MLB Fantasy Stars Week 19

Miguel Cabrera was the clear fantasy MVP in week 19 – he hit .429 with 4 HR, 7 runs, and 11 RBI, earning $66.99 in a shallow 5×5 Mixed League, $50.48 in a deep 5×5 AL Only League, and $49.99 in the deep 4×4 AL Only League. The triple-crown winner is also the clear fantasy MVP year-to-date, and but for Chris Davis would be cruising to a repeat triple crown. He still might become the first back-to-back triple crown winner, although Davis currently leads by 6 in HR and trails by only 1 RBI. As if that’s not enough, Cabrera’s 85 runs scored also lead the AL, and trail only Matt Carpenter by just 2 in all of MLB.
Davis’s teammate Adam Jones had the second best-week, batting .571 with 2 HR, 7 R, 8 RBI, and 1 SB. That earned $56.44 in the 5×5 Mixed, $43.94 in the 5×5 AL, and $41.85 in the 4×4 AL.
Special mention goes to Josh Reddick, 3rd in the 5×5 mixed and 4×4 AL at $52.02 and $40.93 respectively, and 4th best in the 5×5 AL with $41.23. Reddick has been a disappointment for his owners until this week, when he hit .316 with 5 HR, 6 R, and 8 RBI in just 5 games. Interestingly, Reddick had just one hit that wasn’t a home run, giving him just a .111 BABIP on the week. Reddick’s week was basically just two huge days, as he homered 3 times and drove in 5 on Friday night, and followed that with 2 HR and 3 RBI on Saturday. If I  compute prices using only those two days, Reddick earned $87.08 out of a $260 cap in the Mixed 5×5 League, so he’d be worth over a third of a team’s budget.
Martin Perez edged out Stephen Strasburg as baseball’s best fantasy pitcher this week, earning $50.14 to Strasburg’s $49.04 in the 5×5 Mixed League. Perez won twice, fanned 15 batters, and posted a 1.76 ERA and 0.913 WHIP in 15.33 innings. That earned $39.10 in the 4×4 AL (4th best overall), and $41.78 in the 5×5 AL (3rd best, just ahead of Reddick). In percentage terms, Strasburg pitched even better than Perez, with a 1.12 ERA, 0.688 WHIP, and 19 strikeouts in 16 innings, but Strasburg won only 1 game, while Perez won twice. The lack of wins has haunted him all season: his efficiency numbers are excellent – 2.83 ERA, 1.039 WHIP, and 153 Ks in just 146.33 innings, yet he has only 6 wins on the year, which limits his fantasy value.
Strasburg was the best NL pitcher, and in the shallow mixed league, he had the highest RotoValue of any NL player, but when compared in the deeper NL-only formats, his relative value trailed. The NL-only MVP was a tight race between Matt Holliday and Justin Upton. Holliday hit .478 with 2 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI, and 1 SB, while Upton hit .391 with 3 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI, and 1 SB. Holliday had a narrow $48.81 to $48.78 edge in the 4×4 NL Only, and an even closer $45.28 to $45.26 edge in the 5×5 NL Only, with Jayson Werth just behind at $44.71 (.500, 2 HR, 7 R, 6 RBI, 0 SB in just 18 AB). When prices are this close, the players are effectively worth the same anyhow, and who is a better fit for your team would depend on what categories you valued more.
Among NL pitchers Zack Greinke almost caught Strasburg in the 4×4 NL, as he won twice with a 1.42 ERA and a mediocre 1.263 WHIP to earn $25.75 behind Strasburg’s $26.74. The extra win was big, but Strasburg’s better ERA and much better WHIP gave him more value; Greinke pitched well, but in just 12.67 innings, so his percentages had less impact than Strasburg’s, with 16 innings. In the 5×5 NL, Strasburg was the clear best pitcher in the NL at $34.28 with Greinke next at $26.53, and Clayton Kershaw third at $23.17 for positing a 1.93 ERA, 0.929 WHIP, and 13 Ks in 14 IP, with, like Strasburg, just one win.
LaTroy Hawkins stepped in as closer for the Mets due to an injury to Bobby Parnell and wasted no time posting huge stats, with 3 saves, a 0.00 ERA and 0.75 WHIP in 4 innings, earning $25.51 in 4×4 to rank 3rd, and $18.45 in the 5×5, where the lack of strikeouts (just 2) depresses the value of all relievers.
Another data point to consider for those who want to Kill the Win: in the 4×4 AL, the second-most valuable pitcher this week was Twins middle reliever Brian Duensing, who earned $31.04.  How? He picked up 2 wins in his 3 appearances. Now he did pitch well, too: a 0.00 ERA and 0.231 WHIP in 4.33 IP, but the wins pushed him ahead of Royals’ closer Greg Holland ($27.07), who had 3 saves, a 0.333 WHIP, and 0.00 ERA in his 3 innings of work. Even in the 5×5 format Duensing earned $25.11, 4th best among pitchers, and ahead of Holland’s $24.38. Predicting wins from starters is hard enough – just compare Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels last year, pitchers with nearly identical ratio stats, but Lee had just 6 wins compared to Hamels’s 17. For relief pitchers, it’s basically impossible.

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