2019 Fantasy Baseball: Integrated Right Field Rankings

The biggest issue with separating outfielders into their various spots can be seen when you look at right fielders. It is immediately obvious that right fielders are superior to center fielders and left fielders. It’s hard to explain why, but the fifth or sixth best right fielder might finish second or third at the other two spots. It might make sense to combine them all and we might do that at some point.

As we finish off the position players it is high time we go over the rules. We are integrating the different formats (five categories, six categories, total points) into one set of rankings. It can get a little messy doing that, but we are breaking it down for you so you can gleam what you want. Projections are based on the past three seasons and then prorated over either 500 or 600 plate appearances. Those numbers are based on past performance and the makeup of each team.

Total points= TB + Runs + RBI + SB + BB + HBP – SO – CS – GIDP

Mookie Betts—Boston Red Sox

Points: 1637 (1st)

PPG: 3.67 (1st)

Projection: .308/25 HR/103 Runs/86 RBI/24 SB/60 BB (2nd)

Betts has more points over the past three years than Mike Trout. He also has more points per game over that same span. Is he the number one overall pick? Well, that depends on the format. Trout probably still has him in five and six category leagues, but the margin is a lot thinner than you think.

J.D. Martinez—Boston Red Sox

Points: 1198 (5th)

PPG: 3.08 (2nd)

Projection: .315/40 HR/86 Runs/109 RBI/4 SB/62 BB (1st)

It is something that the top two players on the board here both play for the World Series champions. You could argue that they should have finished first and second in the MVP voting last year as well. Health has been the only opponent Martinez has been unable to beat and as a full-time DH, that shouldn’t be an issue anymore.

Christian Yelich—Milwaukee Brewers

Points: 1288 (2nd)

PPG: 2.81 (4th)

Projection: .302/22 HR/89 Runs/86 RBI/14 SB/66 BB (4th)

The projection really isn’t fair. It is based on two seasons in Miami where Yelich’s power numbers were depressed. I’m not sure if he is really a 30 home run guy year in and year out, but he is definitely worth 25 home runs. Add to that a little more support in the lineup and .300/25/90/90/15 should be the basis we go on from here on out.

Bryce Harper—Free Agent

Points: 1222 (4th)

PPG: 3.00 (3rd)

Projection: .267/29 HR/93 Runs/90 RBI/13 SB/102 BB (3rd)

It’s become passe to call Harper overrated. He is both overrated and underrated at the same time. He has elite on base skills and the power is elite as well. The problem comes when the contract drives the expectations. Suddenly getting 300 million doesn’t make someone the best player in baseball.

Nelson Cruz—Minnesota Twins

Points: 1233 (3rd)

PPG: 2.72 (5th)

Projection: .278/38 HR/81 Runs/101 RBI/1 SB/59 BB (7th)

Cruz will be 38 years old this year. Almost all of his production came after he was 26 years old. You have to think he will eventually show his age, but he hasn’t yet. He hit 21 home runs on the road last season, so maybe moving out of Seattle will stave off the aging process for one more season.

Giancarlo Stanton—New York Yankees

Points: 1159 (6th)

PPG: 2.66 (7th)

Projection: .265/40 HR/90 Runs/98 RBI/2 SB/66 BB (6th)

This is just proof positive of how deep right field is. You will not find a sixth ranked player this good at any other spot except for maybe first base. Everyone expects Stanton to hit 50 home runs every year. That’s not who he is. Every year something gets in the way. Sooner or later you come to expect it.

Aaron Judge—New York Yankees

Points: 793 (18th)

PPG: 2.70 (6th)

Projection: .273/39 HR/101 Runs/90 RBI/7 SB/100 BB (5th)

He only has two full seasons under his belt and the strikeouts are killing him in terms of total points. Still, he would be in Stanton territory in one more season. In a way, you can almost predict the fortunes of the AL East come down to which pair performs the best between Boston and New York.

Andrew McCutchen—Philadelphia Phillies

Points: 1091 (8th)

PPG: 2.35 (10th)

Projection: .263/22 HR/77 Runs/69 RBI/9 SB/71 BB (9th)

Keep in mind that most of these numbers came with the Pirates and Giants. Neither squad has the offensive potential that the Phillies have and Citizens Bank Ballpark is a better hitting environment than either of those two stadiums. Even with that his production in total points has been pretty good considering.

Nick Castellanos—Detroit Tigers

Points: 982 (9th)

PPG: 2.32 (11th)

Projection: .280/22 HR/72 Runs/83 RBI/2 SB/40 BB (15th)

A bet on Castellanos is a bet that he will be dealt to a contender before the season starts. He seemed to take a step forward last year as well. The hitters around you don’t literally make you better, but they do give you more run producing opportunities. The Tigers are likely bound for the cellar in 2019.

Nick Markakis—Free Agent

Points: 1107 (7th)

PPG: 2.31 (12th)

Projection: .280/10 HR/64 Runs/75 RBI/0 SB/61 BB (20th)

Markakis is here based on total points. He makes consistent contact and he is always in the lineup. So, he is constantly producing positive points in that universe. His lack of power makes him a little more ordinary in five category leagues. The walks helps him play up in six category leagues, so adjust accordingly.

Mitch Haniger—Seattle Mariners

Points: 685 (21st)

PPG: 2.39 (9th)

Projection: .278/23 HR/77 Runs/77 RBI/6 SB/56 BB (10th)

Like Judge, he only has two full seasons under his belt and he has been extremely productive in those two seasons. He will likely move up a couple of spots on draft day. The Mariners are a fascinating team in many ways, so it is hard to say whether his home hurts him or helps him at this point.

Jay Bruce—Seattle Mariners

Points: 876 (12th)

PPG: 2.16 (17th)

Projection: .246/30 HR/72 Runs/91 RBI/3 SB/54 BB (12th)

Speaking of interesting players and interesting teams. If Bruce plays every day he has a chance of coming close to the power numbers that Cruz put up on a regular basis. He obviously isn’t quite as good. That makes him a pretty good microcosm of the Mariners at large.

Stephen Piscotty—Oakland Athletics

Points: 870 (13th)

PPG: 2.12 (18th)

Projection: .262/21 HR/74 Runs/84 RBI/4 SB/53 BB (14th)

Piscotty found his sea legs in the second half last season and could be a nice addition late in the draft for one lucky fantasy player. He had a .272/.337/.536 slash line after the break with 15 home runs 35 runs and 42 RBI. That came in a little more than 60 games after the break. He might be the sleeper of this position.

Yasiel Puig—Cincinnati Reds

Points: 790 (19th)

PPG: 2.07 (19th)

Projection: .264/27 HR/77 Runs/79 RBI/15 SB/54 BB (8th)

It’s hard to pick a winner of the deal between the Reds and Dodgers, but Puig is likely the biggest winner of the players involved. He never seemed to get a full opportunity in LA, but the Reds will likely have to play him for better or worse. So, his counting numbers should get a significant boost.

Adam Eaton—Washington Nationals

Points: 668 (22nd)

PPG: 2.43 (8th)

Projection: .294/9 HR/72 Runs/44 RBI/11 SB/49 BB (16th)

Eaton is the latest star of “Career Interrupted.” Coming into 2016, he seemed like a potential breakout star based on his performance in Chicago and his move to an actual contender. Three years later and he barely has more than a season’s worth of plate appearances in three seasons. A full season from him should vault him back into that conversation.

