CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Fantasy Freestyle 

Search Fantasy Freestyle

All Blogs (including podcasts)

Active Columns

Authors

Article Types

Archives

02-12

comment icon

22

Fantasy Freestyle: LABR Mixed Recap
by
Mike Gianella

02-06

comment icon

3

Fantasy Freestyle: PFM vs. the 'Experts,' Part Two (Pitchers)
by
Mike Gianella

01-30

comment icon

15

Fantasy Freestyle: PFM vs. the 'Experts,' Part One (Hitters)
by
Mike Gianella

01-16

comment icon

22

Fantasy Freestyle: Stop Looking for Sleepers, Start Looking for Value
by
Mike Gianella

12-31

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: How NOT to Consume the Positional Series
by
Ben Carsley

12-30

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: Consuming the Positional Series
by
Jeff Quinton

12-23

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: Still Holliday Season
by
Wilson Karaman

12-22

comment icon

4

Fantasy Freestyle: Is Marcus Stroman the Real '6 God'?
by
Nick Shlain

12-18

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: Don't Forget the Vets
by
Matt Collins

12-17

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: Undervalued NL Starting Pitchers
by
Keith Cromer

12-16

comment icon

10

Fantasy Freestyle: The Trouble With Tiers
by
Mike Gianella

12-12

comment icon

9

Fantasy Freestyle: Shortening Your Dynasty Rebuild
by
J.P. Breen

12-11

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: Jose Quintana, Forever Underrated
by
Matt Collins

12-10

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: American League Speed Options on the Cheap
by
Keith Cromer

12-09

comment icon

1

Fantasy Freestyle: Is Yordano Ventura Overrated Now?
by
Nick Shlain

12-05

comment icon

1

Fantasy Freestyle: The Moderate Rebuild
by
Craig Goldstein

12-04

comment icon

1

Fantasy Freestyle: Hey, So What Happened to Mike Minor Last Year?
by
Wilson Karaman

12-03

comment icon

6

Fantasy Freestyle: Relief Help
by
Keith Cromer

12-02

comment icon

4

Fantasy Freestyle: Keeper Decisions
by
Nick Shlain

11-25

comment icon

4

Fantasy Freestyle: Christian Yelich is Poised to Break Out
by
Matt Collins

11-25

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: Offseason Trades and Responding to the Default Effect
by
Jeff Quinton

11-25

comment icon

1

Fantasy Freestyle: 40-Man Additions to Know
by
Craig Goldstein

11-20

comment icon

1

Fantasy Freestyle: Offseason Trades and the Default Effect
by
Jeff Quinton

11-18

comment icon

9

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Fantasy Busts
by
J.P. Breen

11-13

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Fantasy MVPs of 2014
by
J.P. Breen

11-06

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: What to Make of Odrisamer Despaigne
by
Keith Cromer

11-05

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: Curb Your Pitching Enthusiasm
by
Nick Shlain

11-04

comment icon

4

Fantasy Freestyle: Three Players Looking for Bounce-Back Power
by
Matt Collins

10-30

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: Going All-In on Hyun-jin Ryu
by
Matt Collins

10-30

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept that Justin Upton is Quite Good
by
Wilson Karaman

10-28

comment icon

1

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back: Madison Bumgarner for Cy Young
by
J.P. Breen

10-24

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: Projection Season and the Recency Effect
by
Jeff Quinton

10-23

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Brandon Belt
by
Ben Carsley

10-21

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Alcides Escobar
by
Wilson Karaman

10-20

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: My Personal Scorecard: Part 2 - National League
by
Mike Gianella

10-17

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Joe Panik
by
Ben Carsley

10-16

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: Jon Jay
by
Jeff Quinton

10-15

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Lorenzo Cain
by
J.P. Breen

10-14

comment icon

4

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back: Prospect Predictions
by
Craig Goldstein

10-13

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: My Personal Scorecard: Part 1 - American League
by
Mike Gianella

10-10

comment icon

1

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Shelby Miller
by
Wilson Karaman

10-08

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back at Super Subs
by
Paul Sporer

10-07

comment icon

6

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back: My Favorite Endgame Targets of 2014
by
Bret Sayre

10-06

comment icon

1

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Sergio Romo
by
J.P. Breen

10-03

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Denard Span
by
Wilson Karaman

10-02

comment icon

8

Fantasy Freestyle: Trades and the Importance of Hustle
by
Jeff Quinton

10-02

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: Edinson Volquez
by
Craig Goldstein

10-02

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: Are Elite Pitchers Becoming More Numerous?
by
J.P. Breen

10-01

comment icon

1

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Josh Donaldson
by
Paul Sporer

09-30

comment icon

1

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Eric Hosmer
by
Ben Carsley

<< Previous Column Entries Next Column Entries >>

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

December 11, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Jose Quintana, Forever Underrated

0

Matt Collins

Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija will get all the press, but another starter on the South Side might be the best fantasy value.

