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

08-04

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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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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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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

06-09

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Building a Contender in TGDX
by
J.P. Breen

06-08

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Mark Trumbo and Being Wrong
by
Jeff Quinton

06-02

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Yes, You Can Stream Jeff Locke, Except You Can't
by
Wilson Karaman

05-27

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Fantasy Freestyle: Batted-Ball Trajectory and BABIP Overachievers
by
Wilson Karaman

05-19

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: New Managers and Stolen Bases
by
J.P. Breen

05-13

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: What Happened to Last Year's Hot Starters
by
Mike Gianella

05-12

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Fantasy Freestyle: Prospect Tweet Bag
by
Wilson Karaman

05-06

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: We're Doing it Wrong
by
Mike Gianella

05-05

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Early-Season Ramblings
by
Wilson Karaman

04-28

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: The Best Fastballs of the First Few Weeks
by
Wilson Karaman

04-22

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: The Art of the Steal
by
Mike Gianella

04-20

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Batted-Ball Profile and Team Defensive Context, Part 2
by
Wilson Karaman

04-15

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: It's Early, Calm Down
by
Mike Gianella

04-13

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Batted Balls and Team Defensive Context
by
Wilson Karaman

04-12

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Fantasy Freestyle: My Fantasy Investment Portfolio
by
Scooter Hotz

04-08

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: The Problem With the Rules in Standard Leagues
by
Mike Gianella

04-06

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Bold Predictions for 2016
by
Wilson Karaman

04-01

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Spring Training Risers
by
J.J. Jansons

03-29

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Juan Nicasio: Is it Too Soon to Buy in?
by
George Bissell

03-29

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Distributing Dollars
by
Mike Gianella

03-24

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: The BP Local Fantasy Baseball Guide
by
Baseball Prospectus

03-24

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Auction Bargains
by
Scooter Hotz

03-24

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: Endgame Targets
by
Bret Sayre

03-18

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Fantasy Freestyle: Recapping the 2015 Model Portfolios
by
Greg Wellemeyer

03-17

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Analyzing ADP to Identify Bargains
by
J.P. Breen

03-17

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Fantasy Freestyle: Risers and Fallers in OBP Leagues
by
Scooter Hotz

03-15

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8

Fantasy Freestyle: Spring Training Velocity Watch
by
Matt Collins

03-14

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Targeting Under-the-Radar Prospects for Rebuilds
by
J.P. Breen

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June 2, 2016 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Yes, You Can Stream Jeff Locke, Except You Can't

1

Wilson Karaman

Figuring out how to deploy the Pirates lefty in fantasy could be a dicey proposition.

9 IP, 3 H, K. Yep, that’s the line from Jeff Locke’s most recent start against a Marlins offense that ranks fifth in team TAv and sixth in VORP (no, Giancarlo Stanton wasn’t in the lineup, or Dee Gordon for that matter, but the Fish can still hit, somehow). Locke has actually been quite useful in the month of May as a streamer, with clunkers @CHC and home against the excellent D’backs—neither of which should’ve seen him in anyone’s active lineup anyway—mixed in among four quality starts in which he pitched to a 2.48 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP across 29 innings. Are those stats cherry-picked? Kind of. Not really. They’re the whole point of streaming, and Locke’s been a dandy of an option lately. And I suspect he’ll continue to be an option on most of your waiver wires over the next several weeks, as is his lot in mixed league fantasy baseball life. He’s currently the fifth-most added player in Sportsline leagues, however, so perhaps we should dive in a little bit and figure out what’s going on with his recent production. Most importantly, is he worth the add? Should we expect him to remain a viable option through his next few turns?

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May 27, 2016 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Batted-Ball Trajectory and BABIP Overachievers

0

Wilson Karaman

A look at several players who might be well equipped to sustain lofty batting averages on balls in play.

There’s a pretty well-established correlation between hitting the ball hard and successfully reaching base. Line drive performance tends to bear this out, insofar as batting average and slugging percentage on this kind of batted ball far outstrip the other two main batted ball types: fly and ground balls.

