CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Fantasy Articles 

Search Fantasy Articles

All Blogs (including podcasts)

Active Columns

Authors

Article Types

Archives

04-28

comment icon

1

The Quinton: Early Misses, Future Misses and Analyzing our Process
by
Jeff Quinton

04-28

comment icon

13

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 5
by
Mark Barry

04-28

comment icon

0

TDGX Transactions: Week 5
by
J.J. Jansons

04-28

comment icon

1

Fantasy Freestyle: The All-April Team
by
Matt Collins

04-27

comment icon

8

Fantasy Freestyle: I’m Very Nervous
by
Mike Gianella

04-27

comment icon

14

The Stash List: Fourth Edition
by
Greg Wellemeyer

04-26

comment icon

10

Dynasty Dynamics: Should You (Try and) Trade (for) Starling Marte?
by
Ben Carsley

04-26

comment icon

4

Deep League Report: Week 4
by
Scooter Hotz

04-25

comment icon

4

Closer Report: Week 4
by
Matt Collins

04-24

comment icon

0

Player Profile: Tyler Skaggs
by
Wilson Karaman

04-24

comment icon

2

The Buyer's Guide: Chase Anderson
by
Eric Roseberry

04-21

comment icon

3

Fantasy Freestyle: My Fantasy Investment Portfolio—Minor Leaguers I Own Across Multiple Leagues
by
Scooter Hotz

04-21

comment icon

2

Free Agent Watch: Week 3
by
George Bissell

04-21

comment icon

17

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 4
by
Mark Barry

04-20

comment icon

0

TDGX Transactions: Week 3
by
J.J. Jansons

04-20

comment icon

2

Fantasy Freestyle: Reconsidering Your Targets
by
Mike Gianella

04-20

comment icon

13

The Stash List: Third Edition
by
Greg Wellemeyer

04-19

comment icon

1

The Quinton: Where To Find the Trades
by
Jeff Quinton

04-19

comment icon

8

Deep League Report: Week 3
by
Scooter Hotz

04-18

comment icon

3

Closer Report: Week 3
by
Matt Collins

04-17

comment icon

0

The Buyer's Guide: Jason Vargas
by
Eric Roseberry

04-14

comment icon

4

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 3
by
Mark Barry

04-14

comment icon

5

Fantasy Freestyle: Three Surprising Strikeout Surgers
by
Matt Collins

04-14

comment icon

2

Free Agent Watch: Week 2
by
George Bissell

04-14

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: My Fantasy Investment Portfolio: Major League Players I Own Across Multiple Leagues
by
Scooter Hotz

04-13

comment icon

10

The Stash List: 2017 Second Edition
by
Greg Wellemeyer

04-13

comment icon

0

Deep League Report: Week Two
by
Scooter Hotz

04-12

comment icon

0

Daily League Strategy: Week 2: Picking Pitchers
by
Tim Finnegan

04-11

comment icon

2

Closer Report: Week 2
by
Matt Collins

04-10

comment icon

0

The Buyer's Guide: Mark Reynolds
by
Eric Roseberry

04-07

comment icon

14

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 1
by
Mark Barry

04-07

comment icon

1

Free Agent Watch: Week 1
by
George Bissell

04-06

comment icon

3

Fantasy Freestyle: The PFM and The Model Portfolio
by
Mike Gianella

04-06

comment icon

30

The Stash List: 2017 First Edition
by
Greg Wellemeyer

04-06

comment icon

1

TDGX Transactions: First & Second FAAB plus first big trade
by
J.J. Jansons

04-05

comment icon

0

Fantasy Freestyle: Fixing What Broke in Francisco Liriano
by
Alex Chamberlain

04-05

comment icon

11

Dynasty Dynamics: Six (Slightly) Delayed Gratification Prospects
by
Ben Carsley

04-05

comment icon

2

Deep League Report: Week 1
by
Scooter Hotz

04-05

comment icon

4

TDGX Transactions: Amateur Draft
by
J.J. Jansons

04-04

comment icon

12

Closer Report: Week 1
by
Matt Collins

04-04

comment icon

2

The Quinton: Keeper League Auction Takeaways
by
Jeff Quinton

04-04

comment icon

2

Daily League Strategy: Week 1
by
Tim Finnegan

04-03

comment icon

0

The Buyer's Guide: Jorge Soler
by
Eric Roseberry

04-03

comment icon

1

Fantasy Freestyle: Five to Watch: Leadoff Surprises
by
Greg Wellemeyer

03-31

comment icon

8

Fantasy Auction Values: Fifth Edition, 2017
by
Mike Gianella

03-31

comment icon

0

My Model Portfolio: Boom, Boom, and Hope the Rest Don't Bust
by
Wilson Karaman

03-31

comment icon

1

My Model Portfolio: Betts, Old Bats, and Starting Pitching
by
Jeff Quinton

03-30

comment icon

1

My Model Portfolio: The Defending Champion
by
Scooter Hotz

03-30

comment icon

0

My Model Portfolio: All-In on the Astros Infield
by
Mark Barry

03-30

comment icon

1

My Model Portfolio: Defending a Participation Trophy
by
Bret Sayre

<< Previous Column Entries Next Column Entries >>

Who does Scooter love? How about Matt Moore six times?

This past weekend, I had my last two auctions of the season, my AL-only league on Saturday and my NL-only league on Sunday. While I love fantasy baseball, there is a sense of relief that comes from closing the book on drafting and auctioning teams for the year. With a few days of perspective, I repeated an exercise I performed last season and took a look at which players I owned the most often across my seven leagues.

Here’s a high-level rundown of the configuration of my seven leagues:

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

April 13, 2017 6:00 am

The Stash List: 2017 Second Edition

10

Greg Wellemeyer

Little has changed so far, but we do have data from early season samples to examine.

With the minor-league season just a week old and the major-league version not much more seasoned than that, there isn’t a whole lot of upheaval since last week’s list. Injuries, promotions, poor performance, and wild speculation will stir it up soon, don’t you worry.

The Graduates: None.

The Dropouts: Collin McHugh (5), Pedro Alvarez (19), JaCoby Jones (23), Roman Quinn (25).

I was bullish on McHugh’s stashability last week, assuming he was a rehab turn or two away from rejoining Houston’s rotation and re-asserting his back-end fantasy value. He made it through just one inning in his first rehab start, and is now shut down for six weeks with an elbow injury. Few pitchers in baseball have thrown as many breakers as McHugh over the past three seasons, so this was probably bound to happen sooner or later. I’m not optimistic enough to leave him on the list as we wait a couple months for a return.

Jones has started six of the Tigers’ seven games, so doesn’t really fit the profile for this column seeing as how he has something close to a full-time opportunity. I like the power-speed potential, though his contact inability and down-the-order lineup position limit his fantasy ceiling.

1) Julio Urias (LHP)—Los Angeles Dodgers (Previous Rank: 1)

Urias made his 2017 debut for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday, allowing two runs in 3 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking four. More important than the results was his pitch count. Despite limited action this spring, Urias threw 79 pitches, and might be more stretched out than I originally anticipated. Physically ready or not, Dave Roberts suggested that “some time at the end of the month makes sense” for his arrival. I’ll take the over.

2) Yoan Moncada (2B)—Chicago White Sox (Previous Rank: 2)

I’m trying not to be swayed by the in-person looks I got at Moncada this week, but am having a hard time. He swatted a home run on Monday that sounded like he hit the ball with a telephone pole, and yesterday he thumped a pitch on the outer half off the top of the wall in the opposite-field gap. Oh, and those were from different sides of the plate. While I still have concerns about the strikeout rate that aren’t likely to be answered in the short term, Moncada is going to be very impactful very soon.

3) Jorge Soler (OF)—Kansas City Royals (Previous Rank: 3)

Soler swung a bat Sunday for the first time since injuring his oblique on Feb. 26 and could begin a rehab assignment next week. Paolo Orlando is off to a .125/.192/.125 start in his stead, which is to say that the job is still firmly Soler’s as soon as he can get back.

4) Michael Conforto (OF)—New York Mets (Previous Rank: 4)

This is what happens, Terry.

5) Joe Ross (RHP)—Washington Nationals (Previous Rank: Unranked)

An unintentional omission from last week’s list, Ross is at Triple-A Syracuse because the Nats don’t need a fifth starter until April 22. Ross was beaten up a bit in his first start for the Chiefs, but I don’t think his major-league rotation spot is in any jeopardy regardless of what happens while he’s on the farm.

6) Jose Berrios (RHP)—Minnesota Twins (Previous Rank: 6)

7) Reynaldo Lopez (RHP)—Chicago White Sox (Previous Rank: 7)

Berrios surely can use his time in Rochester for refinement, but he has absolutely nothing left to prove at that level from a performance standpoint. After six shutout innings in his first appearance, Berrios now owns a 2.48 ERA and 215-to-51 K-to-BB ratio in 193 Triple-A innings. Adalberto Mejia, who won the last spot in the Twins’ rotation with a solid spring, couldn’t get out of the second inning in an ugly major league debut. Lopez’s run prevention and ability to pitch deep into games in the early going at Triple-A Charlotte leave much to be desired. His 15 strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings does not.

8) Martin Prado (3B)—Miami Marlins (Previous Rank: 9)

9) Devin Mesoraco (C)—Cincinnati Reds (Previous Rank: 12)

10) Wilson Ramos (C)—Tampa Bay Rays (Previous Rank: 10)

11) Tom Murphy (C)—Colorado Rockies (Previous Rank: 11)

Injury update time. Prado was cleared to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday and began in High-A. The plan is for Prado to play four games and, barring a setback, he could return to Miami for full action next week. Mesoraco’s through four games of his rehab assignment at Double-A Pensacola but has yet to catch back-to-back contests. Playing time upon his return is unclear, but especially if you’re a Gary Sanchez or Buster Posey owner, Mesoraco is worth a stash because of his imminent activation and upside. Nothing to report on Ramos or Murphy.

12) Austin Meadows (OF)—Pittsburgh Pirates (Previous Rank: 13)

13) Bradley Zimmer (OF)—Cleveland Indians (Previous Rank: 16)

14) Blake Swihart (C) Boston Red Sox (Previous Rank: 15)

Small sample fun: Meadows has a .374 OPS, Zimmer has just four strikeouts in 27 at-bats, and Swihart has caught all give games in which he’s played. I expect one of these things to continue.

15) Lucas Giolito (RHP)—Chicago White Sox (Previous Rank: 7)

16) Jose De Leon (RHP)—Tampa Bay Rays (Previous Rank: 14)

I’m officially worried about Giolito. Reports from both spring training and his first outing at Triple-A Charlotte have his fastball in the low-90s. Mixed-league value is going to be hard to come by unless that changes, and the Pale Hose have no reason to push him to the big leagues in the meantime. I said last week that De Leon would need to return to action soon to hold on to his spot on the list, and there is no update to his injury status. Tick, tick, tick.

17) Archie Bradley (RHP)—Arizona Diamondbacks (Previous Rank: 21)

Last week I said that “10 of the seven outs Bradley recorded were by way of strikeout,” which is mathematically impossible, no matter how impressive Bradley was in his first appearance. He didn’t quite have the same swing-and-miss stuff in his second outing, but he did allow just one baserunner in two innings of work. I’d give him one more shot in the rotation if I were the Diamondbacks, but he could be plenty relevant if he becomes one of the next Andrews Miller we’ve heard so much about this spring. Because, you know, everyone has one of those just lying around waiting to be deployed optimally.

18) Cody Bellinger (1B)—Los Angeles Dodgers (Previous Week: Honorable Mention)

19) A.J. Reed (1B)—Houston Astros (Previous Rank: 17)

20) Joey Gallo (3B)—Texas Rangers (Previous Rank: 18)

21) Trey Mancini (1B)—Baltimore Orioles (Previous Rank: Unranked)

22) Dan Vogelbach (1B)—Seattle Mariners (Previous Rank: 20)

Leaving Bellinger off the proper list last week was a mistake, considering I included four inferior players with similarly ambiguous paths to regular time. He’ll have to really rake in Triple-A to force the Dodgers into giving him the call, much less installing him as an everyday, fantasy relevant player. Bellinger has the tools to do it though, bringing significant power if he can keep the strikeouts in check, with a bit of speed to boot. Mancini replaces Alvarez by virtue of playing the same position(s) and already being in the majors.

23) Franklin Barreto (SS)—Oakland Athletics (Previous Rank: Unranked)

24) J.P. Crawford (SS)—Philadelphia Phillies (Previous Rank: 22)

I still believe that Crawford arrives first, and that Barreto is more valuable in our game because of his speed and the security of his hit tool. He’s off to a blistering start at Triple-A Nashville, but I don’t see the A’s rushing him in a non-competitive season. Chad Pinder likely gets the first shot at playing time when Jed Lowrie gets hurt. I’m willing to hedge against that assumption with a spot at the bottom of the list. Crawford is off to whatever is the opposite of a blistering start.

25) Aaron Altherr (OF)—Philadelphia Phillies (Previous Rank: 24)

Playing time has been in short supply, but you have to figure the Phillies will see what they have with some of their controllable assets before too long. I still believe in the power-speed combo here, even if I’m nervous about its utility because of suspect contact ability.

Honorable Mention: Ozzie Albies, Jorge Alfaro, Tyler Beede, Carter Capps, Matt Duffy, Delino DeShields, Dilson Herrera, Ketel Marte, Francis Martes, Jesse Winker

I’d like to include someone from Texas’, and maybe Washington’s bullpen, I just don’t have any conviction about who it should be. Matt Bush and Koda Glover are my hunches, but neither is making an especially strong case just yet.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

April 13, 2017 6:00 am

Deep League Report: Week Two

0

Scooter Hotz

Injuries beget playing time for backups, and a closer already has lost his job.

Injuries to prominent players such as Gary Sanchez, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Trea Turner have freed up playing time for some bench players. A closer lost his job, too, and the guy who is taking over isn’t the guy that most people thought it would be. Plus, the usual assortment of bullpen arms with good strikeout rates or a shaky closer ahead of them and hitters on the bad side of a platoon. It might be mid-April, but the Deep League Report is rounding into midseason form.

AL-ONLY POSITION PLAYERS

Guillermo Heredia

He wasn’t a lock to head north with the big club after spring training, but Guillermo Heredia made the Mariners roster. The 26-year-old Cuban is a plus defender at all three outfield spots with a good approach at the plate, but he doesn’t have much in the way of home-run power or stolen-base potential. He’s a fourth outfielder for now behind Leonys Martin, Jarrod Dyson and Mitch Haniger, so he won’t get regular plate appearances for the time being, but Dyson and Haniger haven’t been everyday players in the majors before, so it’s not-too hard to imagine one of them struggling and Heredia getting a shot at a larger role. And note that he’s a better bet in OBP leagues than AVG leagues due to his plate discipline.

Austin Romine

The injury to Sanchez has given Romine a shot at regular playing time behind the plate for the Yankees for around a month. He’s not much of a hitter with a career line of .219/.256/.324 in 371 plate appearances, but in deep AL-only leagues, a starter’s share of playing time is a big asset, even if the guy doing the hitting isn’t a particularly strong hitter. Kyle Higashioka was recalled to back up Romine, but he shouldn’t pose much of a threat to Romine’s playing time unless Romine really craters. Anecdotally, I bought Wilson Ramos in my AL-Only home league this past Saturday, giving me zero plate appearances for the first few months of the season at one of my catching slots. It made sense for me to pursue Romine to give me a good number of plate appearances at a slot that otherwise would be a dead one. I bid $6 of my $100 FAAB budget on Romine for this coming week and won him, causing me to do a little fist pump after the bids were processed. Deep AL-only and NL-only leagues make us do weird things.

Chris Young

The knee injury that landed Bradley on the DL has landed Chris Young a spot in the Boston lineup for as long as Bradley is out. So far, there is no timeline for Bradley’s return, so there’s no way to say how long the 33-year-old Young will be in the lineup. He has been a batting-average risk in the past but, to his credit, he has hit above .250 in each of the past two seasons. His speed on the base paths is mostly gone, but he still has a bit of home-run pop and will be hitting in a high-scoring Red Sox lineup. If you’re short on plate appearances, Young can help until Bradley gets back.

Other Options: Higashioka, Austin Jackson, Trey Mancini

AL-ONLY PITCHERS

Brad Peacock

When he was added to the Astros roster at the start of the season, Peacock was expected to be a long reliever. So far, he has thrown 3 2/3 innings across three appearances, which isn’t terribly long. Those innings have been very good, as he’s currently posting a 0.00 ERA and a 0.55 WHIP with six strikeouts and two walks. He’s about as far down the list for saves in Houston as it gets, so don’t expect anything from him in that category, but he could be useful for rate stats and strikeouts going forward. Plus, writing about Peacock lets me link to this clip, which is nice.

Adam Warren

The fact that Adam Warren can throw multiple innings per outing makes him a valuable asset to the Yankees out of their bullpen and makes him a valuable asset to his owners in deep AL-only leagues, too. Like Brad Peacock, he’s unlikely to get within spitting distance of saves. What Warren should do is post good rate stats and a decent number of strikeouts. Yes, I know that the 29-year-old has never struck out a batter per inning in a full season, but his ability to throw multiple innings and even pick up a spot start or two allow him to throw more innings than most relievers, enabling him to rack up K's. And for what it’s worth, he has a perfect 0.00 ERA and a perfect 0.00 WHIP with seven strikeouts (and no walks or hits, obviously) in six innings across three appearances.

Blake Parker

The 4.50 ERA that Parker is sporting right now isn’t all that attractive, but the rest of his line is: a 0.75 WHIP with seven strikeouts and no walks in four innings out of the Angels bullpen. I watched him throw an inning during the first week of the season, and the batters he faced looked uncomfortable. I couldn’t tell if it was the movement on his pitches or his annoyingly twitchy pre-pitch routine that unsettled his opponents, but whatever it was, he looked like he was in complete command of each plate appearance. At 31 years old, the 6’3” righty is no rated rookie, but he could be helpful with rate stats and strikeouts in deep leagues for owners looking to fill in a vacancy on their staff via the free-agent pool. And given the uncertainty in the Angels’ bullpen, it isn’t difficult to imagine a scenario where Parker inherits the closer’s role a month or two from now thanks to his own hot start and the failings of the pitchers ahead of him on the depth chart.

Other Options: Danny Farquhar, Zach Putnam, Jose Leclerc

NL-ONLY POSITION PLAYERS

Wilmer Difo

The injury to Turner (along with another to Stephen Drew) means more playing time for Difo and in the short term. The 25-year-old Difo doesn’t have a lot of power, but he has legitimate speed and could pick up a handful of steals in short order before Turner returns. It looks like Turner won’t be out much longer, so don’t expect more than a week or two of starter’s playing time from Difo. If you could use some steals in the short term, though, Difo is a decent bet.

Alen Hanson

He doesn’t have regular playing time at second, shortstop or third with Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer and David Freese starting, but none of those three are great bets to hit enough and stay healthy enough to keep Hanson on the bench all season. The 24-year-old doesn’t have much home-run power, but he has stolen more than 30 bases in four of the past five minor-league seasons. In the current low-steal environment, Hanson could swipe enough bags to be an asset in deep NL-only leagues, even if he spends the year as a utility infielder.

Jabari Blash

If you need power in a deep NL-only league, take a long look at Jabari Blash. Throughout his minor-league career, the 27-year-old has been a classic Three True Outcomes hitter, launching loads of home runs and drawing plenty of walks while striking out a ton. The 6’5” outfielder hasn’t gotten much playing time yet, but he could at least end up on the bad side of a platoon if any of the trio of young outfielders starting for the Padres struggle for an extended period of time. His walk rate makes him an appealing option in OBP leagues, but if he can’t get his career strikeout rate below 40 percent sometime soon, he won’t get a chance to draw many walks.

Other Options: T.J. Rivera, Scott Van Slyke

NL-ONLY PITCHERS

Joaquin Benoit

In the wake of Jeanmar Gomez’ implosion over the weekend, Joaquin Benoit was named the new closer in Philadelphia. The 39-year-old was a bit of a surprise selection over Hector Neris, who was stashed by many owners in deep leagues in their auctions. Benoit might have been selected as much for his guaranteed contract as he was for his pitching ability—each save racked up by the arbitration-eligible Neris would increase his probable salary in arbitration. This isn’t a problem with Benoit since he has a guaranteed contract. What matters for roto purposes is that Benoit will be getting the saves for Phillies for the foreseeable future, and that makes him pretty valuable in deep NL-only leagues, where saves are only available in the free-agent pool a few times per season. If you need a closer, you should feel comfortable bidding 30 to 40 percent of your FAAB on the veteran.

