2016 List of 12

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Hey everyone,

Quick question: What’s the official sign that a new season is upon us? And no, the answer isn’t pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. Those of you reading this know that the correct answer is the release of the List of 12, a 411 tradition that dates back to the old radio days. As has been the case in recent years, there are way more than 12 guys on this list. We could call it the List of 19, but it just doesn’t sound as good.

For additional reference, here’s last year’s post along with the post from 2012 that includes a detailed explanation of the List of 12 concept.

Now passing the baton to Cory…

Corey Kluber

Corey Kluber – Although Kluber failed to match his 2014 Cy Young results, much of that was due to some bad luck in his HR/FB and strand rates. His strikeout rate dipped only slightly, but so did the walks, and his BABIP improved considerably in the second half after the Indians overhauled their infield defense. He’s a stud and will carry a heavy price tag this year, but should be worth it.

Dallas Keuchel – I thought he’d be good in 2015 but give back some of his gains from the year before. Instead, Keuchel went out and won the AL Cy Young Award. Despite throwing essentially the same pitch mix as in 2014, he spiked his strikeout rate and cut his walks, although his HR/FB rate was a little unlucky. It’s hard to see him repeating 2015 again, but then again, he certainly proved that 2014 was no fluke.

Sonny Gray Gray traded some curveballs for sliders in 2015, resulting in fewer hits allowed and a third of a run dropping from his ERA. He cut his walks, too, although his strikeout numbers held at a level below the elite. So, while he might be a step down from the ace category, there’s no reason he can’t offer more of the same in 2016, and that’s pretty darn good.

Carlos Carrasco – Carrasco’s incredibly unlucky first half BABIP normalized in the second half after the Indians improved their infield defense, and for the second straight year Carrasco posted second-half results that will have him skyrocketing up draft lists. He throws hard, has a variety of secondary pitches, doesn’t hurt himself with walks and keeps the ball down. Get ready to pay up, but he should be worth it.

Chris Archer Increased use of his awesome slider led to a career-best strikeout rate, while Archer also managed to cut his walks and bump up his fastball velocity to a career-best. He topped 200 IP for the first time, and the underlying rate stats supported his breakout, too. On the downside, Tyson Ross was the only qualified starter to throw his slider more frequently, so Archer has to be viewed as a major injury risk.

Tyson Ross The Majors’ most slider-reliant starter, Ross posted career-highs in starts, innings and strikeouts last year, although he allowed more walks than in 2014 and was more hittable due to the Padres’ poor defensive lineup. The underlying indictors point to very similar quality over the past two seasons, so small improvements in his command, and better defensive luck, could lead to big gains in the results. Injury risk aside, he should be a draft-day target.

Shelby Miller Miller traded a large chunk of ordinary curveballs for dominating cutters last year, leading to improvements in his strikeout and walk rates, plus more grounders and fewer homers allowed. He also overcame unlucky BABIP and strand rates en route to a 3.02 ERA, so ignore that 6-17 record. If his luck improves this year to match his skill advances from 2015, Miller could be in line for a breakout season.

Garrett Richards He couldn’t match his breakout 2014 season last year, but Richards still deserves credit for topping 200 IP for the first time, while overcoming a gruesome knee injury at the end of 2014. He struck out fewer batters, walked more and gave up more homers, but maintained most of his velocity and recorded 79 K’s in his last 78.2 IP over 12 starts. His true level is probably in between the last two seasons, so there’s a profit opportunity here.

Julio Teheran Teheran regressed in almost every way in 2015, giving up more walks and homers while his ERA spiked by over a run. On the bright side, he got a few more grounders and maintained his solid strikeout rate, while posting a 2.89 ERA in 17 home games to suggest that his “soft ace” upside is still there. Wins might be hard to come by due to the Braves’ weak offense, but Teheran has bounce back potential.

Andrew Cashner Cashner had his first fully healthy season as a starter, and spiked his strikeout rate thanks to increased use of his slider. The good news ends there, though, as his walk rate went up, while his HR/FB rate, BABIP and LOB rates all slumped, leading to a deceptively high ERA. He should be better this year, but don’t pay for an ace.

