It’s well-below freezing in most of the United States, and the NFL playoffs start Saturday. This can mean only one thing: It’s time for fantasy baseball! Whether you haven’t looked at your fantasy roster since the last out of the regular season, or if you’ve been hanging on every pitch in winter league, Baseball Prospectus is ready once again to provide you with the best fantasy coverage in the industry. Once again, we’re expanding our already comprehensive coverage so that you don’t just survive your upcoming drafts or auctions, but dominate and humiliate your opponents, especially that jerk Tom in accounting (Tom! I hate that guy!).
To bring you the quantity and quality you’ve grown accustomed to as a subscriber, we’ve expanded our fantasy staff yet again. While it’s always sad to say goodbye to old friends, I hear there’s a little Lebowski on the way. No wait, that’s from the ending of The Coen Brothers’ beloved classic, Barton Fink.
We’re pleased as punch to welcome the following writers to the Baseball Prospectus fold. As you can see below, we’re adding more depth and breadth of experience than ever.
• Darius Austin has written about fantasy baseball at Friends with Fantasy Benefits, the Cubs at BP Wrigleyville, British perspectives on baseball at Bat Flips & Nerds, and extremely marginal relievers at Banished to the Pen. He is desperately hoping for a Tim Lincecum comeback.
• Tyler Maher has written injury blurbs for MLB.com and ran his own fantasy website.
• Jon Hegglund hails from northern California, where he was tricked into being a Giants fan by a fourth-grade teacher giving out free tickets to Candlestick Park for particularly arctic weeknight games. He is the founder of the website RotoKoan and was a contributor to Shandler Park.
• Kevin Jebens has been playing fantasy baseball since 2000. He has been writing about fantasy baseball since 2013 at Fantasy Assembly, He’s bearish on touted prospects and will gladly take veterans over unproven youngsters.
• Eddy Almaguer comes from Prospects1500 and FakeTeams, the fantasy sports subsidiary of SB Nation. He’s written about nearly everything in the fantasy spectrum, but specializes in dynasty leagues and prospects.
• Keith Farnsworth is a father with three rambunctious kids and a wife who loves baseball almost as much as he does. He enjoys helping fantasy owners better understand baseball analysis so that they can dominate their fantasy leagues. Previously, Keith wrote for Fantrax and was a co-host of the Fantasy Front Office Podcast.
• Scott Delp is a retired educator living in Palm Coast, Fla. and has played fantasy baseball since stats were done on an abacus. He hosts a radio talk show and has written for multiple fantasy sites, most recently Prospects1500, and is currently a member of the BP prospect team.
Starting on Monday, here are the articles that you will see for every position, starting with catcher:
State of the Position
Every Monday, George Bissell will provide a positional overview that lets our readers know what trends will impact their drafts, both in redraft and keeper leagues. This is our leadoff hitter, the article that sets the table for the rest of the week.
Early ADP Analysis
Matt Collins will investigate early ADP trends and examine players who are being drafted either far too early or far too late. The NFBC drafts offer a useful framework into draft preparation, but an expert second opinion can go a long way in helping you construct your team.
Here is the juicy, delicious meat of our coverage: our position-by-position rankings that are presented in three separate articles. Every Tuesday, I will compile our 2018-tiered rankings using the same one to five-star system you all know and love. These lists are designed for redraft leagues. On Wednesdays, the positional rankings shift to our three-year positional rankings, which are designed to help fantasy managers in medium-term keeper leagues. Finally, Bret Sayre will be releasing his full positional dynasty rankings every Thursday. While each of these positional rankings will be compiled by one author, there will be staff input across the board on every single list.
Get to Know
Ben Carsley returns for another year of running down all the prospects you should get to know at each position. Whether you’re looking for names to help you in your 2017 redraft league or players to help you in your dynasty league, Ben has you covered.
“These articles sound amazing. But I’m in an OBP league that uses saves plus holds. What about me?” I can hear some of you saying inside of my head. Never fear. The Adjuster returns with plenty of in-depth analysis on what to do if you play in an alternate format. Jon Hegglund will examine where the standard 5×5 valuations differ in other styles of play. Whether it’s on-base percentage, holds, or points leagues, Jon has the lowdown.
Players to Target/Avoid
Here is where everyone on our staff gets to make his case about a player at each position every week to give our readers a comprehensive list of players we do or don’t believe in this upcoming season. As in the past, our writers will rotate between target and avoid pieces every week. These articles are primarily focusing on where players are going in drafts and whether they’re worth targeting or aren’t worth the trouble.
If Bret’s exhaustive dynasty rankings aren’t enough for you, fear not. Every week, Wilson Karaman dives even deeper, providing a review of “honorable mentions” at each position to make sure you don’t miss out. This is where you’ll find the true “sleepers” who will help you in the deepest of leagues.
Tale of the Tape
For the second consecutive year, Baseball Prospectus is expanding this popular series, jumping from four installments in 2017 to six in 2018. As was the case last year, half of this series will focus on players in non-keeper leagues while the other half of the series will be devoted to dynasty leagues. Categorical strengths and weaknesses, health risk, team strength and other factors will be reviewed in each tale of the tape.
The -Only Landscape
For masochists who play in AL or NL-only leagues, we’ve got you covered as well. Scooter Hotz will examine the NL while I look at the AL, taking a deep dive into trends, auction strategy and tactics, and players who you should or shouldn’t add to your rosters. This column is where you’re likely to find this year’s versions of Austin Barnes and Luis Severino.
NEW FOR 2018—Breaker of Chains
This series kicks last year’s player profile series up a notch, with analysis dedicated to a player who had a sharp jump or decline in 2017 performance, examining why the change happened and whether it is likely to hold.
NEW FOR 2018—Fact or Fiction
This series will look at some of fantasy baseball’s most cherished beliefs and take a deep dive into whether they’re accurate perceptions or industry myths. This series will primarily be positionally focused, but will at times examine broader industry trends across the entire draft pool.
In addition to all the coverage above, we will be running two fantasy profiles a week on a couple of interesting prospects at the position who have not been covered in depth within our other content.
If 21 articles a week isn’t enough for you, our fantasy podcasts will keep you informed and entertained throughout the spring. On Flags Fly Forever, you can listen to Bret Sayre, George Bissell, and I discuss our positional rankings and delve into deeper discussions about our differences of opinion. On TINO, Bret, Craig Goldstein, and Ben touch on everything you need to know to win your dynasty league.
But wait, there’s even more! Bret’s Top 50 list for dynasty drafts kicked of the festivities yesterday. Those of you who love player lists will be able to avail yourselves not only of our position-by-position rankings every week but our Top 300 overall, the Dynasty 101, and my bid limits for AL-only, NL-only, and 15-team mixed league auctions.
Finally, it wouldn’t be Baseball Prospectus without a series of online chats to keep you informed and amused as we gear up for 2017. Throughout the winter we will feature chats with one of our fantasy writers, from January right up until Draft Day. If you miss us there, you can find almost all of us on Twitter, where we’ll try to answer as many questions as we can…and may even hold an informal chat or two in that medium. Of course, if there’s a question you just can’t wait to get answered, our Bat Signal is always there for your questions. Our fantasy answering service is like nothing else offered in the industry. You ask the question, we generally answer it within 12 hours, and the answer is confidential, away from the prying eyes of your opponents.
Our march to Draft Day starts Monday. Every year, I’m excited to work with the best team of writers and analysts in the industry. Every year, I’m thrilled that our coverage continues to rise to yet another level of excellence. I look forward to reading our top-notch coverage as much as you do, and I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for what should be yet another amazing year from the fantasy team here at Baseball Prospectus.