As a continuation of our 2014 series on Fantasy Baseball busts, we will look at infield busts this week.
We looked at outfield busts last week, and, as a reminder, we will look at closers next week, and starting pitching the week after that.
(If you read the previous article you can skip the next two paragraphs, which entail how we define a bust.)
Bust: Our formula for a bust will be a player’s projected 2014 roto value—this forecasted value will be composed of an average between a player’s Steamer and Oliver projections—minus their 2013 roto value. (Values will be calculated for a 12-team 5×5 roto league)
Top 25 Infield Busts
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Jarrod Saltalamacchia: Florida Marlins
The world champion has moved on from Boston to the fairer weather of Miami. However, with the summer breeze may come dry fields. Saltalamacchia has been projected for a similar power output as he had last year, but is expected to regress in the AVG, runs, and RBI categories. Steamer projects the backstop to score 43 runs and 48 RBI in Miami, while Steamer and Oliver unanimously see a regression from his .273 AVG in 2013 to a career norm: .226 AVG by Steamer, and .230 AVG by Oliver.
Matt Carpenter: St Louis Cardinals
In his second big league season, at the age of 27, Matt Carpenter was Fantasy Baseball’s 2013 MVP. Whether you were in a snake or auction draft, Carpenter returned massive dividends on the mid round draft pick or few dollars you spent to acquire his talent. However, in the eyes of Steamer and Oliver, the problem with Carpenter’s future value is his age. When you look at the most successful qualified batters who were rookies at the age of 26 or 27, you of course have Ichiro, who doesn’t make a very good comparison. But then you have a lot of Chris Singleton, Dan Uggla, Scott Podsednik, and Freddy Sanchez who are the biggest success stories of the group, and seem more in line with Carpenter’s future expectations. So while it’s quite possible, and even likely that Carpenter will have a successful big league career, it’s unlikely that he’ll be a top ten Fantasy Baseball player in 2014.
Brandon Phillips: Cincinnati Reds
Plate discipline isn’t Brandon Phillips’ strong suite. Brandon Phillips’ walk percentage has gone down in four of the last five seasons, and even worse, his strikeout percentage has gone up in all of the last five seasons. More importantly, while Phillips is seeing the same amount of strikes and swings at the same rate he always has, last year he made less contact with pitches outside of the strike zone—O-Contact% 65.5—than he has in the last five years, which is a sure sign of aging.
Yadier Molina: St. Louis Cardinals
Molina was able to replicate the career year that he had in 2012 with a year equally as impressive in 2013. Molina hit four points better in the AVG column in 2013 than in 2012, but with a BABIP 42 points higher than his career average. And if you think Molina will be able to compensate for the regression in batting average with more power, think again. Molina hit 22 home runs in 2012 with a 13.8% HR/FB ratio, which is approaching twice his career average (7.1%). Expect Molina to sit at the 7.8% HR/FB ratio and 12 home runs he had last year.
Devin Jordan is obsessed with statistical analysis, non-fiction literature, and electronic music. If you enjoyed reading him, follow him on Twitter @devinjjordan.