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Happy Holidays! Regularly Scheduled Articles Will Resume Monday, December 29

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12-29

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Fantasy Team Preview: St. Louis Cardinals
by
Matt Collins

12-23

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Fantasy Freestyle: Still Holliday Season
by
Wilson Karaman

12-23

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7

Fantasy Team Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers
by
Craig Goldstein

12-22

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8

Fantasy Team Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates
by
Keith Cromer

12-22

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Is Marcus Stroman the Real '6 God'?
by
Nick Shlain

12-18

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Fantasy Freestyle: Don't Forget the Vets
by
Matt Collins

12-18

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3

Fantasy Team Preview: San Francisco Giants
by
Jeff Quinton

12-17

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Fantasy Team Preview: Milwaukee Brewers
by
J.P. Breen

12-17

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Fantasy Freestyle: Undervalued NL Starting Pitchers
by
Keith Cromer

12-16

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10

Fantasy Freestyle: The Trouble With Tiers
by
Mike Gianella

12-16

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8

Fantasy Team Preview: New York Mets
by
Bret Sayre

12-15

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Fantasy Team Preview: Atlanta Braves
by
Nick Shlain

12-12

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15

Transaction Analysis: All the Fantasy Angles
by
J.P. Breen, Mike Gianella, Wilson Karaman, Ben Carsley and Nick Shlain

12-12

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9

Fantasy Freestyle: Shortening Your Dynasty Rebuild
by
J.P. Breen

12-12

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Fantasy Team Preview: Miami Marlins
by
Ben Carsley

12-11

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Fantasy Freestyle: Jose Quintana, Forever Underrated
by
Matt Collins

12-10

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Fantasy Freestyle: American League Speed Options on the Cheap
by
Keith Cromer

12-10

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4

Fantasy Team Preview: San Diego Padres
by
Wilson Karaman

12-09

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Fantasy Freestyle: Is Yordano Ventura Overrated Now?
by
Nick Shlain

12-09

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5

Fantasy Team Preview: Cincinnati Reds
by
Bret Sayre

12-08

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1

Five to Watch: Fantasy-Relevant Winter Meetings Rumors
by
Ben Carsley

12-08

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Fantasy Team Preview: Philadelphia Phillies
by
Mike Gianella

12-05

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1

Fantasy Freestyle: The Moderate Rebuild
by
Craig Goldstein

12-05

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11

Fantasy Team Preview: Chicago Cubs
by
Jeff Quinton

12-04

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Fantasy Team Preview: Colorado Rockies
by
J.P. Breen

12-04

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Fantasy Freestyle: Hey, So What Happened to Mike Minor Last Year?
by
Wilson Karaman

12-04

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Retrospective Player Valuation: Mixed-League Pitchers
by
Mike Gianella

12-03

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6

Fantasy Freestyle: Relief Help
by
Keith Cromer

12-02

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Retrospective Player Valuation: Mixed-League Hitters
by
Mike Gianella

12-02

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Keeper Decisions
by
Nick Shlain

12-01

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Fantasy Team Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks
by
Matt Collins

11-26

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Fantasy Team Preview: Baltimore Orioles
by
Craig Goldstein

11-25

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4

Fantasy Freestyle: Christian Yelich is Poised to Break Out
by
Matt Collins

11-25

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2

Fantasy Freestyle: Offseason Trades and Responding to the Default Effect
by
Jeff Quinton

11-25

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Fantasy Freestyle: 40-Man Additions to Know
by
Craig Goldstein

11-24

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Fantasy Team Preview: Detroit Tigers
by
Nick Shlain

11-21

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Fantasy Team Preview: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
by
Wilson Karaman

11-20

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Fantasy Freestyle: Offseason Trades and the Default Effect
by
Jeff Quinton

11-20

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Retrospective Player Valuation: National League Pitchers
by
Mike Gianella

11-19

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Fantasy Team Preview: Kansas City Royals
by
Ben Carsley

11-18

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Retrospective Player Valuation: National League Hitters
by
Mike Gianella

11-18

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9

Fantasy Freestyle: Five Fantasy Busts
by
J.P. Breen

11-17

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Fantasy Team Preview: Oakland Athletics
by
Keith Cromer

11-14

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Fantasy Team Preview: Seattle Mariners
by
Nick Shlain

11-13

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8

Retrospective Player Valuation: American League Pitchers
by
Mike Gianella

11-13

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Fantasy Freestyle: Five Fantasy MVPs of 2014
by
J.P. Breen

11-12

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Fantasy Team Preview: Cleveland Indians
by
Matt Collins

11-12

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Five to Watch: More Post-Hype Prospects for 2015
by
Ben Carsley

11-11

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Fantasy Team Preview: New York Yankees
by
Bret Sayre

11-11

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Retrospective Player Valuation: American League Hitters
by
Mike Gianella

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December 12, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Shortening Your Dynasty Rebuild

9

J.P. Breen

A look at some ways to get your team back in contention post haste.

