Title: Shortstops: A Quick Look at 2014
Date: September 3, 2013
Original Source: Rotographs
Synopsis: This article took an early look ahead to potential 2014 fantasy performance for shortstops, affording dynasty league players an edge in late-season transactions.
As the calendar’s turned to September, many fantasy owners have probably turned their attention toward solidifying their dynasty teams for 2014. That is, not everyone is left competing right now, and it’s difficult not to look ahead to next year if a shot at a podium position isn’t realistic.
Even a championship contender, though, can think long term in a dynasty format. Perhaps the trading deadline hasn’t passed or doesn’t exist. Or perhaps an injury or performance issue has an owner scanning the waiver wire for a new shortstop, but the owner wants the add to be a long-term fix rather than a short-term plug.
These are situations that don’t apply to all owners, of course, but dynasty leaguers can never stop thinking about the future.
Luckily, Fangraphs affords fantasy players a tool in this regard – the ZiPS “Rest of Season” projections.
Now, the number of homers or steals a player is expected to tally in September doesn’t help much. Not only is the sample so small that the projections could be wildly inaccurate, but projecting counting stats from a one-month RoS projection to a full-year 2014 projection is tough.
When it comes to rate stats, though, there’s much more to be learned. According tothe description here at Fangraphs, “the ZiPS projections uses weighted averages of four years of data (three if a player is very old or very young), regresses pitchers based on DIPS theory and BABIP rates, and adjusts for aging by looking at similar players and their aging trends.”
What’s important here is that ZiPS RoS is going to be the same as ZiPS for 2014 if the season ended today. September information will change the projections a bit, as will any changes in the methodology over the offseason, but for the most part ZiPS RoS rate stats give an indication of what’s to expect for 2014.
The table below is excessive (it contains 50 names), but who knows, some of these names might be legitimate considerations in an AL/NL-only format with an MI position. Realistically, the top 25 names on here are the ones that are going to warrant 2014 consideration, and probably only the top 15 or so are going to warrant keeper consideration, depending on the dynasty rules. But have a look.
Note: SB/600PA & HR/600PA use ZiPS RoS small sample September projections and extend them over 600 plate appearances. There is likely a huge error bar between these and what the 2014 ZiPS will look like, but they have been included as a rough gauge for owners. The other rate stats are unaltered from ZiPS RoS.
That table is sorted by wOBA, not fantasy value. Owners can judge for themselves based on their “rate stat format” (AVG/OBP/OPS or even wOBA) how best to evaluate these players against each other.
One thing the table does give an idea of is tiers, though. Tulowitzki and Ramirez are well above the rest, Reyes heads up the next tier, and then after about Starlin Castro the list devolves into players who are below-average hitters in “real” terms but have value from one or more counting categories.
A few interesting names:
Starlin Castro and Josh Rutledge – despite down 2013s, ZiPS is a believer in both slugging enough and having a high enough average to be league-average with the stick. If that can hold true, there’s nice category juice there.
Asdrubal Cabrera – probably done as a slugger.
Jean Segura – despite having just one home run since June 21, ZiPS believes this year’s double-digit output wasn’t a complete fluke.
Ian Desmond – pretty safely slotted as a top-5 shortstop in fantasy baseball now.
Everth Cabrera, Jonathan Villar and even Dee Gordon – empty, empty steals. But at a position that usually ends up being very thin, that’s okay. Just ask Elvis Andrus, who is fourth in shortstop value for the season despite a .262 average and just a single homer.
I’m interested to hear who readers are surprised by and why. If readers can identify a few players whose projections don’t match up with conventional wisdom or the general ‘feeling’ about a player, I’ll tackle those players in the coming weeks in this Tuesday spot. Today was meant as both a helpful quick tool for dynasty players and a jumping-off point for late-season and offseason analysis.