After spending the early part of the season getting everyone comfortable with the formulas and the system itself with weekly updates, it is time to take a look at using the HVaC in practice. Granted, the bulk of what we can do in any league is try to connect the dots by looking back, but it is still helpful in determining how to find and add value to your teams.
Rather than only looking at one side of the coin, this weekâ€™s edition of the HVaC scoring reviews the last 30 days for both hitters and pitchers. The point here is to look at where value is hiding and where owners can grab some help. For many hitters that struggled in April, the last 30 days has been eye opening and underscores why giving up too early is just a dangerous game to play. For others, their fast start has fallen drastically off pace or regressed to the norm.
Take a look at what you need to know and the players that are performing best and worst over the last 30 days in this weekâ€™s notes. All stats through games on June 18th.
Need a refresher? Click here to check out how the HVaC works for head-to-head leagues!
- Outfielders pepper the top-10 overall. Carlos Gonzalez leads the way and is the number one ranked player over the last month. Remember, the HVaC values balance in the outfield, putting more weight on average (outfielders post the best average among all positions) and steals (ignoring speed here kills) than most positions. CarGoâ€™s 10 home runs and .392 average make him an easy call at the top. Others in the top-10 include Alex Rios (21 runs, 21 RBI, .327 AVG), Jose Bautista (what a difference a month makes), and Ryan Braun.
- The number one ranked first baseman over the last month? That would be none other than Albert Pujols. That is correct. Pujols has seven home runs, 21 RBI, and three steals to go with a .314 average. That makes him the most value-add player at the position. Mark Trumbo checks in at number four (he largely has eligibility there in most leagues), neck and neck with the likes of Joey Votto and Miguel Cabrera as tenths of points separate them. Most interesting name? Paul Goldschmidt is at number ten. His six home runs and .333 mark give him solid productivity marks in key categories and put him ahead of many other All-Stars like David Ortiz (11) and Adrian Gonzalez (25).
- It should come as little surprise to see that Jason Kipnis is at the top of the second base leader board. Kipnis has stolen 11 bases in the last month in addition to scoring 20 runs and hitting five home runs. Another player with early season struggles was Brandon Phillips. He has turned that around with a .333 average and seven home runs with 28 RBI over the last 30 days. Neil Walker (5) and Gordon Beckham (6) are two surprises hanging out inside the top-ten. Michael Young has had problems, only driving in six runs without hitting a home run. Kelly Johnson is known for power but with only one home run and eight RBI, he has had a rough run of luck and checks in at number 18 at the position.
- Not a ton of surprises at third. A position where we ignore steals and focus on RBI, runs, and average, the top of the rankings has many familiar names. At the same time, no one is really standing out. Outside of Bautistaâ€™s 27 RBI, the next eight have no more than 17 and no fewer than 14 RBI. For runs, that range is 13 to 16. Basically, itâ€™s very, very hard to find major differentiation in those categories. What does it mean for head-to-head owners? Largely, enjoy who you have because an upgrade is hard to come by. The downside? Will Middlebrooks has tailed off with just one home run due in the last month due to his time share. Ryan Zimmerman hitting just .206 with one home runs puts him at 23rd overall.
- At Shortstop, remember you need steals and runs. Many of these players are at the top or bottom of the order and it becomes the bulk of the value. Home runs and RBI become secondary concerns. Those facts put Starlin Castro at number one and allow Zack Cozart (20 runs, six steals) to check in at number five. Even Dee Gordon is rebounding and finds his way into the six spot thanks to 15 runs and nine steals. While Derek Jeter was a nice early story, he gets buried here because he does not run anymore and hit only .261 in the last month.
- On the mound, closers are killed in the rankings because they simply do not have the impact over smaller samples outside of saves. Just four closers (Craig Kimbrel, Ernesto Frieri, Joe Nathan, Frank Francisco) hit the top-50. His two one-hit performances put R.A. Dickey at the top of the list and he is followed by Matt Cain. One player who is getting some notice finally is Wade Miley. The Arizona starterâ€™s four wins and 0.93 WHIP make him the number seven pitcher. Matt Moore and Chris Sale also both fit inside the top-10.
- Some might argue the system is not perfect because Justin Verlander is buried at number 47 overall for pitchers. Think about the numbers though. Verlander has just one win in the 30-day stretch and a 1.31 WHIP. The top starters in this time have at least three wins and a WHIP below 1.10. He just varies too widely from both the elite and the current position average. It does not mean I want to ditch Verlander, but it does mean that I can find his value elsewhere in this format because he is not compiling the way owners need him to right now.
Here are the top-50 hitters and pitchers over the last month: