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Before Drafting Willy Taveras...


Willy Taveras had a special year. The speedster was untouchable and nearly single-handedly won many managers the SB category.

But the problem is, he also cost those managers every other category.

I did an analysis for one-dimensional base stealers like this to see how many SBs make it worth his negative effects on HR, RBI and R.

But before I get to my results, here are the parameters of the study:

  1. I used Rotowire's 2009 projections for players
  2. I looked at the top 171 hitters – a semi arbitrary number based on guys that will possibly be drafted in many leagues.
  3. I found the averages and standard deviations for all these players in the basic 5x5 categories.
  4. I used replacement level players to fill in so each player is adjusted to 155 games worth of stats.
  5. The total value for a player is determined by the sum of the standard deviation across all five point categories.

This is not perfect, but I believe it gives some guidance to player values.

Taveras and generic OF replacement's other stats combine for 84 runs, 44 RBI, 5 HR and a .263 Avg. That means for him to be the No. 60 OF (that is 5th OF in a 12-team league) he'd need 61 SBs. And to crack the top 50 for OF, he'd need 77 SBs.

Like I said, this isn't perfect. One thing making Taveras actually look better than he is, is that the replacement player I chose for the project 30 games he'll miss significantly increased his power numbers. Nonetheless you get the point…he's just not worth it as an everyday player.

Now if the projection is wrong and he repeats his 2007 average of .320, he'll be a three-category player and a serious asset.

For head-to-head leagues, it's not a bad idea to have a pure speed guy on your bench. If you're in a tight week where one SB could sway the category, then Taveras might be a great spot start on Sunday (assuming pitcher/catcher match-up makes sense as well). 

-Patrick Cain