What if Taylor Motter's season were set to showtunes? Is Chad too Kuhl for the room? Will they write songs about the guys filling in for the Dodgers injury brigade?
Welcome back to The FAAB Review, the weekly series that looks at FAAB bidding in expert leagues to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Every week, I closely scrutinize the expert free-agent bids in LABR Mixed, Tout Wars NL, and LABR AL. As a reminder, LABR uses a $100 budget with $1 minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 budget with $0 minimum bids. LABR and Tout Wars use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET for all FAAB claims. Any statistics mentioned in this article are through the previous Sunday’s games.
LABR Mixed Trevor Rosenthal $11. Other bids: $4, $3, $1. Tout Auction: $99
Entering 2017, Seung Hwan Oh was considered one of the five or six “reliable” closing options in fantasy. His average ADP of 70th put him behind only Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman, Zach Britton and Mark Melancon. On Opening Night, Oh blew a save in horrific fashion. It was against the Cubs, so no one thought much of it at the time, but ever since Oh hasn’t quite looked like his dominant self. The results have been solid after a rocky first week (in his past six outings, Oh has allowed one run in six innings with one walk, six strikeouts and five saves), but he also has had moments where he looked vulnerable, something we didn’t see much of with Oh in 2016.
Razzball founder Grey Albright joins the show to discuss a myriad of relevant (and irrelevant) topics. Then George Bissell and Mike Gianella answer listener questions in the first-ever mailbag segment.
Early on, look less at the data while watching more baseball.
April is a rough time for baseball analysts, fantasy or otherwise. We’re so excited to finally write about real baseball games that many of us inevitably jump the gun and start trying to parse through miniscule amounts of data. My best advice during the first 2-3 weeks of the season is to watch as much baseball as you can while looking at as little data as possible. Yes, this includes looking at how your teams are doing in their fantasy leagues. This is particularly true if your team is off to a poor start. Spend enough time looking at poor results for a two-week period and you might find yourself believing that your team really is this bad.
However, while performances seldom impact a fantasy team’s overall fortunes, events frequently do. Injuries are the most dramatic performance-altering event, but lineup changes or mid-season minor-league promotions can have an impact as well, particularly in deeper leagues. But the in-season change I want to talk about today involves closers.
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Sorting out the Texas Rangers bullpen might take all season, but chasing saves with a losing team can be a scary fantasy proposition. Melvin Upton Jr. will get a rebirth with the Giants soon—they just better hope he does better than he did with the Jays after being traded.
Welcome back to The FAAB Review, the weekly series that looks at FAAB bidding in expert leagues to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Every week, I closely scrutinize the expert free agent bids in LABR Mixed, Tout Wars NL, and LABR AL.
As a reminder, LABR uses a $100 budget with one-dollar minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 budget with zero-dollar minimum bids. LABR and Tout Wars use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET for all FAAB claims. Any statistics mentioned in this article are through the previous Sunday’s games.
George Bissell, Mike Gianella and Greg Wellemeyer break down the latest FAAB acquisitions in Tout Wars and LABR, discuss current events, Yoan Moncada’s blazing hot start in Triple-A, and finally answer a plethora of Twitter questions.
Mark Reynolds, Kyle Freeland, Stephen Drew and Jeff Mathis (!?) getting lots of action.
Welcome back to The FAAB Review, the weekly series that looks at fantasy free-agent bidding in expert leagues to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Every week, I closely scrutinize the expert free agent bids in LABR Mixed, Tout Wars NL, and LABR AL.
As a reminder, LABR uses a $100 budget with $1 minimum bids, while Tout Wars uses a $1,000 budget with $0 minimum bids. LABR and Tout Wars use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET for all FAAB claims. Any statistics mentioned in this article are through the previous Sunday’s games.
George Bissell, Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre of Baseball Prospectus break down the first cycle of FAAB bidding in the Tout Wars and LABR expert leagues before taking an in-depth look at April lineup setting strategies.
Applying PFM valuations to the My Model Portfolio exercise and testing the results against mixed Tout Wars teams.
Every March, at least a few readers ask me “Why don’t you just use the PFM instead of your bids, Mike?”
Over the years, I have answered this question a few different ways. But today I thought I’d take a different approach. Inspired by a reader question last month, I decided to take the Player Forecast Manager's valuations for a 15-team mixed league and apply them to Baseball Prospectus’ My Model Portfolio exercise from March. As a reminder, this is what our authors did in that series.
