My Preliminary Fantasy Rankings By Position

Remember last week when I complained about the value of fantasy rankings? Specifically, I said I hate them because they represent a backwards approach to roster construction. I readily admit that the frontwards approach, which can be thought of as “know and account for everything,” doesn’t really combine with how the human brain works. That’s why we so readily adopt rankings.

I wrote that article in part because I was tasked with ranking players by position for another site. I have completed said rankings, which you can access at the conclusion of this article.

“Very preliminary” is how I would describe these rankings if one were to ask for comment (or if somebody asked me to inject some Cistullian verse into my content). I’ll take the remaining three days of this goofy holiday week to highlight a few wonky rankings. A Christmas article depends upon me waking up sufficiently early. Before I leave you with another excessively short post, let’s discuss my pseudo-scientific methodology to form the rankings.


For position players, I used Steamer projections because a). they’re available in exportable format, and b). I lost interesting in doing my own projections years ago. Specifically, I sorted by the Offense category, which is sort of like sorting by wRC+, which is sort of stupid for fantasy rankings. I could have easily done Z-Scores, which is not stupid. I didn’t put in the effort because I like to combine Steamer and ZiPS, which isn’t an option yet.

I did not stop there of course. After pressing “sort” I used my own marginal intellect to consider playing time, roster considerations, and other factors that affect a player’s 5×5 value. For example, you will find Joe Mauer  ranked 16th among catchers whereas his Steamer value has him in third. I’m not a senseless automaton, I am capable of observing that Mauer is liable to provide very little 5×5 value with his Carlos Ruizian power. Generally, I favored players who project to play a full season and hit for power. These are based on my personal preferences. (It’s since been pointed out that Mauer will not qualify as a catcher in 2015).

My methodology for starting pitchers was a little more vigorous. Steamer doesn’t output K% or BB%, but it does include K/9 and BB/9. I strongly prefer using K%-BB% as an evaluative stat. However, since I only had an inexact method of calculating batters faced (WHIP times innings plus number of outs is one such way), I settled for K/BB. Then I decided to divide K/BB by FIP for no reason I can readily discern. What resulted is some kind of score in which 1.9 is Clayton Kershaw, 0.75 is a roughly average pitcher, and 0.23 is Erik Johnson.

From there, I combined my senseless math with my own impressions to form my lists. You may be interested in the fourth and 19th ranked starting pitchers as evidence that said rankings are, indeed, “very preliminary.”

Honestly, I was quite tired of ranking players by the time I got to the relievers. I just plopped my internalized impressions on a page. Steamer isn’t helpful with relievers anyway since all “closers” will save 28 games while setup men will notch six saves.

The Rankings

You may visit this Google doc to view my rankings. I will not deign to immortalize this iteration of ranks on this website. Have I mentioned they are preliminary? Very much so, in fact.

PS – apologies to those of you who are blocked from Google docs at work. I suggest you find a less fascist employer!

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I love looking at rankings, so thanks for the post. I really have to question Adam Jones as OF #21 behind guys like Steve Pearce and Kole Calhoun and Carlos Carrasco as SP #4 in front of guys like Strasburg, Sale and Bumgarner. That’s unconscionable IMO. Otherwise, thanks for the sheet


agree with Pete. I am surprised at the Kemp ranking at 35. I don’t see his numbers falling all that much due to the move to Petco.
Carrasco at #4 was a shocker as well. Look forward to your piece on him tomorrow.