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2012’s Most Accurate Baseball Experts

Feb 25, 2013

MLB Draft Accuracy 2012It’s an exciting time here at FantasyPros. Last week we launched our MLB Cheat Sheet Wizard, a full suite of tools to help you nail your draft. This week, we’re ready to make another announcement to give your draft prep a boost.  That’s right…it’s time to reveal which experts had the most accurate cheat sheets in 2012!


Before we jump into the standings, here are a few quick notes about the accuracy assessment:


  • Draft rankings from 50 fantasy experts were analyzed. That’s double the amount monitored in our 2011 assessment.
  • All of the rankings tracked used a standard 5×5 Roto setup.
  • The experts were rated Roto-style at each 5×5 category. The scores (PAY™) listed below represent the % of total possible Roto points earned by each expert. A 100% PAY™ would mean the expert ranked best for every 5×5 category (see: full methodology).


So who came out on top? Here are the 10 most accurate fantasy baseball experts:


Overall Draft Accuracy Scores

Top 10 Experts – Overall Standings
 Rank  Expert  PAY™
 1.  Josh Shepardson – Baseball Prospectus  77.6%
 2.  Andy Behrens – Yahoo! Sports  76.8%
 3.  Site Rankings – RotoChamp  69.2%
 4.  Steve Gardner – USA Today  65.8%
 4.  Ben Pritchett –  65.8%
 6.  Scott Pianowski – Yahoo! Sports  65.4%
 7.  Mike Harmon – Swollen Dome  64.4%
 8.  Brandon Funston – Yahoo! Sports  64.2%
 8.  Alan Harrison – The Fantasy Fix  64.2%
 10.  Matt Gelfand – The Fantasy Fix  61.8%

*View the full field of 50 experts evaluated



  • Congratulations to 2012’s Most Accurate Baseball Expert: Josh Shepardson (Baseball Prospectus). Shepardson was especially on-target with his Pitcher advice, as he netted an impressive PAY™ of 87% at the position. In addition to liking studs such as Aroldis Chapman and Gio Gonzalez better than the expert consensus, he also had a good read on notable pitchers that disappointed owners. This includes valuing demoted closers Heath Bell (-7 spots vs. consensus) and Jordan Walden (-7 spots vs. consensus) lower than all but a handful of experts. As for Hitter advice, Shepardson had the presence of mind to slot Josh Willingham (+14 spots vs. consensus) above every expert. The timing was right for such a bold move considering that the Twins’ slugger posted a career-best season (35 HRs, 110 RBIs). He was also more confident in a rejuvenated Carlos Beltran (32 HRs, 97 RBIs) than 84% of the pundits monitored. Picks like these helped Shepardson edge out the competition as 2012’s accuracy champ.


  • If the name at #2 in the standings looks familiar…well, it should. Andy Behrens (Yahoo! Sports) has made a habit of serving up top-notch fantasy advice (not to mention 4.5 star children’s books). Behrens’ accolades now include nabbing MLB runner-up honors twice along with three top 5 finishes in our various NFL assessments. Needless to say, he’s proven his mettle across sports. In this particular competition, Behrens was the only expert to rank in the top 5 for both his Pitcher and Hitter advice. Arguably his best call was valuing Cy Young contender, Gio Gonzalez (21 Wins, 2.89 ERA), above 94% of experts. He also ranked breakthrough Braves slugger, Jason Heyward (27 HRs, 82 RBIs), ahead of all but 1 expert as his 16th best OF. Add in a devaluation of eventual busts such as Carl Crawford/Shane Victorino/Josh Beckett (all -11 spots vs. consensus) and it was a recipe for success for Behrens.


  • Another site that lived up to its name with a strong showing is RotoChamp. Of the 50 experts/sites monitored, RotoChamp’s rankings were notable for having little reservation about going against popular opinion. For instance, they took a gamble by slotting Red Sox ‘ace’, Jon Lester, a full 15 spots below the consensus. Lester made good on the limited expectations by turning in a career-worst season (9-14, 4.82 ERA) for the beleaguered Red Sox. RotoChamp was also one of just 4 sites to rank two-time CY Young winner, Tim Lincecum (10-15, 5.18 ERA), outside of their top 10 Starting Pitchers. On the flip side, they were one of only 3 sites to like Matt Cain (16 wins, 2.79 ERA) enough to place him as a top 10 Starting Pitcher. RotoChamp also hit the mark by ranking surprises such as Billy Butler (.313 AVG, 27 HRs, 109 RBIs), A.J. Pierzynski (27 HRs) and Torii Hunter (.313 AVG, 92 RBI) as well as any expert monitored. And, just for good measure, their ranking for NL Cy Young award winner, R.A. Dickey, was above 96% of experts.


  • It bears mentioning that this is the 2nd year in a row in which three Yahoo! Sports experts have cracked the top 10. It’s an impressive feat that we haven’t seen another multi-expert site pull off during our 4 years of tracking NFL/MLB accuracy. This also marks the 7th time (out of 8 total NFL/MLB accuracy studies) that at least 1 Yahoo! expert has landed in the top 10. Not too shabby, right?


Breakout Players

As always, there were key players that performed above expectations in 2012. The difference between drafting or passing on such players 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 person ranked higher than anyone else).


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


 Player  Position  Top Expert  Expert  Rank*  ECR*
 Mike Trout  OF  Joseph Buccellato – Fantasy League GM  45  72
 Jason Heyward  OF  Tim Young – MLB Soup  13  27
 Bryce Harper  OF  Brad Johnson – The Hardball Times  48  75
 R.A. Dickey  SP  Joseph Buccellato – Fantasy League GM  44  75
 Gio Gonzalez  SP  Muntradamus – Beast Dome  17  32
 Aroldis Chapman  RP  Eric Mack –  24  41
 Fernando Rodney  RP  Staff Rankings – FFToolbox  54  95
 Jim Johnson  RP  Alan Harrison – The Fantasy Fix

 24  27
 Chase Headley  3B  Reggie Yinger – Baseball Press

 15  16
 Ian Desmond  SS  Gavin Tachibana – Fantasy Baseball Champ

 13  15
 Edwin Encarnacion  1B  Matt Gelfand – The Fantasy Fix  8  18
 Yadier Molina  C  Site Rankings – CBS  6  9
 Carlos Ruiz  C  Staff Rankings – FFToolbox  13  21

*Ranks are at the position level


That does it for our 2012 accuracy recap. Congrats again to Josh Shepardson and everyone else that finished in the top 10! As a reminder, you can view the full field of 50 experts monitored in our accuracy section.


Lastly, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay on top of our latest news and updates. We’ll have a few more exciting announcements leading up to the start of the baseball season. Stay tuned….

Accuracy, MLB