Examining a handful of bats who could soon be knocking on the big-league door.
Around this time last year, I started taking a look at prospects whose early-season performance had their dynasty stocks on the rise. While it’s awfully early to be diving into minor-league stat lines, it’s not an exercise completely devoid of merit. You may well miss more than you hit, but last year’s early-June leaderboard mining revealed prospects such as Jacob Nottingham, Trey Mancini, and Cody Reed as prospects whose value was changing dramatically.
I hope it goes without saying that you should always try to pair stat line scouting with actual reports if you can find the information. To that end, you should definitely be reading the amazing work done by our prospect team: daily minor league updates, Monday morning ten packs, eyewitness accounts, notes from the field, chats, mailbag Q&As. It’s quite staggering how prolific they are as a unit, and how much my dynasty game has improved by soaking it all in.
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A look at how the wise guys spent their money in expert leagues this week.
Welcome to The FAAB Review, the series that looks at the expert bidding in LABR mixed, Tout Wars NL, and Tout Wars AL every week in an effort to try and help you, the Baseball Prospectus reader, with your fantasy baseball bidding needs. Bret Sayre and I participate in LABR mixed while I have a team in Tout Wars NL, so I can provide some insight on the bids and the reasoning behind them. LABR uses a $100 budget with one-dollar minimum bids, while the Tout Wars leagues use a $1,000 budget with zero-dollar minimum bids. I will also be including Bret’s winning bids in Tout Wars mixed auction league where applicable.
LABR and Tout Wars both use a bidding deadline of Sunday at midnight ET.
Are the Rockies second baseman's drastic home-road splits cause to move on from him in fantasy?
Fantasy owners are used to playing matchups, whether they be based on platoon numbers or individual pitcher-types. It’s all about lineup optimization and accumulating every little advantage that’s possible. However, it’s also about recognizing which “matchups” are actually noteworthy enough to factor into fantasy decisions.
A look at what's been holding the White Sox slugger back, and whether he might soon emerge from his slump.
As of Mike Gianella’s most recent valuation update a couple of weeks ago, Abreu was on pace for merely a $12 AL-only season--good for just 15th among first-base-eligible hitters in the junior circuit. He’s since rebounded with his first sustained hot streak of the season across his last dozen games, dropping a .370/.396/.630 line with three dingers and 18 R+RBI to take some of that early-season sting out of it for mixed leaguers who, on average, bough him 21st overall in mixed NFBC drafts. Still, he remains well below his level of expected production in the macro sense, and we’re deep enough into the season that we need to be asking ourselves with straight faces whether recent hot streaks like Abreu’s are in fact sustainable turn-arounds, or whether they’re temporary beacons among more troubled seas. So let’s dive under the hood and figure out what went wrong early, why it’s not going wrong now, and whether it’s likely to go wrong again over the next three and a half months.
Let’s start with the basics: Abreu’s BABIP is down, sitting at present at a nominally-above-league-average mark of .299 that is well south of the .356 and .333 marks he posted across his first two campaigns. And sure enough, he’s hitting less line drives than he ever has while seeing a boost in his fly ball contact. It hasn’t been better fly ball contact, however, and courtesy of Statcast we can see that he’s hitting the ball with less authority overall this year:
Why the moves you decide to make in-season can be a function of how you frame your team's problem.
It’s midseason and we all have some work to do to get our fantasy baseball teams to where they need to be if we are going to maximize our chances of winning. Luckily, we all know what to do: find our weaknesses and the areas where we can improve the most, figure out what we can afford to give up to improve, and then make it happen. We have spent a lot of time discussing why we so often cannot act optimally, why we cannot execute against our strategies or our goals, and how we can take advantage of the instances when our leaguemates fall victims to these obstacles. These discussions always come with some big assumptions: (i) that we are able to find the proper strategy and (ii) that the proper strategy at the point of the discussion will remain the proper strategy. Today we will take a look at these assumptions.
Before we get into process, strategy, and decision making, we should revisit an oft-told fable from my time growing up in this country. Luckily, it is short. It goes something like this,
Why high-average hitters might be undervalued commodities in fantasy formats.
In response to one of my FAAB Reviews, a reader wanted to know why John Jaso was treated like such a fungible commodity in LABR Mixed:
I'm a little perplexed how John Jasowas available for such a low bid, he's a high OBPguy on the strong side of a platoon batting lead off in a top-5 offense. Even in my home league, a deep mixer that counts OBP, he went undrafted and has been picked up and dropped to waivers twice. Maybe he's one of those players who is more valuable in real life than fantasy?
The Outcomes discuss the recent Rule 4 draftees and their recent road trip to Texas.
This Week’s Podcast
We took a break as Jared and Ian went on a road trip across Texas. We also had another Scoresheet supplemental, this time incorporating the June MLB Rule 4 draftees. Tune in to hear thoughts on the MLB Rule 4 draftees and a full recap of the road trip, including baseball, non-baseball, and the best things we saw this week.
It’s always good to check oneself when prognosticating about things and offering advice. That’s what I’m hoping to do in this space, to check how my recommendations in “The Buyer’s Guide” have checked out over the last three months.
Examining players who might pique your interest in deeper fantasy formats.
Multiple newly minted closers, multiple everyday players with at least a little upside. There’s more value available in deep leagues right now than there usually is due to roster turnover, role changes, and minor-league call-ups. You can’t determine which pickups will work and which won’t, but in competitive deep leagues, you can guarantee that the team that wins the league will have made sizeable profits on a few of their FAAB pickups. You can’t win if you don’t play in the free agent pool. Let’s dive in.
Helping you set your fantasy rotation for next week with a look at the two-start pitchers.
Welcome to the starting pitcher planner, where every Friday I’ll be taking a look at the pitchers slated for two turns in the upcoming week. The hope is that the planner can help guide lineup and FAAB decisions that need to be made over the weekend. Of course, my information isn’t perfect and I don’t have a crystal ball. Rain, injuries, and teams reshuffling between when I write and Monday’s first pitch will definitely happen. If new information comes to light after we publish, I’ll try to tackle it in the comments. Feel free to beat me to it if you have any info, and I’ll be glad to offer my opinion there if you want it.
Let’s get some ground rules out the way before getting started. The pitchers will be split by league and then by category. Here are some general thoughts about the categories: