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April 11, 2014 7:50 am

Raising Aces: Starting Pitcher Four-Pack

11

Doug Thorburn

Doug looks for signs of mechanical progress by Yordano Ventura, Trevor Bauer, Chris Archer, and Erasmo Ramirez.

This is my third year writing Raising Aces for Baseball Prospectus, and one of the perks is the dynamic nature of the series (aided by the leniency of our editors). I’m always searching for better ways to communicate ideas about pitching or to broaden the discussion, and transparency has been an integral part of the process.

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January 3, 2014 6:00 am

Sporer Report: Garbage Picking

7

Paul Sporer

Everyone ihas their sights set on last year's breakout stars, but these players who hurt your team in 2013 might help it in 2014.

In any draft or auction it is always hard to resist the temptation to take the big breakouts from the year that just passed. After all, they are on the upswing… supposedly. Their breakout may have led you to a title or you may have just missed getting them and had to suffer through them cleaning up for an opponent, but you’re determined to not miss out again this year. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with taking the recent breakout—well unless it was built on a mirage of poor supporting skills—but there can also be value in the garbage bin.

On the opposite end of the shiny breakouts is the thrown-out trash: the previous year’s failures that sunk a team to the bottom of the standings and left them spending their entire free agent budget by May 1. Those toxic assets are far down on the list for those they burned and they aren’t exactly hot targets for the rest of the league, either. Alas, every year we see guys rise from the ashes like a phoenix to be the late-round steal that pairs with an aforementioned breakout to carry a team to the title.

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October 17, 2013 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Looking Back: Endgame Sleepers

2

Bret Sayre

Bret advised you to gamble on these players seven months ago; now it's time to look back and see how he did.

Welcome to the second installment of “Bret looks back on his favorite 2013 columns and grades himself.” Last week, I took a look at my 10 bold predictions based on April’s small samples, but today we’ll go even further back in the time machine.

My favorite column to write every year looks at my favorite endgame sleepers just as Spring Training is coming to a close. In the past I’ve stopped at 10, but this year I turned the dial all the way up to 20—putting the spotlight on players in leagues of varying depths.

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September 26, 2013 6:00 am

Free Agent Watch: Looking Ahead to 2014

1

Bret Sayre

Fast forward to April, and these players might tempt you if they're sitting on your league's waiver wire.

With only four days left in the regular season, I’m going to do a slightly different take on our usual Free Agent Watch column before we morph into off-season mode. But speaking of off-season mode, I know even the most loyal BP readers are used to the fantasy section taking a couple of months off when the season ends. So my deepest apologies to those of you who were looking forward to time away from us—under my reign of terror as Fantasy Content Manager, you will be subjected to year-round fantasy analysis. And that includes some new things that I am very excited about.

But back to the task at hand, we are going around the diamond to spot players who are worthy of picking up in dynasty and high-volume keeper leagues with an eye squarely on 2014. And if the names I’m highlighting aren’t deep enough for some of you, I’ll be including a deep sleeper at each position as well (and if those aren’t deep enough for you, then you’re just going to have to be OK with that). In the words of future Poet Laureate Mike Skinner, let’s…push…things…forward.

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The guys aren't dead! Just a brief hiatus, but they are back to talk tons of pitching greatness including youngster Max Scherzer and Matt Harvey!

Rundown:

0:00 – 3:12 -- [Intro]

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August 13, 2013 8:57 am

The Stash List: Checking Back in on the Graduated Perch Dwellers

12

Bret Sayre

Bret reviews the rewards offered by the players who once topped these rankings, and then unveils this week's top 20.

First, let’s start with the sad news. There will only be one more Stash List left for 2013 after today, and it will run as scheduled next Tuesday. We’re getting to the point in the season where a lot of the skill in putting together this list is becoming overshadowed by short-term randomness, and the overall usefulness is coming close to running its natural course. But, we’re not there yet. So let’s party like this column will never end.

Since this idea was birthed back in April, the list has seen seven different players occupy the top spot. And now that we’re just about three-quarters of the way through the season, it seems like a good time to check back in on how those players are doing.

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July 16, 2013 5:00 am

The Stash List: Seeing the List in Action

17

Bret Sayre

At the Futures Game, Bret saw many of the players ranked here firsthand. Revised notes on their fantasy potential and the updated rankings lie within.

