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07-24

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Sustained Success and the Red Queen Hypothesis
by
Jeff Quinton

07-23

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Useful Non-Closer Relievers
by
J.P. Breen

07-21

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: The MLB Trade Landscape, Buyers
by
Mike Gianella

07-18

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15

Fantasy Freestyle: Buy or Sell: Chris Davis
by
Craig Goldstein

07-17

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: Midseason Keeper League FAAB Strategy
by
Jeff Quinton

07-15

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: 10 Crazy Predictions Fantasy Writers Should Have Made
by
Mike Gianella

07-11

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0

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

07-11

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: What to Expect From Jimmy Nelson
by
Craig Goldstein

07-10

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: League Norms and Trade Markets
by
Jeff Quinton

07-09

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Don't Forget About Me
by
J.P. Breen

07-07

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Trade Deadline Edition, Sellers
by
Mike Gianella

07-03

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Rick Porcello: Buy or Sell?
by
Craig Goldstein

07-02

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Minor League Draft Pick Valuation
by
Jeff Quinton

06-30

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking at Values, Part 2: Pitchers
by
Mike Gianella

06-27

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Veterans With Value
by
Craig Goldstein

06-26

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Weaknesses, Decision Framing, and Trades
by
Jeff Quinton

06-25

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking at Values, Part 1: Hitters
by
Mike Gianella

06-25

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Checking in on Cinderella: Pitchers
by
J.P. Breen

06-20

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: My Catcher Fetish and Derek Norris
by
Craig Goldstein

06-19

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Trade Paralysis
by
Jeff Quinton

06-19

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7

Fantasy Freestyle: Keeping Tabs on the Cubs' Top Prospects
by
Mauricio Rubio

06-18

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: A Deeper Look at FAAB in Deeper Leagues
by
Mike Gianella

06-18

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7

Fantasy Freestyle: Checking in on Cinderella: Hitters
by
J.P. Breen

06-13

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: In-Season Strategic Agility
by
Jeff Quinton

06-13

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11

Fantasy Freestyle: Straight Chasing
by
Mauricio Rubio

06-09

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Perception and (Valuation) Reality
by
Mike Gianella

06-05

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Keeper League Purgatory
by
Jeff Quinton

06-04

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Profiling Alex Reyes
by
Craig Goldstein

06-03

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Success Stories in the Endgame, Part Two
by
Mike Gianella

05-28

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: Success Stories in the Endgame, Part One
by
Mike Gianella

05-28

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Will Carlos Santana Heat Up?
by
Craig Goldstein

05-22

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Representativeness, Valuation, and Tanaka
by
Jeff Quinton

05-22

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Dallas Keuchel: Sell-High Candidate?
by
Craig Goldstein

05-19

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: My Closer Lost His Job and Now I Hate Everybody
by
Mike Gianella

05-15

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: The Middle of the Road
by
Wilson Karaman

05-14

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Growing the Pie
by
Jeff Quinton

05-14

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: Nathan Eovaldi: Great or Just Hot?
by
Craig Goldstein

05-12

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Expert League Assessment: First Quarter
by
Mike Gianella

05-07

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Negotiation Styles
by
Jeff Quinton

05-05

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: The Upside Fallacy
by
Mike Gianella

04-28

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Transaction Paralysis
by
Jeff Quinton

04-23

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: The Benefits of Early-Season Trade Talk
by
Jeff Quinton

04-21

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31

Fantasy Freestyle: Why 70/30?
by
Mike Gianella

04-17

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: Recovering Prospects
by
Craig Goldstein

04-16

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Fighting Early-Season Confirmation Bias
by
Jeff Quinton

04-14

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Auction Leagues and Salary/Contract Dynamics
by
Mike Gianella

04-09

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: Buying Low, Letting Go, and the Disposition Effect
by
Jeff Quinton

04-09

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Small-Sample Numbers That Matter
by
Craig Goldstein

04-07

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22

Fantasy Freestyle: Home Cooking
by
Mike Gianella

04-02

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11

Fantasy Freestyle: Now is the Season of My Discontent
by
Mike Gianella

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July 24, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Sustained Success and the Red Queen Hypothesis

2

Jeff Quinton

Outperforming your competition year after year requires not only improvement but also staying a step ahead.

While I have been providing mid-season strategy articles of late, I came across the Red Queen effect the other day and began thinking about its impact on fantasy baseball. As a result, this article holds relevance throughout the entire season (maybe more so in the offseason), but does not hold specific relevance to this point in the season.

I am most likely a better fantasy baseball player today than I was two years ago. You are most likely a better fantasy baseball player than you were two years ago. Anyone who has been playing fantasy baseball for some amount of time is probably better now than they were before. If we are all improving, then getting better is helpful in that we do not fall behind, but it does not necessarily get us ahead. And that, kiddos, is the kicker. In other words, improving yourself and gaining an advantage are two very different things. In order to consistently succeed, we need to both improve and gain an advantage, but competition makes this inherently difficult. We will take a look at why it is difficult to sustain success and if anything can be done to overcome those difficulties.

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July 23, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Useful Non-Closer Relievers

3

J.P. Breen

These bullpen arms might not rack up saves, but they can help you pad other categories in Roto leagues.

In non-dynasty leagues, quality relievers who do not rack up saves are often overlooked. If employed correctly, though, they can be pseudo-saviors for two main types of squads: (1) teams who have an underperforming pitching staff and are striving to recover in specific categories in the second half of the season, and (2) leagues that have strict “games started” limits in order to keep teams from simply streaming starters all season.

Teams who have fallen behind in pitching categories can try to cobble together a trade or two, hoping to bolster their pitching staff for a second-half run. However, trades aren’t always possible. And even in the meantime, it can be useful to target specific relievers who can help in desired categories. This article will outline a few relievers who could be useful waiver-wire pickups to aid in WHIP/ERA or in strikeouts. I’m not including pitcher wins because that seems like a crapshoot.

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July 21, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The MLB Trade Landscape, Buyers

10

Mike Gianella

A look at the moves buyers might make and the fantasy impact they'd have.

Two weeks ago, I looked at the potential sellers at the major league trade deadline. Today, I will take a look at potential buyers.

The same caveats from my last article apply. What I have compiled for our readers is a helpful, at-a-glance look at the potential trade market this month, particularly from the vantage point of teams that might be adding players. It is not meant to be an all-encompassing guide; it is possible some rumored targets are not listed below. Since this is a fantasy article, I will focus on fantasy impact but if you are a non-fantasy player and a Baseball Prospectus reader I hope this article proves useful to you as well.

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July 18, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Buy or Sell: Chris Davis

15

Craig Goldstein

The O's slugger had a down first half, but is there reason to expect big things down the stretch?

Early in the season it’s easy to brush off a struggling start for one of your key players because hey, it’s early. By mid-July though (if not sooner), we need to decide whether we’re going to ship off said star for someone with less status, but potentially more production. Today, I want to look at Chris Davis and determine whether he’s due for some sort of bounce-back in the season’s final 70 or so games, or if you should dump him on someone who is willing to believe more than you.

The only time Davis hasn’t been hurting your team this season was his brief stint on the disabled list with a strained oblique at the end of April/beginning of May. Outside of that time of null production, Davis has recorded a cringe-worthy .199/.309/.391. The latter two figures are actually moderately impressive in light of the former, but it’s still been a rough ride on the whole. There aren’t a ton of anomalies in the overall profile. He’s walking more than ever before, and while his 32 percent strikeout rate is elevated compared to his recent run of success, it’s not staggeringly different from the rates he’s posted in years prior, and certainly not enough to explain the bizarre drop in production.

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July 17, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Midseason Keeper League FAAB Strategy

8

Jeff Quinton

A look at how you should spend your free agent budget in keeper leagues to maximize value.

I was originally going to write this article on the impact of the winner’s curse on FAAB bidding, but in Google-checking my ideas before beginning to write them up, I came across this Erik Siegrist article. Am I the biggest fan of the name Eric(k) ending with a K? No. Is the article excellent and a must-read for those in keeper leagues? Absolutely. Does the article’s excellence make me feel self-conscious as a fantasy baseball writer? Yup (he pretty much wrote the article I wanted to write and wrote it better than I imagined I would). Anyhow, go read it.

The part I wish to expand on is midseason strategy. Come midseason, the FAAB market in keeper leagues tends to be markedly different than the market in the beginning of the season. Players who can help teams in the hunt almost always go above “keeper” value, leaving only players who will be of seemingly no use this year to potentially go at value or at a bargain. We have seen before that at this time of the year, when the goals of owners in keeper leagues diverge, discussion of strategy is important. Consequently, we will briefly discuss the winner’s curse and how that should impact the decision-making of owners depending on their competitive position.

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If you saw any of these outlandish things coming before the season started—well, you were right.

A popular preseason article topic for fantasy baseball writers is “10 Crazy Predictions.” These types of articles usually try to make wild predictions based on a somewhat logical premise. Typically, most of these predictions miss the mark, with perhaps one or two of them hitting the jackpot.

Truth is stranger than fiction, or so the old bromide goes. But every year, it never fails: Something happens that falls completely outside of the realm of anyone’s predictive powers, even for those who are trying to find outliers. Below is a non-inclusive listing of fantasy baseball events that no one in his or her right mind would have predicted in April that are absolute stunners.

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July 11, 2014 6:30 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Buy or Sell: Charlie Morton

0

Wilson Karaman

The sinkerballer has seen his strikeout rate spike recently, but can he keep it up?

For those of you who loyally read my weekly Starting Pitcher Planner column (which will return at its regularly scheduled time next week, incidentally), it should come as no surprise that I’m a fan of Charlie Morton’s work. And lately that’s been an easier position to embrace, as the sinkerballer has turned in an outstanding stretch since the calendar flipped to June. Over his past seven starts he’s thrown 45 innings of 2.80 ERA, 1.02 WHIP baseball—and that includes one poor start against the Cubs that singlehandedly accounts for 42 percent of the runs he’s allowed during the period. But what is perhaps most interesting about this string of starts is that he has bucked a career strikeout rate that hovered just north of 6.0 K/9 to whiff 49 batters across those 45 frames. Morton emerged from his Tommy John cocoon as a consistent back-end starter in medium-depth leagues last year, and looked to be on a nice path towards reprising the role again through the first couple months of this season. But the strikeout rate gains over an increasingly intriguing sample size suddenly make him a much more attention-grabbing option for mixed leaguers. So what’s going on? Where did all these whiffs come from, and is this a sustainable development?

Let’s start with the usual suspects. Quick glances at Morton’s velocity and pitch movement by month don’t yield much in the way of explanation. After seeing his two-seam velocity peak at 92.9 miles an hour in May he’s actually seen that number drop down 92.1 in June and 91.8 so far in two July starts. So that’s not moving in the right direction at all. And speaking of movement, when we take a peek at his horizontal movement we find that after manipulating about 10 1/2 inches of horizontal movement on his two-seamer back in May he’s down to about 9 1/4 inches now. Huh. So basically, Morton’s hot stretch coincides with lower velocity and less movement on his pitches, usually two signs reserved for situations in which a pitcher may be unhealthy or otherwise experiencing a period of unproductivity.

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July 11, 2014 6:30 am

Fantasy Freestyle: What to Expect From Jimmy Nelson

10

Craig Goldstein

The Brewers righty is coming back to the big leagues; here's a look at what he could do for your fantasy squad.

Jimmy Nelson is going to make his second start of the season on Friday. You’re forgiven if you missed the first one—though it was good (5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 ER)—and you’re forgiven if you don’t remember our Call-Up article on him, because it took place during the call-up heavy month of September, last season. Nelson replaces Marco Estrada in the Brewers rotation at a time when the Brewers desperately need to maintain their 1 ½-game lead in the NL Central, lest they fall back into a crowded wild card race. Replacing Estrada with Nelson at this crucial time shows one of two things: The Brewer’s complete lack of faith in Estrada ironing out his home run issues (which are bad, even for him), or their belief in the abilities of Nelson, not necessarily to live up to his potential, but to be better than Estrada will be for the remainder of the season.

Speaking of that potential, here’s what erstwhile BP-er Jason Cole had to say last September about Nelson:

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July 10, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: League Norms and Trade Markets

0

Jeff Quinton

How understanding league norms could help you make the most of your fantasy swaps.

Many a fantasy baseball player is trying to make a trade right now. Many trades will be made that should not have been made. Many trades will not be made that should have been made. League norms, while usually helpful, can play a role in distorting fantasy baseball trades and trade talks. More specifically, league norms often cause us to make trades outside of what the market dictates. Again, this can cause trades that should be made to go unmade and trades that should not be made to be made. We will take a look at league norms and how they impact trades. We will then look at what we can do about it.

League Norms:
I am usually all into books and journal articles and stuff, but sometimes good ol’ Wikipedia has just what the internet writer ordered:


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July 9, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Don't Forget About Me

6

J.P. Breen

The recent surges from April's fantasy slumptrucks.

A couple weeks ago, we discussed some unexpected early-season fantasy studs and asked how they had fared since their brilliant starts to the season. An intrepid commenter suggested a follow-up article that highlighted some players who had accelerated their performance after spinning their wheels out of the gate. This is my humble acquiescence.

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July 7, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Trade Deadline Edition, Sellers

2

Mike Gianella

A look at the moves sellers might make and the fantasy impact they'd have.

Unless you are in a very shallow mixed league, chances are excellent that the major league non-waiver trade deadline will have an impact on your fantasy league. Even if you don’t play fantasy baseball, the deadline is a fun time if you are a baseball fan, but ever since I started playing fantasy baseball, I feel like I pay extra attention to the rumor mill.

What I have compiled for our readers this week is a helpful, at-a-glance, one article look at the potential trade market this month, particularly from the viewpoint of players who might be on the move. Since this is a fantasy article, I will focus on fantasy impact, but if you are a non-fantasy player and a Baseball Prospectus reader, I hope that this article proves useful to you as well.

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July 3, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Rick Porcello: Buy or Sell?

4

Craig Goldstein

The Tigers righty is coming off a shutout, but do his peripherals portend a strong second half?

Late last season, I took a look into what had changed with Rick Porcello that enabled him to strike out 19 batters over a two-game stretch, the highest two-game total in his career. That two game sample was just an impetus to look at a larger change in Porcello’s profile though—a marked increase in strikeout rate. With another impetus occurring on Tuesday night (Porcello’s 0 K, 0 BB CGSO), I thought it’d behoove us to take a look at Porcello’s season thus far in 2014.

The 2014 season has gone swimmingly for Porcello, as he’s posting an ERA of 3.12, which would be just the second time in his career that he recorded an ERA below 4.00, with the other being his rookie campaign that ended at 3.96. Do the peripherals line up with this improved production, though? The answer, almost overwhelmingly, is no. In fact, he’s reverted to being the pitcher he was in 2009-12, ditching the peripheral improvements he picked up in 2013.

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