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01-08

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Fantasy Freestyle: A Look at Preliminary ADP Data
by
Wilson Karaman

01-08

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11

Fantasy Freestyle: Bounce-Back Candidates: Starting Pitchers
by
Keith Cromer

01-08

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7

Fantasy Freestyle: Dominican Winter League Retrospective Valuations
by
Greg Wellemeyer

01-06

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Fantasy Freestyle: Desert Dynamos
by
J.J. Jansons

01-05

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Inflation 101
by
Mike Gianella

01-04

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Surveying the Uncertain Closer Landscape
by
J.P. Breen

12-24

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Fantasy Freestyle: A Recommendation Retrospective
by
Wilson Karaman

12-22

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Adjusting for Different Types of Auctions
by
Mike Gianella

12-14

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15

Fantasy Freestyle: Watching Mike Make the Sausage
by
Mike Gianella

12-08

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Fantasy Freestyle: Explaining the Pie
by
Mike Gianella

12-04

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Second-Half Slumpers
by
Matt Collins

12-02

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: 2015 Endgame and Waiver-Wire Recap: NL-Only Pitchers
by
Keith Cromer

11-06

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Fantasy Freestyle: Players to Avoid: A Retrospective
by
Wilson Karaman

11-05

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16

Fantasy Freestyle: Player Valuation: A Practical Application
by
Mike Gianella

11-04

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: 2015 Endgame and Waiver-Wire Recap: NL-Only Position Players Hitters
by
Keith Cromer

10-30

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Players to Target and Avoid: A Look Back
by
Bret Sayre

10-27

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Fantasy Freestyle: A Tale of Two Closers
by
George Bissell

10-21

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Fantasy Freestyle: 2015 Endgame and Waiver-Wire Recap: AL-Only Pitchers
by
Keith Cromer

10-14

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Fantasy Freestyle: A Look Back: Endgame Targets for 2015
by
Bret Sayre

10-13

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Fantasy Freestyle: The Next Bartolo Colon
by
George Bissell

10-08

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Andrew Friedman's Search for the New Zorilla
by
J.J. Jansons

10-07

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Fantasy Freestyle: Endgame and Waiver-Wire Recap: AL-Only Hitters
by
Keith Cromer

10-02

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Pitchers Who Put 'Em Away
by
Wilson Karaman

10-01

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Dynasty Prospects or Suspects, Part 1: Position Players
by
J.J. Jansons

10-01

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Fantasy Freestyle: Yogi Berra the Fantasy Star
by
Greg Wellemeyer

09-24

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Searching for Silver Bullets
by
J.J. Jansons

09-24

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: R.A. Dickey's Return to Relevance
by
George Bissell

09-24

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Prospecting in the Dominican Winter League
by
Greg Wellemeyer

09-17

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Fantasy Freestyle: Reexamining Park Factors
by
Greg Wellemeyer

09-16

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Fantasy Freestyle: What Happened to Marcell Ozuna?
by
George Bissell

09-10

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Fantasy Freestyle: The DRA vs. ERA Divide
by
George Bissell

09-10

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Fantasy Freestyle: An Ode to Odubel
by
J.J. Jansons

09-03

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Fantasy Freestyle: Two Position Players Angling for 2016 Roles
by
J.J. Jansons

08-27

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Fantasy Freestyle: Better Late Than Never
by
J.J. Jansons

08-26

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Raisel Iglesias on the Rise
by
George Bissell

08-26

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Fantasy Freestyle: Second-Half Pitching Trainwrecks
by
J.P. Breen

08-19

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Fantasy Freestyle: On Hard-Hit Balls and Batters Who Hit Balls Hard
by
Wilson Karaman

08-18

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: The Jacob deGrom Gambit
by
George Bissell

08-11

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Fantasy Freestyle: The Case For Carlos Correa
by
George Bissell

08-04

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: The Middle-Relief Monster: Carter Capps
by
George Bissell

07-28

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3

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

07-16

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

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November 6, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Players to Avoid: A Retrospective

0

Wilson Karaman

A look at how you would've done had you followed Wilson's advice to let someone else draft these players last spring.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bret’s retrospective last week of his targets and avoids from our pre-season series, and I’d recommend it highly if you missed it. I decided I’d wade into those waters myself, as it’s a solid exercise in accountability and a nostalgic trip down memory lane to the state of things heading into this past season, all rolled into one exercise. This week I’ll take a look at my list of guys to avoid, and next week we’ll look back at the guys I was hot for.