There’s no doubt about it in my mind—the Futures Game is hands down the best event of All-Star Weekend. And with the entire experience being local for me this year, I was able to take advantage of my geography and head out to Citi Field to see seven members of this week’s Stash List with my own eyes. Of course, it also helped that I had the more finely tuned eyes of Zach Mortimer and Chris Mellen from the BP Prospect team, among others, with me for most of the game. And before we delve any further into this, if you haven’t checked out Zach’s Minor League Update from yesterday with notes from a number of Futures Game participants, just click there and then come back. I can wait.

It’s no coincidence that a number of the names you’ll see below were among the most impressive prospects I saw on Sunday, as Futures Game performances tend to swing toward the more advanced guys. Here are a few who caught my eye in particular for fantasy purposes:

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July 9, 2013 6:40 am

The Stash List: All Killer, No Filler

15

Bret Sayre

Bret jumps straight into the rankings, and the top player could be on his way to the majors before the week is out.

No extended introduction this week, as my recent efforts have been directed toward the Top 50 Fantasy Prospects List, which came out yesterday. If you haven’t checked it out yet, right after you finish reading this column is as good a time as any. Instead, we’ll just get straight to what you came here to see. After all, I am a man of the people.

Without any further ado, here is The Stash List, version 12.0:

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July 2, 2013 5:00 am

The Stash List: Remembering the Medlen Effect

7

Bret Sayre

If you have any doubts about the merits of stashing players this late in the season, just think back to Kris Medlen's run last summer and read on for the latest rankings.

We’re halfway through the season now, and the Stash List has gone through a large transformation since it began two-and-a-half months ago. Gone are the elite prospects who were awaiting roster spots and/or the Super Two deadline to pass. Gone are most of the players who began the season on the disabled list—either because they have come back and been successful, like early Stash List favorite Francisco Liriano, or they are one of the seemingly many players unable to make it back onto the field, like Corey Hart or Ryan Madson.

But if you think that stashing has become a feeble exercise at this point in the season, it only takes a very short memory to see why there is plenty of incentive to do so. At this point in 2012, Kris Medlen was still lingering in the Braves’ bullpen awaiting a chance to move back into the starting rotation. In fact, he wouldn’t make his first start for Atlanta until the last day of July—and I don’t need to remind you how that story ends.

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June 25, 2013 5:00 am

The Stash List: Checking Back in on the Debut Debate

6

Bret Sayre

Should you start Kyle Gibson when he makes his big-league debut this Saturday? Bret looks at early-season data to help answer that question before revealing this week's list.

Around two-and-a-half months ago, I wrote an article about whether we should be plugging pitchers making their major-league debuts directly into our starting lineups. After reviewing 10 years of data, I came to the conclusion that if the pitcher is a "current" Top 100 prospect, he should be started, and he should probably be on your bench if he's not. As of this past week, when Zack Wheeler threw six shutout innings in his major-league debut, we had now seen 20 different pitchers make their major-league debuts in a starting role this season—and it seemed like a good time to take a look back and see if the hypothesis continued to hold true.

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June 18, 2013 6:00 am

The Stash List: Moving Beyond the Super Two

13

Bret Sayre

With the likes of Wil Myers and Zack Wheelers making their debuts today, Bret looks at the next wave of players who could come up and help your fantasy team.

It seems like it was just yesterday that we were all talking about Super Two status and when we'd see the likes of Wil Myers and Zack Wheeler at the major-league level. Oh wait, it was yesterday (they're both making their major-league debuts today). So as far as speculation, here at The Stash List, we move on from one very important group of players to another less attractive one. At this point, we've seen almost all of the top prospects that were waiting for the call due to service-time reasons—guys like Billy Hamiton and Oscar Taveras are not included here since there are other reasons why they have not been called up yet. So what is the wave coming in the horizon? Players who will see their values increase due to trade deadline activity.

Now, this next phase has its concentration in a few different areas, but the biggest focus is pitching—both starters and closers. There are already rumors of current closers Jonathan Papelbon, Kevin Gregg, Bobby Parnell, and Casey Janssen being moved over the next month or so, and there are sure to be more as we get closer to July 31. Same with Matt Garza, Ricky Nolasco, and Bud Norris in the rotation. The trading deadline presents playing time opportunities that weren't there before, and while it's still a little early to start acting on some of these impulses, it's never too early to start thinking about them. So while not all of these players who move on to contenders will have successors worthy of owning, there are definitely guys to keep tabs on as rumors begin to fly. This applies tenfold in AL- and NL-only formats, where playing time is king.

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