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Wilson Karaman 

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11-21

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5

Fantasy Team Preview: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
by
Wilson Karaman

11-18

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10

Transaction Analysis: Heyward Movement
by
Sam Miller, Jeff Moore, Ben Carsley and Wilson Karaman

11-10

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7

Fantasy Team Preview: Toronto Blue Jays
by
Wilson Karaman

10-30

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept that Justin Upton is Quite Good
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Wilson Karaman

10-21

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Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Alcides Escobar
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Wilson Karaman

10-10

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Shelby Miller
by
Wilson Karaman

10-03

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Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Denard Span
by
Wilson Karaman

09-25

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Using FIP to Find Value
by
Wilson Karaman

09-19

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10

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 26
by
Wilson Karaman

09-12

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13

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 25
by
Wilson Karaman

09-05

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13

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 24
by
Wilson Karaman

08-29

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7

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 23
by
Wilson Karaman

08-22

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12

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 22
by
Wilson Karaman

08-15

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6

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 21
by
Wilson Karaman

08-08

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11

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 20
by
Wilson Karaman

08-01

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7

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 19
by
Wilson Karaman

07-25

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9

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 18
by
Wilson Karaman

07-18

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5

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 17
by
Wilson Karaman

07-11

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Buy or Sell: Charlie Morton
by
Wilson Karaman

07-03

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11

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 15
by
Wilson Karaman

06-27

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2

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 14
by
Wilson Karaman

06-20

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10

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 13
by
Wilson Karaman

06-13

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9

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 12
by
Wilson Karaman

06-06

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6

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 11
by
Wilson Karaman

05-30

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10

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 10
by
Wilson Karaman

05-23

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7

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week Nine
by
Wilson Karaman

05-16

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4

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week Eight
by
Wilson Karaman

05-15

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: The Middle of the Road
by
Wilson Karaman

05-09

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18

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week Seven
by
Wilson Karaman

05-02

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6

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week Six
by
Wilson Karaman

04-25

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3

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week Five
by
Wilson Karaman

04-11

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12

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week Three
by
Wilson Karaman

04-04

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16

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week Two
by
Wilson Karaman

03-31

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2

My Model Portfolio: Yes, I Paid for Trout
by
Wilson Karaman

03-24

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Early-Season Strategic Decisions
by
Wilson Karaman

03-17

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6

Five to Watch: American League Prospects
by
Wilson Karaman

03-13

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5

Five to Watch: American League Hitters
by
Wilson Karaman

03-06

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6

Tale of the Tape: Joe Nathan vs. Sergio Romo
by
Wilson Karaman

02-20

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5

Tale of the Tape: Yoenis Cespedes vs. Wil Myers
by
Wilson Karaman

02-06

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3

Tale of the Tape: J.J. Hardy vs. Xander Bogaerts
by
Wilson Karaman

01-23

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Tale of the Tape: Freddie Freeman vs. Eric Hosmer
by
Wilson Karaman

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

November 21, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Team Preview: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

5

Wilson Karaman

Two words: Mike Trout.

The Angels rolled their way to the best record in baseball last season on the strength of one of the best offensive units in the league. With a lineup featuring the current best player in the game as well as one of the greatest right-handed hitters in its history, they paced MLB with 773 runs scored and a collective .277 TAv. Pitching wasn’t quite as pretty, as the Halos’ 3.58 team ERA ranked just a middle-of-the-pack 15th even though they call one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in baseball home. Despite the overall mediocrity of the staff, there were several standout arms for fantasy purposes, with guys like Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker coming out of nowhere to produce strong returns on FAAB investments.

Despite the regular season success the Orange Countians were quickly dispatched from the playoffs by the Tasmanian Devil that was your October 2014 Kansas City Royals. But with only Jason Grilli headed from a contributing role into free agency this offseason they’ll head into 2015 as the early favorites to repeat as Western Division champions, and they currently project to feature pretty much the exact same cast of fantasy-relevant characters. Let’s take a look at what they have to offer.

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November 18, 2014 12:01 am

Transaction Analysis: Heyward Movement

10

Sam Miller, Jeff Moore, Ben Carsley and Wilson Karaman

The Cardinals get one of the best young stars in the game, while the Braves add club-controlled pitching.

