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08-04

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4

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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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

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May 21, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Rebuilding = Opportunity

0

J.J. Jansons

These young Braves might seize their playing-time chances and offer value to fantasy owners.

After the Braves’ organizational decision to trade virtually every legitimate offensive option from their 2014 team not named Freddie Freeman, fantasy owners were closely monitoring who would take over the six available lineup spots in Atlanta for the 2015 season. The puzzling winter signing of free agent Nick Markakis to a four-year pact added clarity to the right field situation after Jason Heyward was sent packing to St. Louis, and Chris Johnson’s three-year extension signed last May figured to give him a leg up on at least a share of the third base job. With the remaining Upton brother’s seemingly immovable contract on the books, the Braves figured to give him at least some time in center.

Spring training was the equivalent of an open tryout for the remaining jobs, with Jonny Gomes, Alberto Callaspo, and A.J. Pierzynski brought in to provide platoon options for Fredi Gonzalez in left field, second/third base, and catcher, respectively, and veterans Kelly Johnson and Eric Young, Jr. were brought in on minor-league deals and made the Opening Day roster. The stunning trade of Craig Kimbrel the day before the Braves played their first game included Melvin Upton, Jr., (and his contract) which opened up center field for the taking.

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May 21, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Revisiting the AL-Only Reliever Landscape

1

Nick Shlain

Examining a few arms Nick missed going into the season, but who've since caught his eye.

Back in March, I went through the American League reliever landscape and identified the non-closers who were worth owning. One reliever I picked out in that article has since taken the job and run with it, which would, of course, be the Yankees Andrew Miller. Another reliever, Shawn Tolleson of the Rangers, picked up his first save of the season Wednesday night and should continue to get the opportunities there. Relievers don’t have to be the closer to have value, though, as Tolleson earned the same amount as Neftali Feliz in AL-Only leagues last year ($8), according to valuation expert Mike Gianella. Here are a few non-closer relievers who I missed before the season, but are worth a look in deep formats.

Ryan MadsonKansas City Royals

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May 20, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Early-Season Back-End Breakouts

0

Wilson Karaman

Can these three arms keep surpassing preseason expectations?

I play in a lot of deep (16 to 20-team) leagues, and one of the most important things you can do in a deep league is find yourself some pitching bargains late to fill out the back end of your rotation with consistent league-average production. Confidence in the ability to pull off that feat allows you to invest more heavily in bats during the middle stages of a draft and gives you that much more of a built-in advantage in roster construction. It’s not an easy thing to do, though, and one of the keys to pulling it off involves hitting on a few would-be streamers early who end up providing multi-week or even full-season value. Likewise, diagnosing when to cut bait on those guys is of paramount importance.

In that spirit, here are three guys in this mold who’ve produced outsized return value early in the season, with a look at whether or not the gravy train’s likely to continue on down the track or not.

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May 20, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Staying Afloat in a Sea of Fluctuations

8

Jeff Quinton

How to improve fantasy decision-making amid variations in player performance.

At any point in time, players perform well, poorly, and somewhere in between. Their performance fluctuates from at-bat to at-bat, game to game, week to week, month to month, and even year to year. As fantasy baseball participants, we are not really interested in fluctuations and we are certainly not interested in past fluctuations. We are, however, interested in future production. The issue we face is that how we react to such fluctuations, particularly negative fluctuations, can cause us to make sub-optimal decisions. As always, we will take a look at the decision-making obstacle and see if there is anything we can do avoid it.

Two downsides of fluctuations

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May 20, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The Evolution of Lucas Duda

2

Greg Wellemeyer

What does the Mets first baseman's new approach mean for his fantasy value?

Lucas Duda entered the 2015 season as a prototypical middle-of-the-order slugger, a reasonable bet for 25 home runs and potential to dent your batting average. Duda sat on top of the three star tier in our preseason first baseman rankings, effectively placed inside the top 12 and therefore a starter at the position in most leagues. True to the profile, his history includes a patient and pull-heavy approach and he has struggled against same-side pitching.

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May 19, 2015 7:06 am

Fantasy Freestyle: AL-Only Adds, Part Two

0

Nick Shlain

A pair of young arms who are worthy of your consideration.

Every year I tell myself that I’m going to ration my FAAB money for the year and not blow it early in the season, and every year I run out of money in short order. One positive about playing the waiver wire early in the season is that if you actually hit on a good player, he’s yours for a big stretch of the season, which is huge in rotisserie leagues. Last week I wrote about how I salvaged my pitching staff in one league mostly through the waiver wire. Here are two more arms you might consider picking up.

Roberto Osuna – Blue Jays

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May 18, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: In Search of the Next Joc Pederson

4

J.J. Jansons

Examining prospects with the sort of power/speed tandem that fantasy owners might covet down the road.

