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07-28

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: What's Wrong With Carlos Carrasco?
by
George Bissell

07-16

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Francisco Liriano: Back Among the Elite?
by
Greg Wellemeyer

07-14

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21

Fantasy Freestyle: Bryce Harper Goes Boom
by
George Bissell

07-10

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Is Taijuan Walker on the Cusp of Stardom?
by
Greg Wellemeyer

07-09

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Grading The Buyer's Guide, Part One
by
J.P. Breen

07-08

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26

Fantasy Freestyle: Predicting the Second Half Fallers
by
Mike Gianella

07-02

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: The Evolution of Rubby De La Rosa
by
George Bissell

07-01

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: How We Got Here
by
Mike Gianella

06-24

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11

Fantasy Freestyle: The Injured Starter Market
by
J.P. Breen

06-23

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: What Can We Learn From Mookie Betts Exit Velocity?
by
George Bissell

06-18

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Desert Ray
by
George Bissell

06-16

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7

Fantasy Freestyle: Projecting Buy-Low and Sell-High Pitchers by cFIP and DRA-
by
Wilson Karaman

06-12

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Dynasty League Risers: Pitchers
by
J.J. Jansons

06-10

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: May/June Leaders
by
J.P. Breen

06-09

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Jesse Chavez Is Better Than You Think
by
George Bissell

06-05

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Hello Vickrey, My (Now) Old Friend
by
Mike Gianella

06-04

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: Dynasty League Risers: Hitters
by
J.J. Jansons

06-03

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Don't Forget Your Eraser
by
Nick Shlain

06-02

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Who Is This Williams Perez?
by
Wilson Karaman

06-02

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Coming Up Rosales
by
Nick Shlain

06-01

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: The Chris Young Enigma
by
George Bissell

05-29

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Table-Setting Thieves
by
J.J. Jansons

05-26

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Two American League Outfielders of Interest
by
Nick Shlain

05-21

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Rebuilding = Opportunity
by
J.J. Jansons

05-21

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Revisiting the AL-Only Reliever Landscape
by
Nick Shlain

05-20

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Early-Season Back-End Breakouts
by
Wilson Karaman

05-20

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: Staying Afloat in a Sea of Fluctuations
by
Jeff Quinton

05-20

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: The Evolution of Lucas Duda
by
Greg Wellemeyer

05-19

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: AL-Only Adds, Part Two
by
Nick Shlain

05-18

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: In Search of the Next Joc Pederson
by
J.J. Jansons

05-14

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Danny Salazar: On the Cusp of Stardom?
by
Greg Wellemeyer

05-12

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Finesse the Pitching
by
Nick Shlain

05-07

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Changed Expectations
by
Nick Shlain

05-06

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Hey, So What Happened to Jason Heyward?
by
Wilson Karaman

05-05

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Junior Circuit Players to Monitor
by
Nick Shlain

04-30

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Checking in on April Leaders
by
J.P. Breen

04-29

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Daily Leagues and Strikeouts
by
J.P. Breen

04-28

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: AL-Only Adds
by
Nick Shlain

04-23

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Preaching Patience
by
Nick Shlain

04-22

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9

Fantasy Freestyle: Early-Season Stat Line Scouting
by
Wilson Karaman

04-21

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: CC Sabathia's Early-Season Promise
by
Nick Shlain

04-16

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: New Managers and Stolen Bases
by
J.P. Breen

04-15

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Streaming Two-Start Pitchers
by
J.P. Breen

04-14

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Early Returns
by
Nick Shlain

04-09

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Is Now the Time for Zach McAllister?
by
Nick Shlain

04-08

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15

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Bold Predictions
by
Wilson Karaman

04-07

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Celebrating National Jump to Conclusions Day
by
Nick Shlain

04-01

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: Endgame Targets for 2015
by
Bret Sayre

03-30

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Shadow Auctioneering
by
Mike Gianella

03-27

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: BP Rankings vs. ADP
by
Wilson Karaman

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July 28, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: What's Wrong With Carlos Carrasco?

1

George Bissell

Is Cleveland cursed or can Mickey Callaway work his magic on Carlos Carrasco again?

At the conclusion of a Herculean 10-start run (1.30 ERA with a 78-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 69 innings) over the final two months to close out last season, there was virtually no doubt that Carlos Carrasco was on the precipice of a monster fantasy campaign heading into the year.

If the stellar statistical results down the stretch weren’t enough reason for optimism, they coincided with legitimate adjustments (pitching exclusively out of the stretch, enabling him to consistently repeat his delivery) implemented by Cleveland pitching coach/wizard Mickey Calloway, which only bolstered the legitimacy of his breakout.

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July 16, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Francisco Liriano: Back Among the Elite?

0

Greg Wellemeyer

Has the PIrates lefty finally returned to being what we always thought he'd be?

Johan Santana was a cog in my home-league lineup back in the early 2000s, and following a 2004 in which he was a unanimous Cy Young selection, I had a pitching-staff anchor for the long haul. I did until 2006 anyway, when I fell head over heels for a younger, maybe-even-better Twins lefty who threw all the same pitches but harder. I traded Santana. I spent the summer months looking for a Twins bar in central North Carolina. 2006 was my least-favorite fantasy season ever.

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July 14, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Bryce Harper Goes Boom

21

George Bissell

How did PECOTA miss so badly on Bryce Harper?

Four months ago, Harper was voted the “most overrated player in baseball” (for the second consecutive year) by his fellow players in ESPN The Magazine. Despite having racked up 1,489 Major League plate appearances without facing a pitcher younger than him (it finally happened when he faced New York’s Jacob Lindgren on June 10th) and possessing once-in-a-generation-type natural ability, there wasn’t a fantasy analyst on the planet confident enough to forecast that Harper, coming off an injury-marred campaign the previous season, was on the precipice of blossoming into a fantasy superstar at just 22-years-old.

Granted, there were some authentic signs during spring training that Harper was finally poised for a breakout, but given his struggles to stay healthy and backslide in approach at the plate last year, he carried substantially more risk than almost any other player in re-draft formats. Investing an early round pick on Harper was the fantasy baseball equivalent of Kramer and Newman’s scheme to make an extra five cents recycling bottles and cans by driving them to Michigan in an extra mail truck. Sure, the potential for a massive payoff was there if everything broke right, but the odds of Harper blowing up like he did (or Kramer and Newman finding a way to Michigan without incident) were slim at best.

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July 10, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Is Taijuan Walker on the Cusp of Stardom?

4

Greg Wellemeyer

The Mariners righty rattled off a fantastic seven-start stretch, prompting Greg to take a closer look.

Taijuan Walker was rolling entering Tuesday night’s game against the Tigers, having struck out 51 batters in his last 48 1/3 innings against only three walks. A 1.68 ERA and 0.79 WHIP during that stretch lowered his season-long ratios from a ghastly 7.33 ERA and 1.84 WHIP to a tolerable 4.34 and 1.28, respectively. It was a big turnaround for a guy DRA had pegged as the worst starter in the major leagues through the first month-and-change of the season.

I’ve long been a Walker fan, coveting his superior athleticism and the ease with which he generates mid-90s velocity. I own a few shares and while the last month has been enjoyable, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t waiting for the April version of Walker to re-appear up every once in a while. Seven-start stretches of utter dominance are pretty unique but are rarer still when immediately preceded by nearly 50 innings of crooked numbers.

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July 9, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Grading The Buyer's Guide, Part One

4

J.P. Breen

A look at how well you've done if you followed some of J.P.'s preseason recommendations.

As we near the All-Star break, I thought it would be useful to critique myself and my fantasy advice throughout the year. This allows me to own up to mistaken guidance or faulty analysis, while also celebrating my own home runs. In other words, this article hopes to be the “accountability” for which people crave.

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Want to buy low on someone? Don't make it a player on this list.

Years ago, before analytics and baseball became acquainted, many analysts focused on first-half and second-half stats. For many good reasons that are too lengthy to go into here, this type of analysis has become dated and isn’t used in any type of serious study.

However, the All-Star break is still a good time in fantasy to take a step back, look at some poor first-half performers, and figure out who is due for a bounce back in the second half. Rather than analyze the types of players who “traditionally” hit well post-All-Star break, this is a look at players who either will slip or won’t bounce back despite a slow first half.

Read the full article...

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July 2, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The Evolution of Rubby De La Rosa

0

George Bissell

How the D'backs righty has begun to overcome his struggles versus left-handed hitters and emerge as a strikeout artist.

Progress isn’t linear. It’s never been a question of talent with Rubby De La Rosa, but rather doubts about whether he could make the necessary adjustments to remain a major-league starter, without which he’d ultimately be destined to move to the bullpen. It’s been extraordinarily difficult to exercise patience over the last few years with De La Rosa, who has struggled mightily at times. However, the wait for him to unlock his immense potential might finally be over, thanks to a subtle adjustment to his arsenal against left-handed batters and the addition of catcher Welington Castillo.

The De La Rosa project played out like the Star Wars saga in Boston last year. He was flat-out dominant, a true sensation right out of the gate (Original Trilogy), firing seven innings and allowing one earned run or less in six of his first 11 starts. Unfortunately, he failed to reach the seventh inning in each of his final seven outings (Phantom Menace). A slew of lackluster performances (7.11 ERA last September) ultimately got him shipped out of Boston in the offseason.

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An interview with two of fantasy baseball's pioneers, Alex Patton and Peter Kreutzer.

Long before this hobby became an industry, there were Alex Patton and Peter Kreutzer.

Read the full article...

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June 24, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The Injured Starter Market

11

J.P. Breen

Sizing up the arms getting ready to return from the DL.

As we approach the dog days of the baseball season, fantasy owners nearing contention will be seeking to improve their rosters, just like real-life organizations. However, the former have the added benefit of a waiver wire that’s often chock full of injured players who have been neglected or forgotten. Acquiring a key starter almost ready to return from the DL can often upgrade one’s roster nearly as much as a midseason trade, and it doesn’t cost anything but a roster spot.

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June 23, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: What Can We Learn From Mookie Betts Exit Velocity?

4

George Bissell

How Statcast exit velocity impacts the future of fantasy baseball analysis.

When MLB Advanced Media installed its brand-new Statcast tracking system in all 30 stadiums this spring, mainstream baseball fans (and fantasy owners alike) were exposed to a rapidly approaching new era of advanced statistics.

MLB front offices have had access to HITf/x data since 2008, but Statcast's release marked the first time that batted ball data was made available to the public. It's already had a profound impact on how mainstream writers analyze the game, however it's use as an analytical tool hasn't quite carried over into the fantasy baseball universe just yet.

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June 18, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Desert Ray

2

George Bissell

Arizona's Robbie Ray is quietly putting together an impressive breakout campaign.

Ever since his arrival in the desert, Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray has morphed into a flamethrower, with a propensity to pepper the outer edges of the strike zone, virtually overnight. It may have something to do with his Grizzly Adams-style beard, but it has a lot more to do with a staggering increase in fastball velocity, which has propelled him from a fringe fantasy prospect into one of the more intriguing young southpaws in the game today.

Through four starts as a member of the Diamondbacks rotation, Ray owns a stellar 1.09 ERA and 0.97 WHIP to go along with 16 strikeouts and just seven walks over 24 2/3 innings of work. According to Baseball Prospectus’ revolutionary new metric for evaluating past pitcher performance, Deserved Run Average (DRA), the only starting pitchers who have posted a lower DRA than Ray (1.82 DRA) this season are Eduardo Rodriguez, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Chris Young (who I wrote about a few weeks ago), Sonny Gray, and Dallas Keuchel. While we may be dealing with too small of a sample size to draw any significant conclusions from just yet, the results we have seen so far aren’t insignificant, and they speak to just how well he has pitched since arriving in Arizona.

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Using our shiny new stats to examine the hurlers you ought to ditch and the ones you might want to chase in trades.

This is admittedly something of a data dump article, but judging by some of the Bat Signal questions we get, I think it’s a useful one to consolidate everything in one place. Plus, it’s another opportunity to take our awesome, shiny new toy out for a test drive, and that’s always fun.

For those uninitiated, I highly recommend you take a few minutes to get initiated. Our statistical wizardry department, led by Harry Pavlidis, Jonathan Judge, Robert Arthur, Dan Turkenkopf, and Gregory J. Matthews, created two extremely useful metrics for evaluating pitchers in cFIP and DRA. Here’s a link to the original piece unveiling those two beauties, along with the follow-up piece introducing the subsidiary stat, DRA-, which we’ll be talking about today. Both should be required reading in your summer school class.

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