A weak position gets weaker, and a bleak outlook gets bleaker.
We, at Baseball Prospectus, have been talking about catchers for a while now (three days and change to be exact, depending on when you are reading this) and the party continues to rage on. Yet before we rage, we shall calibrate—since rankings aren’t useful without knowing what you’re reading. The list you are about to read here presupposes a 16-team standard (read: 5x5 roto) dynasty format, in which there are no contracts/salaries, players can be kept forever, and owners have minor-league farm systems in which to hoard prospects. So feel free to adjust this as necessary for your individual league, whether it’s moving non-elite prospects without 2016 ETAs down if you don’t have separate farm teams or moving lower-risk, lower-reward players up in deeper mixed or -only formats. And if this list doesn't go deep enough for you (god bless your soul), Wilson Karaman has you covered with his Ocean's Floor column as well. We leave no stone unturned here.
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It may seem crazy, but there might be an argument to be made for a catcher--yes, a catcher!--deserving Cy Young votes.
It’s been an interesting year in baseball and in general (and it’s not over!). Maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but I’m personally looking forward to seeing what happens in the voting in November. The Cy Young voting. (Is there another vote thing going on?)
Looking back on three targets from the pre-season. Wistfully.
One of our annual traditions I most look forward to here at BP is the Target/Avoid series we run as part of our pre-season positional coverage, as it allows us to get a little more in-depth with player recommendations and strategic examples that we feel particularly passionate about. The way the cards were dealt this year I ended up mildly unbalanced in my assignments, so we’ll start today with a look back at my “target” selections and then work our way through the “avoid” guys next week.
No, really: Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner are the Mike Trout, the Steph Curry, the Tesla battery of... batteries.
There are a lot of easy storylines when considering the coming season for San Francisco. It’s 2016, which is, by my calculation, an even year, so we could talk about their forthcoming championship season in that light. There’s the departure from previous norms in regards to spending as they’ve rebuilt their rotation from scratch. There’s the incredible amount of homegrown talent they feature, including their new-found ability to channel #CardinalsDevilMagic by churning out above-average bats from seemingly middling (offensive) talent (Crawford, Panik, Duffy). But there are a couple obvious reasons why the Giants are poised to challenge for a fourth championship in seven years, too. In the words of our dearly departed R.J. Anderson “we’ll spend a thousand words on Austin Hedges but can’t do the same for Buster Posey because he’s old.” Let's rectify.
Looking for an advantage at the position in DFS and daily transaction leagues? Here are the splits you should know.
It's January. Fantasy football season is over. Playoff DFS for football is getting weird due to the short slates. It's that time of year when baseball junkies begin poring over stats and scenarios in preparation for the fantasy baseball season that lies ahead. The anticipation of Draft Day (aka Best Holiday of the Year) is unparalleled in the fantasy world, and the sheer volume of data that is generated each baseball season makes for the best off-season analysis in sports.
How do the Giants continue to produce major leaguers who outperform their perceived ceilings?
No matter how much baseball we watch, no matter how much we think we know, we’re always surprised by something. Whether it’s the underperformance or the ability to exceed expectations of a certain player or team, every new season always brings about something that makes one wonder how it’s happening. It seems as though the San Francisco Giants are able to repeatedly be that team, although they do seem to limit it to some sort of even-year magic.
Of course, the even- and odd-year stuff holds no water; this is a legitimately strong team. When they rebounded from a 3-9 start to get to 10 games over .500 in late May, I decided to take a look at what was going on with them this season. To my surprise, after years of seeing a dominant pitching staff carry the Giants into the playoffs, it was the offense that was the strength of this year’s team.
A look at the hitters who could outperform their PECOTA projections in RBI.
