Free Agent Fantasy Team: Using Opponent Quality To Predict Roster-Off the Radar

Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Oliver Perez (59) looks like he could be pickup that pays off for our All-Free Agent Fantasy Team. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With spring training well under way, and the regular season beginning in 3 weeks, it is time to take another look at the all free agent fantasy team. Since Spring Training numbers mean nothing as far as predictive value goes, I didn’t want to talk about how the players are performing this spring. Instead, I wanted to look at something different. Baseball Reference has unveiled what they call “OppQual” or “Quality of pitchers or batters faced”. Based on where each individual opponent played in 2012, the formula gives them a score from 1-10 (with 10 being a MLB player). The average of this is the OppQual. This is an attempt to measure who each player is facing in spring training and give it a little context. I thought this would be helpful for our team, as we can see which players are facing the best opponents. This may give us an insight as to who is most likely to make their respective teams, as it would seem that if a player is facing a bunch of AA players, then they aren’t very likely to make the team. I included their salaries below, because if a team has a lot committed to the player financially, then I don’t think what kind of opponents they are facing is very predictive.

Name Position 2013 $$ Future $$ OppQual
Bartolo Colon SP 3 Mil  8.9
Oliver Perez RP 1.5 Mil  9.3
Michael Olmsted RP MiLB  7.5
Tim Wood RP MiLB  8.4
Ryan Reid RP MiLB  6.7
Maicer Izturis SS 3 Mil 6 mil  8.6
Hector Rondon RP MiLB  7.4
David Ross Catcher 3.1 Mil 3.1 Mil  7.5
Mitch Maier OF MiLB  7.6
Juan Pierre OF 1.6 mil  8.4
Melky Cabrera OF 8 mil 8 mil  8.7
Scott Baker SP 5.5 mil  –
Neal Cotts RP MiLB  9.1
Carlos Torres RP MiLB  9.2
Tim Byrdak RP MiLB  –
Brian Bogusevic OF MiLB  8.7
DeWayne Wise OF 700000  8.5
Shawn Camp RP 1.35 mil 8.3
Jeremy Guthrie SP 5 mil 20 mil.  7.8
Hiroki Kuroda SP 15 mil.  9.4
Ryan Madson RP 3.5 mil  –
Mike Fontenot 2B/IF MiLB  8.6
Rich Thompson OF MiLB  9
John Lannan SP 2.5 mil  9.1
Andres Torres OF 2 mil  9.1
Bobby Wilson Catcher MiLB  8.9
Jack Hanahan 3B 2 mil 2 mil  8.7
Dan Wheeler RP MiLB  7.7
Jason Grilli RP 2.75 mil 4 mil 8
Ryan Ludwick OF 7.5 mil 7.5 mil  8.9
Brandon Allen 1B MiLB  8.1
Randy Wells SP MiLB  9
Zach Phillips RP MiLB  8.1
Jason Bourgeois OF MiLB  8.2
Nate Schierholtz OF 2.25 mil  9.3
Eric Chavez 3B 3 mil  9.6
Nate Mclouth OF 2 mil  8.8
Marco Scutaro 2B 6.66 mil 13.33 mil  9.1
Jeff Keppinger 2B 4 mil 8 mil  9.2
Mike Ekstrom RP MiLB  9.2
Bill Bray RP MiLB  7.5
Geovany Soto Catcher 2.75 mil  8.7
James Loney 1B 2 mil  9.3
Ryan Sadowski RP MiLB  –
Scott Feldman SP 6 mil  9
Travis Ishikawa 1B MiLB  7.8
Zach Braddock RP MiLB  –
Cody Ransom SS MiLB  8.4
Hisanori Takahasi RP MiLB 9
Endy Chavez OF MiLB  8.1
Yorvit Torrealba Catcher MiLB  8.7
Dan Johnson 1B MiLB  8.5
Thomas Neal OF MiLB  8.1
Kevin Slowey SP MiLB  9.2
Matt Downs 2B MiLB  7.8
Chris Volstad SP MiLB  9
Kyle McClellan RP MiLB  –
Cesar Izturis SS MiLB  7.9
Ryan SweeneyFreddy Garcia OFSP MiLBMiLB 8.39.5

6 of the players have not played any official spring training games. Madson, Baker, Byrdak, and I think Braddock as well, are all hurt as we know, but would hopefully be available soon in the season. McClellan may be hurt as well, though I am not sure, while I know Sadowski is not. They must have been just using him in minor league camp, which doesn’t really speak well to his chances of making the Majors.

The MiLB contract guys with OppQual of at least 9: Freddy Garcia, Chris Volstad, Kevin Slowey, Hisanori Takahashi, Mike Ekstrom, Randy Wells, Rich Thompson, Neal Cotts, and Carlos Torres. Obviously it seems like guys like Cotts and Thompson don’t have great chances of making their teams, but it seems that they are being given the opportunity. Guys like Garcia, Volstad, Slowey, and Takahashi are not real surprises, and I expect them to make their teams.

The only player with an OppQual of less than 7 was Ryan Reid. Other notable lows include Bill Bray (7.5), who was also sent to minor league camp, Dan Wheeler, Michael Olmsted, Mitch Maier, and Hector Rondon. These guys, even though Olmsted is on the 40 man roster and Maier and Wheeler have a lot of MLB experience, will probably not make their teams it would seem (at least if our assumption is right).

Topics: All Free-Agent Fantasy Team, Off The Radar, OppQual

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