Carlos Gonzalez—Colorado Rockies

Points: 925 (10th)

PPG: 2.21 (14th)

Projection: .280/16 HR/69 Runs/66 RBI/3 SB/41 BB (23rd)

CarGo is only relevant if he stays in Denver. He seemed to come back to life late in the season this past year, but it is highly likely that the Rockies move on. If that is the case then he can latch on somewhere as a fourth outfielder type that plays exclusively against right handed pitchers. It is possible he could also move to the American League and serve as a part-time DH.

Gregory Polanco—Pittsburgh Pirates

Points: 867 (14th)

PPG: 2.27 (13th)

Projection: .237/18 HR/63 Runs/66 RBI/12 SB/46 BB (24th)

Obviously, this is another guy where the format determines whether he gets picked or not. He does offer a little of everything in four of the five categories, but he doesn’t offer enough of any of them to get serious consideration.

Kole Calhoun—Los Angeles Angels

Points: 885 (11th)

PPG: 1.97 (22nd)

Projection: .243/18 HR/76 Runs/65 RBI/4 SB/61 BB (19th)

Calhoun produced a .750ish OPS after the break last year. That isn’t great, but it is a lot closer to the player we have become accustomed to. So, there is no reason he shouldn’t return to the 20/80/80 guy we have become accustomed to. That’s not good enough to start, but it is good enough to be on a fantasy bench.

Max Kepler—Minnesota Twins

Points: 853 (15th)

PPG: 2.04 (20th)

Projection: .233/21 HR/73 Runs/70 RBI/6 SB/56 BB (17th)

Kepler is another great example of how deep right field really is. Yes, the batting average is low, but he draws walks, hits plenty of home runs, and produces runs. He just doesn’t do it quite as often as the other guys higher on the list.

Dexter Fowler—St. Louis Cardinals

Points: 729 (20th)

PPG: 2.19 (15th)

Projection: .248/14 HR/70 Runs/52 RBI/9 SB/65 BB (18th)

There is no getting around the fact that 2018 was a brutal for Fowler. He is not at the point of his career where you would predict a downward spiral. So, some kind of a bounce back is probable. The question is how much of an opportunity he will get to prove himself.

2019 Fantasy Baseball: Integrated Center Field Rankings

Integrated rankings are difficult as best. It is impossible to be all things for all people. Some people play in five category leagues while others do six category or total points leagues. We are trying to consider all elements at the same time as considering center fielders alone along with comparing them to corner outfielders. So, what we have is a list based a lot on guess work. However, the components themselves are fairly scientific.

Total points is based on a formula based loosely on what you might see on various betting sites. It is my own since all of them do their own. The projections are based on the past three seasons prorated to either 600 or 500 plate appearances. Breakdowns there are based on health history and likely usage in the next season.

Total points= TB + Runs + RBI + SB + BB + HBP – SO – CS – GIDP

Mike Trout—Los Angeles Angels

Points: 1472 (1st)

PPG: 3.56 (1st)

Projection: .312/34 HR/106 Runs/84 RBI/25 SB/111 BB (1st)

Unfortunately, he is no longer the top fantasy player on the board based on total points. One of the reasons why I love total points is that it allows you to compare players easily. It’s not enough to simply rank players. You want to know how much better Trout is than the next best center fielder. Total points does that where standard five category comparisons do not. Charlie Blackmon is pretty close.

Charlie Blackmon—Colorado Rockies

Points: 1470 (2nd)

PPG: 3.21 (2nd)

Projection: .315/28 HR/107 Runs/74 RBI/13 SB/49 BB (2nd)

I don’t care where you produce these numbers. Fantasy doesn’t make such allowances. Sites like Fangraphs, BRef, and Baseball Prospectus will certainly cut him down a peg or two. That only matters if he ever leaves town and after signing an extension that isn’t very likely.

George Springer—Houston Astros

Points: 1080 (3rd)

PPG: 2.44 (5th)

Projection: .269/26 HR/99 Runs/72 RBI/6 SB/64 BB (5th)

The drop off is pretty significant from number two to number three. The trouble with Springer is that the potential is clear to see. He has a 1.026 OPS in 147 postseason plate appearances. If you prorated his numbers over 600 you’d get 44 home runs. Sadly, you won’t ever see those numbers in the regular season. He’s good, but some might overvalue him.

Cody Bellinger—Los Angeles Dodgers

Points: 733 (12th)

PPG: 2.49 (4th)

Projection: .263/33 HR/87 Runs/88 RBI/12 SB/68 BB (3rd)

The difference between Springer and Bellinger is only a couple of years. Bellinger is at the point where he will either take a step forward or stagnate. His sophomore season saw him take a tiny step backwards. Pitchers found a hole and now it is his turn to fill it.

Lorenzo Cain—Milwaukee Brewers

Points: 923 (6th)

PPG: 2.32 (7th)

Projection: .293/12 HR/82 Runs/49 RBI/25 SB/55 BB (7th)

Back in the salad days of the Royals, there was talk of Cain winning the MVP award. He would be a poor man’s Mookie Betts today. Great defense and good offense equals greatness. Betts obviously has more power and that is the ultimate difference. This is where you have to consider the format you are playing in.

Starling Marte—Pittsburgh Pirates

Points: 827 (9th)

PPG: 2.36 (6th)

Projection: .289/15 HR/81 Runs/61 RBI/41 SB/32 BB (8th

How you feel about Marte depends largely on the format you are playing. He is great in a standard 5×5 league. The steals play up and the walks play down. In any other format you begin to see a lot of warts. Sooner or later you stop pining for the player you think he should be and accept the player that he is. Plan accordingly.

Jackie Bradley Jr.—Boston Red Sox

Points: 880 (7th)

PPG: 2.03 (11th)

Projection: .250/21 HR/85 Runs/78 RBI/13 SB/58 BB (6th)

Bradley is many things to many people. He is the guy that had a very disappointing regular season last year. He’s a guy that was the ALCS MVP with two homers and nine RBI in five games. He’s a guy with a career 93 OPS+ as well. So, picking him this high would seem to be foolish and you can probably surmise that most people don’t have him this high on the list.

Ender Inciarte—Atlanta Braves

Points: 1024 (4th)

PPG: 2.31 (8th)

Projection: .287/7 HR/77 Runs/45 RBI/20 SB/44 BB (15th)

Inciarte is a poor man’s Lorenzo Cain. He is a very good defensive outfielder (+86 runs since 2014). So, anything he produces offensively is a bonus. Fielding is not important until you start considering playing time. You want to keep guys like Inciarte on the field. So, he should get 600 or 700 plate appearances every season as long as he is healthy.

Aaron Hicks—New York Yankees

Points: 743 (11th)

PPG: 2.14 (10th)

Projection: .244/23 HR/81 Runs/75 RBI/11 SB/79 BB (9th)

Hicks exploded last season after finally getting consistent playing time in New York. It’s hard to bet completely on one season, but you don’t see too many players capable of producing 25 home runs and ten stolen bases. If you are a gambling man you can bet on him taking the next step. I wouldn’t quite yet though.

A.J. Pollock—Free Agent

Points: 596 (16th)

PPG: 2.51 (2nd)

Projection: .261/19 HR/74 Runs/61 RBI/19 SB/37 BB

Pollock wants four years and 64 million dollars (or so). It’s hard to imagine him making that kind of money when he hasn’t been healthy. The projection is based on 500 plate appearances. He could easily snap out of it and produce a 600 plate appearance season. In that case he moves up the board considerably.

