A Shift In 5×5 Dollar Values
Speed isn’t as sexy as it used to be. At least that’s what the dollar value calculator I used for the Ottoneu Experts League told me. It came as a surprise, a shock really. For years, I stacked players like Michael Bourn or Juan Pierre who produced at five to 10 times their salary number for dominating a single category. It’s what makes Billy Hamilton appealing even though the Reds outfielder might not hit his weight. It’s what netted me a 16-game winner in Chris Tillman for unproven shortstop Jonathan Villar. In Major League Baseball, we’ve all heard about power totals dropping while stolen bases are on the rise. That shift has finally trickled down to fantasy baseball and forces me to view players in a different light.
Take Starling Marte for example. Last season, I traded first baseman Anthony Rizzo for the Pirates outfielder. At present, the other owner regrets making the deal and I began looking up values with a belief Marte (12 HR, 41 stolen bases) was one of my best assets. In actuality, my $8 Marte was worth $16.30 in 2013. Rizzo will cost his owner $13 this season, but the first baseman who batted .233 with 23 home runs produced $18.30 in value. In fact, Marte is my least valuable outfielder coming in at approximately $22 less than Adam Jones, $18 less than Alfonso Soriano, $12 less than Alex Rios and $8 less than Marlon Byrd.
Another trade from 2013 netted me shortstop Jean Segura for rookie phenom Jose Fernandez. It’s no secret I’m not a big fan of pitching, but the Marlins product produced at a touch over $30 last season. Segura also impressed with 12 home runs and 44 steals, but like Marte, his actual value was much less than anticipated at $19.90. Meanwhile, Andrelton Simmons becomes my best value at shortstop with a $5 dollar price tag and $13.30 in production fueled 17 home runs. Speaking of home runs, JJ Hardy was a dime less valuable than Segura in 2013. That blew my mind.
it would be a mistake to dismiss this as just a speed for power swap, because there’s more to it. The 2000 season was the peak of the Steroid Era or whatever you choose to call it. Take a look at the 5×5 categories compared to today.
R = 5.14 per game
RBI = 4.89 per game
HR = 1.17 per game
SB = .60 per game
AVG = .270 per game
R = 4.17 per game
RBI = 3.96 per game
HR = .96 per game
SB = .55 per game
AVG = .253 per game
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know a home run puts a run and RBI on the board too. What you (and I) probably didn’t know is a run and RBI is about 20% more valuable than it was at the beginning of the decade. Meanwhile, stolen bases, home runs and batting average have also dropped, but not as much in terms of percentage. In essence, an impact stolen base threat needs to steal two bases for every RBI lost from the lead off spot. Or, if a star player can be expected to combine for 180 runs and RBI, a player like Segura or Marte who’ll drive in 50 or less needs to score 130-140 runs in a season.
On the flip side, it’s time to stop neglecting players such as Pedro Alvarez and Mark Trumbo. The Pirates third baseman will cost me $8 in 2013 and produced $28.10 in value last season. To date, Alvarez has produced about $35 in excess value the past two seasons. Meanwhile, he has received $0 in arbitration raises from other teams while Segura was tagged for $10 extra dollars this past off season alone. Trumbo was a top-15 5×5 producer in 2013 chipping in $29.60 in value. Trumbo ($15) was just dealt for Indians Carlos Santana ($18) in the Ottoneu Experts League. Santana produced at $18.20 in value. Most will view the swap as even, but it’s not even close.
Is it a crazy world when Joey Votto produced less value than Prince Fielder in 2013? Absolutely, but this is what makes dollar values so great to work with. While Votto is destined to go for $50 or more at auction, a smart owner will scoop Fielder at $35 and invest the rest in Alfonso Soriano. For the same $50, Votto’s owner sees a $27.40 return on investment while Fielder/Soriano produce $62.50. Meanwhile, one wonders why he/she is in the cellar.
4 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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