Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

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Fantasy MVPs & LVPs

Wednesday, October 4, 2017




Outfielders

MVPs - Aaron Judge, Tommy Pham, Marcell Ozuna

Judge’s projection: .227/.315/.416, 22 HR, 64 R, 63 RBI, 4 SB in 481 AB
Judge’s 2017 stats: .284/.422/.627, 52 HR, 128 R, 114 RBI, 9 SB in 542 AB

Pham’s projection: .238/.317/.395, 6 HR, 27 R, 21 RBI, 4 SB in 185 AB
Pham’s 2017 stats: .306/.411/.520, 23 HR, 95 R, 73 RBI, 25 SB in 444 AB

Ozuna’s projection: .271/.330/.462, 24 HR, 69 R, 81 RBI, 2 SB in 558 AB
Ozuna’s 2017 stats: .312/.376/.548, 37 HR, 93 R, 124 RBI, 1 SB in 613 AB

Remember when the Yankees talked about sending Judge down at the end of the spring because there might not be enough playing time available for him? The Cardinals actually did send down Pham, keeping Jose Martinez over him. Pham got his 20-20 season despite not debuting until May 5. I feel worse about the Judge miss, not that anyone anticipated this.

I was quite a bit higher on Ozuna a year ago; he was going to hit second and the Marlins were changing the park to make it a bit more hitter friendly. Neither change took, though; Ozuna ended up hitting second for just 21 games and Marlins ballpark was about as favorable to pitchers as before. Ozuna had a decent year, finishing with a 109 OPS+, but the end result was 23 homers, 75 runs and 76 RBI. Due to hit sixth this year, I dropped him from 21st to 44th among outfielders. Of course, the career year followed.

Honorable Mention - Giancarlo Stanton, Avisail Garcia, Charlie Blackmon, Ender Inciarte, J.D. Martinez
2016 Winners - Wil Myers, Charlie Blackmon, Mark Trumbo
2015 Winners - A.J. Pollock, Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon
2014 Winners - Michael Brantley, Charlie Blackmon, Corey Dickerson
2013 Winners - Carlos Gomez, Yasiel Puig, Marlon Byrd
2012 Winners - Mike Trout, Alex Rios, Adam Jones
2011 Winners - Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Kemp, Melky Cabrera
2010 Winners - Carlos Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, Angel Pagan
2009 Winners - Adam Lind, Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Kemp
2008 Winners - Ryan Ludwick, Josh Hamilton, Nate McLouth
2007 Winners - Magglio Ordonez, Curtis Granderson, Eric Byrnes
2006 Winners - Jermaine Dye, Gary Matthews Jr., Matt Holliday
2005 Winners - Grady Sizemore, Jason Bay, Andruw Jones
2004 Winners - Jim Edmonds, J.D. Drew, Aaron Rowand, Jeromy Burnitz
2003 Winners - Gary Sheffield, Scott Podsednik, Vernon Wells
2002 Winners - Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero, Garret Anderson
2001 Winners - Ichiro Suzuki, Barry Bonds, Cliff Floyd
2000 Winners - Darin Erstad, Richard Hidalgo, John Vander Wal
1999 Winners - Brian Giles, Luis Gonzalez, Roger Cedeno
 
LVPs - Starling Marte, Carlos Gonzalez, Gregory Polanco

Marte’s projection: .287/.342/.446, 16 HR, 83 R, 66 RBI. 37 SB in 565 AB
Marte’s 2017 stats: .275/.333/.379, 7 HR, 48 R, 31 RBI, 21 SB in 309 AB

Gonzalez’s projection: .284/.342/.506, 27 HR, 80 R, 91 RBI, 3 SB in 518 AB
Gonzalez’s 2017 stats: .262/.339/.423, 14 HR, 72 R, 57 RBI, 3 SB in 470 AB

Polanco’s projection: .277/.337/.468, 22 HR, 81 R, 87 RBI, 18 SB in 571 AB
Polanco’s 2017 stats: .251/.305/.391, 11 HR, 39 R, 35 RBI, 8 SB in 379 AB

Marte’s 80-game PED ban assured him of his spot here. Gonzalez’s late rally was really impressive -- he hit .377/.484/.766 in September -- but it wasn’t nearly enough to salvage his season after five atrocious months. Polanco was dragged down by injuries, but he still played in 108 games and did very little in them. The run and RBI numbers were especially awful; for comparison’s sake, prorating those totals out to 150 games gets you just 54 runs scored and 49 RBI. Pham had 95 runs and 73 RBI in 128 games.

Dishonorable Mention - Ian Desmond, A.J. Pollock, Mark Trumbo, Matt Kemp, Joc Pederson
2016 LVPs - Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista
2015 LVPs - Carlos Gomez, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo
2014 LVPs - Shin-Soo Choo, Jay Bruce, Ryan Braun
2013 LVPs - Ryan Braun, B.J. Upton, Jason Heyward
2012 LVPs - Jacoby Ellsbury, Justin Upton, Delmon Young
2011 LVPs - Carl Crawford, Alex Rios, Jason Heyward
2010 LVPs - Matt Kemp, Adam Lind, Carlos Lee
2009 LVPs - Manny Ramirez, B.J. Upton, Alfonso Soriano
2008 LVPs - Andruw Jones, Jeff Francoeur, Carl Crawford
2007 LVPs - Jason Bay, Andruw Jones, Jermaine Dye
2006 LVPs - Jason Lane, Randy Winn, Scott Podsednik
2005 LVPs - Carlos Beltran, Sammy Sosa, Corey Patterson
2004 LVPs - Sammy Sosa, Marlon Byrd, Brian Giles
2003 LVPs - Pat Burrell, Shawn Green, Larry Walker
2002 LVPs - Ken Griffey Jr., Juan Pierre, Richard Hidalgo
2001 LVPs - Richard Hidalgo, Darin Erstad, Carl Everett
2000 LVPs - Ken Griffey Jr., Juan Gonzalez, Carlos Beltran
1999 LVPs - Jose Cruz Jr., Kenny Lofton, Ray Lankford
 

Starting Pitchers
 
MVPs - Luis Severino, Zack Greinke, Corey Kluber, Gio Gonzalez, Robbie Ray

Severino’s projection: 9-10, 4.25 ERA, 1.285 WHIP, 150 K in 167 1/3 IP
Severino’s 2017 stats: 14-6, 2.98 ERA, 1.040 WHIP, 230 K in 193 1/3 IP

Greinke’s projection: 12-12, 3.90 ERA, 1.210 WHIP, 182 K in 203 1/3 IP
Greinke’s 2017 stats: 17-7, 3.20 ERA, 1.072 WHIP, 215 K in 202 1/3 IP

Kluber’s projection: 16-10, 3.33 ERA, 1.083 WHIP, 231 K in 216 IP
Kluber’s 2017 stats: 18-4, 2.25 ERA, 0.869 WHIP, 265 K in 203 2/3 IP

Gonzalez’s projection: 11-10, 3.94 ERA, 1.290 WHIP, 159 K in 171 1/3 IP
Gonzalez’s 2017 stats: 15-9, 2.96 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, 188 K in 201 IP

Ray’s projection: 11-11, 3.86 ERA, 1.291 WHIP, 215 K in 191 1/3 IP
Ray’s 2017 stats: 15-5, 2.89 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, 218 K in 162 IP

Severino went 0-8 with an 8.50 ERA in his 11 starts for the Yankees in 2016. I thought projecting a 4.25 ERA and a 1.285 WHIP was actually rather optimistic.

I was flat-out wrong about Greinke. His velocity continued to dip ever so slightly, but he turned back into a strikeout pitcher anyway and managed to shake off the home run spike.

Gonzalez’s season still looks like a big fluke to me. The only thing that stands out for him is his BABIP, which went from .341 in 2015 and .316 in 2016 to .258 this year. He hadn’t been below .280 since 2012. His FIP this year was 3.93, his highest mark since he made 17 starts for the A’s in 2009. I’ll be staying far away next spring.

