2011’s Most Accurate Baseball Experts

Mar 7, 2012

Deadly Accurate

If you’re like most fantasy baseball fans, you’re in full-fledged draft prep mode. Whether that involves keeping up with the latest fantasy articles, checking out rankings/projections or trying your hand at some mock drafts, you’re probably searching for any edge you can get.


That’s all well and good but how do you determine whose advice you should trust? With so many sources competing for your attention, it can be pretty difficult to decide who to listen to. One way we aim to help you out is by rating the accuracy of fantasy rankings. We’ve done this with great fanfare for fantasy football and we’re excited today to reveal the results of our first fantasy baseball assessment.


In total, we analyzed the cheat sheets of 25 experts. The goal: Determine which pundit delivered the most accurate 2011 Draft Rankings. The experts were analyzed at each 5×5 roto category and, just like a typical roto format, they were rated relative to everyone else competing. Our accuracy score, called PAY™ (Prediction Accuracy Yield), measures the % of total possible roto points scored by the expert. A 100% PAY would mean the expert ranked the highest for every 5×5 scoring category. A full overview of our methodology can be found here.


So who came out on top? Read on to get a breakdown of the highest rated experts. You can also view the entire standings over in our accuracy category.


Overall Draft Accuracy Scores


Top 5 Accuracy Scores
 Rank  Expert  PAY™
 1.  R.J. White – Fantasy Baseball Café  74.0%
 2.  Andy Behrens – Yahoo! Sports  71.6%
 3.  Reggie Yinger – Baseball Press  70.4%
 4.  Staff Rankings – KFFL  70.0%
 5.  Staff Rankings – ESPN  66.8%




  • Congratulations to R.J. White (Fantasy Baseball Café) for outpacing the field as the competition’s most accurate expert. White was the only expert to earn separate top 5 ratings for both his Hitter & Pitcher rankings. The combined performance of both made him a natural fit as the #1 expert. So where did White get things right? Well, in addition to pegging the Ryan Braun’s and Miguel Cabrera’s of the world, he also hit the mark when it came to touting difference makers that were relatively under the radar. For instance, he notably outranked the expert consensus for the following players: Lance Berkman (+10 spots vs. consensus), Mike *Giancarlo* Stanton (+10 spots vs. consensus), Dan Haren (+8 spots vs. consensus), and Ian Kennedy (+6 spots vs. consensus).  Along with hitting on the expected studs at most positions, those picks played a part in helping White rack up points across the 5×5 roto categories.


  • Andy Behrens (Yahoo! Sports) is no stranger to success in our football accuracy competitions (#1 in 2009, #3 in 2010), so it doesn’t come as a surprise that he knows a thing or two about fantasy baseball as well. As our 2nd ranked baseball expert, Behrens displayed a particular knack for rating hitters (#1 ranking). Specifically, he was higher than all but one expert on NL MVP runner-up, Matt Kemp (OF #4) and he delivered the 2nd highest ranking for another fantasy stud in Justin Upton (OF #7). That’s not to say Behrens slacked off in the pitching department, however. He was ahead of the curve when it came to predicting several difference makers: Clayton Kershaw (+3 spots vs. consensus), Madison Bumgarner (+14 spots vs. consensus), Gio Gonzalez (+9 spots vs. consensus), and Josh Beckett (+6 spots vs. consensus). That helped Behrens garner a top 10 pitcher rating and contributed to his overall success.


  •  If you’re looking for pitching advice, the rankings from Reggie Yinger (Baseball Press) should represent a good starting point. Yinger showed strong consistency at each of the 5 roto categories we tracked (W, K, SV, ERA, WHIP) en route to earning the top Pitcher rating in our contest. Leading the way were an impressive number of hits for many key relief pitchers in 2011. Perhaps most impressively, he touted arguably the season’s top reliever – Craig Kimbrel (RP #12) – higher than all but one expert. Yinger also earned points by slotting important contributors such as John Axford (RP #10) and J.J. Putz (RP #11) ahead of the rest of the field.  And, on the other end of the spectrum, he showed some foresight by handing out two of the lowest ratings (RP #5 & RP #18) for a couple of expected studs – Brian Wilson & Jonathan Broxton – that disappointed due to injury issues.


  • While they may be best known as a football site, KFFL delivered an impressive showing with their 2011 baseball rankings. Consistency was the name of KFFL’s game as they rated 4th for Hitters & 6th best for a pitchers, a combo that placed them 4th overall. Their best predictions included ranking CY Young award winner, Justin Verlander (SP #5), above every expert as well as slotting Jacoby Ellsbury (OF #12) higher than all but a handful of pundits. Ellsbury’s unexpected power surge (32 HRs) and lofty batting average (.321) turned that decision into a big payoff.  It also didn’t hurt KFFL’s cause that they anticipated several drop-offs from touted players. Their ranking for Ichiro Suzuki (OF #30) was 17 spots lower than the expert consensus and they also slotted Matt Holliday (OF #33) below all but 1 expert. For a variety of reasons, both players failed to put up expected numbers and KFFL benefited as a result.


Breakout Players


As always, there were several key players that performed above expectations. The difference between drafting or passing on those guys could have had a significant impact on any team’s fantasy fortunes. That’s why we’re recognizing the experts that were the strongest advocates of each player (i.e. they had the player ranked higher than anyone else).


We’ve included Expert Consensus Ranks (ECR) in the table below to show just how far out on a limb each expert went with their ranking.


Notable Breakout Players
 Player  Position  Top Expert  Expert Rank*  ECR*
 Curtis Granderson  OF  Staff Rankings – Fantasy Baseball Dugout  13  25
 Jacoby Ellsbury  OF  Tony Holm – Baseball Sharks 6  17
 Michael Bourn  OF  Tony Holm – Baseball Sharks  22  41
 Michael Morse  OF  Staff Rankings – Pro Fantasy Baseball  58  86
 Clayton Kershaw  SP  Brandon Funston – Yahoo! Sports  4  8
 James Shields  SP  Staff Rankings – Junkyard Jake  19  55
 Ian Kennedy  SP  Staff Rankings – Fantasy Baseball Champ  41  56
 Jered Weaver  SP  Staff Rankings – RotoRob
 Site Projections – RotoChamp
 8  13
 Craig Kimbrel  RP  Staff Rankings – Junkyard Jake  10  19
 John Axford  RP  Staff Rankings – Junkyard Jake  4  13
 Mike Napoli  C  Eric Mack – SI.com  5  7
 Lance Berkman  1B  Eric Mack – SI.com
 Staff Rankings – Fantasy Baseball Champ
 19  30
 Starlin Castro  SS  Brandon Funston – Yahoo! Sports  7  11

*Ranks are at the position level


That wraps up our analysis of 2011’s expert draft rankings. Don’t forget, you can view the entire standings of all 25 experts in the accuracy section of our site. Congratulations again to R.J. White and the rest of the top experts!


Lastly, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay on top of our latest news and updates. We have several exciting announcements planned leading up to the start of the baseball season so stay tuned….


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