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

04-23

comment icon

1

Fantasy Freestyle: Preaching Patience
by
Nick Shlain

04-22

comment icon

9

Fantasy Freestyle: Early-Season Stat Line Scouting
by
Wilson Karaman

04-21

comment icon

8

Fantasy Freestyle: CC Sabathia's Early-Season Promise
by
Nick Shlain

04-16

comment icon

5

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

04-15

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: Streaming Two-Start Pitchers
by
J.P. Breen

04-14

comment icon

3

Fantasy Freestyle: Early Returns
by
Nick Shlain

04-09

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: Is Now the Time for Zach McAllister?
by
Nick Shlain

04-08

comment icon

15

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Bold Predictions
by
Wilson Karaman

04-07

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: Celebrating National Jump to Conclusions Day
by
Nick Shlain

04-01

comment icon

10

Fantasy Freestyle: Endgame Targets for 2015
by
Bret Sayre

03-30

comment icon

6

Fantasy Freestyle: Shadow Auctioneering
by
Mike Gianella

03-27

comment icon

5

Fantasy Freestyle: BP Rankings vs. ADP
by
Wilson Karaman

03-26

comment icon

4

Fantasy Freestyle: Endgame Picks
by
Nick Shlain

03-24

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: 2014 Graduated Prospects, Part 2: 26-50
by
Ben Carsley

03-20

comment icon

14

Fantasy Freestyle: 2014 Graduated Prospects, Part 1: 1-25
by
Ben Carsley

03-18

comment icon

6

Fantasy Freestyle: Spring Training Battles to Watch
by
J.P. Breen

03-16

comment icon

13

Fantasy Freestyle: Case Studies of Two Auctions
by
Mike Gianella

03-11

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: ADP Underachivers: Hitters
by
Wilson Karaman

03-10

comment icon

22

Fantasy Freestyle: A Different Dynasty Top 101 List
by
Ben Carsley

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

<< Previous Column Entries Next Column Entries >>

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 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 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.

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

November 13, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Fantasy MVPs of 2014

0

J.P. Breen

These players vastly outperformed their draft position, making them the best fantasy values of the past season.

Trying to determine any Fantasy Baseball MVP is inherently difficult because the notion of what is the “most valuable” depends on the specific league settings, the makeup of individual teams, and even the type of draft. However, we can certainly highlight some of the players who carried significant surplus value by comparing the preseason average draft position (ADP) of a player and his end-of-season ranking. Those players, we can reasonably assume, impacted the overall success rate of fantasy teams more than other picks.

Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland Indians

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 6, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: What to Make of Odrisamer Despaigne

2

Keith Cromer

Can the Cuban righty be a reliable fantasy option in 2015?

So, here is a scenario I am assuming a few of you fellow fantasy baseball brothers and sisters were faced with just two months into the baseball season….

It’s late May, and your pitching is scuffling a bit. Despite the shaky start, you have faith in your squad and know that just one or two waiver-wire pitching finds could turn your season around. You need to act fast, though, so as not to dig a hole in ERA and WHIP from which you might not recover. You play in competitive leagues, and there is not much pitching available on waivers. You see a note saying the Padres have just promoted a 27-year-old Cuban righty named Odrisamer Despaigne to Triple-A and that he could be called up to the majors soon.

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 5, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Curb Your Pitching Enthusiasm

0

Nick Shlain

Why blowing the bulk of your budget on pitchers might not be the way to go.

PSA: Throw on “If it Ain’t About The Money” as we’ll get into some pricing and I’m playing Young Thug to Mike Gianella’s T.I.

Fantasy baseball is one of my favorite things in the world, but one thing I truly hate about it is anytime I overpay for a pitcher. Generally, my strategy entering an auction is to spend much more on hitting than pitching. Sometimes this strategy yields a bargain-basement staff and bloated offense, but I’d honestly rather waste the money on my offense than not even try to build a winner throwing it away on arms.

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 4, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Three Players Looking for Bounce-Back Power

4

Matt Collins

This trio saw its home run totals drop precipitously, but is there reason to hope for a rebound?

In any given year, you are going to be saddled with players who fail to come close to reasonable expectations. It’s frustrating, but it’s the nature of the game. The only upshot is finding the players who had a fluky down year, and those who are truly in the midst of a mid-career collapse. Last season, there were three players who stood out to me as disappointments, especially in the power department. Whether you’re in a dynasty league and trying to figure out how to view these players moving forward, or already looking for good buy-low players in re-draft leagues, the following players may be of some interest in 2015.

David Wright
There aren’t many good things to be said about Wright’s 2014. After entering the year as a top-25 pick, he finished with a dismal .269 batting average, just eight home runs, and 63 RBI. While the average was surely disappointing, what really killed his line was his utter lack of power. While he’s typically been a 25-plus-homer threat throughout his career, he finished this past season tied in ISO with Billy Hamilton. He had a career-low 5.1 percent HR:FB rate, and though that may sound like he suffered through some bad luck, it’s not that simple. For one thing, his average fly ball fell from 291 feet (right behind Edwin Encarnacion) in 2013 down to 261 (right being Nate Schierholtz) in 2014. The biggest reason for this dip could likely be his shoulder. He battled injuries to it throughout the season, costing him a total of 27 games, and it’s an injury that is notorious for sapping power. That injury is something to keep an eye on this winter, but if he’s fully recovered by Opening Day, he could see a big comeback, especially with the fences being moved in at Citi Field.


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

The Braves outfielder is a better fantasy asset than you think.

Last winter, I wrote a fairly lengthy piece over at Dynasty Guru detailing my frustration with Justin Upton as a longtime owner in my primary dynasty league. The verdict: The move to Atlanta in 2013 had been a net negative for Upton’s fantasy profile, as organizational philosophies emphasizing swinging for the downs and limiting stolen base attempts were poised to restrict Upton’s batting average and stolen base contributions. I later doubled down a month into the season with a pretty brutal deconstruction of Upton’s successful-on-the-surface April efforts, ultimately recommending a sell-high on account of an exploding swing-and-miss rate on in-zone fastballs and an unsustainable BABIP. My conclusion, which mind you was not necessarily unwarranted by the numbers, suggested “an ugly dossier of negative indicators for performance going forward—one that does not at all suggest that Upton’s strong surface start is evidence that he’s finally turned the corner as he enters his physical prime. Nigh on every indicator of successful hitting has not only failed to improve over the past couple of seasons, but is instead regressing at a fairly rapid pace right now.”

So, what happened next? Well, from that sell recommendation to the end of the season he maintained a .259/.330/.462 line with 21 homers, 147 R+RBI, and five steals en route to the 37th-most valuable fantasy season overall (14th among outfielders). Not on par with his April campaign, when he was the second-most valuable outfielder behind Jose Bautista, but certainly well-above average numbers across the board. The batting average was a slight liability and the steals were token contributions. His power production, on the other hand, was highly valuable even after he tore through a good bit of his full-season value in April. His .313 TAv was the second-best mark of his career, checking in 21st among all qualified hitters. Here’s the real kicker, though: I wasn’t particularly wrong in any of the analysis I offered of Upton’s offensive flaws in either of those articles. He logged the numbers he did despite a whole bunch of glaring red flags. So what do we make of him as a fantasy asset going forward, and how should he be valued come draft day 2015?

Read the full article...

<< Previous Column Entries Next Column Entries >>