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05-26

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: So About That Nick Castellanos Breakout
by
Wilson Karaman

05-26

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Miggy's Decline?
by
Matt Collins

05-25

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Fantasy Draft Rankings for Imaginary Players
by
Mike Gianella

05-19

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Home League Temperature Check
by
Scooter Hotz

05-12

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Selling Low on Two Pitchers
by
Matt Collins

05-01

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Stash List Supplemental
by
Greg Wellemeyer

04-28

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: The All-April Team
by
Matt Collins

04-27

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: I’m Very Nervous
by
Mike Gianella

04-21

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: My Fantasy Investment Portfolio—Minor Leaguers I Own Across Multiple Leagues
by
Scooter Hotz

04-20

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Reconsidering Your Targets
by
Mike Gianella

04-14

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Three Surprising Strikeout Surgers
by
Matt Collins

04-14

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: My Fantasy Investment Portfolio: Major League Players I Own Across Multiple Leagues
by
Scooter Hotz

04-06

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: The PFM and The Model Portfolio
by
Mike Gianella

04-05

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Fixing What Broke in Francisco Liriano
by
Alex Chamberlain

04-03

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Five to Watch: Leadoff Surprises
by
Greg Wellemeyer

03-27

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: My First Auction of 2017
by
Scooter Hotz

03-23

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Auction Prep: Auction Podcast Takeaways
by
Jeff Quinton

03-23

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Reviewing the 2016 Model Portfolios
by
Greg Wellemeyer

03-21

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: My First Draft of 2017
by
Scooter Hotz

03-20

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Adjusting for Smaller Leagues
by
Mike Gianella

03-13

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: An All-Post-Hype Team
by
Matt Collins

03-03

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7

Fantasy Freestyle: PECOTA, the PFM, My Bid Limits, and You
by
Mike Gianella

03-02

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Robbie Ray and Statcast
by
Tim Finnegan

01-07

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Twenty Questions For 2017
by
BP Fantasy Staff

01-04

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Using Statcast Analytics for Fantasy Decisions
by
Tim Finnegan

10-17

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: An Avoid Retrospective
by
Wilson Karaman

10-10

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: A Target Retrospective
by
Wilson Karaman

09-29

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Short-Season Hitters to Watch
by
Wilson Karaman

09-15

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: What I Learned This Year
by
Wilson Karaman

09-09

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Positioning Your Team for Success
by
Mike Gianella

09-07

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Three Thoughts About 2016
by
J.P. Breen

09-02

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: 2016 In-Season Valuations: Third Edition
by
Mike Gianella

09-01

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Low-Minors Prospects I Like
by
Wilson Karaman

08-31

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Worrying About Innings Limits
by
J.P. Breen

08-26

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: DRA Do-Gooders
by
Wilson Karaman

08-18

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: The Unsung Heroes of the Shortstop Revolution
by
Wilson Karaman

08-17

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Recent Top Performers: Pitchers and Outfielders
by
J.P. Breen

08-10

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Trade Deadline Post-Mortem
by
J.P. Breen

08-04

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Early Returns on the 2016 Draft Class
by
Wilson Karaman

07-27

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11

Fantasy Freestyle: Four Things I Believe
by
J.P. Breen

07-22

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Yasiel Puig's Missing Pop
by
Wilson Karaman

07-13

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: First-Half Awards
by
J.P. Breen

07-08

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: Second-Half... Bounce Backs?
by
Mike Gianella

07-07

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Gimme Some of That Sweet Ratio Love
by
Wilson Karaman

06-30

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Dynasty Prospects: A Few of My Favorites
by
Wilson Karaman

06-24

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Bargains and Busts, Midseason Edition
by
Mike Gianella

06-17

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: So What's Going on with Jose Abreu, Anyway?
by
Wilson Karaman

06-17

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: On Average, We'd Rather Not
by
Mike Gianella

06-10

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Keeper-League Trading: A Primer
by
Mike Gianella

06-09

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Fantasy Freestyle: Evaluating the California League All-Stars
by
Wilson Karaman

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April 6, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The PFM and The Model Portfolio

3

Mike Gianella

Applying PFM valuations to the My Model Portfolio exercise and testing the results against mixed Tout Wars teams.

Every March, at least a few readers ask me “Why don’t you just use the PFM instead of your bids, Mike?”

Over the years, I have answered this question a few different ways. But today I thought I’d take a different approach. Inspired by a reader question last month, I decided to take the Player Forecast Manager's valuations for a 15-team mixed league and apply them to Baseball Prospectus’ My Model Portfolio exercise from March. As a reminder, this is what our authors did in that series.

In the “My Model Portfolio” series, the fantasy staff will create its own team within a $260 auction budget using Mike Gianella’s latest mixed-league Bid Limits for 2017. The scoring is 5x5 standard roto. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, 5 OF, 2 UTIL, and 9 P.

The Process
In this case, the process is simple. I took my mixed-league bids, took the valuations the PFM spit out for a 15-team league, and posted the results below. I started by using the 23 players who had the biggest differential between the PFM valuations and my bid limits, and kept adding players with less of a differential by position until I reached $260 in salary. As a reminder, every “winning” bid below equals my published bid limits plus one. One-dollar players on my team are those who were not listed in my bid limits.

The only change I made to this exercise is that I added a second catcher to the team and removed the second utility player, since my bids are designed to mirror the Tout Wars mixed-auction format. At the end of the season, I want to test this team not against the model portfolio teams but rather the mixed Tout Wars teams.

The Offense

Position

Player

Bid

PFM $

C

Gary Sanchez

25

$31.21

C

Brian McCann

10

$20.22

1B

Carlos Santana

15

$22.15

2B

Josh Harrison

5

$14.25

3B

Aledmys Diaz

7

$15.26

SS

Jose Reyes

6

$14.63

CI

Tommy Joseph

9

$15.43

MI

Devon Travis

3

$11.81

OF

Billy Hamilton

22

$28.54

OF

Andrew McCutchen

22

$28.78

OF

A.J. Pollock

19

$25.79

OF

Adam Jones

15

$27.21

OF

Kole Calhoun

8

$14.75

UT

Jacoby Ellsbury

8

$15.06

Total

174

$285.09


The PFM is far more conservative on the top players than I am, so there are no Mike Trouts on this squad. This goes against what Bret Sayre typically does in Tout Wars mixed, and the approach I tend to take in shallower auctions. Sanchez at $25 is the anchor for the team, but the PFM also is betting on a comeback from McCutchen and for Hamilton to finally achieve his potential.

This is a fairly risk-averse team. Where my bid limits are somewhat cautious with Joseph and Travis, the PFM believes that they’ll be solid contributors. Calhoun and Ellsbury are not the most exciting players, but the PFM thinks that they will at least contribute at the levels they did over the last few years.

The Pitching

Player

Bid

PFM $

Clayton Kershaw

42

$49.54

Dallas Keuchel

10

$17.15

John Lackey

10

$15.61

Jeff Samardzija

10

$15.79

Michael Pineda

6

$12.73

Michael Shoemaker

4

$9.48

Wei-Yin Chen

2

$9.69

Matt Andriese

1

$6.40

Mike Leake

1

$7.63

Total

86

$144.02

You can’t argue against purchasing Clayton Kershaw. While my bid limit sits at $42, it is admittedly a compromise with at least three separate goals: trying to spread money across a pitching staff, building in some risk because he is a pitcher, and also giving deference to Clayton Kershaw. I have no qualms with spending $50 or more on him in a mixed format.

The PFM spits out mostly veterans, which isn’t surprising. A former AL Cy Young winner, a reliable-yet-aging workhorse, and a solid arm who had one poor year with the White Sox back up Kershaw at $10 apiece. This is a very strong base for a pitching staff. With a pitching staff like this, my strategy typically would be to bottom out with one dollar starters and spend $77 on the entire staff.

The Prediction

This is the section of the model portfolio where our staff came up with predictions for their teams. For a league that doesn’t play out, going with a balanced team is a solid approach. Something the PFM cannot do that a human can is look for one-dollar fliers that the PFM puts below replacement level. Someone is going to get this year’s Aledmys Diaz—we just don’t know who that is yet.

I will revisit this team at the end of the regular season. Like any “test” of the PFM, it is far from perfect, but this is the goal of the PFM: to build a hypothetical team that is a successful fantasy franchise.

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April 5, 2017 1:22 pm

Fantasy Freestyle: Fixing What Broke in Francisco Liriano

0

Alex Chamberlain

Liriano went from a top-30 fantasy starter to written off after a rough 2016 season. Are his results headed for a rebound?

The fantasy community was quick to write off Francisco Liriano as being cooked. It's as if the 500-plus innings of 3.26 ERA he posted from 2013-2015 were all a fluke—or that they didn't happen at all. It's also as if not a lot changed in 2016 when hitters punished him, hitting home runs on nearly 19 percent of fly balls. With everything we know about what pitchers can and can't control on the mound, it's a mystery to me why Liriano went from a top-30 arm to one that's barely top-75. Still, I'll humor the notion that there's something to fix. Perhaps there is. I don't even know yet. We're going on this journey together.

It's pretty easy to spot what went wrong in the numbers. After allowing only 16 home runs with his sinker during his three almost-elite seasons, Liriano gifted 14 homers using the pitch in 2016. It never was a particularly safe pitch (it allowed a .297/.396/.429 triple-slash during those aforementioned almost-elite seasons), but the damage ballooned out of control in 2016 to the tune of a .301/.419/.502 triple-slash. Both are bad, to be clear, but wow, that's bad. Also: The outcomes didn't fundamentally change outside the isolated power allowed.

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April 3, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Five to Watch: Leadoff Surprises

1

Greg Wellemeyer

There can be hidden value at the top of the lineup.

The importance of batting order position is often overstated, especially in shallow or medium depth mixed leagues. In deeper and mono contexts, where plate appearances come at a premium, a slot in the upper third of the lineup can make a difference. The same goes for formats that allow daily lineup changes, as the leadoff spot can be a popular place for hitters with a pronounced split. Provided you have a bench with a little depth, you can often build an excellent platoon on the cheap by leveraging these roles. With that in mind, here are five players whose Opening Day stock is up because of unexpected opportunity at the top of their clubs’ lineups.

Delino DeShields, Texas Rangers

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March 27, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: My First Auction of 2017

1

Scooter Hotz

Scooter recaps the results of his recent keeper-league auction.

Last night I had my first auction of the season. It’s my second season in the league, which is a more serious league than the one I wrote about last week. Like that league, though, a lot of the owners are more inclined towards fantasy football than fantasy baseball, which is why it’s a head-to-head league. Here are some other league settings for background:

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March 23, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Auction Prep: Auction Podcast Takeaways

1

Jeff Quinton

After discussion his strategies on the Flags Fly Forever podcast this week, Jeff recaps what he learned to help you prepare for your league's auction.

Earlier this week, George and Mike from the Flags Fly Forever podcast were kind enough to have me on to discuss auction strategy and the decision-making process. When I write my articles from my typing cove (really, my apartment’s kitchenette), I do not get to bounce ideas off of people in real time or get to listen to the in-depth thoughts of others on auction strategy like I did when on the podcast. Consequently, the podcast (which you can listen to here) helped clarify and even bring to light some new beliefs and ideas that I believe will help us in our quest to improve our auction strategies, strategic process, and decision-making as we endeavor to chase flags that will fly forever. Again, I would highly recommend listening to the podcast, but additionally, I have recapped and expanded on some of the ideas and recommendations discussed—advice that I am going to be trying to heed come my final auction preparation this week and come my two auctions this weekend

1. Always prepare and analyze with opportunity cost in mind

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March 23, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Reviewing the 2016 Model Portfolios

4

Greg Wellemeyer

Looking back on how our staff members fared with their ideal fantasy rosters last season.

Our positional coverage is all wrapped up and draft season is drawing to a close as Opening Day nears. One series we’ll be rolling out starting next week is My Model Portfolio, wherein our staff members will each pick a roster using Mike Gianella’s final bid limits, which will be published tomorrow.

Before we get there, though, how about a little accountability on last year’s picks? I’m judging these purely based on how much difference there was between Mike’s preseason bid limits and his postseason retrospective valuations. There is no consideration for roster balance or categorical strength, this is purely an evaluation of whose draft day roster created the most raw profit over the course of the season.

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March 21, 2017 11:58 pm

Fantasy Freestyle: My First Draft of 2017

0

Scooter Hotz

Scooter breaks down his keepers and recaps his selections in his first draft of the spring.

Last night, I had my first draft or auction of the season. It’s my second season in the league, which is a fairly casual one with friends, a lot of whom are more inclined towards fantasy football than fantasy baseball. Here are some other league settings for background:

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March 20, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Adjusting for Smaller Leagues

4

Mike Gianella

Mike explains how to tweak his auction values when playing in leagues with fewer than 12 teams.

For those of you who use my bid limit articles, one of the most common requests I get is “how do I adjust these bid limits for smaller leagues?” This is a more common question for mono leagues, where even those souls brave enough to participate in AL or NL-only often play in eight or 10-team formats. My bid limits in mono leagues are designed for the old school, “traditional” 12-team mono leagues.

I used to play in a 10-team NL-only and came up with a rough but useful calculation to adjust my bids. I’ll use the hitter population as an example, but the same calculation can easily be used for pitchers as well. I’ll list the three steps below and explain each one in detail.

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March 13, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: An All-Post-Hype Team

6

Matt Collins

The shine may have worn off of these once highly regarded young players, but they could still provide fantasy value in 2017.

We all have our favorite types of players to draft every spring. Some of us like dependable veterans, while others like unproven rookies. Some of us like the high floors, while others drool for the high ceilings. Of the many cookie-cutter groups of players that emerge in every form of fantasy baseball previews each and every spring, my favorite is the post-hype sleepers. This, of course, refers to players who came up with high expectations, but haven’t quite gotten there yet.

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A look at how to make the most of BP's offerings in tandem with Mike's bid limits.

This column is designed to address the questions I commonly get about my published bid limits here at Baseball Prospectus, how they’re different from the prices in our Player Forecast Manager (PFM), and most importantly why they are useful. It would be impossible to address every question our readers have had about my pricing modeling versus what the PFM is and what it does, so I’ll start with a few of the most common questions our readers have had about both.

Are you planning on using the awful Q&A format for this article?

Read the full article...

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March 2, 2017 9:34 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Robbie Ray and Statcast

0

Tim Finnegan

Pitching metrics disagree when it comes to the D'backs lefty, but does his Statcast data reveal his true skill level?

Robbie Ray has been much talked about by both fantasy owners and baseball fans. Sam Miller profiled Ray fantastically in this ESPN piece from November. Depending on which pitching stats you place the most emphasis on, Ray’s 2016 season varied anywhere from significantly below average (run prevention) to above average (Fielding Independent Pitching, Deserved Run Average). Ray’s 4.90 ERA ranked fourth-worst among the 64 starting pitchers who threw at least 170 innings last year, and his park-adjusted ERA- of 112 ranked 54th out of 64. His 3.88 DRA ranked 31st. His 3.76 FIP ranked 21st.

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You asked, we answered.

Monday is the start of our positional series at Baseball Prospectus, and we’re going to give you a lot of information, opinions and strategy tips. In fact, we laid it all out for you here. But before we get into the nitty gritty, we thought we’d have a little fun with some quick-hit questions that we answered as a team. Some of these were questions we got from you, the readers. Some were just interesting discussion points. But here are 14 opinions on 20 questions:

Read the full article...

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