Is it worth striking up negotiations less than two weeks into the 2015 campaign?
It is early in the 2015 baseball season. Any article about baseball at this time must at least try to mention this in good faith. We know the usual early-season fantasy baseball topics: small sample size, overreactions, regression, buying low, selling high, patience, it being cold outside, injuries, etc. We also know the usual, often good advice: Be patient, but not overly patient, check to see if skills have changed not just results, etc. Because trades happen infrequently in the beginning of the season, they are rarely discussed outside of the previously mentioned buy low, sell high framework. However, it probably behooves us to take a step back and view early season trades as they relate to strategy and human behavior in general. The interesting part of early season trades is that the influencing factors do not align; thus, we cannot responsibly advise that anyone seek or avoid early season trades without exception. Rather, it depends on the situation. We will now take a look at the reasons that make these trades potentially beneficial and those that make them potentially detrimental.
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Helping you set your fantasy rotation for next week with a look at the two-start pitchers.
Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner! Normally, this is Wilson Karaman’s territory, but for this week only I’ll be running through next week’s two-start pitchers. You might say that I’m… spot starting for him.
A look at how the six new MLB skippers could impact players' fantasy values with their base-stealing philosophies.
A half-dozen teams have new managers in 2015. While that fact may have already crawled its way out of our collective consciousness in the first couple weeks of the year, new managers do have some impact on fantasy baseball production. Perhaps most directly, changes atop the totem pole in the dugout can lead to strategic differences on the base paths. In other words, the frequency with which a team runs on the basepaths can change with a new manager.
The Detroit Tigers are a prime example of this. In 2013 with Jim Leyland at the helm, the Tigers stole the fewest bases (35) in Major League Baseball. After Leyland retired and Brad Ausmus became skipper, the Tigers ran wild. Their 106 stolen bases a year ago ranked seventh in the league. Coming into Wednesday’s games, they had stolen the second-most bases in baseball. Different managers, different strategies.
A few lessons Jeff learned from his auctions this spring.
Having completed an AL only auction last Saturday and an NL only auction two Saturdays ago, I have three takeaways/learnings to discuss to help us (read: me) in future auctions. They are not big enough to be their own article, but their weak connection is strong enough to form an article. Please find these three takeaways below:
Examining the results to date from three players for whom Nick had high expectations entering the season.
While it’s hard to take a lot of meaning from the super early season results, today I’ll look at a couple of players and a pitcher that I was higher on than most people were entering the season and gauge their season outlook. We begin with two players who were integral to my strategy in the My Model Portfolio series: J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts.
Surveying the ninth-inning situations around the league.
Jenrry Mejia Suspended 80 Games
Continuing the trend of MLB players getting suspended for the throwback steroid Stanozolol, Mejia tested positive last week. He was already on the 15-day disabled list, which I wrote about last week, but this obviously pushes him back even further. It adds a little protection to Jeurys Familia’s job, but not much. As I said last week, Bobby Parnell is gearing up to start his rehab assignment, and should be back on the roster in a couple of weeks. Familia has almost certainly been picked up in your leagues by now, but if Parnell is still available and you can afford to stash him, he could pay off relatively soon.
Toronto Shakes Up Their Bullpen
Well, I’ve had my first way-off prediction of the year. When the Blue Jays named Brett Cecil their closer, I confidently stated he would hold on to the job for the majority of the year. So much for that. This past week, John Gibbons took Cecil out of the role and handed the job to 20-year-old Miguel Castro. He hadn’t pitched above High-A coming into this season, but he’s looked good in the early going this year. Gibbons did indicate that part of the reason for the move was to get Cecil back on track with his mechanics. That, combined with Castro’s inexperience, could mean another move could be made relatively quickly, so don’t go dropping Cecil just yet in deep leagues.
Does progress with his changeup portend sustained success for the Tigers righty?
We all have transitional moments in life, and in sports, all with different degrees of significance and magnitude. That moment when you recognize that you’re not good enough to play college ball and that you’re essentially done playing competitively. That moment when you realize that you’ve met the one you’re going to marry. That moment when you graduate from docile fan to obsessive fanatic of your favorite team. That moment when you moved from catcher to pitcher and it just clicked.
Examining some players who might be available to help your teams, depending on the format of your league.
Welcome to Week Two of The Free Agent Watch, Baseball Prospectus’ weekly free agent advice column. This column is designed to offer a brief glimpse into the top free agents in 12-team mixed, 15-team mixed, and AL and NL-only formats, with the idea being that while we can’t address every unique free agent situation in your league, we can guide you through the waters and help with the broader strokes of the decision making process.
Mike is tackling all the mixed league formats, while Keith will be handling the only-league duties.
Examining players who might hold value in deeper -only formats.
If you have been reading our fantasy content since the beginning of the year, you have noticed articles focused on AL- and NL-only leagues, because we know many of BP’s loyal readers participate in these old school, deep-league formats. Nick Shlain and I began The Only League Landscape series back in January giving our weekly summaries at each position, as well as detailed player analysis, hoping to provide the grizzled veterans of these formats advice to prepare for their auctions/drafts.
Now that the season has begun (hallelujah!), we felt it was important to continue to provide in-season fantasy information to those who participate in -only leagues, and, as such, we will be bringing this article to you every Friday, offering up players who may not have relevance in mixed leagues, but could provide value in only formats. Ben Carsley had the courage to tackle this article for 25 weeks last year, and he has my devout admiration for writing weekly about the likes of Reed Johnson, Seth Maness, and Chris Capuano, and providing compelling reasons why they were worth rostering in deeper leagues. I certainly have some big shoes to fill taking this series over this year from Ben, but I am looking forward to writing this weekly piece over the course of the 2015 season.