One of my favorite parts about working in the fantasy baseball industry is the networking and content sharing aspect of it all. This time next week, Jeff Erickson, DVR, Chris Liss (I think), Bernie Pleskoff, and myself will be in Arizona for the First Pitch Forums hosted by BaseballHQ's Ron Shandler. It also happens to coincide with the Rising Stars game for the AFL which is prospect pornography.
The industry is rather tight-knit as we play in a lot of leagues with one another, bounce ideas off one another, and discuss/debate in public forums such as radio and Twitter all throughout the season. On the fantasy podcast that I host over at Baseball Prospectus, we've tried to bring in as many industry guests as we can to offer other points of views outside of the site's groupspeak. Any site can develop its own groupspeak which can be great when the topic or content is 100 percent accurate, but none of us are that good, so different points of view and strategies are always welcome.
On the most recent episode of the podcast, we had on Mike Gianella from RotoThinkTank to talk about his end-of-season dollar values. Gianella is in NL Tout Wars and also does work with industry legend Alex Patton and the discussion about the dollar values revealed a very interesting thing. Gianella's dollar values were compared against the average cost of the players in the CBS expert leagues, LABR, and Tout. As we discussed his values and how they compared to the average prices from the expert auctions, we discovered something rather interesting as there were many players in both the AL and the NL format that ended up with double-digit final dollar values that went undrafted in multiple leagues!
The following earned $10 or more dollars in 2012 despite going undrafted in the expert leagues.
Elliot Johnson - $10
Eric Chavez - $11
Pedro Ciriaco - $11
Quintin Berry - $12
DeWayne Wise - $12
Will Middlebrooks - $13
Jarrod Dyson - $14
Brandon Moss - $15
Michael Saunders - $19
Most of those players earned the money based on their speed as Saunders, Dyson, Wise, Berry, Ciriaco, and Johnson each stole at least 16 bases. Moss earned his mostly on power and a .291 batting average, as did Chavez and Middlebrooks, while Saunders was the only guy to do it with both power and steals.
We often talk about punting steals in drafts because they're available in the season and here are six guys that were a factor in steals that went undrafted in the three leagues save Saunders going for $1 in LABR.
The following earned $10 or more dollars in 2012 despite going undrafted in multiple expert leagues.
Logan Forsythe - $10
Josh Rutledge - $11
Matt Carpenter - $11
Justin Maxwell - $13
Chris Denorfia - $16
Scott Hairston - $16
Justin Ruggiano - $17
Gregor Blanco - $14
Todd Frazier - $17
Everth Cabrera - $17
Chris Nelson - $14
Eric Young - $11
Steals were not as much of a factor on the NL side as only Denorfia, Ruggiano, Blanco, Cabrera, and Young stole double-digit bases. Hairston, Frazier, and Maxwell were the biggest surprise power sources, while Young and Nelson enjoyed Coors Field once again and Justin Ruggiano feasted on fastballs in Miami as all three hit over .300.
There is a long list of pitchers who earned at least $10 despite going undrafted in two of the three expert leagues in the AL - 27 in fact. Fernando Rodney went undrafted in all three and earned $32 last season. Rafael Soriano took advantage of Mariano Rivera going down and earned $21 as did Tom Wilhelmsen when Brandon League fell apart. Ryan Cook jumped in when Grant Balfour initially failed and earned $20 of profit while Ernesto Frieri earned $19 after being traded to the Angels. Of the 27 pitchers, the top six all did so with 14 or more saves while Scott Diamond and Alex Cobb were the only pitchers that did so on double-digit win totals. Only Soriano, Jake McGee, Alex Cobb, Andy Pettitte, Darren Oliver, and Charlie Furbush were drafted in any league. For the record, both Furbush and Cobb were on my AL-Only LABR team.
There were only 15 NL pitchers that earned $10 or more dollars while going undrafted on draft day. Only three of them - Santiago Casilla, Wilton Lopez, and Steve Cishek - did so with double-digit saves totals. The story on the NL side was starting pitchers as Kris Medlen, Lance Lynn, Wade Miley, Kyle Kendrick, and Ross Detwiler all earned $12 or more. None of them were drafted in the CBS expert league, and just 2-3 of them were taken in Tout Wars or LABR. Just missing that cut were Michael Fiers and his strong season, the vulturing from Ronald Belisario, and the success Marco Estrada and Jeff Samardzija found during the season.
In all, there were 63 players in 2012 that were essentially ignored by experts in drafts in March that went on to have profitable seasons after being picked up on the waiver wire. That's roughly five free agents per team in a standard 12-team league that made a difference in the league standings.
I know many of you that use the draft results from these expert leagues for your own draft prep, but don't let the experts dismissing a player affect your own player research for 2013.