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Matthew Pouliot

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Fantasy MVPs & LVPs

Thursday, October 4, 2018


It's the 20th annual edition of the fantasy MVPs and LVPs column. Awards are given to players that most over- or underperformed my preseason projections. So, basically, everyone I was most wrong about. I do, however, give injured players a break when it comes to LVPs

I also have my real MVP/Cy Young/ROY choices below.

The Fantasy Most Valuable Players
 
Catchers
 
MVP - Yasmani Grandal

Projection: .239/.339/.442, 15 HR, 40 R, 41 RBI, 1 SB in 301 AB
2018 stats: .243/.352/.470, 24 HR, 65 R, 68 RBI, 2 SB in 436 AB

Grandal’s career high for games played going into this season was 129, and he didn’t figure to top it while sitting in favor of Austin Barnes against lefties. However, he got off to an outstanding start in April to leave Barnes in the dust, and he went on play in 140 games and top his previous high in plate appearances by 36. In what was a horrible year for catchers, he ranked third at the position in fantasy value, trailing only J.T. Realmuto and Yadier Molina.

Honorable mention - J.T. Realmuto, Yadier Molina, Salvador Perez
2017 Winner - Yadier Molina
2016 Winner - Wilson Ramos
2015 Winner - Nick Hundley
2014 Winner - Devin Mesoraco
2013 Winner - Jonathan Lucroy
2012 Winner - Wilin Rosario
2011 Winner - Alex Avila
2010 Winner - Buster Posey
2009 Winner - Joe Mauer
2008 Winner - Ryan Doumit
2007 Winner - Russell Martin
2006 Winner - Brian McCann
2005 Winner - Brandon Inge
2004 Winner - Craig Wilson
2003 Winner - Javy Lopez
2002 Winner - Eli Marrero
2001 Winner - Paul Lo Duca
2000 Winner - Charles Johnson
1999 Winner - Mike Sweeney
 
LVP - Willson Contreras

Projection: .274/.351/.489, 23 HR, 63 R, 82 RBI, 4 SB in 442 AB
2018 stats: .251/.341/.393, 10 HR, 50 R, 54 RBI, 4 SB in 471 AB

Contreras never showed the same kind of power this year that he did in 2017, but he started the All-Star Game for the NL squad and hit .283/.372/.458 through Aug. 1. From there on in, he came in at .173/.268/.237 in 44 games.  Despite leading all catchers in plate appearances this year, he didn’t even finish in the top 10 at the position in fantasy value. Still, I expect the ugly finish was an aberration, and I’ll be high on him again next spring.

Dishonorable mention - Gary Sanchez, Welington Castillo, Buster Posey
2017 LVP - Jonathan Lucroy
2016 LVP - Yan Gomes
2015 LVP - Jonathan Lucroy
2014 LVP - Joe Mauer
2013 LVP - Jesus Montero
2012 LVP - Carlos Santana
2011 LVP - Joe Mauer
2010 LVP - Matt Wieters
2009 LVP - Russell Martin
2008 LVP - Kenji Johjima
2007 LVP - Ramon Hernandez
2006 LVP - Javy Lopez
2005 LVP - Jason Kendall
2004 LVP - Mike Piazza
2003 LVP - Paul Lo Duca
2002 LVP - Charles Johnson
2001 LVP - Jason Kendall
2000 LVP - Michael Barrett
1999 LVP - Todd Hundley
 

First Basemen/Designated Hitters
 
MVP - Jesus Aguilar

Projection: .242/.313/.452, 9 HR, 24 R, 29 RBI, 1 SB in 186 AB
2018 stats: .275/.352/.541, 35 HR, 80 R, 108 RBI, 0 SB in 488 AB

When the Brewers loaded up their outfield by adding Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich last winter, there was a lot of talk about Ryan Braun playing first base, at least against lefties, in order to keep Domingo Santana in the lineup. Aguilar was an afterthought despite hitting .265/.331/.505 with 16 homers in 279 at-bats in 2017. Aguilar did make the team, though, and he started crushing it after making his first start in the seventh game of the season. He shoved both Eric Thames and Braun aside as the year went on, and he finished tied with Max Muncy, of all people, for the position lead in homers. He gets the nod over Muncy here because he drove in an extra 29 runs.

