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July 20, 2012 posted by Collin Hager

2012 Fantasy Baseball: HVaC Top-200 the Rest of the Way

2012 Fantasy Baseball: HVaC Top-200 the Rest of the Way
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Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels 1B

Everyone likes to know where they have been because it shows how you got there. The challenge is trying to figure out what is coming next. There are plenty of projections that will cover fantasy owners for the rest of the season. Still, the bulk of the numbers are geared to help typical leagues where stats need to be compiled. For head-to-head owners, the numbers need to be dissected in order to understand what they mean on a weekly basis.

Most leagues have about six weeks to go in the regular season followed by playoffs. The projections below are ZiPS ROS projections (that way we can all argue their merits equally but can also agree on their validity) downloaded from Fangraphs.com. The HVaC formula was then applied to these numbers in order to come up with a blended look at both pitchers and offense the rest of the way.

In order to incorporate pitchers to the rankings, a scarcity factor of .70 was applied for starters and .80 for relievers based on needing to start as many pitchers as most leagues require. The relievers get tweaked differently based on their limited impact across all five pitching categories in a given week as has been discussed before. Everyone else remained the same. Outfielders are weighted more favorably as most leagues start at least four if not five. Catchers are given the least weight, which is all the more interesting to see how they can impact and be a differentiator. The top five catchers are all inside the top 35 players overall. Think about it.

Other positions all fall in the middle. Power is most needed at the corners, speed and runs up the middle.

All that in mind, here are the Starting Nine insights from the results as well as a table of the top-200 the rest of the season.

  • Out of the 200 players on this list, 45 are pitchers and 155 are position players. What was more surprising is that there is just one closer on this list. I know we all love guys like Craig Kimbrel, but the fact we can only rely on saves makes starters infinitely more impactful. The top closers are all going to be remarkably similar the rest of the way – 15-20 saves, 40-50 strikeouts, 1.10 WHIP, and an ERA near 2.00. Just no chance to differentiate.
  • One player we all want to talk about is Mike Trout. The keys for him will be in the home run and RBI categories. ZiPS has him with just 29 RBI the rest of the way, a figure I think is low. Call it at 35 and you have a player that will be the eighth best outfielder and top-30 player overall from here on out.
  • It warms the heart to see a player like Andrew McCutchen inside the top-10 overall, but seeing Jason Kipnis and Starlin Castro as top-20 players is more exciting. Both are bringing to the table exactly what an owner needs at the position. Kipnis’ blend of speed and power is keeping him above Robinson Cano and just south of Ian Kinsler. Castro is the third overall shortstop behind Hanley Ramirez and Asdrubal Cabrera. Castro’s speed and average give him a unique advantage despite a true lack of power.
  • Albert Pujols finds himself as the second ranked First Baseman and a top-10 option overall the rest of the way. When you see a player like this with a .333 average in July to go with five home runs, 10 RBI, and nine walks, it starts to get you to think you drafted him for a reason. It has been hard to be patient, but it is about to pay off.
  • A lot of talk at Third Base, but the top of the ranks the rest of the way will be markedly similar to what we have seen so far. Sure, we should see Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval in the top-five, but no real surprises. Expect to continue to see Alex Rodriguez closer to the top-15 than the top-10. Like Mike Moustakas to have some upside and believe in Pedro Alvarez as well, if you can sacrifice average (Hint: At Third Base, you can. Take the power.).
  • Surprising to see a few things on the pitching side. First, ZiPS is giving a lot of credit to Zack Greinke being able to keep a sub-3.00 ERA all season. A trade to the American League and all bets are off there. Second, we need to be concerned with Stephen Strasburg’s innings limitation. While he could pitch all year, five-inning starts are likely as could be a phantom DL stint.
  • I 100% am buying what Gio Gonzalez is selling. Yes, there was some regression over his final starts before the break, but his strikeout numbers are going to prop him up and his ERA has been strong. With Washington hitting as well as they are, his win totals stand a strong chance of staying at these levels. He is a top-10 option all day long.
  • As I expected, Yu Darvish stays a top-30 option, but barely. His walks are pushing up his WHIP and his ERA is hovering too close to 4.00 for owners to feel comfortable. Bet he strikes out enough people to stay relevant, but it is not enough to keep him inside the to-20 the rest of the way. Better options are available.
  • James McDonald is going to be better than the numbers he is given by the site. The four win target and 4.06 ERA is certainly a possibility, but he is simply pitching too well for that to happen. Give him six wins and a 3.55 ERA the rest of the way and you have a top-25 pitcher. That is where he belongs. If Pittsburgh keeps winning, he will be a big reason why.

Here is how the top-200 plays out:

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