Should you choose the new Oriole or the new Astro to don the tools of ignorance for your fantasy squad this year?
The NFL playoffs have started, which means you have no reason not to start preparing for the 2017 fantasy baseball season. The Baseball Prospectus fantasy staff will analyze each position on a weekly basis, kicking it off with catchers starting yesterday. Every Tuesday I'll bring the Tale of the Tape: a category-by-category breakdown of two similarly ranked players resulting in a verdict toward one or the other. Behind the dish, Brian McCann and Welington Castillo fared comparably in 2016 and project to do so again in 2017 -- as low-end options in standard mixed leagues.
Rick Renteria's lineup has a few intriguing bats, but you'll probably have to look elsewhere for pitching.
Last year was yet another tough one for Cubs fans, even if the Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod-led front office continues to stockpile assets. The win-loss record is a nagging source of frustration for the fans, and the on-field lineup might just be as frustrating for fantasy owners. With the potential to sport a platoon in the outfield and a defensive specialist in the infield, as well as a patient front office that will keep its drool-worthy prospects at bay, this Cubs tree isn’t likely to bear much fruit in the early going.
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.
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.
Adam Dunn walks away. Alex Gordon walks away. Other players' walks, also, have gone away.
Not all samples are small, but all samples are samples. Still, some samples are better samples than other samples. Russell Carleton showed us which are which last year, by which I mean that he showed, for a variety of stats, how big a sample we need for the signal to outweigh the noise. One happy outcome from that study is that walk rate for hitters is a stat that "stabilizes" faster than almost any other.
Zack Cozart and Ruben Tejada form this week's VP middle infield tandem.
The non-waiver trade deadline came and went, and Chase Headley is still a member of the Padres. That means no path was cleared for Jedd Gyorko(Yahoo! 1%, ESPN 0%, CBS 10%) to receive regular playing time in the majors. Gyorko has done plenty to earn a look this year, and I fully expect he'll get that shot, but without guaranteed steady playing time when he reaches the bigs and an uncertain call-up date, he can safely be cut loose in most redraft leagues.
Which players are the most likely to go the longest before their first walk of 2012?
No one personifies this better than Angels’ shortstop Gary DiSarcina. DiSarcina went deep into April of the 1998 season before drawing his first walk, and proudly stated that it was a goal of his to not walk all season. He believed he was a better hitter when hacking away and being "aggressive". DiSarcina’s career OBP of .291 and five full seasons of .294 or lower haven’t deterred him, or moved the Angel coaching staff to dissuade him of the notion. So in honor of our misguided friend, I’ve elected to establish the DiSar Awards.
—Joe Sheehan, 2000
On Friday, with one out in the eighth inning of the Braves' 9-8 victory over the Rockies, Kris Medlen threw a 3-1 fastball up and in to Ramon Hernandez, and the Rockies catcher took it for a ball. It was Hernandez’ first walk of the season, in his 67th plate appearance. That is the longest stretch without a walk by any player to start this season, which means Ramon Hernandez is the DiSars leader in the clubhouse.
The situation: The slumping Angels could simply wait no longer. Despite all of the roster difficulties created by the Albert Pujols signing, the team finally solved them by flat-out releasing what's left of Bobby Abreu and giving Trout the call after the 20-year-old hit a whopping .403/.467/.623 in 20 games for Triple-A Salt Lake.
Rounding out the NL East and turning the antics in Wrigleyville.
Obvious Good Move: Nothing in particular. With so many of the usual suspects summoned up for their third or fourth or fifth spin in Wrigleyville, it isn't like these guys don't know their way around the cramped clubhouse, or the names of the guys already here. Maine might come in handy as an extra lefty, but his rates at Iowa were bass-ackwards. Welington Castillo should get a few more reps behind the plate with Soto done for 2010, not least because there's something sort of depressing about the proposition that Koyie Hill could end up starting a third of your team's games behind the plate, but also because Castillo is a decent prospect who's up after a slugly season for the I-Cubs, with a .243 ISO while gunning down 39 percent of opposing base thieves (to accentuate the positive).