Nathan Eovaldi On the bright side, Eovaldi is one of the hardest-throwing starters in the game, has decent command, and isn’t homer-prone, all of which contributed to a 14-3 record last year. On the downside, despite his elite velocity, he’s still too hittable and has only managed good-but-not-great strikeout numbers. He was much better in the second half last year after improving his changeup, so he could take a step forward this year.

Hector Santiago A first-half revelation and an All-Star, Santiago faded badly in the second half as his walk rate exploded. Overall he posted career-highs in innings and strikeouts, but his command isn’t strong enough to overcome his extreme fly-ball tendencies and gopheritis. He’s useful, but of limited upside.

Wily Peralta – Between a strained oblique and dead arm, Peralta was a shadow of his 2014 self last year, averaging just under five strikeouts per nine IP and posting a 4.72 ERA. When healthy the year before, he parlayed his overpowering two-pitch repertoire into a 17-11 season, but even then couldn’t crack the magical 7.0 K/9 barrier. Assuming health this year, he’s a low-ceiling but useful end-of-rotation option.

Rich Hill – Hill posted a 1.55 ERA and 0.66 WHIP last year, with a ridiculous 7.2 K/BB, so we know he’s pretty good. Of course, he only made four starts, his first in the Majors since 2009, and produced those results while essentially being a two-pitch pitcher. There’s no way of knowing what he’ll do over a full season. Do you feel lucky?

Jeff Locke – A slight bump in his fastball velocity helped contribute to Locke’s career-high strikeout rate last year, but his walk rate increased too and regression in his BABIP and strand rates didn’t help either. As of now, Locke is a sneaky-good home/away play, and improvement in his walk rate could produce some longer-term end-of-rotation value.

Tom Koehler Koehler has decent velocity and three useful secondary pitches, but that hasn’t led to great strikeout numbers, and his command backslid last year. The results against his pitches suggest that more reliance on his breaking balls could lead to more success, so he bears watching throughout the season. On draft day though, he’s purely Pitch or Ditch material.

Josh Tomlin Tomlin posted a 3.02 ERA and 7.8 K/9 last year despite a very ordinary repertoire, although he helps himself out by being extremely stingy with the walks. On the other hand, his BABIP and strand rates both point to some incredible good luck, more than outweighing the slight inflation in his HR/FB rate. He’s a poor bet to repeat his 2015 success.

Jesse Chavez Chavez faded badly in the second half for the second straight year, although at his best he was good enough to be a useful middle to end-of-rotation option in mixed leagues. He’s not an extreme ground-ball pitcher, and does give up his share of homers, so the move to swingman status with Toronto should severely limit his value on draft day this year.

Miguel Gonzalez Gonzalez is an extremely consistent innings-eater, and thoroughly uninspiring from a fantasy standpoint. Pitch or Ditch material outside of deep AL-only leagues.

CLICK HERE to download a spreadsheet of the year-by-year pro stats of all the pitchers discussed.

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42 Comments

Hey 411,

It’s great to be so close to spring training! I know it’s early but quick keeper question for you. 6×6 league with OBP and QS. We can keep 4 of these and for year after year.

Rendon $1
Buxton $1
Correa $1
Kluber $1
Cueto $5
Springer $1

Which 4 should I keep?

As always, thanks!

I’d go with Springer, Kluber, Correa and Rendon. Buxton vs. Rendon would be a tough decision for me but I think Rendon is a bit safer since we’ve already seen that he can be a high-end producer at the big league level. Buxton could turn out to be the more valuable player down the road, but he carries more uncertainty.

Zach

Would like to get your thoughts on what could be a very cheap yet highly productive concept involving power hitters in daily leagues. What do you think of drafting Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf in the final rounds of a draft as your 1b? The point is to platoon the two, just as the team itself likely will do this year. Their splits last year: Howard .256, 20, 67 against righties. Ruf .371, 8, 22 in only about 100 ABs against lefties. Over a full season of platooning the combined stats will likely equal those of an early round draft pick. The same thing could be true in Colorado. Do you see any flaws to this approach? I think this is one of the most highly profitable strategies being that the floor is so high, yet it’s not so obvious because of the “name” values.

