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Collette Calls: Big Fish

Jason Collette

Jason has been helping fantasy owners since 1999 at RotoJunkie, Fanball, Baseball Prospectus and now here at RotoWire. He covers the Tampa Bay Rays at You can hear Jason weekly on many of the Sirius/XM Fantasy channel offerings throughout the season as well as on the Towers of Power Baseball Hour Podcast on iTunes. He was selected as the Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year by FSWA in 2013.

We are now in the second half of the fantasy season as baseball teams played their 82nd game of the season at some point this week. I always find it both helpful and depressing to look at the current dollar values in the Rotowire engine and compare them to what people paid for those players just three months ago. Every league is different, but for todayís purpose, I will be using the draft day values from the 15-team Tout Wars mixed league.

The best bargain in the entire league was Mike Trout as he has a current dollar value of $39 and he was rostered for the incredible bargain of $1 on draft day. The best pitching bargain in the league belongs to R.A. Dickey who was rostered for $2 but has a current roto value of $33 in this league format. The feedback is more meaningful when we look at how each position has worked out to date so letís start with the catchers.

Catchers: $259 spent on draft day; $45 current value

Carlos Ruiz leads the charges as he has turned a $3 investment into a $26 profit so far. Ruiz, Yadier Molina, and Joe Mauer each currently have dollar values of at least $20. A.J. Pierzynski, Buster Posey, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Matt Wieters join them as the only catchers with at least $10 in value. Not on that list is Carlos Santana, who many paid a high price for on draft day and have watched him struggle most of the season. In this league, he went for $24 and has returned just $2 in production; a net loss of $26. In fact, 23 of the 30 catchers drafted in this league have returned negative value to date.

First Base: $472 spent on draft day; $328 current value

It is no surprise that Miguel Cabrera has been the top dollar earner so far at $38 but he is joined by David Ortiz, Joey Votto, and Mark Trumbo in the $30 group. Trumbo cost just $6 on draft day and has returned $24 in profit which is the best return on investment for this position. Meanwhile, 19 of the 30 players at this position have returned negatives values paced by Adrian Gonzalez who cost $40 on draft day and has produced just $10 of value on the season. Misery does love company and the $43 that it cost to roster Albert Pujols in March has returned just $20 in production this season while Mark Teixeiraís $34 price tag has returned just $14 in production. Of all the first basemen that cost at least $20 on draft day, only Paul Konerko has turned a profit as his $20 price tag has produced $25 of roto value.

Second Base: $281 spent on draft day; $183 current value

Robinson Cano has the highest current roto value at $33, but he cost $39 to roster so the return on investment has been less than expected. Jason Kipnis has returned a $20 profit on the $7 draft-day investment while Dustin Pedroia has ruined many fantasy seasons so far. Pedroia cost $36 to roster in this league and has returned just $10 of roto value so far this season and is now on the disabled list with a new thumb injury. Both Weeks brothers have been huge fantasy disappointments as each has a negative value of $20 or greater. Aaron Hillís rebound season has returned a $15 profit on the $5 draft day investment but just nine of the 22 second basemen have been profitable so far this season.

Shortstop: $301 spent on draft day; $216 current value

If you spent big money on shortstops, you have been sorely disappointed this season. Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Reyes, and Hanley Ramirez have produced much less than expected while Jimmy Rollins and Elvis Andrus have struggled to turn a profit. Ian Desmond has been the most profitable player by far as he has returned a $20 profit to date while Mike Aviles, Jed Lowrie, and Alcides Escobar are the only other shortstops to return a double-digit profit so far this season. Just nine of the 25 players at this position have been profitable so far.

Third Base: $341 spent on draft day; $286 current value

It brings me great pride to point out that Edwin Encarnacion has been the most profitable player at this position as he has produced $35 of value for a $9 draft day investment. David Wright may have the highest current roto value total at $38, but it only took six straight seasons of drafting Encarnacion for him to produce as I have always hoped he could. Conversely, it saddens me greatly to see Evan Longoria return just $2 in value on a $33 draft-day investment. His hamstring issue has lingered on longer than anyone thought it would amidst rumors that he talked his way into the rehab assignment with management quicker than the training staff wanted it to happen.

Outfield: $1,019 spent on draft day; $997 current value

This is one reason I tend to spend heavily in the outfield because this position has its producers. Sure, spending $37 on Jacoby Ellsbury only to watch him produce -$12 in roto value is painful, but nearly haf of this position has returned a profit so far this season. Josh Hamilton, who cost $24 on draft day, has returned a $20 profit. Joining him in that $20-profit range is Trout, Melky Cabrera, Carlos Beltran, and Josh Willingham. Those four players were rostered for a total of $19 and have returned $114 in profit so far this season. Of the outfielders that cost $25 or more on draft day, only Matt Holliday and Carlos Gonzalez have returned a profit while Ellsbury, both Upton brothers, and Matt Kemp have cost their owners dearly so far this season.

Pitcher: $1203 spent on draft day; $557 current value

That is a MASSIVE difference in dollar values for this position. Only 12 pitchers have produced a double-digit profit so far: Dickey, Lance Lynn, Chris Sale, Ryan Vogelsong, Jake Peavy, Johnny Cueto, Johan Santana, Aroldis Chapman, Ivan Nova, Matt Cain, Hiroki Kuroda, and Mark Buehrle. Cain was the only pitcher in that group that cost $10 or more on draft day and Chapman is the only one whose value has been influenced by a change in role from setup man to closer. Meanwhile, no pitcher has had a worse ROI than Tim Lincecum who has a current value of -$7 after going for $22 on draft day. His teammate Brian Wilson has the next worst ROI at -$28 along with closer Sergio Santos. The most painful one has to be Roy Halladay who has $0 value in a 15-team mixed league and went for $26 after multiple seasons of guaranteed production. That is the kind of play that can drive someone to quit this game and go back to football where that kind of luck is more prevalent.

If you would like to see the complete worksheet, please view this googledoc.