Honorable Mention - Alex Wood, Ervin Santana, Jimmy Nelson, Chase Anderson, Brad Peacock
2016 Winners - Rick Porcello, Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Justin Verlander, J.A. Happ
2015 Winners - Jake Arrieta, Dallas Keuchel, Zack Greinke, Marco Estrada, Jacob deGrom
2014 Winners - Corey Kluber, Garrett Richards, Johnny Cueto, Jake Arrieta, Tanner Roark
2013 Winners - Hisashi Iwakuma, Max Scherzer, Jose Fernandez, Bartolo Colon, Matt Harvey
2012 Winners - R.A. Dickey, Kyle Lohse, Gio Gonzalez, Kris Medlen, Chris Sale
2011 Winners - Justin Verlander, Ian Kennedy, James Shields, Clayton Kershaw, Doug Fister
2010 Winners - Mat Latos, Trevor Cahill, David Price, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jered Weaver
2009 Winners - Zack Greinke, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Wandy Rodriguez, Joel Pineiro
2008 Winners - Clff Lee, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Dempster, Ervin Santana, Roy Halladay
2007 Winners - Fausto Carmona, Josh Beckett, Aaron Harang, James Shields, Erik Bedard
2006 Winners - Bronson Arroyo, Brandon Webb, Francisco Liriano, Aaron Harang, Justin Verlander
2005 Winners - Chris Carpenter, Dontrelle Willis, Andy Pettitte, Cliff Lee, John Patterson
2004 Winners - Johan Santana, Ben Sheets, Carl Pavano, Oliver Perez, Chris Carpenter
2003 Winners - Esteban Loaiza, Jason Schmidt, Livan Hernandez, Brandon Webb, Roy Halladay
2002 Winners - Odalis Perez, Derek Lowe, Matt Clement, Tim Wakefield, Roy Halladay
2001 Winners - Mark Mulder, Joe Mays, John Burkett, Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt
2000 Winners - Ryan Dempster, Jeff D’Amico, Glendon Rusch, Darryl Kile, Chan Ho Park
1999 Winners - Mike Hampton, Todd Ritchie, Tim Hudson, Kevin Millwood, Jose Lima
 
LVPs - Madison Bumgarner, Jon Lester, Rick Porcello, Julio Teheran, Matt Moore

Bumgarner’s projection: 16-11, 3.10 ERA, 1.078 WHIP, 224 K in 218 IP
Bumgarner’s 2017 stats: 4-9, 3.32 ERA, 1.090 WHIP, 101 K in 111 IP

Lester’s projection: 15-9, 3.24 ERA, 1.086 WHIP, 187 K in 194 1/3 IP
Lester’s 2017 stats: 13-8, 4.33 ERA, 1.323 WHIP, 180 K in 180 2/3 IP

Porcello’s projection: 15-11, 3.87 ERA, 1.150 WHIP, 175 K in 214 IP
Porcello’s 2017 stats: 11-17, 4.65 ERA, 1.397 WHIP, 181 K in 203 1/3 IP

Teheran’s projection: 13-11, 3.76 ERA, 1.155 WHIP, 175 K in 206 IP
Teheran’s 2017 stats: 11-13, 4.49 ERA, 1.370 WHIP, 151 K in 188 1/3 IP

Moore’s projection: 12-11, 3.67 ERA, 1.233 WHIP, 183 K in 189 IP
Moore’s 2017 stats: 6-15, 5.52 ERA, 1.531 WHIP, 148 K in 174 1/3 IP

I tend to forgive injuries, but not when they’re sustained riding a dirt bike. Bumgarner was just fine when he was on the mound, but it was his fault he made 17 starts, rather than 32.

Lester has given me all kinds of problems lately; I was down on him the previous three years before putting him in my top 15 this season for the first time since 2011. I think I figured the Cubs defense would remain so awesome that it scarcely mattered who was pitching for them. Of course, the Cubs defense came back to Earth and Lester’s home run rate was more than 50 percent higher than his career rate. He still got his strikeouts, but his stuff just wasn’t the same.

Porcello’s problems were also mostly BABIP and home run related. His velocity was better than in his Cy Young campaign, and he sported a career-high strikeout rate. Still, he went from giving up 23 homers in 223 innings to 38 in 203.