Starting Pitcher to Avoid: Andrew Cashner, San Diego Padres

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November 5, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Player Valuation: A Practical Application

16

Mike Gianella

Mike explains the process that helped him earn this year's Tout Wars crown.

Last month, I discussed how I successfully executed my plan in Tout Wars. Today, I am going to take a deeper dive into my approach, with an emphasis on how using player valuation helped me to succeed last year.

Prior to 2015, my approach tended to focus far more heavily on player valuation than on anything else. This may sound common and mundane, particularly in expert leagues, but one of the most surprising things I have discovered about playing in expert leagues is that most experts don’t rely on player valuation as much as I do. The majority of experts I have talked to about this do use player valuation to some degree but tend to favor roster construction over valuation and frequently base their decisions on a balanced roster model over player valuation. There is even a smaller cadre of experts who don’t use valuation at all, and rather go by instinct (some would say gut) to make decisions during their auctions or drafts.

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The senior circuit's best fantasy bargain bats from the past season.

My last two articles profiled AL-only position players and pitchers who were hovering near the bottom of our preseason sheet prices or were off our draft-day radars entirely, but proved to be fantasy assets in deep formats. This week we’ll turn our attention to the senior circuit to recognize endgame and FAAB position-player finds that provided substantial dividends for their owners despite accounting for a fraction of auction salary dollars and FAAB budgets.

Matt Duffy, IF, San Francisco Giants

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October 30, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Players to Target and Avoid: A Look Back

5

Bret Sayre

Bret reflects on his preseason fantasy recommendations, and whether the processes that led to them were sound.

Earlier in October, we looked back at some player-specific predictions that I made for endgame sleepers—and as expected, some went well and some went poorly. However, looking at where you went wrong in identifying individual players is both important and relatively small in the grand scheme of fantasy evaluation. The most useful information that can come out of a look back is where the process went right and where it went wrong, so I will channel my inner Jeff Quinton and go through the recommendations I made for players to target/avoid during January and February. But rather than judging based on the players selected, we're going to judge based on what led to those players being selected, and whether there are process improvements that can be made here, or whether we've moved beyond some of the reasons why these decisions were made.

As you may (but probably don't) remember, we alternated the positive and negative in the pre-season, so there's only one of either direction at any given position. So let's start at the very beginning. Seems like a very good place to start, no?

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October 27, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: A Tale of Two Closers

0

George Bissell

How Wade Davis and Jeurys Familia went from failed starters to dominant closers...

Fantasy owners', particularly keeper and dynasty owners', aversion to investing heavily in closers has been well documented and is certainly warranted. The risks often outweigh the rewards when you consider the relative instability of the position overall. Due to a toxic combination of injuries and ineffectiveness, there is more turnover on a yearly basis among closers than among player at any other position. As a result, elite fantasy stoppers have a tendency to emerge out of nowhere, as was the case with both Wade Davis and Jeurys Familia this year.

A pair of premier setup men a year ago, their performance once they ascended into their respective teams' closing roles made them two of the best values in fantasy baseball this season. According to the end-of-season valuations compiled by my Baseball Prospectus colleague Mike Gianella (who won both Tout Wars NL and LABR Mixed with Bret Sayre this year), only Andrew Miller ($23) earned more than Davis ($22) in the AL, while Familia ($23) finished behind Mark Melancon ($25) in the NL this season.

