2018 Dudes & Don’ts Recap: The Infield
You were right. You were also wrong. So wrong! How could you be so wrong?! Yet also, so right. What the heck is this guy talking about, you may be asking yourself. I get that a lot. Well, this time specifically I am talking about what you thought about the players you drafted in the preseason. Call it a fantasy baseball recap if you will.
Invariably, there will be surprises in each season. That’s what makes this game fun, after all. If we all knew exactly what would happen, nobody would play because it would be too easy. Raise your hand if you drafted Max Muncy this year, for example. You! I see you. Put your hand down. You’re lying. Nobody drafted Max Muncy, yet he was one of the best players in baseball. It’s a funny game we play.
One of the most important exercises to perform as a fantasy player is to learn why we were right and wrong. Did we miss something? Was there a massive improvement or decline? Was it expected? Why? Taking the time to look back and evaluate our process is a must if we are going to improve as fantasy players.
I’m going to be releasing a series of posts going over my 2018 Dudes & Don’ts. In the preseason I not only explained why I liked or disliked a player’s value for the upcoming season, but also provided a projection. In these recaps, I’ll include the projection, the final line, and a brief look into why I was right or wrong. I’ll be learning, and hopefully, you’ll catch on to something that is new to you as well. The goal here is to continue to improve the process, which will yield better results. I’ll provide links to the preseason write-ups so you can go back and further evaluate if you’d like. And remember: every Dude and Don’t is based on what value you can get based on their preseason ADP. The Dudes were cheap, the Don’ts were expensive.
Can’t wait until the spring to get the 2019 fantasy baseball season started? Well, you don’t have to. Leagues are already open for 2019, so get your league started today.
Fantasy Baseball Recap: Part One – Infield
The Dude: Wilson Ramos
Projection: 500 plate appearances, 55 R, 25 HR, 70 RBI, .280 AVG
Final Line: 416 plate appearances, 39 R, 15 HR, 70 RBI, .306 AVG
Analysis: It feels good to start off with a pretty good call. Ramos was one of the best catchers in fantasy despite missing a full month of the season due to injury. The power didn’t translate from 2017 like I expected, because his 30.3% FB% from ’17 fell back down to 24.7% and his pull% fell from 46.3% to 40.1%. So much for a launch angle adjustment. His BABIP was a career-high .353, which you can’t expect to repeat despite an almost-career-best 39.1% hard contact rate. His pop-up rate did fall back to earth as I expected though, which is encouraging. Sadly, he’ll be much more expensive in 2019.
The Don’t: Mike Zunino
Projection: 450 plate appearances, 50 R, 25 HR, 60 RBI, .215 AVG
Final Line: 405 plate appearances, 37 R, 20 HR, 44 RBI, .201 AVG
Analysis: Zoo was even worse than I expected, although he also dealt with an injury and missed some time. For some reason, people thought he’d hit .250 again as he did in 2017. That just doesn’t happen when you strike out 37% of the time. Egads. He is what he is, an all-or-nothing power hitter who will tank your average.
The Deep League Dude: Chris Iannetta
Projection: 335 plate appearances, 45 R, 14 HR, 50 RBI, .250 AVG
Final Line: 360 plate appearances, 36 R, 11 HR, 36 RBI, .224 AVG
Analysis: Trying to find a catcher of value after C20 is pretty much an exercise in futility. But hey, he didn’t kill you if you cheaped out on your second catcher.
The Dude: Justin Smoak
Projection: 625 plate appearances, 85 R, 30 HR, 90 RBI, .255 AVG
Final Line: 594 plate appearances, 67 R, 25 HR, 77 RBI, .242 AVG
Analysis: I called Smoak a discount Encarnacion, being drafted over 90 picks later on average. Encarnacion put up a line of 74 R, 32 HR, 107 RBI, .246 AVG. The big difference not only from my projections, but from their final lines, is the RBI total. The Jays offense took a big poop this year, which hurt Smoak. He also lost nearly 6% of hard contact despite a huge 9% jump in pull%, which is weird. He also saw a 6.2% jump in K%, washing away most of the goodness he showed us in 2017. He’s a bland end-gamer for 2019.
The Don’t: Greg Bird
Projection: 500 plate appearances, 65 R, 27 HR, 85 RBI, .245 AVG
Final Line: 311 plate appearances, 23 R, 11 HR, 38 RBI, .199 AVG
Analysis: Here’s your prototypical over-hyped Yankee. His ADP kept skyrocketing despite never putting together a healthy season with consistent production. Well, same as every year, he was hurt. He was also even worse than I had expected while active. The next year he hits over .200 will be his first since his 46 game debut in 2015. 2015.
The Deep League Dude: Jose Martinez
Projection: 500 plate appearances, 70 R, 28 HR, 90 RBI, .300 AVG
Final Line: 590 plate appearances, 64 R, 17 HR, 83 RBI, .305 AVG
Analysis: Not a bad projection aside from the lack of power. He did stroke 30 doubles, but a 27.7% FB% kept most of his batted balls in the yard. Unless he joins the launch angle revolution, the lack of power will keep him from being an upper-echelon option at first base/outfield. Still a tidy profit as your 296th overall pick.
3⃣ straight games with a home run.
4⃣ homers in his last three games.