In the current era of advanced outfield positioning, flyballs have suffered the gravest of recessions recently. The number of fly-ball doubles and triples has declined over the past few years, driving an overall deterioration in fly-ball slugging percentage from .613 as recently as 2012 to its current .528 (which should be noted has rebounded significantly early on this year from two straight years of sub-.450 marks). Fly-ball batting average, meanwhile, remains buried well under the Mendoza line for a fourth consecutive season.

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May 19, 2016 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: New Managers and Stolen Bases

2

J.P. Breen

A look at how the first-year skippers have utilized the running game to this point in the season.

New managers don’t matter too much in terms of fantasy baseball. They won’t magically improve starting rotations or increase their team’s respective power production. The one exception, though, can be on the base paths. In other words, it’s important to ask: Is a manager running more or less than his predecessor did?

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May 13, 2016 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: What Happened to Last Year's Hot Starters

1

Mike Gianella

A look back at how the stars of April and May 2015 performed the rest of the way.

On average, we are now a little over 34 games into the regular season. Another way of phrasing this is a little over one-fifth of the season is behind us. We are at the stage of the season where we stop talking about small sample size flukes and start talking about sustainable performances.

The question is should we? A better way of phrasing this question is how much emphasis should we place on year-to-date performance?

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May 12, 2016 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Prospect Tweet Bag

0

Wilson Karaman

It's a bag of tweeter-requested prospect reports!

I opened up the floor on the Twitter over the past week or so to solicit some requests from readers on dynasty prospects who’ve caught some eyes in the early going, and apparently outfielders and right-handed pitchers are all y’all care about. So I checked in with other members of our prospect team to fill in the blanks as to whether the early-season performance has been supported by the process, and I’m happy to present a few names who’ve impressed scouts along with the statline-watchers.

David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies (Double-A Hartford):
Despite battling persistent injury issues, including a ruptured spleen last summer that sounds like nails on a chalkboard feels, Dahl still cracked the top 20 of our Dynasty 101 in the off-season. And he’s responded with arguably the best start of any top prospect still in the minors. He’s crushing Eastern League arms to the tune of .278/.371/.609, with nine doubles, nine homers, and 11 stolen bases in just 133 plate appearances. And the numbers, while obviously extreme, have at least something to them. Per Adam Hayes, Dahl’s showing plus-plus bat speed, though he’s struggled to consistently sync his hips and hands because of it. The approach and some swing-and-miss makes it unlikely the hit tool plays where it appears, though plus power (that’s regardless of Coors, mind you) is very much a possibility. Even at the lower end of his healthy projection, wherein he strikes out a bunch and only ever hits .250-.260, Dahl has confirmed with his early power-and-speed showing that if he can stay on the field he’s now one of the elite fantasy prospects in the game.


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May 6, 2016 8:49 am

Fantasy Freestyle: We're Doing it Wrong

3

Mike Gianella

The perils of using small-sample data and what it means to be a baseball data scientist.

The genesis of this article was a simple reader question, the kind of question that fantasy writers get almost every day and answer by rote.

What’s wrong with Adam Wainwright?

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May 5, 2016 12:11 pm

Fantasy Freestyle: Early-Season Ramblings

1

Wilson Karaman

Wilson offers a few thoughts on fantasy strategy based on his recent personal experience.

Sometimes in the course of writing about baseball – or anything else, really – you find yourself with nothing to write about. It happens from time to time, where some of your longer-term projects aren’t ready for primetime yet, and your short-term interests aren’t particularly interesting for general consumption. There are also times, when you play in as many leagues as I do (five, currently), where you don’t really get a chance to climb up to 30,000 feet and examine your assorted teams with the proper depth and rigor they deserve. So I’m going to do something in this space I’ve never done before: engage in a (self-serving) examination of some of my takeaways from the season’s first month, in the hope that some of the strategy and logic that comes out of the process might help some of y’all along the way. Call it group therapy. So for full public consumption and with the understanding that I may be providing undue competitive advantages to several opponents along the way, here are some early-season thoughts from personal experience.

There is Downside to Investing in Veteran-Heavy Rosters

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April 28, 2016 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The Best Fastballs of the First Few Weeks

3

Wilson Karaman

Examining pitchers who've thrived early with good old-fashioned country hardball.