Ryan Buchter

He picked up a save during the first week of the season, but Buchter isn’t the closer in San Diego. For now, anyway. The 30-year-old is currently the setup man behind Brandon Maurer and managed to pick up that save when Maurer was unavailable after pitching in each of the two previous games. The big lefty piles up lots of strikeouts, posting an 11.1 K/9 last season and a 12.3 K/9 in the early going this season. Maurer is far from a sure thing, so if he stumbles, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Buchter start racking up saves in addition to strikeouts despite the aversion that many teams have toward naming lefty closers.

Kevin Siegrist

A favorite of mine for the past few years, Kevin Siegrist is off to a poor start in St. Louis with a 19.29 ERA and a 3.43 WHIP in 2 2/3 innings after a disastrous outing against the Nationals in which he surrendered five runs in 1/3 of an inning. Walks always have been the most troublesome aspect of Siegrist’s profile and they have hurt him this year, as he has issued four already across three appearances. More troubling is that Siegrist hasn’t been striking out guys like he has in years past, with only one strikeout so far. With only 2 2/3 innings thrown, we probably can’t draw credible conclusions, and the safest bet would to assume that the 27-year-old will stabilize and return to the level he established over the previous two seasons. However, it just might be that I need to stop living in the past and entertain the possibility that one of my favorite non-closing relievers isn’t as good as he used to be.

Other Options: Brad Hand, Hector Rondon, Archie Bradley

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

April 12, 2017 6:00 am

Daily League Strategy: Week 2: Picking Pitchers

0

Tim Finnegan

Skills—for the pitcher, for his opponent and his even own lineup—all matter when picking for daily leagues. But so does ballpark environment.

In Week 1, we discussed basic strategies for picking hitters to roster in daily leagues. One of the key points from that article is that fantasy owners want to find hitters who have a good chance to be in a high run-scoring environment. Focusing on opposing-pitcher quality—meaning, finding opposing pitchers who do not usually effectively prevent runs, prevent extra base hits, or prevent baserunners—is a good first step.

This week, we'll do the opposite and focus on basic ways to pick pitchers. Generally, when picking a pitcher, I look for a few key things. I want a pitcher who has a good chance to be in a low run-scoring environment, because pitchers are docked points for allowing earned runs. I want a pitcher who will pitch deep into the game, because pitchers gain points the more innings they throw, and in some formats for quality starts (6+ IP of 3 ER or less). I want a pitcher who will get enough run support to be in position for a victory, because pitchers earn points when they are credited with the win. And I want a pitcher who is going to rack up strikeouts, because pitchers get points for strikeouts. It’s sometimes difficult to find all of these qualities in one pitcher, so I look for as many as possible.

To do this, considering the quality of the opposing team that the pitcher is facing is important, just like with picking hitters. A punchless lineup in a pitcher's park on a chilly night is going to have a more difficult time scoring runs than a high-powered lineup in a hitter's park on a hot summer night. A lineup that has a lot of swing-and-miss in it, like the 2016 Brewers, who had a team-strikeout rate near 26 percent, makes it more likely that a pitcher can generate strikeouts. A team starting an ineffective pitcher against a team that is running out their own ace makes it more likely that the ace pitcher will get run support and be in position for the win, because his opponent is starting a pitcher who is prone to giving up runs.

Looking at splits is important, too. If a lineup is right-handed heavy, starting a pitcher who eats up righties, someone like Julio Teheran, can be another good way to increase the chances of run prevention and the accumulation of strikeouts. Teheran’s numbers have been dramatically better against right-handed hitters. Since the start of 2015, Teheran has an outstanding .570 OPS against, 2.78 Fielding Independent Pitching and 26.4 percent strikeout rate against right-handed batters. Home splits are also notable. Starting pitchers league-wide are more effective at preventing runs and baserunners in home games. The reason for this could be related to the pregame bullpen. A home pitcher throws his pregame bullpen and goes right to the mound while he’s hot, while the road pitcher sits in the dugout after his bullpen and cools down for a half-inning. That’s one theory, anyway. I generally favor picking a home pitcher over a road pitcher when most factors are close because of the league splits, assuming the pitcher’s home park isn’t a haven for scoring runs due to environmental or ballpark effects.

In terms of the pitcher's own skill set, the primary stats I look at when picking pitchers are OPS against, ERA, FIP, and strikeout rate (K%—not K/9). I prefer K% over K/9 because K% uses the total number of batters faced and paints a more accurate picture of strikeout skill. Finding pitchers who are efficient with their pitch counts also is helpful for finding pitchers who can get deep into games and rack up points for innings pitched.

So, for example, yesterday I picked Carlos Carrasco for a few reasons. Obviously, Carrasco’s own skills are really good, but the matchup he had is what grabbed my attention the most. Carrasco was facing a below-average White Sox team at Cleveland that has a lineup projected to score in the bottom five league-wide in total runs for the rest of the season. The opposing pitcher for the White Sox was James Shields, one of the least-effective pitchers in baseball over the past year. Carrasco looked like a good bet to prevent runs, get run support and be in position to get the win. Shields ended up only giving up one run, so run support wasn’t there like I had expected, but Carrasco pitched well enough to score well in fantasy by logging seven innings pitched, getting seven strikeouts, and allowing one run and four hits. Identifying favorable situations like these is something I find important when making pitching choices in daily leagues.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

April 11, 2017 6:00 am

Closer Report: Week 2

2

Matt Collins

Changes already in Philly, uncertainty in Washington and concern in Texas.

We’ve only had one week of baseball in 2017, but there already is plenty of news on the closer front. We’ve had one change to date, with more intrigue on the horizon. As always, you can keep up with the changes with my Closer Grid, which I update as quickly as I possibly can. Just a quick reminder: the grid's third column is not the third person in line for the closer gig. Rather, it’s an intriguing name to watch for in the short- and/or long-term future. With that housekeeping out of the way, let’s get on with the news.

Jeanmar Gomez out in Philly

Many were surprised during the offseason when the Phillies declared that Gomez would be their closer again. He mostly held down the job last year, but it wasn’t always pretty, and he’s not exactly a dominant force in the bullpen. As it turns out, it didn’t take long for him to prove that was so in 2017; he allowed multiple runs in two of his three outings to start the year. Joaquin Benoit will be taking over the ninth for the Phillies, not Hector Neris. It’s a decision that makes sense from the team’s point of view for a few reasons. For one, delaying his ascent to closer keeps Neris’ arbitration prices down. Furthermore, he is more capable of going multiple innings, so keeping that kind of arm in a set-up role makes more sense. He’s still worth keeping in most leagues, as his ratios still figure to be quite good. Plus, Benoit is no guarantee to keep the job. He’s been good over most of his career, but he’s in his age-39 season, and is a fly ball pitcher who struggles with control at times. That’s a recipe for a few meltdowns in a short span at some point, which would presumably open up the role for Neris. For now, though, it goes without saying that Benoit is must-own.

What’s going on in Washington?

One of the bigger storylines of the offseason was how the Nationals would rebuild their bullpen. They were linked to all of the big names, but never pulled the trigger. Instead, they stuck with their internal options and, right before the opener, Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. As I mentioned last week, I was a little disappointed, as I had invested in Shawn Kelley in a few leagues. Treinen hasn’t been great to start the year, allowing runs in two of his four outings, and blowing one save. Luckily for him, neither Kelley nor Koda Glover have been all that great, either. The former allowed a home run in each of his first two outings, while the latter allowed a run in just one of his three outings—but also doesn’t have a strikeout yet. I still have Kelley as the second in line here, but I’m not super-confident about it. In one league in which I own Kelley, I also grabbed Glover. I’ll keep both until I have a better feel for the situation, although it’s also a league in which I am mostly punting saves for the start of the season.

How long can Fernando Rodney hang on?

Since baseball started in the 1800s, Fernando Rodney has been hanging around as a closer who is always on the verge of losing his job. This year, that dance is happening in Arizona. On the plus side, he has converted two saves without blowing one. With that being said, he has allowed runs in two of his three outings, although in one outing the only run he allowed was unearned. Still, he’s an erratic presence in the ninth inning and it’s always easy to envision him losing his job. The issue in Arizona is that there is no clear replacement. I have Tom Wilhelmsen in the second spot for now, although I don’t foresee him being the one to eventually take over for the Diamondbacks. Jake Barrett is on the disabled list right now, but he’s expected back soon and I’d think he’ll be the primary set-up guy at that point. There’s also Archie Bradley, who’s been phenomenal in his new role as a reliever. He’s probably my favorite on this roster for fantasy purposes, but I’m not so sure he’ll get many saves. He can still fill a multi-inning role, and as I said above those guys generally aren’t named closers.

Keep an eye on Texas

It seems like Sam Dyson is always flirting with losing his closer job before he goes on a month-long run in which he solidifies his role. The start of his season was rough, as he allowed eight runs over his first two appearances. He did follow that up with a scoreless outing in a non-save opportunity, but it’s worth watching if this is the time he finally unleashes the job. The good news for Dyson is that he’s being pushed by Matt Bush, who also has allowed runs in two of his three outings. Still, Bush has the better stuff and is worth stashing as a speculative add. For those in deep and/or AL-only leagues, it’s also worth keeping an eye on Jeremy Jeffress. I’d be surprised if he got the gig over Bush in the event of an opening, but he does have experience as a closer.

Quick Hits

• The Athletics continue to have a frustrating closer situation, with Santiago Casilla and Sean Doolittle both getting saves, and Ryan Madson getting plenty of work himself. I’d try to avoid this situation if I could, although I still believe Doolittle is the best of this group and when I’m in doubt I just grab the best arm.

• The Angels, meanwhile, said they were going with a committee but it’s abundantly clear that Cam Bedrosian is the team’s closer. Andrew Bailey could get a few more saves than your typical set-up man, but Bedrosian is the man to own. That is, at least until Huston Street returns from the disabled list. He’s throwing again, but there’s no timetable at this point.

• The Tigers called up Joe Jimenez, who was one of the more exciting minor-league relievers in the game. Francisco Rodriguez should be safe, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Jimenez makes his way to the second spot in the pecking order within the next month or two. At that point, he’d just be an injury away from saves.

Roberto Osuna is expected to return to the Blue Jays on Tuesday. Joe Biagini and Jason Grilli each allowed one run in three outings in Osuna’s absence, and I’d expect Grilli to remain next in line for Toronto for now.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

April 10, 2017 6:00 am

The Buyer's Guide: Mark Reynolds

0

Eric Roseberry

He's getting playing time with the Rockies because of Ian Desmond's injury, and some of the early statistical indicators are encouraging, but what should fantasy owners do in the short- and long-term regarding the free-swinging slugger?

Few players had a better opening week than Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds. He has started the season by going 9 for 22 with three home runs, four runs scored, and eight RBIs. His early production caught the eye of fantasy owners who made him one of the most-added players of the past week. Reynolds’ ownership percentage has gone from 4 percent to 41 percent in CBS leagues. He experienced a similar spike in ESPN leagues, where he went from 1.5 percent owned to 41.6 percent owned. Reynolds was the second-most added player on Yahoo this week, checking in behind only Kendall Graveman. In 60 percent of leagues, there’s still a chance you could add Reynolds to your roster. The obvious question is: Should you?

We’ll start by looking at the good and the bad when it comes to Reynolds. At the close of the article, a suggested decision will be offered (buy, sell or hold). Is Reynolds a viable fantasy option moving forward?

The Good

At this point owners, are only dealing with a week’s worth of data. It’s an incredibly small sample, and it’s impossible to spot any long-lasting trends yet. But if there is one positive sign to be optimistic about, it might be Reynolds’ strikeout rate.

For his career, Reynolds has a whiff rate of 31 percent. He’s never finished a season with a strikeout rate under 25 percent. However, he did take a positive step forward a season ago by dropping it to a career low 25.4 percent. So far in 2017, Reynolds’ whiff rate is 16.7 percent. If there was any real change to his approach this past season, it looks like those gains might hold this year.

Reynolds also has shown the ability in the past to provide major power production. From 2009-2012, he had three straight seasons hitting at least 32 homers, and he clubbed a career-high 44 in 2009. It’s been a number of years since he’s looked like that type of player, and it’s safe to assume that, at his current age, his power production will be diminished.

The move to Coors Field seemed to provide Reynolds with a bump in a couple of categories in which he’s typically struggled. His batting average was a career-high .282 a season ago, and his .356 OBP was noticeably higher than his .327 career mark. Somewhat surprisingly, he didn’t see much of a bump in power production at the same time.

The Bad

The obvious issue with Reynolds is that he could quickly be out of a job. Ian Desmond was supposed to be the starting first baseman in Colorado this season, but he’s been out since mid-March with a broken hand. Publicly, the team has said that Desmond should only be out four-to-six weeks, and it sounds as if he’s progressing on schedule. Desmond could be back in Colorado’s lineup in a matter of weeks. Even with a hot start, that would leave Reynolds without a regular spot in the Rockies lineup. The team has much more incentive to play Desmond, who they signed to a 5-year, $70 million deal this offseason, than Reynolds (1-year, $1.5 million). There really is nowhere else they can play Reynolds defensively (unless you wanted to put him in the outfield, but my guess is you don’t).

Reynolds’ track record should also give fantasy owners plenty of caution when assessing this recent outburst. He hasn’t hit 20 home runs since 2014, and the highest batting average he tallied since 2010 was .230 before last season’s .282 mark. PECOTA projected Reynolds to finish this year with a .237 BA and 12 home runs. Those numbers are much closer to what owners should expect than something like .260 with 20+ long balls. At 33 years old, it’s more than likely that Reynolds’ best days are behind him.

Buyer’s Guide: Sell (unless he’s simply a short-term CI option).

The playing-time concerns hang over Reynolds’ hot start like a dark cloud. Unless Desmond experiences a setback, there’s just not any realistic way Reynolds will see regular playing time this season. You might hang on to Reynolds through the first few weeks of Desmond’s return to ensure the injury doesn’t flare up but, beyond that, there’s not much season-long value here.

The one exception to selling on Reynolds is if you simply need a short-term stopgap at a corner-infield spot. He’s going to be the everyday first baseman until Desmond returns, and he’s likely to return more value at this point than any other option readily available in the free-agent pool. If you’re heavily relying on Reynolds for the rest of the season, something could have gone wrong on draft night.

If you own Reynolds, now is the time to try and deal him for whatever you can get. Maybe there’s an owner in your league struggling at 1B/3B. Reynolds could be an attractive option to them given the production they’re looking at after a week’s worth of games. If you can get an owner to bite and return anything of value, now is the time to do it.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

April 7, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 1

14

Mark Barry

Figuring out which SP's to start and which to avoid in the coming week.

Esteemed prognosticator Greg Wellemeyer passed the Planner torch to me for this season, so hopefully we can adequately fill his shoes and provide some quality pitching assistance. Every Friday I’ll be previewing the hurlers scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. Hopefully that will give enough insight to make educated lineup moves and FAAB decisions over the weekend. As the old wrestling promoters would always say “Card Subject to Change," because lots can happen between the time this goes up and first pitch. Unfortunately, weather, injuries, and tinkering managers make this less than a science. I’ll do my best, though, and should new information present itself after this posts, we can go over it in the comments. We’ll crowdsource this as well, so if you hear anything, feel free to comment and we all can offer our takes, hot or not.

Here’s how this works. The pitchers will be split by league using these categories:

Auto-Starts: These are your aces, your studs, and your guiding lights. You paid big to acquire these guys, whether via early draft pick, high-dollar auction bid, or hefty trade package. You’re likely starting these guys anywhere, anytime, on a train, and on a plane. You get it. The list is fluid, and guys can pitch their way into or out of this category. You know all about these guys, so there won’t be as many notes associated with this group.

Starts: As the name suggests, this group won’t quite be as much of a slam-dunk decision, but I’m still recommending you give them the ball. Some will still be easy decisions due to pedigree, but others will be based mostly on favorable matchups that you can take advantage of.

Considers: This category will be populated by guys that are really tweeners, and your league settings and position in the standings will be a key factor in your ultimate decision. These pitchers can range from an SP2 or SP3 with a week of tough matchups to No. 5 starters pitching against bad teams in good ballparks. Your league context will be important here; if you are in a shallow mixed league, you probably have better options, and don’t need to take the risk. However, in an AL- or NL-only league, these guys could provide a nice opportunity to log some innings at a cheaper price.

Sits: These are the guys I want no part of this week. This group will run the gamut from mid-rotation starters with tough matchups (or trips to Coors Field), to just flat-out uninspiring options.

At this point of the season, the majority of these recommendations will be based on a combination of ADP/auction price and PECOTA projections for opponent strength. As the season progresses and we get more concrete data points for how the pitchers themselves and their opponents are actually performing, the formula will gradually evolve into a performance-based projection.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Auto-Start

Jake Arrieta

LAD, PIT

Jacob deGrom

@PHI, @MIA

Two pretty good matchups land deGrom into the Auto-Start category to kick off the season. The Miami lineup poses some threat, but he has the luxury of that outing coming at cavernous Marlins Park.

You probably spent a pretty penny on Arrieta, so you’re starting him. Having said that, his velocity was down four ticks from this time last year in his first start. He was obviously still good, so it might not be a cause for concern, but it’s a situation to keep an eye on.

Start

Matt Moore

ARI, COL

Tanner Roark

STL, PHI

Jeff Samardzija

ARI, COL

Jameson Taillon

CIN, @CHC

Moore cruised early in his first start against the Diamondbacks, but an error and that vaunted third time through the order scrambled a pretty line. The good news: Moore sat above 94 mph, which was his best average velocity since 2012.

We’re approaching the point where Roark is just a solid, if unspectacular, must-start hurler. He’s getting two manageable offenses this week, both at home, where he produced a sparkling 2.72 ERA a season ago.

Hoping for a reemergence of the shining strikeout numbers from The Shark might be a lost cause, but he should still provide solid rates and innings, especially when pitching at AT&T Park.

Taillon went toe-to-toe with Chris Sale in his first start of the season and lived to tell the tale, tossing seven shutout innings. He’ll get a chance to test his mettle again this week against another stacked offense on the North Side (although Wrigley sneakily played really tough last year, especially against left-handed hitters). He’s also pitching against the Reds.

Consider

Jerad Eickhoff

NYM, @WAS

Brandon Finnegan

@PIT, MIL

Matt Harvey

@PHI, @MIA

Adam Wainwright

@WAS, @NYY

Taijuan Walker

@SF, @LAD

This category could very well house some of the week’s strongest starters, however there are very real questions lingering with each one. Eickhoff is good, not great. Finnegan looked awesome in his first start of the season, but it was against the Phillies and he’s had trouble limiting baserunners in his career.

The Curious Case of Matt Harvey. It’s hard to project what exactly he’ll be coming off thoracic outlet surgery, so the smart thing is to probably wait and see. If you can. If you can’t, Godspeed, at least the matchups are decent.

I think projecting the downfall of Adam Wainwright is greatly exaggerated, but he’s got two really tough matchups on the road this week, so let’s be careful out there.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Walker looked dominant in spring and this will be the year he breaks out and reaches his full potential. He’s been a yo-yo performer thus far in his career, which means he’ll probably give up seven runs against the Giants and then fan 10 Dodgers.

Sit

Trevor Cahill

@COL, @ATL

Tyler Chatwood

SD, @SF

Rookie Davis

@PIT, MIL

Wily Peralta

@TOR, @CIN

Antonio Senzatela

SD, @SF

Dan Straily

ATL, NYM

Cahill is a Padre starter going to pitch in Coors Field. No thanks. That said, he could rack up some whiffs in Atlanta.

Even though Chatwood and Senzatela will face a limited Padres lineup before going to San Francisco, neither inspires too much optimism this week.

Davis is still, um, a rookie (I must be the first one to make that joke) and he’s got two tough matchups this week.

Peralta looked great in his season debut against the Rockies, but Toronto and Cincinnati are tough places to pitch, especially for guys that have had homer issues.

