The HVaC model has done a decent job in terms of showing value so far this season based on actual information, but it does need some tweaking because of the small sample sizes. In setting up the pre-season file, I used averages differently than I am in this update. Nothing earth-shattering, but it will continue to help head-to-head owners more effectively with a couple simple adjustments.
The pre-season needed changes to the average column based on the number of at-bats a player would get over the course of a year. Now, though, those in lineups are just that. A given week does not require playing with this statistic because the assumption is that if you are starting them, they are getting about five to six games and will garner a reasonably equivalent number of at-bats.
For steals, the deviation from the mean is suppressing the value of some key players. Matt Kemp, for example, ranked out in the 20â€™s just because he has only one steal and that rank and deviation caused a dramatic bump in his score.
This bias was corrected with a formula many of you may not care to know, but one I want to articulate just so you know there is a method to the madness. Basically, if a player had the other four categories with a value less than their positional perfect score, the value for steals was cut in half. In all other categories, the numbers still hang and are left as is.
Remember that, ultimately, we are looking for players to produce in categories that are needed within their position. Steals at First Base are not as important as home runs and RBI (Joey Vottoâ€™s problem right now). Stealing bases for a Shortstop is far more important than driving in runs.
Some interesting notes and names that come up with nearly a full month in the books:
- Check out Chase Headley. With four home runs, 14 runs scored, and 13 RBI through Monday, Headley is one of the top head-to-head performers and helps out given the Third Base position. With potential injuries, like that to Ryan Zimmerman, keeping stars out, Headley could provide a solid fill-in option.
- I would expect to see a drop in Carlos Pena going forward. While he is always prolific in the power categories, his .304 average would be far above anything we have seen from him in the past. A.J. Pierzynski is another place of concern. Worth the hot start, but not someone that can likely sustain over a full season.
- If you are looking for some early buy-low candidates, Eric Hosmer is outside the top-50 and should rebound. Jose Bautista and Ryan Braun should jump up as well. Braun is held down largely because of the hot start many others in the outfield have had where he has lagged, specifically in average. Others? Adrian Gonzalez and Robinson Cano will both end far higher than where they are.
- Where is Andre Ethier? While he has driven in 22 runs, his lack of runs scored for an outfielder is alarming. Ethier also has not registered a stolen base yet and his four home runs are not as above average for the position as many might hope. Still very valuable, but he is only helping in one or two of five categories at an above-average rate.
- Watch Cody Ross. Ross has shown the ability to be a 20-home run hitter in the past but simply needed playing time. He will get that in Boston. Ross already has five home runs to go with a .283 average through Monday. His score will improve as averages come back down to earth. Ross is not likely to see the same regression. A .270 mark should be attainable in Fenway Park.