034+ 700 Shin-Soo_Choo DH-RF XXXXX XXXXX
+042+ 672 Nelson_Cruz DH +014+ +058+
+068+ 609 Renato_Nunez DH-1B XXXXX XXXXX
+070+ 606 Franmil_Reyes DH XXXXX XXXXX
+077+ 595 Daniel_Vogelbach DH-1B XXXXX XXXXX
+097+ 556 Edwin_Encarnacion DH-1B +043+ +141+
+125+ 516 Khris_Davis DH XXXXX XXXXX
+138+ 489 Yordan_Alvarez DH-LF +042+ +085+
+151+ 473 Shohei_Ohtani DH XXXXX +158+
+165+ 455 Miguel_Cabrera DH-1B -020- XXXXX
+206+ 378 Hunter_Pence DH-LF +076+ XXXXX
+393+ 145 Nick_Solak DH-3B XXXXX XXXXX
+413+ 127 Kendrys_Morales DH -107- -065-

Fantasy Pitchers

Rank Points Name Pos WAA WAR
+001+ 771 Justin_Verlander PITCH +001+ +005+
+002+ 750 Gerrit_Cole PITCH +002+ +010+
+003+ 628 Zack_Greinke PITCH +009+ +028+
+004+ 623 Stephen_Strasburg PITCH +028+ +015+
+005+ 603 Shane_Bieber PITCH +018+ +038+
+006+ 592 Jacob_deGrom PITCH +003+ +008+
+007+ 560 Charlie_Morton PITCH +021+ +035+
+008+ 548 Jack_Flaherty PITCH +007+ +021+
+009+ 547 Clayton_Kershaw PITCH +025+ +095+
+010+ 545 Patrick_Corbin PITCH +026+ +023+
+011+ 534 Hyun-Jin_Ryu PITCH +004+ +035+
+012+ 533 Lance_Lynn PITCH +057+ +007+
+013+ 524 Walker_Buehler PITCH +036+ +187+
+014+ 520 Eduardo_Rodriguez PITCH +114+ +019+
+015+ 519 Luis_Castillo PITCH +040+ +043+
+016+ 504 Max_Scherzer PITCH +017+ +022+
+017+ 495 Lucas_Giolito PITCH +044+ +028+
+018+ 490 Jose_Berrios PITCH +077+ +102+
+019+ 488 Mike_Minor PITCH +050+ +005+
+020+ 487 Madison_Bumgarner PITCH +133+ +158+
+021+ 480 Aaron_Nola PITCH +117+ +085+
+022+ 473 Mike_Soroka PITCH +010+ +023+
+023+ 464 Josh_Hader PITCH +096+ +147+
+024+ 464 Sonny_Gray PITCH +015+ +028+
+025+ 456 Zack_Wheeler PITCH +168+ +095+
+026+ 456 Trevor_Bauer PITCH XXXXX XXXXX
+027+ 454 Mike_Fiers PITCH +156+ +124+
+028+ 440 Noah_Syndergaard PITCH XXXXX +176+
+029+ 437 Will_Smith PITCH +135+ +197+
+030+ 433 Roberto_Osuna PITCH +121+ XXXXX
+031+ 428 Marco_Gonzales PITCH +141+ +108+
+032+ 426 Kirby_Yates PITCH +047+ +134+
+033+ 421 Yu_Darvish PITCH +169+ +102+
+034+ 420 German_Marquez PITCH XXXXX +095+
+035+ 418 Domingo_German PITCH XXXXX XXXXX

Head to head fantasy leagues are simplest to model as they merely require adding up points. Rotisserie leagues are far more complicated where player compositions depend upon a seasonal strategy for doing well in certain categories.  Since this baseball season is delayed maybe I’ll give it a try but not sure.

More simulation changes coming soon.  It the season doesn’t start until May then we can’t start ranking players, simulating. and handicapping games until June and possibly beyond More on this later.  Until then ….

All Star Picks Part 3

Today is the last installment of this series and the only position not covered is pitching.  Apparently fans do not vote on this and it’s decided by the team managers and the commissioner of baseball.  We’re going to split pitchers into starters and relievers.  Starters pitch a lot of innings so the good ones can build up enough value to contend for top of the league status.   A relief pitcher has to pitch lights out, very low ERA because they don’t accrue nearly as many innings pitched.  A team needs relievers with very very low ERA because they need zeros put up on the board in the later innings, no matter which inning that is.

That said,  the number one most valuable player in the history of MLB playoffs is Mariano Rivera.  He beats out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, everyone.  We’ll discuss playoff rankings sometime later.  Relievers do top the league sometime.  For example, on this day in 1977 this guy was ranked #6.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+006+ 5.27 Bruce_Sutter_CHN PITCH  7/1/1977

Plop plop fizz fizz oh what a relief it is.  At 5.27 he’s the same value as our top pick for AL starter this season.

Here are the top ten starters in MLB as of all games up to and including yesterday.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 5.98 Max_Scherzer_WAS PITCH
+004+ 5.27 Jason_Vargas_KCA PITCH
+005+ 5.14 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH
+006+ 4.56 Dallas_Keuchel_HOU PITCH
+010+ 4.12 Chris_Sale_BOS PITCH
+011+ 4.09 Alex_Wood_LAN PITCH
+016+ 3.57 Carlos_Martinez_SLN PITCH
+017+ 3.53 Ervin_Santana_MIN PITCH
+021+ 3.38 Gio_Gonzalez_WAS PITCH
+022+ 3.32 Mike_Leake_SLN PITCH

Ervin Santana topped the league at the end of May and now he’s #17.  It’s hard staying on top and few pitchers can do it consistently.  One of them is Clayton Kershaw.  The blue and tan highlights show our top pick and then secondary starter.  All these pitchers are good enough to be considered All Stars.  Now let’s look at relief.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+020+ 3.38 Felipe_Rivero_PIT PITCH
+030+ 2.88 Pat_Neshek_PHI PITCH
+031+ 2.86 Andrew_Miller_CLE PITCH
+033+ 2.83 Corey_Knebel_MIL PITCH
+039+ 2.75 Craig_Kimbrel_BOS PITCH
+041+ 2.71 Kenley_Jansen_LAN PITCH
+049+ 2.56 Joe_Kelly_BOS PITCH
+051+ 2.50 Archie_Bradley_ARI PITCH
+054+ 2.46 Raisel_Iglesias_CIN PITCH
+056+ 2.37 Nick_Goody_CLE PITCH

Cubs faced Andrew Miller in the World Series and he’s top reliever for AL.  Since Cleveland’s   Terry Francona might be making this pick what will he do?   If none of these players cared about the All Star Game then he would be better off letting Miller rest his arm and take an ASG vacation.  That would only make sense if his team might go to the World Series again which they are poised to do.  Let’s check CLE out.

BAT PITCH Rs Ra W L UR LR TeamID
-2.9 50.8 371 315 42 36 6.9 1.2 CLE

Very good pitching, very good UR (i.e. fielding), and they’re +6.  Cleveland is  in the hunt again for a World Series trophy.   Here are the Indians in the top 100.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+031+ 2.86 Andrew_Miller_CLE PITCH
+038+ 2.75 Corey_Kluber_CLE PITCH
+055+ 2.39 Lonnie_Chisenhall_CLE RF-CF
+056+ 2.37 Nick_Goody_CLE PITCH
+079+ 1.99 Bryan_Shaw_CLE PITCH
+100+ 1.74 Carlos_Carrasco_CLE PITCH

CLE has the top relief staff in MLB now and all season long.  Their relief WAA=+10 and, like the Cubs, they are carrying this team.  If that staff played at a WAA=0, or completely average, they would be 4 games under instead of 6 games up.   We’ll see how this plays out in the second half of the season.

That is all for All Stars this year.  We’ll do Iowa Cubs sometime next week to see what Kyle Schwarber is up to.  Until then….

All Star Picks Part 2

Today we’ll show the picks produced by this data model for the positions of shortstop, catcher, and the grab bag  of outfielders.  So let’s start with shortstops.  Here are the top ten shortstops in MLB.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+034+ 2.75 Carlos_Correa_HOU SS
+052+ 2.37 Corey_Seager_LAN SS
+153+ 1.28 Trea_Turner_WAS SS
+157+ 1.24 Elvis_Andrus_TEX SS
+169+ 1.20 Zack_Cozart_CIN SS
XXXXX 0.92 Chris_Owings_ARI SS-RF-2B
XXXXX 0.76 Pat_Valaika_COL SS
XXXXX 0.67 Xander_Bogaerts_BOS SS
XXXXX 0.59 Alexi_Amarista_COL SS
XXXXX 0.55 Addison_Russell_CHN SS

Value for SS drops off much faster than for 2B which we showed in Part 1.  The current AL leader in fan voting is Correa and NL it’s Zack Cozart.  Cozart is ranked #27 with WAR and we have him at #169.  Scanning his stats he looks like a Draft Kings team owner pick.