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November 10, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Team Preview: Toronto Blue Jays

7

Wilson Karaman

The Jays have the longest active postseason drought in the majors, but they also have players that can help your fantasy team get there.

With the Royals’ magic carpet ride to Game Seven of the World Series in October, the dubious distinction for longest playoff drought in Major League Baseball now belongs to the Toronto Blue Jays, who haven’t played a meaningful game since Joe Carter touched ‘em all. But despite those real-world sorrows the Canadian club continues to produce valuable fantasy players year after year, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Rogers Center again played as one of the best ballparks in baseball to catch a souvenir in 2014, and the Blue Jays’ high octane offense checked in third in the Majors in both homeruns and team ISO, fifth in runs scored, and eighth in TAv. And for its part, the pitching staff, while overall poor and inconsistent, managed to produce some sneaky interesting performances. With a wave of young pitching talent set to break imminently, there is promise for more in the immediate future as well.

The Jays will enter this off-season set up for a relatively modest amount of turnover. Two of their starting outfielders from a year ago, Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus, will hit free agency, and while the club recently shipped Adam Lind to Milwaukee in order to clear some payroll, it appears unlikely either will be back with Toronto in 2015. Pitching-wise, the rotation cup is poised to runneth over. Last year’s starting five should all remain under club control, and while the club recently declined injury-riddled Brandon Morrow’s option several young MLB-ready prospects will be waiting in the wings for trial runs throughout the year. The departures of closer Casey Janssen and injured set-up man Sergio Santos will open up the back of the bullpen for a competition or free agent signings as well. Let’s take a look at how the roster is currently shaping up as we enter the offseason.

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The Braves outfielder is a better fantasy asset than you think.

Last winter, I wrote a fairly lengthy piece over at Dynasty Guru detailing my frustration with Justin Upton as a longtime owner in my primary dynasty league. The verdict: The move to Atlanta in 2013 had been a net negative for Upton’s fantasy profile, as organizational philosophies emphasizing swinging for the downs and limiting stolen base attempts were poised to restrict Upton’s batting average and stolen base contributions. I later doubled down a month into the season with a pretty brutal deconstruction of Upton’s successful-on-the-surface April efforts, ultimately recommending a sell-high on account of an exploding swing-and-miss rate on in-zone fastballs and an unsustainable BABIP. My conclusion, which mind you was not necessarily unwarranted by the numbers, suggested “an ugly dossier of negative indicators for performance going forward—one that does not at all suggest that Upton’s strong surface start is evidence that he’s finally turned the corner as he enters his physical prime. Nigh on every indicator of successful hitting has not only failed to improve over the past couple of seasons, but is instead regressing at a fairly rapid pace right now.”

So, what happened next? Well, from that sell recommendation to the end of the season he maintained a .259/.330/.462 line with 21 homers, 147 R+RBI, and five steals en route to the 37th-most valuable fantasy season overall (14th among outfielders). Not on par with his April campaign, when he was the second-most valuable outfielder behind Jose Bautista, but certainly well-above average numbers across the board. The batting average was a slight liability and the steals were token contributions. His power production, on the other hand, was highly valuable even after he tore through a good bit of his full-season value in April. His .313 TAv was the second-best mark of his career, checking in 21st among all qualified hitters. Here’s the real kicker, though: I wasn’t particularly wrong in any of the analysis I offered of Upton’s offensive flaws in either of those articles. He logged the numbers he did despite a whole bunch of glaring red flags. So what do we make of him as a fantasy asset going forward, and how should he be valued come draft day 2015?

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The Royals shortstop won't be a sexy name on draft day, but there's a lot to like about his fantasy profile.

Player Background
The Brewers signed Escobar as a 16-year-old on international signing day of 2003, and he made his stateside debut the following summer as a 17-year-old in the Pioneer League. After working his way up to Double-A for the second half of his age-20 season in 2007, he cracked the Brewers’ top prospect list for the first time heading into 2008, ultimately topping the list as a five-star prospect in 2010 and peaking as high as 19th on the BP 101 that same offseason. The Brewers traded away the then-26-year-old J.J. Hardy to clear a path for Escobar, which should tell you all you need to know about how highly regarded he was as a prospect. Regaled universally for his plus-plus range and generally top shelf defensive profile at short, Escobar was tabbed as an impatient, powerless hitter, but one still capable of slapping his way to a .280-plus batting average with 30-steal speed.

