Fantasy Baseball’s Most Accurate Experts

Mar 4, 2015

It’s a fun time to be a baseball fan. Spring Training is in full swing and Opening Day is right around the corner (just 32 days away…yep, we’re counting!). It’s a clear sign that now is a great time to get your fantasy draft prep in gear.

Of course, any good preparation involves knowing which experts provide the most trusted advice. Earlier this year we announced who delivered the most accurate projections in 2014. Today we’re excited to unveil the results of our latest Expert Rankings assessment. Before we get to the results, here are a few notes about our draft accuracy study:

  • Draft rankings from 66 fantasy experts were analyzed (including the Expert Consensus). That makes this our largest MLB accuracy competition to date.
  • 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 rated best for every 5×5 category (see: full methodology).

Without further ado, here are the experts with the most accurate draft rankings.

Expert Accuracy Standings

View the full field (66 experts) | Combine top experts into consensus rankings

Top Fantasy Baseball Experts
 Rank  Expert  PAY™
 1.  Steve Gardner – USA TODAY Sports  84.2%
 2.  Tristan Cockcroft – ESPN  73.0%
 3.  R.J. White – Fantasy Baseball Cafe  72.4%
 3.  Timothy Farmer – Dynasty Sports Empire  72.4%
 5.  Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR)  71.4%
 6.  Jesse Sakstrup – Roto Spectrum  69.4%
 7.  Josh Shepardson – The Fantasy Fix  69.1%
 8.  Brett Talley – The Fantasy Fix  67.9%
 9.  Luke Gloeckner – Mr. Cheatsheet  67.0%
 10.  Kevin Hanson – EDSBaseball  66.2%
 11.  Zach Jacobson – The Fake Baseball  64.4%
 11.  Andrew Gould – Bleacher Report  64.4%

Congratulations to Steve Gardner (USA TODAY Sports) for earning the crown as 2014’s top-rated expert. This marks the 2nd time in the past 3 seasons that Gardner has cracked the top 5 of our competition. This past season, Gardner was particularly on-target with his Hitter advice, as he netted an impressive PAY™ of 93% across the positions. His best pick was slotting Michael Brantley as high as any expert we monitored (+18 spots vs. Consensus). Brantley emerged in 2014 as a tremendous value pick and was subsequently dubbed by Gardner as “Baseball’s Fantasy MVP“. Gardner also showed some foresight by ranking Denard Span (+24 spots vs. Consensus) and Johnny Peralta (+7 spots vs. Consensus) above all experts. Neither player was expected to be a huge fantasy difference maker but both exceeded expectations. On the flip side, Gardner had a good read on a few notable busts: Wil Myers (-10 spots vs. Consensus) and Josh Hamilton (-9 spots vs. Consensus). Both players disappointed fantasy owners and only a handful of experts delivered lower rankings for them.

MLB Accuracy Winners

Gardner becomes the latest accuracy champ.

As for his Pitcher advice, Gardner wasn’t a slouch there either. He ranked 6th at the position with a 75% PAY™. He was notably higher than most pundits on a pair of aces that ended the season as top 10 starting pitchers: Jon Lester (+8 rank spots vs. Consensus) and Johnny Cueto (+5 rank spots vs. Consensus). Gardner also gets credit for identifying reliever Jim Johnson as a bust candidate. The former A’s veteran was projected to be a top 15 closer. That never materialized as he was demoted from his closing gig just 10 games into the season. Gardner’s rank (RP #26) for Johnson was lower than every expert we monitored. A few other disappointing pitchers Gardner slotted below most of his peers were Anthony Cingrani (-13 spots vs. Consensus), A.J. Burnett (-13 spots vs. Consensus) and Clay Buchholz (-9 spots vs. Consensus). Each was projected to be a top 50 fantasy starter and all three fell far short of those expectations.

