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03-20

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10

Five to Watch: American League Post-Prospects
by
Ben Carsley

03-19

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4

Five to Watch: National League Post-Prospects
by
Craig Goldstein

03-18

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6

Five to Watch: National League Prospects
by
Bret Sayre

03-17

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6

Five to Watch: American League Prospects
by
Wilson Karaman

03-13

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5

Five to Watch: American League Hitters
by
Wilson Karaman

03-12

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10

Five to Watch: American League Starting Pitchers
by
Craig Goldstein

03-11

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6

Five to Watch: National League Hitters
by
Mauricio Rubio

03-10

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6

Five to Watch: National League Pitchers With Elevated BABIPs
by
Craig Goldstein

09-20

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5

Five to Watch: The Save Rush
by
Craig Goldstein

09-16

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8

Five to Watch: Hot Corner Conundrums
by
Ben Carsley

09-10

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0

Five to Watch: Injured NL Starting Pitchers
by
Craig Goldstein

09-06

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7

Five to Watch: Would-Be, Could-Be Closers
by
Craig Goldstein

08-28

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0

Five to Watch: September Call-Ups Unworthy of Your Immediate Attention
by
Ben Carsley

08-27

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12

Five to Watch: Positive Regression Candidates
by
Craig Goldstein

08-21

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7

Five to Watch: Good Prospects on Bad Teams
by
Ben Carsley

08-19

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4

Five to Watch: Post-Hype Prospects for 2014
by
Craig Goldstein

06-07

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10

Five to Watch: Checking in on the Holy Trinity
by
Bret Sayre

04-18

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3

Five to Watch: Contact Watch!
by
Bret Sayre

03-18

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4

Five to Watch: The Top Prospect Edition
by
Bret Sayre

03-13

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9

Five to Watch: Drawing Blanks
by
Josh Shepardson

02-22

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5

Five to Watch: National League Hitters
by
Bret Sayre

02-20

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4

Five to Watch: Impact Arms With Unclear Roles
by
Paul Sporer

02-15

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7

Five to Watch: American League Hitters
by
Bret Sayre

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March 20, 2014 6:00 am

Five to Watch: American League Post-Prospects

10

Ben Carsley

These young players have exhausted their rookie eligibility, but they retain plenty of fantasy intrigue.

As a fantasy player, prospect junkie, and wannabe scout, nothing appeals to me more than evaluating young MLB talent and seeing how players’ skills translate into big-league results. This most often comes in the form of prospect evaluation, as we're always clamoring to find the next best thing, and to find that ultimate fantasy prospect whose flaws have not yet been exposed to the world.

Yet now that I've been doing this for a while, I find that it's often post-prospects—players who've recently lost their rookie eligibility—who yield the greatest rewards in fantasy leagues. Once a player struggles or is simply mortal in the majors, he tends to fall off of fantasy radars as we collectively look to the next best things. This is a mistake, and it ignores standard developmental curves, which is why post-prospects are such a great source of surplus fantasy value year after year.

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March 19, 2014 6:00 am

Five to Watch: National League Post-Prospects

4

Craig Goldstein

These young players have officially graduated from the minors and are ready to help your fantasy squad this year.

I’ve been partial to the phrase prospect fatigue as it applies to players who are on the radar for so long that we start to ding them for being (somewhat) known quantities as opposed to the younger players who let our minds run free, unencumbered by the shackles of previous performance. Well after the prospect fatigue guys come post-prospects. They live in stasis in our brains, some purgatory of youthful but not eligible for a minor league roster spot, yet still not useful enough for a major league keeper spot. Before this turns into the final season of LOST though, we should note that these players tend to be divisive, riding the line between being overvalued thanks to a perceived undervaluing or just straight up undervalued. Here’s a look at five in the NL:

Wily Peralta, P, Brewers
Peralta put together a nice second half of the season last year, making it two years in a row he’s put together small sample sizes of good performance that could lead one to hope for more the next year. The problem of course was his brutal first half, as he only struck out 14 percent of batters and got rocked to the tune of a 4.61 ERA. He was better, though not great, in the second half, with a 3.99 ERA, but the real improvement showed up in his ability to miss bats. Peralta saw his strikeout rate jump to 19% once he started incorporating his slider more consistently. In the first three months of the season he never used it more than 22.68 percent but starting in June (32.34 percent), Peralta never saw his slider usage dip below 24.38 percent and twice registered a number above 30 percent. The ability to miss bats to his exceptional ability to burn worms is a much needed addition, and one Peralta is poised to exploit in the upcoming season.