Dynasty leagues with extensive minor-league rosters have become more popular in recent years. It’s one of the greatest ways to keep all owners engaged throughout the season, as the action never quits. However, such intensive and deep leagues can be intimidating for first-time owners. For example, I joined my first dynasty league in 2014, and it wasn’t with a bunch of amateurs. I jumped into the deep end and participated in TDGX—a 20-team, 40-man roster dynasty league with fantasy experts from across the internet baseball landscape.

It was my first dynasty draft and my first attempt at fielding my own team. Needless to say, it didn’t go smoothly. I made rookie mistakes in the draft. Grabbing elite prospects is important because the league includes a 10-man minor-league roster, but I erred and drafted prospects too early. That made my big-league roster far too shallow.

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December 12, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Team Preview: Miami Marlins

0

Ben Carsley

It's a new-look squad in the wake of the Winter Meetings, but aside from Mat Latos, the headliners are still the same.

The Miami Marlins are dumb and bad.

This preview piece was slated to run Thursday morning, but, upon news of the Dee Gordon trade, was held back a day in order to be updated. Then, the Marlins went ahead and pulled off the Mat Latos trade, further ruining the good work of the handsome author, who is the protagonist in this story.

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December 11, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Jose Quintana, Forever Underrated

0

Matt Collins

Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija will get all the press, but another starter on the South Side might be the best fantasy value.

Chris Sale is going to be the ace. He’s going to be the guy everyone targets early in fantasy drafts to head their rotation. Jeff Samardzija is the newcomer, coming off a great season, and the signal that the White Sox are, in fact, “going for it.” He will grab headlines, and may be targeted a little earlier in drafts than he ought to. These are the two who are going to demand all of the focus in the White Sox’s rotation, the ones everyone will talk about. I implore you, though, do not forget about Jose Quintana. One of the more underrated pitchers in the game, he’s done nothing but put up consistently solid numbers in his short career. No, he’s not going to anchor anyone’s rotation, but as someone who is projected to be a late-round pick, he can provide huge value in that spot.

The number one thing Quintana is going to give you is a solid ERA, despite pitching in a horrific park for pitchers. Over his three-year career, the lefty has put up a 3.50 ERA, a number that puts him in the same breath as Justin Verlander, Matt Cain, and Matt Moore. He took a big step forward last year as well, with a 3.21 ERA (30th best in MLB) supplemented by a 2.81 FIP (10th best in MLB). Now, it needs to be mentioned that part of that success was due to a 3.5 percent HR/FB rate that will almost certainly rise. However, that should be offset by his career-high BABIP falling back towards his career norms, as well as his ever-improving walk and ground ball rates. For those reasons, we have plenty of reasons to believe in his WHIP. He’s able to keep guys off the bases not only by throwing strikes, but throwing effective strikes. Quintana has become a master of pounding the low part of the strike zone, as we can see here:

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December 10, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: American League Speed Options on the Cheap

0

Keith Cromer

Don't overpay for steals! Instead, put these prolific thieves on your 2015 fantasy squad.

Having had the privilege of competing in the CBS Expert Leagues the past couple of years, I started my auction prep-work around this time each year, since those leagues typically auction in February. Along with my research on relievers, as I referenced in my Fantasy Freestyle article from last week, I also spend quite a bit of time trying to identify speed options that might be undervalued come draft day.

As I headed into the AL-Only 5x5 CBS Expert League auction this past year, I went in with a strategy to get either Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout at my sheet prices, buy Masahiro Tanaka at my sheet price, fill out my MI with fantasy-producing starters, and then figure out the rest as I went along. Well, I got Cabrera and Tanaka early as well as some solid middle infielders, and then focused my energy on getting a couple of speed guys, so I would not have to chase stolen bases later in the auction and overpay. The way the dynamics of the auction room played out, I was able to sit back and grab Rajai Davis, Jarrod Dyson, and Craig Gentry for a combined $5. No, that is not a misprint… that was a $5 investment that resulted in 92 stolen bases and $53 in earnings, or a $48 ROI, and I ran away (no pun intended) with the steals category in the league. For some reason, I have found over the years that there is not a lot love for these “one-trick ponies” despite the value they provide. As such, I always target and snatch these fantasy gems.

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December 10, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Team Preview: San Diego Padres

4

Wilson Karaman

Petco Park can turn just about any pitcher into a fantasy asset.

Injuries. Oh, the injuries these Padres have suffered. Also the terrible, terrible offensive performances. The Padres have been a broken record of a franchise for a while now, and among the ugliest incarnations of their recent archetype was on display last summer. They scored the fewest runs in baseball and finished a strong last in TAv as well. They couldn’t get on base, they couldn’t hit for power, and they were mediocre base-stealers. On the flipside, their pitching produced the fourth-best ERA in baseball and they posted top-third strikeout and WHIP numbers to boot. They were aided by a park that, while playing less extreme than in years past, was still among the worst places in baseball to hit. The bullpen routinely churns out a couple middle relievers every year who produce strong ratio support, and last year was no exception.

The team has been quiet thus far in the off-season* but has been linked to enough players to suggest an aggressive pursuit of offensive upgrades. Whether they succeed in obtaining any remains to be seen. True to form, the bulk of the fantasy value to be had on this squad right now resides on the pitching side. Still, given the wholesale reputation discount Padre hitters are likely to get on draft day there are a handful of interesting value plays worth considering on the offensive end.