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October 21, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: 2015 Endgame and Waiver-Wire Recap: AL-Only Pitchers

0

Keith Cromer

The junior-circuit arms who proved to be bargain-bin steals this year.

Fantasy Freestyle – 2015 end game and waiver wire recap: AL-only pitcher’s edition

In my last article I profiled position players who hovering near the bottom of our sheet prices, or off our radars entirely, on draft day but proved to be fantasy assets in deep AL-only formats. This week we’ll turn our attention to junior circuit hurlers who provided substantial dividends for their owners this year despite accounting for a fraction of their auction salary dollars and FAAB budgets. We’ve broken these out by starting pitchers and bullpen arms so each get their dues.

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October 14, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: A Look Back: Endgame Targets for 2015

1

Bret Sayre

Bret grades his preseason picks, from the good to the Arismendy.

It’s again reflection time for us fantasy analysts, which is extremely important for a multitude of reasons. First of all, it’s an accountability thing. If we throw out predictions at the beginning of the season and don’t go back to show you our work, why should we expect you to come back and read our predictions pieces the next season? Of course it also helps to have good predictions, but that’s a separate topic in and of itself that we’ll revisit over the next 2,000 words or so. The second reason is for education. If I don’t go back and look at how I did, I’m not learning from my mistakes. I mean, we all know not to invade Russia in the summer (at least I hope we do), but how often does that come up in our day-to-day lives? What comes up more often is whether or not to trust the pitcher with the large ERA-FIP differential or at what point to buy in on the injury-prone player who is falling in drafts.

The week before the 2015 season began, I ran this article on my favorite endgame targets in draft or auctions of varying sizes. Today, we’re running through those 20 selections and seeing how I fared. Let’s fire up the accountability engines!

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October 13, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The Next Bartolo Colon

0

George Bissell

How Lance Lynn has survived throwing his fastball on nine out of every 10 deliveries.

On a night when we all expected to witness the latest in a series of transcendent performances by Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta, a pitcher who seems impervious to superstition, centuries-old curses involving a goat, and (perhaps more importantly) opposing hitters, it simply never materialized. The former Oriole, who had given up just two earned runs in his previous 10 starts (including a streak of 31 scoreless innings), was charged with four runs and lasted just 5 2/3 innings. Instead, it was the Cubs offense that responded with six home runs to push St. Louis to the brink of elimination in the NLDS. Needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Redbirds originally intended to hand the ball to 28-year-old right-hander Lance Lynn for Game Four, but will instead turn it over to veteran John Lackey, their Game One starter, in the Windy City tonight.

Lynn, who will likely be the first arm out of the 'pen this evening, finished the 2015 regular season with a 12-11 record (relevant for fantasy purposes only) in 31 starts with a 3.03 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 167 strikeouts (8.57 K/9), and 73 walks (3.49 BB/9) over 175 1/3 innings of work. According to the end-of-season valuations compiled by my Baseball Prospectus colleague Mike Gianella (who won both Tout Wars NL and LABR Mixed with Bret Sayre this year), Lynn earned $13 in NL-only formats, ranking as the 37th-most-valuable pitcher in the senior circuit this year.

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October 8, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Andrew Friedman's Search for the New Zorilla

1

J.J. Jansons

Do the Dodgers have a Swiss-army knife who can mimic Ben Zobrist's heyday with the Rays?

It seems like an eternity ago, but in reality it was only last October when Andrew Friedman left the Rays to become President of Baseball Operations for the Dodgers. Shortly thereafter, Joe Maddon followed him out of town by exercising the out clause given to him by Friedman and company. Almost immediately, the race figured to be on in implementing various portions of their model of success used with the Rays at their new places of business.