Adam Jones—Free Agent

Points: 972 (5th)

PPG: 2.19 (9th)

Projection: .277/18 HR/58 Runs/57 RBI/3 SB/23 BB (19th)

No one is really quite sure what will happen for Jones from here. He really isn’t a centerfielder anymore and he probably isn’t a regular (thus the 500 PA projection). Depending on where he lands he could be a good complimentary piece. If he places on a bad team he could end up getting closer to 600 PA. So, I guess there are good and bad points all the way around.

Chris Taylor—Los Angeles Dodgers

Points: 637 (15th)

PPG: 1.92 (15th)

Projection: .267/19 HR/86 Runs/69 RBI/13 SB/53 BB (5th)

The Dodgers are a fascinating team. Every offseason they deal away multiple expensive parts in the interest of consolidating their assets. Yet, they seem to have extra pieces lying around every year. It’s like putting together the children’s bike and having parts left over. No one is really quite sure how that happens. Taylor can fit in multiple spots, so chances are he will wind up with a full allotment of plate appearances in the end.

Odubel Herrera—Philadelphia Phillies

Points: 869 (8th)

PPG: 1.95 (13th)

Projection: .274/17 HR/72 Runs/58 RBI/13 SB/44 BB (14th)

Herrera is a bridge player. He is a solid defensive player and a solid offensive one, but he isn’t good in either facet. So, when a team bridges from being an also-ran to a contender they have to decide whether to continue to invest in that player. In fantasy terms he is very similar. In a generic outfielder format he is probably a fourth or fifth outfielder in standard 12 team leagues. If he starts occasionally for you, you will be fine. If he’s playing full-time you are probably in trouble.

Kevin Kiermaier—Tampa Bay Rays

Points: 574 (17th)

PPG: 1.97 (12th)

Projection: .248/17 HR/77 Runs/52 RBI/23 SB/48 BB (12th)

For a while, there was a tee-shirt that stated, “Two-thirds of the world is covered in water, the other third is covered by (insert name here).” That might as well be Kiermaier. He is probably the best fielding center fielder in baseball. That doesn’t matter much here except that it will keep him on the field and in the batter’s box. He shouldn’t be as bad as he was last year, so he is worth a bench spot in deeper leagues.

Scott Schebler—Cincinnati Reds

Points: 645 (14th)

PPG: 1.95 (13th)

Projection: .248/23 HR/62 Runs/63 RBI/4 SB/39 BB (18th)

Rosterresource.com (a fantastic site by the way) has listed Schebler as the Reds’ Opening Day centerfielder. He spent most of his time in right field in the past. The Reds famously cut ties with Billy Hamilton. You get the appeal of the speed burner, but they are much better off with their new outfield. All three should surpass 20 HR next season if healthy.

Kevin Pillar—Toronto Blue Jays

Points: 816 (10th)

PPG: 1.85 (16th)

Projection: .258/13 HR/67 Runs/53 RBI/15 SB/26 BB (20th)

Sadly, highlight reels aren’t a fantasy category. Pillar is the kind of guy you think should be better than he is. That probably includes defensive metrics as well. He will get to play and play regularly. When you get to this point in fantasy rankings you probably are good with that.

Billy Hamilton—Kansas City Royals

Points: 692 (13th)

PPG: 1.68 (17th)

Projection: .247/4 HR/83 Runs/31 RBI/55 SB/46 BB (17th)

I really don’t hate Hamilton. After all, I don’t know him personally. I hate what he represents. His speed has kept fantasy owners enslaved for years. People draft him way too high because they want all of those steals. They are willing to sacrifice three of the five categories to get it. Total points put steals in their proper context. The Royals are going for 200 steals next season and they probably will sport an OBP near .300. It ought to be interesting to watch.

Mallex Smith—Seattle Mariners

Points: 478 (18th)

PPG: 1.63 (18th)

Projection: .277/4 HR/73 Runs/43 RBI/41 SB/52 BB (13th)

Smith is essentially Hamilton with less speed and more contact. He also walks a little more often. So, he is a better baseball player and somehow a lesser fantasy prospect. I’d rather have him on my bench because he has more potential to grow. We know what Hamilton is at this point, but Smith only has one full season under his belt.

Harrison Bader—St. Louis Cardinals

Points: 220 (21st)

PPG: 1.29 (21st)

Projection: .259/17 HR/82 Runs/54 RBI/20 SB/42 BB (10th)

We know how this story goes. First there was Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk. Then, there was Aledyms Diaz. Finally, we had Paul Dejong. All of them burst on the scene and overachieved in their first season. They also either took a step back or fizzled out altogether. Bader is a better defender than all of them and maybe he has an outside chance of turning into another Tommy Pham.

Byron Buxton—Minnesota Twins

Points: 363 (20th)

PPG: 1.40 (20th)

Projection: .230/16 HR/77 Runs/55 RBI/26 SB/39 BB (16th)

It’s hard to believe that there were some that favored him over Carlos Correa in that fateful amateur draft years ago. He will also be only 25 next season, so the book has not been closed on those two yet. Buxton clearly has upside, but the clock might be running out on his chance to establish himself as the star people thought he would be.

2019 Fantasy Baseball: Integrated Left Field Rankings

As we get to outfielders, we have to acknowledge a dilemma in the industry. Some formats break outfielders up by their individual positions and others simply treat all outfielders the same. My goal is not to come down on one end or the other. However, it is easier to consider them by position and then adjust to the generic than it is to start at the generic and move to the specific. So, we are looking at left fielders first.

The second consideration is a move to the top 20 at each spot. Some leagues employ five regular outfielders. In a standard twelve team league that would mean 60 outfielders. Each spot has good depth, so it really doesn’t matter. One of the advantages of total points is the ease in which you can compare players from multiple positions. So, comparing left fielders with center fielders and right fielders is a breeze. As usual, we will also throw in six category projections going back the past three years. Players will be projected across 500 and 600 plate appearances based on their track record and current roster projections on the current teams.

Total points = TB + Runs + RBI + SB + BB + HBP – SO – CS – GDP

Khris Davis—Oakland Athletics

Points: 1127 (1st)

PPG: 2.48 (4th)

Projection: .247/42 HR/86 Runs/105 RBI/2 SB/54 BB

Attendance is a part of the grade and as a full-time DH, Davis has no problem staying in the lineup. From there, it is a debate over the importance of strikeouts. In total points, it makes a significant difference. In standard formats it’s all about the batting average. Still, he gives you enough in home runs, runs, and RBI that the batting average is not such a big deal. He also gives you enough walks to be a four-category contributor. 

Andrew Benintendi—Boston Red Sox

Points: 902 (5th)

PPG: 2.71 (3rd)

Projection: .282/16 HR/85 Runs/80 RBI/18 SB/63 BB (4th)

Benintendi has done this basically over two seasons. So, in total points he does not have the benefit of a third season and still finished in the top five. He is a perfect compromise candidate. If you don’t want to give in on any single category then he gives you a little of everything. He likely should eclipse these numbers.

Justin Upton—Los Angeles Angels

Points: 1009 (3rd)

PPG: 2.24 (10th)

Projection: .258/31 HR/84 Runs/91 RBI/10 SB/60 BB (3rd)

Upton is the perfect Angel. He puts up pretty good numbers across the board and his name has plenty of cache, but he’s just not quite good enough. The points per game is the best clue. He produces because he plays, but the PPG is a tangible representation of the feeling that you have when your team isn’t quite cutting the mustard.