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December 9, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Is Yordano Ventura Overrated Now?

1

Nick Shlain

Have 100-mph bullets and the Royals' postseason success blown the righty's value out of proportion?

It didn’t take very long for me to push my anti-pitcher agenda here at Baseball Prospectus, as my first Fantasy Freestyle was about curbing spending on pitchers in auction-style drafts. I’ll continue to not love pitchers today as I take a closer look at Yordano Ventura, who has generated plenty of buzz coming off the Royals’ October run.

Despite a slight build, Ventura held up as his rookie season went along making 30 starts and totaling 183 innings pitched with a 3.20 ERA. He also made four starts in the playoffs. Going forward, how Ventura’s body stands up to throwing 200 innings is a concern, especially when considering he mostly gets by on his flame-throwing as his average fastball velocity was 96 mph this year. Despite his elite fastball velocity, he doesn’t miss bats at an elite rate—his 20.3 percent strikeout rate ranked 37th among all qualified starters this year. Ventura totaled 159 strikeouts this year, the same amount as Justin Verlander. Ideally, Ventura will miss more bats as he matures as a pitcher and improves his secondary offerings. His raw stuff might be too good for it not to happen eventually, but when gauging how to value him for next season it would be extremely unwise to assume improvement without cause.

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December 9, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Team Preview: Cincinnati Reds

5

Bret Sayre

Injuries doomed the Reds to a fourth-place finish in 2014, but there are still four fantasy studs in the Queen City.

The Reds were coming off two straight 90-plus win seasons heading into 2014, and featured almost exactly the same roster that had vaulted them to consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since 1976 (if you consider losing the Wild Card Game a playoff appearance). However, Bryan Price’s first season as manager was filled with injuries and disappointment—leading to 76 wins and a distant fourth-place finish in the NL Central.

Fortunately for the Reds, returning talent in 2015 is the easy part. Keeping it collectively on the field and productive is going to be a different story. And while they’ve been involved in trade talks for an outfielder—usually dangling one of their soon-to-be-free-agent pitchers—any 2015 success in the Queen City will be heavily based on the names you know bouncing back to the levels you’re accustomed to. And that won’t be helped by their farm system either, which despite having some interesting players, isn’t set up for immediate contribution.

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December 8, 2014 6:00 am

Five to Watch: Fantasy-Relevant Winter Meetings Rumors

1

Ben Carsley

A look at how hypothetical moves would impact players' fantasy stocks if they come to fruition this week.

Generally, when writing on the internet, you want to produce content that is evergreen. You're also encouraged to make arguments based on facts, not rumors or conjecture. And tired tropes like "listicles" or Bill Simmons-esque breakdowns based on arbitrary differentiators are discouraged.

Let's break all the rules tonight.

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December 8, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Team Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

0

Mike Gianella

The team is heading downhill, but there's still a handful of fantasy assets to keep in mind.

“The darkest hour is just before the dawn.” – Thomas Fuller (attributed)

After a 2014 season during which it sometimes seemed like the Phillies were floundering without any kind of cohesive plan, interim CEO Pat Gillick laid out a blueprint for contention in 2017, at the earliest. While ownership transparency is refreshing if you are a fan, a full tear down is challenging from a fantasy perspective, particularly at the early stages. The Phillies haven’t shipped anyone out of town yet, and it is impossible to predict when this will happen. Even if the current roster composition holds, the fantasy landscape looks thin. Only eight Phillies were worth owning in standard mixed leagues last year. Even in NL-only formats, the picture wasn’t particularly rosy. There are some opportunities to be had, but most of them come in the form of undervalued veterans, not rookies with upside and the ability to burst on the scene as potential game changers.

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December 5, 2014 10:58 am

Fantasy Freestyle: The Moderate Rebuild

1

Craig Goldstein

Might retooling on the fly be a better plan than tearing it down and starting over?

Author’s Note: This column is intended for deep leagues only

It’s become increasingly clear in the last few years that fans of baseball, fantasy baseball owners included as a subset, are tolerant of essentially two modes of thought when it comes to their team and how it’s built. There’s the contending team, that makes itself known to be attempting contention for a wild card spot, if not a division crown, and the rebuilding team that isn’t competing that year so is all about future assets and long-term growth. These are accepted styles of competition in which one is either competing at the top or dwelling at the bottom with the idea of competing at the top down the line. What’s less accepted is mediocrity, or stagnancy. Move up or move down, or at least make your motives known.

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December 5, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Team Preview: Chicago Cubs

11

Jeff Quinton

No shortage of young talent here.

While we wait and see how the Cubs navigate this offseason, their current roster returns exciting young hitters, Jake Arrieta, and a lot players who would probably play lesser roles on more competitive teams. And they also have all those awesome prospects too.

The important question, for fantasy purposes, is how do all these pieces fit? There really is no good way to answer this question right now given that we do not know how free agency will unfold and the uncertainty inherent in prospects. What we can do is evaluate the players as they currently stand and make adjustments for playing time as we get more information. That said, let us get to it.

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