Honorable mention - Max Muncy, Jose Martinez
2017 Winner - Cody Bellinger
2016 Winner - David Ortiz
2015 Winner - Joey Votto
2014 Winner - Victor Martinez
2013 Winner - Chris Davis
2012 Winner - Adam LaRoche
2011 Winner - Mark Trumbo
2010 Winner - Joey Votto
2009 Winner - Kendrys Morales
2008 Winner - Aubrey Huff
2007 Winner - Carlos Pena
2006 Winner - Ryan Howard
2005 Winner - Derrek Lee
2004 Winner - Travis Hafner
2003 Winner - Carlos Delgado
2002 Winner - Derrek Lee
2001 Winner - Ryan Klesko
2000 Winner - Frank Thomas
1999 Winner - John Jaha
 
LVP - Joey Votto

Projection: .302/.439/.524, 29 HR, 97 R, 89 RBI, 4 SB in 540 AB
2018 stats: .284/.417/.419, 12 HR, 67 R, 67 RBI, 2 SB in 503 AB

Certainly other first basemen had worse years -- Votto led the NL in OBP for the seventh time in nine seasons -- but they weren’t second- or third-round picks in fantasy leagues. Votto lost two-thirds of his home run total and one-third of his run and RBI totals from 2017. Jose Peraza outhomered him! He also hit 30 points lower than he had in any of the previous three years. On the plus side, he didn’t hit for the worst batting average since 1909, as Chris Davis did.

Dishonorable mention - Eric Hosmer, Cody Bellinger, Chris Davis
2017 LVP - Miguel Cabrera
2016 LVP - Jose Abreu
2015 LVP - Chris Carter
2014 LVP - Chris Davis
2013 LVP - Ike Davis
2012 LVP - Eric Hosmer
2011 LVP - Adam Dunn
2010 LVP - Lance Berkman
2009 LVP - David Ortiz
2008 LVP - Travis Hafner
2007 LVP - Richie Sexson
2006 LVP - Todd Helton
2005 LVP - Todd Helton
2004 LVP - Jason Giambi
2003 LVP - Paul Konerko
2002 LVP - Tony Clark
2001 LVP - Mark McGwire
2000 LVP - Sean Casey
1999 LVP - Darin Erstad
 

Second Basemen
 
MVP - Javier Baez

Projection: .264/.304/.481, 28 HR, 72 R, 83 RBI, 12 SB in 526 AB
2018 stats: .290/.326/.554, 34 HR, 101 R, 111 RBI, 21 SB in 606 AB

I didn’t see how Baez could get much better than his 2017 performance given his hacktastic ways, but he had a dynamite season, one marked by surprising consistency (his worst OPS in any month of the year was .769, his worst average was .262). It also helped his fantasy owners a bunch that he tried 30 steal attempts, up from 13 in 2017 and 15 in 2016. He’ll probably be on my avoid list next year, since I don’t think one can count on him to reach the century mark in runs and RBI again and continuing to do that much running. Still, he should be right back in that 30-35 homer range or maybe even a little higher.

Honorable mention - Whit Merrifield, Jose Ramirez, Scooter Gennett, Jed Lowrie
2017 Winner - Whit Merrifield
2016 Winner - Brian Dozier
2015 Winner - Dee Gordon
2014 Winner - Jose Altuve
2013 Winner - Matt Carpenter
2012 Winner - Aaron Hill
2011 Winner - Ben Zobrist
2010 Winner - Rickie Weeks
2009 Winner - Aaron Hill
2008 Winner - Dustin Pedroia
2007 Winner - Brandon Phillips
2006 Winner - Dan Uggla
2005 Winner - Chone Figgins
2004 Winner - Mark Loretta
2003 Winner - Marcus Giles
2002 Winner - Alfonso Soriano
2001 Winner - Bret Boone
2000 Winner - Jose Vidro
1999 Winner - Roberto Alomar
 
