As important as matchups are to Pick Six (for more, see last week’s strategy post), the most important aspect of the game is to pick players that are good values at their positions. Today, I’ll give a run down on some of the better (and poorer) values at the first two positions in Pick Six: Catcher and Corner Infield. The numbers I’ll report are projected Points per Plate Apperance (Pts/PA), based on a weighted average of Oliver and PECOTA projections (a bit more weight to Oliver, because it’s more current). YMMV depending on your preferred projection system, or your own adjustments to these systems. Also, keep in mind that prices change weekly, and so this just represents a snapshot look at player value and may be obsolete by next week!
Elite Three (they cost a fortune, but they’re worth it):
Carlos Santana, $34.25, 1.42 Pts/PA
Brian McCann, $32.25, 1.37 Pts/PA
Buster Posey, $35.50, 1.33 Pts/PA
If you buy the projections, Posey is the worst value of this group, but all are outstanding hitters and play pretty much every day.
Value Three (better production than you pay for)
Mike Napoli, $15, 1.44 Pts/PA
Chris Iannetta, $6.50, 1.39 Pts/PA
Ryan Hanigan, $0.50, 1.10 Pts/PA
Napoli and Iannetta project to produce as well as the elite players, provided they are in the lineup on the day you pick them (I always check Baseballpress.com’s lineups when I submit my picks). They are also big power guys for their position, which means you get a terrific payoff when you “hit” on a day they homer. Hanigan’s not as good as the other two, but if you’re out of money and need a catcher, he’s a good play–and his partner, Ramon Hernandez, has almost an equal offensive projection (1.09 Pts/PA) at the same low cost. Take whichever is in the lineup that day.
Not Exactly Bargain Three (less production than you’re paying for)
Matt Wieters, 1.21 Pts/PA, $15.50
Russell Martin, 1.12 Pts/PA, $9.50
Kurt Suzuki, 0.99 Pts/PA, $5.00
I’m still waiting for Wieters to break out too. But the truth is that he has produced as a sub-league average hitter over his major league career, which now encompasses over 1000 PA’s. He turns 25 a week from Saturday, so I still like him as a keeper prospect. But Pick Six is as deep as leagues get, and both Napoli and Iannetta are cheaper and better producers. Martin had a great start, but his ISO is 60 points higher than his career high. Suzuki was terrible in 2010, and isn’t showing much of a rebound this year. Also, I had to mention: Jeff Mathis, who may be the worst hitter with a starting job in major league baseball, costs $2.75. Really, people?
Albert Pujols, $61.25, 1.90 Pts/PA
Joey Votto, $56.50, 1.70 Pts/PA
Miguel Cabrera, $50.00, 1.73 Pts/PA
These guys are three of the best hitters in baseball, and you can’t really go wrong with any of them. I know Pujols has not hit as he normally does so far, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t kill the ball tonight… I often pick one of these guys as my first selection in Pick Six–generally whoever is facing a bad pitcher and/or has a platoon advantage. But, if you spend elsewhere and need a cheap CI, there are plenty of options…
Kevin Youkilis, $33.75, 1.61 Pts/PA
Ryan Howard, $29.75, 1.56 Pts/PA
Paul Konerko, $14.75, 1.51 Pts/PA
I’m a little worried about Youk’s hip, but assuming that’s ok, he has a hitting line almost on par with Adrian Gonzalez’s (1.64 Pts/PA) for $14 cheaper. Howard brings plenty of power if you can’t spend more than $30. But perhaps the best value right now is Paul Konerko, who is easily one of the top points per dollar buys in the game.
Not Exactly Bargain Three
Evan Longoria, $43.75, 1.45 Pts/PA
David Wright, $36.25, 1.42 Pts/PA
Billy Butler, $18.50, 1.34 Pts/PA
It’s not that Longoria or Wright aren’t outstanding players. They absolutely are. But part of their value in real baseball and most fantasy baseball is that they play 3B (and play it quite well). In Pick Six, however, they are grouped with first basemen in the corner infield position, which means that they’re competing with the best hitters in baseball for a spot on your team. And at that kind of cost, they just aren’t worth it. Finally, Butler’s a good hitter, but he’s never OPS’d over .857 in a season, and has 2344 PA’s on this major league record as I type this. $18.50’s just too much for him, especially when guys like Konerko cost less.
Next week: Middle Infield and Outfield
Justin is a lifelong Reds fan, and first played fantasy baseball on Prodigy with a 2400 baud modem. His favorite Excel function is the vlookup(). You can find him on twitter @jinazreds, even though he no longer lives in AZ.