Chris Sale is going to be the ace. He’s going to be the guy everyone targets early in fantasy drafts to head their rotation. Jeff Samardzija is the newcomer, coming off a great season, and the signal that the White Sox are, in fact, “going for it.” He will grab headlines, and may be targeted a little earlier in drafts than he ought to. These are the two who are going to demand all of the focus in the White Sox’s rotation, the ones everyone will talk about. I implore you, though, do not forget about Jose Quintana. One of the more underrated pitchers in the game, he’s done nothing but put up consistently solid numbers in his short career. No, he’s not going to anchor anyone’s rotation, but as someone who is projected to be a late-round pick, he can provide huge value in that spot.

The number one thing Quintana is going to give you is a solid ERA, despite pitching in a horrific park for pitchers. Over his three-year career, the lefty has put up a 3.50 ERA, a number that puts him in the same breath as Justin Verlander, Matt Cain, and Matt Moore. He took a big step forward last year as well, with a 3.21 ERA (30th best in MLB) supplemented by a 2.81 FIP (10th best in MLB). Now, it needs to be mentioned that part of that success was due to a 3.5 percent HR/FB rate that will almost certainly rise. However, that should be offset by his career-high BABIP falling back towards his career norms, as well as his ever-improving walk and ground ball rates. For those reasons, we have plenty of reasons to believe in his WHIP. He’s able to keep guys off the bases not only by throwing strikes, but throwing effective strikes. Quintana has become a master of pounding the low part of the strike zone, as we can see here:

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

December 10, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: American League Speed Options on the Cheap

0

Keith Cromer

Don't overpay for steals! Instead, put these prolific thieves on your 2015 fantasy squad.

Having had the privilege of competing in the CBS Expert Leagues the past couple of years, I started my auction prep-work around this time each year, since those leagues typically auction in February. Along with my research on relievers, as I referenced in my Fantasy Freestyle article from last week, I also spend quite a bit of time trying to identify speed options that might be undervalued come draft day.

As I headed into the AL-Only 5x5 CBS Expert League auction this past year, I went in with a strategy to get either Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout at my sheet prices, buy Masahiro Tanaka at my sheet price, fill out my MI with fantasy-producing starters, and then figure out the rest as I went along. Well, I got Cabrera and Tanaka early as well as some solid middle infielders, and then focused my energy on getting a couple of speed guys, so I would not have to chase stolen bases later in the auction and overpay. The way the dynamics of the auction room played out, I was able to sit back and grab Rajai Davis, Jarrod Dyson, and Craig Gentry for a combined $5. No, that is not a misprint… that was a $5 investment that resulted in 92 stolen bases and $53 in earnings, or a $48 ROI, and I ran away (no pun intended) with the steals category in the league. For some reason, I have found over the years that there is not a lot love for these “one-trick ponies” despite the value they provide. As such, I always target and snatch these fantasy gems.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

December 9, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Is Yordano Ventura Overrated Now?

1

Nick Shlain

Have 100-mph bullets and the Royals' postseason success blown the righty's value out of proportion?

It didn’t take very long for me to push my anti-pitcher agenda here at Baseball Prospectus, as my first Fantasy Freestyle was about curbing spending on pitchers in auction-style drafts. I’ll continue to not love pitchers today as I take a closer look at Yordano Ventura, who has generated plenty of buzz coming off the Royals’ October run.

Despite a slight build, Ventura held up as his rookie season went along making 30 starts and totaling 183 innings pitched with a 3.20 ERA. He also made four starts in the playoffs. Going forward, how Ventura’s body stands up to throwing 200 innings is a concern, especially when considering he mostly gets by on his flame-throwing as his average fastball velocity was 96 mph this year. Despite his elite fastball velocity, he doesn’t miss bats at an elite rate—his 20.3 percent strikeout rate ranked 37th among all qualified starters this year. Ventura totaled 159 strikeouts this year, the same amount as Justin Verlander. Ideally, Ventura will miss more bats as he matures as a pitcher and improves his secondary offerings. His raw stuff might be too good for it not to happen eventually, but when gauging how to value him for next season it would be extremely unwise to assume improvement without cause.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

December 5, 2014 10:58 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The Moderate Rebuild

1

Craig Goldstein

Might retooling on the fly be a better plan than tearing it down and starting over?

