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November 11, 2013

Fantasy Offseason Preview

What to Expect

by Bret Sayre

If you’ve been hanging around at Baseball Prospectus for a while now, you are probably used to the Fantasy team going on hiatus from the end of the season until around mid-January. Well, for those looking forward to a break from us, I have bad news for you: it’s not happening. As you can probably tell already, in the first act of my reign of terror as Fantasy Content Manager, fantasy coverage at BP will now be year-round. So while those other sites are focusing on other sports, we’re here to provide you with the cerebral coverage you have come to expect at this site.

With the extra time, we plan to provide you with a lot of extra content—and with the Hot Stove about to ramp up, it’s time to lay out the off-season plan for the BP Fantasy team.

2013 Player Valuations
It’s impossible to look forward to a new season and everything that comes along with it if you don’t learn from the season that just ended. Mike Gianella, our resident valuation expert, is putting the finishing touches on his 2013 player valuations, which will start the week of November 18.

This programming will be broken out by hitters and pitchers within each type of format: AL-only, NL-only and Mixed. Each section will have retrospective commentary of what the expert market (CBS, LABR, Tout Wars) expected versus what happened, compare past trends from 2012 and earlier to last year, and review what this might mean (if anything) for 2014. It will also detail the biggest profits/losses in each format, and these valuation spreadsheets (in their entirety) will be available to subscribers.

Team-By-Team Fantasy Previews
One item that we’re already knee-deep in at this point is our team-by-team previews, which we started last Tuesday (with the Houston Astros). These pieces will run in conjunction with each organization’s Top-10 Prospect List here at Baseball Prospectus and aim to provide an overview of where the fantasy value resides on each roster. We’ll discuss projected lineups, rotations and closer situations—along with the positional battles to pay attention to and the triumvirate of the fantasy world (a player to target, a player to avoid and a deep sleeper). Here are links to the first three previews we’ve done:

Yes, these situations will be fluid as the hot stove progresses, but it’s an important look regardless, as it will make it easier to determine how the winter transactions will affect other player roles/valuations. And speaking of those winter transactions…

Crossing Over
One of the things I’ve been pushing hard on is to expand our fantasy coverage/analysis to some of our traditional non-fantasy products. This started at the beginning of the season by adding our two cents to The Call Up pieces, highlighting players making their major league debuts. The biggest change you’ll notice with that over the next few months is that we will be adding a “Fantasy Impact” section to our Transaction Analysis posts when it’s even reasonably relevant for our purposes. So when news breaks, you’ll not only get the top-notch analysis you’ve come to expect from R.J. Anderson and the rest of the team that puts it together, but you’ll also get an explanation of why it matters for fantasy and who it affects.

Another place you will see our footprint is in the prospect team’s Top 10 Prospect lists. In the past, there’s traditionally been a section for this information, but it’s been completed as an afterthought and compiled by writers who don’t play fantasy. Now, we are writing comments on each of the 300 players who will be covered throughout the series.

Both of these are large undertakings, but there’s lots of value to be added in taking some of the legwork out of translating these offerings into fantasy terms.

2014 Player Rankings
Once we get into “rankings season”, there will be a whole primer just on what we plan to cover in this arena. But to prepare you for what that is, we’re going to rank more often, deeper and for different formats. We will be continuing a number of popular items from years past—like the Top 100 Fantasy Prospects, tiered redraft rankings and the weekly updates to pre-season valuations. We will also be bringing keeper/dynasty league rankings into the fold at every position, as that’s a part of this game that has been growing in leaps and bounds. We are very fortunate in that we have a prospect/scouting team that is second to none among all baseball sites, and we take full advantage of it.

A Focus On Strategy
The experts on the BP Fantasy team are not only long-standing members of the fantasy community, but cover the gamut on different types of leagues. And we are going to draw on this expertise to provide strategy content that can help you from start to finish. From rotisserie leagues to points leagues to dynasty leagues, we’ll pull back the curtain to show you how the sausage is made and give you the tips that can help you take home a championship in your league.

Detailed Player Profiles
Of course, it won’t all be big projects and strategic initiatives. There will be a focus—especially when we start doing our rankings and look at fantasy values by position—on painting a detailed picture of the players who make an impact in 2014, either positively or negatively.

Bringing Back the Mailbag
As leagues start to pick up their off-season activities again, we are going to begin running the Fantasy Mailbag again to help answer some of the pressing questions of the day, along with getting into our heads from a process standpoint. And this all starts with you, the reader. As of right now, the way to get in touch with us is to go here and select “BP Fantasy Team” from the drop down menu. All questions, large or small, are welcome through there—and we will make sure to answer all questions from BP subscribers.

Oh, and There’s a Lot More to Come
What I’ve mentioned above are just things which are ready for public consumption at this point. Behind the scenes we are working on a number of big-ticket items that I hope to be able to announce in the coming months. There have certainly been some changes in the last year around here in both our staff and the breadth of products that we strive to provide, but 2014 will be the biggest year that the Fantasy section at BP has seen in the site’s history—and I hope you’ll join us for it.

Bret Sayre is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bret's other articles. You can contact Bret by clicking here

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