In between looking up stats, watching, & traveling to games, I host the Fantasy Nomad Show for RotoInfo.com covering all things Fantasy Sports Related. FSWA member.
Don’t Be Fooled
Each year we hear about a handful of players, or more, who are deemed “sleepers”. These so-called sleepers get talked about so much in the preseason that they actually become overrated. Case in point, Edwin Encarnacion was touted by many to be a sleeper pick going into 2011 Fantasy Baseball Drafts. It seemed that in almost every Fantasy blog you read or Fantasy radio/TV show you tuned into, E5 was being promoted as one of their sleepers. This prompted many owners to reach on Encarnacion come draft day. The most extreme case I witnessed was while covering the live NFBC draft at Citi Field for Sirius/XM radio. During this $1,500 buy-in draft, someone bought into the Encarnacion hype so much that they reached further then Inspector Gadget could, and drafted him around the fifth round. (It’s a little late for this, but someone should have clarified that the five in E5 didn’t mean pick him in the fifth round). I know this is an extreme example of buying into the sleeper hype, but it happens year in and year out.
You Reach, We Teach
I believe that one of this season’s more overly hyped sleepers will become Mets’ 1B Ike Davis, as it appears Ike is on everyone’s sleeper list for 2012. Ike’s rise in popularity has already begun. In the first two weeks of Feburary alone, Ike Davis’ ADP has risen by 4.1%, according to MockDraftCentral.com. By a quick glance, Ike Davis appeared to have the third highest ADP increase, of any player listed in the mixed league 5×5 formats top 200, during this time. (Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder were the only two players with higher increases, for understandable reasons). So, while many others in the industry push Ike Davis out of sleeper status and into the realm of overly hyped, it is influential that you create a contingent plan. Fortunately, there is another first baseman, Diamondback Paul Goldschmidt, who is not getting the respect he deserves, and should actually come at a discounted rate on draft day, which is the essence of what a sleeper pick should be.
Why You Should Buy Gold(y).
Ever since the end of last season, I have been ridiculed, chastised, and mocked for my proclamation that Paul Goldschmidt will not only keep his starting position, but has the potential to finish the season as a top-15 ranked first baseman, if not higher. Some people would be disappointed, maybe even emotionally scarred, by the abundance of disregard I’ve been meet with while promoting Paul Goldschmidt. I am not. Honestly it’s the total opposite. The more I hear people trash Paul Goldschmidt the better it is for me, and you, since it will help keep the value of “Goldy” low, and allow him to maintain his sleeper status.
Most of Goldschmidt’s critics point to his high 29.9 K% and BJ Upton-esque 11.3 BB%, in only 48 games at the major league level, when dismissing Goldschmidt’s chances for making an impact in 2012. When dealing with numbers and statistic it is often necessary to dig a little deeper to ensure that they are taken in the correct context. If we breakdown Goldschmidt’s statistics we see that some of his season ending totals, including K% and BB%, are somewhat misleading.
Table One: Monthly Splits at the Major League Level
Looking at the table one above, you will notice that Paul Goldschimdt actually showed much better plate discipline as he gained experience, at the major league level. Obviously his K rate could still use some improvement, but remember it was his first experience in the big leagues, he didn’t turn 24 until Sept. 10th, he skipped AAA entirely, and the Dbacks were in the middle of a pennant race.
Table Two: Lefty/Righty Splits
After viewing Table Two, what side of the plate would you think Paul Goldschimdt bats from? If you guessed left you would be incorrect. Paul Goldschimdt is a right handed hitter (RHH) and thus you would perceive, like most RHH, his struggles would have come against right handed pitchers (RHP). Instead, Goldschimdt had a very respectable BA vs RHP and although there maybe some regression in that category, you have to believe that the improvement versus lefty’s will be much more substantial in comparison.
Mining For More
Most people remember Rays rookie Matt Moore’s playoff performance last season, but fail to give similar credit to Paul Goldschimdt, who hit safely in each of the Dbacks four playoff games, including three multi-hit performances and back-to-back games with a home run. Both young players had outstanding performances, in high pressure situations, yet many view Paul Goldschmidt’s performance as a fluke and not a continuance of the improvement he showed from one month to the next, or from one level to the next. Let others label Goldschmidt’s achievements as Fool’s Gold, it will only help keep his draft day value down and your chance of mining a true sleeper up.
Written by the Fantasy Nomad, Michael Pichan
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