One non-pitching aspect of “The Rays Way” seemingly placed significant value on positional versatility defensively. Since Friedman and Maddon joined forces in 2006, the Rays have deployed a plethora of super-utilitymen throughout their tenure: Ty Wigginton received at least five starts at five different positions in the duo’s inaugural campaign together, and Willy Aybar received starts at four different positions over his 95 games of action during the team’s World Series run in 2008 and started at least 18 games at three positions over the following season. Over the final four years of Maddon and Friedman’s tenure in Tampa, their love of flexibility extended even further, giving Sean Rodriguez starts at seven different positions (in addition to four at designated hitter) in his first year with the Rays in 2010 and doing much of the same with Rodriguez until he signed with the Pirates last winter. Jeff Keppinger received at least 27 starts at three infield positions in 2012 and Kelly Johnson was dispatched at four different positions across the diamond in 2013, earning the starting nod in excess of 16 times at three spots. In Maddon’s final season at the helm last year, he started virtually everybody at multiple positions over the course of the year, giving three players (Logan Forsythe, Sean Rodriguez, and the ultimate Swiss-army knife, Ben Zobrist) multiple starts at four different positions in addition to Friedman’s trade deadline acquisition of Nick Franklin, who appeared at four spots in Seattle before coming to Tampa Bay as part of their haul for David Price.

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October 7, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Endgame and Waiver-Wire Recap: AL-Only Hitters

1

Keith Cromer

The best hitter values and finds in junior-circuit formats this year.

For us grizzled roto veterans who toil for months over player valuations as we prepare for our auctions and drafts, in the back of our minds we know going into draft day that championships are ultimately won in the endgame and by plucking hidden fantasy gems off the waiver wire early in the season. While most prevalent endgame and waiver-wire fantasy rewards come in the saves category, there is always gold unearthed with a handful of position players who were hovering near the bottom of our sheet prices, or not even on our draft-day radars at all.

To pay homage to these 2015 fantasy saviors, below are a few hitters who provided substantial dividends for their owners this year despite accounting for a fraction of their auction salary dollars and FAAB budgets in AL-only formats

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October 2, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Pitchers Who Put 'Em Away

2

Wilson Karaman

These arms grabbed Wilson's attention with their two-strike whiffing prowess.

One of the cooler perks about working here at Baseball Prospectus is that I get to spend time slogging through the literally thousands of pages of data we have in pursuit of interesting angles to write about players in different ways. Some of my favorite corners of the site to kick around are the PITCHf/x leaderboards, which, if you’re unfamiliar, make for highly recommended viewing. Anyway, I’ve recently found myself gravitating toward Put Away % as a tasty little nugget for evaluating how good pitchers are at finishing off batters. It’s a straightforward metric measuring a pitcher’s whiff rate once he gets two strikes on a batter, and while there is naturally a good amount of overlap there with the noted strikeout artists in the game—Clayton Kershaw sets the pace, after all—you can also find some intriguing names popping up in the top 20.

There is of course no set formula for producing well in this situation, but as a general matter of course, the metric works as something of a catchall for pitchers with solid secondary arsenals. So let’s take a little stroll through the weeds and talk about a few less-heralded guys who’ve piqued interest with their demonstrated ability to finish off batters this year. I’m using a 500-pitch minimum to give at least some semblance of size to our sample, though there will admittedly be significant noise with a couple of these guys.

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October 1, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Yogi Berra the Fantasy Star

1

Greg Wellemeyer

Just how valuable would the late Hall of Famer have been if fantasy leagues were around during his playing days?

Last Wednesday, most of us woke up to news that the larger-than-life Yogi Berra passed away, leaving behind one of the greatest on- and off-field legacies in baseball history. In the past week, you might have read about Yogi’s remarkably consistent production, the output of the quote machine residing between those big ears, the amazing fact that he caught both ends of a doubleheader 117 times, or the accomplishment of winning a World Series ring for all 10 of his gnarled fingers. As when any great, admired person leaves us, we honor him or her by gathering, recounting achievements, telling stories, and remembering the ways they touched our lives. It seems we could do that forever with Yogi.

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