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08-29

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7

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 23
by
Wilson Karaman

08-29

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Buy Corey Dickerson
by
Craig Goldstein

08-28

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0

Fantasy Freestyle: Analyzing the Competitive Landscape
by
Jeff Quinton

08-28

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0

TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Checking in on a Scoresheet Rookie
by
Ben Murphy

08-27

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3

Dynasty Dynamics: Progress Report: Prospect Edition, Part Three
by
Ben Carsley and Craig Goldstein

08-27

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3

They Hold No Quarter: Third Basemen
by
Baseball Prospectus

08-26

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8

Deep Impact: Week 21
by
Ben Carsley

08-25

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4

Interleague Report: Week 22
by
Jeff Quinton

08-25

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2

The Buyer's Guide: Carlos Carrasco
by
J.P. Breen

08-25

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Weak Links
by
Mike Gianella

08-25

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0

Closer to Me: Week 22
by
Mauricio Rubio

08-22

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12

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 22
by
Wilson Karaman

08-22

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Adjusting for Era
by
Craig Goldstein

08-21

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Information, Humans, and Errors in Valuation
by
Jeff Quinton

08-21

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Week 21
by
Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

08-21

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4

TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Episode 32
by
Ian Lefkowitz, Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss

08-20

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4

Dynasty Dynamics: More Top 50 Talk
by
Ben Carsley and Craig Goldstein

08-20

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4

They Hold No Quarter: Second Basemen
by
BP Fantasy Staff

08-20

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: Being Wrong About Yovani Gallardo
by
J.P. Breen

08-19

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0

Deep Impact: Week 20
by
Ben Carsley

08-19

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14

The Stash List: 18th Edition: The Final Quest
by
Bret Sayre

08-18

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0

Interleague Report: Week 21
by
Jeff Quinton

08-18

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2

The Buyer's Guide: Jonathan Lucroy
by
J.P. Breen

08-18

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1

Closer to Me: Week 21
by
Mauricio Rubio

08-15

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Starling Marte and Being Wrong
by
Craig Goldstein

08-14

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1

TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Episode 31
by
Ian Lefkowitz, Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss

08-13

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Setting Expectations on Superstars
by
J.P. Breen

08-13

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27

Dynasty Dynamics: Our Top 50 Dynasty League Prospects
by
Ben Carsley and Craig Goldstein

08-13

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7

They Hold No Quarter: First Base
by
BP Fantasy Staff

08-12

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14

The Stash List: 17th Edition
by
Bret Sayre

08-12

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5

Deep Impact: Week 19
by
Ben Carsley

08-11

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1

The Buyer's Guide: Josh Harrison
by
J.P. Breen

08-11

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2

Closer to Me: Week 20
by
Mauricio Rubio

08-11

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9

Fantasy Freestyle: Other Competitive Balance Mechanisms
by
Mike Gianella

08-08

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11

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 20
by
Wilson Karaman

08-08

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Jeremy Hellickson
by
Craig Goldstein

08-08

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1

Free Agent Watch: Week 19
by
Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

08-07

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: A Strategy Example From the Deadline
by
Jeff Quinton

08-07

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1

TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Trade Winds
by
Ian Lefkowitz, Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss

08-06

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9

Dynasty Dynamics: Post-Deadline Prospect Value
by
Ben Carsley and Craig Goldstein

08-05

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2

Deep Impact: Week 18
by
Ben Carsley

08-05

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1

The Stash List: 16th Edition
by
Bret Sayre

08-04

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2

Interleague Report: Week 19
by
Jeff Quinton

08-04

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2

The Buyer's Guide: Lucas Duda
by
J.P. Breen

08-04

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4

Closer to Me: Week 19
by
Mauricio Rubio

08-04

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Leagues With In-Season Salary Caps
by
Mike Gianella

08-01

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7

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 19
by
Wilson Karaman

07-31

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Trade Deadlines and Systems of Thought
by
Jeff Quinton

07-31

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0

Free Agent Watch: Week 18
by
Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

07-31

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5

TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Trending Prospects and Big Leaguers
by
Ian Lefkowitz, Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss

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August 22, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Adjusting for Era

3

Craig Goldstein

We all have our own idea of what constitutes a good ERA, FIP, or xFIP, but it's important to make sure that our benchmarks keep up with the times.

While some of us have come to use plus-or-minus stats that adjust to league average to make our determinations on where a player lands within his ranks, it’s clear that many people still use the standard ERA to evaluate a pitcher or batting average to evaluate a hitter. There’s no issue with that, especially when those are the relevant categories in a fantasy league—but there’s something of a collective benchmark that we have for what determines a good, great, or elite ERA or batting average. Even more advanced stats like FIP or xFIP fall prey to this collective benchmark and to our failure to adjust for context.

Focusing on the pitching side of the equation, based on the era I grew up in a 3.00 ERA was/is my benchmark for whether someone is a good pitcher. There are shades of gray of course—a mediocre pitcher can have a fluky season—but everything revolves around that 3.00. A 3.30 was pretty good and a 3.50 was solid. A 4.00 was fit for a fifth starter/long-man type. Reality, of course, is a different story. We all know that we’re in a down offensive period in baseball, but I do wonder if enough of us have adjusted to what that means on the pitching side of the equation. This is an effort to show just how dramatically things have changed over the last few years, so that we can recalibrate what an elite or good pitcher is, and then use that as a new frame of reference.

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August 21, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Information, Humans, and Errors in Valuation

3

Jeff Quinton

"I was wrong" season for the fantasy team continues with a behavioral look at errors in forecasting how players will perform.

Seemingly out of nowhere, it has become “I was wrong” season for the Baseball Prospectus fantasy team. First, Craig Goldstein wrote about undervaluing Starling Marte, and then J.P. Breen wrote about undervaluing Yovani Gallardo. Both articles do an excellent job analyzing what each author missed regarding the specific player. What I hope to look at today is not what was missed about a specific player, but rather what parts of human behavior cause us to err when forecasting player production.

In order to do so, let us take a look at forecasting and what humans do when forecasting. My favorite definition of forecast (the verb) is from Merriam-Webster and it goes, “to predict after looking at the information available.” I like this definition because it is convenient for my article. I also like it because it highlights that our forecasts are dependent on “the information available.” Relatedly, in Thinking, Fast and Slow, our main human, Daniel Kahneman writes, “An essential design feature of the associative machine is that it represents only activated ideas.” Put differently, we cannot take into account that which we cannot imagine. I am throwing around a lot of combinations of words right now, so please allow me to simplify all this:

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August 21, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Week 21

3

Mike Gianella and Bret Sayre

If these players are on the waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format of your league.

12-TEAM MIXED

Norichika Aoki, OF, Kansas City Royals
The Royals have been on quite a tear in August, and having their leadoff hitter doing what he’s supposed to be doing has certainly helped them in this stretch. Aoki, who had been quite a fantasy disappointment over the first four months of the season, is doing the two things the Royals and fantasy owners want him to do recently: get on base and steal bases. Since August started, Aoki is hitting .295/.386/.410 with 14 runs scored and six steals in just 18 games. Compare that to the 40 runs scored and nine steals Aoki had over the first 82 games of the season, and you start to wonder what your team could have looked like if he had been doing this since the start of the year. And while it’s true that non-elite speed gets devalued a bit in shallower mixed leagues, Aoki’s strength in batting average (or OBP, depending on what you fancy) and runs helps make him a player who should be owned across the board right now in rotisserie leagues. —Bret Sayre


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August 21, 2014 6:00 am

TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Episode 32

4

Ian Lefkowitz, Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss

The Outcomes get ready for Scoresheet playoff season and answer reader/listener questions.

This week in the podcast:
The Outcomes get ready for Scoresheet playoff season. They take reader questions, decide whether to dump a contender, and then discuss budding superstar Tsuyoshi Wada. Then, the Outcomes describe what they look for in a playoff contender—strangely, no one ever suggests "a good team"—and compare building a playoff roster to setting weekly lineups. Finally, they take you through the best things they saw this week, featuring cyborg houseware, the vengeance of Erik Kratz, and the true feeling of anger and resignation that comes only after being forced to listen to Sean Casey and Billy Ripken for three hours. Playoff fever! It's probably not contagious!


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August 20, 2014 11:20 am

Dynasty Dynamics: More Top 50 Talk

4

Ben Carsley and Craig Goldstein

After unveiling their prospect lists last week, Ben and Craig reveal those who just missed, plus dark horses, and surprising exclusions.

Last week, Craig and I each gave a breakdown of our top 50 dynasty prospects, doing our best Bret Sayre impressions as we looked for a cause to discuss where 2014 draftees should rank, how some recent injuries have impacted the dynasty landscape and more.

We have some of the reasoning behind our rankings in last week’s post, and we further discussed our feelings in last week’s episode of TINO, too. But there’s always more to talk about when it comes to rankings, and so Craig and I have decided to milk this subject for all it’s worth this week as well.

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August 20, 2014 6:00 am

They Hold No Quarter: Second Basemen

4

BP Fantasy Staff

Part two in the position-by-position look at players who might be worth stashing in keeper leagues.

If there’s anything we love more than baseball around here on the fantasy staff, it’s collaborating with each other. So, at the behest of myself, we’re going to be doing one final group series of the year to close out the last seven weeks of the season. For this series, we will each select one player who is below 25 percent owned in either ESPN or Yahoo! leagues and who could be someone to consider grabbing before the end of the season with an eye toward a keeper spot. Now, given the depth we’re dealing with here, these recommendations are not for owners who can keep five or seven players from season-to-season—it’s more for those of you who play in leagues where keepers take up more than half of your roster (and possibly more, in the case of some recommendations contained within).

Arismendy Alcantara, Chicago Cubs
“It's been a debut befitting a hyped 22-year-old prospect for Alcantara, which is to say he's struggled mightily to adjust to big-league stuff. His .213/.280/.346 line and .240 TAv have barely produced value in even the deepest of leagues to date. But none of this should be of any concern to managers with an eye on 2015 and beyond. The pedigree is still that of a perennial top-10 second baseman, and his double-digit pop and 30-plus-steal potential has already flashed in the majors despite his overall struggles. While there is a possibility that the Cubs' surplus of organizational depth could land him in the outfield it's all but certain he'll be in Chicago's starting lineup on Opening Day next spring, and he'll be there with 2B eligibility. He's one of the best flyers around for a Rendon-esque leap in value in his first full season and he makes for a strong end-game waiver claim or FAAB target if he's available in your keeper league.” —Wilson Karaman


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August 20, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Being Wrong About Yovani Gallardo

1

J.P. Breen

J.P. wasn't expecting much from the Brewers righty, but he's been pleasantly surprised.

Admittedly, this article stems from a recent article by our own Craig Goldstein and an ongoing series by Jason Parks. It revolves around the idea of making preseason projections and ultimately being wrong. Goldstein took the high road in his article last week and explained that baseball analysts can occasionally hide behind process as a way of lessening the impact of making an incorrect prediction. He writes:

I often think my reasons at the time were justified, and that just because it didn’t break my way, doesn’t mean I was wrong, just that it turned out differently. This is hiding behind “the process.” I was wrong, and good reasoning at the time or not, that needs to be owned.

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August 19, 2014 6:00 am

Deep Impact: Week 20

0

Ben Carsley

Examining a handful of players who might pique your interest in deep leagues.

525,600 intros.

Mookie Betts, OF/2B, Red Sox
For the third time this season, Betts finds himself as a member of the Boston Red Sox. This time, his promotion very well could be permanent, as the 21-year-old has continued to mash at the Triple-A level while his MLB counterpart, Jackie Bradley Jr., ranked as one of the worst hitters in the majors. Bradley should be stuck in Pawtucket until September, and even then, the Sox are unlikely to want to stifle Betts’ development, so it looks like fantasy owners have been gifted an interesting, useful outfielder for the remainder of the season.


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August 19, 2014 6:00 am

The Stash List: 18th Edition: The Final Quest

14

Bret Sayre

Taijuan Walker nabs the no. 1 spot in the last top 20 of the season.

It’s been another very fun season of writing the Stash List, but all such things must come to an end. This will be the final installment of the 2014 season, so I hope it’s been helpful to you guys, and let’s do it again in 2015, shall we?

The Graduates: Dexter Fowler (2), Mookie Betts (3), Michael Pineda (4), Rafael Montero (6)
Fowler has returned with a vengeance from his intercostal strain, hitting .389/.522/.556 in his first five games back. I like him to close the season strong in an improving offense. The news was relatively sour on Betts until Monday, when Jackie Bradley Jr. was sent back down to Triple-A because his ineptitude at the plate finally overshadowed his delightfulness in the field. Betts should be playing pretty close to every day for the foreseeable future, and should be improved over his first stint, but don’t expect the light bulb to just turn on brightly. Off days for the Yankees have given Pineda some extra rest after his first start back—which was a positive sign—and he won’t toe the rubber for the second time since returning until Wednesday. The upside is still high, especially if you’re chasing strikeouts. Meanwhile, elsewhere in New York City, Montero is trying his hardest to satisfy the Mets faithful who really wanted to see Noah Syndergaard instead. He followed a weak start against the Nationals with a strong one against the Cubs, and fortunately for Montero, the Mets have a reasonably tame schedule the rest of the way.


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August 18, 2014 6:00 am

Interleague Report: Week 21

0

Jeff Quinton

A look at the upcoming AL-vs-NL and NL-vs-AL matchups, and how they might affect teams' lineups.

Please note that in the “DH” column, the player listed is the player that has been added or removed from the lineup, not necessarily the player in the DH slot. For example, if the Phillies move Domonic Brown to DH and put Tony Gwynn Jr. in the OF, then I will list Gwynn Jr. in the “DH” column because he is the player who is gaining at-bats.

Last Week

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August 18, 2014 6:00 am

The Buyer's Guide: Jonathan Lucroy

2

J.P. Breen

The Brewers backstop has emerged as a darkhorse MVP candidate, but his is improvement at the plate sustainable?

Approach at the plate has been on my mind in recent weeks. I’ve been specifically ruminating on the learned aspect of plate discipline; for example, how gifted 20-something hitters who have otherworldly hand-eye coordination can learn to eschew a simple bat-to-ball approach and focus on quality pitches to hit. That is to say, how can hitters develop the inner filter to discern between pitches they can hit and pitches they should hit, or which pitches they can merely hit and which pitches they can drive.

Obviously, such a development would be desirable for any player, and it can happen for many different reasons. Maybe it’s a maturation process. Maybe it’s a new pitching coach who presents the information in a different way. Maybe it’s trial and error. Maybe it’s studying the numbers. But I’ve been more convinced that most big-league hitters are only able to carve out sustained success over multiple seasons if they can adjust and refine their approach at the plate, at least to some degree.

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August 18, 2014 6:00 am

Closer to Me: Week 21

1

Mauricio Rubio

Surveying the ninth-inning situations around the league

Chicago White Sox
Jake Petricka has been the most reliable and healthy reliever in the White Sox bullpen this year. It’s been a nice surprise, but I’ve never thought of Petricka as a high-leverage reliever. He has a strikeout rate that is approaching acceptable at 18 percent, but generally, if you’re looking at relievers who operate lower in the strikeout rate department, you want a guy who has command. Petricka also loses the zone enough for an 11 percent walk rate. That’s unacceptable considering how many bats he fails to miss. Matt Lindstrom was activated off the disabled list and had a bad outing against Toronto this past Saturday. I believe in Lindstrom more than I do in Petricka as a speculative saves play down the stretch.

San Diego Padres
Joaquin Benoit is dealing with a barky shoulder, which is a situation that absolutely deserves monitoring. Benoit is having a tremendous season at 37, as he has a 0.85 WHIP and a 31.1 percent strikeout rate. He is slated to be available on Tuesday, but I think it would be prudent to check up on Kevin Quackenbush and Dale Thayer in the Padres bullpen. Quackenbush is the logical next man up.



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