Improved Playing Times Estimates

Fantasy baseball season is upon us and interest will probably spike once Super Bowl L is over. Since I may be considered an expert in fantasy baseball, I get asked questions about this or that player. Who is a sleeper? And tons of keeper questions. With these questions, I follow three rules.

  1. Take the younger player.
  2. Take the more talented player.
  3. Take the hitter.

Sometimes the questions are a little harder to answer and the answer can be a little fuzzy with so many possible inputs and outcomes. Quite a bit of the analysis I see and hear are people just making up values. I have found I can’t go with my gut and some semblance of an intelligent answer should be constructed.

I know I have a few more resources than the average fantasy owner and I would like to put those resources to work. I have taken various questions I have seen discussed and have come up with what I hope are some more intelligently constructed answers.

The two items I will use for most of the analysis is public opinion (from Twitter polls) and historical data. With the polls, I can use the information from the crowds to at least get a consensus of public opinion. The public could be wrong, but at least I have a reasonable anchoring point to start the discussion. With the historic data, the average and range of values can be known.

Here are some questions I have pondered this pre-season and my current answers.

How many games with Jose Reyes play this year?

Jose Reyes is facing some legal implications in Hawaii for domestic violence. I asked the crowd how much time they expected him to miss because of the suspension and the average estimate was 35 games with our legal expert Nathaniel Grow going with 25-50 games. With that information, I came up with a fantasy value of Reyes being equal to Jason Kipnis.

Since that article, I am going to lower my estimates quite a bit more for three reasons.

  • Reyes seems to be hurt quite often and has averaged 36 days on the DL over the past three seasons. I could see tacking another 25 days onto his days missed.
  • Reyes’s trial is set for April 4th. Even if it gets delayed, I could see him miss a couple weeks because of it.
  • Another piece information is that the United States can force Reyes (Dominican Republic native) out of the United States if he is found guilty of domestic violence like they did with the NHL’s Sava Voynov. Getting no production from Reyes could be devistating.

So Reyes is looking at missing half the season (trial + injury + suspension) and has the chance of being kicked out of the county if found guilty. I don’t think a fantasy team can look to pick him up with so little projected playing time. I would only consider him a bench option at this point.

How many games will Aroldis Chapman play?

In my initial poll, people expected Chapman to miss 32 games. Since the poll was taken, Chapman was found innocent of the crime, but still may face disciplinary actions. I think a 25 game suspension would be the most he would get with a likely suspension of five to 15 days being more likely.

How many days will Corey Dickerson be on the disabled list (and what were the chances he would be traded)?

Dickerson was on the DL for 39 days in 2015 with plantar fasciitis. This injury seems to linger like with Chase Utley and Albert Pujols, but does it really. The players who had plantar fasciitis in season 1 averaged 71 days on the DL. The next season, they averaged 66 days. Even looking at just the players with around 39 days on the DL, they missed an average of 48 days. The average from my poll was 36 days. Looking at all the averages, I would be safe saying a number between 30 and 60 days off, but I personally, I would go on the high side with 50 days.

Once the Rockies signed Gerardo Parra, the signs pointed to one of the Rockies outfielders being traded. Guessing the traded player was important since the person getting traded would lose significant Coors field fantasy production. In my poll, I asked which outfielder, if any, was to be traded. The results were mixed with almost equal votes for each outfielder or no trade. No one had a clue and therefore, most people were surprised when Dickerson was traded.

Will Christian Colon be the starting second baseman for the Royals since it is an open competition between him and Omar Infante?

The crowd voted at 28% and I think this about right. If Infante is close to or better than Colon in spring training, it is Infante’s job. Around 25% to 33% seems like a reasonable estimate on Colon winning it.

How many MLB games will Jurickson Profar play this year?

People are picking Profar as a nice sleeper going into the season after a decent Arizona Fall league. The problem is that the Rangers plan on starting him in the minors. The results from my poll put his game total near 62 games. The Rangers are set in the infield, so short of an injury or severe underperformance, Profar will stay down minors. The 62 game estimate may be on the high side.

The following polls are all based off playing time estimates which seemed off to me when I was to doing our positional rankings.


I know more questions will come up as the season gets closer and I will run a few more polls and look at historical averages. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions you would like to have answered. I will try to get to get a reasonable estimate given it is a reasonable question.

Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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8 years ago

Do you view the Gyorko/Wong combo a strict L/R platoon for the time being?