Marcell Ozuna—St. Louis Cardinals

Points: 1107 (2nd)

PPG: 2.43 (6th)

Projection: .287/26 HR/74 Runs/90 RBI/1 SB/45 BB (10th)

Ozuna is a great example of why we go with three year averages instead of single season projections. Following 2017 he looked like a world beater. He suffered through shoulder issues this past season, but a return to 2017 is not likely. He hadn’t produced like that before and he returned to career norms last year.

Juan Soto—Washington Nationals

Points: 335 (23rd)

PPG: 2.89 (1st)

Projection: .292/27 HR/94 Runs/85 RBI/6 SB/96 BB (1st

It’s hard to predict what phenoms will do in their second season, but history indicates that they will more likely regress than progress. Maybe it’s the fact that the league is getting a second look at them. Maybe it’s the fact that they get complacent after having so much success. Maybe losing Bryce Harper as a teammate will put more of the focus on him. Either way, this is a bet on regression.

Ryan Braun—Milwaukee Brewers

Points: 894 (6th)

PPG: 2.46 (5th)

Projection: .279/23 HR/69 Runs/72 RBI/13 SB/41 BB (15th)

Braun is obviously more productive than the traditional numbers would indicate. His biggest problem these days is staying on the field. It’s amazing what happens when you take the PEDs away. It’s easy to hate Braun after what he did to that courier several years ago. Much like the other PED cheats, time will tell whether he will complete the path back to redemption.

Tommy Pham—Tampa Bay Rays

Points: 742 (14th)

PPG: 2.16 (12th)

Projection: .281/25 HR/104 Runs/72 RBI/21 SB/74 BB (2nd)

The Rays are the most fascinating organization in sports. They have a crappy stadium and play in a smaller market, but occasionally they become buyers at the deadline. Last season they did both. Getting Pham was a stroke of genius as they got a very good player for below market value. They ended up winning 90 games and he was one of the reasons why.

Brett Gardner—New York Yankees

Points: 990 (4th)

PPG: 2.26 (8th)

Projection: .254/12 HR/84 Runs/46 RBI/20 SB/65 BB (16th)

Here we see the tension between total points and conventional formats. Most total points formulas include negative events. Gardner doesn’t have a lot of those, so he ends up coming out better. Honestly, splitting the difference is usually the best way to go. He does offer some speed, so he is useful, but eighth feels a little high.

Eddie Rosario—Minnesota Twins

Points: 852 (9th)

PPG: 2.24 (10th)

Projection: .284/24 HR/85 Runs/73 RBI/8 SB/28 BB (11th)

A team of Rosario’s is going nowhere. However, an occasional Rosario on your squad won’t kill you at all. He had a better 2018 than this, so maybe he is progressing as a player. We gamble here on past performance and not future projections, but some of you may feel differently. Have at it.

Shin-soo Choo—Texas Rangers

Points: 776 (11th)

PPG: 2.26 (8th)

Projection: .260/20 HR/82 Runs/62 RBI/9 SB/77 BB (12th)

Sometimes you have to ignore the salary of the player and simply look at the production. This kind of thing happens all the time. A player has an out of context season before a contract and suddenly they are a disappointment for the rest of their natural lives. Choo is a very good offensive player. He just isn’t a great one.

Michael Conforto—New York Mets

Points: 775 (12th)

PPG: 2.09 (13th)

Projection: .248/28 HR/79 Runs/81 RBI/3 SB/75 BB (8th)

Conforto got off to a slow start last season, but settled into the numbers on the back of his baseball card. Unfortunately, his teammate (Yoenis Cespedes) will miss most of the season or he may have been in the top ten himself. Conforto might be a top ten guy with health as the team will have more talent around him.

David Peralta—Arizona Diamondbacks

Points: 773 (13th)

PPG: 2.31 (7th)

Projection: .287/21 HR/78 Runs/69 RBI/6 SB/43 BB (14th)

Peralta hit 30 home runs last year. That’s the kind of thing that sneaks up on you. Like with Ozuna, I don’t bet on single seasons, but his issues have been more health related. The points per game might be a better predictor of the future than the other categories. Unfortunately, with Goldschmidt and Pollock gone it could be thin in Phoenix.

Michael Brantley—Houston Astros

Points: 673 (16th)

PPG: 2.76 (2nd)

Projection: .302/12 HR/67 Runs/64 RBI/12 SB/39 BB (18th)

If Brantley can find his way to 600 plate appearances then these numbers will improve considerably. Unfortunately, attendance matters. For those playing daily fantasy sports, there might not be a better value play than Brantley. Counting on him for a full season of production might be tough, but if he lasts until this point in the draft he could be a huge bargain.

Matt Kemp—Cincinnati Reds

Points: 865 (7th)

PPG: 2.07 (14th)

Projection: .277/27 HR/72 Runs/96 RBI/0 SB/36 BB (17th)

Kemp has been exposed over time as a flawed offensive player. However, if you leave him alone in the lineup he will eventually produce decent numbers. In particular, he might be a fantasy regular in five category leagues. This should be a good situation for him, but this might be his last season as a regular.

Kyle Schwarber—Chicago Cubs

Points: 656 (17th)

PPG: 1.95 (17th)

Projection: .228/34 HR/86 Runs/77 RBI/4 SB/82 BB (6th)

We see another gap between total points and conventional rankings. It’s all about the strikeouts. Total points doesn’t like all or nothing type of guys. The industry calls them three outcome players (strikeouts, walks, and home runs). As long as you get your batting average somewhere else you should be okay.

Adam Duvall—Atlanta Braves

Points: 829 (10th)

PPG: 1.86 (18th)

Projection: .232/28 HR/75 Runs/94 RBI/5 SB/42 BB (13th)

Duvall had a rough 2018, but he has been a good player overall over the last three seasons. Still, this is a perfect spot for someone like Duvall. He has been a positive impact fielder and the Braves don’t have anyone else right now. They could end up adding a corner outfielder and if they do he will go straight into the waiver wire.

Joc Pederson—Los Angeles Dodgers

Points: 710 (15th)

PPG: 1.83 (19th)

Projection: .238/29 HR/84 Runs/77 RBI/5 SB/69 BB (9th)

The projection might be optimistic, but the Dodgers were able to clear some clutter in their trade with the Reds. They still have Kiki Hernandez who can play multiple positions. Pederson may be more appropriate at 500 plate appearances. Pederson has always been heavy on the strikeouts. He won’t take the next step until he makes more contact.

Corey Dickerson—Pittsburgh Pirates

Points: 858 (8th)

PPG: 1.98 (15th)

Projection: .276/19 HR/60 Runs/55 RBI/3 SB/26 BB (21st)

Dickerson hasn’t been the same since leaving Colorado. Of course, no one is. Like many of these last several guys, he is flawed but is still good enough to be a valuable bench member of your team. He had an under the radar season in Pittsburgh last season and should be good for another one.

Domingo Santana—Seattle Mariners

Points: 522 (20th)

PPG: 1.67 (21st)

Projection: .270/25 HR/76 Runs/73 RBI/9 SB/67 BB (7th)

I haven’t liked most of what Seattle has done this offseason, but this is one of their better moves. Santana didn’t have anywhere to play in Milwaukee, but he produced .278/30/88/85/15 in his only full season as a regular. If he produces anything close to that he would be a bargain for the Mariners and for you.

Hunter Renfroe—San Diego Padres

Points: 494 (21st)

PPG: 1.98 (15th)

Projection: .245/29 HR/59 Runs/73 RBI/3 SB/30 BB (20th)

Who knows if last season is any indication, but a 47.2 percent hard hit rate is ridiculously high. Even if you go with the career 40.2 percent mark is a very healthy rate. All these numbers may seem like statistical gobbly gook, but the conventional numbers tend to follow the batted ball numbers. If they deal him they could be dealing a monster.