Draft Wizard Mock Draft Simulator

Surprise Players

As always, there were more than a few players that performed above expectations last season. The difference between drafting or passing on these players could have impacted any team’s fantasy fortunes. Below are the experts that had the best read on each player (i.e. they had him ranked higher than anyone else). Expert Consensus Ranks (ECR) are included in the table below to show just how far out on a limb each expert went with their ranking.

 Player  Position  Top Expert  Rank*  ECR
 Victor Martinez  1B  R.J. White – Fantasy Baseball Cafe  14  25
 Jose Abreu  1B  9  16
 Anthony Rizzo  1B  Eno Sarris – FanGraphs  6  14
 Dee Gordon  2B  Scott White – CBS Sports  18  27
 Anthony Rendon  2B  Nando Di Fino – CBS Sports  12  19
 Brian Dozier  2B  Seth Klein – Razzball  9  17
 Todd Frazier  3B  13  21
 Alexei Ramirez  SS  Tom Schriner – FFLockerRoom  7  13
 Alcides Escobar  SS  Grey Albright – Razzball  13  21
 Jimmy Rollins  SS  Muntradamus – Beast Dome  9  17
 Michael Brantley  OF  39  57
 Nelson Cruz  OF  Muntradamus – Beast Dome  13  38
 Charlie Blackmon  OF  Tim McCullough – RotoExperts  75  120
 Melky Cabrera  OF  Neil Parker – The Fake Baseball  46  73
 Devin Mesoraco  C  14  18
 Johnny Cueto  SP  Muntradamus – Beast Dome  17  38
 Corey Kluber  SP  Al Mechior – CBS Sports  25  55
 Jake Arrieta  SP  Dave McKay – The Fantasy Sports Brain  85  153
 Doug Fister  SP  Zach Sanders – FanGraphs  16  36
 Francisco Rodriguez  RP  Nando Di Fino – CBS Sports  36  80
 Huston Street  RP  Nate Springfield – Baseball Press  14  22
 Mark Melancon  RP  Site Projections – RotoChamp  24  40

 *Ranks are at the position level

Busts

On the flip side, here are the notable disappointments from 2014 along with the experts that went against popular opinion with their rankings. Note that certain players (e.g. Jean Segura) are not listed if there wasn’t much variety in the experts’ rankings.

 Player  Position  Top Expert  Rank*  ECR
 Chris Davis  1B  Site Rankings – KFFL  9  2
 Joey Votto  1B  Michael Pichan – Fantasy Alarm  8  4
 Allen Craig  1B  Eno Sarris – FanGraphs  18  10
 Joe Mauer  1B  Grey Albright – Razzball  12  3
 Jedd Gyorko  2B  Muntradamus – Beast Dome  22  10
 Jason Kipnis  2B  Nick Williams – Legion Report  5  2
 David Wright  3B  6  3
 Pedro Alvarez  3B  Eric Mack – Bleacher Report  15  8
 Xander Bogaerts  3B  Muntradamus – Beast Dome  30  19
 Bryce Harper  OF  KJ – Fantasy Team Advice  18  6
 Shin-Soo Choo  OF  Site Projections – RotoChamp  29  14
 Jay Bruce  OF  Al Mechior – CBS Sports  20  12
 Domonic Brown  OF  Andy Behrens – Yahoo! Sports  53  29
 Yu Darvish  SP  Dave McKay – The Fantasy Sports Brain  11  2
 Justin Verlander  SP  David Kerr – Fantasy Squads  16  11
 Matt Cain  SP  32  17
 Jim Johnson  RP  26  14
 Joe Nathan  RP  Jeff Boggis – Fantasy Football Empire  16  6

  *Ranks are at the position level

That does it for our analysis of the experts’ 2014 draft accuracy. Congratulations again to Steve Gardner for earning the accuracy title. If you’d like to see the entire list of sites we tracked, please check out our MLB accuracy section.

Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay on top of our latest updates. We’ll have plenty in store leading up to and during the baseball season. Stay tuned!


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