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March 18, 2014 6:00 am

Five to Watch: National League Prospects

6

Bret Sayre

These five top-100 arms could help your fantasy team in the near future.

As the spring builds up and draws to a close, there is a lot to pay attention to. One of said things is the impression that prospects make in camp that can either win them an unexpected spot on a team’s roster or put them in better position for a call-up once the season gets going. Here are five players with prospect eligibility (for fantasy purposes, we don’t care about service time) who are making a positive impression this spring that could lead to heightened fantasy value in 2014.

Carlos Martinez, P, St. Louis Cardinals
The recipient of far too many Pedro Martinez comps in the minor leagues (he’s a vertically-challenged Dominican starter with great raw stuff, so of course Pedro, duh), Martinez is being given a legitimate shot to beat out Joe Kelly for the final spot in the Cardinals’ rotation this spring. This opportunity was made possible by yet another Jaime Garcia shoulder setback, but if it happens, it could vault Martinez’ fantasy star through the roof.


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March 17, 2014 6:00 am

Five to Watch: American League Prospects

6

Wilson Karaman

You won't find these prospects on many offseason top-10 lists, but that doesn't mean they can't help your fantasy squad in 2014.

Last week we kicked off this series in the American League with my look at hitters who could do some targeted damage for owners looking to shore up a category in season, while Craig took a look at some pitchers with elevated BABIP figures to see what kind of bounce-back value he could find. Today, we’ll take a look at some young guns just trying to make it in this crazy world.

By now, everyone’s mostly familiar with the potential impact prospects expected to make their debuts this season. But every year there are always a handful of guys who come seemingly out of nowhere to do some damage right out of the gate and provide a huge boost to the savvy owner who scooped them up. Think of the Kole Calhoun/Danny Salazar types from last year—guys who were nowhere to be found in their organizations’ top 10 lists in the offseason. Here are five prospects who might fit that profile this season and warrant a spot on your watch list.

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March 13, 2014 6:00 am

Five to Watch: American League Hitters

5

Wilson Karaman

Junior-circuit bats to keep an eye on during the second half of spring training.

Ah, spring training. That glorious time of year when we do things like get excited about Lonnie Chisenhall’s on-base percentage (he’s going to break out this year, I thought last year). But while paying attention to storylines related to health and position battles is important, it’s also important to use this time to start looking toward April.

The first couple of months of the regular season are an important time for building your second-half strategy. By now, most fantasy teams are being drafted, and once you’ve had a chance to evaluate how your draft went and determine what you expect the strengths and weaknesses of your squad will be, the next step in the dance is figuring out ways you might be able to leverage those strengths to address your weaknesses during the season. I like to use April and May as an open audition to figure out which players will make the most sense to try to acquire come summertime, and to that end, spring training can be a good time to start building a list of players to monitor. Here are five hitters that I’d just as soon hold off on drafting for the time being, but who may be worth a closer look out of the gate for targeted help as the season rolls on.

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March 12, 2014 6:00 am

Five to Watch: American League Starting Pitchers

10

Craig Goldstein

These junior-circuit hurlers had elevated BABIPs last year, but was it all because of bad luck?

As we learned in the NL iteration of this exercise, BABIP affects bad and good pitchers alike, but that doesn’t mean it is pure luck. Team defense, ground-ball rates and the ability to miss bats all factor in to a pitcher’s likelihood of retaining a low BABIP, decreasing a high BABIP or just producing consistent a consistent BABIP year-to-year.

Below are the top five BABIP affected pitchers in the American League from 2013. While one has since been sent to the National League, there’s reason to believe that four of the five have the ability to be better this year than they were last year. Then there’s Joe Saunders.


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March 11, 2014 6:00 am

Five to Watch: National League Hitters

6

Mauricio Rubio

The senior-circuit bats might provide nice value on draft day.

Anthony RizzoChicago Cubs
Rizzo’s 2013 season boils down to a lack of singles. He notched 65 extra-base hits and generated a healthy 11 percent walk rate, but those types of things get mitigated in a big way fantasy-wise when you hit .233. His ADP is typically in the 100 range, and I think he can outperform that position this year. He has his issues with left-handed pitchers, but he also posted a .258 BABIP, which I think points to at least a bit of bad luck. If he gets the average in the .260 range, he makes a big jump in value considering the power potential. I think it’s a jump he can make considering the plate discipline and manageable 18.4 percent strikeout rate.

