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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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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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0

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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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

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October 3, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Denard Span

0

Wilson Karaman

The outfielder has transformed his offensive game since coming to D.C., but can he sustain the improvements into 2015?

Welcome to the most glorious of days: the first of maybe two (if we’re lucky) days annually when we get a full schedule of four playoff baseball games. Several of my colleagues have already kicked off our Playoff Spotlight series with looks at the various fantasy values of several players who either are or were at one time playing in this year’s post-season. Pieces on Eric Hosmer, Josh Donaldson, and Edinson Volquez all await your consumption.

Today I’d like to turn my attention to a player I have a long personal history of fantasy entanglement with, Washington leadoff hitter Denard Span. Span’s coming off his best fantasy season since his first full year in the Majors back in 2009. His .302 average, 31 steals, and 94 runs combined to catapult him into the top 15 overall fantasy outfielders in 2014, just like I drew it up in the preseason when I was completely sold on the likelihood of that happening. So how did Denard get his groove back, and what’s the likelihood that what he did this year is repeatable in 2015?

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October 2, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Trades and the Importance of Hustle

8

Jeff Quinton

A look at ways to avoid a moment that all fantasy owners dread.

There is a moment of dread that almost all fantasy baseball owners have faced, the moment when you are informed that a player you have been intending on targeting gets traded to another team. The metaphorical sibling of this moment is when you are informed that player has been traded and at that moment you realize that you should have been targeting that player, especially given the price tag. The typical response to such a trade usually goes like this (I have removed the profanity and replaced it with the meaning behind the profanity): “That’s really unfair, Team X did not get enough in return.” The best part follows: “I would have given Team X more for that player/those players.” Sometimes, we even get the cherry on top: “Well, we can all pack it in now and hand the trophy to Team Y (the trade partner of Team X).”

Allegedly unbalanced trades usually result in complaints of injustice from team owners who were not involved with the trade and even end up with owners trying to veto trades (my solution: do not play in leagues with vetoes). This is typical human response: Get worked up about unfairness and demand fairness, but do not attempt to fix the root cause, especially when the fixing involves action on our behalf. J.P. Breen (smart dude) sums this phenomenon up nicely in these two tweets:

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October 2, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Edinson Volquez

0

Craig Goldstein

The Pirates righty's fine season came to an end yesterday, but can we expect more of the same in 2015?

This is going to come to you a day late, and likely a dollar short. Edinson Volquez took the mound last night, but I’m writing this in the afternoon so the results of his one-game playoff performance aren’t yet known, nor if he’ll get another shot. That said, we do have a 31-start sample from which to analyze this year, allowing us to determine how we feel about Volquez going forward.

Player Background
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2001, Volquez matured gradually, not appearing on a prospect list until 2004. From there he took off, ranked by Baseball America as the Rangers no. 1 prospect following the 2005 season, in addition to ranking in their top 100 for the first and final time. He was a member of the Rangers vaunted DVD trio (Danks-Volquez-Diamond), and thought to be part of the wave of pitching prospects that would save Texas.


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October 2, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Are Elite Pitchers Becoming More Numerous?

2

J.P. Breen

We might be in the "Era of the Pitcher," but does that mean that the league is teeming with top-shelf arms?

Early last week, I reintroduced the concept of the Holy Trinity and outlined the 19 starting pitchers who qualified for the elite status. Furthermore, I argued that Holy Trinity pitchers, on average, significantly outperform the league-average pitcher. While that’s not a groundbreaking discovery, the estimated margin of 1.00 ERA for any HT pitcher over the league-average starter is remarkable enough to perhaps persuade fantasy owners to specifically alter their draft board in order to target them.

However, the HT list from 2014 is merely a piece of the puzzle. It begs the question: Are HT pitchers increasing in frequency as pitching continues to dominate across Major League Baseball?

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October 1, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Josh Donaldson

1

Paul Sporer

A look at the A's third baseman's 2014 campaign and what the future holds for him.

Ben Carsley got our Playoff Spotlight series kicked off on Tuesday with a breakdown of Eric Hosmer. At the time this is being written, Oakland is still in the playoffs. Of course, so is Kansas City, as the game hasn’t started, so players from both clubs are technically still fair game. I actually expect Oakland to win so they’d still be in the playoffs when this is posted, but you’ll forgive me if they aren’t, I hope. Let’s stay on the hitting side and take a look at Josh Donaldson from the A’s.

Player Background
A first-round pick back in 2007 (48th overall by CHC), Donaldson was a tertiary part of the Rich Harden deal in July of 2008. He started out behind the dish, but also saw time at the four corners (1B, 3B, LF, and RF) in the Oakland farm system. He spent two years in Kevin Goldstein’s second 10 for the Athletics prospects with power as the carrying tool, though it didn’t grade at a plus level.


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September 30, 2014 10:35 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Playoff Spotlight: Eric Hosmer

1

Ben Carsley

Evaluating one of Kansas City's successful failures.

Happy playoff season, fantasy fans.

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September 29, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: 2014 Expert-League Recaps

2

Mike Gianella

Mike looks back at how he did in a couple of NL-only expert leagues.

You are a worthless scumbag if you talk about your fantasy team. While these words have (probably) never been uttered, the sentiment certainly exists. Talking at length about your fantasy team is a combination of egotistical and boring, and nobody cares but you and the 11 other nerds who are in your league.

The naysayers do have a point. The story of how you overcame that six-point deficit in the last three weeks is captivating if it is your league, and especially riveting if it happened to you. If it is someone else’s league, the tale loses its luster quickly. I love fantasy baseball, and even I don’t want to hear more than a 60-second recap of what happened in your league.

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September 26, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Prospect Rankings Review

7

Craig Goldstein

A look at two pitchers who ranked back-to-back in our preseason top fantasy prospects rankings.

The dust hasn’t yet settled on the 2014 but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to look back at some of our pre-season work and look at how we did. Before the regular season started, we (Bret Sayre) released our fantasy prospect rankings and while there are innumerable (okay, fine, 101) interesting aspects to that list, some stood out more than most.

Two of my favorite prospects in all of baseball, much less fantasy happened to be ranked back to back as though they were striking a pose for an action/spy movie poster. Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman checked in at 15th and Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura ranked 16th. Let’s take a look at what we said then, how they did, and why we were right or wrong.

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September 25, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Using FIP to Find Value

3

Wilson Karaman

Examining some pitchers whose second-half ERAs belied strong peripherals to see whether a breakout 2015 might be in store.

Well, it’s that magical time of year. The season is winding down, and here we sit preparing to begin our annual stare into the frozen, dead abyss of a fantasy-baseball-less winter. Fortunately, those of us in keeper and dynasty leagues are somewhat exempt from this situation because, as the saying goes, there is no offseason. This is actually, legitimately one of my favorite times of the year for those formats, as it’s the time when we can start to analyze the breakouts and the disappointments of the past season and begin to construct rudimentary target lists for upcoming trade talks over the winter and, in shallower formats, drafts next spring. I play primarily in head-to-head leagues, and particularly in this format I’ve found the following exercise to be quite valuable as a quick and dirty starting point. Since head-to-head championships are determined by player performances during weekly format playoff matchups the it tends to open up opportunities for acquiring players on the relative cheap who performed poorly down the stretch and may have contributed to a league-mate losing his or her final matchup. This “recency bias” plays off exactly the kind of negative memory impact my colleague Jeff Quinton took a long and engaging look at last offseason, and I highly recommend the read for context.

One of the primary places I like to direct my efforts at the start of each off-season is the FIP bin of second-half pitching performances. Particularly given that starting pitchers will usually only get one shot, maybe two, to contribute in a head-to-head matchup a poor finish to the year can sting that much more. And the metric also provides a valuable opportunity to sniff out some emerging talent among guys who may have started to come into their own at the big league level but might not quite have the production (or, subsequently, the hype) to back it up just yet.

To this end, here are the top 20 pitchers with the biggest gap between their second-half ERA and FIP numbers:

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September 25, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Theory-Driven Versus Context-Driven Strategy

1

Jeff Quinton

Distinguishing between the two approaches and explaining why the latter is far superior in fantasy baseball contexts.

As this fantasy baseball season ends and a new fantasy baseball off season begins, I thought it would be helpful to take a look at why I take the approach I do when writing about fantasy baseball. Consequently, I do so.

As I see it, there are two styles of strategy that can be used in fantasy baseball: (i) theory driven and (ii) context driven. While I write about theories and concepts in the majority of my articles, I am a firm believer in context-driven strategy, especially for fantasy baseball. Before I go any further, please find my definitions for theory driven and context driven strategy below:

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September 23, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Backing Off Backstop Prospects

12

Ben Carsley

A look at the perils of falling in love with promising catchers down on the farm.

There’s nothing quite as alluring as a stud fantasy catching prospect.

Predicting which catchers beyond the obvious names will produce on a yearly basis is a tedious, difficult exercise that often leads to disappointment. Just ask people who drafted Miguel Montero, Wilson Ramos, or Matt Wieters this season, only to see the likes of Yan Gomes, Dioner Navarro, and Kurt Suzuki outperform their backstops by a long shot.

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September 22, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Circling Back to The Holy Trinity

2

J.P. Breen

A look at the pitchers who excelled in the three statistical areas fantasy owners cherish most.

The Holy Trinity is nothing new ‘round these parts. Bret Sayre discussed the concept and gave it its moniker last season, and I brought it up once again in my first piece at Baseball Prospectus. For those who are unfamiliar with The Holy Trinity, though, it’s pretty simple. As fantasy owners, we like pitchers who can either strike guys out, limit walks, or generate copious amounts of ground balls. But we love pitchers who can do all three. Thus, The Holy Trinity occurs when a pitcher posts better-than-average strikeout, walk, and ground-ball rates.

In short, they’re generally the guys to covet in fantasy leagues. They tend to be the anchors for your starting rotation, as they can provide above-average production in all categories. We’re not talking about someone like Francisco Liriano, who will rack up the strikeouts but drag down the WHIP category. These are guys like King Felix who provide value in strikeouts, wins, ERA, and WHIP.

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