2019 Fantasy Baseball: Shortstop Integrating Rankings

Shortstop is the most popular position on the diamond. From the days on the playground, kids wanted to play shortstop before any other position. Coaches put their best athletes either on the mound or at shortstop. Sometimes, players alternated between the two positions. So, it would make perfect sense for shortstop to be a popular fantasy position as well. While the position is deep, it may not have quite the top end talent as some of the other positions on the diamond.

That being said, there are bound to be a few fantasy first rounders amongst this year’s crop of fantasy shortstops. Just like with third basemen, we are looking at total points and traditional formats. The traditional projection is based on production over the past three seasons prorated to an estimate of 400, 500, or 600 plate appearances. Health history and roster construction as of this publication. Rankings are based on a composite between those two formats as we have created our own version of total points. We will include the rankings for each category (including total points per game) for full disclosure.

Total Points= TB + Runs + RBI + SB + BB + HBP – SO – CS – GDP

Francisco Lindor—Cleveland Indians

Points: 1444 (1st)

PPG: 3.04 (1st)

Projection: .283/24 HR/91 Runs/72 RBI/16 SB/50 BB (1st)

Obviously, Machado will be signing a monster contract shortly after the calendar turns over. People will be tempted to elevate him (and Bryce Harper) based on the pay. Lindor is better whether you consider Machado a third baseman or shortstop (or both). When you throw in the fielding he might be even better.

Manny Machado—Free Agent

Points: 1333 (2nd)

PPG: 2.82 (2nd)

Projection: .283/31 HR/77 Runs/85 RBI/7 SB/48 BB (6th)

I can see a case to be made for Machado once we find out where he’s going. Either way, it should be better for him than his original home in Baltimore. If it’s in New York you can certainly see a case for making him the top shortstop or third baseman on the board, but past numbers mean more than future projections.

Xander Bogaerts—Boston Red Sox

Points: 1154 (3rd)

PPG: 2.62 (5th)

Projection: .284/17 HR/87 Runs/79 RBI/11 SB/52 BB (3rd)

Bogaerts is in the exact opposite situation. He is a top five shortstop as long as he stays in Boston. There were rumors that the Red Sox were trying to unload him to clear salary space. That may be a bit far-fetched, but the offseason is long and rankings can change when circumstances change.

Trea Turner—Washington Nationals

Points: 975 (6rh)

PPG: 2.71 (3rd)

Projection: .289/17 HR/91 Runs/61 RBI/48 SB/45 BB (4th

It might also be popular to knock down guys like Turner when they lose Harper to a more profitable team. It’s not like the Nationals are going to replace Harper with no one. He may not score as many runs, but he will still get on base and steal second. He’ll also hit the occasional home run as well.

Jean Segura—Philadelphia Phillies

Points: 1113 (4th)

PPG: 2.64 (4th)

Projection: .308/13 HR/87 Runs/55 RBI/24 SB/33 BB (10th)

It’s at this point where we should talk about the difference between total points and conventional fantasy categories. Total points rewards patience and contact. So, we often see some separation when you have high contact on the positive end and high strikeout guys on the negative end. Segura’s production has been pretty stable over time, so suppress the urge to give him a huge boost in Philadelphia.

Trevor Story—Colorado Rockies

Points: 921 (10th)

PPG: 2.31 (10th)

Projection: .268/32 HR/82 Runs/97 RBI/15 SB/48 BB (2nd)

Segura and Story are mirror images. Story is heavy on the strikeouts. That matters little in traditional formats, but in total points is pretty significant. After a few seasons, he is definitely for real, but this placement seems like a good compromise for him. They will be better with Daniel Murphy in tow, but not that much better.

Corey Seager—Los Angeles Dodgers

Points: 904 (11th)

PPG: 2.55 (7th)

Projection: .302/21 HR/86 Runs/70 RBI/4 SB/57 BB (5th)

Remember this guy? A huge part of fantasy baseball (or any other fantasy sport) is realizing the difference between the top guys and the next tier. If Seager is healthy he is almost as productive as Machado. No, I wouldn’t take Seager right after him, but you could take him later and get almost the same production.

Elvis Andrus—Texas Rangers

Points: 963 (8th)

PPG: 2.40 (9th)

Projection: .288/12 HR/81 Runs/68 RBI/19 SB/40 BB (8th)

Paul Bear Bryant once famously said that “potential means they ain’t done nothing yet.” Give the old ball coach some extra points for eloquence, but he was right. There are guys on the board with more potential than Andrus. I’ll take the production and walk away. Others might feel differently.

Carlos Correa—Houston Astros

Points: 943 (9th)

PPG: 2.53 (8th)

Projection: .276/18 HR/68 Runs/76 RBI/6 SB/56 BB (9th)

I played in a league where Correa was taken first overall. Granted, it was amongst a group of Astros fans, but let that sink in for a minute. The projection above was over 500 plate appearances, so that might seem overly conservative. Yet, he has missed time in each season due to injury. So, we might as well account for it now.

Didi Gregorius—New York Yankees

Points: 1103 (5th)

PPG: 2.61 (6th)

Projection: .277/17 HR/53 Runs/56 RBI/5 SB/21 BB (21st)

Okay, this is awkward. The projections were made over 400 plate appearances. That’s closer to the reality. Obviously, Gregorius should not be the 10thshortstop picked. However, he would make a great stash candidate if your league has an IR spot. If your league has more than one than he is definitely worth a late round pick.

Andrelton Simmons—Los Angeles Angels

Points: 972 (7th)

PPG: 2.27 (11th)

Projection: .284/10 HR/67 Runs/65 RBI/14 SB/38 BB (16th)

If only they counting fielding runs. Simmons is easily one of the top five shortstops in baseball when all things are considered. He is essentially this generation’s Ozzie Smith. If you want to punt shortstop then you could do a heck of a lot worse than Simmons. In fact, he and Gregorius would make nice companion picks.

Marcus Semien—Oakland Athletics

Points: 825 (13th)

PPG: 2.05 (15th)

Projection: .247/18 HR/75 Runs/65 RBI/13 SB/53 BB

Semien is one of those guys that always looks better to the numbers crunchers than to average fans. If he played a little more consistently then he might be a guy you could count on to put up better than average numbers under the radar. He did it last year, so maybe you can bet on two seasons in a row.

Javier Baez—Chicago Cubs

Points: 782 (15th)

PPG: 1.75 (20th)

Projection: .280/27 HR/85 Runs/92 RBI/16 SB/28 BB (7th)

Here is one of those spots where the final ranking doesn’t make sense. He was arguably the second best player in the National League last year. If you are in a five category league he is a top five shortstop. Six categories a little worse and then total points he completely falls off the table.

Brandon Crawford—San Francisco Giants

Points: 832 (12th)

PPG: 1.85 (19th)

Projection: .261/13 HR/63 Runs/72 RBI/5 SB/50 BB (15th)

Crawford has always been steady, but he is unspectacular at a position run over with talented players. In a way, the is the perfect embodiment of the Giants roster these days. They are all good enough if you have stars at other positions, but with the exception of Buster Posey they really don’t.