Author’s Note: This column is intended for deep leagues only

It’s become increasingly clear in the last few years that fans of baseball, fantasy baseball owners included as a subset, are tolerant of essentially two modes of thought when it comes to their team and how it’s built. There’s the contending team, that makes itself known to be attempting contention for a wild card spot, if not a division crown, and the rebuilding team that isn’t competing that year so is all about future assets and long-term growth. These are accepted styles of competition in which one is either competing at the top or dwelling at the bottom with the idea of competing at the top down the line. What’s less accepted is mediocrity, or stagnancy. Move up or move down, or at least make your motives known.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

December 4, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Hey, So What Happened to Mike Minor Last Year?

1

Wilson Karaman

A look at whether the Braves lefty is primed for a rebound.

I’ll admit up front that I have a huge soft spot for Mike Minor. I acquired him in my home league as a buy-low guy in late May of 2012, and he proceeded to return gobs and gobs of surplus value for me over the following season-and-a-half. I didn’t end up owning him in any leagues this past season, and I was pretty bummed out about that coming out of my assorted drafts. Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make, though, right? According to NFBC data Minor was taken as the 29th starting pitcher off the board last spring, yet Mike Gianella recently figured him as the fourth-biggest bust among NL starting pitchers after he returned exactly zero dollars-worth of production in a season plagued by injury and poor performance. So what happened here, and where should we be setting expectations for Minor in 2015 and beyond?

The injury issues probably deserve front and center attention as top billing in our story. Minor had what can be charitably described as… well, just a terrible-sounding operation to remove scar tissue from his urethra as the new year dawned. In addition to making men around the country wince and recoil, the procedure knocked him off his standard throwing schedule heading into spring training and led to some shoulder inflammation after he tried to ramp up too quickly. The shoulder issue turned out to be a nagging one, forcing a DL stint that cost him all of April and ending his season prematurely in September as the Braves fell out of contention. When he did toe the rubber in between those shutdowns the results were obviously quite poor relative to the pitcher we saw over the previous 18 months. And the first thing that jumps out in looking at his profile is that Minor’s release point for the vast majority of the season was significantly higher than it had been at any point since his first-half troubles in 2012.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

December 3, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Relief Help

6

Keith Cromer

These pitchers might not rack up saves, but they could still hold considerable fantasy value.

From my perspective, it’s never too early to begin speculating about teams’ bullpens during the offseason and researching who could make a fantasy impact the following year. Playing fantasy baseball for as long as I have has taught me that finding those hidden reliever gems can be the difference between hoisting a trophy and waving the white flag in July. Spending time studying every arm in all major-league bullpens is a staple of my pre-draft routine, and just as important as the homework done for position players, starting pitchers, and impactful rookies.

Please note I am not talking about closers, but rather those reliable bullpen arms that have impressive peripherals and produce in high-leverage situations, not just save situations. These pitchers have earned the trust and confidence of their managers and will continuously be given the opportunity to pitch in similar future situations that could result in wins, holds, and potentially some saves. Even in deeper AL- and NL-Only leagues, the value of these relievers is sometimes unappreciated, despite how they can offset bad performances by starting pitchers in any given week.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

December 2, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Keeper Decisions

4

Nick Shlain

Resolving a few hypothetical dilemmas involving Kole Calhoun, Kevin Gausman, J.D. Martinez, and Angel Pagan.

Although inspired by a real event, the following story is fantasy and does not depict any actual person or event.

We’re completely entrenched in the slog that is six months without real baseball, but that doesn’t mean fantasy owners are bereft of all decision-making. It’s the time of year when keeper-league owners must make a call on which players they’ll have back next year.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

November 25, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Christian Yelich is Poised to Break Out

4

Matt Collins

Giancarlo Stanton isn't the only name to know in the Miami lineup.

Giancarlo Stanton has always been the focal point in Miami, and that is even truer now that he has signed his massive 13-year, $325 million contract. He’s not their only exciting young player, though. They have a pitching staff that includes Jose Fernandez, Henderson Alvarez, Nathan Eovaldi, and Jarred Cosart. Their outfield, besides Stanton, boasts players like Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. It’s that last name I want to focus on here. Yelich is a player who obviously has a lot of traction in dynasty and keeper leagues, as he’s been touted as a top throughout his professional career. Well, things are setting up for him to take a real step forward in 2015, making him an intriguing early pick in redraft leagues as well.