I’ll pass on Straily, thanks.

(Editor's note: Rich Hill was listed as a "Start" in an earlier version of this post, but he has been placed on the disabled list because of a blister on his left middle finger. It's all part of the Rich Hill Experience.)

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Auto-Start

Carlos Carrasco

CWS, DET

Chris Sale

@DET, TB

Carrasco hasn’t been great historically against these division foes, but he’s likely one of your aces, so you’re starting him.

Chris Sale is good at pitching. Start him always.

Start

Cole Hamels

@LAA, @SEA

J.A. Happ

MIL, BAL

Ian Kennedy

OAK, LAA

James Paxton

HOU, TEX

Justin Verlander

BOS, @CLE

Hamels is about as consistent as it gets, and he’ll take the ball in two of the better pitcher’s parks in the American League.

At some point, we’re just going to have to come to terms with the fact that Happ is good now. I’m just as uncomfortable with it as you are. I don’t love his matchups this week, but his track record over the past couple of seasons keep him in this category.

I admit, it feels weird to recommend starting Kennedy, but he was under-the-radar pretty good last year, striking out a batter per inning en route to an ERA under 3.70. He’s getting two vulnerable offenses at home, where fly balls go to die.

Everyone’s favorite wide-awake sleeper heading into the season, Paxton did nothing in his first start to temper expectations. He ran his fastball up to 98 mph and got 16 swinging strikes against a tough Astro lineup.

Only matchups against two of the best offenses in the American League keep Verlander from the Auto-Start category.

Consider

Dylan Bundy

@BOS, @TOR

Jharel Cotton

@KC, HOU

Charlie Morton

@SEA, @OAK

Michael Pineda

TB, STL

Eduardo Rodriguez

BAL, TB

Hector Santiago

@DET, CWS


Look, I’m here for the Bundy resurrection. He was filthy in his first start of the season, garnering 17 swinging strikes on his way to eight strikeouts in seven innings against the Jays. That said, he lost a couple ticks off his fastball by the end of the outing, a trend that will need to right itself before we start Bundy with supreme confidence in dangerous AL East environments.

Cotton wasn’t great against the Angels last week, but he still possesses the tools (that changeup though) to get major-league hitters out. He’s young and will probably need time to grow into his role, making him a tough one to advocate for this week.

Morton was throwing 95 mph sinkers in his first start of the season, but he’s still Charlie Morton, so there are inherent risks (mostly injury related) involved. Speaking of inherent risks, Pineda remains one of the more perplexing pitchers in the game. He’ll strike guys out, limit walks, and give up homers. Sometimes he’ll put it together, but sometimes he won’t.

Rodriguez dealt with injuries for much of last season, ultimately earning him a demotion to Triple-A. He was really good in the second half, though, posting a 3.24 ERA while striking out over a batter per inning. He’ll face tough competition this week, but he’s an interesting option for strikeouts and wins.

I’ll admit, I don’t always know what to do with Santiago. He always seems to walk more and strike out fewer than you’d like, but then still somehow posts decent starts. I would imagine this week will be no different.

Sit


Matt Boyd

BOS, @CLE

Alex Cobb

@NYY, @BOS

Garrett Richards

TEX, @KC

James Shields

@CLE, @MIN

Boyd was fine in his 18 starts with the big club last season, but I don’t envy his matchups next week.

Cobb looked pretty good embarking on his first full season back from Tommy John, but matchups at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park aren’t optimal for any pitcher. It’s also very likely that he will be kept on pitch count, putting quality starts in jeopardy.

Eschewing surgery looked to be agreeing with Richards (knocks on wood), as the righty touched 99 mph in his first start of the season. Then he left the game with bicep cramping. Ugh. He says everything is fine and isn’t going for an MRI, but I’d be nervous starting him this week.

Even though Shields looked ok in his start against the Tigers this week, he still walked way too many guys. I’m not sold yet. At this point, I’d have a hard time advocating for Shields in almost any situation. It’s a bummer.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

April 7, 2017 6:00 am

Free Agent Watch: Week 1

1

George Bissell

Indentifying the premium free agents available on the market.

Welcome back! It’s been a few turbulent months, but BP's Free Agent Watch has finally returned. I’m warning you right now: We’re going to have a brand-new, fresh look this season. Unfortunately, I’m still not quite sure what, exactly, that looks like. For now, we’re going to remain in beta mode, just to tweak the look and feel of the piece. However, our focus remains the same: identify the premium free-agent targets left on the market. This column will focus primarily on players relevant to 12- and 15-team mixed leagues. If you’re looking for an even deeper dive into the free-agent pool, my esteemed colleague Scooter Hotz has you covered every Wednesday with his Deep League Report. Finally, don’t forget about The Stash List produced by Greg Wellemeyer every Thursday. It’s your one-stop resource for the top prospects, closers-in-waiting and speculative pickups worthy of a roster spot, regardless of fantasy format.

As a brief reminder, the Free Agent Watch does not include:

  • Speculative closers: Nobody wants to hear me talk about Kyle Barraclough or Hector Neris every week, right? If you’re looking for relief pitchers, consult Matt Collins excellent Closer Report series.
  • Minor-league prospects: I don’t care if Gleyber Torres is hitting .500 in June; we’re not discussing him until he’s actually called up.
  • Major leaguers currently on the disabled list: This isn’t the space to discuss stashing Wilson Ramos.

Without further delay, let’s dive into the Week 1 edition.

12-Team Mixed Leagues (must be available in at least 50 percent of ESPN or Yahoo leagues)

Hitters

Travis Shaw (1B/3B)—Brewers (available in 76 percent of ESPN & 55 percent of Yahoo leagues)

The Mayor of Ding Dong City wasted no time endearing himself to the Milwaukee faithful by taking a sledgehammer to the Rockies pitching staff earlier this week. Not only has he cemented his status as an everyday player, but also it appears that he will be a mainstay in the heart of the order. There are some lingering questions regarding his ability to hit left-handed pitching, which could ultimately sap his playing time, and limit his overall fantasy ceiling. However, he’s relocated to a fantastic home park, and clearly deserves to be owned as a three-category, corner infield option in standard mixed leagues. The incredible depth at the position and playing time concerns were his lone detractors coming into the year, but if he’s going to continue to receive full-time at-bats vs. right-handed pitching, he should remain a viable starter in a mixer.

Chris Owings (SS/OF)—Diamondbacks (available in 88 percent of ESPN & 81 percent of Yahoo leagues)

Given the dearth of stolen-base specialists in the fantasy landscape, it’s somewhat mystifying that the 25-year-old remains this widely available. He’s solidified his status as an everyday player, splitting time between shortstop and the outfield, and was one of just 28 players to steal 20-plus bases last year. There’s very limited power potential, but the multi-position versatility and speed make him a legitimate mixed league asset moving forward.

Starting Pitchers

Francisco Liriano—Blue Jays (available in 65 percent of ESPN & 40 percent of Yahoo leagues)

The 33-year-old southpaw opens the 2017 campaign with a tasty matchup against the left-handed heavy Tampa Bay Rays lineup. I’ve spilled plenty of ink on the electronic pages of BP touting Liriano as a viable back-end fantasy starter this offseason. You shouldn’t need me to sell you on him at this point. If for some reason he’s available, you know what to do.

Dylan Bundy—Orioles (available in 70 percent of ESPN & 61 percent of Yahoo leagues)

The 24-year-old right-hander spun seven sterling innings against Toronto, allowing just one run on four hits with eight strikeouts in his 2017 debut. His stuff looked incredible, especially the curveball.

The raw physical talent has never been in question with Bundy. We saw flashes of brilliance a year ago. The major concerns in his profile center more on his long-term health and immediate workload. I’d be hesitant to confidently project anything more than 150 innings, but he needs to be owned in fantasy leagues moving forward. He takes the ball again Tuesday night in Fenway Park. It’s another brutal matchup, but given the way he’s pitching, it might not be a bad idea to roll the dice.

15-Team Mixed Leagues (must be available in at least 80 percent of ESPN or Yahoo leagues)

Hitters

Delino DeShields (OF)—Rangers (available in 94 percent of ESPN & 82 percent of Yahoo leagues)

I’m not entirely sold on DeShields garnering enough regular playing time in left field (barring injury) to make a substantial fantasy impact this season. The constant presence of Jurickson Profar, Ryan Rua (and potentially Joey Gallo) has turned the Rangers left-field situation into a legitimate quagmire moving forward. To DeShields' credit, he did put together an impressive performance in spring training, can fill-in at center field, and has the raw talent necessary to make an impact in the stolen-base department when if the opportunity presents itself. The 24-year-old is still out there in the vast majority of leagues and has enough stolen base upside (25 steals in 121 games in 2015) to warrant a roster spot for the immediate future.

Andrew Toles (OF)—Dodgers (available in 96 percent of ESPN & Yahoo leagues)

In one of the more surprising developments of the spring, Toles not only won the starting job in left field, but he also ascended to the leadoff spot versus right-handed pitching for Los Angeles. This could be a temporary situation, but the 24-year-old slashed an impressive .326/.382/.511 in 102 plate appearances against righties last year. If Toles sticks permanently atop the Dodgers lineup, he could be in line to score 80-plus runs this season. The time to invest is right now, especially in leagues that allow for daily lineup changes.

David Freese (3B)—Pirates (available in 94 percent of ESPN & 97 percent of Yahoo leagues)

The hot corner is raging with talent right now, but that shouldn’t deter fantasy owners in deeper formats from plucking Freese out of the free-agent pool. With Jung-Ho Kang out of the picture for the immediate future, the 33-year-old veteran should be in line for everyday at-bats in the Steel City, making him a viable option in deeper mixed leagues. Freese doesn’t possess tantalizing fantasy upside, but there is legitimate value in his consistency and guaranteed playing time.

Pitchers

Kendall Graveman—Athletics (available in 83 percent of ESPN & 70 percent of Yahoo leagues)

Eighty-seven. That’s how many sinkers Graveman dialed up in his 2017 debut. It’s a revamped approach that takes a page straight out of the Matt Shoemaker or Rich Hill playbook. Why not just throw your best pitch as often as possible? Clearly, it worked for the 26-year-old right-hander, who limited the Angels to just a pair of runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out seven.