Paul Dejong—St. Louis Cardinals

Points: 480 (22nd)

PPG: 2.15 (13th)

Projection: .263/28 HR/79 Runs/86 RBI/1 SB/37 BB (12th)

When you get to the Dejongs of the world you end up betting a lot on spec. From there you have to wonder if he will be better than Lourdes Gurriel, J.P. Crawford or any of the other young shortstops on the horizon. In terms of power he likely is the best of the bunch, but there is more to life than just power.

Marwin Gonzalez—Free Agent

Points: 809 (14th)

PPG: 1.93 (17th)

Projection: .268/16 HR/58 Runs/66 RBI/7 SB/39 BB (17th)

Where will he go? What position will he play? Will he be a regular or a super sub as he has been? His projection was based over 500 plate appearances, but he might end up being a regular depending on where he ends up. He is eligible at four different spots, so that might move him up some boards.

Aledyms Diaz—Houston Astros

Points: 703 (17th)

PPG: 2.20 (12th)

Projection: .275/14 HR/52 Runs/46 Runs/4 SB/25 BB (23rd)

Does he get more than 400 plate appearances? Apparently, they are telling him to bring his infield glove, first basemen glove, and outfielder’s glove. That makes him the cheaper version of Marwin Gonzalez in every sense of the word.

Jorge Polanco—Minnesota Twins

Points: 613 (20th)

PPG: 2.13 (14th)

Projection: .272/10 HR/54 Runs/63 RBI/11 SB/37 BB (22nd)

He checks every box, so if you are looking for a nice insurance policy then you can make him one of the last picks in the draft. His career record appears spotty because of the suspension, but if we assume that problem has gone away then it’s smooth sailing from here on out.

2019 Fantasy Baseball: Third Base Integrated Rankings

Welcome to the first integrated ranking list of the 2019 season. From here on out, we will be combining total points and six category profiles to generate one system of rankings. So, the 18 top third basemen will be ranked according to both total points and six category universes. For those wondering, we consider walks to be the sixth category. We are projecting performance based on projected playing time. We base that on past health and their current situation with their club. 

Total points are based on a formula we are using for our own purposes. Every platform has their own, so you should do your own research based on the platform of choice. The idea is to give players credit (and remove credit) depending on positive and negative events. Since each event is weighted accordingly then you don’t have the problem of players getting too much credit for excelling at one particular skill. We broke down the top 24 third basemen and then cherrypicked the top 18. Rankings in each category correspond to their ranking amongst those 24 players.

Total Points= TB + Runs + RBI + BB + SB + HBP – SO – CS- GIDP

Nolan Arenado—Colorado Rockies

Points: 1558 (1st)

PPG: 3.28 (1st)

Projection: .300/34 HR/94 Runs/109 RBI/2 SB/59 BB (2nd)

Arenado is a perfect example of why I prefer total points. He ranks second in six category leagues primarily because he doesn’t steal bases. Who cares? He drives in runs in bunches and likely will outproduce the numbers above because it is based on a 600 plate appearance projection. He flies by that mark every season and approaches 700 on a regular basis.

Jose Ramirez—Cleveland Indians

Points: 1502 (2nd)

PPG: 3.26 (2nd)

Projection: .300/24 HR/92 Runs/81 RBI/22 SB/62 BB (1st)

Ramirez is also eligible at second and might end up there. It is debatable as to whether he is better than Jose Altuve outright, but his versatility makes him special. His six category ranking is based on those steals, but he has also gotten better three years in a row across the board. The Indians are thinner these days, so it is hard to project more improvement.

Kris Bryant—Chicago Cubs

Points: 1182 (4th)

PPG: 2.90 (5th)

Projection: .288/27 HR/96 Runs/75 RBI/6 SB/69 BB (3rd)

Bryant is also eligible at multiple positions. The Cubs were rumored to have shopped Bryant at the beginning of the offseason. He won the MVP in 2016, but in some ways that seems like an eternity ago. Bryant’s fortunes have followed the Cubs since then. He is still really good, but the magic of that season hasn’t returned.

Anthony Rendon—Washington Nationals

Points: 1283 (3rd)

PPG: 2.92 (4th)

Projection: .292/22 HR/84 Runs/90 RBI/7 SB/66 BB (4th)

Don’t sleep on Rendon or the Nationals. Yes, they are losing Bryce Harper, but they are arguably deeper than most of the clubs in the NL East. Rendon might be the next stud to leave town and while there is nothing that he does that wows you; he just puts up good numbers across the board.

Alex Bregman—Houston Astros

Points: 1048 (8th)

PPG: 2.90 (5th)

Projection: .282/22 HR/87 Runs/81 RBI/11 SB/64 BB (5th)

Bregman is also eligible at shortstop and I’m sure he would rank slightly higher there than he does here. I also understand the desire to assume improvement from him yet again. These projections are based on 600 plate appearances and he’s likely to get more than that, so there is some push there, but it is just as likely that he takes a little step back before he becomes an annual star.

Josh Donaldson—Atlanta Braves

Points: 978 (11th)

PPG: 3.06 (3rd)

Projection: .273/28 HR/77 Runs/71 RBI/4 SB/76 BB (6th)

Poll an Atlanta Braves fan and they may settle for these numbers from Donaldson even though they are over only 500 plate appearances. Health has been the only thing that has stopped him. If you want to be bullish on him you can do the math and figure it over 600 plate appearances, but I’m not that optimistic. 

Eugenio Suarez—Cincinnati Reds

Points: 991 (9th)

PPG: 2.16 (16th)

Projection: .265/26 HR/78 Runs/82 RBI/5 SB/64 BB (7th)

Part of the fun of fantasy sports is projecting players like Suarez. He has seemingly taken a step forward in each full season of his career. Does he continue improving or does he eventually find his level? These are the unanswerable questions of life. Real growth (and not the batted ball luck kind) is difficult to bet on.

Matt Carpenter—St. Louis Cardinals

Points: 1160 (5th)

PPG: 2.70 (8th)

Projection: .256/26 HR/91 Runs/70 RBI/2 SB/94 BB (8th)

It’s fun living in the moment of the season. For a brief time in July and August there was talk of Carpenter winning the MVP award. Those thoughts died as he returned to his profile of being really good, but not necessarily great. You always do better betting on what a player is over 162 games rather than any individual three or four week period. Even with Goldschmidt in tow, Carpenter still is what he is.

Joey Gallo—Texas Rangers

Points: 578 (17th)

PPG: 1.86 (19th)

Projection: .203/42 HR/88 Runs/89 RBI/7 SB/80 BB (9th)

There are so many layers to all of this. First, you have the total points let down that comes exclusively because of all of those strikeouts. Do we really care that much in standard leagues? Well, we do have that horrible batting average. We also have a very healthy home run and walk rate. So, you take the good with the bad, hold your nose, and hope for the best.

Miguel Andujar—New York Yankees

Points: 413 (20th)

PPG: 2.68 (9th)

Projection: .300/26 HR/81 Runs/94 RBI/3 SB/25 BB (10th)

Oh, the joys of playing in Yankee Stadium. You put up numbers that should win you the Rookie of the Year Award and then they talk of dealing you because of the shiny new toy on the free agent market. About 20 teams would gladly trade their third baseman for this guy. He deserves better than this.

Justin Turner—Los Angeles Dodgers

Points: 1081 (6th)

PPG: .282 (7th)

Projection: .300/19 HR/67 Runs/67 RBI/4 SB/48 BB (11th)

The projections are based on 500 plate appearances based on his injury history and the presence of David Freese. Turner is better than that and probably deserves to play every day. He probably will do enough to get to 600 plate appearances and if so you can adjust the projection accordingly.