It’s an interesting concept but by doing this you’re assuming that those splits will hold true again in 2016 while showing a lot of faith in two guys that are overall question marks. Ruf has yet to live up to the hype and Howard is over the hill. If I were going to try this strategy, I might look for a more promising situation to exploit. The Phillies will likely again be one of the worst offenses in baseball, and that will limit the upside of both.

Zach

Keeper question – Maikel Franco or Marcus Stroman? – each are valued at $1. Also, Cespedes or Syndergaard in a non-auction league? Thanks for your advice!

I tend to favor the hitter in any close keeper decision (greater injury/disappointment risk with pitchers), so I’d go with Franco, who has tremendous upside, particularly in the HR department. In a bubble, I’ll take Cespedes over Syndergaard but it really depends on your needs at that point in the draft, especially since the choice is between a hitter and a pitcher.

Zach

Zach,

So tonight I purchased the draft kit from rotowire. First time ive ever done anything like that and I have to say after inputting my leagues custom settings the rankings look very weird to me. how much do you believe in projections and especially in rotowire projections? for example RP ranking have Kimbrel ranked 17th among all RP with a 7×7 format. the extra stat categories are Losses and QS. QS of course dont matter to RP so i have a hard time believing he goes from top 5 or 6 to 17th just because of losses. Need input plz.

Dmenz

I’m not very familiar with the Rotowire software (maybe contact their customer service with any specific questions?) and I’m not a heavy projections guy, other than having rough target numbers for the stat categories as I’m drafting. I tend to rely more on research analysis and then I make my own determination as to what to expect stat-wise.

Zach

s.o.s. we keep 6 in 12 team head to head. do i keep cano or odor ? my others are : a gonz, tulo, donaldson, j bats, cargo. ive been offered a trade of posey, cespy for donaldson. keep donaldson? or deal? if so, who do i drop to make room?

I’d stand pat with Donaldson, the key point being that you would need to drop a player from your current keeper group, so it’s really a 2 for 2 trade. I’ll take Cano over Odor since I have a better idea as to what to expect from Cano.

Zach

im in a 12 team head to head and took K Bryant and Pollock with 1st 2 picks….I pick 11 out of 12 so end of 3rd round is my next pick….do you feel Tulo is a reach here if Xander is gone also looking at S Marte

Tulo isn’t a reach there but I’m just not a fan. The guy gets injured every single year, and even when healthy last season, his production level was well below elite caliber. I’d easily take Marte over him.

Zach

Zach,

Thanks for keeping the blog alive!! Another amazing year of baseball about to get served up.

Any idea if Cory will be able to post the composite stats this year? They are super helpful for me building out my rankings.

Thanks!!

Yeah, I’m sure he will be posting them again. Will check in with him regarding ETA.

Zach

Awesome. Thanks Zach!

Any idea when the composite projections will be available? Those are such a terrific resource, greatly appreciate the effort that goes into providing them. Thanks.

Where do you think Joc should be drafted in 12 team head to head and will he bounce back from 2nd half last year. Kind of the same concern with Archer

Pederson is a quality buy-low guy this year, as the power is obviously legit and his terrible AVG last season was aided by an unusually low BABIP. With some better luck, an AVG in the .250 range is attainable, meaning he would no longer be a severe liability in that department, though the strikeouts will still be there.

Zach

Zach,

I pick last in what is actually the 6th round but 1st round of our draft since we keep 5. I am currently looking at going a couple different directions and I was wondering what you would do if it was you drafting my team. 10 team roto 7×7 TB and K’s on offense and L and QS in pitching. Keepers are Trout, McCutchen, Arenado, Miggy and Scherzer. This is a snake draft so I also get 1st pick in the following round.

My first strategy is to take Jansen and Chapman/Kimbrel. If i go this route would you take chapman with his looming suspension or take a full year of kimbrel? Melancan will also be there if you think hes going to be better than both of those guys.

Second strategy is take Jansen and Kluber/Carrasco depending on who is there. If both are there who would you take?

Last strategy is to take Kipnis and Lindor to shore up my Middle infield.

Which way would you go?

Sorry i know its like 4 questions in one but i could really use the advice.

Dmenz

I like the second strategy and would give Kluber the slight edge over Carrasco.

