A lot of thoughts go through your head as you sit in an airport waiting for a delayed flight to take off. Most of them involve doing some harm to the people talking way too loud on their cell phones in the waiting area. Others may be hurting the airline that cannot find a way to get a plane off the ground. In any case, it rarely ends up positive. Except this time. Because for you all that read this space it means I have had a lot of extra time to do some work with the HVaC model. Can you go wrong with that? I submit that you cannot!
I always feel it helps to reiterate that the HVaC is all about the value a player adds to your fantasy team in excess of the average at that position. In head-to-head leagues we do not always have to have our Shortstop beat out the other teamâ€™s, but it is a strong indicator of how much a player can separate and create a lead for you against an opponent. I sometimes have to remind myself of that as I look at the numbers. After looking at the notes below, you likely will have to think about this again as well.
So here are some thoughts about the players that have been performing the best over the last month. Numbers represent all games through July 25th.
- The top ranked player over the last 30 days? Ian Desmond. Desmond does not necessarily look like he should be, but his six home runs, seven steals, and .388 average put him into an elite category over this period. He pushes past Mike Trout for the top spot.
- Why Desmond over Trout? Trout has played at a position that has been more competitive over the last 30 days. The average outfielder is hitting 20 points better than the average shortstop, had more home runs, and scored fewer times. Desmond out performing them by that margin creates the value. Trout obviously is no slouch and finishes only two tenths of a point behind.
- After spending the early part of the season on the DL, Michael Morse is back in the swing of things in Washington. He checks in at tenth overall thanks to a .355 average to go with 20 runs scored. Kevin Youkilis is inside the top-20 thanks to a rejuvenation with the White Sox. Quite simply, he is killing it in runs scored at the position, posting nearly twice the positional average for the month.
- When a position underperforms, the cream really rises to the top. We have seen some rough numbers come out of the catchers around the league, which means the best are popping up high in the rankings. Four players are inside the top-20. Look for some regression out of J.P. Arencibia. His .297 average this month is certainly offsetting the horrific average through the first part of the season, but is also not indicative of his past performance.
- Shhhâ€¦.donâ€™t look now, but Albert Pujols is making his move. He hit seven home runs and drove in 17 in the last month to go with a .333 average. Not the 20-plus RBI months we are used to, but all figures that beat out his average counterpart. Patience has certainly been a virtue.
- Two middle infielders that have been playing well are highlighted inside the top-15. Alexei Ramirez had his career left for dead by many fantasy owners, but he has shown that something is still left in the tank. The power numbers have not been there, but not getting them at shortstop will not hurt. He is kept aloft by a .340 average and four steals to go with 13 RBI. Neil Walker has been talked about regularly in this space it seems. He just keeps hitting. Walker scored 22 runs and hit .385 this month.
- Hard to argue that Ryan Zimmerman did not have the best month of any player, but he comes out third on this list. Zimmermanâ€™s 11 home runs and 29 RBI were huge for fantasy owners. Add in a .390 mark and he finds himself with a score just over 2.00. As you will see below, White Sox and Nationals dominate the top-50 list. While Oakland has the best record in July, the pitching carries them, not the offense.
- On the inside but could fall, look at Chase Utley (45), Garrett Jones (47), and Danny Espinosa (22)
- Players on the rise, check out Adrian Gonzalez (49), Ike Davis (57), and Allen Craig (59)
Here is the rest of the Top-50: