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03-13

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5

Sporer Report: My Tout Wars Team, Part One
by
Paul Sporer

01-03

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7

Sporer Report: Garbage Picking
by
Paul Sporer

12-27

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1

Sporer Report: Top 20 Risers
by
Paul Sporer

11-07

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0

Sporer Report: Is Big Erv Overvalued?
by
Paul Sporer

11-01

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5

Sporer Report: Three Ways to Traverse the Baseball Offseason
by
Paul Sporer

10-25

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9

Sporer Report: Six Super Subs
by
Paul Sporer

09-25

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0

Sporer Report: Under the Radar
by
Paul Sporer

09-11

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4

Sporer Report: Soft Schedule Starters
by
Paul Sporer

09-04

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9

Sporer Report: Five Tips for the Contender Endgame
by
Paul Sporer

08-28

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5

Sporer Report: Six September Stashes
by
Paul Sporer

08-21

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4

Sporer Report: Looking Ahead to September Promotions
by
Paul Sporer

08-14

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6

Sporer Report: September Scheduling
by
Paul Sporer

08-07

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5

Sporer Report: Seven Starting Pitchers on the Rise
by
Paul Sporer

07-31

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1

Sporer Report: The July 31 Hail-Mary Team
by
Paul Sporer

07-24

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20

Sporer Report: The 2014 First Round: A Look Ahead, Part Two
by
Paul Sporer

07-17

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0

Sporer Report: Road Warriors
by
Paul Sporer

07-10

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6

Sporer Report: Home-Cooking Starters
by
Paul Sporer

06-26

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3

Sporer Report: The 2014 First Round: A Look Ahead, Part One
by
Paul Sporer

06-19

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1

Sporer Report: The Fantasy Platoon Advantage, Part Two
by
Paul Sporer

06-11

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4

Sporer Report: The Fantasy Platoon Advantage, Part One
by
Paul Sporer

06-05

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7

Sporer Report: Speed Killed
by
Paul Sporer

05-29

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20

Sporer Report: Trading Tips
by
Paul Sporer

05-21

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3

Sporer Report: Has Coors Gone Light?
by
Paul Sporer

05-14

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4

Sporer Report: Evaluating Early-Season Outliers
by
Paul Sporer

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March 13, 2014 6:00 am

Sporer Report: My Tout Wars Team, Part One

5

Paul Sporer

Paul had the 14th pick in this year's mixed-league Tout Wars auction; read about his strategy and see how he did in the first seven rounds.

Last year was my first experience in one of the big industry leagues, as I participated with Jason Collette in the LABR mixed-league draft—a league I’m in again this year with him. This year, I have the distinct honor of pulling a two-fer in the big industry leagues, adding a Tout Wars invitation to the docket, as well. Like LABR, it’s a 15-team mixed-league draft. And just as in LABR, I was given the 14th pick in the draft. How crazy is that? I’m sure someone here at BP, probably Russell Carleton, can calculate the odds of me getting a pair of 14th picks in two different drafts! One major difference here was that OBP would be used in place of AVG, which definitely changes the dynamic for a handful of players.

The rather brisk draft took place on Tuesday night with the following draft order of industry titans (and me):

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January 3, 2014 6:00 am

Sporer Report: Garbage Picking

7

Paul Sporer

Everyone ihas their sights set on last year's breakout stars, but these players who hurt your team in 2013 might help it in 2014.

In any draft or auction it is always hard to resist the temptation to take the big breakouts from the year that just passed. After all, they are on the upswing… supposedly. Their breakout may have led you to a title or you may have just missed getting them and had to suffer through them cleaning up for an opponent, but you’re determined to not miss out again this year. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with taking the recent breakout—well unless it was built on a mirage of poor supporting skills—but there can also be value in the garbage bin.

On the opposite end of the shiny breakouts is the thrown-out trash: the previous year’s failures that sunk a team to the bottom of the standings and left them spending their entire free agent budget by May 1. Those toxic assets are far down on the list for those they burned and they aren’t exactly hot targets for the rest of the league, either. Alas, every year we see guys rise from the ashes like a phoenix to be the late-round steal that pairs with an aforementioned breakout to carry a team to the title.

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December 27, 2013 6:00 am

Sporer Report: Top 20 Risers

1

Paul Sporer

A look at the mid-tier pitchers who could work their way into the elite ranks this season.

Last week I looked at a handful of guys in the 100-250 range of starting pitchers in 2013 who could jump into the top 90 for 2014. Once again using the ESPN Player Rater, today I’m looking at guys in the 30-90 range who can take that star leap into the top 20. There are some caveats with the selections, mostly just the fact that I refuse to pick a previous star who fell off a bit in 2013 so I’m not littering the list with David Price (32), Cole Hamels (35), and Justin Verlander (41), but rather guys who are on the rise and could make their first appearance in that upper crust.

