Helping you set your fantasy rotation for next week with a look at the two-start pitchers.
Week Four is a glorious week for two-start pitching, as 13 of the top 21 drafted arms will take the bump twice. Beyond just the top end, every single team is currently scheduled to send at least one of its starters out for multiple turns, so there’s likely to be a deep bench of options available for your consideration on the waiver wire as well. Overall, the NL will feature a more balanced menu, with 16 of its 20 two-starters on the docket at least warranting some consideration. Things are a bit dicier in the junior circuit. On the one hand, there are more options (24). On the other, there are way more question marks and landmines. A particularly lengthy list of “considers” will force a whole bunch of not fun decisions for –only leaguers.
As far as the nuts and bolts guidelines for what lies within, the pitchers will be split by league and then by categories:
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Examining minor leaguers whose hot starts make them worth monitoring.
The full-season minor-league schedule has officially kicked off, and we’ve got a good week and a half’s worth of data to work off of now. And we all know what that means: it’s time to start adjusting our pre-season rankings to account for out-of-the-gate performance! Kidding, kidding. For the 52,472,832nd time, using minor-league stats lines for information on prospect status is a terrible, terrible idea. And using nine or 10 games worth of stats is a really terrible idea. Yet there’s still, somehow, a semblance of relevance here insofar as the early returns do affect our perceptions of players despite what we may tell ourselves. And when perception of a prospect changes, even in a small way and against our will, the trade and acquisition values we assign him in dynasty formats is affected. Over the next month as our assorted prospects for a run this season begin to formalize it’ll be these early season performances that inform our recency bias in evaluating prospects to target or sell.
So with caveats noted and demands for caution aired in full, let’s take a look at some interesting super-early performances, both from prospects already firmly on the radar and others who’ve shown some early signs off life from the depths of the prospect ocean.
Helping you start your fantasy rotation for the coming week with a look at the two-start pitchers.
And it begins. Welcome back to the Weekly Pitching Planner! For the uninitiated, every Friday of the season I’ll use this space to take you through the schedule of two-start pitchers for the coming week with a goal of helping identify streamers and inform those difficult decisions about which multi-start options to start and sit. Outside of the elites, two-start pitchers are often as much or more trouble than they’re worth, so we’ll aim to tread carefully through this potential minefield.
It’s a potential minefield, of course, because rare is the week in which the stars align to offer your starters not just one but two consecutive tasty matchups. As a result you’ll notice that sometimes the better starters will find themselves in the “consider” category, as they might have one good matchup but a second tough one. And similarly, less-talented hurlers might just meander their way into “start” territory from time to time on account of a plum schedule.
Wilson goes out on a limb, forecasting big things for Pedro Alvarez, Mike Napoli, and others.
It occurred to me the other day in filling out my BP staff predictions ballot that I hadn’t written a #bold fantasy predictions column anywhere on the internet yet this spring. And that’s just a damn shame, because who doesn’t love #bold predictions! So with no further ado, and likely much ado about nothing, here are five things that are definitely going to happen.
Pedro Alvarez will lead the National League in home runs with a whiff rate under 22 percent
Defending champion (he says) Wilson reveals his ideal squad for 2015.
Mike Gianella recently released his latest mixed league Bid Limits, which spurred an idea from Bret Sayre called Model Portfolios, wherein the fantasy staff will create their own team within the confines of a standard 23-man, $260 budget. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OFx5, UTx2, and Px9 along with the following standards issued by Sayre:
Comparing when the fantasy staff would advise you to take players to when they're actually being selected.
This article took shape thanks to the comments and suggestions of BP readers Tuck and TroJim. The former noted that a column elaborating on some of the larger discrepancies between Mike Gianella’s Top 300 list and current ADP numbers might be a helpful exercise in helping drafters determine value, and I agree. And then in a response to questions about the utility of our Darkhorses series focusing on generally known and highly drafted players, TroJim made the following excellent point: “Like the stock market... some people try to get rich on penny stocks and others find success in discerning which blue chips will perform the best.”
And lo, a column was born. I’m going to focus this article on the players with the largest gaps between our own ranking and ADP from the top 84 names on Mike’s list, as that cutoff represents the top six rounds of a standard 14-team league. I don’t think I’m breaking much ground with this declaration, but the top six rounds of a draft are extremely important rounds. These are your blue chip players, the foundation upon which your team is built. It’s possible to win with an underwhelming start, but it’s awfully difficult.
A handful of former blue-chippers still worthy of your attention.
Since we’re deep in the thick of draft season right now I figured I’d use this space to focus solely on those non-sexy no-longer-prospect types who’ve shown some legitimate reasons for intrigue over the past twelve months. In case you’ve missed them, here are our previous articles in this series:
A handful of senior-circuit hurlers worthy of your attention.
In case you missed it, J.P. and Nick got our “Five to Watch” series started this week with looks at NL Post-Prospects and AL Hitters. Today we turn our attention back to the bump, and in a surprising turn it actually proved tougher sledding last year to find top-tier pitching talent in the senior circuit. Twenty NL pitchers returned at least $20 of NL-only value last season, with 37 topping the $15 mark. That stacked up a little light against the AL, where 24 hit the $20 threshold and 46 topped $15. So in the interest of helping you navigate these choppier-than-expected waters, here are five NL starters who, for one reason or another, fan the flames of my heart as interesting hurlers to keep an eye on.
Given where they're going in drafts right now, you might do well to pass on these five bats.
It’s here! Your draft is finally here! Yes, one of the most wonderful times of the fantasy baseball year is upon us, and that means narrowing down our target lists. One of the best ways to do this is by comparing you own player valuations with finally relevant ADP compilations as a means to figuring out who you may be able to secure the best surplus value potential by acquiring. Your basic goal above all else on draft day should always be to maximize the potential surplus value you can generate with your picks. That means targeting guys who are the most likely to outperform their draft positions, thereby giving you the greatest cumulative advantage in value production over your opponents.
One of the best ways to not accomplish that goal is by ending up with guys who have poor chances to produce value equivalent to the cost you paid to acquire them. In other words, if I draft a guy in the fifth round who goes on to produce numbers that are equal to a guy someone else drafted in the ninth round, my player has generated negative value for me. Not good.
Examining relievers who are worth targeting in leagues that count Holds or have innings caps.
I want to start this article by stating, clearly and in no uncertain terms, that I did not want to write this article. Bret made me do it. While on the one hand, aggressively targeting middle relievers in the early season is one of my favorite strategies for driving down my pitching ratios, projecting middle relievers before the season starts for draft day consumption is just a terrible, terrible idea. Yes, the flame-out rate is high. But just as importantly, the out-of-nowhere-hero effect is even higher. Dellin Betances? Yeah, that dude got drafted in like one percent of leagues last year. Wade Davis, Ken Giles, Brad Boxberger… none of those guys were high priority for drafters outside the deepest of leagues last spring.
Relievers come, and relievers go. How they’ll perform, nobody knows. Still, there do tend to be some traits in particular you’ll want to go after if you’re targeting guys in a Holds league. For one, there’s a significant correlation between strikeouts and the Holds leaderboards. Since accumulating Holds oftentimes depends on securing outs in high-leverage situations, this would seem to follow rather logically. Jeff Zimmermanwrote a nice piece to this effect last winter, and the basic punchline was that using past performance to predict future Holds totals is basically pointless, but that middle relievers with higher strikeout rates tend to be the best bets.