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12-18

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2

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

12-17

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Undervalued NL Starting Pitchers
by
Keith Cromer

12-16

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: The Trouble With Tiers
by
Mike Gianella

12-12

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9

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

12-11

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Jose Quintana, Forever Underrated
by
Matt Collins

12-10

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0

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

12-09

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1

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

12-05

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: The Moderate Rebuild
by
Craig Goldstein

12-04

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1

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

12-03

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Relief Help
by
Keith Cromer

12-02

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Keeper Decisions
by
Nick Shlain

11-25

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4

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

11-25

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2

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

11-25

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1

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

11-20

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1

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

11-18

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9

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

11-13

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0

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

11-06

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2

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

11-05

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Curb Your Pitching Enthusiasm
by
Nick Shlain

11-04

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4

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

10-30

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0

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

10-30

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0

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

10-28

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1

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

10-24

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0

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

10-23

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Brandon Belt
by
Ben Carsley

10-21

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Alcides Escobar
by
Wilson Karaman

10-20

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

10-17

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Joe Panik
by
Ben Carsley

10-16

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Jon Jay
by
Jeff Quinton

10-15

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2

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

10-14

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back: Prospect Predictions
by
Craig Goldstein

10-13

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2

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

10-10

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Shelby Miller
by
Wilson Karaman

10-08

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back at Super Subs
by
Paul Sporer

10-07

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6

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

10-06

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1

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

10-03

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Denard Span
by
Wilson Karaman

10-02

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8

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

10-02

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Edinson Volquez
by
Craig Goldstein

10-02

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2

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

10-01

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Josh Donaldson
by
Paul Sporer

09-30

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Eric Hosmer
by
Ben Carsley

09-29

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: 2014 Expert-League Recaps
by
Mike Gianella

09-26

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7

Fantasy Freestyle: Prospect Rankings Review
by
Craig Goldstein

09-25

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Using FIP to Find Value
by
Wilson Karaman

09-25

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Theory-Driven Versus Context-Driven Strategy
by
Jeff Quinton

09-23

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12

Fantasy Freestyle: Backing Off Backstop Prospects
by
Ben Carsley

09-22

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: DFS and the State of Fantasy Baseball
by
Mike Gianella

09-22

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Circling Back to The Holy Trinity
by
J.P. Breen

09-19

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14

Fantasy Freestyle: Power Outage
by
Craig Goldstein

<< Previous Column Entries Next Column Entries >>

The Giants first baseman hit for more power in 2014, but injuries held him back.

Player Background
An unheralded fifth-round pick in the 2009 draft, Belt emerged onto the prospect scene in 2010 after crushing High-A and Double-A pitching in his first professional season. He followed suit in 2011 in Triple-A, forcing his way to San Francisco by midseason. That's when the #FreeBelt movement started, as the Baby Giraffe received just 472 PA in 2012 despite hitting .275/.360/.421, hinting at promising power and boasting an 11.4 percent walk rate.

Belt was subsequently liberated in 2013, hitting .289/.360/.481 in 571 PA, finishing as fantasy's 16th-best first baseman. Given that Belt was entering his age-26 season this year, there was legitimate reason for optimism. His average draft position was no. 137 overall, according to fantasypros.com, and it wasn't totally unreasonable to project Belt for a top-12 finish at the position, if everything broke right.


Read the full article...

The Royals shortstop won't be a sexy name on draft day, but there's a lot to like about his fantasy profile.

Player Background
The Brewers signed Escobar as a 16-year-old on international signing day of 2003, and he made his stateside debut the following summer as a 17-year-old in the Pioneer League. After working his way up to Double-A for the second half of his age-20 season in 2007, he cracked the Brewers’ top prospect list for the first time heading into 2008, ultimately topping the list as a five-star prospect in 2010 and peaking as high as 19th on the BP 101 that same offseason. The Brewers traded away the then-26-year-old J.J. Hardy to clear a path for Escobar, which should tell you all you need to know about how highly regarded he was as a prospect. Regaled universally for his plus-plus range and generally top shelf defensive profile at short, Escobar was tabbed as an impatient, powerless hitter, but one still capable of slapping his way to a .280-plus batting average with 30-steal speed.

Despite the shortstop-of-the-future billing, the Brewers shipped the then-23-year-old to Kansas City as the centerpiece of the Zack Greinke trade after he struggled in his first full big-league season. Since arriving in KC, Escobar has pretty much developed into exactly the type of player scouts envisioned him becoming. He hasn’t posted a walk rate over 4.2 percent in any of his four seasons in Royal blue, nor has he managed to crack the .100 ISO threshold or generate league-average offensive value.


Read the full article...

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October 20, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: My Personal Scorecard: Part 2 - National League

0

Mike Gianella

In the second of a two-part series, Mike reviews how his senior-circuit bid value recommendations fared.

Last week, I took a look back at how my outlier predictions did for American League players in 2014. This week, I will take a look at the National League.

What you will find below is a complete list of players where my bid limit was $3 higher or lower than the average expert league price in the CBS, LABR, and Tout Wars NL-only auctions. In addition, based on a reader suggestion rather than simply “grade” how well my predictions did in retrospect, I will attempt to explain why each specific bid limit was particularly aggressive or timid.


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

October 17, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Joe Panik

2

Ben Carsley

The former first-rounder plugged the Giants' hole at the keystone, but can he do the same for your fantasy squad?

Player Background
A first-round pick of the Giants back in 2011, Panik quietly hit his way up through the minors, landing a spot on the MLB roster halfway through the 2014 season. Once viewed as a shortstop, he’s settled in as a second baseman for San Francisco, and with Brandon Crawford firmly entrenched at short, Panik figures to stay at the keystone for the foreseeable future.

Panik’s rough 2013 campaign in Double-A tempered what was already pretty lukewarm enthusiasm about his future, but he answered his critics in a big way in 2014, both in Triple-A and in the majors. Once viewed as a surefire utility infielder, Panik now seems like he may at least be a second-division starter, and the Giants probably think there’s even more here.


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October 16, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Jon Jay

2

Jeff Quinton

The Cardinals center fielder isn't a sexy late-draft option, but could he still hold fantasy value in 2015?

Player Background
The 29-year-old Jay has seemingly been around forever, but he has in fact only been playing baseball at the major-league level since 2010. Honestly (but there is no way you can really know), heading into the 2014 season, a playoff spotlight on the former second-round pick out of the University of Miami was the last thing I thought I would be writing in October. Why? Because after an unexciting 2013, Jay seemed destined to be replaced by the newer and apparently shinier Peter Bourjos. Additionally, super-prospect Oscar Taveras and notable prospect Randall Grichuk were waiting in the wings.

While players like Jay have almost no use in shallow leagues, finding affordable (cheaply acquirable) players to fill out your roster is a key to success in deeper leagues. Prospect theory tells us that when our expectations are lowered, such as at the end of drafts or auctions, we tend to be more risk-seeking (think buying lottery tickets). Consequentially, boring, lower-ceiling players like Jay tend to be passed up in favor of boom or bust type players (in the fantasy sense) such as Borjous, Cameron Maybin, or Chris Young. Sometimes these lottery tickets workout, but in knowing our behavioral biases, we know that the odds are not in our favor. Conversely, steady players like Jay with no ceiling to dream on can often come at a discount. Given all of this, let us see what happened in 2014.


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October 15, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Lorenzo Cain

2

J.P. Breen

The Royals center fielder has put his stamp on the postseason, but can he do the same for your fantasy team in 2015?

Player Background
Though he’s 28 years old, Lorenzo Cain hasn’t played baseball as long as many of the guys in Double-A and Triple-A. As a child, his love was on the basketball court, but as a freshman in high school, he failed to make the team. That heartbreak pushed him onto the diamond, where he flourished… after many growing pains.

Anyway, read this magnificent article by Andy McCullough on Cain’s unlikely and uneven journey in baseball. He chronicles the story much better than I could hope to in this space. It was one of my favorite baseball reads of the year.


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October 14, 2014 12:05 pm

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back: Prospect Predictions

4

Craig Goldstein

Craig reviews and grades his preseason prospect evaluations.

Look. I’m not one to toot my own horn exactly, though I’m not averse to it when it’s earned. More so, though, I hate admitting I’m wrong, so when our benevolent overlord Bret Sayre suggested we look back at our own predictions, I immediately began digging for something, anything I did right. Three weeks and two playoff spotlights later, I found it.

Just prior to the start of the season I wrote about five NL Post-Prospects to watch, and I’ll be damaged if I didn’t light that country music award on fire knock this one out of the park. Let’s ignore the fact that I rarely make firm predictions because I’m a big wuss (and did I mention I hate being wrong), but rather endorsed or advised against players more generally. Still, let’s see how that worked.

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October 13, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: My Personal Scorecard: Part 1 - American League

2

Mike Gianella

In the first of a two-part series, Mike reviews how his junior-circuit bid value recommendations fared.

