Building a 2022 $14 NFBC Offense — A Review

At the end of March, I drafted a $14 offense using NFBC average auction values, selecting 14 hitters that all averaged a $1 cost. It’s a fun little exercise each year with the hope that I end up highlighting some sleepers and some of them end up turning a nice profit. Let’s find out how this cheapie squad did.

First, I’ll repost the group’s projections. These were based on ATC pre-season forecasts. Then I’ll post another table displaying how they actually performed, and what they earned in a standard 15-team league.

The $14 Offense – 2022 Projections
Player Position Avg* HR* R* RBI* SB*
Jorge Alfaro C 0.241 9 33 38 6
Austin Nola C 0.259 9 37 42 1
Christian Walker 1B 0.251 17 62 63 1
Mike Moustakas 3B 0.240 24 59 70 1
Eric Hosmer CI 0.263 15 56 63 4
Luis Arraez 2B 0.300 4 57 42 2
Ha-Seong Kim 김하성 SS 0.244 11 48 47 8
Jeremy Pena MI 0.243 15 49 47 9
Brandon Nimmo OF 0.263 13 72 48 7
Lorenzo Cain OF 0.264 8 50 42 12
Rafael Ortega OF 0.249 12 56 44 13
LaMonte Wade Jr. OF 0.241 15 55 49 6
Sam Hilliard OF 0.229 17 44 44 8
Keston Hiura Util 0.230 13 37 38 4
Team Totals 0.248 182 715 677 82
*ATC projections

Now let’s find out how this group performed and their fantasy dollars earned.

The $14 Offense – 2022 Actuals
Player Position Avg HR R RBI SB $ Val
Jorge Alfaro C 0.246 7 25 40 1 $1.01
Austin Nola C 0.251 4 40 40 2 -$0.87
Christian Walker 1B 0.242 36 84 94 2 $14.75
Mike Moustakas 3B 0.214 7 30 25 2 -$6.56
Eric Hosmer CI 0.268 8 38 44 0 $5.21
Luis Arraez 2B 0.316 8 88 49 4 $12.88
Ha-Seong Kim SS 0.251 11 58 59 12 $8.93
Jeremy Peña MI 0.253 22 72 63 11 $11.97
Brandon Nimmo OF 0.274 16 102 64 3 $15.23
Lorenzo Cain OF 0.179 1 17 9 2 #N/A
Rafael Ortega OF 0.241 7 35 35 12 -$5.33
LaMonte Wade Jr. OF 0.207 8 29 26 1 -$1.51
Sam Hilliard OF 0.184 2 26 14 5 -$15.52
Keston Hiura Util 0.226 14 34 32 5 -$13.77
Team Totals 0.251 151 678 594 62 $26.41

So these are some interesting results. Overall, the group missed their projected counting stat total by a meaningful margin, likely due to all the injuries that cut into playing time and resulted in less PAs than forecasted. The batting average was nearly spot on, however, marginally beating the projection. What’s cool though is if you check out the $ Val column, which is really the main story here. Even accounting for all the big negative values (Cain was ignored, as he didn’t even make it into our auction calculator given his weak performance), the group still earned $26.41, nearly double what was paid for them. Obviously, a $26+ offense isn’t going to bring home the bacon and will still likely finish last in all counting stats. But when combined with a $256 pitching staff, the team might finish middle of the pack if everything goes perfectly. Of course, no one would ever dare draft this way to find out!

There were some gems mixed in, which is precisely what I was hoping for. Christian Walker posted a career best FB% and strikeout rate, so despite a HR/FB rate that missed his high water mark set in 2019, he managed to swat 36 homers in a down home run year. That represented a nice rebound from a poor 2021, which is what reduced his cost. He also ended up hitting .285 over the second half, so he didn’t end up being much of a sinkhole in the category after just a .204 first half. He was a nice buy or pickup, even in shallower leagues.

Luis Arraez was one of those better in real life platers, producing strong OBP marks driven by a low strikeout rate and high batting average, but brought limited power and speed. That changed slightly this year, as he wasn’t a complete zero in home runs and stolen bases, while hitting a robust .316. That pushed his earnings into double digits, so even though it probably didn’t feel like he was contributing much, he was. He’s the type of player you always feel you need to upgrade, but will deliver value if you just leave him alone.

Jeremy Pena was an obvious call once Carlos Correa signed with the Twins, as the shortstop job was all his to lose. He ended up taking full advantage by showcasing a nice blend of power and speed. His plate discipline, however, leaves a lot to be desired, as he rarely walked and posted a SwStk% of 15.7%, well above the 11.1% league average. He’s clearly miscast as a number two hitter, but hey, fantasy owners might as well take advantage of poor lineup construction.

Brandon Nimmo?! I definitely would not have guessed that Nimmo would be the biggest earner from this list. While his power didn’t improve and he didn’t steal more bases, he did post a career best strikeout rate, which resulted in a slightly higher than career average batting average, despite a drop in BABIP. That said, the biggest driver of his earnings was his health. He reached 500 ABs for the first time in his career, setting a new career high with 673 PAs. So it was all about the playing time as a positive for a change. He remains a much better OBP league asset though, given his consistent double digit walk rates.

On the negative side, Mike Moustakas missed time to injury and failed to rebound off his disappointing 2021 performance, limiting him to just 285 PAs. I have no idea what happened to his power, but he can’t be hitting fly balls 45%-50% of the time when only a single digit percentage of them goes over the fence. Thank you Atlanta Braves for trading for Sam Hilliard! I can now officially stop my obsession with him, calling him a sleeper every year, just to see him disappoint once again.

Keston Hiura was a dart throw for this squad, and he actually rebounded admirably. His HR/FB rate surged to a career best 30.4%, his BABIP rebounded to .355, and he ended up hitting 14 home runs and stealing five bases in less than half a season. That’s essentially a 30/10 guy, which is what he showed the potential for during his 2019 debut. Unfortunately, the lack of playing time — just 266 PAs — meant that from a dollar value perspective, it was near impossible to finish in positive territory. I’m not sure how optimistic one can be though given that his strikeout rate has risen every year and finished above 40%. It’s hard to succeed when striking out that often!

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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12 days ago

What, no mention of Jorge Alfaro’s penny profit?! The guy delivered, even if he just picked up his value off the parking lot surface. Hosmer’s $5 profit reminded me of that moment last year where he was surprisingly good. Hope no one spends $5 on him this year, though.