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Mike Gianella 

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01-30

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14

Fantasy Freestyle: PFM vs. the 'Experts,' Part One (Hitters)
by
Mike Gianella

01-29

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39

Prospectus Feature: The PECOTA Release
by
Mike Gianella and Rob McQuown

01-27

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1

Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 40: Weathermen
by
Bret Sayre, Mike Gianella and Mauricio Rubio

01-26

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2

State of the Position: Third Base
by
Mike Gianella

01-20

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1

Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 39: This Is Another Tangent
by
Bret Sayre, Mike Gianella and Mauricio Rubio

01-20

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16

Fantasy Tiered Rankings: Second Base
by
Mike Gianella

01-20

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20

Transaction Analysis: The Nationals Stare Into The Future
by
Sam Miller and Mike Gianella

01-16

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22

Fantasy Freestyle: Stop Looking for Sleepers, Start Looking for Value
by
Mike Gianella

01-13

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1

Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 38: Reasonable Strategic Position
by
Bret Sayre, Mike Gianella and Mauricio Rubio

01-12

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11

State of the Position: First Base
by
Mike Gianella

01-06

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0

Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 37: Don't Say It Like That, Mau
by
Bret Sayre, Mike Gianella and Mauricio Rubio

01-06

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34

Fantasy Tiered Rankings: Catchers
by
Mike Gianella

12-30

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5

Fantasy Team Preview: Washington Nationals
by
Mike Gianella

12-22

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7

Transaction Analysis: Martin in Miami, Nate to New York
by
R.J. Anderson and Mike Gianella

12-19

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5

Transaction Analysis: Catchin' Relief
by
Matthew Trueblood, R.J. Anderson, Wilson Karaman, Mike Gianella, Jordan Gorosh and Chris Rodriguez

12-16

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: The Trouble With Tiers
by
Mike Gianella

12-12

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15

Transaction Analysis: All the Fantasy Angles
by
J.P. Breen, Mike Gianella, Wilson Karaman, Ben Carsley and Nick Shlain

12-08

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0

Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 36: The One About Valuations
by
Bret Sayre, Mike Gianella and Mauricio Rubio

12-08

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0

Fantasy Team Preview: Philadelphia Phillies
by
Mike Gianella

12-08

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5

Transaction Analysis: Replacing a Legend
by
R.J. Anderson, Craig Goldstein, Mike Gianella, Andrew Koo and Jordan Gorosh

12-04

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3

Retrospective Player Valuation: Mixed-League Pitchers
by
Mike Gianella

12-02

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0

Retrospective Player Valuation: Mixed-League Hitters
by
Mike Gianella

11-20

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0

Retrospective Player Valuation: National League Pitchers
by
Mike Gianella

11-18

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3

Retrospective Player Valuation: National League Hitters
by
Mike Gianella

11-13

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8

Retrospective Player Valuation: American League Pitchers
by
Mike Gianella

11-11

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2

Retrospective Player Valuation: American League Hitters
by
Mike Gianella

11-05

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3

Transaction Analysis: Lind Blows Out of Toronto
by
R.J. Anderson and Mike Gianella

10-29

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3

Fantasy Team Preview: Minnesota Twins
by
Mike Gianella

10-28

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0

Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 35: We Were Into It
by
Bret Sayre, Mike Gianella and Mauricio Rubio

10-20

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: My Personal Scorecard: Part 2 - National League
by
Mike Gianella

10-17

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22

Playoff Prospectus: A Three-Act Tragedy, A Three-Act Triumph: NLCS Game 5
by
Mike Gianella

10-16

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2

Playoff Prospectus: PECOTA Odds and Game Five Preview
by
Mike Gianella

10-13

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: My Personal Scorecard: Part 1 - American League
by
Mike Gianella

10-13

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5

Playoff Prospectus: Managing in a 'Must-Not-Lose': NLCS Game 2
by
Mike Gianella

10-12

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0

Playoff Prospectus: PECOTA Odds and Game Two Previews
by
Mike Gianella

10-08

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7

Playoff Prospectus: Vogelsong Stymies, Williams Perplexes: NLDS Game Four
by
Mike Gianella

10-06

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0

Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 34 Therapuetic Fantasy Baseball
by
Bret Sayre, Mike Gianella and Mauricio Rubio

10-06

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5

Playoff Prospectus: PECOTA Odds and Monday Previews
by
Mike Gianella and Zachary Levine

10-05

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8

Playoff Prospectus: Zimmermann and Post-Zimmermann: The Two Games Within NLDS Game Two
by
Mike Gianella

10-03

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5

Playoff Prospectus: NLDS Preview: Nationals vs. Giants
by
Mike Gianella and Doug Thorburn

10-03

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7

Playoff Prospectus: Baseball Nirvana Game Previews
by
Sahadev Sharma, Jeff Quinton, Mike Gianella, Doug Thorburn and J.P. Breen

