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Players with High Standard Deviations in Rankings (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

by Scott Youngson | @jscottyoungson | Featured Writer
Mar 16, 2023
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

The Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) include the players’ Best Rank, Worst Rank, Average and Standard Deviation. These columns are meant to communicate how much consensus there is on each player in the overall rankings. The lower the Standard Deviation (STD DEV), the more agreement there is regarding the players’ fantasy value. For example, the No. 1 ranked player, Ronald Acuna Jr., has a very low 1.1 STD DEV, a best rank of No. 1, a worst rank of No. 7 and an average of 2.6 (at the time of writing). A low STD DEV and an average close to his overall rank mean that most experts rank him closer to the best.

Conversely, when a player’s Standard Deviation is high, there is a lack of consensus on him. In other words, his rank is all over the place. Typically, there is a reason for the variance, which we will address with the players below who all possess high STD DEVs in the ECR. As the standard deviations tend to get larger as the rankings get higher, we pulled out the players with the most significant variances by ranking group, starting with:

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Players with High Standard Deviations in Rankings (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

The Top Ten Player with the Highest Standard Deviation

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1B,DH – TOR)

10 4 16 10.2 2.8

There’s much consensus about the top players this year. Guerrero has the most variance but still ranks no lower than 16th overall. The question with Vlad is, which version will we get in 2023? Last season, he was the 18th-ranked hitter after slugging 32 HRs with 90 runs, 97 RBI, eight SBs and a .274 average. These statistics are very good; however, they pale compared to 2021, when he accumulated 48 HRs, 123 runs, 111 RBI and four SBs, with a .311 batting average. Guerrero is a solid bet to produce excellent fantasy numbers again this season, but drafters must decide which of the last two seasons was the anomaly.

The Top 50 Player with the Highest Standard Deviation

Luis Robert Jr. (OF – CWS)

40 24 104 41.8 13.7

There’s little doubt about Robert’s potential, but can he stay healthy? He has flashed 20/20 ability with a high batting average but has only played in 166 games over the past two seasons. He appears healthy to start the year after finishing 2022 on the injured list (IL) but has to be tagged with the “injury-prone” moniker until he proves otherwise. If you are playing for upside, you’ll want to draft him early, as he’s a player with top-ten potential if he can stay on the field. Avoiding him is probably best for risk-averse managers unless he slips to bargain territory.

The Top 100 Player with the Highest Standard Deviation

Carlos Rodon (SP – NYY)

62 22 150 64.9 28.7

Rodon has been sliding down the rankings since it was announced he would start the season on the IL due to a left forearm strain. Forearm injuries can be ominous, but as of now, there’s little sense of when Rodon will join the Yankees’ rotation. Rodon is no stranger to the IL, spending much time there between 2017 and 2020, but is coming off of a relatively healthy 2021 and a 31-start 2022. Over the past two seasons, Rodon has been one of the top pitchers in baseball and a legitimate No. 1 fantasy starter. However, his range of outcomes for 2023 is so broad that it’s no wonder there is little consensus about where to draft him.

The Top 200 Player with the Highest Standard Deviation

Scott Barlow (RP – KC)

177 128 290 179.6 43.4

Barlow had an excellent 2022 in which he saved 24 games with a 2.18 WHIP, 1.00 WHIP and 9.3 K/9. He’s currently ranked as the 18th-best reliever but ranges from 13 to 40. The reason has little to do with Barlow himself but rather the Royals’ signing of Aroldis Chapman this off-season. Many believe Barlow will be the Royals’ closer regardless, as he has been better than the veteran the past two seasons. Still, Chapman’s presence worries others who fear Barlow could end up in a committee or, worse, a set-up role. Incidentally, Chapman ranks 41st among relievers overall, but some still believe in him as his best rank is No. 16.

The Top 300 Player with the Highest Standard Deviation

Jon Berti (2B,3B,SS,OF – MIA)

294 224 536 296 69.0

Berti led the league in stolen bases in 2022, swiping 41 bags. He accomplished this in only 102 games. There’s little doubt the dude is fast. However, he offers little else for fantasy managers except for position flexibility. He has no power and is a career .244 hitter without an everyday job. Berti’s best case for fantasy managers is as a bench piece who can bolster your SB total. Detractors will point to the fact that he is 33 years old, coming off a career year and that more players figure to run this year with the bigger bases, negating his value. If you are in a deep league and feel like you need to add some speed, he may be worth a shot, given his upside. But keep him on a short leash, as there is a better-than-average chance he won’t be worth the roster spot.

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