Rizzo is being judged off of what can only be described as a disappointing 2013, and that’s fair. But that assessment also creates an attractive value pick in the middle rounds of drafts.


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March 10, 2014 6:00 am

Five to Watch: National League Pitchers With Elevated BABIPs

6

Craig Goldstein

These five starters saw a lot of the balls hit against them land for hits, but was it bad luck or a sign of things to come?

A lot of the time, batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is used as a shorthand for luck, and while that can be the case, it’s not necessarily the case. Today I’m going to look at the top five BABIP pitchers in the National League with a minimum of 150 innings pitched to see what, if anything, connects them, and if that means there is hidden value in these players.

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September 20, 2013 6:00 am

Five to Watch: The Save Rush

5

Craig Goldstein

As a few incubment closers prepare to hit free agency, Craig breaks down the pitchers who could supplant them.

In his September 12 Bullpen Report, Mike Gianella broke down the contract situations of all the closers in baseball, giving us an idea of where there might be change and throwing out some names so we could capitalize early. I loved this idea and wanted to take it a step further in the cases of the five teams that will be losing a closer to free agency. With that in mind, let’s get to it:

Oakland Athletics

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September 16, 2013 6:00 am

Five to Watch: Hot Corner Conundrums

8

Ben Carsley

Ben wades through a handful of uncertain third-base situations to help fantasy owners plan for 2014.

Some would say that forecasting 2014 rosters in September 2013 is a fool’s errand. These people either a) don’t know fools, b) don’t run errands, or c) don’t play in dynasty leagues. For as any experienced owner knows, if you’re not already thinking about your keepers for 2014, you’re doing it wrong.

With that in mind, now is as good a time as any to take a look at five tenuous third-base situations around the league. While there are some potential future fantasy studs listed below, many of these youngsters face uncertain playing time and roster security headed into next year.

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September 10, 2013 6:00 am

Five to Watch: Injured NL Starting Pitchers

0

Craig Goldstein

These five hurlers missed most of the 2013 campaign with arm ailments, but they could be fantasy bargains next year.

If it wasn’t made clear in my first article on starting pitchers who were due for a bounce back, my view on starting pitching is that depth is everywhere. I mean, hell, I tried to make a case for Edinson Volquez as a viable option heading into next season (author’s note: I’m a dolt). Perhaps Volquez was the wrong option to hang my case on, but I selected him in an effort to prove a point. That point you ask?

The point is that starting pitching depth is just about everywhere. Don’t believe me? Check out this list of five NL starting pitchers who either haven’t pitched in 2013, or have only just returned recently. They range from “I’ve been waiting on him for a couple years” to “I legitimately forgot he existed even though he’s on my favorite team*.”

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September 6, 2013 6:00 am

Five to Watch: Would-Be, Could-Be Closers

7

Craig Goldstein

A look at five pitchers who could be in line for save opportunities in future years.

Joe Borowski, Brandon League, Todd Jones, Kevin Gregg, Frank Francisco, Billy Koch. No, I’m not working on a baseball version of We Didn’t Start The Fire (that you know of). These are all relievers who have ascended to the closer role, whether they deserved it or not. They acquired the closer mystique that allowed them to beef up their earnings and hold on or land jobs long past when they should have. To be clear, I’m of the mind that it’s often helpful to have a Gregg or a Koch at the back of the bullpen—someone who is competent enough to finish most games and allows the use of a more efficient or dominant reliever, a fireman, to enter into the higher-leverage situations.

That opinion belongs to the baseball analyst in me, though, not the fantasy analyst. As a fantasy owner, I’d rather see the most talented bullpen option in the closer role because then I don’t have to roster nincompoops who destroy my ERA and WHIP, all while chasing the dragon save. Of course, being blocked by an incompetent colleague is not the only reason that pitchers get denied coffee. Injuries, a couple of poorly timed blow ups, or a lack of experience can also cost a reliever a shot to use SemiSonic as his entrance music as well. The point of this article, then, is to shine a spotlight on some guys who would be closers, but for a minor flaw, be it in their game or their situations. These are players who could be elite-level fantasy closers if they are presented with the opportunity. The key is identifying them before the opportunity arises.

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