Fantasy Draft Strategy: Comparing 5 x 5 Categories - 2013 vs 2012

Ronald Martinez

Ray takes a look at each of the 5 x 5 league categories comparing 2013 vs 2012 to see if we can identify any trends. And he found a big one.

On Thursday morning, while getting ready for work, I was thinking about what my next statistical research project would be. What i decided on was to see if there are any trends across positions for the 5 x 5 fantasy baseball league categories. This should/could help fantasy owners in drafts heading into 2014.

Here is what I found. I looked at, for each position, the number of hitters who reached each of the following hitting milestones in 2013 vs 2012. No names are attached, just pure numbers:

20+ home runs

15+ home runs

10+ home runs

20+ stolen bases

15+ stolen bases

10+ stolen bases

60+ runs

70+ runs

80+ runs

70+ RBI

80+ RBI

.270+ BA

.280+ BA

I used these category breakdowns as they tend to be the most valuable on draft day. But, there is one important point to remember when reviewing the tables below. Using the catcher home run categories, the number of 15+ home run  hitting catchers includes the number of 20+ home run hitting catchers. In other words, among the 13 catchers who hit 15+ home runs in 2013, six of them hit 20+ home runs in 2013....and so on. So, as the barrier lowers, the number increases, as it includes all catchers who hit 15 or more home runs in 2013, not the number of hitters who hit 15-19 home runs in 2013.

Here is the comparisons, by position, for 2013 vs 2012, for catcher, first base, second base and shortstop:

2013

2012

2013

2012

2013

2012

2013

2012

Category

C

C

Diff

1B

1B

Diff

2B

2B

Diff

SS

SS

Diff

20+ HRs

6

9

-3

19

18

1

3

4

-1

4

5

-1

15+ HRs

13

15

-2

28

28

0

8

11

-3

6

9

-3

10+ HRs

26

25

1

37

36

1

18

18

0

13

15

-2

20+ SB

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

6

-1

7

11

-4

15+ SB

0

0

0

1

2

-1

9

12

-3

10

14

-4

10+ SB

0

1

-1

2

4

-2

13

23

-10

16

20

-4

60+ runs

7

8

-1

21

21

0

14

21

-7

14

15

-1

70+ runs

1

3

-2

15

14

1

10

14

-4

7

11

-4

80+ runs

0

1

-1

8

7

1

7

13

-6

2

6

-4

70+ RBI

8

9

-1

17

18

-1

8

8

0

4

5

-1

80+ RBI

2

4

-2

13

15

-2

4

2

2

2

1

1

.270+ BA

15

14

1

21

22

-1

16

14

2

13

10

3

.280+ BA

8

8

0

14

12

2

13

9

4

11

8

3

And the same comparison for third base, outfield and totals across all positions: Table updated

2013

2012

2013

2012

Category

3B

3B

Diff

OF

OF

Diff

2013 Totals

2012 Totals

Diff

20+ HRs

9

12

-3

30

39

-9

71

87

-16

15+ HRs

13

19

-6

41

56

-15

109

138

-29

10+ HRs

30

27

3

76

79

-3

200

200

0

20+ SB

0

1

-1

29

31

-2

41

49

-8

15+ SB

0

5

-5

35

42

-7

55

75

-20

10+ SB

2

10

-8

53

66

-13

86

124

-38

60+ runs

11

15

-4

55

64

-9

122

144

-22

70+ runs

9

11

-2

41

52

-11

83

105

-22

80+ runs

6

6

0

25

31

-6

48

64

-16

70+ RBI

11

12

-1

25

37

-12

73

89

-16

80+ RBI

6

9

-3

18

30

-12

45

61

-16

.270+ BA

13

18

-5

42

51

-9

120

129

-9

.280+ BA

9

15

-6

28

39

-11

83

91

-8

What we learned

Based on this one year trend analysis, offense is down. I think we all knew that, but this supports that notion. As you can see from the tables above, power and speed are down across all positions, as is high run scoring hitters and high RBI hitters.

The number of hitters with 20+ and 15+ home runs dropped in 2013 compared to 2012, with third baseman contributing the biggest drop in the 15+ and 20+ home run categories. Overall, the number of home run hitters are down at each position.

We also saw a big drop in hitters stealing bases across the board, with second and third base contributing a large portion of the drop in the number of hitters with 10 or more stolen bases in 2013. I found it interesting that third base had so many hitters with 10+ stolen bases to begin with.

There were minor drops in each of the categories among outfielders, so that tells me that you can wait on outfielders in drafts. I usually like to fill my outfield before other positions, but maybe I will change my thinking after seeing this data.

I won't go into each category, but this research tells me that fantasy owners should, again, use a Wait on Pitching draft strategy in 2014. I will do the same analysis for starting pitchers and closers in the next few days, but I imagine that research will support my opinion that waiting on pitching and drafting hitters early will be a successful strategy in 2014. Specifically, I think I will target high average, power hitting third baseman early in drafts, as the position appears to be thinning out after Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria and a few others.

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