Don’t Call Me A Bunny – RotoGraphs Fantasy Baseball
To qualify for this totally made-up prize, a player must have been projected to earn a positive value in the Base Stolen (mSB) category on our bid calculator (default settings, steam projections) and a negative value in all the other categories. They then had to gain a positive value in at least three of the four non-SB categories (mR, mHR, mRBI, mAVG).
Finalists: Bobby Witt Jr., Daulton Varsho, Dansby Swanson
Finalist #1: Bobby Witt Jr., screened negative: mAVG, mHR, mRBI, mR. Won positive: mHR, mRBI, mR, mSB
There’s sure to be plenty written about Bobby Witt Jr.’s rookie season in Fantasy Realms this offseason. His pre-season projections were likely low due to the uncertainty of his playing time/calling situation. It was clear he was going to be good. But, would you have guessed that he would finish as the fifth-best third baseman by bid value won? It was clear he was going to steal bases, and in the end, that’s what made his value. If you look at any of his 15 roll-ups that didn’t involve a base run, it would tell you the story of a 22-year-old rookie who has a lot of potential but may not have lit the world. on fire in its first year. It happens.
Witt surpassed all of his roto-category projections except for his batting average. He was supposed to hit .257 and he hit .254. Not bad, splashing steam. Compared to his 2021 AAA stats, his line drive rate was down and his ground ball rate was up. He also threw fewer fly balls for home runs than he did in AAA. However, he still showed he had the 22-year-old ability to absolutely smoke the ball with his 92nd percentile Statcast maxEV. But, he struggled with all four major league players, posting a run value of -7 Statcast and a 23rd worst (among skilled hitters) -2.6 p-val pitch info on wFA. However, Witt racked up 632 plate appearances in his rookie season (second only to Steven Kwan) and that experience must be worth a few more bucks in 2023.
Bobby Witt Jr. 2022 Value
* Steam splashes
Finalist #2: Daulton Varsho, screened negative: mAVG, mHR, mRBI, mR. Won positive: mHR, mRBI, mR, mSB
One thing to keep in mind is Varsho’s increased projected value due to his catcher eligibility. Positional rarity earns it a higher value. But, Varsho was a catcher-eligible player who needed to run and he didn’t disappoint, stealing a career-high (MLB) 16 goals. He also had a nearly full season with 592 plate appearances in 151 games. He was a workaholic this season and everything but his batting average (.234) showed it.
Daulton Varsho Value 2022
* Steam splashes
However, these roto-value gains don’t seem to come with much underlying Statcast data:
He caught 31 games in 2022, so depending on your league rules, he may or may not be eligible for catcher again in 2023. Anyway, no matter how you look at it, 27 homers and 16 stolen bases at the catcher position in 2022 plays well on any fantasy team under all league parameters. For a player who only had about a season and a half at the major league level, I can’t wait to see his projections for 2023.
…and the price goes to…
Finalist #3: Dansby Swanson, screened negative: mAVG, mHR, mRBI, mR. Gained positive: mHR, mRBI, mR, mSB, mAVG
As Swanson heads into free agency this offseason, his 2022 totals indicate he was intent on making a statement. In 2022, he made the most plate appearances of his career, scored the most runs, hit the most RBIs, and stole the most bases. He also recorded his lowest BB%, which didn’t help those who signed him up in the OBP leagues. His K% has trended upward over the past three seasons, but so have his home run, FB%, and SwStr% totals.
Does he sell himself for power? Maybe. But he also surpassed his .245 batting average projection (Steam) by more than 20 points (.277) and the 2022 major league average was .243.
Don’t call him a bunny, but he ran, stealing a career-high 18 sacks. However, he doesn’t receive this award because he stole bases, he receives this prestigious award because he did everything else.
Dansby Swanson Value 2022
* Steam splashes
Congratulations to Dansby Swanson on an amazing season and to all the fantasy managers who signed him up. Next week, I will begin distributing these coveted rewards to casters.