ZiPS and Steamer Rest of Season Projections

Jun 20

ZiPS and Steamer Rest of Season Projections

Over Saturday, I aggregated last week’s ZiPS and Steamer rest of season projections (found on Fangraphs) into one list, and then translated those numbers into Fantasy value using Jeffrey Gross’ E.Y.E.S. formula to come up with what one may consider the most thoughtful rest of season rankings. When I say, “most thoughtful,” I simply try to find a word that distinguishes these rankings from the rest of the rankings you will find on the Internet. Before the season started, I performed a similar task to what I described in the previous paragraph with aggregated Marcel, FANS, ZiPS, Steamer, and Oliver projection systems found on Fangraphs, and drafted my 12-team 5×5 mixed league according to those results. To say I have been pleased with those results would be an understatement. The formula I used ranks batters in the traditional five offensive categories: runs, runs batted in, home runs, stolen bases, and AVG. Here are the results of those preseason-aggregated projections: As you may see, there are several outliers on these rankings relative to the mainstream media’s perception of some players (Especially when you consider these forecast were made preseason.): Giancarlo Stanton, Billy Butler, Adam Jones, Bryce Harper, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, and Paul...

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Hot or Not Fantasy Baseball Players?

Jun 06

Hot or Not Fantasy Baseball Players?

How do you know who you can trust in fantasy baseball? It says here that you should hitch your wagon to this column – when I say you need to acquire a player (usually via free agency) you should! I play in deep leagues (lots of teams and lots of roster spots). That means that “fringe” players are hugely useful — and that’s who I try to highlight. You don’t need me to tell you that Robinson Cano is good — that’s obvious and shouldn’t be of use to anyone. But telling you to add Nick Franklin might be of use to you. After all, Cano was once in the same spot Franklin is now (a high-upside prospect who was an unknown at the big league level). Let’s get to it. Hot or Not Fantasy Baseball Players   Ryan Pressly, RP, Minnesota Should you trust Pressly? Over the last month, he’s been a useful middle reliever. Sadly, he hasn’t put up numbers in the areas you need your RP to — holds and saves. In the Yahoo! game, he’s ranked about 85th (and he’s the third highest ranked pitcher in several of my leagues in that time with zero-percent ownership). Digging beneath the surface a bit, he is about as long from being in the closer running as any effective middle innings guy. So although his stats have been sexy and he could be had for a song, I can’t see any real value here. Ricky Nolasco, SP, Miami I like Nolasco. His “stuff” is inconsistent but has the potential to be elite, and lately he’s been just that. He can be had in over four out of five Yahoo! leagues, and there’s no reason not to take a flier on him. He’s had over a K per inning in his last 41, his ERA and WHIP are outstanding, and his recent starts have had several gems. Having said that, he struggles against good offensive ballclubs (TB, PHI), but tends have success against weaker hitting clubs. Always prone to giving up the HR, Nolasco is worth a stream against light hitting teamss at the very least. Lots to like here — except for his ballclub, which is why he...

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Domonic Brown, Post-Hype Players & Others to Consider

Jun 04

Domonic Brown, Post-Hype Players & Others to Consider

There is a special class of Fantasy Baseball player who we like to call “post-hype players.” Basically, if a prospect has lots of buzz around them -– think Colby Rasmus -– and they have a dismal start to their major league career, there is a definite tendency to write them off. However, in many instances, young players may take several seasons to become serviceable Fantasy players — think Carlos Gomez –- but when they do, they represent both a success story and an actionable Fantasy asset. This column looks at some recent surging players and offers buy or sell advice, with a special emphasis on those post-hype players. Post-Hype Players   Domonic Brown, OF, Philadelphia Probably the hottest hitter in May is one of your classic post-hype players. I added him on speculation after he was cut in my keeper league, and the rewards have been considerable. If Dom Brown is available in your league, he is a must add. Should you trade for him? — He is simply too hot right now. The time to buy Brown has passed. If you had him, you benefited. If you didn’t … Should you trade him? — I doubt his value (or, indeed, any post-hyper) could have a higher value than Brown has right now. Having said that, very few — or all but the most naive — would actually expect his production to stay as insanely high as it has been. Moreover, I like Brown for the rest of season (ROS). His average against left-handers is great, his slugging percentage is strong — and he is only 25. Unless you can get a blue-chip return (top 15 hitter), then he’s a hold. I believe he will finish the season as a top-25 hitter, at least. Mitch Moreland, 1B, Texas Moreland didn’t have a ton of hype around him, but he has rounded into being one of the best overall first basemen in the game in the last 30 days. Word is obviously out on him –- 61 percent owned in Yahoo! Leagues –- but if you are in one of the leagues where he is available, he is a must add. Should you trade him? — Absolutely. He has put together...