José Martínez is on 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Ji3TukmAhU
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 10, 2018
The Dude: Yoan Moncada
Projection: 650 plate appearances, 100 R, 25 HR, 70 RBI, 25 SB, .250 AVG
Final Line: 650 plate appearances, 73 R, 17 HR, 61 RBI, 12 SB, .235 AVG
Analysis: I gave the nod to Ozzie Albies as my true love at Second Base but noted that his ADP was skyrocketing so I settled for Moncada. Moncada neither hit for quite the power nor attempted as many steals as I had anticipated, and boy was that White Sox lineup atrocious. Even worse than I had expected. His strikeout rate actually got worse from 2017, which is also quite the opposite of what I expected. It might be a few years before he gets the strikeouts down enough to enjoy the breakout I was expecting in 2018. In the meantime, get more aggressive on the bases!!
The Don’t: Jonathan Schoop
Projection: 650 plate appearances, 80 R, 28 HR, 85 RBI, .270 AVG
Final Line: 501 plate appearances, 61 R, 21 HR, 61 RBI, .233 AVG
Analysis: Jonny, that batting average…woof! First, I implore you to follow the link to my original write-up of Schoop because it is absolutely littered with the worst puns you’ve ever seen. Schoop missed about 30 games due to injury but still gave you power while he was active. I mentioned it in the initial post, but I didn’t want to spend my 62nd pick on a player with no speed who is an average risk thanks to a high pop-up rate and mediocre hard contact. His .293 AVG from 2017 will likely be his career-best.
The Deep League Dude: Jose Pirela
Projection: 550 plate appearances, 80 R, 22 HR, 70 RBI, 10 SB, .270 AVG
Final Line: 473 plate appearances, 54 R, 5 HR, 32 R, 6 SB, .249 AVG
Analysis: A 5.6% HR/FB rate is…hard to do. In a bad way. He suddenly developed a pop-up problem (20%!!) which brought his BABIP down to .301. That wasn’t something that I could have anticipated, but with a limited MLB track record, it’s also not super surprising. He can be ignored in 2019 with the likes of Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis, Jr. budging in for playing time.
The Bonus Deep League Dude: Brad Miller
Projection: 500 plate appearances, 65 R, 20 HR, 65 RBI, 8 SB, .250 AVG
Final Line: 254 plate appearances, 21 R, 7 HR, 29 RBI, 0 SB, .248 AVG
Analysis: I mostly liked Miller as a super deep league OBP play (424 ADP, after all) but it didn’t quite work out and he was minus a job for half the year. His walk rate dropped from 15.5% to 8.7% too, just to kick me in the pants. At least he cost you nothing?
The Dude: Eugenio Suarez
Projection: 625 plate appearances, 85 R, 25 HR, 95 RBI, 5 SB, .255 AVG
Final Line: 606 plate appearances, 79 R, 34 HR, 104 RBI, 1 SB, .283 AVG
Analysis: Suarez was somehow the 20th Third Baseman drafted, and this year established himself as a true MLB stud. From my initial post: “He’s slated to be the Reds’ cleanup hitter this year behind OBP legend Joey Votto, putting him in position to push 100 RBI.” Don’t forget, he even missed about 15 games with a finger injury. Dude.
FIVE straight games with a homer for the @Reds' Eugenio Suarez!
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 27, 2018
The Don’t: Miguel Sano
Projection: 500 plate appearances, 65 R, 25 HR, 75 RBI, .250 AVG
Final Line: 299 plate appearances, 32 R, 13 HR, 41 RBI, .199 AVG
Analysis: In my write-up, I mentioned his sexual assault allegation, offseason surgery, weight issues, and a power-only profile as reasons to avoid Sano at ADP 103. The risk-adverse approach takes the W here.
The Deep League Dude: Colin Moran
Projection: 500 plate appearances, 55 R, 23 HR, 70 RBI, .280 AVG
Final Line: 465 plate appearances, 49 R, 11 HR, 58 RBI, .277 AVG
Analysis: Another pretty good projection aside from the homers. An 11.1% HR/FB is a number he can improve upon in future years, but until he puts more pulled balls in the air he won’t be more than a deep league source of AVG/OBP.
The Dude: Marcus Semien
Projection: 625 plate appearances, 90 R, 22 HR, 70 RBI, 17 SB, .250 AVG
Final Line: 703 plate appearances, 89 R, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 14 SB, .255 AVG
Analysis: Another projection that I nailed except for those pesky homers! Semien just doesn’t have the muscle to hit for power in Oakland, which limits his upside. He really flew under the radar in 2018 though, so I’d expect him to be another all-around value in 2019.
The Don’t: Corey Seager
Projection: 600 plate appearances, 85 R, 24 HR, 85 RBI, .290 AVG
Final Line: 115 plate appearances, 13 R, 2 HR, 13 RBI, .267 AVG
Analysis: I was panning Seager because not only were you paying for a bounce-back with his ADP of 35, he was dealing with a bad elbow in Spring Training as well. The avoidance paid off as Seager wound up undergoing Tommy John early on and missing most of the season. Again, the risk-adverse approach pays off.
The Deep League Dude: Ketel Marte
Projection: 600 plate appearances, 75 R, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 15 SB, .295 AVG
Final Line: 580 plate appearances, 68 R, 14 HR, 59 RBI, 6 SB, .260 AVG
Analysis: Marte is just going to be one of those annoying fast guys that never wants to steal. The power ticked up as I expected, but a very unlucky .282 BABIP held his average to .260 for the second straight year. Well…and it was .259 the year before. Maybe he’s just a .260 hitter, Dokken. Sheesh. Anyway, until he starts attempting more steals, he’s only going to be a deep league asset because of his struggles against righties (74 wRC+).
Next up, we’ll tackle the Outfielders.
Stay tuned for more top-notch fantasy baseball content throughout the off-season to get you prepared for the 2019 season.