Catcher is the most important defensive position on the field.  He’s involved in every pitch.  The tables here are a value measure for offense only but that’s all we have.  Let’s look at the top ten catchers in MLB.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+032+ 2.81 Gary_Sanchez_NYA CR
+043+ 2.58 Craig_Kimbrel_BOS PITCH
+076+ 1.99 Robinson_Chirinos_TEX CR
+107+ 1.68 Brian_McCann_HOU CR
+151+ 1.32 Mike_Zunino_SEA CR
+170+ 1.20 Evan_Gattis_HOU CR-DH
+188+ 1.03 Chris_Iannetta_ARI CR
XXXXX 0.76 Chris_Herrmann_ARI CR-LF
XXXXX 0.73 Travis_d’Arnaud_NYN CR
XXXXX 0.71 Jesus_Sucre_TBA CR

Edit: This is what happens when software does so much.  Craig Kimbrel is a very good pitcher for Boston, not a catcher.  Somehow the Cr in his first name Craig triggered the inclusion.  Not sure why I didn’t catch this.

NL fan voting has picked Buster Posey so far and AL it’s Salvador Perez, neither are in the above list.  The value in the above list drops off quickly.  Let’s look at full lines for Perez and Posey.

Rank WAA BA OBP PA RBI R Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX 0.13 0.344 0.422 282 33 33 Buster_Posey_SFN CR-1B
XXXXX 0.69 0.289 0.320 273 45 31 Salvador_Perez_KCA CR-DH

Posey has an extremely high BA and OBP so his estimated run creation must be high.  WAR has him ranked #33.   WAR has Perez ranked #147.  Catcher is the only defensive position where a sub average WAA is perfectly OK.   If a team wants to invest offense in a catcher they should at least know what they’re investing.

And finally, let’s do outfielders.  MLB chooses 3 outfielders from a pool so we’ll show the top 20 OF, regardless of their actual position.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+003+ 5.54 Aaron_Judge_NYA RF
+006+ 4.58 Cody_Bellinger_LAN LF-1B
+009+ 4.22 Bryce_Harper_WAS RF
+012+ 3.78 Charlie_Blackmon_COL CF
+017+ 3.49 George_Springer_HOU CF-RF
+045+ 2.58 Mike_Trout_ANA CF
+046+ 2.54 Michael_Conforto_NYN LF-CF
+047+ 2.52 Justin_Upton_DET LF
+053+ 2.37 Lonnie_Chisenhall_CLE RF-CF
+055+ 2.33 Marwin_Gonzalez_HOU LF-1B-3B
+065+ 2.10 Marcell_Ozuna_MIA LF
+066+ 2.10 Adam_Duvall_CIN LF
+068+ 2.08 Aaron_Hicks_NYA CF-LF
+071+ 2.04 Jay_Bruce_NYN RF
+074+ 2.02 Giancarlo_Stanton_MIA RF
+082+ 1.91 Jake_Marisnick_HOU CF
+089+ 1.81 Steven_Souza_TBA RF
+092+ 1.78 Khris_Davis_OAK LF-DH
+097+ 1.76 J.D._Martinez_DET RF
+102+ 1.70 Avisail_Garcia_CHA RF

The 6 players in bold are  OF picks by this data model.  The regular colored entries are secondary picks.     AL  fans picked Judge, Trout, and Springer and NL  picked Harper, Blackmon, and Heyward(?????).  Zobrist is fourth???? This is the strangest outcome of any position so far.  Even Kyle Schwarber is listed at #8.  Our #1 pick, Bellinger, isn’t even listed.  They have Puig listed higher than him.  At least we were 3 for 3 with the AL picks.  What is wrong with NL voters?

That is all.  We skip DH because we don’t believe in the DH.  Pitchers should learn how to hit because it’s part of baseball and part of baseball history.  The highest ranking player in the history of baseball, Babe Ruth, was a very good and talented pitcher.

All Star Picks Part 1

Voting for All Stars is almost complete.  Today in part one we’ll show our picks for 1B, 2B, and 3B.  In part 2 we’ll do SS and Catcher which are more defensive positions and outfield which is a grab bag of a lot of players.  In part 3, pitchers but that can easily be discerned by looking at the top ten posted earlier.  We’ll rank relievers even though they put mostly starters or major closers as relievers in the ASG.  Middle relief where most heavy lifting occurs often gets ignored.