Joc Pederson was selected in the 11th round (352nd overall) of the 2010 draft, but it wasn’t until midseason 2013 that Joc Pederson found himself on a top-100 fantasy prospect list here at Baseball Prospectus. Although Pederson was given second-round money to sign with the Dodgers out of high school, many scouts were unsure of the totality of his physical tools and felt that he may struggle to hit left-handed pitching at higher levels. The lack of a plus hit tool scared away many, despite quality bloodlines. Joc’s father Stu was drafted by the Dodgers higher than he was (ninth round, 229th overall), taken four picks ahead of noted Tom Emanski product endorser (and borderline HOFer) Fred McGriff in 1981.

Fantasy owners certainly care about physical tools when evaluating a prospect, but they care more about the prospect getting the most out of them and consistently translating those tools into results on the field, which Pederson did at every minor-league level. Another reason why Pederson was slow to rise up the prospect rankings was that the Dodgers only gave him 60 plate appearances in a neutral hitting environment (the end of 2011 in the Midwest League, as a 19-year-old) before he reached Double-A Chattanooga in 2013. Many were quick to write off Pederson’s production in the Pioneer League and California League because of the great hitting parks he called home in Ogden and Rancho Cucamonga, respectively. After Pederson produced at Double-A in 2013 to the tune of a .878 OPS paired with 22 home runs and 31 steals, it was too late for many dynasty league owners to scoop him up and reap the rewards that he is currently providing in the majors.

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May 14, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Danny Salazar: On the Cusp of Stardom?

5

Greg Wellemeyer

If you're hoping to acquire the Indians righty in your fantasy league, you'd better get on that.

I’m new here. When I began thinking about my first column, using Deserved Run Average (DRA) as a springboard was an obvious choice. I’d show some love to my new colleagues, highlight a complex and stimulating piece of research, and hopefully find something to explore that’s as curious as Jason Schmidt being sandwiched by peak Pedro performances as the top three seasons of the past 25 years.

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May 12, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Finesse the Pitching

1

Nick Shlain

A look at how to address pitching weaknesses in-season, if your auction plans went awry.

If your fantasy baseball philosophy is anything like mine, chances are you decided to fade pitching in at least one league this year. This strategy can go a number of ways. Sometimes, despite spending significantly more on offense at the auction, you’re able to hit on a few (or more) bargains and end up with more profit coming from the pitching staff. Other times, you might only get what you paid for, which isn’t much.

In the latter scenario, action is necessary. This isn’t real-life baseball, where general managers don’t make big trades until June at the earliest. It’s the middle of week six of the season, and all that should mean is there’s plenty of time left for your team to come together and make a run at a fantasy pennant. But you must actually plug your team’s holes, whether they are on the pitching or offense side.

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May 7, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Changed Expectations

5

Nick Shlain

The outlook for these three players is much different than it was five weeks ago.

“Things Done Changed” is the second track and first song on The Notorious B.I.G.’s debut album Ready to Die. In the song, the chorus of which samples Biz Markie and Dr. Dre, Biggie laments the negative changes he’s seen over time in his neighborhood and in his own life as he turns the page to 1993. His frustration builds throughout the song, going off beat to scream the only escape routes, “Either you’re slinging crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot.” Then culminating in the last line of the third verse, “My Momma got cancer in her breast, don’t ask me why I’m (expletive) stressed, things done changed.”

While the song deals with some serious issues and it’s still early in the season, things have certainly changed since draft day. I’ll examine a few players who now have different expectations for their output this season than they did five weeks ago.

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May 6, 2015 6:00 am

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

5

Wilson Karaman

Is there any reason to hope for a rebound from the Cardinals outfielder?

Entering draft season, Jason Heyward was something of a controversial player. Some (myself very much included) saw a young player who’d shown a consistently solid approach and flashed tantalizing power and speed components at various points in his career, enough to suggest that if the 25-year-old ever put everything together at once, there might just be top-10-in-fantasy-baseball upside in his bat. Others saw a passive hitter who couldn’t hit lefties and whose swing mechanics had devolved from his days as an elite prospect.

He ended up going 74th overall in NFBC drafts, but with a significant variance between high (36) and low (118) draft slots that reflected the uncertainties surrounding his profile. Fast forward through the first month of the season, and regardless of where in that range he went in your league, the returns have been… not good.

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May 5, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Junior Circuit Players to Monitor

5

Nick Shlain

Two bats and an arm who might be of service to your AL-only squad.

While it’s still early in the season, owners need to be constantly evaluating their rosters. If your team is in need of reinforcements, there’s still obviously plenty of season remaining and time to make changes. If you’re dealing with injuries or players struggling in an AL-only league, here are three names that could help you out this season.

Chris TaylorSeattle Mariners

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