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    Our prospect team mines the minors for top prospects and useful pieces alike.
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    Marc Hulet adjusts (and updates) his prospect list for fantasy purposes.
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    A contest to see who can make the better picks: streaming pitcher and hitter choices for every day of the season in a podcast hosted by Dylan Higgins and Matthew Dewoskin.
C  -  1B  -  2B  -  SS  -  3B  -  OF  -  SP  -  RP

Hot Button Hitters: The Divisive Projections

A couple of days ago, I released some hitter rankings and now I’m going to dive into some players with the biggest value divergence. By going through the most different players, the value averaging makes any effects of an outlier less meaningful. Also, remember that these are the most divisive projections. Other player projections involve less disagreement.

It’s not always one projection being “wrong”. Each one as some instance of diverging. By using several projections, the faults of one are lessened.

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2018 Fly Ball Pull Percentage Decliners

Yesterday, I identified and discussed the hitters who increased their fly ball pull percentage (FBP%) most from 2017 to 2018. Pulling the ball more frequently typically fuels power growth, so a significant decline could be the cause of a power dip. So let’s find out which hitters with at least 30 fly balls enjoyed a FBP% decline of at least 10%.

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The Deep Dynasty ADP Project

Why does redraft get all the nice things like a helpful Average Draft Position (ADP) to indicate the most auspicious time to target a specific player?

To my knowledge, ADP basically doesn’t exist for deep dynasty formats – and probably for a good reason. Deep dynasty is a snowflake ecosystem. Every league has its own unique nooks and crannies. They’re conducted on a variety of different fantasy platforms with offline components. More to the point, there probably aren’t very many first year drafts. Most dynasty leagues have been rolling for years.

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The Truth About Pitch Values

It seems as though each year, fantasy baseball analysts, “professional” and amateur alike, hone in on a new — or, if not new, then relatively untouched — metric or data set for their endlessly eager consumption. In 2015, FanGraphs introduced batted ball data to its leaderboards. In 2016, Statcast data was unveiled, although it arguably didn’t become popular until 2017, and before the 2017 season FanGraphs changed the game with its splits leaderboard. Baseball Prospectus has introduced myriad new metrics, too — DRA in 2015, DRC+ last year, etc. — and we began to lean into pitch-specific performance analysis last year. (The latter-most topic is relevant to what follows here.)

I recently joined Christopher Welsh and Scott Bogman of In This League on their podcast. I thought one of the evening’s questions was particularly topical and prescient (and I paraphrase): What will 2019’s it metric be? The question was asked with pitch values, something I’ve seen garner increasing attention on Twitter, in mind.

You can acquaint yourself with pitch values directly from the man who created them:

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The Increasing Popularity of Deep Dynasty Leagues

Deep dynasty leagues are becoming increasingly popular. Today, I’d like to talk about my experiences with the format, things to look for when joining a league, and what this means for the fantasy baseball industry.

Let’s start by defining a “deep” dynasty league. This is a flexible concept. In a recent poll, I said the following: “Let’s define “deep” as any mixed league that rosters 700 or more players leaguewide or any AL/NL Only with 350 or more players. At least half of players are kept.”

Again, the exact definition can vary. What matters is that the league operates on a completely different level than the most common fantasy formats. Those are 12-team redraft with roto or head-to-head scoring. There are also dynasty leagues with similar dynamics to these more common formats. Participants in these leagues can use existing resources for redraft leagues with a little mental tinkering. The norms of the industry still apply in a general sense even if there are some specific quirks.

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A Minor Review of 2018: Texas Rangers

Welcome back to my annual off-season series that has a quick-and-dirty review of all 30 minor league systems around baseball. This feature began way back in 2008.

The Texas Rangers

If you were perusing the series back in late 2013, you would have read this:

The Sleeper: Odubel Herrera, 2B: An offensive-minded infielder, Herrera impressed me with his offensive potential in 2012. Unfortunately, he found Double-A to be more of a challenge and the 21-year-old finished the year back in High-A ball after being passed on the depth chart by fellow middle infield prospects Odor and Luis Sardinas. The 2014 season will be a key one for Herrera, who needs to avoid getting completely lost in the shuffle.

Now on to the new stuff:

First Taste of The Show: Ronald Guzman, 1B: The Rangers invested quite heavily in both Nomar Mazara and Guzman during the 2011 international free agency and both made good on their potential… with Guzman taking a little longer to develop. He has a huge frame that generates significant raw power but struggles to reach that pop in game situations. He’s still polishing his eye at plate and produced a modest 33-121 BB-K rate in his big league debut.

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2018 Fly Ball Pull Percentage Surgers

Alas, we have reached the final 2018 pair of recaps of the primary components of my xHR/FB rate equation, fly ball pull percentage (FBP%). Simply, it’s easier to hit a homer to the pull side. Why? Because the fences are closer down the lines than to center field. Plus, hitters are typically able to generate more power when pulling the ball, so they hit their pulled flies harder, plus those pulled flies don’t have to travel as far to jump over the fence for a dinger. So let’s find out which hitters with at least 30 fly balls enjoyed a FBP% surge of at least 10%.

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Fantasy Relievers on Non-Contenders: Royals

The Royals’ closer situation is distinctly different from those of the teams already previewed in this series on bullpens for likely non-contenders. The Marlins and Diamondbacks will almost certainly be auditioning relievers for various roles — including closer — in spring training. Will Smith figures to be the Giants’ opening day closer if he sticks around, but it seem likely he will get dealt. The same goes for the Orioles and Mychal Givens, and if they don’t trade their incumbent closer this spring, it could easily happen at some point during the season.

Wily Peralta would appear to be the Royals’ equivalent of Givens. He took over as the team’s closer shortly after Kelvin Herrera was traded to the Nationals in last June, and he converted all 14 of his save chances. But whereas Givens’ most likely path to losing his job is getting traded to a team that uses him in a different role, Peralta could get ousted as closer without leaving Kansas City. While he throws hard and, at least in 2018, got a lot of weak ground ball contact, there is little else in Peralta’s skill set that suggests he can be a consistently effective closer.
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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 628 – Drafting UT-Only Players w/Ian Kahn


The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 19, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Check the new Perfect Team mode Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER19!

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Notable Transactions/Rumors/Articles

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Brad Johnson Baseball Chat: 1/15/2019

Here’s the transcript to today’s fantasy chat.

Need More Bangers: hi brad!

Brad Johnson: Hi Bangers!

Brad Johnson: We’ll get started in a couple minutes.

Gabe Kapler: Who gets more saves- Robertson or Seranthony?

Brad Johnson: Robertson is a pretty safe bet

Brad Johnson: Not a lock by any means, but it’s the percentage play

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