In updating the model every week with year-to-date numbers, surprises seem to come around every corner. Taking names out of the equation and trusting it to numbers and math completely eliminates bias. At least that is true at the outset, though every one of us will make a judgment as to if a player can continue to hold up his numbers. Regardless, the perspective the data provides should give owners greater insight as to even where waiver claims may be able to improve their overall roster.
The current versions of the formulas seem to be yielding stronger results. No changes based on a fully completed month.
Check out some notes for this week. All data is through games on Monday, April 30th.
- David Ortiz takes over at the top of the leaderboard. The .405 average to go along with 20 RBI and six home runs is enough to displace Miguel Cabrera and beat out Matt Kemp. Anecdotally, it is worth noting that Ortiz is leveraging the opposite field very well and hitting lefties at a near record pace for himself. When he does that, he is hard to beat.
- While it is expected to see Evan Longoria as the top Third Baseman, David Freese is right on his heels. As of the end of the month, the two main aspects separating the two players were two stolen bases and four runs scored. Freese is showing that he can carry momentum from one season to the next. If he remains healthy, his production levels are hard to question.
- Check out Chris Davis of Baltimore creeping into the top-50. Davis is already shooting up the boards as a hot pickup and he has earned that with his bat in April. His four home runs put him right in the mix of the top at either corner of the infield while the RBI totals are coming along. Given his past, the expectation that he can maintain a .333 average should be looked at as suspect. That said, the position likely can bear a guy hitting .260 if they can deliver in other key categories. The Orioles cannot keep him out of the lineup right now and that bodes well.
- The middle infield continues to be led by Derek Jeter, Ian Kinsler, and Mike Aviles. Nipping at their heels is Jose Altuve. Altuve is cut more from a Starlin Castro mold than Robinson Cano, but his ability to steal 25-30 bases to go along with scoring 100-plus runs could make him an asset. Add in a .300 average and this is a player that could provide value in most formats even as a regular starter.
- Similar to Altuve, Jason Kipnis is starting to pick things up. The Indians infielder has four home runs and four steals. He started slow out of the gate at the plate but has brought his average up to .256. Worth looking at now before he draws too much attention to himself.
- Some big-time names on the outside looking in of the top-50. Alex Rodriguez and his .244 average keep him down. The limited 11 RBI push him down as well. Adrian Gonzalez has only two home runs and a .271 average, putting him in the mid-60â€™s. Joey Votto is working his way up, but just has not been able to get going enough.
- There is still substantial value available on the inside of the top-50 as well. Zack Cozart continues to hang around towards the lower half, but is producing as a top-10 shortstop at this point. The Cubs will be looking for ways to get both Anthony Rizzo and Bryan LaHair into the lineup. LaHair is making some waves with five home runs and a .390 average in the first month of the season. And I am making it a personal mission to get people to pay attention to a rejuvenated Cody Ross!