Points League Sleepers/Busts: Catchers
Fantasy Football flew by and you are probably sad. I’m here to tell you that while we unfortunately have to wait months for fantasy football, we can start getting prepared for Fantasy Baseball! If you are a veteran or a fantasy football player looking to expand your horizon I recommend points leagues! Not only are they most similar to football in that aspect, it creates rivalries and is simply easier and more fun to root for every night!
If that sold you, well you’re in luck because I am going to bring you an entire series on points league values at every position! There are certain things that can make a player better in points leagues than say Roto leagues and vice versa. Steals are a huge category in Roto leagues. But because in most leagues they are only worth two points well… like in the MLB, they just aren’t as valuable. Walks don’t help you in Roto leagues but are a huge part of points leagues. Strikeouts lose you points and you get rewarded for hitting a double. These are the things you need to look for when searching for a points league sleeper! Those without these traits are ones that lead to busts!
I will be using a stat you often hear used for pitchers, but flipping it for hitters. I will use Batter K-BB%, meaning I will take their strikeout rate and subtract their walk rate. The lower the number, the better the points league hitter, as they will lose less points due to strikeouts and gain more due to walks. Those with a higher K-BB% are batters that are less valuable in points leagues. to help you find points league
If you’re like us you can’t wait until spring to get the 2019 fantasy baseball season started? Well, you don’t have to. Leagues are already forming at Fantrax.com, so head on over and start or join a league today.
Points League Sleepers
Buster Posey is not what he used to be. He also is one of the players affected by a term I have coined ‘Roto bias’. He does not provide enough in the 5 Roto statistics, which leads to his ADP being lower, due to the larger Roto impact (there are more Roto leagues than points). Yeah, Posey only hit 5 home runs, but he had a .359 OBP. That was largely due to the fact that his strikeout rate was 11.8 percent while his walk rate was 10 percent. His K-BB% (told you it’s not just a pitcher stat!) was 1.8 percent, the smallest at the position. Posey missed time and only hit 22 doubles. If he plays his usual 140 games I expect he will be around 30, which is a key number for me. Despite missing time last year Posey finished as the catcher 8 in points leagues. He is boring, but will be a value in those formats this season.
Yadier Molina is also not what he once was, but he is still a value at this position. But his Batter K-BB% was 7.3 percent, the eighth lowest of all catchers with at least 100 plate appearances. He hit 20 homers and 20 doubles in 2018, while finishing as the catcher 3 in points leagues.
Tucker Barnhart is not a household name by any stretch, but he is also a good value in points leagues. Yeah he only hit 10 homers last year and that was a career high! But, he has the 11th-highest K-BB% of catchers and hit 21 doubles. You can wait and get him very late, but he finished 2018 as the catcher 7 in points leagues.
Francisco Cervelli is another one of those catchers that people do not want to have in Roto leagues. He doesn’t hit for a particularly high average and does not stand out in any counting stats categories. Yet, he has a 8.2 percent K-BB%, the 12th-highest among all catchers. That propelled him to be the catcher 9 in 2018.
Yasmani Grandal landed in a great spot with the Brewers. He remains in a strong lineup and Miller Park is a park upgrade in home runs and runs, especially for left handed batters. The switch-hitting lefty hit 20 of his 24 homers from the left side of the plate last season. He also had a 10% K-BB rate. He will finish as a Top 5 catcher this year and would not shock me if he flirted with the top spot. A career year is on tap.
Other catchers with favorable K-BB%:
Kurt Suzuki- 5.4%
Russell Martin- 7.4%
Jonathan Lucroy- 7.9%
Isiah Kiner-Falefa- 8.6%
Brian McCann- 9.7%
Points League Busts
Jorge Alfaro may be getting his job back, but he is not someone you want on your points league team. Not only is he hitting eighth and will lose at bats but he will also have less opportunities to drive in runs, but he will have less opportunities to drive in runs. Lets not forget that he lost his job last season. Oh, and he has a 31.8 percent K-BB rate, the highest among all catchers. Stay far away.
Mike Zunino will kill your average in Roto, but you may put up with it due to the counting stats. In points leagues, don’t even think of it. Not only does he struggle to hit for average, but he had a massive 37 percent strikeout rate. That would be hard for a player with a great walk rate to overcome, yet alone for Zunino’s low 5.9 walk rate. Overall he has a 31.1 K-BB rate, the second highest behind only Alfaro. Once again, stay away.
Other Catchers with negative K-BB%:
Yan Gomes- 22.6%
Robinson Chirinos- 22.3%
Austin Hedges- 21.2%
Welington Castillo- 20.4%
Martin Maldonado- 20.3%
Salvador Perez- 16.8% (do not avoid him, but lower him in rankings)
Make sure to follow me on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.
Enjoy these points league sleepers and busts? For more great fantasy baseball rankings, strategy, and analysis check out the 2019 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. We’ll be adding more content from now right up until Opening Day!
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