Hidden Value: Fantasy Clones (Part 2)
By now it is clear to most veteran fantasy players that finding the most value at each draft pick plays a significant role in whether a fantasy GM will win a league or not. More often than not, the GM who finds the most value later in the draft will be, at the very least, in the mix for the league title at the end of the season. A "Fantasy Clone", for the purpose of this article, shall be termed as a player who is projected to put up similar stats to another player of the same position in 2013, yet is likely to be picked significantly later than the other player in most drafts. This could be due to name recognition, reliability, recent lucky or unlucky performance by one or both of the players, and/or common perceived upside of one of the players.
I am certainly not suggesting that taking the "second-tier" player in each Fantasy Clone pairing will definitely be just as beneficial as or better than taking the "first-tier" player. However, I am pointing out that if you miss out on a "first-tier" player then you can find another player to put up very similar stats for you later on in your draft. Furthermore, there should be less of an inclination to reach for the "first-tier" player knowing that there is a Fantasy Clone for you to take later on in your draft. These comparisons are being made based on the standard 5x5 scoring setup. The projected 2013 numbers will be based off of the Fake Teams 2013 Positional Rankings.
Part 1 of the Fantasy Clones series covered the entire infield:
This edition will feature outfielders, starting pitchers, and relief pitchers.
Desmond Jennings: .246 AVG, 13 HR, 47 RBI, 85 R, 31 SB in 2012 (Projected to hit .265 with 15 HR, 50 RBI, 95 R, and 40 SB in 2013)
Fantasy Clone A: .243 AVG, 8 HR, 45 RBI, 67 R, 26 SB in 2012 (There were no projected stats for 2013 for this player, but in 2011 he hit .264 with 9 HR, 40 RBI, 82 R, and 40 SB. The fences are coming in at his home ballpark this season.)
Fantasy Clone B: .266 AVG, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 27 R, 10 SB in just 222 AB in 2012 (There were no projected stats for 2013 for this player, but if you take his 61-Game 2012 production and adjust it for a 152-game season you get 17 HR, 77 RBI, 67 R, 25 SB. He was coming back from a groin injury so it's reasonable to expect he would have stolen more bases, especially considering he had a 100% success rate in his 10 attempts)
Desmond Jennings, Fantasy Clone A, and Fantasy Clone B were ranked 24th, 57th, and 50th respectively in the consensus Fake Teams outfield rankings. Desmond Jennings will likely be drafted at least 4 rounds ahead of the Clones in most drafts yet you can expect similar production from each player for 2013.
Michael Bourn: .274 AVG, 9 HR, 57 RBI, 96 R, 42 SB in 2012 (Projected to hit .280 with 90 R, 50 RBI, and 45-50 SB in 2013.)
Fantasy Clone C: .294 AVG, 0 HR, 32 RBI, 70 R, 40 SB in 2012 He also spent 3 weeks at AAA during the season.
Bourn and Fantasy Clone C were ranked 20th and 73rd respectively in the consensus Fake Teams outfield rankings. They should be drafted about at least 7-8 rounds apart in most leagues. If you believe that Bourn's 9 HR's are repeatable or can be improved upon in 2013 then you will probably prefer him by a substantial margin. However, if you think they won't be repeated (he had 4 HR in 2010-2011 combined) then Fantasy Clone C can provide similar production for you in 2013.
Melky Cabrera: .346 AVG, 11 HR, 84 R, 60 RBI, 13 SB over 113 games in 2012 **Missed 50 games last season due to PED suspension. (Projected to hit .300 with 10 HR, 85 R, 50 RBI, and 15 SB in 2013)
Fantasy Clone D: .288 AVG, 10 HR, 81 R, 50 RBI, 30 SB in 2012, his first year in MLB (There is no projection, but it's clear that these two players have similar skill-sets yet unclear what affect PED's may have had on Melky's 2012 performance)
Melky Cabrera and Fantasy Clone D were ranked 31st and 51st respectively in the consensus Fake Teams outfield rankings. They will likely be drafted 4-5 rounds apart in most leagues yet should provide similar value in 2013.
Kris Medlen: 138 IP, 120 K, 10 W, 1.57 ERA, .91 WHIP in 2012 (Projected to win 15 games with a 3.5 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 170 K in 2013)
Fantasy Clone E: 161 IP, 137 K, 10 W, 3.45 ERA, 1.19 WHIP in 2012 (Projected to win 13 games with a low 3.00 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 150 K in 2013)
Medlen and Fantasy Clone E were ranked 24th and 39th respectively in the consensus Fake Teams SP rankings. Medlen will likely be chosen about 4 rounds before Fantasy Clone E in most drafts yet I'm actually expecting slightly better things from Fantasy Clone E in 2013.
Yovani Gallardo: 204 IP, 204 K, 16 W, 3.66 ERA, 1.30 WHIP in 2012 (Projected to win 14 games with a 3.6 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 200 K in 2013.)
Fantasy Clone F: 176 IP, 180 K, 18 W, 3.78 ERA, 1.32 WHIP in 2012 (Projected to win 14-15 games with a 3.65 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 200 K in 2013)
Gallardo and Fantasy Clone F were ranked 25th and 47th respectively in the consensus Fake Teams SP rankings. They are expected be taken at least 3 rounds apart in most drafts yet you can expect similar production from each player in 2013.
J.J. Putz: 54 IP, 65 K, 2.82 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 32 S in 2012 (Ranked 7th in the consensus Fake Teams RP rankings for 2013)
Fantasy Clone G: 55 IP, 63 K, 1.69 ERA, .85 WHIP, 14 S in 2012 (Ranked 18th in the consensus Fake Teams RP rankings for 2013)
Fantasy Clone G has doesn't have the closing track record of Putz, yet he does have a superior skillset and a reasonably secure closing gig for 2013. Putz will be drafted around 3-4 rounds before Fantasy Clone G in most leagues yet I am expected similar production from both players in 2013.
Addison Reed: 55 IP, 54 K, 4.75 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 29 S in 2013 (Ranked 10th in the consensus Fake Teams RP rankings for 2013)
Fantasy Clone H: 63 IP, 68 K, 2.69 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 15 S in 2013 (Ranked 28th in the consensus Fake Teams rankings for 2013)
Fantasy Clone H not only had a better ERA, WHIP, and K rate but also had a better FIP, xFIP, and SIERA than Reed in 2012. Reed also has a better bullpen around him in case he struggles in 2013. Reed and Fantasy Clone H are being drafted 3-5 rounds apart in most leagues but I think Fantasy Clone H is the safer option for saves.
The main point of this article is to display the fact that in order to be fully prepared and get the most value out of each draft pick you must avoid reaching because you think that if you do not get a specific player with a certain draft pick you will not be able to find anything comparable later. In many cases, you can find comparable production later in your draft which means better pick value. Better value at each pick will give you a better chance to win your league.
Fantasy Clone A = Cameron Maybin
Fantasy Clone B = Lorenzo Cain
Fantasy Clone C = Ben Revere
Fantasy Clone D = Norichika Aoki
Fantasy Clone E = Doug Fister
Fantasy Clone F = Lance Lynn
Fantasy Clone G = Sergio Romo
Fantasy Clone H = Steve Cishek