Whether you’re in a league that uses batting average or OBP, Yelich is going to be helpful. At a time when the average outfielder is hitting .259 with a .321 OBP, the Marlins’ center fielder just finished his first full season and put up a .284 average and a .362 OBP. This comes from a player who consistently hit in the high-.200s or low-.300s throughout his minor-league career, and hit a similar .288 in his 273 MLB plate appearances in 2013. To make matters better, he did this with very respectable peripherals. Yelich watched his strikeout rate fall to 20.8 percent last season, while his walk rate stayed at a well above-average clip of 10.6 percent. And he did all that while keeping his swinging-strike rate below the league average.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

November 25, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Offseason Trades and Responding to the Default Effect

2

Jeff Quinton

A follow-up to last week's piece, explaining how to take advantage of offseason trade-market inefficiencies.

Last week, we discussed the ways that the default effect influences our dynasty- and keeper-league offseason trade markets. Today we will take a look at some ways to deal with and take advantage of these market realities. These ways can be broken down into two categories:

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

November 25, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: 40-Man Additions to Know

1

Craig Goldstein

These prospects have cleared one hurdle keeping them from the majors, so they're worthy of your attention.

Late last week was the deadline for teams to add guys to their 40-man rosters, which is pretty much the only time anyone cares who is added to or taken off of a 40-man roster, which is why me bringing you fantasy takes on several of those players is perfect. No one cares what I have to say anyway. This is a look at guys that could matter in 2015, which means some of the more intriguing names that are still far away (Mauricio Cabrera, Brandon Drury etc) are being left off. Let’s get to the limited-upside prospects!

Jose Peraza - 2B - Atlanta
Not only did Tommy La Stella get shipped out of town, but Peraza got put on the 40-man, which means a relatively minor obstacle (but still an obstacle) is now out of his way. He’s performed well in a limited look at the upper levels, and has a good chance of contributing some time in the second half. He could make a case for reaching the major leagues earlier based on his defense (he’s a natural shortstop), but allowing his bat to mature isn’t the worst idea (or bad for fantasy owners) either. Even if he doesn’t hit, he’s a threat to contribute on the bases, so he’ll probably be worth adding no matter when he gets the call. His power comes from adding the extra base thanks to his speed, as he tends to just spin in place when he swings, without generating power by transferring his weight.


The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

November 20, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Offseason Trades and the Default Effect

1

Jeff Quinton

Logic dictates that offseason trade activity should be virtually endless, so why doesn't this happen?

While no Major League Baseball games are currently being played, the offseason maintains a tight hold on our attention. The offseason brings every team back to 0-0 (for both major-league and fantasy baseball), and we are captivated by the hope of the new season and intrigued by the strategy each team will deploy.

Whereas in-season trades and moves tend to be limited by the competitive landscape, the offseason tends to be less limited, because more uncertainty exists about the upcoming season. In fantasy baseball, potential moves and strategies are even less limited in the sense that all teams have closer to equal resources because of parity-promoting rules and constructs such as salary caps, keeper limits, auction dollars, and draft rounds. Given all of this to go along with person-to-person inconsistency in valuing uncertain future assets (baseball players), one could assume that the offseason would be a time of torrent trade activity. In theory, each owner would continue to trade until he or she possesses each asset that he or she most values among his or her peers (obviously this depends on the value of the assets one originally owns, but you get the point). Put differently, because every owner would rank the top 300 players (or top 300 values in leagues with contracts) differently, one could assume that there would be trade after trade after trade until every discrepancy in valuation has been corrected.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

November 18, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Fantasy Busts

9

J.P. Breen

Examining a handful of players who underperformed fantasy investments badly in 2014.

Last week, I identified a quintuplet of players who vastly outperformed their preseason fantasy valuation, making them five of the most valuable fantasy players of the 2014 season. We flip to the infuriating side of the coin: five players who perhaps disappointed more than anyone else in Major League Baseball. It should be noted that I didn’t include guys like Joey Votto, who lost significant value due to time on the disabled list. These are players who unexpectedly sucked in 2014, but they did so for an extended period of time. There was no respite. These guys started 30-plus games or logged 500-plus plate appearances, and they were likely in your starting lineup all year. Those are the true value killers.

Let’s commiserate together.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

<< Previous Column Entries Next Column Entries >>