It's the fantasy baseball draft season. To us baseball nerds, few things are more exciting than arguing about player rankings. Today, we'll discuss and compare Jose Ramirez's RotoBaller staff rankings. He was ranked No. 40 overall by Jeff Kahntroff, and No. 106 by Brad Johnson.
Throughout this series, we'll be using our February Staff Rankings to debate where to draft certain players. In cases where our writers had discrepancies, we've asked them to explain their rankings. These debates will provide us with some well-rounded analysis, and help identify undervalued/overvalued draft picks.
2017 Draft Rankings Debate: Jose Ramirez
Jeff Kahntroff's Rankings Analysis
His Overall Ranking: 40
In 152 games last year, Jose Ramirez posted a .312/11/84/76/22 line with 46 doubles at 23 years old. He played at least five games at SS, 3B, 2B, and OF, which are the league settings we are using for our rankings. While his frame does not suggest massive power, and his spray chart reveals a lot of doubles of the type we would not expect to turn into homers necessarily (sharp ground balls, line drives), due to his age, he is likely to hit the ball in the air slightly more and hit for more power. We could easily see a .300/15/90/85/20 line, putting him way closer to my ranking (40) than Brad’s (106). If you think I’m being too optimistic, let’s compare Ramirez’s Steamer projections to six players who Brad rated much higher:
|Name (Brad’s Rank)||Positional Eligibility (5 or more games)||2017 Steamer||AVG||HR + SB||RUNS + RBIs|
|Xander Bogaerts (18)||SS||.296/17/82/78/9||0.296||26||160|
|Francisco Lindor (27)||SS||.290/15/81/76/16||0.291||31||157|
|Christian Yelich (40)||OF||.294/16/80/72/12||0.294||28||152|
|Kyle Seager (43)||3B||.268/24/75/82/4||0.268||28||157|
|Matt Carpenter (44)||1B/2B/3B||.268/18/86/70/4||0.268||22||156|
|Jason Kipnis (47)||2B||.267/14/82/67/13||0.267||27||149|
|AVG (36.5)||One position||0.281||27||155|
|Jose Ramirez (106)||2B/SS/3B/OF||.287/11/69/65/20||0.287||31||134|
Ramirez beats the average player by 2% in average, 15% in homers plus steals, and loses by 16% in run production. At worst, Steamer views him as equal to the average player. Moreover, Ramirez leads all these players in projected steals, which are more valuable than homers; in 2016, there were more than twice as many homers than steals.
This is before addressing Ramirez’s positional eligibility. In daily leagues, we have often faced the issue of having to bench a player who is playing but have an open spot at another position due to positional restrictions. Moreover, we’ve been forced to settle for a lesser player on the waiver wire due to positional needs. Having a player like Ramirez who can play multiple positions allows you to get value elsewhere, with much less positional restrictivity, and allows you to maximize your games played. It may even allow you to carry an extra pitcher, say a dominant setup man off the waiver wire, to get your rate stats down. All these factors show that Brad has Ramirez ranked way too low.
Brad Johnson's Rankings Analysis
His Overall Ranking:106
During the December round of rankings, I had Ramirez placed much much higher. In fact, I ranked him...(*checks desktop, checks online backups, sees December top 500 rankings were overwritten by February, shrugs). Well, I don't remember. Point being, I really like Ramirez as a versatile, quality draft target for all the reasons Jeff cites.
When I built those December rankings, they were completely innocent of ADP data. Instead, they were purely a combination of statistical analysis, projections, and gut instinct. By now I've done a dozen industry mocks. It's time to incorporate ADP. One player I got very wrong was Ben Zobrist. I over-ranked him by nearly 60 picks. I wasn't much better with Ramirez. He's consistently chosen between picks 100 and 110.
If you're in need of some utility, there's nothing wrong with bumping him up a round or two. In a 12 team draft, that means taking him in the seven or eighth round instead of the ninth. He has enough talent to support that valuation. Jeff is suggesting you take him in the middle of the fourth round. Not only is that a slight reach on his talent, it's also leaving value on the table. Because there is a very large chance you can select him several rounds later.
I'll note one thing about ADP - your draft platform matters. I haven't checked where Yahoo! or ESPN ranked Ramirez. If they're saying he's the 40th pick, then he'll be somewhere around the 40th pick. In behavioral economics, they call that "anchoring."