These young Braves might seize their playing-time chances and offer value to fantasy owners.
After the Braves’ organizational decision to trade virtually every legitimate offensive option from their 2014 team not named Freddie Freeman, fantasy owners were closely monitoring who would take over the six available lineup spots in Atlanta for the 2015 season. The puzzling winter signing of free agent Nick Markakis to a four-year pact added clarity to the right field situation after Jason Heyward was sent packing to St. Louis, and Chris Johnson’s three-year extension signed last May figured to give him a leg up on at least a share of the third base job. With the remaining Upton brother’s seemingly immovable contract on the books, the Braves figured to give him at least some time in center.
Spring training was the equivalent of an open tryout for the remaining jobs, with Jonny Gomes, Alberto Callaspo, and A.J. Pierzynski brought in to provide platoon options for Fredi Gonzalez in left field, second/third base, and catcher, respectively, and veterans Kelly Johnson and Eric Young, Jr. were brought in on minor-league deals and made the Opening Day roster. The stunning trade of Craig Kimbrel the day before the Braves played their first game included Melvin Upton, Jr., (and his contract) which opened up center field for the taking.
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Examining a few arms Nick missed going into the season, but who've since caught his eye.
Back in March, I went through the American League reliever landscape and identified the non-closers who were worth owning. One reliever I picked out in that article has since taken the job and run with it, which would, of course, be the Yankees Andrew Miller. Another reliever, Shawn Tolleson of the Rangers, picked up his first save of the season Wednesday night and should continue to get the opportunities there. Relievers don’t have to be the closer to have value, though, as Tolleson earned the same amount as Neftali Feliz in AL-Only leagues last year ($8), according to valuation expert Mike Gianella. Here are a few non-closer relievers who I missed before the season, but are worth a look in deep formats.
Reflecting on the strategy of creating multiple lineups for a single slate of ballgames
In a game with such a high level of variation on a day-to-day basis, DFS can be maddening at times as meticulously-constructed lineups are regularly thwarted. There's a natural solution to this issue that might be intuitive to the sabermetrically savvy as well as the Wall Street veterans in the evidence, but lineup diversification is a great way to spread out the variance while at the same time defeating some of the psychological demons that can chase any decision-making process.
Breaking good with Harper and navigating through a murky sea of suspect arms
The hitter prices over at Draft Kings have been inflated a bit today, with 16 position players checking in at $5000 or greater. Such an adjustment was necessary, wth a pitching slate that is extremely thin on the top end today, and failure to adjust the hitting pool accordingly would result in a bunch of loaded lineups with overlap All Stars.
Can these three arms keep surpassing preseason expectations?
I play in a lot of deep (16 to 20-team) leagues, and one of the most important things you can do in a deep league is find yourself some pitching bargains late to fill out the back end of your rotation with consistent league-average production. Confidence in the ability to pull off that feat allows you to invest more heavily in bats during the middle stages of a draft and gives you that much more of a built-in advantage in roster construction. It’s not an easy thing to do, though, and one of the keys to pulling it off involves hitting on a few would-be streamers early who end up providing multi-week or even full-season value. Likewise, diagnosing when to cut bait on those guys is of paramount importance.
In that spirit, here are three guys in this mold who’ve produced outsized return value early in the season, with a look at whether or not the gravy train’s likely to continue on down the track or not.
How to improve fantasy decision-making amid variations in player performance.
At any point in time, players perform well, poorly, and somewhere in between. Their performance fluctuates from at-bat to at-bat, game to game, week to week, month to month, and even year to year. As fantasy baseball participants, we are not really interested in fluctuations and we are certainly not interested in past fluctuations. We are, however, interested in future production. The issue we face is that how we react to such fluctuations, particularly negative fluctuations, can cause us to make sub-optimal decisions. As always, we will take a look at the decision-making obstacle and see if there is anything we can do avoid it.
Updates on Joey Gallo, Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, and more.
Hitter of the Day:Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (Frisco, AA): 3-4, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, BB. This is Gallo at his best, when he avoids strikeouts, controls the strike zone, and drives the baseball. When he does all that, he’s an absolute monster. It’s only when he fails to put the baseball in play that he can be contained.
What does the Mets first baseman's new approach mean for his fantasy value?
Lucas Duda entered the 2015 season as a prototypical middle-of-the-order slugger, a reasonable bet for 25 home runs and potential to dent your batting average. Duda sat on top of the three star tier in our preseason first baseman rankings, effectively placed inside the top 12 and therefore a starter at the position in most leagues. True to the profile, his history includes a patient and pull-heavy approach and he has struggled against same-side pitching.
The Situation: When Jayson Werth went on the disabled list this week, the Nationals made an unconventional choice to replace the slugging outfielder: They brought up an infielder with 56 plate appearances higher than High-A. Difo, though, offers flexibility that will help a Nationals lineup still missing third baseman Anthony Rendon.
Background: Difo, signed as an international free agent in 2010, broke out in the second half last year. He has never made a BP Top 100 but cracked the Nationals' Top 10 this winter. He burst into real prospect conversations this year, hitting .315/.367/.520 in 139 plate appearances split between High-A and Double-A.
The Nationals find first place, Randy Choate reaches first base, the Brewers go back-to-back-to-back, and the best defensive play of the day.
The Tuesday Takeaway
Hope springs eternal when teams break camp and head to their respective openers with 0-0 records. Every team, from the heaviest favorites to the longest of long shots, is in first place on the first day of the season.