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Finding Value in Points Leagues: Middle Infield Edition

Welcome RotoBallers to my Finding Value in Points League Series! Points leagues are becoming more and more popular in the fantasy baseball world. They have long been my preferred way of playing, so the boom in popularity is great! One of the biggest differences between points and roto leagues is that more stats come into play in points leagues. On some sites, a hitter will receive points for a walk, or extra for a double, etc. In a roto league, you are awarded nothing for a walk (unless you play with OBP) and a double is equal to a single.

To me, one of the most overlooked aspects in fantasy baseball points leagues is the walks and the strikeouts. You hear about these stats with pitchers all the time, but it can go overlooked for hitters. That is why I created Batter K-BB percent to help highlight which batters are most affected by the switch from roto formats to points. This stat shows how often a batter strikes out compared to how much he walks, the lower the percent, the better.

But not all points leagues are created equal. The scoring differs from site to site. That is why along with Batter K-BB rate, you will see the RotoBaller projected scoring for each of the players listed. This will indicate which sites a player should be valued very differently from roto and which are more in line with the classic format.

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Platform Variances

First, here is how hitters’ points are distributed amongst the different sites:

NFBC scoring is the closest to traditional 5x5 roto, while you can see additional stats factored into all other sites. Fantrax and Yahoo do not deduct points for strikeouts, but CBS and ESPN definitely do and all, while the NFBC rewards points for walks. For detailed breakdowns on how to tackle each of these platforms, check out our excellent "Break the League" series by Nicklaus Gaut. He has covered points league rankings and projections for CBS, ESPNYahoo and Fantrax.

Knowing this, I found the Batter K-BB rate of all hitters in order to find the best and worst values. It is a stat that is overlooked, even though it makes a big difference on the sites that factor in both walks and strikeouts. In this article, I will focus on the middle infield positions, second base and shortstop.


Second Base Projection - Points Leagues

Player Batter K-BB% CBS Points ESPN Points Yahoo Points Fantrax Points NFBC Points
Tommy La Stella 2.5% 363 (T-19th) 329 (17th) 753 (32nd) 396 (25th) 422 (25th)
Jurickson Profar 5.2% 360 (22nd) 312 (21st) 935 (20th) 399 (24th) 388 (27th)
Ketel Marte 5.3% 560 (1st) 501 (1st) 1,250 (3rd) 607 (1st) 718 (1st)
Hanser Alberto 6.2% 359 (24th) 325 (18th) 808 (28th) 387 (27th) 440 (23rd)
Kolten Wong 6.5% 409 (13th) 346 (13th) 885 (24th) 453 (13th) 480 (18th)

Points leagues are never kind to part-time players. That is because volume cannot be understated in this format. If you are only playing three times a week that is simply just less chances to get hits, drive in runs, draw walks and flat out just score fantasy points. Tommy La Stella and Jurickson Profar both find themselves in potentially part-time roles, which is why the RotoBaller projections are not kind to them. Hanser Alberto is in similar company.

Ketel Marte is a points league stud. He is projected as the top second baseman in four of the five sites and no worse than third. He should be the top second baseman off the board in this format and luckily thanks to Roto Bias, you do not need to pay that price.

Kolten Wong is a value in CBS and ESPN points leagues due to his strong plate discipline. Those are the sites that he should be considered a premium. He is a value on Fantrax as well because they do not deduct points from strikeouts but do reward for walks. And the best part is you do not need to pay the price of where he is expected to finish. He should be avoided on Yahoo and NFBC leagues.

Player Batter K-BB% CBS Points ESPN Points Yahoo Points Fantrax Points NFBC Points
Brandon Lowe 27% 362 (21st) 271 (26th) 1,005 (13th) 446 (15th) 501 (16th)
Keston Hiura 23.5% 484 (7th) 385 (9th) 1,206 (5th) 570 (4th) 707 (2nd)
Rougned Odor 21.6% 357 (26th) 271 (25th) 1,051 (12th) 432 (20th) 445 (22nd)
Jonathan Schoop 20.7% 315 (30th) 250 (31st) 922 (21st) 377 (30th) 387 (27th)
Isan Diaz 19.9% 310 (31st) 224 (33rd) 837 (26th) 387 (28th) 344 (33rd)

