Over the next few days I’ll be taking a look at guys that are MLB superstars, franchise players and all-around studs. All 30 teams in the MLB would take these guys in a heartbeat, yet their owners in standard format fantasy leagues are likely left disappointed this season by what was once a no-doubt sure pick. We’ll leave out guys that have been riddled with injuries, and focus on those that were ranked just a tad too high based solely on name. Each segment will end with a look at far lesser players, with comparable fantasy numbers, that may be available in your league. It’ll be worth remembering the end result of this year by the time next years draft rolls around.
First up: Joey Votto
(Phot: AP/Al Behrman)
Yahoo! O-rank: 7th, number one first baseman
Actual rank: 22nd, number five first baseman
So you’re sitting in your draft lobby with a mid-first round pick and the name Joey Votto is right there on top of the board; you don’t think twice – if you don’t take him the next guy surely will. The Canadian finished second in rookie of the year voting five years ago and was the NL MVP just two years later. In fact he has received MVP votes every year other than that rookie season. The fact that the 13-year, 263-million dollar contract he signed with the Reds isn’t an overpayment in the slightest way is a testament to his value to an MLB club. If that doesn’t do it for you, then his career 32.8 WAR (which sits at 5.3 this season) should.
Votto leads the national league in games (119), plate appearances (534), on base percentage (.434), walks (89) and intentional walks (13). So what’s the problem? Well, you may notice not a single one of these is a category in standard fantasy leagues.
Votto, Phillips and Bruce represent one of the deadliest hearts of the order in Major League Baseball. (Photo: Mike McGinnis/Getty Images).
Even with Brandon Phillips (All-Star) and Jay Bruce (24 homeruns) batting behind him, Joey Votto is less likely to see a hittable pitch with runners on base than someone from Loch Ness is to see a monster. He has 19 and 16 more walks than Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout, respectively. While his 100 strikeouts are more than either of them (73 and 93 respectively), you can chalk up at least a part of those to frustration.
The conventional fantasy baseball stats for hitters are: runs, homeruns, RBI, stolen bases and batting average. In these categories Votto ranks: 3rd, 10th, 23rd, 7th and 4th amongst 1B eligible players. All in all not bad, by any means, but you’re not drafting a first baseman in the first round to come seventh in steals and 23rd in RBI. Joey Votto has frankly become too good for conventional fantasy baseball. Plain and simple.
Sure, he’s not going to be a guy that goes undrafted, or a guy that you’re going to feel compelled to drop at any point. He’s still an elite fantasy option. My point is that he’s no longer an elite first round option, and probably won’t be again next year. Not while pitchers are this scared of him at any rate.
Nava has 54 RBI while batting fifth in the Red Sox’ lineup, to Votto’s 55 batting third in the Red’s order.(Photo: Elise Amendola/AP)
An available option in 58% of Yahoo! leagues, is Daniel Nava of the Red Sox. With an O-rank of 402, Nava has moved up 248 spots to a rank of 248. In 91 fewer at-bats than Votto, Nava has only 24 fewer runs, 7 less homers, and one fewer RBI. Votto is hitting .037 better, but really, first base isn’t the position you look to for average.
While there is no comparing Votto to Nava on the field, and what they provide their club throughout a full season (Nava has a WAR of just 1.3 to Votto’s 5.3), the comparison in fantasy numbers projects to be way too similar for a first round pick and an undrafted player.
The post “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” – Delving into fantasy baseball ‘disappointments’: Joey Votto appeared first on Fantasy Sports Locker Room.