Last week, we received our first set of 2013 projections, and Jeff Zimmerman presented 5×5 rankings based on three cuts of that data.
By now, many of you have probably noticed a pattern forming this off-season – 5×5 rankings come out, and Chad follows with the ottoneu edition. Sure enough, here three cuts of linear weights points rankings of the top 20 hitters for 2013, based on the Bill James Handbook Projections.
Some basics before we get to the numbers:
1) These stats are based on FanGraphs Points Scoring. BIS does not provide projections for HBP, so for the purposes of these rankings, we’re assuming no one will get hit by a pitch in 2013. With league leaders getting between 20 and 30 HBP the past few years, we could be looking at 60-90 points missing from some players.
2) The first two rankings are relatively straight forward: a) straight total points calculated based on the projected stats and b) points pro-rated assuming all players get 600 PA in 2013.
3) The last ranking is a bit more involved. In this case, I assumed that an ottoneu owner would get 700 PA appearances from each position. I then found a rough (very rough, to be honest) replacement level for each position and filled out the difference between the PA projected for a player and 700 PA with replacement level production. For example, if Player X is a 3B and is projected for 800 points in 600 PA, and replacement level for 3B is 1.16 points per PA, Player X gets credit for 800+(1.16*100) or 916 points. This is telling you how many points you could count on from 3B, assuming Player X is your starter and you just use waiver pickups to fill in the gaps. I assumed all players would be used at the weakest position they are eligible to play, so Buster Posey would be a C, not a 1B, and would get C replacement level production from his backup.
And with that, we are off:
Pro-Rated to 600 PA
700 Total PA, Including Replacement Level Backup
A few thoughts:
1) Mike Trout looked to be the man in 5×5, but when you discount those SB in linear weights, he slots behind Miguel Cabrera and, by one measure, Albert Pujols. That said, the gap between Trout and Pujols is small enough that the extra 11 PA projected for Pujols (690 to Trout’s 679) is really the only thing keeping him ahead.
2) Lance Berkman and his 508 PA rank only 83rd overall, but he makes the top-20 if we assume 600 PA per player and just misses the cut in the final list (he is 21st, with 1038 points). At least one projection system does not think we have seen the last of the Puma.
3) 1B, OF and 3B dominate these lists, taking up 54 of the 60 total spots, so it is worth noting the three (yes, only three) C/MI who make these rankings: Buster Posey is on all three lists, Robinson Cano is on two, and Troy Tulowitzki is on one. Health concerns will assuredly impact Tulo’s value, but it is hard to overstate the impact Cano and Posey can have by virtue of their ability to put up legitimately premium statistics from such weak positions.
4) Andrew McCutchen, Mark Teixeira and Billy Butler all fall outside the top 20 when you account for playing time (either by pro-rating or by adding in replacement level back-ups). It may take multiple players, but their production will be easier to replicate than some of the others on that first list.
Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.