My initial reaction to the recent velocity bump and pronounced change in pitch selection was to be dismissive on Twitter. That might end up being a mistake. The limited-strikeout upside (5.6 K/9 in 312 1/3 career innings) puts a dent in Graveman’s tangible fantasy upside, but if this revamped approach continues to work, he’s going to be a viable streamer in deeper mixed leagues in select matchups. I’d be hesitant to throw him out there this weekend on the road in Texas (even in deeper formats) but I’m willing to at least keep Graveman on the fantasy radar moving forward. He’s one to monitor.

Charlie Morton—Astros (available in 93 percent of ESPN & 91 percent of Yahoo leagues)

The 33-year-old veteran spun six solid innings in his Astros debut, allowing just two runs and five hits with four strikeouts and a pair of walks. The only blemish in an otherwise-stellar outing came when he hung a breaking ball to Jean Segura, who muscled it out to the opposite field for a two-run homer in the fifth inning.

It’s been a minute since Morton, who made just four starts a season ago before a going down for the year with a torn hamstring, has had a shred of fantasy relevance. The velocity uptick on his sinker, which began with a 2-mph jump during his brief Philadelphia stint, is what makes Morton an intriguing fantasy pickup.

He is never going to strike out more than a batter per inning, which limits the potential fantasy ceiling, but if he can throw 160 innings (armed with a 96-mph sinker) in front of Houston’s tremendous defense, he’s going to be extremely valuable in deeper mixed leagues this year.

Additional Pitchers To Consider: Chris Devenski, Alex Wood, Brandon Finnegan, Tyler Anderson, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Shelby Miller, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson. Literally anyone else instead of Clayton Richard...

The “Deep League”/AL & NL-only Specials Of The Week (must be available in 95 percent of ESPN or Yahoo leagues)

Yandy Diaz (3B)—Indians (available in 97 percent of ESPN & Yahoo leagues)

There’s a strong possibility that he’s been scooped up in the vast majority of AL-only formats already. If he’s still available, the 25-year-old, who hit .325/.399/.461 with seven home runs and five steals in 95 games at Triple-A last season, is worth taking a flyer on until Jason Kipnis returns from injury in mid-May. Diaz is extremely unlikely to provide enough power or speed to morph into a five-category contributor (or hold down an everyday role after Memorial Day) but he makes a ton of contact and should provide a decent boost in batting average.

Adam Frazier (OF)—Pirates (available in 98 percent of ESPN & Yahoo leagues)

There’s not a ton to get excited about from a fantasy perspective with Frazier. However, he hit for average at every rung on the minor-league ladder (career .299 average over 350 games) and more than held his own (.301/.356/.411 in 160 plate appearances) during a brief stint in Pittsburgh last season. Given that the 25-year-old led off against reigning AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello in the Pirates season opener, it stands to reason that he’s going to occupy that spot versus right-handed pitching moving forward. Frazier, who was caught stealing an International League-leading 15 times in 2016, isn’t a very efficient base-stealer. That hasn’t deterred him from running against major-league competition. Given his propensity to put the ball in play and newfound spot atop the lineup, he should be squarely on the fantasy radar now (even in deeper mixed leagues.)

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

April 6, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The PFM and The Model Portfolio

3

Mike Gianella

Applying PFM valuations to the My Model Portfolio exercise and testing the results against mixed Tout Wars teams.

Every March, at least a few readers ask me “Why don’t you just use the PFM instead of your bids, Mike?”

Over the years, I have answered this question a few different ways. But today I thought I’d take a different approach. Inspired by a reader question last month, I decided to take the Player Forecast Manager's valuations for a 15-team mixed league and apply them to Baseball Prospectus’ My Model Portfolio exercise from March. As a reminder, this is what our authors did in that series.

In the “My Model Portfolio” series, the fantasy staff will create its own team within a $260 auction budget using Mike Gianella’s latest mixed-league Bid Limits for 2017. The scoring is 5x5 standard roto. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, 5 OF, 2 UTIL, and 9 P.

The Process
In this case, the process is simple. I took my mixed-league bids, took the valuations the PFM spit out for a 15-team league, and posted the results below. I started by using the 23 players who had the biggest differential between the PFM valuations and my bid limits, and kept adding players with less of a differential by position until I reached $260 in salary. As a reminder, every “winning” bid below equals my published bid limits plus one. One-dollar players on my team are those who were not listed in my bid limits.

The only change I made to this exercise is that I added a second catcher to the team and removed the second utility player, since my bids are designed to mirror the Tout Wars mixed-auction format. At the end of the season, I want to test this team not against the model portfolio teams but rather the mixed Tout Wars teams.

The Offense

Position

Player

Bid

PFM $

C

Gary Sanchez

25

$31.21

C

Brian McCann

10

$20.22

1B

Carlos Santana

15

$22.15

2B

Josh Harrison

5

$14.25

3B

Aledmys Diaz

7

$15.26

SS

Jose Reyes

6

$14.63

CI

Tommy Joseph

9

$15.43

MI

Devon Travis

3

$11.81

OF

Billy Hamilton

22

$28.54

OF

Andrew McCutchen

22

$28.78

OF

A.J. Pollock

19

$25.79

OF

Adam Jones

15

$27.21

OF

Kole Calhoun

8

$14.75

UT

Jacoby Ellsbury

8

$15.06

Total

174

$285.09


The PFM is far more conservative on the top players than I am, so there are no Mike Trouts on this squad. This goes against what Bret Sayre typically does in Tout Wars mixed, and the approach I tend to take in shallower auctions. Sanchez at $25 is the anchor for the team, but the PFM also is betting on a comeback from McCutchen and for Hamilton to finally achieve his potential.

This is a fairly risk-averse team. Where my bid limits are somewhat cautious with Joseph and Travis, the PFM believes that they’ll be solid contributors. Calhoun and Ellsbury are not the most exciting players, but the PFM thinks that they will at least contribute at the levels they did over the last few years.

The Pitching

Player

Bid

PFM $

Clayton Kershaw

42

$49.54

Dallas Keuchel

10

$17.15

John Lackey

10

$15.61

Jeff Samardzija

10

$15.79

Michael Pineda

6

$12.73

Michael Shoemaker

4

$9.48

Wei-Yin Chen

2

$9.69

Matt Andriese

1

$6.40

Mike Leake

1

$7.63

Total

86

$144.02

You can’t argue against purchasing Clayton Kershaw. While my bid limit sits at $42, it is admittedly a compromise with at least three separate goals: trying to spread money across a pitching staff, building in some risk because he is a pitcher, and also giving deference to Clayton Kershaw. I have no qualms with spending $50 or more on him in a mixed format.

The PFM spits out mostly veterans, which isn’t surprising. A former AL Cy Young winner, a reliable-yet-aging workhorse, and a solid arm who had one poor year with the White Sox back up Kershaw at $10 apiece. This is a very strong base for a pitching staff. With a pitching staff like this, my strategy typically would be to bottom out with one dollar starters and spend $77 on the entire staff.

The Prediction

This is the section of the model portfolio where our staff came up with predictions for their teams. For a league that doesn’t play out, going with a balanced team is a solid approach. Something the PFM cannot do that a human can is look for one-dollar fliers that the PFM puts below replacement level. Someone is going to get this year’s Aledmys Diaz—we just don’t know who that is yet.

I will revisit this team at the end of the regular season. Like any “test” of the PFM, it is far from perfect, but this is the goal of the PFM: to build a hypothetical team that is a successful fantasy franchise.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

April 6, 2017 6:00 am

The Stash List: 2017 First Edition

30

Greg Wellemeyer

Fantasy prospects who were hiding in plain sight all along!

Half-a-week’s worth of major-league games are behind us. What better time to speculate wildly about the arrival of the game’s top prospects, to parse medical reports (and teams’ misdirection regarding those reports), and to hypothesize irresponsibly about who is on the brink of a closing gig. It’s the return of the Stash List!

In case you’re not familiar from years past, here are the four types of players eligible for inclusion:

  • Minor leaguers: anyone currently in the minors.
  • Major leaguers on the DL: anyone currently on the disabled list who is owned in fewer than 25 percent of ESPN leagues. The restriction is there to exclude obvious players like Steven Matz.
  • Closers-in-waiting: any reliever who is not actively getting saves and is owned in fewer than 25 percent of ESPN leagues. This excludes pitchers who are in committees, and setup men who are widely owned, such as Nate Jones for example.
  • Others-in-waiting: any other player who is not currently active in the role that would net him the most fantasy value. This includes pitchers who are in line for a rotation spot but are not currently there, and position players who are not receiving regular playing time. This excludes players like Javy Baez who would surely benefit from a full-time role, but who already receive enough playing time to be relevant in all leagues.

And with that out of the way, let’s get on with the list:

1. Julio Urias (LHP)—Los Angeles Dodgers

The prevailing line of thought a few weeks ago was that Urias would head to extended spring training when camp broke. Instead, the Dodgers optioned him to High-A. He isn’t expected to pitch there and will instead open his season at Triple-A Oklahoma City at a time to be determined. Urias missed a couple of weeks in mid-March with strep throat and hasn’t yet thrown three innings in an outing. Expect him to come down with strep throat another time or two in the coming weeks as he attempts to accomplish the dual goals of stretching out away from the majors and saving his arm for October 2021.

2. Yoan Moncada (2B)—Chicago White Sox

The top fantasy prospect in the game will start at Triple-A Charlotte, and Tyler Saladino isn’t going to stand in his way for long. I do have concerns about Moncada’s swing-and-miss denting his near-term value, especially given his lack of experience at the upper levels. His game-changing speed and power on contact balance that risk with a potentially substantial reward.

3. Jorge Soler (OF)—Kansas City Royals

Soler is eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list on April 9, but will require more time than that since he hasn’t swung a bat since Feb. 26. Given his injury history and the fact that oblique injuries can linger and/or recur, it’s fair to be concerned. Soler will be the Royals’ everyday right fielder as soon as he’s ready to come back. At just 25 years old, he still has a tremendous amount of untapped potential and the Royals are hoping regular playing time will draw it out.