Kyle Seager—Seattle Mariners

Points: 1064 (7th)

PPG: 2.28 (12th)

Projection: .250/24 HR/68 Runs/81 RBI/2 SB/51 BB (12th)

Imagine a world where Seager is barely a fantasy regular. Imagine that same world where he has been put on the trade block in real baseball and no real team wants him. That is how deep third base is as a position these days. Last year was a down season for Seager, so he will need to rebound to rekindle his value.

Jake Lamb—Arizona Diamondbacks

Points: 821 (14th)

PPG: 2.31 (11th)

Projection: .244/22 HR/70 Runs/77 RBI/4 SB/60 BB (13th)

Lamb gets to try his hand at first base which means he has multiple position flexibility. His numbers don’t look great, but they are based on 500 PA. If he stays healthy he is good for 25 home runs and 90 RBI. Imagine that on your bench.

Travis Shaw—Milwaukee Brewers

Points: 988 (10th)

PPG: 2.24 (13th)

Projection: .253/23 HR/64 Runs/75 RBI/6 SB/53 BB (14th)

He will be eligible at second base in some formats and depending on what the Brewers do this offseason he might spend some more time there. Second base is another deep fantasy position, so he might be a fringe regular there as well. If you are fringe regular in two spots then you are an outstanding bench piece.

Matt Chapman—Oakland Athletics

Points: 501 (19th)

PPG: 2.19 (14th)

Projection: .263/24 HR/89 Runs/69 RBI/1 SB/57 BB (15th)

Again, we find ourselves wondering if we should bank on what could be or bank on what has been. Unfortunately, fielding runs are not a fantasy thing yet. In real baseball, Chapman is easily a top ten third baseman. Real baseball and fantasy baseball don’t always intersect. I suspect he is better than this, but by how much?

Todd Frazier—New York Mets

Points: 892 (13th)

PPG: 2.12 (17th)

Projections: .218/25 HR/63 Runs/68 RBI/8 SB/57 BB (16th)

Frazier is a flawed player, but you can’t have an all-star at every spot. So, the question you ask yourself as a fantasy GM or a real one is whether he gives you enough good to justify the bad. If the Mets stay healthy there should be enough around him to give him some good run producing opportunities. That’s good enough for a bench slot.

Mike Moustakas—Free Agent

Points: 808 (15th)

PPG: 2.47 (10th)

Projections: .260/27 HR/57 Runs/71 RBI/1 SB/34 BB (17th)

Moose is the embodiment of average and represents perfectly the problems with being an average player in today’s game. If you are a playoff contender, there is a pretty good chance you have a better player than Moose manning third base. If you aren’t a contender then he probably is better than what you have, but how much do you want to invest in an average player when an average player isn’t going to vault you into playoff contention?

Evan Longoria—Tampa Bay Rays

Points: 961 (12th)

PPG: 2.18 (15th)

Projections: .261/22 HR/62 Runs/72 RBI/3 SB/33 BB (18th)

Remember when Longoria hit the walk off homer to vault the Rays into the postseason? It almost single-handedly motivated MLB to make the wild card a 163rdgame play in. He was on the short list for the MVP award then. Now, he is a shell of his former self. I suppose it wouldn’t be terrible to have him on the bench, but I might choose someone with a little more upside.

A way forward for the Hall of Fame

Last time we talked about Harold Baines and the Hall of Fame. My reaction was probably more emotional than it should have been. When a controversial selection happens we usually bust out our numbers and throw in a little snark for good measure. The amount of snark usually depends on the commentator. I try to steer clear as much as possible, but as time has crept on I’ve realized that simply shooting down Lee Smith or Harold Baines really doesn’t help the situation any.

Ultimately, we want two things. First, we want a process that makes sense and the Veterans Committee process has never really made sense. Secondly, we want the best players to be in the Hall of Fame. That seems simple enough and it feels perfectly reasonable to ask whether any player is a Hall of Fame caliber player. However, what we realize is that it’s not that Harold Baines is the wrong answer. The problem is that it’s the wrong question.

Jon Heyman asked Jack Morris and Dave Stewart whether Harold Baines was a Hall of Famer. The answer he got shouldn’t surprise anyone. Of course he is. This is usually where the snark enters the proceeding. I’m not going to bag on Morris or Stewart. Morris shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame himself, but that’s not really the point. The point is that when we respect someone we are going to stick up for them when given the chance. Morris claimed that Baines hit .400 off of him in his career. The implication is simple. If I’m a Hall of Famer and this guy hit .400 off of me then he too is a Hall of Famer. 

Let’s ignore the breakdown in logic here. The fact is that he is wrong on the facts. Baines didn’t hit .400 off of Morris. Again, the point isn’t to pick on Morris. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Memories fade and often get distorted. That’s why courts of law deal in facts and science a lot more often than they deal in what witnesses remember. It’s a lot easier for me to say yay or nay on a player when I don’t know them. Ask me the fate of someone I know and respect and I will probably err on the side of allowing them admittance to whatever they want. So, I have no problem with Morris or Stewart saying he should be in.

So, if we are to avoid asking whether someone should be in the Hall of Fame or not then what should we ask? The history of the Veterans Committee is a history of how harmful this question has been. Each time they elect someone  they know and they find a reason to say yes. The problem is not the fact that they said yes, but the fact that they never bothered to ask a different question. That question is whether any certain player is the best player not currently in the Hall of Fame. When you think about it, that is a lot more precise and creates a far different answer.

Asking that question does two things for you. First, it limits the scope of your search. If you wanted, you could expand it to include the best pitcher as well, but even then you are only including two names. Tack that on the BBWAA list and you have a healthy Hall of Fame class every year. Secondly, it puts players like Baines in a lot more positive light. Instead of asking whether he was good enough or not, I ask whether he was better than a particular player. So, we aren’t calling Baines the second coming of Jim Pankovits. We are saying he isn’t quite as good as Bobby Grich, Dick Allen, or Keith Hernandez or anyone else.

Worthy players get left off of the BBWAA ballot every year. The new incarnation of the Veterans Committee could serve a very good purpose if it simply refocused itself to the new question. Who is the best player not in the Hall of Fame? Since players will always fall off the ballot, this new mission would be never ending. If they inserted a little more transparency it could even be more fun for the fans. So, I make the following modest proposal.

Stage One

A steering committee currently takes the players with ten or more years of experience and whittles it down to a ballot. Yadier Molina will certainly be on the ballot someday, but all of his brothers don’t need to be. The VC (or whatever it wants to call itself) will simply take any player that has ever appeared on a ballot and has cycled off. They then will have a preliminary vote and vote for the best player at every position who is not in the Hall of Fame or currently on the BBWAA ballot.

This will undoubtedly include 19thcentury players, but I would imagine that most of them will never see the light of day. The commercial aspect of the Hall of Fame will always favor living players. However, based on our preliminary results in the index we could imagine the results at each position.

The criteria changes based on the voter and the names available. I use the index. Someone else uses something else. The players with the most votes are released and become the best players not in the Hall of Fame at that position. From year to year this will change depending on who drops off the BBWAA list and who gets selected from the previous list.

This is only phase one. I’d imagine with a number of people voting we would reach a consensus on each spot enough to feel comfortable that any of these nine players would be worthy selections for the Hall of Fame. That’s when we move on to phase two.