Everything in this model revolves around runs scored.  Fielding is often measured by runs that should have scored but didn’t (i.e. imaginary runs).  There is value in fielding and it can somewhat be measured with stats like errors and unearned runs and perhaps to some extent UZR (we’ll touch on that later).   There is no way to accurately place a value on imaginary runs like you can with real runs.  It is appropriate to adjust our rankings based upon  fielding.  For positions like Catcher fielding is extremely important,  It doesn’t matter if your catcher can’t hit  as long as he gets along with his pitchers,  they pitch well because of him, and he  keeps players from running around the bases.  That is very hard.  Other attributes like leadership also can’t be modeled mathematically.   Successful leaders find a way to get everyone working together to help their team  succeed.   This success derives  from human experience. not manipulating  big data.

That said, let’s get to it.  Here are your top ten first basemen according to this data model.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 5.75 Paul_Goldschmidt_ARI 1B
+005+ 4.66 Ryan_Zimmerman_WAS 1B
+023+ 3.09 Mark_Reynolds_COL 1B
+025+ 3.02 Joey_Votto_CIN 1B
+026+ 3.00 Logan_Morrison_TBA 1B
+051+ 2.42 Justin_Smoak_TOR 1B
+060+ 2.25 Eric_Thames_MIL 1B-LF
+066+ 2.16 Freddie_Freeman_ATL 1B
+076+ 2.10 Matt_Adams_ATL 1B
+080+ 1.85 Justin_Bour_MIA 1B

The blue above are NL, tan AL, and it looks like most all the best first basemen are NL this season.  The current NL leaders are Zimmerman and Hosmer of KCA.  Zimmerman is close enough in value but who is Hosmer?

Rank WAA BA OBP PA RBI R Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX -0.69 0.302 0.359 309 32 40 Eric_Hosmer_KCA 1B

OK.  Whatever.  Fans vote for this and everyone loves the batting average and Hosmer is over the magical 0.300 line so he’s good.   Even WAR has him ranked #217 with a WAR=1.1.

Here are your top second basemen this season.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+017+ 3.32 Daniel_Murphy_WAS 2B
+031+ 2.83 Scooter_Gennett_CIN 2B
+053+ 2.37 Starlin_Castro_NYA 2B
+067+ 2.14 Robinson_Cano_SEA 2B
+079+ 1.87 Jonathan_Schoop_BAL 2B
+085+ 1.83 Chris_Taylor_LAN 2B-CF-LF
+198+ 0.97 Jose_Altuve_HOU 2B
XXXXX 0.82 Neil_Walker_NYN 2B
XXXXX 0.61 Javier_Baez_CHN 2B-SS
XXXXX 0.40 Eric_Sogard_MIL 2B

Jose Altuve is the fan leader for AL but at least he’s in the top ten.  Murphy is leading for NL.   This is the first time Starlin Castro truly belongs in an All Star game and as the starting AL shortstop second base.  Ironically he’ll be thwarted by the same Draft Kings team owners who put him in the ASG as a Cub all those years ago.

Notice how  value drops off in the 2B list compared to the 1B list.  1B and 3B are usually big hitters, 2B and SS are more defensive guys.  2B is less of a defensive asset than SS which is why, as far as I know, Maddon hasn’t made Bryant play SS yet.  This is why we’ll do SS and Catchers in part 2.

And finally, here are the top ten third basemen.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+014+ 3.59 Jake_Lamb_ARI 3B
+020+ 3.13 Nolan_Arenado_COL 3B
+032+ 2.81 Miguel_Sano_MIN 3B-DH
+048+ 2.44 Travis_Shaw_MIL 3B
+061+ 2.25 Joey_Gallo_TEX 3B-1B
+089+ 1.78 Anthony_Rendon_WAS 3B
+139+ 1.39 Eugenio_Suarez_CIN 3B
+147+ 1.32 Evan_Longoria_TBA 3B
+166+ 1.20 Jose_Ramirez_CLE 3B-2B
+197+ 0.99 Mike_Moustakas_KCA 3B

AL fans are going with with Miguel Sano and for NL it’s Kris Bryant.  Kris was NL MVP for 2016 leading the Chicago Cubs to a World Series victory.  Even if he isn’t in that above list, sorry Jake Lamb, it doesn’t matter.   He deserves to start at third.

That is all for today.  The weekly State of the Cubs tomorrow and part 2 the day after.  Until then….