• Why We Missed: Breakout Hitters
    by Jeff Zimmerman - 10/9 -  
     
    12
    Note: For my next few articles, I'm going to examine the hitters and pitchers who underperformed and overperformed in 2019. Each article may spawn off others since some areas may need to be explored in more detail.
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    Our prospect team mines the minors for top prospects and useful pieces alike.
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    Award-winning in-depth injury report with analysis from Jeff Zimmerman.
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    Marc Hulet adjusts (and updates) his prospect list for fantasy purposes.
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C  -  1B  -  2B  -  SS  -  3B  -  OF  -  SP  -  RP

My NFBC Draft at the AFL (Next 11 rounds)

I covered the first 12 rounds of my AFL draft last week and today I’ll show the rest that we did in Arizona. We will finish the remaining 27 rounds online in January.

13.193 – Scott Kingery | OF/3B, PHI

I liked the positional flexibility and power-speed capability here with Kingery. His 2018 was a flop (.605 OPS) and while he couldn’t sustain his early-2019 success (.889 1H), he still hit eight homers and stole 10 bases in the second half. I still think there’s more here, but a full season of 2019 would essentially be a 20/20 season.

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Mining the News: Ohtani, Freeman, Votto, & More

The following tidbits are the most fantasy-relevant news I’ve found so far this offseason.

• Lots of information in this article to consider about Shohei Ohtani. One item that finally clicked with me was that his late-season injury was a knee issue.

Ohtani, though, proved he’s still a strong hitter, batting .286/.343/.505 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs in 106 games, but he saw his season end on Sept. 11 after undergoing surgery to address a bipartite patella in his left knee. The injury began to flare up in Spring Training, but Ohtani played through it, as it mostly only affected him as he ramped up his throwing program off the mound.

Tommy John recoveries need to get their new tendon from somewhere and it’s usually the knee. I wonder if the knee wasn’t healed from the elbow operation.

Also, his 2019 value seems limited by just pitching once a week and batting in just half the games.

Ohtani remains on track to return to two-way status in 2020, as he’s expected to pitch once a week and serve as the DH roughly three to four times a week. But he has to get his rehab done with both his knee and elbow this offseason, as he’s yet to fully complete his throwing program.

He is expected to be cleared to finish his throwing program in December and the hope is that he’ll have enough time to be ready for the start of the season. Ohtani is likely to be behind the other pitchers early in Spring Training, but it’s still too early to know the full plan heading into next year.

He’ll be limited to about 25 starts and in weekly lineup leagues, he’s just a half-time bat. Owners in bi-weekly lineup moves (e.g. NFBC leagues) can hope he hits during one of the two weekly blocks and not split time.
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Will 2018’s Busts Rebound? — A Review

Last week, I reviewed an article I published in the preseason discussing the breakouts from 2018 and whether I felt they would be a 2019 bust or were for real. Today, I will be reviewing the 2018 busts. Like for the breakouts, I discussed seven busts from 2018 and determined whether or not they would remain a bust (meaning earn similar depressed fantasy value) or rebound.

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2019’s Fantasy Baseball Auction Bargains

Winning Fantasy Baseball is All. About. Value.

Introduction:

Several years back, a friend of mine was preparing for his fantasy baseball auction. He asked me a simple question –

“How much is Lorenzo Cain worth according to your projections?”

That was a straightforward question for me to answer. I ran the ATC Projections through my valuation model. I set the league parameters to match his specific league settings, and I generated a value for Cain of $18.

A few days later, my friend came back to me and said,

“Ariel, I bought Lorenzo Cain at my auction for $18! Isn’t that awesome?!?!”

I responded “No, that’s awful. If Lorenzo Cain is worth $18, you need to only pay $14 or $15 or $16.”

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Peripheral Prospects of 2019: Alex’s Review

Last offseason, over brunch at some restaurant in Phoenix, Brad Johnson and I, in coordination with FanGraphs’ Powers That Be, revived a recently deceased series about prospects. We had to attribute to it a new name, but its purpose remained steadfast: to identify intriguing but unheralded Minor League talent. This is the corner of fantasy baseball in which Brad and I thrive. I’m not one for series — I never thought I had any good ideas — but I had always wanted to do something like this, but for fantasy purposes.

Alas, Peripheral Prospects was born, a phoenix from the ashes. (A good metaphor, this, because in Phoenix we ate at a restaurant with ashtrays.) We published every Monday steadily for months until the grind of the season wore us down. Just because Cody Bellinger tailed off the in second half doesn’t mean we remember his 2019 season as a bust. I’d like to think our weak finish sullies not our fine season. Several WARs, at least.

Here, I’d like to highlight some of my favorite peripheral prospects of 2019. (Brad will separately highlight his own, for I can ascertain why he picked the players he picked but it is better that he articulate his rationale on his own terms.) Let’s not waste any more time. Here are my 10 favorite peripheral prospects, sorted ascending according to their appearance in the series.

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 746 – 2020 AFL Drafts

10/17/19

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is live. Support the show by subscribing to Fangraphs! With a standard $20 membership, you help maintain and improve our database of stats and graphs as well as our staff of 8 full-time employees and over 50 contributors. The premium ad-free membership at $50 year supports site growth and also includes faster load speeds and better site performance. You can also support monthly for just $3.

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NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS/INJURIES/RUMORS

  • Joe Maddon to LAA
  • Buck Showalter candidate for NYM/PHI
    • Are tms trending back toward classic mgr?
  • Who does gm4 rainout help more?

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Are 2018’s Breakouts This Season’s Busts? — A Review

Heading into the season, I published my first piece on previous season breakouts with a verdict on whether I believe the hitter is for real and will repeat or come close, or will be a bust in the following season. I discussed seven hitters in the inaugural edition, all of whom earned at least $13.90 more than in 2017. Let’s find out how my calls did.

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My NFBC Draft at the AFL (First 12 rounds)

The Arizona Fall League moved up the Fall Stars game to mid-October this year which in turn moved up Baseball HQ’s First Pitch Forum conference. As you may know if you’ve been following me for a while, we conduct some early NFBC Draft and Hold leagues out there where we select our first 23 players live and then finish the remaining 27 rounds online in January. This is always fun because of how fresh we are off the regular season and it’s interesting to see how much recency bias owns the draft. Plus, there’s the bonus of being at the AFL meaning some of the prospects on the cusp get pushed up as well.

Here’s a quick rundown of my first 23 picks conducted out of the 13 spot. I’ve long aimed for a late pick in order to be early in the first round (actually the 24th) when we resume in January as news and moves often create some big-time values to be garnered that late in the draft.

1.13 – Justin Verlander | SP, HOU

I figured picking late would leave looking at a starter in the first round and I have no problem with that. There is some trepidation with taking a 37-year old pitcher for some, but I don’t share those reservations because there is literally nothing in Verlander’s profile that makes him look like a risk outside of his age.

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2019 BABIP Decliners — A Review

Today, I move along to reviewing the six hitters whose 2018 xBABIP marks fell significantly short of their actual BABIP marks, suggesting serious downside in 2019. Let’s see how they ended up performing.

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2019 BABIP Surgers — A Review

Today, I move onto reviewing my preseason BABIP calls, starting with the surgers. In late February, I used my xBABIP equation to identify eight hitters whose actual BABIP marks were significantly below their xBABIP marks, suggesting a potentially dramatic BABIP jump in 2019. Let’s find out if that did indeed occur for these hitters.

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