We are pleased to introduce the HVaC Scoring System, a scoring system that will allow those in head-to-head fantasy baseball leagues the ability to judge players based on the value they will add over the average starter at the position.
For example, you will not win steals in any week by drafting a First Baseman, however, they are fertile ground for increasing your RBI totals. As a result, the HVaC scoring systems ranks players on a scale of 1-100 — the lower the value, the more value add the player brings to a lineup — based on standard 5×5 league factors that leverage ZiPS projections. Categories are weighted by position and positions are weighted based on standard lineup needs (1 C, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 SS, 1 3B, 1 CI, 1 MI, 5 OF, 2 UTIL, 7 P).
Here are five must haves in your lineup this week:
Michael Brantley (13.04 HVaC rating)
The run is on to add Brantley to rosters – join in and start him. Brantley entered the year as the 35th ranked outfielder on the HVaC scale and he is paying early dividends. He does not strike out often and has adapted well to the volume of pitches he has seen away from the strike zone. Better still, he does not swing and miss very often (11 times in 333 pitches seen).
Putting the ball in play will continue to push him up the rankings and keep him as a number four outfielder through the course of the season.
Brad Miller (11.61)
The young shortstop probably had expectations set far too high for him to start the season and was in a lose-lose situation in trying to live up to them. Owners are growing frustrated and he has seen a 30 point drop in ownership in the last seven days according to ESPN.com. If you can be patient, hold on to him. Miller’s issue is plate discipline and it will take him some time. Ten of his 24 strikeouts have come on pitches falling up or down and away.
Miller is still expected to create more hits per plate appearance than many at his position and the HVaC still has him as a top-10 shortstop the rest of the way.
Neil Walker (12.08)
Walker is a double-edged sword. First, he is not the guy that is going to stay on this type of tear in any format (.360 batting average/.429 on-base percentage/ .480 slugging percentage last seven days). That said, Walker was underappreciated in drafts and now his value is starting to be appreciated. The middle infield slot is key for average and speed and if you have found speed in another spot, Walker is a player to grab. The HVaC has him ahead of Martin Prado, Aaron Hill, Chase Utley, Matt Carpenter, and Jose Altuve the rest of the way while challenging Brandon Phillips for the number eight spot on the list.
Howie Kendrick (8.36)
Would you laugh if I told you that I would rather own Kendrick the rest of the year than Dustin Pedroia? Kendrick will likely drive in as many runs and is incredibly balanced across all the major categories. While not spectacular at any one thing, he will be the exact type of player that will drive value for head to head owners. His BABIP number (.343) early this year — which measures how many of a batter’s balls in play go for hits — is in line with what he has produced in the past while his ISO (a measure of a hitter’s raw power.) of .114 is actually light comparatively speaking (career .136). Not exciting, but consistent and it has him as the number three Second Baseman the rest of the way. If he is available in your leagues, this is an add and a starter.
Devin Mesoraco (18.28)
Mesoraco has made the biggest leap amongst catchers over the last month, moving from number 23 in the HVaC up to number 14. Does this make him an immediate starter? No, but this is fast becoming a player that needs to be added before it is too late. Catching tends to deliver the most value in power and RBI. Mesoraco is right in line with the positional targets (15 home runs and 61 RBI vs. 18 and 67 for the average) amongst the top 12 in both those categories if we look at him over the rest of the season. The right-handed hitter is seeing a balance of pitches all over the zone and doing damage to all of them. In fact, he has recorded nearly as many hits on pitches down and away (7) as he has on pitches up and in (9). Obviously, he is not going to hit this way all season, but he should be expected to produce as a top-15 catcher and one that is a strong second catcher in any format.