4. Michael Conforto (OF)—New York Mets

Thanks to a .300/.323/.500 triple-slash this spring and a Juan Lagares injury, Conforto made the Mets’ Opening Day roster, even if nobody told the Citi Field PA guy. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere for him to play, which is a bit of a problem in a game where scoring is based on accumulation of statistics.

5. Collin McHugh (RHP)—Houston Astros

Tools are fun and all, but responsible stashing includes taking value wherever your league mates give it to you. McHugh’s ERA and WHIP have worsened in both of the two years since his out-of-nowhere 2014 breakout, which I suppose is driving his way-too-low 16 percent ownership rate. He’ll strike out a shade less than one batter per inning and should win double digits. That’s back-end value even if the ratios don’t correct, and I think they will. McHugh is slated to pitch Opening Day in Triple-A as he works his way back from dead arm this spring. That his arm perished is no surprise considering his extraordinary breaking ball usage.

6. Jose Berrios (RHP)—Minnesota Twins

Berrios was atrocious in the big leagues last season, yes. You don’t hear much about the 2.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 10.1 strikeouts per nine he tallied in 111.1 Triple-A innings, though. Maybe Berrios’ 2016 season is evidence that demonstrates the gulf between Triple-A and the majors, or maybe we just shouldn’t weight a 58.1 inning sample so heavily. If he can correct the rumored pitch tipping and throw a first pitch strike more often than 55.2 percent of the time – 29th lowest among 328 pitchers that threw at least 50 innings – I like his chances at a useful fantasy season. Berrios didn’t pitch much this spring because he represented Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him in Minnesota as soon as he can get in the requisite reps in Rochester.

7. Reynaldo Lopez (RHP)—Chicago White Sox

8. Lucas Giolito (RHP)—Chicago White Sox

I still like Giolito more as a long-term option because of the upside. This ordering reflects my opinion that Reynaldo will be up first in 2017. At 23 years old, Lopez is hardly a finished product, but we have a better idea of what he can be since his stuff is in tact and his development is forward-moving. Giolito, on the other hand, enters a hugely important developmental year seeking to settle on some consistent mechanics and recover fastball velocity that went missing last season. The White Sox have no incentive whatsoever to rush Giolito through that process, or to make him attempt it against major-league hitters.

9. Martin Prado (3B)—Miami Marlins

Prado was the 18th-most valuable third baseman in 2016 according to ESPN’s player rater. If he hits in the top third of a top-heavy Marlins offense again, the counting stats should be there to complement his usually excellent batting average. Prado currently is on the 10-day disabled list but has been cleared to resume baseball activities.

10. Wilson Ramos (C)—Tampa Bay Rays

11. Tom Murphy (C)—Colorado Rockies

12. Devin Mesoraco (C)—Cincinnati Reds

Unless you own one of a small handful of options, you should be buying lottery tickets at the catcher position. Can I interest you in one that’s disabled? Ramos hit the 60-day version and won’t return until June at the earliest. It’s been three weeks since Murphy fractured his forearm on Anthony Rizzo’s bat. The recovery period was quoted as 4-6 weeks at the time, so it shouldn’t be too long before he’s back on the field. How often is an open question, given the Rockies’ apparent affinity for Tony Wolters. Mesoraco will begin 2017 in Double-A and Reds manager Bryan Price suggested he’d have to catch back-to-back nine-inning games before being activated. I acknowledge that these are all dubious investments for both injury and performance-related reasons, but catcher is such a wasteland that all three are worth an aggressive placement on this list.

13. Austin Meadows (OF)—Pittsburgh Pirates

Have you heard that the Pirates tried to trade Andrew McCutchen this offseason and might attempt to do so again depending on how he and the team play? If and when that happens, Meadows will be an immediate five-category contributor. He impressed this spring, hitting .333/.423/.556 in an extended look while all three of the Pirates’ starting outfielders played in the WBC.

14. Jose De Leon (RHP)—Tampa Bay Rays

De Leon will open on the minor-league disabled list with “forearm muscle discomfort,” whatever that is. Non-medically speaking, it is an issue for a pitcher who hasn’t yet thrown 120 innings in any of his three full professional seasons. The Rays, as usual, have incredible starting depth in the major leagues and upper levels of the minors. De Leon is at risk of moving down or off this list if he doesn’t return to action quickly, and in full form.

15. Blake Swihart (C)—Boston Red Sox

It wouldn’t be real Stash List without a Blake Swihart appearance.

16. Bradley Zimmer (OF)—Cleveland Indians

Man alive I’m ready for the minor league season to begin so I can begin quoting you small-sample minor-league stats instead of small-sample spring-training stats. Alas, it hasn’t, so allow me to tell you that Zimmer raked to the tune of a .358/.424/.660 line with three bombs and four steals this spring. More importantly, he only struck out 13 times in 58 plate appearances, a potential sign of progress after he struck out 171 times in 130 Double-A and Triple-A games a season ago. If Zimmer can carry the spring trend into the regular season, he’ll be up before long. Even with a healthy Michael Brantley, the Indians are giving outfield at-bats to the likes of Abraham Almonte and Austin Jackson.

17. A.J. Reed (1B)—Houston Astros

18. Joey Gallo (3B)—Texas Rangers

19. Pedro Alvarez (1B)—Baltimore Orioles

20. Dan Vogelbach (1B)—Seattle Mariners

Reed is the Berrios of hitters, a highly regarded prospect whose disastrous major league stint in 2016 overshadowed a dominant Triple-A performance. I like him the best of this group of mashers by a comfortable margin, but there’s nowhere for him to play in Houston presently. A five-year, $50-million contract says that Gurriel gets a long leash, though I’m not a believer in the 33-year-old Cuban as a first-division regular. Gallo is up with the big club while Adrian Beltre’s calf heals. He gave us the full Gallo in the season’s first two games, walking once, striking out four times, and hitting a baseball approximately 794 feet. That Pedro Alvarez had to take a minor-league deal on a team with, like, seven Pedro Alvarezes already on the roster seemed like a market overcorrection to me. The path to playing time is impossibly cloudy. His ability to destroy righties is not. I like players with strange dimensions as much as the next guy, and I like prospects who are proximate to the bigs. That’s about all I’ll say about Vogelbach, lest I anger the entire rest of the fantasy staff.

21. Archie Bradley (RHP)—Arizona Diamondbacks

Hooooo boy, I know we’re not supposed to overreact to one appearance, but did you see Bradley in relief on Tuesday night? That beard is glorious. Oh, and the stuff was too. Seven of the 10 outs Bradley recorded were by way of strikeout, and he had his heater up to 99. The bullpen is probably the right place for him, but don’t count him out as a starter just yet.

22. J.P. Crawford (SS)—Philadelphia Phillies

I’m not convinced that Crawford has an impactful fantasy profile. I am convinced that Freddy Galvis isn’t going to keep us from finding out before the summer heat settles in.

23. JaCoby Jones (OF)—Detroit Tigers

24. Aaron Altherr (OF)—Philadelphia Phillies

I like both of Jones and Altherr as power-speed options with potential for expanded roles in the near future. Jones’ path is clearer, as all he has to do is outperform Tyler Collins and Mikie Mahtook to earn the bulk of the center field reps going forward. Altherr, whose work with Matt Stairs led to a big spring, has a tougher road. He’ll have to displace one of Howie Kendrick or Michael Saunders, well-paid veterans brought in this winter. Ultimately, it makes far more sense for a rebuilding Philly club to see what they have in the younger, controllable Altherr. It just might take some patience while they arrive at that conclusion.

25. Roman Quinn (OF)—Philadelphia Phillies

If it’s difficult to find time for a guy already on the major-league roster, it’s even harder to figure how Quinn gets enough at-bats to matter. He has impact speed if a spot opens up. Until then, he’ll be in Triple-A trying not to get hurt.

Honorable Mention: Jorge Alfaro, Tyler Beede, Cody Bellinger, Carter Capps, Matt Duffy, Delino DeShields, Dilson Herrera, Ketel Marte, Francis Martes, Jesse Winker

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

April 6, 2017 6:00 am

TDGX Transactions: First & Second FAAB plus first big trade

1

J.J. Jansons

Dynasty Guru Experts get deep into roto.

For those not already acquainted with The Dynasty Guru Experts League, it is a 20-team (40-man roster) 5x5 rotisserie dynasty league founded by BP managing editor Bret Sayre in 2014. It is intended to satisfy the deep league needs of all, right down to just the right amount of Alexi Amarista. We roster 23 starters: C/1B/2B/3B/SS/MI/CI, along with two additional utility hitters, five outfielders and nine pitchers. We also roster seven bench slots and have 10 spots designated for minor leaguers, although a quick scan of the league finds that most teams utilize a majority of their bench spots for additional prospects. That means that there are an additional 100-120 prospects that are rostered above the 200 spots reserved for them.

These write-ups are intended to pair nicely with Mike Gianella’s Expert FAAB Reviews, and we will look at each week’s TDGX free-agent acquisitions, as well as include thoughts on every major trade that occurs during the season. The yearly budget for free agent transactions is $100, with $0 bids allowed for major leaguers and prospects.

This installment covers the first two FAAB periods and any trades that have taken place since the draft. If you missed the recap from this year’s amateur draft, you can check that out here.

Trade

Craig Goldstein (BP/TDG) trades OF Andrew McCutchen PIT and SS Kevin Maitan ATL to J.J. Jansons (BP/TDG) for SP Stephen Strasburg WAS, SS Chris Owings ARI and OF Melvin Upton Jr. TOR.

Goldstein’s thoughts:

“There's a lot of risk that I'm taking on here, but Strasburg can lead a fantasy rotation in a league as deep as TDGX, even with the requisite stint on the DL for a sore elbow/shoulder at some point. Owings and Upton might not seem inspired but I'm in dire need of speed and in something of a competitive year with mainstays such as Nelson Cruz, Yoenis Cespedes, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lucroy, and Edwin Encarnacion. I didn't have the luxury to wait on Maitan to mature, though there's a good chance I would have made a bigger profit off the pick a year from now. I like to churn my prospects, and I still have plenty of them, and while losing Cutch hurts in the present, I had 7 startable outfielders as is, in a league that allots 5 outfield spots, so it was dealing from a strength, and Upton provides speed insurance in case Leonys Martin tanks. Strasburg gets added to a rotation that includes Archer, Duffy, Nova, and Eduardo Rodriguez, which should have the upside to compete and the downside to sink me. It should be a fun season.”

