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July 21, 2014 6:00 am

The Buyer's Guide: Jason Kipnis

8

J.P. Breen

The Indians' second sacker hasn't lived up to expectations in 2014, but is a turnaround in store?

Prior to the season, the upper fantasy echelon of the second base position appeared to be a rather precarious investment. Robinson Cano inked a mega-contract with Seattle, which made many fantasy owners nervous that his power numbers would spiral down the drain. Dustin Pedroia saw his power production drop precipitously in 2013 and had finally found himself on the wrong side of 30. Ian Kinsler compiled rather pedestrian (for him) numbers a year ago and was transitioning that performance to a more pitcher-friendly environment in Detroit.

The traditional fantasy stalwarts at second base were vulnerable. It seemed a changing of the guard could occur and other guys could step into the limelight—and in some ways, that’s exactly what has happened with Dee Gordon, Jose Altuve, and Anthony Rendon asserting their fantasy dominance in the first half of the 2014 season. After the season, perhaps we must re-evaluate who can now be labeled as “elite” at the position.

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July 14, 2014 6:00 am

The Buyer's Guide: Howie Kendrick

2

J.P. Breen

The Angel had a fine first half by fantasy keystone standards, but can he sustain or improve on it?

The Buyer’s Guide has been rolling along for the better part of two months at this point. I’ve been dishing out buy, hold and sell recommendations each Monday, and as your high school mathematics teacher likely reminded you dozens of times, it’s imperative to go back and check your work.

Past articles:

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July 7, 2014 11:23 am

The Buyer's Guide: Michael Brantley

1

J.P. Breen

Is J.P. buying the Cleveland outfielder's breakout?

With the summer trading season in full swing, the letters “PTBNL” are about to become quite familiar. However, while many trade deadline deals include that mysterious Player To Be Named Later, recent history has taught baseball fans to disregard any such player, as they usually turn out to be inconsequential.

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July 1, 2014 6:00 am

The Buyer's Guide: Jake Arrieta

7

J.P. Breen

Can one of the league's hottest pitchers keep it up?

I’m flipping the script a bit this week. Y’all brought interesting names to the table in the comments section last week, and while I normally choose an individual player on whom to focus based upon your suggestions, I felt the need to go off the board. Quite simply, it’s because right-hander Jake Arrieta laid waste to Major League Baseball last month. He wasn’t talked about enough in fantasy circles, but after flirting with no-hitters in back-to-back outings, he’s on the tip of every fantasy owner’s tongue.

Through 39 2/3 innings in the month of June, Arrieta compiled a 0.92 ERA with 48 strikeouts and only six walks. He’s gone four consecutive starts in which he’s thrown at least seven innings and struck out nine. Fantasy owners have taken notice, too, as the 28-year-old hurler is now owned in 83.5 percent of ESPN leagues (as of Monday evening). It’s a number that has increased dramatically in the past couple weeks, and owners have begun to ask whether Arrieta is someone to simply plug-and-play while he’s scorching hot, or if this breakout is something more permanent.

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June 23, 2014 11:26 am

The Buyer's Guide: Billy Butler

5

J.P. Breen

Country Breakfast is only 28 years old, but is his still-young age enough reason to think that his fantasy value could rebound?

A week ago, we dissected Michael Wacha’s recent drop in velocity and his dramatic decrease in swings-and-misses. The article aimed to make a larger point about small sample sizes and how fantasy owners can identify trend changes in small samples, only to subsequently track them to determine if the small sample is actually indicative of something larger and more permanent. A week later, the St. Louis Cardinals placed Wacha on the DL with shoulder issues, and it appears that small sample was hinting at something larger.

Though y’all slacked in the comments earlier in the month, the suggestions from last week were strong. I almost grabbed Garrett Richards, because he’s enjoyed such an interesting breakout this year, but I wanted to focus on a position player this week. Considering the amount of Billy Butler questions that have been flying through the Bat Signal over the past couple months, I grabbed the recommendation from BP reader D1Johnson. If you have a specific player you’d like to see in this space next week, be sure to leave your suggestions for next week in the comments, or feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@JP_Breen).

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June 16, 2014 6:00 am

The Buyer's Guide: Michael Wacha

5

J.P. Breen

The Cardinals righty has struggled of late, but does that mean it's time to buy or sell?

It’s only the third installment of The Buyer’s Guide on Baseball Prospectus—you can find the previous two right here and here—so I still feel obligated to introduce the column and to elaborate on what we’re doing in this space each Monday.

The overall goal is always to better understand an individual player’s trends and to make our best educated guess for future performance. With that said, I also strive to center the discussion around fantasy value. We’ll place a buy, sell, or hold label on the individual player each week, but readers should more importantly leave with a few concrete trends or performance changes upon which to focus and to ultimately make the buy-or-sell decision on their own. I’m simply offering my best recommendation.

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June 9, 2014 6:00 am

The Buyer's Guide: Pablo Sandoval

5

J.P. Breen

The Giants third baseman has bounced back from a slow start, but should you be buying him in fantasy leagues?

For those who missed the inaugural installment of The Buyer’s Guide last week (which can be found here), allow me to offer a brief outline of what we do in this space every Monday. The Buyer’s Guide breaks down the performance of an individual player in an attempt to determine if fantasy owners should buy, hold, or sell. Occasionally, I have a player in mind to highlight, but I’m also committed to featuring players y’all suggest in the comments or on Twitter.

In this article, I thought we’d focus on last week’s suggestion from BP reader jonjacoby, which was San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

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The inaugural edition of this new column tells you whether you should look to acquire the Reds righty.

In an effort to carve out a niche on the stellar fantasy team here at Baseball Prospectus, I wanted a weekly column that would allow me to do three things: (1) to dive in-depth into individual player performance, (2) to offer BP readers advice on who to target in trades, who to hold onto, and who to sell without resorting to superficial analysis, and (3) to develop an interactive column with the readers.

This column will focus on an individual player each week, breaking down past performance and attempting to determine what fantasy owners can reasonably expect to transpire in the future. We’ll certainly focus on statistics—and primarily so—but it’s my hope that this space will also eventually allow us room to explore mechanical changes, new pitches, etc. with the help of other Baseball Prospectus writers who are much smarter than myself.

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