You might have missed it, but the initial Steamer 2017 projections were released here at FanGraphs a few weeks ago, and the first few sets of 2017 ZiPS projections have been posted as well. This time of year feels a bit like an early Christmas for a projection nerd like myself. I wanted to take a peek and highlight some hitters with interesting projections, and will be doing so using the context of the dollar values I use on the ottoneu surplus calculator (note- those values are based only on Steamer at the moment).
1B Greg Bird ($8 FGPts, .354 wOBA)- Bird missed all of 2016 with a shoulder injury, and there is some reason to be concerned about his ability to hit for power after his recovery, but Steamer is projecting him to perform like Carlos Santana or Jose Abreu on a rate basis. The only reason his value is at $8 is because his projected playing time was only 81 games.
2B Dee Gordon ($1 FGPts, $31 5×5, .297 wOBA)- What a difference the fantasy format can make! In a linear weights based system like FanGraphs points Gordon is basically a replacement level player, but in the classic 5×5 his slap hitting speed makes him one of the better middle infield options.
SS Trea Turner ($22 FGPts, .344 wOBA)- With so many interesting shortstops to choose from, it was hard to limit myself to just one, but the progenitor of the “Trea Turner rule” is an interesting case. Despite a relatively small 324 PA sample in ’16, Steamer is projecting Turner for a higher wOBA than Trevor Story, Francisco Lindor, and Troy Tulowitzki. Steamer isn’t alone in being optimistic, as ZiPS is projecting a .345 wOBA.
3B Jung Ho Kang ($11 FGPts, .337 wOBA)- How much does the loss of SS eligibility hurt a guy like Kang? Based on my sheet Kang would be worth about $18 if he was eligible at shortstop, so while he’s still valuable even with 3B eligibility only, it could mean the difference between keeping and cutting ($12.45 average salary for Kang in FGPts).
OF Kyle Schwarber ($28 FGPts, .367 wOBA)- I admit I cheated a bit in giving Schwarber OF eligibility, as he will technically have only Util to begin the season, but I’m pretty confident he will start five games in the outfield for the Cubs within the first couple weeks in ’17. The real fun is imagining Schwarber with catcher eligibility, where he would clearly be #1 according to Steamer. In fact his wOBA projection is top 15 for all hitters, regardless of position.
OF Kendrys Morales ($14 FGPts, .336 wOBA)- Keep in mind this projection is actually from before Morales signed with the Blue Jays, he is now projected for a .341 wOBA according to updated Steamer projections, and .338 according to ZiPS. Morales may not be exciting, but he has outfield eligibility and he’s one of the few mid tier OF you can leave in your lineup against RHP and LHP.
OF Andrew Benintendi ($3 FGPts, .332 wOBA)- Benintendi is a prime example of a player whose value on the surplus calculator shouldn’t be taken literally. For some reason Steamer projects only 509 plate appearances, but in 130 games (3.92 PA/G). Since the surplus calc dollar values are primarily based on Pts/G, Benintendi gets dinged since his PA/G is so low. In addition, Benintendi certainly has MUCH more than $3 in market value given his youth and pedigree.
Are there any other hitter dollar values on the surplus calculator you found surprising? Feel free to leave a comment here and I can answer any questions the best I can. Please note that I will be posting about pitchers on Friday.
Justin is a life long Cubs fan who has been playing fantasy baseball for 20+ years, and an ottoneu addict since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @justinvibber.