If you have read my work for any appreciable amount of time (either here at Baseball Prospectus or previously at my blog), you know that I am a significant believer in accountability. Many of us post our predictions in the spring. In turn, many of you rely on these predictions to construct your fantasy teams. Unfortunately, few fantasy writers revisit their work after the season and offer an honest assessment of how well or poorly they did. There are many reasons for this, and I could write an entire piece simply discussing why we as an “industry” are not very good at self-auditing. The short answer is that while it is human nature to pat ourselves on the back for our successes, we don’t really like to call attention to our failures.

I was guilty of this last year as well. After posting bids at BP for the first time in 2013, I wrote absolutely nothing about how I did (which kind of stinks, because I actually had a pretty good year). It is easy to criticize others for not auditing their work, but at a minimum I have to hold myself up to my own standard.

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October 10, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Shelby Miller

1

Wilson Karaman

After he held his own against Clayton Kershaw in the deciding game of the NLDS, is the righty's arrow pointing upward for 2015?

And on we march to the LCS! Unfortunately, one of the teams making that claim this year yet again is the Cardinals, who dispatched my Dodgers to the golf courses of Southern California for the second straight year. And one of the guys who helped set up their 412th-straight NLCS clash with the Giants was 23-year-old Shelby Miller, who pitched 5 2/3 reasonably strong innings in the Division Series clincher.

Now, if you rewind just two months to the beginning of August, this highlight would’ve been an improbable one to predict. At the time, Miller was staggering his way through a terribly disappointing sophomore campaign. His 4.14 ERA and 1.39 WHIP through July were paired with ugly strikeout and walk rates, resulting in a brief demotion from the rotation and an ownership rate that cratered at 67 percent in Sportsline leagues after the All-Star break. Hope for the breakout that many envisioned pre-season looked to be as fleeting as Miller’s command, and those with long-term dynasty league investments in the talented right-hander were exploring options to ship him for cents on the dollar as trading deadlines approached.

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October 8, 2014 10:50 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back at Super Subs

2

Paul Sporer

Paul thought these players might break out with regular playing time; how did they do?

I personally enjoy looking back on some early season predictions, even when they didn’t turn out as well as you might’ve hoped. I think things can be learned from the processes that hopefully make you sharper when going forward. Not every incorrect prediction came because of a poor process, nor does every successful prediction validate your process.

Let’s take a look back at a set of predictions I made this past spring. We’ll look at the results from a deep-dive into some substitute players who impressed enough to suggest that they might be big fantasy assets with a full-time role.

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October 7, 2014 10:21 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back: My Favorite Endgame Targets of 2014

6

Bret Sayre

Reviewing the good, the bad, and the Edwin Jackson.

Welcome to the 2014 installment of “Bret looks back on his preseason endgame targets and conveniently forgets that he recommended Edwin Jackson yet again.” It’s always a fun time of year—even moreso with the craziest start to a post-season I can recall—but with atonement being en vogue this week, it’s time to focus there so that we can all move on. My favorite column to write every year looks at my favorite endgame sleepers just as spring training is coming to a close. As this column has evolved over the years, it’s acquired more quantity, and this year’s crop of 22 was the largest yet.

As you can tell by the list below, it runs the gamut from very strong picks to almost laughable ones (okay, you can remove the almost in one or two choice examples). And as a reminder, any players who were in the top-250 in ADP at the time of the column (March 26) were ineligible here, so we’re not dealing with abstractions—at least using the assumption that ADP data (NFBC) in late March is not an abstraction. Either way, it’s the best we’ve got.

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October 6, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Sergio Romo

1

J.P. Breen

The slider-happy righty has pitched well since losing his ninth-inning duties, but his long-term outlook hinges on a return to the closer role.

Player Background
Romo has served as the Giants closer in some capacity in each of the past three seasons. He owns a combined 2.38 ERA over 283 2/3 innings since the beginning of 2010, so fantasy owners have grown to expect dominance. The nasty frisbee-like slider, low arm slot, and above-average control combine to bring sterling results. The right-hander is a prime example of a low-velocity reliever who cruises because he does something special, and while a triple-digit fastball affords a reliever plenty of wiggle room on the mound, success at the major-league level is about consistency and having something special in the arsenal. And Romo hasn’t posted a whiff rate under 20 percent on his slider since before the 2010 season. It’s money. It’s why he has the 12th-best ERA among relievers who have thrown at least 200 innings since 2010.

What Went Wrong in 2014?
The first half of the season.



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