Jansons’ thoughts:

“Without question, this is the biggest deal that I’ve made since joining the league at the start of last season. I ultimately felt that a staff headlined by Madison Bumgarner, Carlos Martinez, and Joe Ross, and one that also has depth pieces like Tanner Roark, Charlie Morton, and Patrick Corbin (among others) could withstand the loss of Strasburg--who truth be told I have been interested in moving since the beginning of last season due to his obvious health concerns. In this league, we start five outfielders and two utility bats, and I felt that I needed to add another bat, preferably an outfielder, and am happy to add a (hopefully) motivated Cutch to the fold. Entering his age-30 season, I’m not expecting MVP-candidate Andrew McCutchen to roll through the door anytime soon, but I do think he’ll get a bit of a BABIP bounce-back (his .297 mark was his lowest since 2011) this season, and if he hits for better than a .260 AVG and adds 20 or more home runs with 10 or more steals, that works just fine for me. My other outfielders are Carlos Gomez, Michael Conforto, Adam Duvall, Carlos Beltran and Brandon Moss, so I think you can see why I wanted to add another outfielder.

As for Kevin Maitan, I have him as No. 30 overall among fantasy prospects on my personal list, and I firmly believe he will be a top-10 fantasy prospect by the end of the season. I strongly disagree with the perception that he is “forever away” as I’ve seen referenced by some this winter. He turned 17 in February, and the Braves are an organization that started Jason Heyward in the majors from day one of his age-20 season, promoted Ozzie Albies to Triple-A last season in his age-19 season, and is currently slated to begin Kolby Allard and Mike Soroka at Double-A in their age-19 seasons in 2017. Maitan, by most, if not all, accounts, is an advanced (if not generational) talent and I fully expect him to rise quickly through the Atlanta system and see the majors by his age-19 or age-20 season. I do very much like Chris Owings, but I couldn’t let him stand in the way of acquiring Maitan’s upside.”

Week 1 FAAB Transactions

Jeff Zimmermann, FanGraphs - Sal Romano SP | CIN - Won at $6

Ben Carsley, BP - David Freese 3B | PIT - Won at $6

“The only first base-eligible MLBer on my entire team was Yonder Alonso, so that alone is enough to explain this move. Plus, now that Jung-Ho Kang looks unlikely to play this season, Freese should be in for more at-bats. He’s boring, but in a 20-team league he should be owned.”

Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser MLB.com - Phil Bickford SP | MIL - Won at $4

Scott White, CBS Sports - Tony Wolters C | COL - Won at $4

“Stunned to pick up a member of the Rockies starting lineup this way. I already have two quality catchers, but I feel like Wolters could be J.T. Realmuto-like in that park.”

Scott White, CBS Sports - Jabari Blash RF | SD - Won at $3

“He doesn't exactly qualify as a prospect, but I have to fill my minor-league spots somehow. A player competing for the spring training home run crown seems like a fine choice.”

The #Blashtoff movement is back for another season.

Mike Rosenbaum, MLBPipeline - Drew Robinson SS | TEX - Won at $2

Greg Wellemeyer, BP/TDG - Jordan Montgomery SP | NYY - Won at $2

“Montgomery had an awfully impressive spring and is still in the running for the last spot in the Yankee’s rotation. A strike-throwing SEC product with a strong minor league performance record is my kind of undervalued prospect. He will get a chance in the Bronx at some point in 2017, even if it’s not right away.”

James Anderson, Rotowire - Mitchell White SP | LAD - Won at $2

Scott White, CBS Sports - Patrick Weigel SP | ATL - Won at $1

“Hey, a prospect who went undrafted! Weigel is overlooked in the Braves' embarrassment of young pitchers, but his numbers between two stops last year were impressive.”

Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld - Jhoulys Chacin SP | SD - Won at $1

Scott White, CBS Sports - Jacob Nottingham C | MIL - Won at $0

Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld - Adeiny Hechavarria SS | MIA - Won at $0

Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com - Pedro Gonzalez CF | COL - Won at $0

Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com - Tyler Nevin 3B | COL - Won at $0

With a couple vacant roster spots I'll see if a pair of Rockies bats can get off to hot starts. I don't expect them to last on my roster.”

Luke Chatelain, TDG - Jacob Nix SP | SD - Won at $0

Scott White, CBS Sports - Teoscar Hernandez LF | HOU - Won at $0

Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld - Ricky Nolasco SP | LAA - Won at $0

Greg Wellemeyer, BP/TDG - Kyle Freeland SP | COL - Won at $0

James Anderson, Rotowire - Marcos Diplan SP | MIL - Won at $0

Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser MLB.com - Domingo Leyba SS | ARI - Won at $0

J.P. Breen, BP - Felipe Rivero RP | PIT - Won at $0

Week 2 FAAB Transactions

James Anderson, Rotowire - Yandy Diaz, 3B | CLE Won at: $16

With Pedro Alvarez and Trayce Thompson starting the year in the minors and Luis Valbuena on the DL, I am not utilizing either UTIL spot, so the fact that Diaz has a shot to get everyday at-bats in the short term was appealing. I also think he has the type of plate skills to have success as a rookie, despite being a bit older than the typical prospect. I'm not expecting much power or speed, but his OBP skills could lead to some runs and RBI with the potential for a solid batting average, which made him unique among the available hitters.”

James Anderson, Rotowire - Jason Grilli, RP | TOR Won at: $13

Saves become available in this league far less frequently than in a standard 15-teamer, so the chance to bid on a guy who will have a chance, especially early in the season, is unique. I was pretty aggressive about bidding on Jeanmar Gomez last year, and not only did that work out, but there were not many other opportunities to buy saves with FAAB after Gomez.”

Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball - Jesus Aguilar, 1B | MIL Won at: $7

Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts - Robbie Grossman, LF | MIN Won at: $5

Ralph Lifshitz, Razzball - Jacob May, CF | CHW Won at: $5

Craig Goldstein, BP/TDG - Rookie Davis, SP | CIN Won at: $3

Scott White, CBS Sports, Mark Reynolds, 1B COL Won at: $3

Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts - Justin Smoak, 1B | TOR Won at: $3

J.J. Jansons, BP/TDG - Arismendy Alcantara, CF | CIN Won at: $2

"We all have players that we just can’t quit, and for me, Alcantara is one of them. He made the Reds opening day roster and I expect him to move around the diamond quite a bit while hopefully picking up some cheap steals. For reasons that remain unclear to me, he never really got a chance in Oakland, but ‘Mendy’s skill set is much better suited for the National League, and he could work his way into a bigger role once Zack Cosart is inevitably dealt or an injury occurs to a starter."

Bret Sayre, TDG - Alexi Amarista 2B | COL Won at: $2

This is the time of the year that Bret picks up a Rockies bench player that will both play more than people expect, and post better numbers while doing so. It’s a TDGX tradition unlike any other. Amarista is a Bud Black favorite, and stole nine bases in just 150 plate appearances in 2016 with the Padres, and I’d take the over on him toppling both marks in 2017 with the Rockies.

Nick Doran, TDG & Rotoworld - Trevor Cahill, RP | SD Won at: $2

D.J. Short, Rotoworld - Daniel Hudson, RP | PIT Won at: $1

BaseballHQ, Tim Beckham, SS | TB Won at $1

Jeff Zimmermann, FanGraphs - Ronald Torreyes, 3B | NYY Won at: $1

James Anderson, Rotowire - Ryan Pressly, RP | MIN Won at: $1

Brandon Kintzler is on the short list of worst closers in baseball, so picking up his likely replacement option who also happens to touch 99 mph is pretty self-explanatory.”

Ralph Lifshitz, Razzballl - Luke Gregerson, RP | HOU Won at: $1

Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts - Ryan Rua, LF | TEX Won at: $1

Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts - Mark Canha, 1B | OAK Won at: $1

Ben Carsley, BP - Matt Davidson, DH | CHW Won at: $0

Greg Wellemeyer, BP/TDG - Scott Feldman, RP | CIN Won at: $0

Tom Trudeau/Craig Glaser, MLB.com - Nick Tropeano, SP | LAA Won at: $0

Scott White, CBS - Rio Ruiz, 3B | ATL Won at: $0

J.J. Jansons, BP/TDG - Jace Peterson, 2B | ATL Won at: $0

The Braves bench is absolutely awful, and I expect Peterson to receive 300-400 plate appearances this season by default, and gain eligibility at a number of positions. Hopefully he can recreate the .758 OPS that he compiled in the first half of last season and not the .685 OPS of the second half.

Greg Wellemeyer, BP/TDG - Hector Santiago, SP | MIN Won at: $0

J.P. Breen, BP - Tyler Stephenson, C | CIN Won at: $0

Scott White, CBS Sports - Gavin Cecchini, SS | NYM Won at: $0

J.J. Jansons, BP/TDG - Derek Norris, C | TB Won at: $0

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

April 5, 2017 1:22 pm

Fantasy Freestyle: Fixing What Broke in Francisco Liriano

0

Alex Chamberlain

Liriano went from a top-30 fantasy starter to written off after a rough 2016 season. Are his results headed for a rebound?

The fantasy community was quick to write off Francisco Liriano as being cooked. It's as if the 500-plus innings of 3.26 ERA he posted from 2013-2015 were all a fluke—or that they didn't happen at all. It's also as if not a lot changed in 2016 when hitters punished him, hitting home runs on nearly 19 percent of fly balls. With everything we know about what pitchers can and can't control on the mound, it's a mystery to me why Liriano went from a top-30 arm to one that's barely top-75. Still, I'll humor the notion that there's something to fix. Perhaps there is. I don't even know yet. We're going on this journey together.

It's pretty easy to spot what went wrong in the numbers. After allowing only 16 home runs with his sinker during his three almost-elite seasons, Liriano gifted 14 homers using the pitch in 2016. It never was a particularly safe pitch (it allowed a .297/.396/.429 triple-slash during those aforementioned almost-elite seasons), but the damage ballooned out of control in 2016 to the tune of a .301/.419/.502 triple-slash. Both are bad, to be clear, but wow, that's bad. Also: The outcomes didn't fundamentally change outside the isolated power allowed.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

<< Previous Column Entries Next Column Entries >>