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Fantasy Shortstop Rankings: Steamer Projections for 2015

Let's take a look at what the Steamer projections have in store for the shortstops we ranked this week.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Projecting player stats for the upcoming season, for me, has always been a gut feel. I usually look at other project systems like ZiPS, Steamer, Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster, but I usually look at what the player has done in the past and come up with my own projection. No formulas or spreadsheets,

Sometimes I have been on target, while other times, I have been way off. Attempting to predict how a player is going to perform is not an easy task. Projecting anything for which you have no control over is very hard. Just ask the weather forecasters after the failed "snowmageddon" here on the east coast a week ago.

One of the more well known projection systems out there is ZiPS, which is created by Dan Szymborski, and published over at FanGraphs. Another projection system which FanGraphs publishes for all to see is the Steamer projections. I am going to publish the Steamer projections here for each position we cover in our Consensus Rankings Series to help you prepare for your drafts and keeper league decisions in the coming weeks and months.

Here is more on Steamer from both the Steamer Projections website and from FanGraphs:

Steamer Projections is a projection system for baseball player statistics. The system was created and is maintained and operated by Jared Cross, Dash Davidson, and Peter Rosenbloom. Dash and Peter just graduated from college and are both former students of Jared - a high school science and statistics teacher. The three creators share a deep passion and interest for baseball and the statistics that are intrinsic to the game.

The project began in the Fall of 2008 at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, New York. Saint Ann's offers its students an independent research program where they may embark on collaborative projects motivated by personal interest together with a teacher. The Steamer Projections system is the result of this program.

What began as an explorative academic pursuit soon became a passionate and time-consuming endeavor as we quickly began to expand and improve our system - and increase the requisite amount of work - as our skill and knowledge of the intricate process of statistical projection improved.

Now we are in the midst of working on the seventh iteration of our system, which has released a full set of projections for MLB players for each of the past five seasons by the end of March. We are still constantly tinkering on and tweaking Steamer Projections in the hope of making it ever more accurate and efficient. We are also investigating possible business partnerships with fantasy sports websites and MLB teams to leverage the predicative power of our system.  You can find our full pre-season and daily projections at www.fangraphs.com and at www.razzball.com.

Steamer - This uses the playing time projection from our (FanGraphs) depth charts. These are temporarily using playoff rosters, so there may be the occasional weird playing time allocation. Playing time may be updated on a nightly basis.

So let's take a look what the Steamer projections have in store for the shortstops we ranked earlier this week.

Onto the Steamer projections for 2015:

Rank

Name

PA

AB

H

HR

R

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

wOBA

wRC+

1

Troy Tulowitzki

601

522

158

28

85

92

3

0.303

0.385

0.527

0.913

0.396

138

2

Ian Desmond

619

565

146

18

69

72

18

0.258

0.313

0.416

0.729

0.322

104

3

Hanley Ramirez

566

500

146

19

77

78

13

0.291

0.365

0.474

0.838

0.368

134

4

Jose Reyes

639

582

165

11

85

59

22

0.284

0.335

0.41

0.746

0.328

108

5

Starlin Castro

611

564

154

13

68

63

8

0.274

0.32

0.409

0.729

0.321

101

6

Alexei Ramirez

634

594

158

11

67

63

17

0.265

0.3

0.379

0.679

0.3

87

7

Jhonny Peralta

572

513

131

14

58

64

3

0.256

0.323

0.402

0.725

0.321

105

8

Jimmy Rollins

628

561

133

13

72

53

20

0.237

0.306

0.358

0.664

0.296

90

9

Xander Bogaerts

546

492

126

15

64

62

5

0.256

0.319

0.406

0.725

0.321

102

10

Elvis Andrus

662

599

161

4

76

53

28

0.269

0.327

0.345

0.672

0.303

87

11

Ben Zobrist

657

570

152

12

82

66

9

0.266

0.353

0.406

0.759

0.337

119

12

Erick Aybar

621

576

156

8

66

59

15

0.271

0.312

0.378

0.69

0.305

99

13

J.J. Hardy

616

571

145

17

65

65

2

0.253

0.298

0.392

0.69

0.304

92

14

Alcides Escobar

602

563

146

5

61

51

23

0.26

0.295

0.347

0.642

0.285

79

15

Javier Baez

589

539

119

27

72

67

14

0.221

0.276

0.418

0.694

0.304

90

16

Chris Owings

410

386

97

8

39

38

9

0.251

0.283

0.378

0.662

0.291

79

17

Jean Segura

517

478

125

8

52

46

21

0.262

0.306

0.372

0.677

0.299

85

18

Danny Santana

519

484

126

7

58

42

18

0.261

0.298

0.371

0.67

0.296

88

19

Jed Lowrie

562

503

130

12

62

58

1

0.258

0.325

0.397

0.722

0.319

105

20

Andrelton Simmons

625

575

146

11

59

57

7

0.254

0.302

0.373

0.675

0.299

89

21

Asdrubal Cabrera

601

540

132

14

65

61

8

0.244

0.31

0.383

0.693

0.307

101

22

Marcus Semien

571

503

120

16

66

62

9

0.239

0.317

0.396

0.713

0.317

105

23

Jung Ho Kang

24

Brandon Crawford

596

529

124

9

52

53

5

0.234

0.307

0.35

0.658

0.29

89

26

Wilmer Flores

513

478

119

15

49

57

2

0.248

0.288

0.396

0.685

0.301

94

26

Brad Miller

422

380

94

10

48

42

7

0.248

0.31

0.389

0.699

0.31

100

27

Jordy Mercer

550

502

128

11

54

54

5

0.255

0.308

0.383

0.691

0.302

93

28

Didi Gregorius

329

297

71

6

33

31

2

0.241

0.302

0.357

0.659

0.292

83

29

Yunel Escobar

522

469

127

7

52

49

3

0.271

0.333

0.367

0.7

0.313

98

30

Jose Ramirez

460

425

107

5

48

40

20

0.252

0.297

0.344

0.641

0.285

83

Quick Thoughts

Javier Baez, Cubs

Steamer projects 589 plate appearances for Baez, which might seem high if you assume he starts the season in AAA, which I think is looking more and more likely. It makes a ton of sense to start him in AAA, even if he has a good spring, to build his confidence and ensure he has changed his approach at the plate. The Cubs will work with him in the spring to fix the holes in his swing and his approach in an attempt to limit the strikeouts. Once that occurs, he could be a top 5 fantasy shortstop, or second baseman.

Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

Last season, Tulo went 71-21-52-.340 in just 375 plate appearances, so if he is able to stay healthy and reach 600 plate appearances, the Steamer projection could look low at the end of the season. Many owners are not willing to draft Tulowitzki in the late first or early second round of drafts, but when he is on the field, he is one of the top 5 fantasy hitters in the game.

Starlin Castro, Cubs

I think you know by now that I am high on Castro this season. That said, I think the Steamer projection is low across the board, as he could easily outperform this projection in 2015. Actually, he bettered most of his projected slash line last season in fewer plate appearances.

Jimmy Rollins, Dodgers

I think Rollin's fantasy owners would be very happy to see him put up a 13 home run, 20 stolen base season in 2015. I think he can exceed the stolen base total in a full season of plate appearances.

Jung-Ho Kang, Pirates

Steamer doesn't provide a projection for Kang, but I think he might be one of my top "sleepers" for 2015. I was high on him when i read how much Keith Law liked him in his 2014 Free Agent rankings. t might be higher on Kang than most, but I was sold on him after reading this piece on Kang from Dan Farnsworth over at FanGraphs. In that piece, Farnworth breaks down his swing with a multitude of gifs, and offers this nugget:

Taking the detestable jump into the predictive, with how hard he hits the ball and assuming only average contact and strikeout rates, I could easily see him hitting .280 with 25 homers, and that might be conservative.

Buy!!! Buy!!! Buy!!

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