One of the fun ways we all try to outsmart our opponents in fantasy is by searching for hidden value in players who, for one reason or another, we suspect have the ability to outpace their projections (and, relatedly, their draft cost). Our Darkhorses series features staff picks for players who could very well outpace their PECOTA projections for the year and provide the top overall production in one of the standard five-by-five categories. We’ve all picked one player currently projected by PECOTA to fall outside of the top 10 and one longer-shot player currently projected outside of the top 25. We’ll take a look at offense this week and pitching next. For the earlier editions in this series, click below:
From Buster Posey to Christian Bethancourt, this list is loaded with both big leaguers and high-upside prospects.
Because dynasty league rankings are relatively league dependent, I set up parameters for ranking the players below (and the ones who will follow at other positions). The list here presupposes a 16-team standard dynasty format, in which there are no contracts/salaries, players can be kept forever, and owners have minor-league farm systems in which to hoard prospects. Feel free to adjust this as necessary for your individual league, whether it’s moving non-elite prospects without 2014 ETAs down if you don’t have separate farm teams or moving lower-risk, lower-reward players up in deeper mixed or league–only formats.
The catcher position is a tricky one, as there are a lot of players at or near the top of the list who may be playing another position in three or so years. That, plus with most leagues using one active catcher, prospects are featured a little more prominently due to both the major-league depth right now and the fact that there are diminishing returns to carrying too many backstops.
In the debut edition of the Three True Outcomes podcast, our fantasy crew looks at catchers for Scoresheet leagues.
Welcome to BP’s take on Scoresheet fantasy baseball. Scoresheet, for those unfamiliar, is a type of fantasy baseball in which your drafted team plays simulated games each week against other teams in your league, with your players’ performance depending on how they played in real life that week—but not entirely, unlike in a roto or head-to-head league. Other differences from most roto leagues include the importance of real-life fielding ability and a tendency for rosters to be rather deep. While many Scoresheet leagues have their own unique quirky rules, most allow players to be kept for an indefinite number of years, and allow rookies to be kept very cheaply. For non-Scoresheet players in deep or dynasty leagues, we urge you to check out BP’s new TINO podcast, but after you listen to that, we think we will be able to provide some supplementary value as well. Or, better yet, sign up for a Scoresheet team to explore a whole new world of fantasy baseball.
We want to thank BP for this chance to contribute to their suite of fantasy baseball offerings. Our goal is for the weekly column and podcast to complement each other. Both will cover similar ground and maybe even the same jokes. But we believe reading the article will make the podcast more meaningful. And vice versa. In upcoming weeks we look forward to joining in the BP Fantasy fun by taking a position-by-position look at the upcoming season, starting with catcher this week. We’ve got lots more planned after that, but if there’s anything you’d like us to tackle, please feel free to contact us @TTOScoresheet on Twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org
A look at how catchers stack up for fantasy purposes between now and 2016.
Everyone in fantasy sports loves to look ahead. Even in the throes of a pennant race, you can fire up a conversation about next year’s first round and it will go on for an hour. With that in mind, the BP fantasy team will be taking a long-view look at every position this offseason with three-year rankings (composite value over the next three seasons). Since it is Catcher Week, the backstops will kick things off. Catchers are particularly difficult to project over a three-year period because you have guys that shift off of the position entirely while the learning curve for young guys is so sharp given all of their defensive duties.
With Joe Mauer done at the position after this year, he’s not going to rank on the list, as even a first-place finish this year wouldn’t be enough. Meanwhile there is some projection to be done with guys who could move off the position so you will see some of those guys much lower than you might anticipate since I have them delivering zero value at the position in year three.
The pitchers are the headliners on Bruce Bochy's club, but there are several valuable bats in the lineup, too.
It was an odd-numbered year, so it only stands to reason that the San Francisco Giants didn’t win the World Series (like they did in 2010 and 2012). Instead, the Giants put up an underwhelming 76-86 record, good for a third-place tie in the NL West with the San Diego Padres. Michael Morse and Tim Hudson were brought in via free agency, but for the most part San Francisco is relying on a return to form and good health by a cast of steady and reliable veterans.