In the “My Model Portfolio” series, the fantasy staff will create its own team within a $260 auction budget using Mike Gianella’s latest mixed-league Bid Limits for 2017. The scoring is 5x5 standard roto. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, 5 OF, 2 UTIL, and 9 P.
In this case, the process is simple. I took my mixed-league bids, took the valuations the PFM spit out for a 15-team league, and posted the results below. I started by using the 23 players who had the biggest differential between the PFM valuations and my bid limits, and kept adding players with less of a differential by position until I reached $260 in salary. As a reminder, every “winning” bid below equals my published bid limits plus one. One-dollar players on my team are those who were not listed in my bid limits.
The only change I made to this exercise is that I added a second catcher to the team and removed the second utility player, since my bids are designed to mirror the Tout Wars mixed-auction format. At the end of the season, I want to test this team not against the model portfolio teams but rather the mixed Tout Wars teams.
The PFM is far more conservative on the top players than I am, so there are no Mike Trouts on this squad. This goes against what Bret Sayre typically does in Tout Wars mixed, and the approach I tend to take in shallower auctions. Sanchez at $25 is the anchor for the team, but the PFM also is betting on a comeback from McCutchen and for Hamilton to finally achieve his potential.
This is a fairly risk-averse team. Where my bid limits are somewhat cautious with Joseph and Travis, the PFM believes that they’ll be solid contributors. Calhoun and Ellsbury are not the most exciting players, but the PFM thinks that they will at least contribute at the levels they did over the last few years.
You can’t argue against purchasing Clayton Kershaw. While my bid limit sits at $42, it is admittedly a compromise with at least three separate goals: trying to spread money across a pitching staff, building in some risk because he is a pitcher, and also giving deference to Clayton Kershaw. I have no qualms with spending $50 or more on him in a mixed format.
The PFM spits out mostly veterans, which isn’t surprising. A former AL Cy Young winner, a reliable-yet-aging workhorse, and a solid arm who had one poor year with the White Sox back up Kershaw at $10 apiece. This is a very strong base for a pitching staff. With a pitching staff like this, my strategy typically would be to bottom out with one dollar starters and spend $77 on the entire staff.
This is the section of the model portfolio where our staff came up with predictions for their teams. For a league that doesn’t play out, going with a balanced team is a solid approach. Something the PFM cannot do that a human can is look for one-dollar fliers that the PFM puts below replacement level. Someone is going to get this year’s Aledmys Diaz—we just don’t know who that is yet.
I will revisit this team at the end of the regular season. Like any “test” of the PFM, it is far from perfect, but this is the goal of the PFM: to build a hypothetical team that is a successful fantasy franchise.
A look at how the wise guys spent their money in expert leagues during the opening week.
Welcome back to The FAAB Review, the series that looks at FAAB bidding in expert leagues in an effort to try to help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs.
This year there is a change in the leagues we cover. I’ll still be covering the LABR Mixed and Tout Wars NL bids, but since I have shifted over from LABR Mixed to LABR AL I'll be focusing more on LABR AL for my American League-only readers. While I will offer insight into the bidding in the mixed expert leagues, it won’t have my direct perspective.
Three-hundred players. Ranked in a slightly different manner than two weeks ago.
Below is the second and final update for those readers who do drafts instead of auctions. This list is modeled for 15-team mixed leagues that use standard Rotisserie scoring and rosters. As noted in the previous update, this means that the list does not contain 30 catchers, so you will need to add a few catchers to the bottom of this list to make sure that you draft a second catcher.
Most of the rankings in this update remain unchanged, particularly in the Top 150 or so. Changes in this update are due to injury or change in roles, not value judgments based on a player’s Spring Training performance.
Mike updates his bid limits for the final time this spring.
Here it is, the fifth and final bid limit update. Opening Day is Sunday (!) and at long last all that hard work and preparation will come to fruition with a kick ass auction this coming weekend. Updates below are either because of injury and playing time changes or because the results of the Tout Wars auctions this weekend made me reconsider a bid.
Changes of two dollars in either direction are listed below for players with significant value. Mixed league bids will reflect the same valuation change unless otherwise noted. Players whose prices have been updated because of the Tout Wars auction results will be updated in the AL and NL-only sections only.