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Wins are Not Sustainable

Jun 02

Wins are Not Sustainable

In a standard 5×5 Rotisserie league, wins encapsulate twenty percent of a pitcher’s value. But because a pitcher has very little ability to dictate whether or not he gets a win, and we have a very limited, if any at all, ability to predict pitcher wins, we must conclude that wins are not sustainable. Sure it is easy to fall back and say “a pitcher on a bad team cannot get a lot of wins.” Well, Hyun-Jin Ryu has six wins and the Dodgers are in last place, so that cannot be the case. Conversely, Cole Hamels is 1-8, has a 3.86xFIP, and plays on the same Phillies team as Cliff Lee, who is 6-2 with a 3.63 xFIP. The .23 difference in Lee and Hamel’s xFIP is unlikely the cause between their drastically different records. Why are wins deceptive? Simply put, when you place an importance on a pitcher’s record, you place him under scrutiny for a lot of which he has no control over: his team’s bullpen, the opposing team’s bullpen, the opposing team’s starting pitching, his team’s lineup, the opposing team’s lineup, his team’s defense, and the opposing team’s defense. All of these factors come into play when it comes down to whether or not a pitcher gets a win, and none of these are susceptible to a starting pitchers influence. As a way to look at a more accurate depiction of a pitchers Fantasy value, I thought we would look at what starting pitcher rankings would look like if we counted strikeouts, ERA, WHIP, and not wins. Methodology: In order to calculate player value, I used Jefferey Gross’s methodology, which is defined as E.Y.E.S. All of the data used for this article was taken before games on May 29th, but the general idea is still relevant; Fantasy players’ values are artificially inflated and deflated by wins. Here are the rankings for the top players with wins included (zSCR) and without wins (zSCR-W).   There is some fluctuation between the two metrics, but lets put our results into context and see which pitcher’s rankings are altered the most. The column on the left indicates the pitchers whose value differs the most in a negative way when...

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Hot or Not Players — Who Can You Trust!?!

May 31

Hot or Not Players — Who Can You Trust!?!

It’s time to look at some underperforming players you might consider buying low or selling low in the first third of the Fantasy Baseball season. True, you should be extra cautious about trading for underperforming players or trading away ones you drafted in the early rounds. But this is also an opportune time to take advantage of some overly frustrated owners that might be on the lookout for a deal to get rid of one or two of their underperforming players. Who doesn’t want to pass on a headache? For you, though, this is a chance to get a normally good player at a discounted rate. Not Hot Players to Target Victor Martinez, DH, Detroit V-Mart is one of those solid, park-your-money-in-him players.Twenty homers? Check. One hundred or so RBI? Check. He has had a miserable batting average to start to the season, but he also missed an entire year. He is a prime buy-low candidate. He will bounce back and he plays on an awesome team. He will be in the lineup when healthy. Go make some offers for him! Selling Low: You will find it hard to sell VMart low. There is not a lot of confidence in an aging catcher with a BA like his. More importantly, there is an abundance of useful catchers out there. Don’t bother. Acceptable deal: Try and offer players who are wildly exceeding their career norms – like Vernon Wells, Josh Donaldson and Daniel Murphy – for VMart. But only do this if you need a catcher and no solid catchers are available. I am confident VMart will bounce back strong, but it is worth remembering he is older and probably more banged up then when he put up some of those more gaudy numbers. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami An early season injury derailed the former Mike Stanton. If you can land him in a deal for a hot starter (Starling Marte, anyone?) then you will enjoy the benefits when he returns. Jose Reyes, SS, Toronto See Stanton, Giancarlo. I had him pegged as the second-best SS option to start to season. When he returns (which won’t be long now) there’s no real reason to downgrade him. Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta...

