Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Player Evaluation: Sorting Through Tough Comparisons


Much of making a good fantasy baseball run has to do with making tough decisions on which players to trust. Often I am asked about buying low on seasoned veterans or trusting a young up and comer. Typically with player evaluation, I default to the longer track record, because as the old adage goes, “the best predictors of future actions are past actions.”

I prefer to play it safe, and I believe the safe play is to go with someone who has a solid past. That said, I got two “Who’d you Rather” emails recently worth elaborating on.

The two were:

And

My initial reactions to both were, “Are these serious?”  Though I answered more diplomatically than that. I have thought about both of them more and more and while I still agree with my answers to both, Longo and Freeman over Seager and Rizzo, respectively, I have some additional thoughts.

 

First on Rizzo:

Riz was at one point a guy to watch coming out of the minors. He had the makings of a prototypical top tier first baseman. However it took a while for him to find his game. Being traded around from Boston, to San Diego, and finally the Chicago Cubs didn’t help him find his game at all.

Yet, here we are, seeing what we always expected (hoped) from him. Rizzo is a legit 30 HR, .280 guy.

Now to Freeman:

Freddie is the new Joey Votto. He is only 24 and is in his 4th full major league season. As he continues to mature, his game should be that of a monster in OBP and SLG leagues (though the HR totals won’t be great), and he should be a contender for the batting title fairly often.

I think Freeman finishes this season on the right side of .300 and hits 25 bombs, which means good HR uptick after the break.

 

Staying with veterans, Longo:

Remember when Longo mashed 33 bombs and hit .281?  Well that was 2009. Five years ago. that is also the only season he cracked 30 homers and hit over .270 in the same year, though last season he was close (32 HR’s, .269 Average). After looking more and more at Longo I would assert that he is an imposter as a first round draft pick. He had his best season when good third basemen were at a minimum, which helps his case a great deal.

Longo will finish this season around 21 homers and .268 average.

So, what about Seager?:

His HR and batting average totals have progressed each season He is also currently on pace for 23 HR’s, should continue to bat above .270, and is also is on pace for 105 RBI. If he can make that happen, he could be this year’s Josh Donaldson.

So if I had to field this question again, I may lean a little harder towards Seager.
The 3Bs are still tougher because they are going to be close in stats. Since Seager has had a better first part of the season, I lean towards thinking Longo evening things out in the second half.

Ultimately you have to trust your gut as the decision maker, because, well, you are the one who has to live with the results. Profound I know.

Tags: Anthony Rizzo Evan Longoria Featured Freddie Freeman Kyle Seager MLB Player Evaluation Popular Who'd You Rather