Phase Two

Phase two is a simple process. Each voter selects the best position player and best pitcher from the list. Here is where the new committee can alter the process to their liking. They can choose a starting pitcher and relief pitcher and choose between the two or simply have something like the top three or five pitchers on a phase two ballot. Either way, you get two new Hall of Famers every year and you’d imagine the number of glaring omissions would evaporate over time.

There certainly would be controversy and there would be hysteria over omissions and questionable additions. That’s the politics of glory. However, the reframing of the question makes the argument much less personal. The question isn’t whether Harold Baines (or anyone else) is good enough. It is whether he is better than someone else.

Fantasy Second Basemen: Five and Six Category Rankings

There is nothing more difficult than parsing the difference between past performance and future projections. This is particularly true with younger players. Sometimes players take a step back after they initially break through. Sometimes players take a huge step forward out of nowhere. Growth is rarely ever linear. So, in these rankings we are siding with past performance and recognizing that it might not be appropriate in every case.

So, what we are doing is taking three seasons worth of numbers and projecting them out over 400, 500, or 600 plate appearances based on health history and current roster construction. We are then ranking them based on six basic fantasy categories with walks as the sixth category. We can adjust accordingly down the line with new situations and actual industry projections.

Jose Altuve—Houston Astros

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .332/19 HR/92 Runs/72 RBI/19 SB/52 BB

Up until 2018, Altuve was getting better with each passing season. He might have hit his peak in terms of home runs, but he should grow in every other category with good health. The scary thought for opponents is that both Altuve and the rest of the Astros offense wasn’t quite their best last season.

Brian Dozier—Free Agent

PA: 600 

Six Category Projection: .253/29 HR/86 Runs/78 RBI/14 SB/62 BB

I hate uncertainty. It’s hard to say where he winds up on the musical chairs game that is second base this offseason. Put him somewhere like Milwaukee and he could be a fantasy stud. Put him somewhere like Baltimore and he becomes lost. Stay tuned.

Gleyber Torres—New York Yankees

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .271/30 HR/67 Runs/95 RBI/7 SB/52 BB

This is a really risky play. He could become the next superstar or he could take a significant step backwards. The numbers above look like star projection, but those are his actual numbers projected over 600 plate appearances. I feel pretty safe saying he won’t do that, but over or under is hard to call at this point.

Scooter Gennett—Cincinnati Reds

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .290/23 HR/80 Runs/88 RBI/5 SB/39 BB

To make things more complicated, there have been reports that the Reds are shopping Gennett at the Winter Meetings. Where does he land? Does he become a corner outfielder? Does he remain as productive or does he turn into the player he was in Milwaukee? 

Robinson Cano—New York Mets

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .292/25 HR/81 Runs/88 RBI/0 SB/45 BB

Fangraphs did a study of players that were busted for PEDs and found that most were at least played more often following their suspension. Who knows what the future holds for Cano, but late last year he looked like the same guy. The Mets are strong on paper, but Custard probably liked his chances at Little Big Horn too.

D.J. LeMahieu—Free Agent

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .312/11 HR/91 Runs/61 RBI/7 SB/51 BB

As they say in real estate, location, location, location. I wouldn’t pick LeMahieu here unless he wound up back in Colorado. He might not even be a fantasy regular otherwise. The sad thing is that he is good enough defensively to be worth signing, but your league doesn’t count defensive runs saved.

Ozzie Albies—Atlanta Braves

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .268/19 HR/90 Runs/65 RBI/14 SB/37 BB

Here we reach exhibit two of the young player problem. A lack of patience may cause issues for Albies moving forward. Then again, he may grow in that department. I’m not betting on the power moving forward but we may see better speed numbers. All in all he should leapfrog at least LeMahieu if not more.

Whit Merrifield—Kansas City Royals

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .293/12 HR/76 Runs/60 RBI/3 SB/39 BB

Maybe we should start a GoFundMe for Merrifield to move out of Kansas City. I’d make him a top five guy if that happened. As it stands I’m not exactly sure who is going to drive him or who he can drive in himself. Billy Hamilton doesn’t exactly blow my skirt up.

Daniel Murphy—Free Agent

PA: 500

Six Category Projection: .326/20 HR/73 Runs/78 RBI/3 SB/35 BB

Murphy isn’t they healthiest specimen out there, but if he signs with an AL club he could be a DH and occasional fielder. Bump him up to 600 plate appearances and he could be a top five second baseman. The musical chairs game makes this a dicey proposition, so a second round of rankings this spring may be necessary.

Rougned Odor—Texas Rangers

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .242/27 HR/81 Runs/75 RBI/14 SB/31 BB

Playing fantasy baseball sometimes means turning your brain off. Odor is not a good baseball player. Simply put, he doesn’t steal first base often enough. In five category leagues that doesn’t matter. In six category ones it matters a little but you can still look past it. In real baseball it is a horrible proposition.

Cesar Hernandez—Philadelphia Phillies

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .279/9 HR/76 Runs/42 RBI/16 SB/70 BB

Then there are players like Hernandez. He is a lot better than these numbers show, but you have to go by these numbers. You might be able to wait and pick him up as a bench guy. I would given that he gets on base and the Phillies have added a ton of offense.

Jason Kipnis—Cleveland Indians

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .249/19 HR/72 Runs/69 RBI/10 SB/53 BB

Kipnis is also eligible in the outfield. That makes him a marginal starter. I might bet the under given the Indians recent paring of their roster. Plus, he has seen his production dip in the past couple of seasons.

Joey Wendle—Tampa Bay Rays

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .294/8 HR/69 Runs/70 RBI/16 SB/40 BB

How dialed in is your league? If they pay attention then they may nab Wendle earlier than the fantasy universe on average. If you can wait he is well worth a bench spot. Otherwise you might just have to let someone else bet on him.

Ian Happ—Chicago Cubs

PA: 500

Six Category Projection: .242/22 HR/67 Runs/64 RBI/9 SB/62 BB

The Cubs need the DH in the worst way. They have too many good offensive players to simply have eight spots. It’s hard to say what the Cubs are doing with Happ moving forward. He has outfield eligibility, so he is well worth a selection late. If you bump him up to 600 plate appearances he becomes a fantasy starter.

Yoan Moncada—Chicago White Sox

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .234/17 HR/71 Runs/56 RBI/10 SB/65 BB

Moncada led the world in strikeouts last season. If that happens he might be out of the league before he gets a chance to establish himself. If he improves then he could become a legitimate fantasy star. I imagine he will be one of the more volatile fantasy commodities in the 2019 draft season.

Dee Gordon—Seattle Mariners

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .285/3 HR/82 Runs/31 RBI/44 SB/19 BB

I prefer total points because of players like Gordon. Some will pick him as a starter because of those steals even though he is a marginal player overall. Sure, he hits for decent average and scores runs as well, but nobody would give him a second fault if he stole 20 bases a season.

Starlin Castro—Miami Marlins

PA: 600

Six Category Projection: .281/17 HR/71 Runs/65 RBI/4 SB/33 BB

All numbers have a context and we saw that with the Harold Baines article. When Castro retires he will likely have 2000+ hits and the counting numbers that correspond with that. There is a guy on Facebook that seems to chart Hall of Fame fitness with hits. Castro better hope he’s on the Veteran’s Committee someday.

Ben Zobrist—Chicago Cubs

PA: 500

Six Category Projection: .270/12 HR/67 Runs/56 RBI/3 SB/62 BB

I’ve made no bones about the fact that Zobrist is one of my favorite players. He plays multiple positions well and consistently produces more value than his numbers would indicate. He is an invaluable bench piece on any fantasy roster because he is eligible at four or five positions depending on the platform.