Despite the shortstop-of-the-future billing, the Brewers shipped the then-23-year-old to Kansas City as the centerpiece of the Zack Greinke trade after he struggled in his first full big-league season. Since arriving in KC, Escobar has pretty much developed into exactly the type of player scouts envisioned him becoming. He hasn’t posted a walk rate over 4.2 percent in any of his four seasons in Royal blue, nor has he managed to crack the .100 ISO threshold or generate league-average offensive value.


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October 10, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Shelby Miller

1

Wilson Karaman

After he held his own against Clayton Kershaw in the deciding game of the NLDS, is the righty's arrow pointing upward for 2015?

And on we march to the LCS! Unfortunately, one of the teams making that claim this year yet again is the Cardinals, who dispatched my Dodgers to the golf courses of Southern California for the second straight year. And one of the guys who helped set up their 412th-straight NLCS clash with the Giants was 23-year-old Shelby Miller, who pitched 5 2/3 reasonably strong innings in the Division Series clincher.

Now, if you rewind just two months to the beginning of August, this highlight would’ve been an improbable one to predict. At the time, Miller was staggering his way through a terribly disappointing sophomore campaign. His 4.14 ERA and 1.39 WHIP through July were paired with ugly strikeout and walk rates, resulting in a brief demotion from the rotation and an ownership rate that cratered at 67 percent in Sportsline leagues after the All-Star break. Hope for the breakout that many envisioned pre-season looked to be as fleeting as Miller’s command, and those with long-term dynasty league investments in the talented right-hander were exploring options to ship him for cents on the dollar as trading deadlines approached.

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October 3, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Denard Span

0

Wilson Karaman

The outfielder has transformed his offensive game since coming to D.C., but can he sustain the improvements into 2015?

Welcome to the most glorious of days: the first of maybe two (if we’re lucky) days annually when we get a full schedule of four playoff baseball games. Several of my colleagues have already kicked off our Playoff Spotlight series with looks at the various fantasy values of several players who either are or were at one time playing in this year’s post-season. Pieces on Eric Hosmer, Josh Donaldson, and Edinson Volquez all await your consumption.

Today I’d like to turn my attention to a player I have a long personal history of fantasy entanglement with, Washington leadoff hitter Denard Span. Span’s coming off his best fantasy season since his first full year in the Majors back in 2009. His .302 average, 31 steals, and 94 runs combined to catapult him into the top 15 overall fantasy outfielders in 2014, just like I drew it up in the preseason when I was completely sold on the likelihood of that happening. So how did Denard get his groove back, and what’s the likelihood that what he did this year is repeatable in 2015?

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September 25, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Using FIP to Find Value

3

Wilson Karaman

Examining some pitchers whose second-half ERAs belied strong peripherals to see whether a breakout 2015 might be in store.

Well, it’s that magical time of year. The season is winding down, and here we sit preparing to begin our annual stare into the frozen, dead abyss of a fantasy-baseball-less winter. Fortunately, those of us in keeper and dynasty leagues are somewhat exempt from this situation because, as the saying goes, there is no offseason. This is actually, legitimately one of my favorite times of the year for those formats, as it’s the time when we can start to analyze the breakouts and the disappointments of the past season and begin to construct rudimentary target lists for upcoming trade talks over the winter and, in shallower formats, drafts next spring. I play primarily in head-to-head leagues, and particularly in this format I’ve found the following exercise to be quite valuable as a quick and dirty starting point. Since head-to-head championships are determined by player performances during weekly format playoff matchups the it tends to open up opportunities for acquiring players on the relative cheap who performed poorly down the stretch and may have contributed to a league-mate losing his or her final matchup. This “recency bias” plays off exactly the kind of negative memory impact my colleague Jeff Quinton took a long and engaging look at last offseason, and I highly recommend the read for context.

One of the primary places I like to direct my efforts at the start of each off-season is the FIP bin of second-half pitching performances. Particularly given that starting pitchers will usually only get one shot, maybe two, to contribute in a head-to-head matchup a poor finish to the year can sting that much more. And the metric also provides a valuable opportunity to sniff out some emerging talent among guys who may have started to come into their own at the big league level but might not quite have the production (or, subsequently, the hype) to back it up just yet.

