Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Third Base Primer That Strangely Focuses On, Wait For It, Mark DeRosa

Mark DeRosa turned 34 years old two days ago. Happy belated birthday, Mark. For your birthday I am going to give you something that no one else has given you recently: a post all of your own.

Let's get to it: DeRosa was the 9th best third baseman last year. He also qualifies as a 2B in all leagues and he was 5th best at that position in 2008. If you draft him, you want him in your 2B slot.

I know, I know. The fact that I’m talking about DeRosa in what is ostensibly a post about 3B is a little confusing, but I already talked about Alexei in my 2B post (even though I probably should have discussed him as a SS). But remember, this post isn't about doing things in a logical way so as to avoid confusion. This post is about being a birthday present to Mark DeRosa.

DeRosa has really had two separate careers. In his first career, which ran from 1998 to 2005, he was a teen pop idol. No. Wrong wikipedia page. Ah, yes. Here we go: in his first career, he never had more than 309 at bats. When a guy is unable to find a starting gig in the majors for seven years, it usually is a sign that you don’t want him on your fantasy team. But in DeRosa’s second career, which is heading into its fourth season, he has had 520, 502, and 505 at bats and was a 70-80 R, 10-13 HR, 70-80 RBI, 2-4 SB, .290 type guy.

The most popular thing to say about DeRosa right now is that he had a “career year” in 2008. Is this true? The answer, it seems to me, is yes and no. DeRosa had more hits and a better batting average in 2006 and 2007 than in 2008. But when people say “career year” what I think they really mean to say is that in 2008, DeRosa more than doubled the amount of home runs he hit in his previous year. DeRosa had 13 HR in 2006, 10 HR in 2007, and 21 HR in 2008. Incidentally, the second most popular thing to say about DeRosa is that “his power numbers should decline in 2009.” And they might, as DeRosa led the league with nine "lucky" home runs in 2008. So I would argue that DeRosa's entire statistical 2008 season wasn't "career," it was just that his home runs were league-leadingly "lucky."

So that’s the background. Let’s get to the numbers:


As you can see from the list above, DeRosa was the 67th best player in the Y! game last year and is being drafted, on average, 134th this year. So my question is, what sorts of stats does DeRosa need this year in order to be better than his ADP?

Well, the 134th best player in the Y! game in 2008 was Kelly Johnson. Here are his stats:
86 R, 12 HR, 69 RBI, 11 SB, .287 AVG.

Can DeRosa top those numbers? To help answer this question, I will show you DeRosa’s 2008 stats, an average of the stats DeRosa generated over the last three years, and Bill James’ 2009 projection for DeRosa:

DeRosa in 2008:
103 R, 21 HR, 87 RBI, 6 SB, .285 AVG.

Average of DeRosa’s 2006-2008 stats:
81 R, 14 HR, 77 RBI, 3 SB, .291 AVG.

Bill James’ 2009 DeRosa projection:
87 R, 17 HR, 78 RBI, 4 SB, .273 AVG.

Conclusion: Some people will read this post and think that DeRosa is STILL going too high in drafts. Others will read it and think that nabbing DeRosa as the 134th pick overall is a great idea, because you are essentially making a low-risk bet that he hits somewhere around his three-year average. And if he happens to hit better than that? Gravy.

Personally, I probably wouldn’t target DeRosa, but knowing the above information will make me feel comfortable picking him up if he slips much more than his 134 ADP (which is in the 11th round of 12-team mixed-league my last few 12-team mock drafts, he has gone in the 11th, 12th, 7th, and 13th rounds). I’m only a moderate fan of DeRosa, but I’m a complete sucker for position flexibility, and DeRosa has a lot of that. DeRosa’s 3B/OF flexibility gives daily leaguers the ability to get a few extra counting stats on days when regulars at those positions aren’t playing (assuming your league doesn’t have 162-game position limits). Plus, having a DeRosa makes it easier to figure out a way to get starters in all positions without dropping valuable guys onto the waiver wire when folks on your team start getting injured.

There is very little Mark DeRosa reading out there. The stuff below is the best I could find. If you find something you think is interesting, feel free to post it in the comment section.

  • As Razzball says, maybe now that he is in Cleveland people will "no longer overrate a player that was underrated."

  • DeRosa quick to become team leader.

  • Lou, DeRosa deny recent report of rift.

  • A Fake Teams piece on Mark DeRosa from back in early October.

    Want more draft strategy? Click here for 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF, C, SP, and RP position primers.
  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    In an ideal world, he'd fall to me with a 16th-round pick. At that price, he's great (almost) not matter what happens. I'm just afraid if I use an 11th-12th round pick I'll be cursing his mild stats under my breath all season long.