Dishonorable Mention - Kyle Hendricks, Johnny Cueto, Yu Darvish, Matt Harvey, Jameson Taillon
2016 LVPs - Dallas Keuchel, Felix Hernandez, Gerrit Cole, Zack Greinke, Adam Wainwright
2015 LVPs - Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Felix Hernandez, Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister
2014 LVPs - Justin Verlander, Mike Minor, Clay Buchholz, C.J. Wilson, Justin Masterson
2013 LVPs - CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Matt Cain, R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson
2012 LVPs - Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, Ricky Romero, Jon Lester, Dan Haren
2011 LVPs - Brian Matusz, Ubaldo Jimenez, Francisco Liriano, Ricky Nolasco, Chad Billingsley
2010 LVPs - Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Tim Lincecum, Javier Vazquez, A.J. Burnett
2009 LVPs - Francisco Liriano, Cole Hamels, Joba Chamberlain, Derek Lowe, Daisuke Matsuzaka
2008 LVPs - Justin Verlander, Fausto Carmona, Pedro Martinez, Ian Snell, Rich Hill
2007 LVPs - Jeremy Bonderman, Mike Mussina, Dontrelle Willis, Jose Contreras, Scott Olsen
2006 LVPs - Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson, Felix Hernandez, Dontrelle Willis, Odalis Perez
2005 LVPs - Oliver Perez, Curt Schilling, Tim Hudson, Zack Greinke, Eric Milton
2004 LVPs - Esteban Loaiza, Barry Zito, Jose Contreras, Jamie Moyer, Javier Vazquez
2003 LVPs - Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson, Ramon Ortiz, Freddy Garcia, Derek Lowe
2002 LVPs - Chan Ho Park, Freddy Garcia, Bud Smith, Brad Penny, Javier Vazquez
2001 LVPs - Scott Elarton, Livan Hernandez, Kevin Millwood, Bartolo Colon, Dave Burba
2000 LVPs - Jose Lima, Ramon Martinez, David Cone, Omar Daal, Kevin Millwood
1999 LVPs - Roger Clemens, Jeff Fassero, Chan Ho Park, Tom Glavine, Brett Tomko
 

Relief Pitchers

MVPs - Corey Knebel, Felipe Rivero, Brad Hand, Greg Holland

Knebel’s projection: 3-5, 9 Sv, 3.66 ERA, 1.254 WHIP, 64 K in 59 IP
Knebel’s 2017 stats: 1-4, 39 Sv, 1.78 ERA, 1.158 WHIP, 126 K in 76 IP

Rivero’s projection: 5-6, 1 Sv, 3.06 ERA, 1.146 WHIP, 88 K in 70 2/3 IP
Rivero’s 2017 stats: 5-3, 21 SV, 1.67 ERA, 0.889 WHIP, 88 K in 75 1/3 IP

Hand’s projection: 5-5, 2 Sv, 2.99 ERA, 1.183 WHIP, 77 K in 69 1/3 IP
Hand’s 2017 stats: 3-4, 21 Sv, 2.16 ERA, 0.933 WHIP, 104 K in 79 1/3 IP

Holland’s projection: 3-4, 25 Sv, 3.56 ERA, 1.319 WHIP, 77 K in 60 2/3 IP
Holland’s 2017 stats: 3-6, 41 Sv, 3.61 ERA, 1.151 WHIP, 70 K in 57 1/3 IP

I was growing rather skeptical that greatness was in the cards for Knebel after a rather mediocre showing in 2016, but, then, I didn’t think he’d add two mph to a fastball that already averages 95 mph. He went from striking out 10.5 batters per nine innings to 14.9 this year, which was plenty good enough to cover up his control issues.

Honorable Mention - Brandon Kintzler, Hector Neris, Sean Doolittle, Brad Brach, Craig Kimbrel
2016 Winners - Seung Hwan Oh, Alex Colome, Sam Dyson, Tyler Thornburg
2015 Winners - Jeurys Familia, Andrew Miller, Wade Davis, Shawn Tolleson
2014 Winners - Zach Britton, Francisco Rodriguez, Mark Melancon, Hector Rondon
2013 Winners - Koji Uehara, Kenley Jansen, Edward Mujica, Greg Holland
2012 Winners - Fernando Rodney, Jim Johnson, Aroldis Chapman, Rafael Soriano
2011 Winners - Craig Kimbrel, Fernando Salas, Brandon League, Jordan Walden
2010 Winners - Neftali Feliz, John Axford, Rafael Soriano, Chris Perez
2009 Winners - Andrew Bailey, David Aardsma, Ryan Franklin, Rafael Soriano
2008 Winners - Brad Lidge, Kerry Wood, Brian Fuentes, Francisco Rodriguez
2007 Winners - Jeremy Accardo, Takashi Saito, Kevin Gregg, Manuel Corpas
2006 Winners - J.J. Putz, Jonathan Papelbon, Takashi Saito, Akinori Otsuka
2005 Winners - Chad Cordero, Derrick Turnbow, Huston Street, Todd Jones, Bob Wickman
2004 Winners - Brad Lidge, Joe Nathan, Jose Mesa, Shingo Takatsu
2003 Winners - Eric Gagne, Tim Worrell, Joe Borowski, Guillermo Mota
2002 Winners - Eric Gagne, Juan Acevedo, Byung-Hyun Kim, Octavio Dotel
2001 Winners - Byung-Hyun Kim, Jeff Zimmerman, Octavio Dotel, Jose Mesa
2000 Winners - Keith Foulke, Robb Nen, Gabe White
1999 Winners - Scott Williamson, Billy Koch, John Rocker
 
