Last month I took a look back at the players I recommended to avoid as draft day approached last off-season, and overall I think I did some solid work there. Three out of four of those recommendations bore out, and while the one that didn’t was a spectacularly failure by result, I still feel good about the process that went into identifying the player. Can’t win ‘em all, right? So now today we’ll flip the script and talk about the players I recommended for targeting on draft day.
The intersection of what the market will bear and what sports talk radio will understand isn't always a pretty place. Just ask J.D. Drew.
When looking back at Theo Epstein’s history—a history that now includes a complete overhaul and turnaround of a moribund Chicago Cubs franchise—unless you’re nitpicking, there’s little to criticize. However, if there is one aspect during Epstein’s run as a general manager in Boston one could pounce on, it’s a somewhat spotty track record with free agents.
With questionable moves from their past likely lingering in the back of their minds—Julio Lugo and Carl Crawford stand out in particular—both Epstein and Jed Hoyer have spent plenty of time in Chicago lamenting the fact that free agency is often looked upon as a ‘necessary evil’ of sorts. Their first big signing on the North Side, Edwin Jackson, stands out as one of their more prominent failings since joining the Cubs organization four years ago. But for the most part, by design, this group has avoided big free-agent signings. That changed last offseason when they made one of the bigger splashes of the winter by snagging Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million deal. The spending has continued this December with the additions of John Lackey, Ben Zobrist, and most recently Jason Heyward.
The Cubs power their way through a pivotal game against the Cardinals.
Game Three of the NLDS between the Cardinals and the Cubs shifted to Wrigley Field on Monday night, with the advantage tilting to the Cubs not only because they split the first two games of the series in St. Louis but because their ace was taking the hill. While Michael Wacha certainly isn’t any kind of slouch, it would be difficult to argue that the Cubs didn’t have a significant edge with the white hot Jake Arrieta on the mound.
Is there any reason to hope for a rebound from the Cardinals outfielder?
Entering draft season, Jason Heyward was something of a controversial player. Some (myself very much included) saw a young player who’d shown a consistently solid approach and flashed tantalizing power and speed components at various points in his career, enough to suggest that if the 25-year-old ever put everything together at once, there might just be top-10-in-fantasy-baseball upside in his bat. Others saw a passive hitter who couldn’t hit lefties and whose swing mechanics had devolved from his days as an elite prospect.
He ended up going 74th overall in NFBC drafts, but with a significant variance between high (36) and low (118) draft slots that reflected the uncertainties surrounding his profile. Fast forward through the first month of the season, and regardless of where in that range he went in your league, the returns have been… not good.
See how Wilson built his team after shelling out $46 for the best player in the game.
Mike Gianella recently released his latest mixed league Bid Limits, which spurred an idea from Bret Sayre called Model Portfolios, wherein the fantasy staff (and anyone else on the BP roster who wants to participate) will create their own team within the confines of a standard 23-man, $260 budget. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OFx5, UTx2, and Px9 along with the following standards issued by Sayre:
Paul bets on rebounds from Jason Heyward and Yoenis Cespedes, and spends no more than $14 on each of his pitchers.
On Friday, Mike Gianella released his latest mixed league Bid Limits, which spurred an idea from Bret Sayre called Model Portfolios, wherein the fantasy staff (and anyone else on the BP roster who wants to participate) will create their own team within the confines of a standard 23-man, $260 budget. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OFx5, UTx2, and Px9 along with the following standards issued by Sayre:
A look at the players who could outperform their PECOTA projections when it comes to crossing the plate.
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’re taking a look at offense this week and pitching next. To read the earlier editions in this series, click below: