Now that the holidays have passed and we’ve already broken almost every New Year’s resolution we’ve made (like Craig Goldstein’s never-ending battle to not get mad online), it’s time to turn our attention to the 2016 season wholeheartedly and unabashedly. At Baseball Prospectus, we’ve continued to build out our fantasy coverage over the past three seasons and 2016 is no exception. To help prepare you for your drafts and auctions, we will be raising the bar once again—with the largest and most complete team we’ve assembled yet.
Much of the content we will be rolling out over the next three months will be familiar to subscribers, as most of it started last year. However, with more staff again this year than last, we will not only be going deeper on our lists, but we will be supplementing that with additional articles that allow us to dive deeply into each position. And speaking of our increasing staff, here are a few names who were not with us when we rolled this position series out last year, yet will be key contributors this time around:
Greg Wellemeyer knows how to do fancy mathematics and statistics, and is using that knowledge to help us do some fun things, but has seen way too much of Elijah Dukes to be a reliable judge of character.
Now, the content. Here are the pieces that you can expect to read for all positions, some of which you hopefully enjoyed from last year, and which we will begin to roll out on Monday:
The State of the Position
This will officially kick off our coverage each week, and one of our senior writers will give you a full macro overview of the position, from the current year and long-term depth to advisable strategy in mixed leagues. It’s the primer on which we will paint.
Like last year, there will be three separate rankings for each position. On Tuesdays, you’ll find the 2015 tiered rankings using the same one-through-five star system that you’re accustomed to. However, you’ll get an extra five names. That’s 30 for the price of 25! Then on Wednesdays, we’ll be continuing the three-year position rankings—targeted for owners in medium-term keeper leagues—with these lists expanding from 30 to 40. Finally, on Thursdays, yours truly will be putting out my full positional dynasty rankings. Those aren’t getting any longer because I prefer to keep my sanity, thank you very much. Of course, we’ll go well deeper than that with outfielders and starting pitchers, but you knew that already.
Early ADP Analysis [New for 2016]
One of the areas of improvement in our series was investigating early ADP trends and what we can learn about them. To rectify that, we’re going to run articles investigating early ADP trends and what we can learn about them. Sometimes the easy answer is the right one.
Get to Know: Prospects
In this weekly piece, our own Ben Carsley (who we know you’ll be as excited to see contributing weekly again as I am) will take you through all the prospects you need to know at each position—from the names that will be relevant in 2016 redraft leagues to long-lead high upside players for dynasty formats.
If you enjoy his freestyles as much as I do, you’ll be excited to know that Jeff Quinton will continue his process-focused thing for each position—taking on a specific topic or deficiency in how we operate when it comes to our analysis. These articles will run on Mondays, and will be paired with the State of the Position.
Players to Target/Avoid
With our large team, we’ll continue to split the targets and avoids in order for each writer to dive a little deeper (and not fight over our e-mail threads about which players we are going to write about). On Mondays, half of us will dive into players we’re looking to target at their current going rates, and then on Fridays, the other half of us will do the opposite. So that half of us aren’t constantly writing about players we don’t like, we’re going to switch groupings every week. Play along at home (the comments section)!
The Tale of the Tape
Each Tuesday, to go along the tiered rankings, we are going to be deep diving into a singular decision point in that week’s list. We’ll go through the process, each categorical breakdown and additional factors like health risk, etc before declaring a winner (note: the winner may not necessarily be the player ranked more prominently). We will also be tackling one of these pieces on Thursdays, but purely in a dynasty-league context. It could be prospects, rookies, or just young major leaguers—and like the Tuesday show, they will be names that show up in very close proximity to each other in my list.
Welcome to Splitsville, Population You [New for 2016]
I haven’t fully run this column name by Doug Thorburn, our resident DFS guru, who will be manning it for this year, but now it’s out there. Oh well. Regardless of name, this new column will highlight players at each position who have noteworthy splits and can be targeted both for daily fantasy games and leagues that allow daily lineup changes.
Again, Wilson Karaman will be digging into where the standard 5×5 valuations start morphing when it comes to alternate formats. So whether it’s something as benign as on-base percentage or quality starts for pitchers, or where players move to/from in points leagues, he will have you covered.
The Only Landscape
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but Keith Cromer will use his mono-league experience to help those of you who play in those formats (or in very deep mixed leagues where fringy players hold real value) only approach your mono format drafts. From strategy to targets, this series will walk you through what you need to know.
Our triumvirate of Scoresheet knowledge—Ben Murphy, Jared Weiss, and Ian Lefkowitz— return to bring you a new round of lists and podcasts every Friday that will help guide all of your Scoresheet decisions for the upcoming season. Combine their analysis with the Scoresheet Draft Aid and you get the most comprehensive analysis for this format on the planet.
You also know the drill here, but in addition to all of the coverage above, we’re going to do full fantasy profiles of a few particularly interesting names at the position; targeting three names per position that haven’t been covered in depth in our other content.
In addition to all of the things mentioned above, Flags Fly Forever, our flagship fantasy podcast, is going to be returning to a weekly schedule starting next week, and those guys from There Is No Offseason promise to really try to record every other week (seriously, we’re going to). Both podcasts will offer a wide variety of additional insight into both the tiered rankings and dynasty rankings; though the processes are somewhat different. On FFF, Mike and I will have civil conversations about valuation and strategy, while gently nudging George about his lack of 80’s culture knowledge. On TINO, I’ll continue to defend my dynasty rankings from a fire-breathing Craig and a key-carrying Ben.
Of course, this isn’t the only coverage that is going to be in the fantasy section here at BP over the next few months. We’re going to have plenty of other great stuff to look forward to, starting with my Top 50 list for dynasty drafts coming this Thursday. Beyond that, we’ll have tons of expert league coverage—including coverage of Mike and my team in LABR, our individual Tout Wars squads, and all of the leagues that we aren’t the defending champions of. Then there’s the Dynasty 101, Mike Gianella’s bid limits, and all of the mock drafts/auctions you could ask for—including the ever-popular Expert Dynasty mock.
And, of course, if all this isn’t enough, we will be starting up weekly fantasy chats again next week, which will roll straight through until draft day. And if we don’t get to your question there, you can find us all on Twitter—where we’ll also have informal chats as the off-season continues on. Of course, if you want to cut straight to the front of the line, use the Bat Signal—our fantasy answering service. You provide the question; we provide the answer generally within 12 hours. Write a one-sentence question or write a novel, you decide. We’ve seen them all.
On Monday we’ll start another journey together to draft day here at Baseball Prospectus. No matter how many times I say that it’s going to be the best year of our fantasy coverage yet, the next one always feels better and more complete. We hope that once March ends, you’ll agree with us.