LVPs - Seung Hwan Oh, Francisco Rodriguez, Mark Melancon, Aroldis Chapman

Oh’s projection: 5-3, 37 Sv, 2.19 ERA, 0.990 WHIP, 83 K in 65 2/3 IP
Oh’s 2017 stats: 1-6, 20 Sv, 4.10 ERA, 1.399 WHIP, 54 K in 59 1/3 IP

Rodriguez’s projection: 3-3, 37 Sv, 3.28 ERA, 1.160 WHIP, 61 K in 60 1/3 IP
Rodriguez’s 2017 stats: 2-5, 7 Sv, 7.82 ERA, 1.658 WHIP, 23 K in 25 1/3 IP

Melancon’s projection: 4-4, 42 Sv, 2.54 ERA, 0.995 WHIP, 62 K in 67 1/3 IP
Melancon’s 2017 stats: 1-2, 11 Sv, 4.50 ERA, 1.433 WHIP, 29 K in 30 IP

Chapman’s projection: 4-3, 41 Sv, 2.32 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 101 K in 62 IP
Chapman’s 2017 stats: 4-3, 22 Sv, 3.22 ERA, 1.132 WHIP, 69 K in 50 1/3 IP

There’s still little doubt in my mind that the Cardinals would have been better off just sticking with Oh like the Diamondbacks did Fernando Rodney; he never resembled the guy he was in 2016, but trying to come up with new solutions every week only made things worse.

Chapman figured it out late, but he still finished with his worst ERA and worst strikeout rate as a closer. And, of course, the 22 saves were 15-20 shy of what everyone was expecting from him.

Dishonorable Mention - Sam Dyson, Neftali Feliz, Tony Watson, Zach Britton
2016 LVPs - Trevor Rosenthal, Jonathan Papelbon, Shawn Tolleson, Jake McGee
2015 LVPs - Jenrry Mejia, Steve Cishek, Greg Holland, Fernando Rodney
2014 LVPs - Ernesto Frieri, Jim Johnson, Grant Balfour, Sergio Romo
2013 LVPs - John Axford, Jonathan Papelbon, Tom Wilhelmsen, Brandon League
2012 LVPs - Heath Bell, Jordan Walden, Brandon League, John Axford
2011 LVPs - Matt Thornton, Joakim Soria, Ryan Franklin, Neftali Feliz
2010 LVPs - Chad Qualls, Jonathan Broxton, Trevor Hoffman, Bobby Jenks
2009 LVPs - B.J. Ryan, Brad Lidge, Brandon Morrow, Matt Capps
2008 LVPs - Jason Isringhausen, Manuel Corpas, J.J. Putz, Huston Street
2007 LVPs - Tom Gordon, Salomon Torres, Jorge Julio, Bob Wickman
2006 LVPs - Derrick Turnbow, Brad Lidge, Ryan Dempster, Armando Benitez
2005 LVPs - Danny Kolb, Danny Graves, Guillermo Mota, Keith Foulke
2004 LVPs - Arthur Rhodes, Joe Borowski, Shawn Chacon, David Riske
2003 LVPs - Billy Koch, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Armando Benitez, Jose Mesa
2002 LVPs - Keith Foulke, Scott Strickland, Armando Benitez, Antonio Alfonseca
2001 LVPs - Todd Jones, John Rocker, Billy Koch, Dave Veres
2000 LVPs - Bob Howry, Scott Williamson, John Rocker, Billy Wagner
1999 LVPs - Rod Beck, Jeff Montgomery, Rick Aguilera, Gregg Olson
 

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Matthew Pouliot is the Executive Editor of RotoWorld.com and has been doing the site's baseball projections for the last 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @matthewpouliot.
Email :Matthew Pouliot



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