LVP - Brian Dozier

Projection: .249/.333/.464, 31 HR, 104 R, 83 RBI, 15 SB in 610 AB
2018 stats: .215/.305/.391, 21 HR, 81 R, 72 RBI, 12 SB in 553 AB

Dozier hit .269 with an average of 38 homers, 105 runs, 96 RBI and 17 steals between 2016 and 2017 before busting this year. Dee Gordon was even worse, but he did have a broken toe that he tried to play through initially and which seemed to curtail his running after he returned from a 10-day absence. Dozier’s decline lacked any such explanation. He could get back to 30 homers next year, but I wouldn’t expect him to resume hitting for average.

Dishonorable mention - Dee Gordon, Robinson Cano, Eduardo Nunez
2017 LVP - Rougned Odor
2016 LVP - Dee Gordon
2015 LVP - Chase Utley
2014 LVP - Jason Kipnis
2013 LVP - Rickie Weeks
2012 LVP - Jemile Weeks
2011 LVP - Chone Figgins
2010 LVP - Aaron Hill
2009 LVP - Kelly Johnson
2008 LVP - Robinson Cano
2007 LVP - Josh Barfield
2006 LVP - Jorge Cantu
2005 LVP - Bret Boone
2004 LVP - Alfonso Soriano
2003 LVP - Roberto Alomar
2002 LVP - Roberto Alomar
2001 LVP - Edgardo Alfonzo
2000 LVP - Jose Offerman
1999 LVP - Delino DeShields
 

Third Basemen
 
MVP - Matt Carpenter

Projection: .256/.369/.455, 21 HR, 82 R, 64 RBI, 2 SB in 481 AB
2018 stats: .257/.374/.523, 36 HR, 111 R, 81 RBI, 4 SB in 564 AB

Carpenter was on my avoid list this year because he was probably going to start sitting some against lefties, he wasn’t going to hit for average and he wasn’t going to drive in runs. I wasn’t expecting him to be the utter disaster he was the first six weeks -- he hit .140 with three homers in 35 games through May 15 -- but I certainly didn’t foresee what happened next; he hit .326/.430/.707 with 30 homers in an 81-game span from May 15-Aug. 15. He finished in another slide, coming in at .203 with three homers in his last 40 games, but, obviously, he provided quite a return on a modest investment.

Honorable mention - Miguel Andujar, Eugenio Suarez, Matt Chapman
2017 Winner - Jose Ramirez
2016 Winner - Adrian Beltre
2015 Winner - Josh Donaldson
2014 Winner - Todd Frazier
2013 Winner - Josh Donaldson
2012 Winner - Chase Headley
2011 Winner - Jose Bautista
2010 Winner - Jose Bautista
2009 Winner - Mark Reynolds
2008 Winner - Jorge Cantu
2007 Winner - Ryan Braun
2006 Winner - Michael Cuddyer
2005 Winner - Morgan Ensberg
2004 Winner - Adrian Beltre
2003 Winner - Bill Mueller
2002 Winner - Aaron Boone
2001 Winner - Albert Pujols
2000 Winner - Troy Glaus
1999 Winner - Fernando Tatis
 
LVP - Kris Bryant

Projection: .284/.382/.519, 33 HR, 113 R, 85 RBI, 7 SB in 592 AB
2018 stats: .272/.374/.460, 13 HR, 59 R, 52 RBI, 2 SB in 389 AB

I was low on Bryant going in, listing him as the No. 25 player in my top 300, because I didn’t see him excelling in the triple crown categories. He got off to a nice start, but even so, he wasn’t tearing it up from a fantasy perspective with his .286-8-27 line after two months. His shoulder problems arose afterwards, and he wasn’t nearly 100 percent at any time in the second half. That does get him some forgiveness points here, but in the end, he was a second-round pick who played in 102 games and hit all of 13 homers. On a per-game basis, he was about as valuable as Rafael Devers.

Dishonorable mention - Josh Donaldson, Miguel Sano, Kyle Seager
2017 LVP - Kyle Seager
2016 LVP - Maikel Franco
2015 LVP - Carlos Santana
2014 LVP - David Wright
2013 LVP - Pablo Sandoval
2012 LVP - Mark Reynolds
2011 LVP - Pedro Alvarez
2010 LVP - Pablo Sandoval
2009 LVP - Garrett Atkins
2008 LVP - Chone Figgins
2007 LVP - Eric Chavez
2006 LVP - Hank Blalock
2005 LVP - Adrian Beltre
2004 LVP - Eric Hinske
2003 LVP - Edgardo Alfonzo
2002 LVP - Jeff Cirillo
2001 LVP - Tony Batista
2000 LVP - Vinny Castilla
1999 LVP - Ken Caminiti
 

Shortstops
 
MVP - Trevor Story

 

Projection: .274/.340/.527, 31 HR, 79 R, 99 RBI, 10 SB in 529 AB
2018 stats: .291/.348/.567, 37 HR, 88 R, 108 RBI, 27 SB in 598 AB

Story was my favorite pick this spring and I owned him just about every league I drafted, but this was beyond my wildest expectations. Story stole 15 bases in his first two seasons combined before swiping 27 in 33 tries this year. He finished second in the NL in homers, fourth in RBI, sixth in steals and even 12th in batting average among qualifiers. I wouldn’t expect him to be quite so good again, but he should be here to stay as an elite fantasy shortstop for a few years.

Honorable mention - Didi Gregorius, Alex Bregman, Jose Peraza, Jurickson Profar
2017 Winner - Elvis Andrus
2016 Winner - Jonathan Villar
2015 Winner - Xander Bogaerts
2014 Winner - Dee Gordon
2013 Winner - Jean Segura
2012 Winner - Ian Desmond
2011 Winner - Asdrubal Cabrera
2010 Winner - Omar Infante
2009 Winner - Ben Zobrist
2008 Winner - Mike Aviles
2007 Winner - Hanley Ramirez
2006 Winner - Hanley Ramirez
2005 Winner - Felipe Lopez
2004 Winner - Carlos Guillen
2003 Winner - Edgar Renteria
2002 Winner - David Eckstein
2001 Winner - Rich Aurilia
2000 Winner - Jose Valentin
1999 Winner - Jay Bell
 
LVP - Addison Russell

Projection: .267/.330/.466, 23 HR, 78 R, 85 RBI, 4 SB in 517 AB
2018 stats: .250/.317/.340, 5 HR, 52 R, 38 RBI, 4 SB in 420 AB

Russell failed to meet expectations in 2017 after hitting 21 homers as a 22-year-old sophomore in 2016, but he still showed decent power, slugging .418 against a .239 average. This year, he slugged .340 while hitting .250. His isolated slugging percentage was a .090 after coming in at .179 both of the previous two years. Even without the domestic violence suspension, he’d be a question mark going into next year. One imagines that the Cubs will be very receptive to any trade offers.

Dishonorable mention - Carlos Correa, Elvis Andrus, Orlando Arcia
2017 LVP - Jonathan Villar
2016 LVP - Carlos Correa
2015 LVP - Hanley Ramirez
2014 LVP - Jean Segura
2013 LVP - Starlin Castro
2012 LVP - Elvis Andrus
2011 LVP - Hanley Ramirez
2010 LVP - Yunel Escobar
2009 LVP - Jimmy Rollins
2008 LVP - Troy Tulowitzki
2007 LVP - Bill Hall
2006 LVP - Clint Barmes
2005 LVP - Kaz Matsui
2004 LVP - Angel Berroa
2003 LVP - Jose Hernandez
2002 LVP - Rich Aurilia
2001 LVP - Tony Womack
2000 LVP - Royce Clayton
1999 LVP - Royce Clayton

 


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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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