Zach

6X6 Roto Keeper League. Need to keep 3 of the below:

Rizzo as 11th Rounder
Bogaerts as 14th
C. Seager as 15th
Betts as 6th
Arenado as 4th
Harvey as 15th

What should I do here?

Ugh, I’d love to have any three of those six! Rizzo would be a definite for me and I think I’d go all hitters and take Betts and Arenado, though it’s very painful to pass on the others.

Zach

Any news on the composite projections? They are invaluable

Seconded.

How would you rank these 4. Puig c Gomez. Pederson or Braun

Braun, Gomez, Puig, Pederson.

Zach

can u name a cpl pitchers that u think will take that next big step this yr

Read this List of 12 post for starters, but Smyly, Stroman and Matz are a few guys who I think could deliver a nice profit based on where they’re being taken in mocks and early drafts.

Zach

We are in the 11 and 12th round of the draft. To early for Buxton or Pederson or W Myers

Tough to answer this without knowing the specifics of the league, but in a 12-team mixed non-keeper, I don’t think I’d be looking at those guys that early.

Zach

Belt or c Santana for 1st base. 12th round

Santana will probably hit more homers but he will hurt your AVG. Overall, I’m higher on Belt, who only turns 28 next month (seems like he’s been around forever) and can still improve in the power department. I actually consider him a solid breakout candidate.

Zach

besides Santana and Belt there is Hanley or Duda available for the 12th round pick 12 team mixed league

I’d give Duda the slight edge over Belt due to the proven HR production.

Zach

Hey there! I have to keep 3 players. I’ve decided on my first two, Anthony Rizzo & Nolan Arenado… but, I’m a bit stuck on my final keeper. I have been weighing it between George Springer and Jose Abreu. I like Abreu’s consistency, but, really am leaning towards Springer based on his raw talent and pure potential. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Stat Categories: R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OBP, SLG, XBH
8 Team H2H League

I’d definitely go with Abreu. Springer might eventually turn out to be the more valuable fantasy player but I like to play to win now, and Abreu is simply the safer choice for 2016. Plus, being that only 24 players are kept in this format, Springer will need to deliver top-24 value for you to break even on the investment. Abreu is already a top-24 player and I like his chances of remaining there over Springer’s chances of making what would be a significant jump.

Zach

Zach,

Couple questions..what ever happened to mike siano? is he not a part of the 411 anymore? I realize his name hasnt been mentioned in a while but i was just thinking about how i used to watch the show he had corey used to do. also does corey ever answer any of the questions people ask on here?

ok back to the main question..in a 10 team roto league with extra offensive cats being TB and K’s would you feel comfortable waiting on a guy like Elvis Andrus or Alcides Escobar as your main SS or would you reach for a higher end guy like bogarts or seager or lindor in the 5th or 6th round and chance losing a guy like Kluber as your number 2 starter? I am worried that SS is actually very shallow this year and that I will be stuck with someone im not happy with if i dont have a plan for the position going into the draft. Please help.

Dmenz

so J Peralta out what do you think of Gyroko as a draft pick….thinking of Wong as a MI and W Myers as CI? around 14th pick in 12 team head to head league whats your take on Park( Minn) I have Duda as my 1st baseman so looking at a back up

Gyorko certainly offers some HR upside but it remains to be seen how the Cards will reshuffle their infield and whether they feel comfortable from a defensive standpoint playing Gyorko at SS. As for Park, I don’t think anyone really knows what to expect, and I’ve so far been hesitant to pay the price it will take to draft him. It seems that many are simply assuming that he will hit a ton of homers right away, and that could be a mistake.

Zach

Hey Zach, I’m in a 11 team keeper league (3 hitters 2 pitchers) and I’d like your opinion on the options. I’m listing the round I’d get them at. Abreu 4. Gallo 21. Correa 10 obvious pick. K marte 10. Ellsbury 2. pederson 11. Springer 7. Tomas 19. Polanco 11. J Baez 17. Franco 10. Jansen 6. Z lee 10. Strasburg 1. Harvey 5. Rodon 13. Salazar 22. Severino 10. Stroman 10. Snell 10. J Nelson 26. Wainwright 10. Thanks

A lot of great choices there. My five would be: Correa, Abreu, Springer, Salazar, Rodon.

Zach

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