10-01

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9

Playoff Prospectus: NL Wild Card Game Preview
by
Mike Gianella

09-29

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: 2014 Expert-League Recaps
by
Mike Gianella

09-22

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: DFS and the State of Fantasy Baseball
by
Mike Gianella

09-18

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1

Free Agent Watch: Week 25
by
Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

09-17

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0

Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 33: Halfway House
by
Bret Sayre, Mike Gianella and Mauricio Rubio

09-15

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7

Fantasy Freestyle: The Other Guys, Part Two: National League
by
Mike Gianella

09-11

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11

Free Agent Watch: Week 24
by
Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

09-08

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: The Other Guys, Part One: American League
by
Mike Gianella

09-04

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5

Free Agent Watch: Week 23
by
Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

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This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

January 30, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: PFM vs. the 'Experts,' Part One (Hitters)

14

Mike Gianella

Part one in a two-part series comparing the PFM's performance to those of owners in experts leagues.

Sometimes in these pieces, I delve into a long explanation of what I’m going to write and what I’m going to set out to prove. That’s not going to happen today. I’ve got a lot of tables to produce and a tight deadline so I’m just going to dive right into it. Today’s goal is to take a look at the PFM, take a look at expert prices, and determine whether or not I should be using the PFM more as a tool to devise my bid limits or if perhaps I should chuck my bid limits entirely. How’s that for a attention grabbing lead?

Baseball Prospectus fantasy writers get asked about PECOTA a lot. Some subscribers don’t understand why they should bother with my bid limits when the PFM serves the same purpose as my bid limits but with a more mathematical bent. Others find my bid limits interesting but think that the PFM should be featured more as we approach Draft Day.

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

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Tackling a few relevant topics on PECOTA day.

Welcome to PECOTA day, sponsored by DraftKings. Premium subscribers can now download the 2015 Weighted Means Spreadsheet under the Fantasy tab at the top of this page, or by clicking "manage your profile." Player pages have been updated with these projections, as have team depth charts (with projected standings) and the fantasy team tracker. Allow us to expand on a few details that might be helpful to you.

Why Does PECOTA Hate My Team?

Every year, fantasy owners and fans of teams ask this question, “Why Does PECOTA Hate My Team?” Last year, Deadspin compiled five dozen “(maybe) surprising player projections.” This season, there’s already been a Lineup Card with eight such surprising projections and Sam Miller did some Pebble Hunting to reveal some of the “winners” in the PECOTA pitching projections. This all raises the question of why Baseball Prospectus would keep publishing surprising projections. Shouldn’t these things be getting better with time, as the system is refined and there’s more data?

It would be disingenuous to suggest that projections never miss the mark. Sometimes by a lot. In fact, last season alone, 39 of the 362 position players for which Baseball Prospectus had projected 100 or more plate appearances actually amassed 100 or more plate appearances with very unexpected (to PECOTA) hitting performances. We looked at these players’ WARP-per-600 plate appearances, with FRAA removed (yes, FRAA is important, but it’s projected differently and is—sometimes—much more out of the player’s control than batting stats). Using this metric, 39 players missed by 3.0 or more WARP-per-600. It could almost have been called, “Craig’s List”, as Mr. Allen Craig was the no. 9 culprit with a WARP-per-600 difference of 4.6 … and as those who saw him play for Boston can attest, he was making a strong run to top this list. PECOTA had projected 1.8 WARP-sans-FRAA in 426 PA (March 22nd projections), and he ended up with -1.7 WARP-sans-FRAA in 505 PA. But Dan Uggla took the top honors, falling 5.7 WARP-per-600 short of projections. Steve Pearce was no. 3 and represented the top over-performer, bettering his WARP-per-600 projection by 5.4.

The above examples come from the most stable group of players—batters who were projected to play and who did play. Yet, some of the most surprising projections entering the 2014 season ended up being close to perfect. For example, people who saw A.J. Burnett pitch in 2013 thought PECOTA needed glasses, as it projected Burnett to have one of the 10 largest declines in 2014. It projected his ERA to be 4.24, which, considering the drop in leaguewide offense in 2014, would have been adjusted to 4.14. His FIP in 2014? 4.14. Projections for Bryce Harper and B.J. Upton, tabbed as “(maybe) surprising” in the Deadspin article, proved prescient.. Remember the reaction when Chris Davis had a .289 TAv projection (again March 22)? That number ended up being optimistic (he posted a .271), even though when he was coming off a .358 TAv season virtually everyone thought PECOTA hated the guy.

Seriously, though, PECOTA doesn’t hate any player or anyone’s team. There are no biases in it based on anything but historical track records. For completeness, it should be noted that results such as the examples herein are not just “shrugged off” – both accurate and inaccurate results are processed. So, while some projections are going to be surprising, it’s important to keep in mind that all-in-all, the results have been very accurate over the years (thank you, Nate Silver!).

Using Team Tracker

Everyone who follows baseball at all has probably dabbled in the Baseball Prospectus Team Tracker—the most powerful tool of its kind available. For a reminder of some of the various things Team Tracker can do, both on the Team Tracker pages and elsewhere on the site, please refer back to Feature Focus articles on Team Tracker, Basics and Team Tracker, Advanced. The primary reason it’s being mentioned here is that 2015 PECOTA forecasts are now available. Shown is an actual portion of the Team Tracker page for the hitters on my Scoresheet team. (A team which was much better last season than it had any right to be. I had the second-best record among 24 teams entering the final week of the season and then, um, moving on… ) It can be seen that even for a 24-team league, hard times are likely ahead in 2015, based on PECOTA projections. The excerpt from my Team Tracker display is truncated on the right side as a reminder that there are many other stats which can be selected for the reports—allowing them to be tailored to each owner’s needs.

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Bret and Mike take a deep dive into current fantasy baseball topics.

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January 26, 2015 6:00 am

State of the Position: Third Base

2

Mike Gianella

Sizing up the position from a fantasy point of view.

For the earlier articles in this series, click below:

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Bret and Mike take a deep dive into current fantasy baseball topics.

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January 20, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Tiered Rankings: Second Base

16

Mike Gianella

Breaking down the position into value-based bins.

To read the previous editions in this series, follow the links below:

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January 20, 2015 12:01 am

Transaction Analysis: The Nationals Stare Into The Future

20

Sam Miller and Mike Gianella

Washington signs the top free agent on this year's market, Max Scherzer.

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January 16, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Stop Looking for Sleepers, Start Looking for Value

22

Mike Gianella

Examining how to identify the right kinds of sleepers.

If it’s January, it must be time for fantasy analysts to come out of the woodwork and start identifying “sleepers.” This term is almost as old as fantasy baseball itself. While it is possible it was a useful exercise at one point, like a lot of other overused buzzwords the term sleeper has become completely arbitrary and therefore virtually worthless. So far this winter, I have seen the following players identified as sleepers:

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Bret and Mike take a deep dive into current fantasy baseball topics.

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January 12, 2015 6:00 am

State of the Position: First Base

11

Mike Gianella

Big power might suddenly be tough to come by at a position that had been well stocked before 2014.

If 2013 looked like the dawn of a grand new era at first base, in 2014 reality came crashing down on this supposed new paradigm. Ten first basemen earned $25 or more in mono formats in 2013; in 2014, only five first basemen managed to reach this vaunted plateau. It could be argued that first base has been impacted more by the limited offensive climate than any other position. The days of the 25-30 home run hitter aren’t dead and forgotten, but with fewer top shelf big boppers to go around, fantasy owners have to decide if they want to invest a high draft pick on a major power play or if they want to try and opt for cheaper production that is attached to more of an all-around player. James Loney’s 2014 line looks excruciatingly boring, but he was the 13th-best first baseman in fantasy in 2014. Unless your league is super shallow, what were once pedestrian-looking numbers are now a staple in some team’s lineup.

Despite the lack of top tier production in 2014, the top of the player pool still looks strong. Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Cabrera both look to bounce back from injuries and take their rightful place at the top of the heap in mono leagues. Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Abreu offer strong power production and could easily fill the void if Cabrera’s injury recovery winds up being on the longer side. Immediately beneath this quartet of $30-plus potential earners is a trio of grizzled veterans—Adrian Gonzalez, Victor Martinez, and Albert Pujols—accompanied by last year’s big breakout player, Anthony Rizzo. Martinez produced at an elite level last year, but the fickle nature of V-Mart’s high batting average makes Rizzo the most likely to crack the top five this year assuming further growth.

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Bret and Mike take a deep dive into current fantasy baseball topics.

Read the full article...

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

January 6, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Tiered Rankings: Catchers

34

Mike Gianella

Breaking down the position into fantasy-value-based bins.

Today, we kick off our positional tier rankings. For the third year in a row, we have made this into a collaborative effort. Players at each position will be divided into five tiers, represented by a “star” rating.

Five-star players are the studs at their position. In general, they are the players who will be nabbed in the first couple of rounds of the draft, and they will fetch auction bids in excess of $30. Four-star players are a cut below the studs at the position. They will also be early-round selections, and they are projected to be worth more than $20 in most cases. Three-star players are the last tier in which players are projected to provide double-digit dollar value in auctions, and two-star players are projected to earn single digits in dollar value in auctions. One-star players are late-round sleepers and roster placeholders. The positional tiers aren't simply a regurgitation of last year’s values but rather try to offer some insights into what we expect will happen in 2014.

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