Who doesn’t love a good fastball? We’re still only a handful of starts into the season for starting pitchers, and it’s still pretty early to be looking at some of the performance indicators (DRA, cFIP, etc.) to draw many conclusions. But one thing that’s always worth checking out around this time is pitch movement and effectiveness, as those can clue us in early on what’s driving some of the early performances we’re seeing. Big steps forward with a particular pitch can be an indicator that initial performance is or isn’t likely to be sustainable. So let’s start where everything in pitching starts, and look at some of the best hard stuff we’ve seen in April.

The Best Four-Seamer

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April 22, 2016 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The Art of the Steal

2

Mike Gianella

Evidence that stolen bases are improperly valued in fantasy circles, and ideas on how to fix a steal-lacking squad via trade.

With the exception of saves, stolen bases are the category most likely to make people moan and groan in fantasy baseball. The value of the stolen base is disproportionate to what it is in real life, which generates a great deal of frustration when it comes to constructing teams in roto leagues. Some go as far to suggest that the solution is to play in a (shudder) points league.

Two common beliefs among fantasy players are that: 1) stolen bases are not all that valuable and 2) stolen bases can found easily on the free agent pool. In this article, I will examine both of these perceptions and see how well they hold up under scrutiny.

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Wilson examines a few worm-burners who benefit from the glovemen behind them and a few flyball hurlers whose outfielders cramp their style.

Last week I took a look at some groundball pitchers whose tendencies are wasted to a degree in front of poor infield defenses, as well as some flyball pitchers built fairly well for their outfield defenses and park contexts. This week (and with the added benefit of more current data!) we’ll turn the tables and look at the other half of the equation: groundball guys in good places and flyball guys in bad places. The additional week-plus of games allows us to at least peak at some of the early season trends that, while far from definitive, are at least starting to take some shape now. This won’t be nearly as helpful of a list, from the standpoint that a lot of the grounder guys are well-known and the fly ball culprits are all pretty comfortable on “Do Not Start!” lists near and far. Still, with the clearer early-season trends I think there’s some value in incorporating these returns into a list of fringier guys who may be somewhat more or less interesting given how their particular skills set jive with their supporting contexts.

Groundball Guys with Good Infield Defenses

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April 15, 2016 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: It's Early, Calm Down

1

Mike Gianella

Advice on resisting the urge to overreact to results from the first week-and-change of the regular season.

After months of preparation and then putting your team (or teams) together in a draft or auction, it was finally here. Opening Day is arguably the most exciting day of the year for baseball fans. Spring training is not without its charms, particularly if you had the time and money to travel to Florida or Arizona, but while it is a wonderful harbinger of the baseball season, it is not quite the same as the real thing.

For fantasy baseball writers, this is an odd time of the season. For writers who cover major league teams or the sport on the whole, the transition from spring training to regular season games is a smooth one. Game write-ups take precedence, but features pertaining to what a manager or a player are thinking present natural opportunities for copy. In fantasy, most of the heavy lifting occurs between January and Opening Day. While the subject well doesn’t run entirely dry, there nearly isn’t as much for much for us to do.

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April 13, 2016 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Batted Balls and Team Defensive Context

2

Wilson Karaman

Examining the pitchers whose worm-burning and flyballing styles mesh best and worst with their clubs.

We tend to operate with certain assumed axioms in the world of fantasy baseball, one of which is that pitchers who generate ample groundball contact and avoid the tightrope of excessive flyball contact are preferable. And the risk-reward is certainly apparent in the numbers: Last year big-league hitters mustered just a .144 average on flyballs but slugged .443, compared to a .243/.263 line on grounders. Sure, you give up more base hits on the ground, but they tend to be singles with limited potential to really do stand-alone damage. Flyballs, on the other hand, leave yards and lead to runs.

But all pitchers, and all pitching contexts, are not created equal; there are some guys whose stellar groundball rates mean less because they pitch in front of porous infield defenses, while others who walk on the wilder side in the sky are better bets on account of stellar fly-catching troupes patrolling the grass behind them. Now, the variance here isn’t extreme for most pitchers, but it isn’t insignificant either. Major-league leader Brett Anderson induced 380 grounders last year, and had he done so in front of the most efficient infield unit (the Giants) he’d have benefitted from an extra 26 out conversions over the course of his 180 innings relative to the worst unit (Philadelphia).

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