This is a rough list because so many of my favorite Roto league targets are on this list. Brandon Lowe, Keston Hiura and Rougned Odor are all second basemen I have drafted a fair amount of in my Roto leagues. In fact, Odor is one of my favorite values and Hiura one of my favorite breakouts. Jonathan Schoop is one of my favorite values while Isan Diaz is a nice breakout candidate. However, I will be leaving them for my Roto leagues. All of them are free swingers who will be deducted in CBS and ESPN leagues. Hiura will be drafted as a top-five second baseman, but only return that value in Yahoo, Fantrax and NFBC.

Lowe is not projected as a top-12 second baseman in any points leagues and is really only appealing in Yahoo, judging by the RotoBaller projections. The same can be said for Odor, who is projected to be outside the top 20 on a majority of sites. Schoop is not projected to finish inside the Top 20 on any site and Diaz outside the Top 25 on all. You should follow my lead and target these guys in roto, while letting others pay up in points.


Shortstop Projections - Points Leagues

Player Batter K-BB% CBS Points ESPN Points Yahoo Points Fantrax Points NFBC Points
Marcus Semien 2.1% 518 (7th) 450 (6th) 1,274 (8th) 574 (7th) 640 (12th)
Andrelton Simmons 3% 381 (26th) 342 (20th) 856 (31st) 408 (29th) 411 (28th)
Kevin Newman 6.4% 435 (19th) 375 (14th) 577 (29th) 475 (22nd) 559 (20th)
Xander Bogaerts 6.6% 568 (4th) 502 (3rd) 1,296 (6th) 629 (5th) 754 (5th)
Jean Segura 6.9% 403 (23rd) 354 (18th) 986 (27th) 440 (26th) 475 (24th)

Each of these shortstops is likely to outperform their draft price in points leagues. For years, I was a Marcus Semien guy, but this year I have been hesitant to buy into his career season. But if I am going to draft him anywhere it will be in points leagues, because of his strong plate discipline. He is projected to finish in the top-eight of all but NFBC leagues.

Xander Bogaerts tends to be a borderline top-five short top off the board, yet he is projected to finish inside the top-five in all but Yahoo leagues. He is a strong value in this format. Jean Segura is a nice later round roto target because of the power-speed he offers, but his plate discipline makes him a worthy points league target. He is not a starting option, but if you are in a deeper points league or one that has a middle infield spot, he is on the radar. The same can be said for Kevin Newman in ESPN leagues.

Simmons never projects well, but in points leagues he is a good injury replacement off the waiver wire. He has strong plate discipline, will play every day thanks to his defense, and hits a good amount of doubles.

Player Batter K-BB% CBS Points ESPN Points Yahoo Points Fantrax Points NFBC Points
Adalberto Mondesi 25.5% 421 (20th) 291 (29th) 1,070 (19th) 500 (18th) 656 (9th)
Javier Baez 22.8% 463 (11th) 368 (16th) 1,256 (9th) 544 (11th) 687 (7th)
Fernando Tatis Jr. 21.5% 539 (6th) 417 (8th) 1,278 (7th) 635 (2nd) 776 (4th)
Willy Adames 18.3% 345 (30th) 259 (32nd) 998 (24th) 424 (28th) 430 (27th)
Tim Anderson 18.1% 415 (22nd) 322 (25th) 1,109 (17th) 487 (20th) 610 (13th)

These shortstops are all very similar. They all suffer from poor plate discipline and what makes them all appealing, outside of Willy Adames, is the stolen bases they offer. But there is no stat that is more devalued in points leagues than stolen bases. In roto, stolen bases are literally 20 percent of the offensive stats you build your team around. But in points leagues, they are worth just two points on CBS, ESPN and Fantrax.

That is why Adalberto Mondesi is projected to finish 18th shortstop or worse on all sites except NFBC, which again attempts to mimic roto. Javier Baez, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Tim Anderson are all projected to finish worse than their asking price on every site except NFBC. These are fun and exciting players in roto, but the biggest mistake you can make in points is build a great roto team.

More Points Leagues Analysis