I also eliminated the 21-29 guys from consideration because that just wouldn’t be much of a jump to make into the top 20. Even the early 30s isn’t a huge surge, but there is only one guy from that section of the pool. Speaking of the early 30s, I almost selected Alex Cobb (35), but he only missed the top 20 because of his time missed due to the comebacker he took to the head. The fact that he still finished 35th with 143 1/3 innings is quite impressive. He took his star turn, now he just has to do it for a full season.

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November 7, 2013 6:00 am

Sporer Report: Is Big Erv Overvalued?

0

Paul Sporer

Ervin Santana enjoyed a strong walk year with the Royals, but can he maintain his fantasy value in 2014?

Last week I offered you a handful of ways to traverse this nasty time of year when we are without baseball, at least in the on-field form (in the MLB). You may be passing the time with a full immersion into your fantasy dice roll… er… football league, but chances are that you’re finding it coming up short. By the way I will just quickly mention that I play fantasy football, too, but I stand by the potshot—there is virtually no skill in that game for a bevy of reasons. Running this will have just as much as accuracy as the weekly projections on your fantasy football site.

But I digress.

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November 1, 2013 9:06 am

Sporer Report: Three Ways to Traverse the Baseball Offseason

5

Paul Sporer

With over 100 days until pitchers and catchers report, Paul has some advice on bridging the gap.

If you are a baseball diehard like myself, chances are you watched down to the last pitch of the World Series whether or not you care about either the Red Sox or Cardinals. Of course with Boston’s 4-2 series win over St. Louis, the season is officially over. We have no more MLB games until 2014. For some, the transition is easy. You occupy your time with another sport (likely football, basketball or hockey), others like to catch up on missed media by binge watching TV seasons or paring down their way-too-long Movies to Watch List, and then some just turn their attention back to those they have essentially neglected since February—wives, husbands, and children.

Then there is the special breed. Those who aren’t even close to being done with baseball regardless of what the schedule might tell them. You took the kids out for Halloween and spent the rest of your Thursday evening watching the Cincinnati Bengals lose on a walk-off safety, but it was just too much time without baseball. You’re jonesing. Not only do you want to stay baseball-sharp for the offseason, but ideally you would do so while also improving your chances for the 2014 season in your fantasy leagues.

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October 25, 2013 8:38 am

Sporer Report: Six Super Subs

9

Paul Sporer

These part-time players could provide considerable fantasy value if given a full-time role in 2014.

Go to the leaderboard for any of your favorite baseball statistics sites and you are bound to get some useful information. However, you will almost always miss a particular subset of players: the unqualified. All leaderboards default to show only the hitters who qualified for the batting average title, which means they must have 3.1 PA per team game.

Almost all sites allow you to adjust the plate appearance threshold you want to look at, but the default keeps those below the batting title threshold out of sight. Today we are going to look at six guys who fell below the threshold, but did good work in their allotted time, suggesting that they could do some nice work with a full-time role in 2014.

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September 25, 2013 6:00 am

Sporer Report: Under the Radar

0

Paul Sporer

You might have missed these 10 players' fine fantasy campaigns, but don't let them sneak up on you in 2014.

Are you running out the clock on a title run? Fighting off a team or two nipping at your heels to hold onto said title? Are you the nipper? Perhaps your season was over in August when a rash of injuries made that comeback just too far-fetched.

I certainly hope the majority of you are taking part in one of the first three scenarios, but regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, you likely missed some nice seasons in 2013. I don’t just mean those by players who weren’t on your fantasy team. You may have missed them altogether, because they weren’t on a competitor’s team or playing a lot of games against your hometown team. Here is a closer look at 10 solid fantasy seasons from sub-.500 clubs, which may have missed your radar in 2013.

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September 11, 2013 7:57 am

Sporer Report: Soft Schedule Starters

4

Paul Sporer

With most leagues' fantasy playoffs underway, Paul looks at a number of starters who close out the year with favorable assignments.

I’m not going to lie: it’s not easy to come up with impactful topics to help you with your chase for the pennant in mid-September. The biggest issue is that the tiny sample of time remaining makes variance a major factor. We could see some 25th guy (or 35th guy given expansion) on the roster run off two weeks of .400/.500/.600 with a handful of homers and RBI, and the season will end before regression to the mean can catch him.

