Examining players who might be useful additions if they're available in your leagues.
Welcome to Week Three of The Free Agent Watch, Baseball Prospectus’ weekly free agent advice column. This column is designed to offer a brief glimpse into the top free agents in 12-team mixed, 15-team mixed, and AL and NL-only formats, with the idea being that while we can’t address every unique free agent situation in your league, we can guide you through the waters and help with the broader strokes of the decision making process.
Mike will be tackling all the mixed-league formats, while Keith will be handling the only-league duties.
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Examining players who might pique your interest in deeper formats.
For the audience of this weekly piece, we all know the fantasy baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint, so it is never a good idea to panic after the first week. If your fantasy squad is underachieving and hovering in the second division of your league’s standings in early April, breathe deep… it will be okay. Lord knows, as an owner who drafted Hisashi Iwakuma, Kendall Graveman, Derek Holland, Taijuan Walker, Mike Napoli, C.J. Cron, Albert Pujols, and Alexei Ramirez in the AL-only CBS Analyst League, my first week’s results were laughable. While I don’t recommend taking drastic measures in terms of roster management a week into the season, it is never too early to scour the waiver wire for potential gems who can turn profits for possibly an entire season. Hey, I picked up Alfredo Simon and Aaron Harang last year during the first waiver wire period in one of my NL-only leagues and kept them both for the entire year. The end result was 25 combined wins along with a decent ERA and K numbers, which assisted in netting me a second-place finish—for a team that was pitching deficient after the auction.
The message here is to take gambles in the early season with your FAAB—the risk is low but the reward can be, well, big. In competitive only keeper leagues, it’s fine to be a little aggressive in the early going. In my old school AL-only 4x4 keeper league, the owner who was a little aggressive last April in FAAB’ing J.D. Martinez not only was the beneficiary of a $31 AL-only 4x4 season, but was also able to keep him for a $10 salary this year. That’s a game changer—and these FAAB finds happen in the early season each year.
Is it worth striking up negotiations less than two weeks into the 2015 campaign?
It is early in the 2015 baseball season. Any article about baseball at this time must at least try to mention this in good faith. We know the usual early-season fantasy baseball topics: small sample size, overreactions, regression, buying low, selling high, patience, it being cold outside, injuries, etc. We also know the usual, often good advice: Be patient, but not overly patient, check to see if skills have changed not just results, etc. Because trades happen infrequently in the beginning of the season, they are rarely discussed outside of the previously mentioned buy low, sell high framework. However, it probably behooves us to take a step back and view early season trades as they relate to strategy and human behavior in general. The interesting part of early season trades is that the influencing factors do not align; thus, we cannot responsibly advise that anyone seek or avoid early season trades without exception. Rather, it depends on the situation. We will now take a look at the reasons that make these trades potentially beneficial and those that make them potentially detrimental.
Helping you set your fantasy rotation for next week with a look at the two-start pitchers.
Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner! Normally, this is Wilson Karaman’s territory, but for this week only I’ll be running through next week’s two-start pitchers. You might say that I’m… spot starting for him.
A look at how the six new MLB skippers could impact players' fantasy values with their base-stealing philosophies.
A half-dozen teams have new managers in 2015. While that fact may have already crawled its way out of our collective consciousness in the first couple weeks of the year, new managers do have some impact on fantasy baseball production. Perhaps most directly, changes atop the totem pole in the dugout can lead to strategic differences on the base paths. In other words, the frequency with which a team runs on the basepaths can change with a new manager.
The Detroit Tigers are a prime example of this. In 2013 with Jim Leyland at the helm, the Tigers stole the fewest bases (35) in Major League Baseball. After Leyland retired and Brad Ausmus became skipper, the Tigers ran wild. Their 106 stolen bases a year ago ranked seventh in the league. Coming into Wednesday’s games, they had stolen the second-most bases in baseball. Different managers, different strategies.
It's raining southpaws on today's slate, opening the vault of platoon madness
Some refer to this date on the calendar as “Tax Day,” but around these parts April 15th stands for celebration, not consternation. Today we celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, in recognition of the man whose game-changing ability and competitive tenacity in the face of overwhelming challenges forever altered the baseball landscape. Robinson laid the groundwork for the culturally diverse environment that we enjoy today, and for that I owe a debt of gratitude.
A few lessons Jeff learned from his auctions this spring.
Having completed an AL only auction last Saturday and an NL only auction two Saturdays ago, I have three takeaways/learnings to discuss to help us (read: me) in future auctions. They are not big enough to be their own article, but their weak connection is strong enough to form an article. Please find these three takeaways below:
Aces are chewed up and spit out, so we try to step between the raindrops that melt DFS point totals
Early-season grenades have blown up the stat lines of some of the game's top arms, including Clayton Kershaw, Jordan Zimmermann, and Madison Bumgarner. Add Jon Lester to the list after yesterday's six-run shellacking, an outing that stung DFS gamers who saw the left-hander as a safe choice due to: A) his being one of the top pitchers taking the hill that day, B) his having the massive platoon advantage against Cincy sluggers Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, and C) his facing a depleted lineup that was without Devin Mesoraco and Billy Hamilton.