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Bad Starts & Broken Hearts (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Josh Hamilton)

May 28

Bad Starts & Broken Hearts (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Josh Hamilton)

There are a lot of folks out there right now who would like to give Josh Hamilton (and Stephen Strasburg, and Matt Kemp, and Justin Verlander, etc., etc.,), and other players off to bad starts, a piece of their mind. We drafted you so high! We expected elite numbers all the time, forever, without exception! Folks – when you draft elite players (see Malkin, Evgeni in a different context) you run a huge risk. The risk, of course, is that you are dazzled by past results and that those results are not going to be duplicated. Fair enough. There is a range of players – the sort who get drafted in the first three rounds – whom, if you draft them, become essentially untradeable if they flop. What I mean is this: If you drafted Hamilton (which I did, and Kemp, too) then you have to assume the possibility that he would either a) start slow or b) fail completely. High risk, high reward. Having said that – what do you do NOW? If you are holding Hamilton, what’s the move? Folks – and this is an iron clad rule – you cannot sell low on your megastar, elite players. If you draft them in Rounds 1-3, you are obligated to ride out the storm. This is my philosophy – and there are others who would criticize it – but the risks of selling low on a megastar far outweigh the rewards. Sure, if someone offers you Jason Kipnis and Shelby Miller for Hamilton, you do it. But that’s not selling low. Matt Joyce and Jim Henderson for Hamilton is selling low. With the rules out of the way, here is some advice on how to proceed. I’ve also listed some examples of what I consider trades that are selling low and trades that are selling high – or, as might be the case, acceptable dump trades. Don’t Trade/Acceptable Deals For Bad Starts   Josh Hamilton, OF, L.A. Angels The hysteria over the brutal start for Hamilton has made him one of the most traded (and hated) players in Fantasy Baseball this season. I’ve held on to him; I refuse to sell low. This is an MVP-caliber talent who...

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Neil’s Weekly Fantasy Baseball Preview: May 27th – June 2nd

May 25

Neil’s Weekly Fantasy Baseball Preview: May 27th – June 2nd

Well, isn’t baseball a wonderful game, I mean seriously, can you imagine the rush of watching Angel Pagan’s inside the park, game winning home run last night? You can see it here if you missed it. That was awesome and what a call! In other news, I am getting destroyed this week, in one of my favorite leagues, actually, in 2 of my favorite leagues I’m getting destroyed. It happens and thankfully, I started hot in both. This week I want to share two fantasy baseball resources that I’ve been using lately. First, you’ve got to check out the MLB Beat Writers Twitter Feeds over at Fantasy Rundown. The Rundown has it all kids, rankings, all the links to free fantasy baseball and football articles, everything! Anyway, here are the links to their Twitter Feeds, which are full of valuable fake and real baseball information: AL | NL   Secondly, have you signed up to The War Room yet? I am going to make an effort to visit and check it out more, because it connects your teams with information sources and makes roster management pretty easy. I like these War Room guys too, they’re good fellas! So, make sure to add these two valuable resources to your fake baseball repertoire and how about we get to this week’s preview!     Weekly Fantasy Baseball Preview: On the Waiver Wire   I have decided to add some waiver wire columns to this weekly preview, here are the best from the past week. Rotoworld: D.J. Short has some mixed leagues and low-owned options for fantasy owners to consider and also discusses Francisco Liriano, Jesus Montero and Mike Zunino. Bretsky Ball: Wayne Bretsky lines the options up by position and also takes a look at deeper league options. Bretsky discusses Trevor Rosenthal, Freddy Glavis and Yonder Alonso. My own Wasting Away Again on the Waiver Wire: This week, I looked at the reality that in order to add hot-shot prospects like Jurickson Profar and Kevin Gausman an owner has to drop someone. Perhaps, their drops will be potential impact players you can add! Fantasy Pros: These guys asked me to contribute to their Waiver Wire article this week, it was fun, I like...

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