So what I did for y’all was forecast every rotation from here on out and pluck out the best potential remaining schedules. This is essentially an extension of the piece I did a month ago where I pointed out the best team schedules and discussed some potentially available arms from those teams. I ended up with 24 pitchers, 15 in the National League and nine in the American League, who should have a nice pair or trio of starts to close out the season. This is very much subject to change, but at the very least you can start looking out for some of these names and then if you have to dump one because he falls off-kilter from the projection, you can scoop up another guy.

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September 4, 2013 6:00 am

Sporer Report: Five Tips for the Contender Endgame

9

Paul Sporer

As your fantasy season winds down, Paul offers a few ways you can make the most of the last few weeks.

Here we are, ladies and gentlemen, in the sixth and final month of the season. As I mentioned in an earlier piece back in August, part of me is really bummed, because that means the season is almost over. Before we know it, the bow will be placed on the 2013 season, no later than Halloween, which will hopefully be a Game Seven win for my Detroit Tigers over the Pittsburgh Pirates (or your favorite NL team… what do I care as long as my Tigers win, right?). Of course, another part of me is excited for the finishes in the leagues where I am in contention.

Hopefully you are in contention in at least one league, if not several. Of course, this month is difficult because things are so different from the other five. The biggest difference is roster expansion which creates a playing time crunch for many players. Your sneaky fringe guys who crushed it in their side of the platoon are losing precious at-bats to hot prospects or ailing stars and semi-stars need to rest up for the MLB playoffs so they are sitting out games or have nothing to play for and thus no reason to push through at 85-90 percent health.

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August 28, 2013 6:48 am

Sporer Report: Six September Stashes

5

Paul Sporer

Paul breaks down six pitchers who have succeeded in the upper minors and might provide fantasy value down the stretch.

For the third straight week now the Sporer Report has an eye on September. This time around, I’ve got six potential National League September call-ups, all pitchers, who could bring solid value down the stretch. This is some deep speculation, so keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to take the plunge. The recent news in Queens takes some punch out of a couple of these, but you’ll have to trust that they made my list last week when I compiled both the AL and NL lists.

Those of you in 10- and 12-team mixers likely don’t need to pounce just yet and in fact shouldn’t pounce just yet unless you’ve got remarkably deep rosters. Instead, use this as a cheatsheet of who to keep tabs on as we now sit just four days from September 1. Those of you in deeper leagues might find a few of these guys already rostered, but most should be available, and if you have the roster space, then you should consider getting the jump on your league mates. These are ranked in order of potential impact which accounts for the likelihood that they even get the call.

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August 21, 2013 6:00 am

Sporer Report: Looking Ahead to September Promotions

4

Paul Sporer

When rosters expand, American League clubs are likely to add these seven pitchers, who could also bolster your fantasy team down the stretch.

For the second straight week, the Sporer Report has an eye on September. On the one hand, I’m sad because we’re winding down the regular season. On the other hand, it’s been a tremendous season and the races to the finish in both MLB and my fantasy leagues should offer plenty of thrills, too. Speaking of those fantasy races, some of them will turn on guys who did little or nothing in the first five months of the season. I’ve got seven potential American League September call-ups—all pitchers—who could bring some solid value down the stretch.

This is some deep speculation, so keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to take the plunge. Those of your in 10- and 12-team mixers likely don’t need to pounce just yet and in fact shouldn’t pounce yet unless you’ve got remarkably deep rosters. Instead, use this as a cheatsheet of who to keep tabs on as we get closer to September 1. Those of you in deeper leagues might find a few of these guys already rostered, but otherwise should be available and if you have the roster space then you should consider getting the jump on your league mates. These are ranked in order of potential impact which accounts for the likelihood that they even get the call.

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August 14, 2013 6:00 am

Sporer Report: September Scheduling

6

Paul Sporer

Paul looks ahead to next month to help identify pitchers who might be worth targeting to bolster your squad.

We have just a month and a half left in the season, so teams have between 40 and 45 games left. As the sand in the hourglass that is the season drains, our ability to gain an edge drains with it. One area I believe remains exploitable, at least for a marginal edge, is scheduling—particularly in September. This can have value in all formats, too. What I did was look at every team’s schedule to find those with the most favorable setups as it relates to pitching so these teams will be facing the weakest offensive teams in high volumes. If you want to take advantage of this you can either trade for the front-liners on these teams or plan to scoop the backend guys as streaming options. I’ve got five teams to target.

ATLANTA BRAVES
Much has been made of their light schedule from the All-Star break on, with Buster Olney the first I can recall jumping on the point. A pair of series against the Cardinals is really the extent of their tough battles throughout the entire second half (“half,” as it were, just being a point of demarcation for the All-Star break, and while it’s never split at 81 games, this year wasn’t even close).


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