To this end, here are the top 20 pitchers with the biggest gap between their second-half ERA and FIP numbers:

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September 19, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 26

10

Wilson Karaman

For the last time this year, Wilson helps you set your fantasy rotation with a look at next week's two-start pitchers.

Welcome to your final Weekly Pitching Planner of the 2014 season.

It’s been real writing this column for you this year, and I hope it’s been as informative for you to read as it has been for me to write. The final week of the season is notoriously difficult to predict for pitching matchups, as both teams that are out of the hunt as well as those with nothing left to clinch in the regular season will often shut guys down before their final starts and otherwise shuffle up their rotations on the fly. So the best I can offer you at this juncture is a snapshot of who’s currently lined up for two starts with the caveat that you should make sure to double check how things look about an hour or so before your rosters lock for the week and go with your gut.

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September 12, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 25

13

Wilson Karaman

Helping you set your fantasy rotation for next week with a look at the two-start pitchers.

Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner!

It appears as though the Orioles are planning to slot in a sixth starter next week for Tuesday’s matchup with Toronto, which will render them two-start-less. Also lacking two-startitude will be the Red Sox, who it seems are bound for a six-man (at least) rotation for the duration of the season. The Marlins haven’t announced their starters for next week as of this writing, presumably hinting at a possible shuffle in advance of what may be their last-gasp series with the Nationals next weekend. Stay tuned for that one. The Rangers also haven’t announced their plans, though given the combination of pretty poor options in that rotation and a fairly tough away schedule at Oakland and Anaheim, I wouldn’t pay a ton of attention to how that one shakes out. Finally, the Twins’ rotation is in flux after presumable two-start pitcher Kyle Gibson got bumped by Wednesday’s rain. They haven’t announced a Monday starter, though if it remains Gibson (on short rest), he’d be a “sit” against Detroit and Cleveland.

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September 5, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 24

13

Wilson Karaman

Helping you set your fantasy rotation for next week with a look at the two-start pitchers.

Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner!

By now most head-to-head leagues are squarely into playoff territory, and that’s an unfortunate thing pitching-wise, because the pickin’s are slim this week for quality two-start options. Just three auto-starts and six straight “start” recommendations between both leagues, and the NL is particularly buried in difficult options. Even owners in shallower league are going to be forced to make tough choices this week, which will inject some unwanted indecision into the playoff picture. As far as standard abnormalities go, the White Sox have not announced a starter for Monday or Tuesday at this point, and both will be lined up for two-start status, albeit with tough draws at U.S. Cellular against the A’s and Twins. The Giants have also yet to announce who will take the slot most recently occupied by the MLB record-holder for most consecutive batters retired, and it is that slot that will line up for two starts next week. Whether it remains Yusmeiro Petit or defaults back to Tim Lincecum, it’ll be a start worth considering, as it’ll be a home-and-home set involving the hapless Diamondbacks. And finally, the Cubs will be switching to a six-man rotation down the stretch, as they work some of their young arms into September looks and play it safe with the workloads of others. It’s a strategy I wouldn’t be to see more from out-of-contention teams given that two-fold benefit.

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August 29, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 23

7

Wilson Karaman

Helping you set your fantasy rotation for next week with a look at the two-start pitchers.

Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner! It’s that magical time of year when the calendar flips to September and the playoffs wander into town like a surly drunk in fantasy leagues near and far. There’s a decent crop of two-start options this week, as a handful of rainouts and wrap-around series have extended the options for some teams, while only the White Sox and Astros will be limited to five-game schedules. The Tigers still haven’t confirmed a starter for their Tuesday/Sunday slot in the wake of Anibal Sanchez’s setback, but given the collective performance of their no. 5 starters over the last few weeks (8.44 ERA over nine starts totaling just 37 1/3 innings), whoever it is will be unlikely to warrant consideration. As always feel free to use the comments section to request additional ramblings on a certain pitcher not covered in the write-ups below.

On to the nuts and bolts: Outside of the elites, two-start pitchers are often as much or more trouble than they’re worth. 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, because they might have one good matchup but a second tough one. And similarly, less-talented hurlers might just meander their way into “start” territory on account of a plum schedule. The pitchers will be split by league, and then by categories:

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